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Peer Supports

Inclusive Schools Network recognizes the importance of promoting peer relationships. One important aspect of peer relationships involves peer tutors or peer assistants in the classroom.  ISN offers a variety of resources for establishing a formal peer tutoring program in your school.  As we visit schools around the US, we find very few with formal peer tutoring programs that have procedures for selecting peer tutors, providing training needed to fill the role of peer tutor, or for evaluating the success of the program. We have several free tools to help you and your school cross these hurdles. 

Another aspect of peer to peer relationships is the instructional avenues for promoting more peer interactions, such as cooperative learning, pair learning, and other collaborative learning opportunities that are easily imbedded into a good lesson design. You will find several tools that provide for more frequent peer interactions around instructional tasks.

We live in an interdependent world. To be successful in relating to people, we should be comfortable both giving and receiving help. Every teacher should consciously plan for these reciprocal interactions on a daily basis. Think of the many ways in which this can be accomplished. Just a few ideas include:

  • Working with other students to locate reference materials in the library for class study;
  • Distributing assignments or graded work to the class, just as typical peers fill this role;
  • Assisting fellow students in checking their work with a teacher-provided answer key;
  • Calling out spelling words to individual students in preparation for a test;
  • And many more ways linked to classroom tasks and learning assignments.

Help us add to this list of ways all students can find meaningful roles of helping and being helped in an inclusive classroom. Please send your ideas and suggestions to

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A Guide for Building Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

The Inclusive Schools Network is committed to our mission to encourage and empower parents, schools, and the community to design and implement effective inclusive schools. Inclusion is an action, and we support a proactive culture that models kindness and acceptance. The importance of working together to create safe, supportive learning environments cannot be overemphasized! We… Read more

ISN Partner: Shane’s Inspiration

An international non-profit organization, Shane’s Inspiration’s vision is to foster a bias-free world for children with disabilities.  Their mission is to create inclusive playgrounds and educational programs that unite children of all abilities. Take a tour of one of their INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUNDS. Together, We Are Able is their powerful school social inclusion program. Proven already… Read more

ISN Partner: The Nora Project

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Tools for Peer Tutoring Programs

Peer Tutoring Weekly Log Cross-age peer tutors should complete a form like this one to document their support sessions and provide the teacher with information about student participation in this instructional process.  Incorporating Peer Supports Into Inclusive Instruction Use this guide to assist teachers in considering appropriate collaborative activities to supplement and enhance classroom instruction. … Read more

Planning and Implementing Peer Support Systems

Use this six step process to plan and implement successful peer support systems in your school. Step 1: Planning Team Who will serve on the planning team? What are the goals of the program? Step 2: Program Procedures Who will coordinate the program? What is the name of the program? Step 3: Recruit and Select… Read more

Leadership Connection: Building Natural Supports

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Teacher Talk: Building Natural Peer Supports

Author: Nicole Gallagher, M.Ed., Conroe Independent School District The song that comes to mind when I think of peer tutoring is “With a Little Help from my Friends” by the Beatles. We all need help from our friends from time to time. The use of peer support in my inclusive classroom is truly more beneficial… Read more

Parent Perspective: You’ve Got a Friend

Author: Cathy Giardina, Stetson & Associates, Inc. What is the most underutilized resource in schools today? PEERS! Peer assistance in schools has been a valid teaching strategy for as long as schools have existed.  Peer programs allow students to help other students with academic and social support throughout the school day.  It takes different forms… Read more