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LINK THINK TANK. June 17, 2014 Best Minds in the State Peer to Peer Support Programs. Purpose of the START LINK THINK TANK. Increase the Implementation of Peer to Peer Support Programs Across the State of Michigan. Day 1 Agenda. Minute to Win It Games

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link think tank


June 17, 2014

Best Minds in the State

Peer to Peer Support Programs

purpose of the start link think tank


Increase the Implementation of Peer to Peer Support Programs Across the State of Michigan

day 1 agenda
Day 1 Agenda
  • Minute to Win It Games
  • Who is here today and what are they doing with Peer to Peer Support
  • Barriers to Implementation – 3x5 Cards
  • Set Up District Table
  • Café Tables
  • Lunch
  • Elementary and Secondary Breakouts
  • Elementary – Room
  • Secondary – Room
day 2 agenda
Day 2 Agenda
  • Review Day 1
  • 12 Minutes Talks with Brainstorming Session
  • Fundraising
  • LINK Banquets, Recognition, T-Shirts, Media
  • Scheduling/Staffing/Case Conferences
  • Burn Out
  • Lunch – Longevity
  • Technology
  • Data Collection
  • At Risk Students
  • Summary of Work Completed at THINK TANK
  • What’s Next
purpose of the minute to win it competition
Purpose of the Minute to Win It Competition
  • Model fun needed in Peer to Peer Support Programs
  • Scoreboard Creates Synergy Amongst Peers
  • Creates Cooperative Experience between people that don’t know each other
  • Common Theme
  • A role for a Student with ASD within the competition
minute to win it games
Minute to Win It Games
  • 6 -7 People on 6 Teams
  • Stay with your Team Throughout 2 Days
  • 7 Minutes to Name Your Team and Pick a Captain
  • Selected Participants will Report to Same Area for Every Game
  • Games Will Occur Throughout the Two Days
  • Rotate Team Members Throughout Competitions – Everyone to participate
  • Stiff Competition with 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Teams
minute to win it games1
Minute to Win It Games
  • Dave Schoemer and Margie Mayberry to Facilitate
  • Margie Mayberry in Charge of Score Board
  • Melissa Kurek in Charge of Organization of the Games
game 1

Game #1

Teams Each Select One Person from Their Team to Participate in Game 1

Participants Go To The Center Tables

please fill out 3x5 cards prior to the break
Please fill out 3X5 Cards Prior to the Break
  • On the 3X5 Cards, please list the three biggest barriers to the development and implementation of peer to peer support programs
  • Why are other districts not implementing Peer to Peer Support Programs
  • Top 3 Reasons Why
  • Please Leave Cards on Table
troy schools oakland count y

Troy SchoolsOakland County

Lisa Carruthers - General Education Teacher – Created a LINKS Program in her 3rd Grade General Education Classroom

proud to be a leopard link

Proud to be a…LEOPARD LINK!

We ventured through the school year

with some highs and lows.

Our journey began with a SMILE!

We tackled each week TOGETHER knowing we are “linked”.


The Power Of One

One song can spark a moment, One whisper can wake the dream.One tree can start a forest, One bird can herald spring. One smile begins a friendship, One moment can make one fall in love.One star can guide a ship at sea, One word can frame the goal One vote can change a nation, One sunbeam lights a roomOne candle wipes out darkness, One laugh will conquer gloom. One step must start each journey.One word must start each prayer.One hope will raise our spirits, One touch can show you care. One voice can speak with wisdom, One heart can know what's true, One life can make a difference, You see, it's up to you!

