LINKS: Connecting in the classroom- by Taylor Buiter (12) and Alexa DeKam (12)

Mr. Dan Jakubowski, Mrs. Laurie Dankowski and Mr. Matt Workman at Grandville High School have introduced a new and improved LINKS program! LINKS is a class in which students at Grandville have the opportunity to work with their classmates with Autism in traditional classrooms throughout the day. Each LINKS student is paired up with a student with Autism by personality. The students with Autism attend classes based on their own hobbies and interests along with a student that does not have Autism. At the beginning of each class period, the paired up students go to their shared classroom. Once in the classroom the students with Autism work on their social skills and behaviors, all while the LINKS students learn about Autism, responsibility and many other skills.
Mr. Jakubowski and Mrs. Dankowski are very impressed with how well this program has been going so far. Mr. Jakubowski goes on to say, “I’m really impressed with some of our students who I thought might have a difficult time sitting in gen ed classes for more than 15 min, but they’re proving me wrong, which I’m glad and it’s great.” The class this year has added many new changes compared to the class in previous years. The new and improved LINKS class has added a specialized curriculum and the students are assigned weekly assignments on Google Classroom.
Alycia Deboer, a LINK student, comments, “I enjoy taking Trevor to our Home Repair class and learning how to build a house together. This class is a fun class and the workload isn’t overwhelming like other classes.” All students involved get to participate in exciting activities such as Art Prize, a corn maze, bowling, a Whitecaps game and a trip to Saugatuck. Quenton Moomey, a student that attends Interior Design says, “ I practice my drawing and I like drawing.” Mr. Workman wants more students engaged in the LINKS program in years to come. There are still many spots available and everyone is welcomed to join!

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