Student Peers Program Having a Big Impact at Kennedy Junior High School
The Kennedy Junior High School Peers Program started three years ago with the aim of assisting students in the specialized classrooms with academic tasks, as well as building social connections. Students can apply to be part of the Peers Program any time during junior high school through a simple application.
Student volunteers spend part of their day (before/after school, during their lunch, supervised study, or PE period) working with students in the specialized classrooms (multi-needs and structured learning). The Peers program has been successful in helping promote inclusive practices for all students, across all settings, as well as build friendships.
This year, 117 students are participating as Peers and have a schedule to rotate into classrooms, or support students during physical education classes and lunch periods.
In her second year as a Peer, 8th grader Molly Devine said, “I like helping. They are my friends and I like the different personalities.”
Brinkley Douglas has done this for three years and finds it to be “A cool opportunity to work with special needs kids. I want to be a special education teacher.”
8th grader Connor Deturris said he joined this year, because “I wanted to do something fun. It makes Monday’s fun.”
Peers support the students through academic activities related to classroom work like fractions, as well as help give students opportunities to practice what they have learned in real-life situations. The real fun is in the social interaction, laughs and smiles shared between students.