Ashish Ram

Very early in this journey

We were reminded of the Power of One all over again!

our story t e a m time together everyone achieves more
Our Story…T.E.A.M. TimeTogether Everyone Achieves More
  • We started small – focused on ONE
    • Powerpoint presentation led by Peer (parent present)
    • Pamphlet was given to students to share at home
    • 27 out of 29 students signed up to be a LINK
    • PEER and LINK responsibilities created by ALL stakeholders
    • Names of Links for the first week were shared
  • Check-in
    • Daily or as needed
    • Weekly during TEAM Time
      • All students take notes to reflect on week (individually) in written form in writer’s notebooks
      • Complete debrief sheet (Celebrations, Problems, Solutions) together through Link/Peer discussion (Friends share their thinking when appropriate)
      • Send copy of debrief sheet home with Peer and Link to share with parents
      • Friends take notes during process in preparation for their Link time or in reflection
    • Responsibilities for PEER and LINK are on desks (visual reminder for Peer, Link, and Teacher)
  • Reset
    • New week = 2 new Links with one carry over from week prior
    • Revisit goals/reflections from debrief of week prior to start current week’s debrief
    • Review confidentiality and respect of personal situations

Through this process experiences may include…



what a Link is really about!

reflecting, learning, and THINKing about life through a new lens!


the gamut of emotions…

…like being a fish out of water!

remembering to breathe!

feeling like WE could do anything?

falling in love over and over, and over again!

BE the Power of…

Most of all…


eastern upper peninsula 2 nd longest drive to get to the link think tank

Eastern Upper Peninsula2nd Longest Drive to Get to the LINK THINK TANK

Ann Carey - Teacher

Carrie Carr – Teacher Consultant – Stretching the Pupil Accounting Rules as Far as they Can Stretch

eastern upper peninsula links
Eastern Upper Peninsula LINKS

Bringing Communities Together

the eupisd
  • 19 school districts
  • 4,000 square miles
  • 7260 school age students
  • 105 students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • 22 LINKS programs throughout the 19 districts
  • 425 LINKS, 65 target students
community sledding event
Community Sledding Event
  • Collaborative regional effort between EUP LINKS Programs and community peer program - Autism Peer Activity League
  • LINKS programs held bake sales to help finance renting out the sledding hill
  • Held at Sault Seal Recreation Center
  • Open to anyone in the community -all regional LINKS programs invited
  • Sledding, pizza, hot chocolate
links spring events
LINKS Spring Events

Links Bowling Party

You are invited to come and bowl with the Soo High Links Club

at the Don Dee Lanes in the Soo!

We will bowl on March 27th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Cost is $2.50 per bowler, per game, this includes your shoe rental.

Students must provide their own transportation.

RSVP required with attached form to Ms. Jessica by 3/24/14

My child ____________________ will be attending the Links Bowling party on 3/27/14.

My child wears size _____________ bowling shoes.

Parental signature Contact Number

Come for Links Movie Night!!!!

When: Monday, May 5th, 2014

Where: Salvation Army, 132 W. Spruce St., Sault Michigan

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Students should bring a non-perishable item to donate and

their own beverage for the movie.

RSVP to Miss Jessica by 5/5 if you plan to attend.

Questions call Mrs. Craven at 906-440-9773

celebrating success in the local districts
Celebrating success in the local districts
  • Linkapalooza
  • Parent night / ice cream social
  • Pizza parties
  • Chili night
  • Field trips
gwinn area community schools longest distance to get to link think tank

Gwinn Area Community SchoolsLongest Distance to Get to LINK THINK TANK

Meghan McLeod – Special Education Teacher

Made it into the Local Newspaper in the First Year of LINKS

coor isd up north


Brenda Vaughan - Teacher Consultant

4 of our 6 districts have active LINK groups

peer to peer supports

Peer to Peer Supports


Brenda Vaughan

individually tailored
Individually tailored---

Problem solving = Meeting mechanics and running the board

Social opportunities

Classroom support

Lunch Buddies

Recess Buddies


Expansions into the culture of the school– Trinity



Social outings

Sporting events

Buddy Benches

links are us
LINKs are Us!

