Saturday, March 17, 2012

There's No Place Like "Holmes" for Special Friendships

Holmes Circle of Friends Holmes was the first elementary school in the district to start a Circle of Friends, the social language skills program of inclusion that provides valuable support for students with special needs. It is based on the establishment of friendships between students with disabilities and their trained, nondisabled peers through meaningful interaction in a natural environment. Circle of Friends clubs can be found throughout the district at all school levels:  elementary, middle and high schools.
During Circle of Friends at Holmes Elementary, groups of one to two students with special needs join three to four general education students for 35 minutes. The students eat lunch, play board games and participate in structured, cooperative activities such as making friendship bracelets, creating cards and playing Buddy Bingo. During the holidays, the Circle of Friends had a Halloween mummy contest, played Pin the Feathers on the Turkey and decorated Christmas cookies.
Circle of Friends gives students with special needs the opportunity to learn conversational language skills and work on developing positive peer relationships. The general education students learn how to be patient, tolerant and accepting of the students with special needs. The program promotes teamwork, cooperation and working together.
To learn more about Holmes Elementary School, contact Principal Jonathan Saipe at For more information about Circle of Friends, contact Brittni Weaver, speech pathologist, at