School District Selects School Social Worker of the Year

School District Selects School Social Worker of the Year
Posted on 05/26/2023
School District Selects School Social Worker of the Year

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the School District’s population of homeless students increased 800%, to more than 4,300 students. As the homeless liaison, Erin Dalla Costa was in charge of providing those students with support and resources. For her efforts, she was named the School District’s 2023 School Social Worker of the Year.

“Thank you so much,” Erin said after being surprised with the award. “I wouldn’t be able to it without all of you and the support you offer. Thank you all for everything. I am really surprised. I really appreciate it because there wasn’t a time that I was alone.”

Along with her work to help so many new homeless students after the hurricane, Erin also spearheaded a new after-school academic enrichment program this year for families living in the Southward Village redevelopment neighborhood and a STEM summer camp for homeless students. As the school year started to wind down, she prepared graduation “care packages” for all of the School District’s homeless and graduating seniors. The packages included their caps and gowns.

"Erin has made a HUGE impact on several of my seniors this year,” said Lehigh Senior High School Social Worker Iris Grimaldi. “She is awesome and always goes 200% for our kiddos. I had a student who accepted his High School diploma on stage this past weekend, who may not have made it without Erin and all the support she was able to provide. Her dedication is beyond measure! Our students are so very lucky to have her advocacy and selfless dedication to their overall well-being and SUCCESS!"

Erin also mentors unaccompanied homeless youth in the district to help them remain engaged with their education and reach their academic potential through tutoring, ACT/SAT test prep, and career exploration.

“Her impact is immeasurable, but significant for every student and family she works with,” said Social Work Services Coordinator Paul Milford. Janet Millan, School Social Worker at Manatee Elementary added, ”Erin is always so helpful and plays a key role in helping us achieve our goal of student success.”

The School District of Lee County is proud to congratulate Erin for her hard work, dedication to students and being named the School Social Worker of the Year.