A unique summer school program is fostering new friendships between honors and special ed students. Twelve honor students are volunteering to help the students in the special education program and the students are working together. The program is callled “Suimmer, Science, STEM – Oh My!”
Lemont High School student Johnny Grenias took a morning snack break from his class and spent some time at a lunch table with some of his new friends.
“I’ve been talking to Sarah, Taylor, Skylar and Collette,” he said.
The students work together on hands-on activities for four hours each Tuesday.
This is the first summer for this collaborative program, which is being funded by a grant from the Lemont High School Educational Foundation. The grant helps pay for class materials and field trips.
Special education teacher Michael Beranek, who applied for the grant, said the purpose of the program is to expose the honor students to different kinds of disabilities and the special education students to good student role models.
“We want to expose [special education students] to curriculum at their level as well as curriculum that just gives them exposure to higher level concepts,” he said.
Beranek said the honor students are able to give immediate feedback to the special education students who have questions.
Having students their own age also gives the special education students someone to relate to, instead of an authority figure, he said.
Skylar Lefevers, one of the honor students, said she is volunteering because it is a way to help the special education students while working in a subject she is likes.
“It’s been a lot more fun and a hands-on thing,” she said. “I thought it was going to be more like a class.”
She said the experience has given her a better understanding of the special education students.