2008 MASB Education Excellence Award Winner
2008 Michigan's Best Award Winner
KNOTS stands for Kids Need Opportunities To Socialize. This is a peer mentor program where students with disabilties are paired with same-aged general edcuation peers after they receive training. This is done through reverse mainstreaming and inclusion. The students interact in the general education classrooms, special education classrooms, lunch/recess, specials, and after school events. Arrowwood, Sherwood, and White Pine facilitate KNOTS as a whole school program due to the number of students with special needs, while Westdale, Hemmeter, and Heritage do it on a smaller scale to support a few specific students who have special needs.
Each year the schools involved in KNOTS hold a walk-a-thon and ASD calendar sale to raise money. This money allows the mentors to go on Community Based Instruction trips with the students who have special needs. They have gone to the mall, library, Delta pool, bowling, and Fowler Center. Money raised also pays for bracelets for K-2 students and t-shirts for 3rd grade and up for mentors. Finally, the money raised pays for trainings and pizza parties during and after school.
Each year in the fall general education students hear a presentation about their peer's special needs and how they can help. The students bring home a sheet seeking parent permission to become a mentor if they are interested. If parents of students in general education or a student with an IEP are interested in more information about KNOTS or if any other districts are interested in starting a peer mentor program please contact Amy Idzior at 989-797-1835 ext 2219 or firstname.lastname@example.org as she is a trainer for START in the peer module and the KNOTS coordinator for the district.
NOTE: See the "Documents" button on the left for step-by-step meeting plans to start a peer mentor program, a KNOTS brochure, and to view the KNOTS video.
Students with special needs and their mentors go on trips into the community. Some trips are to learn self-help and independence skills and other trips are just to create social opportunities to get to know each other as friends outside of school.
In November we had out annual walk-a-thon to raise money for KNOTS. Students from Arrowwood Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, and White Pine Middle School in STCS participated. We raised $1,500, received a matching grant of $1,000 from the STCS Foundation, and received a generous donation from Andersen Eye for $500 for a total of $3,000! This money is used for bracelets for all students K-2 and t-shirts for mentors/mentees as well as trainings and social events in the community or after school. Thank you to everyone who supported our walk!
Jason J-MAC McElwain has a pizza party with the KNOTS mentors at White Pine Middle School on 4/10/08!