Inclusive Schools Week: Links, Pilot students discuss experiences

The Newtonite

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Junior Scott Giles recounts his experience in the Links and Springboard programs as seniors Jessica Broussard and Elana Yoffie listen.

by Samantha Libraty
Links and Pilot students explained their struggles and successes yesterday D-block.

Special education teachers Dave Turcotte and Amie Harris introduced the speakers, who were seniors Jessica Broussard, Sasha Pinney and Elana Yoffie, junior Scott Giles and sophomore Jacqueline McQuade.

Giles began, “During freshman year, I wouldn’t go to classes if I wasn’t interested or I didn’t like the teacher. Because I skipped classes, it led me to miss things and fall behind on all the work.

“It was a battle with school, and I wasn’t able to handle this without going to Springboard and Links,” he said.

Springboard is an alternative education program held at the Education Center for students who need a smaller environment to take classes.

Giles said, “I needed to learn how to balance my time between having fun and doing my work.”

Students are often placed in a program such as Springboard because it is a better fit than mainstream classes and there are fewer outside factors affecting students’ performance in classes, according to Pinney.

Through the Pilot program, students get one-on-one attention and the support they need from counselors and teachers, Broussard said. She was placed in the program after her freshman year was not successful.

“I didn’t think I was going to graduate freshman year because my report card consisted of F’s and N’s. However, when I went to the High School Stabilization Program, it was a huge wake up call. Then I went to Pilot where I am doing very well, and now I am graduating along with my class of 2012,” she said.

“Without the support of my teachers and friends from Pilot, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. And I hope to study forensic psychology when I go to college,” Broussard added.

The Links and Pilot programs were created to aid students who are struggling and who need more one-on-one learning and teaching to be successful, Turcotte said.

Through the Links and Pilot students’ sharing of experiences, other students are able to understand different students’ needs in order to be successful at this school.

The speakers also talked about how they feel that they are often labeled by other students because of their involvement in these programs.

Their take-home message was that other students should not judge or believe any of the stereotypes that go along with being in Links or Pilot.

“We are just like everyone else; we just need a little extra help. And, we don’t bite,” Broussard said.