Key points

  • Multiple Facilitators
  • Internal connection
  • Individualize group
freeland community schools

Freeland Community Schools

Saginaw County

Pretty Much in the Middle of Nowhere

Kim Miller – Teacher High and Elementary School

shepherd public schools just south of mt pleasant

Shepherd Public SchoolsJust South of Mt. Pleasant

Laurie Potie – Social Worker Extraordinaire

st johns public schools further south of mt pleasant

St. Johns Public SchoolsFurther South of Mt Pleasant

Missy Keller – LINK Teacher – Probably one the Busiest Persons at this Training

holt public schools ingham county

Holt Public SchoolsIngham County

Mary Garrigus – Teacher Consultant Extraordinaire

Probably the longest history with START

Been with us since $@%&...

Let’s Just Say Forever

haslett public schools ingham county

Haslett Public Schools Ingham County

Lisa Basore – Teacher Consultant


To This Person

grand haven public schools beautiful beach ottawa county

Grand Haven Public SchoolsBeautiful BeachOttawa County

Tricia Nutt – Grand Haven High School

Leadership Role - Peer to Peer Support Programs - West Side

jenison public schools really hard to find when you are directionally challenge d

Jenison Public SchoolsReally Hard to Find When You Are Directionally Challenged

Stacie VanLaan – Teacher of Students with ASD

Collecting Data Before Data Collection

Was Cool

martin public schools again in the middle of nowhere allegan aesa

Martin Public Schools(Again in the Middle of NowhereAllegan AESA

Erin Gauthier – Quilt Maker

Amy Silsbe – Teacher Consultant

Moved Center Program for Students with ASD from Segregated Facility into a General Education Building…Cross and Same Aged LINKS PROGRAM is EXPLODING

mentoring same age peers
Mentoring Same Age Peers

Teaching the same age peers how to help out their friend

Teaching them to play a new game at recess

Friendly reminders to stay quiet

Social cues – “we don’t kiss at school”

Showing them how to help in specific situations

hamilton community schools on fire in ottawa county

Hamilton Community SchoolsOn Fire in Ottawa County

Becky Myers – Special Education Supervisor

Parent Volunteer On-Line System to Support Students with ASD and LINK Students

game 2

Game #2

Teams Each Select One Person from Their Team to Participate in Game 2

Two Participants Go To The Center Tables

forest hills public schools kent county

Forest Hills Public SchoolsKent County

DeAnne Friar – Speech and Language

LINKS Students Beyond Students with ASD

caledonia community schools what is that building in the middle of your city kent county

Caledonia Community SchoolsWhat is that Building in the Middle of Your CityKent County

Scott Bont – Social Worker

Tenacity Beyond Belief

Fighting hard to get Peer to Peer throughout the K-12 System

caledonia peer to peer

Caledonia Peer to Peer

Where we started 5 ½ years ago to now

5 years ago
5 ½ years ago
  • We started in February with 2 targeted students and 30 supporting students
  • One student with Autism - 4th grade
  • One student – OHI & VI – 3rd grade
  • 30 supporting students (15 in each grade)
1 st full year
1st full year
  • In 1st full year we had 6 students, 5 (ASD) & 1 (OHI/VI) with 80 supporting students
  • Staff comfort level varied with size of groups
  • 4 staff ran the 6 groups (all in 1 elementary)
2013 2014
2013 - 2014
  • We have P2P in all 5 elementary schools w/ over 130 peers supporting 12 targeted students
  • In our 2 Middle Schools we have over 150 students supporting 19 targeted students
  • In HS started a LINKS class this year with 12 students signed up for the 1st trimester supporting 5 students w/autism & 2 from CI classroom
  • By 3rd trimester supporting 15 students with over 30 HS students having been involved
issues we have encountered
Issues we have encountered
  • With so many different groups, targeted students – who runs/oversees the groups
  • Implementing with fidelity – frequency of meetings and consistency (usually supporting most challenging students & are we giving enough support to supporting students)
  • Building capacity w/General Education staff and possibly going beyond just special education students being targeted/supported (? 504 students)
plans for 2014 15
Plans for 2014 – 15
  • At Elementary level – continue to move beyond Lunch/recess – 1 specific student already supported in class (refused lunch time) & have had some natural “spill over”
  • Middle School – starting a LINKS Encore class for 1 trimester (2 - 6 week classes – 48 min)
  • High School – have almost 70 students signed up for class already – looking to have go to elementary & possibly Early Childhood
lapeer west high school lapeer community schools kickin butt since 2011

