Peer Helpers at Ahtanum Valley

May 28, 2024

Peer helpers assist newcomers at Ahtanum Valley Elementary.

Imagine your family moves to a new country where you don’t know the language. Imagine your first day of school in this new country. Now, imagine that the school has peer helpers that speak your language, peer helpers who can help you navigate your new school, peer helpers that can help you learn the new language. Peer helpers at Ahtanum Valley Elementary have been helping newcomers throughout this school year.

Principal Nick Hartman explains, “During the 2023/24 school year, we’ve welcomed many students who are not only new to our school, but they are brand new in the United States of America. They have been wonderful additions to our school – they are kind, they’re hard working, they’re responsible, and they’re intelligent. Like many students before them that have come from a different country, they quickly find how hard it can be to not speak English as everyone else does. In fact, for some of these students they don’t speak English at all.”

Hartman continues, “The staff at Ahtanum Valley Elementary are trained and certified for working with students who are not proficient in the English language. Our staff has received much training on how to create lessons that can engage and reach students that have emerging proficiency in the English language. Teachers use visuals, chants, kinesthetic tools, and other resources for helping these students.”

“Even so,” Hartman explains, “it can be difficult to miss so much important instruction, socialization, and conversation. For this reason, we want to recognize the incredibly caring and intelligent students that are able to help these friends throughout the day.”

Ahtanum Valley would like to recognize the following peer helpers:

Anthony Zepeda De La Cruz. Anthony is in Mr. Curfman’s fifth grade class. He is a kid with a great sense of humor and he loves to be social. He is a great student and is kind to everyone. His translation skills as a fifth-grade student are incredible. Anthony never misses a beat, making sure his Spanish-speaking friend understands his school work and is able to socialize with other students.

Elizabeth Cervantes. Elizabeth is very kind and thoughtful second-grade student in Mr. Klippert’s class. Elizabeth is always on task and working hard, which allows her to use her great Spanish language skills to translate for her friend. When her new friend came from Mexico late in the school year, Elizabeth stepped right-in to assist – she is a peer helper with a warm smile and a willing heart.

Jonathan Martinez Bautista. The youngest peer helper at Ahtanum Valley, Jonathan is a first-grade student in Mrs. Ross’s class. Jonathan assists his new friend throughout the school day. Jonathan does a great job paying close attention to make sure that his friend doesn’t miss-out in the classroom and the playground. Jonathan is a kind person with a smile that lights-up the school.

Like many other students in the school willing to help bridge language barriers, these three students exemplify the characteristics of compassion and selflessness that make Ahtanum Valley a great school.

Principal Hartman concludes, “You can only imagine how hard it would be to step into school without understanding what was being said around you. What a great gift these peer helpers give to our newcomers, helping their new friends understand the world around them!”

Peer Helper1
Anthony Zepeda De La Cruz is a peer helper
Peer Helper2
Elizabeth Cervantes is a peer helper
Peer Helper3
Jonathan Martinez Bautista is a peer helper