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2010 Peer helping syllabus


									                                                                              Joanna Lancaster
                                                                        Peer Helping 2010-2011
                          LACES PEER HELPING PROGRAM

Dear Students and Families:

Welcome to Peer Helping. I’m looking forward to spending an exciting, challenging and
productive year with you. It’s a privilege to be working with such a caring, committed,
capable group of students.
The goal of the Peer Helping Program is to help students develop into positive, healthy
adults by training and empowering them as leaders who serve others, helping to create
positive change school-wide and in the community. Through training in communication
and interpersonal skills, students learn to be facilitators, helpers, and peer educators. They
learn about helping relationships, decision-making, and problem solving, and they
facilitate others to think about ideas, feelings, and responsible behaviors.
As in past years, September will find peer helpers reaching out to students in grades 6-12,
helping them make the adjustment to LACES. Throughout the year, you will lend a
sympathetic ear to lonely or troubled middle school kids and high school peers.
The keys to your success as peer helpers will be learning to listen, developing strong
questioning skills, recognizing and honoring cultural differences, and understanding the
place of confidentiality in the counseling relationship. We will spend considerable time
in class practicing effective communication skills such as active listening, paraphrasing,
decision- making, identifying feelings, articulating goals and values, and recognizing
communication blockers.
The most of your helpees will share experiences and issues that seem all too familiar,
some of the students you befriend will be undergoing problems that you have never
experienced. We will study teen issues in depth, so that our peer helpers will be able to
provide support, assistance, understanding, or referrals to peers in need. We will invite
guest speakers from community agencies to offer information, insight, guidance, training,
resources and a variety of perspectives on issues that confront our community, including
sexuality and gender issues, substance abuse education and prevention, teen depression
and suicide, STDs/AIDS/HIV awareness & prevention, homelessness, etc.
Students and families are urged to offer recommendations for guest speakers, films,
publications, presentations and research topics. You are our most valuable resources.
During the first weeks of school, we will focus on articulating our mission statement,
agreeing on goals for the program, and developing a code of ethics. We will also engage
in numerous team-building exercises, so that we may establish a strong sense of trust and
community. Many of you students are returning peer helpers, so I will continue to rely
on you for guidance and support. Each veteran will be assigned to a “newbie” to mentor
We will use a number of formal and informal assessments to evaluate student progress.
In addition to self-evaluations, peer reviews, and teacher observation, course assignments
will include:
                                                                          Joanna Lancaster
                                                                    Peer Helping 2010-2011

    A reflective journal (submitted monthly)
    Bulletin board design and maintenance
    Community Resource Directory (whole class)
    2 Student Presentations (group/individual)
    Service Project (includes presentation and 10 hours community service, as well as
     written entry for the Community Resource Directory)
    Co teaching (Veterans will co teach with me and new helpers will partner with
     veterans to teach a lesson)
    Assembly and homeroom presentations (1 each semester)

I am looking forward to working with you as we continue to build and refine the Peer
Helping Program. Many of you may have strong opinions about goals, projects, and
activities you’d like to see embedded in the class. Remember, it is your program to
define. This is your opportunity to influence school culture and impact the community at
large. I hope parents and students will let me know your ideas, complaints, suggestions,
and concerns.


Joanna Lancaster

************sign & return**********************sign & return**********

        Please sign below to acknowledge agreement with this syllabus and have your
child return this tear-off to me.

______________________________                     ______________________________
Parent Signature                                   Student Signature
      Joanna Lancaster
Peer Helping 2010-2011

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