What is your name, what role do you play in education, how long have you been in education?
Jamal Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jamal has been in the education field since 2007. Jamal started as a Security Specialist in order to explore a career in education. Jamal then began working with Arapahoe/Douglas Workforce Center to support at-risk youth in their education and work readiness. During this time, he began researching Social Work before deciding to enroll at Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2011. In 2015, Jamal graduated with his Masters in Social Work and spent his first three years in Aurora Public Schools (CO) as a School Social Worker. Jamal would then transition to youth residential treatment as a Therapeutic Manager for a year. He would move on to Colorado State Youth Services as a School Social Worker before returning to public education in Cherry Creek Public Schools in his current position as a School Social Worker in 2019. Jamal’s primary services include working with students on Individual Education Plans.
Why do you think education is important?
I love my career as a Social Worker! Obtaining my Masters in Social Work has been one of my greatest achievements, as it has opened doors professionally and changed my outlook on life for the better. I am a better person because of my journey in this field. Additionally, I practice as a School Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, however there are other methods of practice within Social Work, including Child Welfare, Community, and Medical to name a few. And, while there is some overlap in the work that we do our roles are very different.
What do you love most about your role in education?
Working with youth is a passion for many reasons including being able to see young lives passionate about life and their futures. I love to hear about youth’s hopes and dreams for life, and thoughts on how they view the world. I also love working with my Black male students, as I feel that I am a connection point that can help bridge the gap between this population and education. My hope is that my presence will play a role in encouraging Black students to step outside the box in their thought process regarding careers.
What is the best advice you have received about impacting the education sector?
The fact that I am needed, especially considering that I am in a field where I am usually the only person of color and only male. It is always a pleasure when I tell my story that people tell me my spirit and voice is needed. I am needed and I will continue making positive strides in my line of work.
What advice would you give the younger generation about their education?
It is more than just education; it is about life! I would tell the younger generation to find something that they love and figure out how to turn that into the work they love. Additionally, take advantage of the close relationships you form with people within the school- whether it is with the principal or the janitor. Take in the valuable information they give you because when you grow into an adult you will look back and realize that those people helped a lot with molding you into the individual that you will become. Be present in the moment when you are going through educational experiences and make sure to enjoy it!
As a school social worker at the elementary level I work primarily with students on Individual Education Plans (IEP), meaning students who receive special education services. The focus of my work with the special education population as well as general education population is providing social emotional functioning lessons/support, and crisis intervention such as (suicide/threat assessments). I do this work because I love and am passionate about serving youth and their families and helping them navigate challenges and supporting growth of student strengths. My private practice, Student Athlete Counseling also focuses on youth and I specialize in working with student athletes (12-24 years old) who experience mental health/mental performance challenges.
anxiety, depression, communication difficulties, grief, I am employed by Cherry Creek Public Schools, I specialize in working with youth (elementary through high school age) and youth through collegiate student athletes with social emotional challenges including but not limited to anger/aggression