PEER LEADERSHIP (PAL) SYLLABUS & DISTANCE LEARNING INFORMATION
The PAL Peer Assistance Leadership Program is a school-based, peer-to-peer youth development program for students in grades 4-12 built upon a philosophy of students helping students. The mission of the PAL program is to develop youth leaders who connect with their peers to create a caring, safe, and supportive school environment for all.
PAL peer leaders help build a positive school climate through youth leadership, mentoring, conflict resolution, cross-age teaching, peer helping, service learning, and prevention activities. The PAL program supports the development of 21st Century Skills in the areas of leadership, communication, team building, and problem solving. The program is implemented as a class, where students receive training in the PAL curriculum and plan campus outreach activities, and incorporated within the overall CHHS leadership program.
The PAL program implements many of the researched-based activities that enhance youth engagement and connectedness to school and community, two of the most important protective factors for all types of high risk behaviors. The standards of practice for Peer Assistance Leadership Programs can be accessed HERE.
COURSE AND CURRICULAR OVERVIEW:
The foundation of course content comes from the Peer Assistance Leadership curricular program, as well as the Digital Citizenship program from #ICANHELP, and includes training in the following:
- Program Orientation
- The Role of the Peer Helper
- Code of Ethics for Peer Helpers
- The Helping Spectrum/Leadership Through Strong Communication Skills
- Group Dynamics / Social and Collaborative Skills
- Establishing Norms
- Building Trust
- Productive Group Characteristics
- Developing Collaborative Systems
- Self-Awareness and Reflection
- Personal Growth and Discovery
- Developing Empathy
- Self-Assessment and Evaluation
- Understanding Behavior
- Influences on Our Behavior
- Causes of Misbehavior
- Defense Mechanisms
- Stages of Development
- Behavior in the “Real World”
- Communication, Listening, and Facilitation Skills
- Setting Tone
- Non-Verbal Communication
- Active Listening/Rogerian Listening
- Facilitative vs. Non-facilitative Responses
- Foundations of a Helping Relationship
- Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Strategies for Decision Making
- Factors Influencing Decisions
- Conflict Resolution/The Conflict Cycle
- Assessing Situations and Determining Risk
- Knowing When to Refer
- Special Topics
- Digital First Responder Training (Social Media)
- Substance Abuse Prevention
- Special Needs Populations
- Community Service-Learning/Project-Based Learning
- Referral Resources
LEADERSHIP EVENTS/GAMES/ACTIVITIES & EXPECTATIONS:
Leadership classes involve greater participation in school activities and events than general education classes. As school leaders, it is our responsibility to create, promote, attend, and make successful any event or activity provided for our student body. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines for attending on-campus events have been put on hold, but virtual events/activities will continue. Participation in events is mandatory. If and when we are able to resume in person, additional expectations will be made available. As we are in uncharted territory, we will need to be flexible and creative as we go.
When we are able to resume in-person activities, all leadership students are expected to behave in a manner that reflects positively upon CHHS. This means Peer Leaders will abide by the behavioral contract signed in Unit 1 of the school year. In addition, we expect that student leaders:
- will not be disruptive or disrespectful towards any students or any staff at any time
- will not receive a referral or be suspended
- will be a positive influence in the hallways and at events; clothing, words, and actions will be appropriate
- will accept all students, even if they are different from you
- will not post any inappropriate pictures or comments on any social networking sites
- will not be involved with “drama” including bullying, disrespecting, judging, or condemning others online
- will not commit a crime
- will not use illegal substances including alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
You are a part of a self-motivated group. During class, don’t sit around and wait for me or someone else to tell you what to do. GET INVOLVED. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice what needs to be done and jump in and help. Ask if you need help, can’t find something, or don’t understand something.
Remember, we are a TEAM and a FAMILY. We are here to work together for the benefit of the entire student body. The success of our activities program and the attitude of the students depend greatly on your actions.
DISTANCE LEARNING DETAILS: STUDENT WORK SUBMISSION AND GRADING
- Distance learning will occur any time schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Live instruction will occur in Google Meet each day we are scheduled for class. The Meet link is located in the Google Classroom at the top of the page.
- Students will receive announcements, resources, and assignments AND will submit work through Google Classroom.
- If you are having trouble accessing our Google Classroom, please ensure you are logged into your CVUSD account. This is the same Google Classroom we will use all year, whether we are in blended learning or distance learning models.
