Milford TIES program provides growth opportunity

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Senior Lauren Martin helping Ruby in class (Photo courtesy of Maria Kormos)

Izzi Putrus, Staff writer

T.I.E.S, (Teaching, Interacting and Encouraging  Students) is a class that helps with connecting general education students together with special education students. Students can learn from each other and hopefully have a positive experience throughout their years in school. This class helps develop friendships and gives students a friendly face to see at school each day. “TIES is a great way for students to help support one another,” said Leslie Topher, the assistant TIES teacher.  

In the classroom a TIE helps in many different ways, such as, support with organization, staying on task, helping at lunch, and overall, just being a friend for students. This helps students who need extra assistance have positive interactions with their peers, and receive the support they need and deserve in school. TIES and students often build friendships that would have not otherwise occurred if they were not involved in this program. “I love watching the interactions and connections made between the TIES and my students,” said Maria Kormos, an MHS special education teacher. “They are so caring and understanding. It is amazing to watch my students make new connections. TIES are always eager to help and learn.” TIE students improve their own leadership, patience, and understanding of individual differences. The special education students who have had a TIE demonstrate improvements in social skills as well as their understanding with school work. The program benefits both sides. 

 This class is an individual peer-support program that helps push students to help each other in school. TIES help when teachers aren’t always able to provide one-on-one assistance during a lesson. Not only do they benefit students, they also have many benefits for the teacher, and classroom as a whole. Many people tend to look past the special needs community or call people names. James Pennebaker, a TIE at Milford gave his perspective, “Everyone’s the same inside and out no matter what kind of help we may need. We are all human.” 

When thinking about taking a new class, consider taking TIES. It is an opportunity to meet many amazing kind-hearted people. “TIES students learn to be positive, how to demonstrate things, and how to act in a positive way,” Melissa Wagester-Green, a TIES teacher, said. ”It teaches positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. Some of the benefits of the T.I.E.S. classes improve critical thinking skills, it improves communication skills and interpersonal skills, increases self-esteem and confidence, a greater connection to our school community, a greater awareness for those with challenges, and it improves leadership, organizational, and self-management skills and improves patience and empathy as well. 

If you are looking to take TIES these are just some of the many benefits from the class. If you are considering taking TIES here is what the TIES staff looks for in new TIES “maturity, enthusiasm, resilience, willingness to ask for help, open to new experiences, observe the classroom, give 100% effort, willingness to look at how they can improve themselves through helping others” says Wagester.

 As a TIE now for three years, this class has introduced me to an amazing community of people. If you love to help others, I would strongly recommend taking this class. If I could have taken the class multiple times a day I would have. I have learned so much from my peers and teachers while taking this class. TIES has taught me so much and introduced me to a new community of truly amazing people. Many would say high school for them is about getting good grades and straight Aś, but for me high school is much more than just earning grades; it is about learning to accept others and help them along in the process. This program has spread love of life to all involved.