Lapeer West High SchoolLapeer Community SchoolsKickin Butt Since 2011

Michelle Etson (Social Worker) and Matt Nowak (Biology Teacher – (Gotta Love the General Education Perspective)

Strangest Two-Some since the Disney’s

“The Fox and the Hound”

lapeer west links

Lapeer West LINKS

What makes our program unique?

field trips fundraising
Field trips/ Fundraising
  • We attend field trip is the community
    • Bear Lake Camp
    • Great Lakes Scavenger Hunt
    • Reading to elementary kids
    • Restaurants
    • Movie Night
google docs
Google Docs
  • We switched from blogging to Google Docs
  • It is easier for the LINKS to access
  • No computer problems
links summer camp
LINKS Summer Camp
  • Target students and mentor students
  • Worked on daily living skills-no room for diploma track kids
  • Every day the students were trained and then had to apply their knowledge
  • Banking, cooking, laundry, exercise, healthy eating, social media, job applications, job interviews, etc
completely changed our building atmosphere
Completely changed our building atmosphere
  • Our ASD students were previously “managed” by paraprofessionals
  • With LINKS, it allowed the students to be seen as students
  • More awareness among the general education staff
  • After LINKS, our ASD students were treated more like celebrities, than the target for bullying
  • A parent overheard a conversation about her son between two students. They said “he’s pretty cool”. Something she has never heard from his peers
murphy elementary school lapeer community schools kickin butt since 2011

Murphy Elementary SchoolLapeer Community SchoolsKickin Butt Since 2011

Michelle Etson (Social Worker) and Matt Nowak (Biology Teacher – (Gotta Love the General Education Perspective)

Strangest Two-Some since the Disney’s

“The Fox and the Hound”

lapeer elementary links

Lapeer Elementary LINKS

Murphy, Schickler, Mayfield, Lynch Turrill and Early Childhood (Lil’ LINKS)

what makes us awesome
What makes us Awesome
  • The amount of student mentors we have. One school has 75% student mentor participation! That’s awesome!
our kids make our program special
Our kids make our program Special
  • A student’s perspective:
  • “Our LINKS program is special because we get to help kids with Autism and other kids. I like that we get to do that.”
    • She is writing a research paper on how LINKS impacts a student and their family
    • She has interviewed staff, students and parents
    • She plans to read her paper at graduation
    • She is graduating from 5th grade!
links lego club
Links Lego club
  • Parent initiated LINKS Lego Club at Murphy Elementary
  • Monetary support from the Lapeer Kiwanis
  • Groups of 3 students communicating and problem solving-roles switch each week
  • 1 lunch session a week, 4 week sessions
  • We only started with 2 grades, we had over 50 kids sign up
  • Everything is awesome!
links camp
LINKS camp
  • Some elementary schools offered a LINKS summer camp
    • Students focused on socialization and transition skills-we also threw in some reading, writing and crafts
    • Sessions ran twice a week for two weeks after school let out and two weeks before school began
    • Before school started, students toured their classroom again and their new teacher joined the camp for a period of time
    • There was a reduction in “beginning of the school year behavior” because they were already in the routine
bay arenac isd north of the zilwaukee bridge

Bay Arenac ISDNorth of the Zilwaukee Bridge

Mark Lyons

Peer to Peer Support

In a Center Based Setting

peer mediated programming

Peer Mediated Programming

Presented by Mark Lyons

about me
About Me

lMark Lyons-AI/EI teacher for BAISD

*Worked 7 years for the MCESA

*Worked 3 years at the Arnold Center

*Given this speech a number of times to intro level CMU/SVSU students, elementary, middle & high schools, administration, parent groups, summercamps

what about you
What about you?

