Allegany High School to Offer Peer Connections Class this Year
Club Model now a Four-Year Course for Credit
Allegany High School will pilot a Peer Connections mentoring program this year for incoming freshman to promote students’ active participation in school and learning. The ultimate goal of the program is to help enrolled students feel more connected to their school, peers, and staff.
Students in the program will be paired with an upperclassman that has been trained to be a friend and peer mentor. Throughout the year, this pair will work together to gain experience in leadership, the development of positive relationships, and student engagement, all while reinforcing the Camper in 3D expectations – Dependable, Dignified, and Determined.
The Peer Connections group will have the opportunity to assist with a number of events this school year, including the 2nd Annual Color Me Blue color run fundraiser and the end-of-year Camper Carnival. Students will also actively work as a team to promote positive happenings at Allegany as they plan and organize quarterly events.
What was once an extra curricular club will now be offered as a daily course that, upon successful completion of, students will receive both a grade and one credit. Enrolled students will take the Leadership and Skills for Living courses the first year. As they progress through the program, students will have the opportunity to train to become mentors to future students. Credit goes to Allegany's Class of 2018 senior College Speech students originally came up with this idea and coined the term "Peer Connections".
According to the Peer Connections Mentor Teacher, Sarah Dunlap, “Having been on the committee last year, I know what a positive impact the program has on not just students involved but also the building climate overall.” She went on to say, “I am looking forward to working collaboratively with guidance and administration to develop concrete curriculum and course standards.”
This year’s program kicked off with a two-day orientation at Allegany on August 14th and 15th hosted by Get Out and Play Outfitters. Students and mentors were able to spend the time participating in team building activities, touring the new school, meeting the staff, and asking questions. Dunlap stated, “After watching the recommended students work together today in team mode, I am even more excited! They were encouraging and supportive in teams, full of integrity and enthusiasm, and (best of all) each revealed their varied strengths and leadership styles. The Peer Connections Mentor Program is going to be a fantastic addition to not just Allegany High school but also to ACPS and our community.”
This program will be offered in ACPS’s other comprehensive high schools in the coming years.