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Student Support Programs


In an effort to help our ninth-graders make a successful transition from middle school to high school, UHS provides a network of support systems. An integral part of this network is the Peer Advising Program. Peer advisors are juniors and seniors who work with the ninth-graders and sophomores, providing them with informal counseling, information about teen health issues, and support around the myriad of issues which face adolescents in their early high school years. Each peer advisor is assigned to an advising cluster and works closely with that group of students and the faculty mentor throughout their two-year commitment. Peer advisors serve as role models and teachers for the ninth-graders and sophomores, understanding that they are not expected to take on the role of the adult mentor. In addition, peer advisors help teach the ninth-grade Teen Skills course and they are primarily responsible for teaching the sophomore Teen Health class. They spend much of their two-year commitment to this program developing their teaching skills. Peer advisors are selected in the spring of their sophomore year. The application process involves a written application, teacher recommendation, and interview.


Ninth-Grade Teen Skills Class:
The mission of this class is to provide a supportive place for ninth graders to develop life skills to help with their transition to high school. This class is team taught and organized by the peer advisors and the health educator. Each week students engage in participatory classes where they explore issues relevant to their first semester of high school. These topics include time management, organization, stress, peer pressure, friendship changes, communication with parents and teachers, and learning to use and understand the resources available to support students.

Sophomore Teen Health Class:
During the Spring of the sophomore year students take a teen health class. This class is focused on engaging students in a lively discussion about the health issues that they experience. It is organized and taught by the peer advisors with the support and supervision of the health educator. The topics covered include drugs, alcohol, contraception, STIs, stress, sleep, nutrition, body image, media literacy, youth rights, gender, GLTB issues, and relationships. The purpose of the course is to present facts and information, as well as to provide a setting in which to discuss views and opinions, consider how to handle relevant situations and ask questions about a variety of health related subjects. Students are encouraged to formulate their own views and consider different perspectives in deciding what healthy choices they want to make for themselves.