Who am I talking to?

agenda for the afternoon
Agenda for the afternoon

What Peer to Peer is

How to begin

What you need

Why it’s important to you & our future

what is p2p programming
What is P2P programming

The program involves general education and special education students interacting collaboratively in academic and social activities across educational environments within the school setting during school hours.

mentors are
Mentors are...


Just kids

A clue to adults as to what goes on at that age

There to provide reminders or support as they would to any other any other student

There to learn how to appropriately help

There to learn about diversity

mentors are not
Mentors are not...

To replace aids

Paid staff

There to tell students what to do

for real how to start
For real, how to start

1. Start small

2. Educate the peers. Safety & the truth. (Volunteers Needed)

3. Have a goal, could be as simple as a high five

4. Let go

tried tested
Tried & Tested
  • Academic work- basic projects, worksheets, etc.
  • Gym activities-volleyball, bicycling, etc.
  • Having fun - school dances
  • Cooking activities- functional skills worked on
  • Float building- I would advise warmer climates
  • Job sites practice- job skills
  • Card games

Socialization: the ability to interact socially with others

Independence: the ability to do something on your own


lWrite down 10 things you did this morning

Now, label them as:

S = Socialization task

I = Independence task

A = Academic task


What does that tell us?


Developing social skills requires having social experiences


Hoop Dreams

what you can t see
What you can't see

We do not question giving a toddler a book to work on reading skills even though he is far from developing that skill, so why do we question giving a child with ASD social experiences even though he/she might need years of experience to develop the skill?

educating the future
Educating the Future

People often make fun or are scared of what they do not understand.

Telling the general education students about the students with special needs allows for successful interactions.

Knowledge is POWER!


These individuals that we educate today will be future…

  • teachers
  • administrators
  • police officers
  • business owners
  • lawyers
  • nurses
  • doctors
  • governor
  • You get the picture

Next activity

thank you
Thank You

Mark Lyons

grand blanc schools genesee county you know flint

Grand Blanc SchoolsGenesee County – You Know Flint

Lindsey Harr-Smith – Social Worker

I Am Going to Make This Work Even if I Have to Talk to ISD Pupil Accounting Person


in our first year
In Our First Year…
  • 2013-2014: 35 LINKS (26 seniors)
  • 2014-2015: 37 LINKS
  • 3 Support Staff: Teacher of Record, LINK Instructor, Social Worker
  • LINK Days
in our first year continued
In Our First Year (continued)…
  • After one semester: General education teachers and students with ASD requested to have a LINK
  • Friendships beyond the classroom
  • Parent Feedback
  • Children’s Hero Award
  • Scholarship
  • 2 Mlive Articles
  • Board of Education
  • Sharing and getting the word out!




awareness acceptance
Awareness &Acceptance









avondale school district

Avondale School District

Bob Hart – Tank Top Bob


avondale links

Started two years ago.

  • Nine students supported at Avondale Middle School.
  • LINKS support students in the bus, GE class, SE class, Lunch, and Cross-Country.
Avondale LINKS
avondale links1

LINKS are kept for the entire year.

  • Trainings are held every other week during lunch.
  • Autism Knowledge and strategies are highly utilized
  • Very low turnover rate.
Avondale LINKS

Four Events a Year:

  • Field Trip to Zoo
  • Bowling Outing
  • Field Trip to DIA
  • Dairy Treat Trip
clawson public schools little district in oakland county

Clawson Public SchoolsLittle District in Oakland County

LisonnDelcamp– Teacher Consultant - Tenacity

Amy Hatto – Occupational Therapist – Make It Happen

Amazing Skills with Differentiated Output and Made Peer to Peer Support a Reality in Clawson Public Schools

clawson public schools

Clawson Public Schools

LisonnDelcamp, ASD Teacher Consultant &

Amy Hatto, OTR/L

kenwood elementary
Kenwood Elementary


Meets once a month

Focus on monthly themes and seasonal activities

Co-lead with ASD teacher and Social Worker

Supported by para-educators

schalm elementary
Schalm Elementary

LINK in the Classroom

Meets weekly

Focus on socialization and fun activities

Supported by ASD classroom teacher

clawson middle school
Clawson Middle School
  • LINK class for each grade level
  • Lead by ASD teachers
  • Typically 12-18 students in class including 4 students with ASD
  • Highlights:
    • Video Announcements:
    • VSA/DIA Art Project
clawson high school
Clawson High School

