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A Peek Inside the LINK Classroom at BHHS

A Peek Inside the LINK Classroom at BHHS

Students in the BHHS LINK class enter their G wing classroom to check in with their teacher, Jessi Haines, before heading off to meet their LINK peer. In this unique elective, BHHS students are trained to work with and accompany a matched peer to one of their classes, typically an elective such as art, drama, or PE. This peer-to-peer program models positive academic and social behavior, with students providing other students support in order to promote independence and socialization. During this Hour 6 class period, LINK students accompany their peers to a Unified PE class, Photography, and Lifetime Individual Sports. 

Students accompanying their peers to the Lifetime Individual Sports class rush off, since the class is going on a bowling field trip, and they need to catch the bus together. Those who are matched with a student in Photography head to lunch first, to say hi and meet up with their peer, and then accompany them to the art wing. And students with peers in the Unified PE class head to the tennis courts to enjoy the beautiful weather and do outdoor activities.

In the Unified PE class, which is an inclusive physical education class for students of all abilities, one LINK student can be heard asking a peer, “Did you take Segment 2 yet?” referring to the process of getting a driver's license. Students in the class play with hula hoops and interact with one another through play and communication, putting into practice the primary goal of the class: creating an equal playing field of peers communicating well and modeling appropriate behavior. LINK student Allie Redden (grade 11), who has taken the class three semesters and plans to take it again during senior year, shares, “I just really enjoy making connections with people that I would not normally be exposed to in school, and I’m learning about how people are so much more similar than we think they are. The students here are some of the best people I’ve met in school. They’re so nice and sweet! I’ve gotten more interested in working in the field of Special Education.” Ruby Smith (grade 12) reflects, “I signed up because I heard a lot of good things about the class, that everyone had a great experience and made great connections, and had some of their best memories of high school in this class. Every single one of these people is amazing, and I’ve formed some of the best friendships I think I’ve ever had in high school. I look forward to coming to school to have this class.” 

In Peg Pasternak’s Photography class, another group of LINK students works with their peers, first helping with some computer work, and then moving seats towards the front of the classroom to see the screen better. A photo montage plays of the students’ photographed foods representing their families’ cultural cuisines, and students share reflections and critiques of the photos. One of the peers, Arman Agha-Juni (grade 9) chimes in during the critique period, “I like the lighting. And this one is my favorite because it’s of steak and I like the way it’s photographed.” After the comment, two LINK students give Arman a fist bump. Paige Gardner (grade 11) explains of LINK, “It’s an amazing program, and it’s great to grow our community and the friendships in our school!”