As we approach the end of the school year at Key Middle School, we are excited to share the progress we have made in creating a buddy/leadership program that will promote inclusivity and support for students with disabilities in our self-contained adapted PE program. In this blog post, we will reflect on the initial stages of our journey, highlighting our collaborative efforts, engaging with team members such as the school counselor, special education leads, administrators, and our adapted PE supervisor. With the fourth quarter underway, we have already started planning for the upcoming school year, where we eagerly anticipate implementing our program.
Part 1: Planning and Collaboration
Creating a successful buddy program requires careful planning and collaboration among various team members, including school counselors, administrators, and our dedicated adapted PE supervisor. Together, we embarked on an exciting journey to establish a program that would foster friendships, develop leadership skills, and promote an inclusive environment within our school community.
The first step in our journey was to develop a comprehensive outline for the buddy program. We brainstormed and collaborated, envisioning the goals and objectives we wanted to achieve. We considered the unique needs of our students with disabilities, the support they required, and the positive impact a buddy program could have on their overall well-being. Our sample outline (below) included defining program goals and objectives, identifying the target population and their specific needs, and establishing a program timeline and duration.
Collaborating with Team Members:
Next, we eagerly shared our outline with our team members. We worked closely with our school counselor, who provided valuable insights into fostering social-emotional growth and creating a positive peer support system. Our administrators showed tremendous support and enthusiasm for the program, recognizing its potential to create a more inclusive and empathetic school environment. Our adapted PE supervisor, with his expertise in supporting students with disabilities, provided invaluable guidance in adapting physical activities and strategies for effective peer interactions during the program.
Recruitment and Training Phase:
We are pleased to announce that we have already begun planning the recruitment phase for the buddy program. Through various channels, including classroom announcements, flyers, and informational sessions, we will be reaching out to our student body to encourage applications from those who embody empathy, leadership potential, and a genuine desire to make a difference. The recruitment process will allow us to carefully select peer buddies who will be the driving force behind the success of our program.
Additionally, we have already started brainstorming and designing the training phase for our peer buddies. We want to ensure they receive the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to effectively support their peers with disabilities. The training curriculum will cover disability awareness, communication skills, confidentiality, behavior management, and adapted PE techniques. We cannot wait to witness the growth and development of our peer buddies as they undergo this transformative training experience.
Our journey in creating a buddy program at Key Middle School is off to an exhilarating start. The enthusiasm and excitement that permeate our team are contagious, as we lay the foundation for a program that will foster inclusivity, empower student leaders, and create lasting friendships. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts, where we will delve into the recruitment and training phases, and share stories of the impact our buddy program has on our school community. Together, we are making a difference, one friendship at a time!
If you have created a buddy program and have any great tips or advice, or have any questions, please comment below.
by Matt Barker