Board Approved Curriculum

P2P Website

community connections
Community Connections

Board Meeting

Community Conversation Committee C3 2015


Fraser Public SchoolsLittle Tiny District in Macomb County

Jean DeBruyn – Probably START’S Biggest Believer – Heard Peer to Peer and went CRAZY – Got MSU Involved

livonia public schools in the hub of wayne county

Livonia Public Schools In the Hub of Wayne County

Mari MacFarland – Accreditation Approved in Wayne County – First District in Wayne County to Make this Happen – Kids Take the Class for Credit

Love that the District is Soooooo Big

berrien resa only 2 hours from chicago are you kidding me

Berrien RESA – Only 2 Hours From Chicago – Are You Kidding Me

Dave Leonard – Upton School Teacher

Tracy Wagner – School Counselor

Data Collection Extraordinaire

Has Been Collecting Data Since the Inception of the Peer to Peer Support Program

david leonard jr

David Leonard Jr.

Upton Middle School P2P Teacher

Saint Joseph Public Schools

about me1
About Me
  • 20th year of teaching Middle School
  • M.Ed. Middle Level Education, At-Risk Specialist (GVSU)
  • For the last 10 years I have mentored 20-27 students per year in an At-Risk program known as “Academic Achievement” created from my Masters thesis at GVSU .
  • We have partnered with the Berrien County RESA ASD program for the last 9 years in a very successful P2P program.
program highlights
Program Highlights
  • At-Risk students in my classes demonstrated a consistent 25-30% reduction in severe disciplinary incidents during the school year while participating in P2P between 2005-2014.
  • Academic performance improved for the majority of the At-Risk participants in P2P between 2005-2014.
  • Attendance rates improved for the majority of the At-Risk participants in P2P between 2005-2014.
  • Empathy improved for the majority of the At-Risk participants as measured by the VIA Signature Strength for Children scale from The University of Pennsylvania.
ida public schools why don t we call ourselves ohio

Ida Public SchoolsWhy Don’t We Call Ourselves Ohio

Laurel Wetheford –

Sought Out At Risk Students to Make Peer to Peer Happen at Center Program

reminder please fill out 3x5 cards before you take a break
Reminder Please fill out 3X5 Cards Before You Take a Break
  • On the 3X5 Cards, please list the three biggest barriers to the development and implementation of peer to peer support programs
  • Why are other districts not implementing Peer to Peer Support Programs
  • Top 3 Reasons Why
  • Please Leave Cards on Table
break not really a break

BreakNot Really a Break

Please Set Up Your Peer to Peer

Support Booth

Please See Melissa Kurek for Payment

Margie is here to help

caf tables
Café Tables
  • N Name Tags – what the dots mean?
  • Cc Center of the tables – what the colors mean?
  • Specific Questions - timed

Timed opportunities to brainstorm (?time)

Assigned Facilitator - roles

role of the table host
Role of the Table Host
  • Facilitate the conversation at your assigned table
    • Infuse energy!
    • Keep the conversation action-oriented!
    • Diffuse obstacles!
  • Assist participants in switching tables
  • Record and share ideas generated at your table
caf tables1
Café Tables
  • Etiquette cards on each table…
game 3

Game #3

Teams Each Select Two Persons from Their Team to Participate in Game 3

Two Participants Go To The Center Tables

elementary and secondary break out sessions
Elementary and Secondary Break Out Sessions
  • Elementary Group – Room D, E
  • Secondary Group – Room C, F