Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Kate Phillippo, PhD, LCSW

Title/s:  Professor, Schools of Social Work and Education (Joint Appointment)

Office #:  Maguire Hall, 430

Phone: 312-915-6910

Email: kphillippo@luc.edu Twitter : katephillippo

CV Link: Kate philippo New cv

Mission in action

P-12 schools are powerful places where young people learn about themselves, their communities and how the world around them works. These lessons can promote growth, empowerment and dignity, and they can also perpetrate harm, humiliation and alienation. I have experienced both first-hand as a community- and school-based social worker in the Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas. I approach my teaching and research grounded in the social work profession’s commitment to service, social justice, self-determination, human dignity and integrity. Social workers in schools can truly take on these values and social work’s person-in-environment perspective, working with students as well as the people immediately around them every day and the systems that ostensibly serve them. Central to this approach is the recognition that the distinction between “person” and “environment” is neither crisp nor binary but rather one in which people create and transform environment and are also shaped by the environment around them.

My work as a scholar centers youth experience of schools and schooling, policy and practice attunement to youth needs, and on pushing social workers in schools to help make schools growthful places for young people by enacting social work values, which will at times clash with how schools work. As an instructor, I help school social work candidates learn concrete practices to use in schools. I equally prioritize socio-political education, aimed at helping candidates think critically about their positioning in schools so that they may use it to promote inclusive and empowering youth development through their work at micro-, meso- and macro-levels. With policy and research methods students, I enact social work values by humanely supporting student efforts to build skills, understand school spaces and education policy in context and act accordingly to promote racial and justice, and chart the course for the career opportunities they seek.


Dr. Phillippo holds a joint appointment in Loyola’s Schools of Social Work and Education. She is proud to help social workers, educators and policy actors prepare to work in and around Chicago, a beautiful, compelling and complex city.



  • Ph.D., Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • A.M., University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration (Now Crown Family School of Social Work)
  • B.A., Northwestern University, Art History

Program Areas

  • School Social Work
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Macro Policy
  • Education Policy

Areas of Interest

Student and educator enactment of education policy; contextual influences upon policy enactment, particularly those involving race, socioeconomic status, gender, space, politics, demographic change and the professions; student wellness policy in P-12 school settings; urban education policy; school-society relationships; the history of school social work; abolitionist social work.

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • Society for Social Work and Research
  • Sociology of Education Association

Courses Taught

School of Social Work Graduate Courses

  • SOWK 609: Social Work in Schools
  • SOWK 819: Qualitative Research Methods
  • SOWK 822: Organizational Analysis

School of Education Graduate Courses

  • ELPS 410: Sociology of Education
  • ELPS 412: Urban Education Policy
  • ELPS 500: Race and Schooling in the United States
  • ELPS 512: The School as an Organization
  • ELPS 514: The Sociology of Teaching
  • RMTD 420: Building a Body of Evidence with Qualitative Methods

School of Education Undergraduate Courses

  • ELPS 219: History of American Education
  • ELPS 240: Urban Education: Policy and Practice


  • Loyola University Chicago Hayes Award, 2022. Recognizes faculty who demonstrate a commitment to advising and mentoring students within and outside the classroom.
  • Loyola University Chicago: School of Education Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, 2019.
  • Loyola University Chicago: School of Education Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2016.

Selected Publications

Selected publications:

Phillippo, K. & Nolan, J. (2022, Available online). White on white research: A study of white qualitative researcher positionality among white participants. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

Phillippo, K., Lucio, R., Shamyan, E. & Kelly, M. (2022, Available online). “Why wasn’t I doing this before?”: Changed school social work practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualitative Social Work.

Crutchfield, J., Phillippo, K. & Ball, A. (2022). School mental health in charter schools: A glimpse of practitioners from a national sample. International Journal of School Social Work, 7(1).


Phillippo, K., Fisher, M., Ferrare, J. & Stromberg, P. (Forthcoming, 2022). A new era in conflict over education policy: The 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike. In D. D’Amico-Pawlewicz (Volume Editor), Walkout: Teacher Militancy, Activism, and School Reform. In Research in Education Policy: Local, National, and Global Perspectives Series (K. Wong, Series Editor). Information Age Press.


Childs, T., Brown, E.L., Brown, N., Iachini, A., Phillippo, K., Galib, L., Parker, A. & Fujimoto, K. (2022, available online). A mixed method study of teachers’ appraisals of student wellness services and supports during COVID-19. Journal of School Health.

Ferrare, J. & Phillippo, K. (2021, available online). Conflict theory, extended: A framework for understanding contemporary struggles over education policy. Educational Policy.

Phillippo, K. & Crutchfield, J. (2021). Racial injustice in schools: Underscoring social work’s obligation to promote anti-racist practice. Social Work, 42(3), 187-193.

Phillippo, K. (2021). “Moving through a land of wonders wild and new”: Grounding school social work practice in a multi-systemic understanding of the school. M. Kelly, C. Massatt & R. Constable (Eds.), School social work: Practice, policy and research (9th Ed.) (28-45). Oxford Press.

Crutchfield, J., Phillippo, K., Frey, A. (2020). Structural racism in schools: A view through the lens of the National School Social Work Practice Model. Children & Schools, 42(3), 187-193.

Phillippo, K. (2019). A contest without winners: How students experience competitive school choice policy. University of Minnesota Press.

Phillippo, K., Conner, J., Davidson, S., & Pope, D. (2017). A systematic analysis of student-report survey instruments that assess student-teacher relationships. Teachers College Record, 119(8).

Miller, P., Scanlan, M. & Phillippo, K. (2017). Rural cross-sector collaboration: A social frontier analysis. American Educational Research Journal Centennial Issue, 54(1_suppl), 193S-215S..

Phillippo, K. & Griffin, B. (2016). The social geography of choice: Neighborhoods’ role in students’ navigation of school choice policy in Chicago. The Urban Review, 48(5), 668–695.

Phillippo, K. & Griffin, B. (2016). “If you don’t score high enough, then that’s your fault”: Student civic dispositions in the context of competitive school choice. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, 14(2), 67-95.

Phillippo, K. & Kelly, M. (2014). On the fault line: A qualitative exploration of high school teachers’ involvement with student mental health issues. School Mental Health, 6(3), 184-200.

Phillippo, K. (2013). Advisory in urban high schools: A study of expanded teacher roles. Palgrave Macmillan, Series on Urban Education (A. Sadovnik & S. Semel, Eds.).

Phillippo, K. & Stone, S. (2013). Teacher role breadth and its relationship to student-reported teacher support. High School Journal, 96(4), 358-379.

Phillippo, K. & Blosser, A. (2013). Specialty practice or interstitial practice? A reconsideration of school social work’s past and present. Children & Schools, 35(1), 19-31.

Phillippo, K. (2012). “You’re trying to know me”: Students from nondominant groups respond to teacher personalism. The Urban Review, 44(4), 441-467.

Phillippo, K. and Stone, S. (2011). Towards a broader view: A call to integrate knowledge about schools into school social work research. Children & Schools, 33(2) 71-81.

Phillippo, K. (2010). Teacher-advisors providing social and emotional support: A study of complex role enactment in small high schools. Teachers College Record, 112(8), 2258-2293.