ThunderRidge’s Peer Program is a Win-Win for Students

ThunderRidge’s Peer Program is a Win-Win for Students
Posted on 05/19/2023
ThunderRidge High School’s Peer Intern Program offers an opportunity for students to learn about and assist classmates whose learning abilities are unlike their own.

The Peer Intern Program is a semester-long class where students pair with students in the significant support needs (SSN) program. SSN programs provide specialized instruction and focus on the development of functional academic skills, communication, social skills, adaptive skills, and life skills. SSN programming is designed to increase students' independence throughout their education. 

The Peer Interns assist students in their classes and build relationships both inside and outside of the classroom. The peer intern program helps foster a sense of belonging and inclusion, helping SSN students engage in the school community. All Grizzlies can participate in the Peer Intern Program. 

Although teaching life skills is part of the SSN curriculum, SSN paraprofessional Stephanie Weber says the class can benefit everyone. 

“The Peer Interns can also learn life skills with our SSN students, like laundry and loading the dishwasher,” said Weber.

ThunderRidge students participating in different activities as part of the peer intern programTeens also develop patience and empathy while working with their peers. They also learn what to anticipate from their peers and how to assist them. Through the program, positive bonding occurs, and often Peer Interns request the same students to work with the following year. 

“It’s fun to help Jack with his work. I’m enjoying getting to know him better,” says peer intern freshman Brianna Roe. 

Kiera Price, a senior, has been working with students receiving special education services since second grade. “I’ve always had a passion for kids and learning how to work with different kids and their needs,” she said. This experience will help Kiera as she pursues occupational therapy or K-12 special education in college.

The Peer Internship Program, now in its 24th year,  is a popular elective for sophomores through seniors, with 85 students registering for the class each semester. Freshmen may register for the program with a counselor’s recommendation.  

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 303-387-0127.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.


Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records at this link ( Douglas County School District Transcripts and Records Requests ).