Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, RVHS will be offering a new class called “Power of Peers.” In this service class, students will accompany a special-needs student to a regular core or elective class every day. This includes helping their peer take notes, tutoring them on subjects they need explained, or teaching them social skills. It is beneficial to both students, as the tutor will receive service hours through the program. RVHS is only the second school in Hillsborough County to start this program-the first being Chamberlain High School.
To begin the yea,r Kelli Russo, ESE Specialist, is looking for 20-25 students to start the program. The selected students will make a name, logo and more for the club, with meetings starting soon. “It’s a student-run organization for students,” Russo says. To be accepted into the class, students will go through an application process, including recommendations from teachers, and an administrator’s sign-off. The student needs to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, have no referrals, good attendance and want to provide service. An informational meeting will be held on Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. on the cafeteria patio.
Once students are accepted in the new school year, training will take place during the first two weeks of school with Russo. Students will be paired with their buddy based on common interests/hobbies. Students will report back to Russo once a month. Any period will be available for students to take the class, so it is easy to fit around anyone’s schedule, according to Russo. The purpose of this program is to integrate all students into all types of classes. She and the school believe it’s important that “all kids have equal opportunities in the classroom.”