A Helping Hand

A new link class where students assist other students will arrive a DHS next fall
By Joe Ramey

An all-in-one class is hard to find nowadays. A class that provides help for both sets of students, help for others, training, performing and of course counts as a class credit.

This class was created with the intent to provide a possible moral boost and a morale builder, and has the possibility to provide multiple advantages reasons to join for all parties.

The class is Peer to Peer, a class where a student follows around another Dexter High School student with special needs for one class period. They will help them with all of their needs including physical, social and mental. The students taking the class are their mentor for the hour and guide them on the right path with whatever they’re doing. They would be their “link.” Link refers to the connection between the special education student and the class by the students of the class. It sounds similar to SNAP club that already exists at DHS, but it has many differences along with academic advantages.

“It’s a very important class with many benefits for both sides,” special education teacher Chantel Cunningham said.

Peer to peer is a typical class and will be implemented into the class selection beginning next fall. The class counts as an elective credit and a new opportunity for the “link” and the special education student for that class hour. The class provides free training on how to work with students that have special needs and how to handle their day to day activities as an actual para-professional would.

Illustrator - Hunter Edwards
Illustrator – Hunter Edwards

“This class looks great to colleges because they will know the students in the class have experience with leadership and teaching to the max because of the circumstances they have worked in,” Cunningham said. “It also will teach you the importance of helping people that may not be able to do it independently otherwise.”

The grade the students will receive will be based on their performance. They will be checked weekly by their supervisor and will be evaluated based on their work ethic and overall connection with the student. The grade received is merely on the performance set forth and the effort to make a strong connection with their student throughout the semester. “Links” will keep a daily journal and take note of anything special or notable. Having a better day than normal or creating conversation without help would be examples of something they would be suggested to write down. The supervisors want to make sure the “links” are paying attention to how the student interacts and performs during his or her class period.

Benefits for the students being helped will consist of increased social skills, help on class and homework from a peer, and just an overall great connection with his or her mentor. They will be helping them converse and ask questions if need be. The skills taught and learned in this class are intended to aid both students in any future endeavors.

Many advantages of the class include great leadership skills, lots of exposure to colleges and jobs that look for this type of work, and a feeling of joy and overall goodness about yourself.

“The class (if taken) would definitely make me feel better,” sophomore Mason Monroe said. “It would just be a reminder to me that others need help, and when you provide it, it makes them happy which in turn would make me happy.”

When asked about the future benefits of this class DJ Busdeker said, “I believe this class is important because of the clear benefits it serves. In my opinion, Peer to Peer will adequately prepare anyone who wants to further their career in this sort of work.”

The class requires straight-edge students with their eye on the goal. The goal being to help the student as much as the Link possibly can in as many ways as possible. The class supervisor will check students previous records at the school to make sure they are a good fit for the class. Any suspensions or serious offenses will be taken as a sign that they would not work well in the class but do not feel discouraged to join the class.

The class will be prominently juniors and seniors because of the more open schedules they tend to have. The class will not be available online when registering for classes. Interested students have to let their counselor know they’re wanting to take the class to be enrolled.

“I believe the class will leave a lasting impact on the links and the special education students,” Monroe said. “It’s a great opportunity.”