Normally, the HS Link program gets activated in the first week of August as the 50 LINK Leaders get trained on how to create meaningful mentoring relationships with the incoming 9th graders. However, this year, the program moved up the timeline to mid May. High School Counselors hosted a giant Google Meet with all of the current 8th graders and the LINK Leaders who volunteered for the program. Ms. Lyons has been heading up the LINK Program since she arrived in 2018, along with Mr. Jamal and Ms. Marchosky. LINK is a global program to help reduce the anxiety and stress of moving to high school and increase the success of new high schoolers. It was started by Phil Boyte, the same founder of Breaking Down the Walls, and uses many similar team building and relationship making activities.
The week following the All 8th grade meeting, the LINK Leaders were assigned to an 8th Grade Advisory where they played some Kahoot Trivia (HS style) and answered questions from the 8th graders. They plan to do one more session this year and then see how to do "the Human Pretzel" social distancing style in August. It will definitely take some creativity to have the same fun experience, but by starting to build relationships earlier, it may improve the strength of the bond.