- Assignments and assessments will be located in the Classwork section of the Google Classroom. Assignments and assessments will be returned through Google Classroom. Please check your CVUSD email regularly.
- If you have extenuating circumstances preventing you from completing coursework, please contact me via email or Class Band ASAP.
- Official grades will be posted in Aeries. I post updates as regularly as I can, but please give your teachers some grace time to grade and update as we manage distance learning.
As we navigate distance learning, plans and procedures may change. Any changes will be communicated in the Stream section of the Google Classroom and/or announced via Band. We will work together and be flexible during this time. Please use email for non-urgent matters, Band for more time-sensitive concerns, and office hours if you need additional support.
DISTANCE LEARNING ONLINE EXPECTATIONS:
- Show up on time and prepared for class (this means both physically and mentally present)
- Check yourself into attendance at the start of class. On non-class days, you have until the following day to check yourself in.
- Try to find a quiet, private space for class time when possible
- Wear school-appropriate attire (sorry, no pj’s!)
- Keep your camera on at all times. Small breaks are acceptable, particularly if you are engaged in “asynchronous” work
- Stay muted unless called on or in a small group
- Use the raise hand button if you have a question that needs to be answered right away
- Use the chat box to ask questions we can get to sometime within the class period
- Restroom breaks are fine w/o teacher permission; please be appropriate in limiting their length
- Eating during class: light snacks are fine, full meals are not. We want you ready to speak/participate and focused on class.
- Abide by all group/classroom norms during breakout work (tbd)
- Always allow ample time to submit your work online. Tech issues happen, but we can prepare for them. When in doubt, communicate.
DISTANCE LEARNING OFFICE HOURS:
Tuesday & Thursday: 1:35 to 2:20 pm
Wednesday & Friday: 7:30 to 8:15 am
I will be at my computer on a Zoom conference during these hours. The links to the Zoom meetings - one for T/Th and one for M/W - are located in your Google Classroom, in the Classwork section. You may still email me outside of office hours, but my response may take longer (within 24 hrs on weekdays).
LATE WORK POLICIES:
Because Leadership programs require extensive collaboration with faculty and peers, please attempt to minimize late submissions as much as possible. If students are sick or otherwise unable to attend to work required in your small groups or task teams, every attempt must be made to contact team members and/or the teacher so that groups can manage the situation. Though students will be provided one day for each day of excused absence to make up work, in the world of Leadership, sometimes events and collaborative projects cannot be made up; in these cases, as long as students are communicative, we can work around extenuating circumstances without penalty to the grade, within reason. Any student experiencing difficulty meeting deadlines or course requirements must reach out via email/office hours ASAP. Our goal is to work together towards your success, always.
Grades are not a judgment, and they are not compensation. They are communication about mastery of leadership skills, rooted in the standards of practice for Peer Leaders. They are an accurate report of what happened during a given assignment or activity. Your grades do not define you, positively or negatively; they give you feedback about where you are on a path of personal growth. We are all traveling that path; we move at different paces and our paths may take varying directions.
YOU are the best person to assess your own progress; when students understand what success looks like and can measure their own work against levels of success, they can take ownership of their progress and make plans for growth. I am here to help you become a skilled evaluator of your work.
- You will sometimes submit work that does not receive a grade; you may receive only comments from me, or directions for you to examine a grading rubric in a reflection.
- You will spend time evaluating your peers’ and your own work. You will sometimes receive peers’ evaluations of you, and sometimes will not - while some evaluations will be confidential, others will be used to better evaluate your own performance.
- You will sometimes submit work to me that you have already “graded” on your own; your self-awarded grade will need to be justified by our grading rubrics and may or may not be recorded in the gradebook – I will evaluate your work and return it to you with feedback about how accurate you were in self-evaluating.
Grades Based on Mastery
Your grades should be a clear communication of how well you have provided evidence of mastery of standards. Discipline happens separately from grading.
- Your “work habits” (WH) and “citizenship” (C) scores matter in my class, and you will receive scores on assignments in these categories of the gradebook. You may often self-score and/or formally reflect in these areas.
- WH and C scores do not affect your grade, but are reported on progress reports/report cards.
- Examples of work habits: punctuality (on-time to class and in submitting work to me and within teams), bringing materials necessary for class, staying focused on in-class work and activities, keeping organized, etc.
- Examples of citizenship: treating classmates, yourself, and me with respect at all times, contributing to group discussions and projects in positive ways, assisting other students who need help, leaving your desk area clean, etc.