Student aides back for second semester

Photo+courtesy+of+Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Irvine High School’s (IHS) student aide program has returned as an elective option for upperclassmen after being revamped.  

“The fact that we didn’t have it during COVID-19 allowed us to do a reset and to do it correctly,” assistant principal Bob King said. “Which is why student aiding’s now required above your minimum credits. So it’s not students who are saying, ‘You know I don’t really want to take another elective course, so let me do student aiding instead.’”

Previously, the student aide program had no application process and students only worked as teacher assistants. Now, students must submit applications listing their strengths, clerical skills and previous classes and may also act as peer tutors at their teacher’s request. Student aiding has also become a credit plus elective that students may only take if they have already met their credit requirements. Juniors must already be enrolled in 30 credits while seniors must already be enrolled in 25. 

Administrators and teachers have spent the last two years modifying the student aide program to ensure that only qualified students were selected to aide. Originally, student aides did not have to meet any qualifications. Now, student aide applicants must demonstrate IHS values in order to be an aide. 

“You need to have integrity,” assistant principal Kelly Molina said. “You need to treat kids with respect because sometimes you’re helping kids that are struggling and you don’t want them to feel not as good as you want them to feel. That’s [now] part of our application process too, IHS values.”

Teachers and administrators had the opportunity to improve the student aide program when IHS transitioned to Emergency Distance Learning in the spring semester of the 2020 school year, which forced the program to stop. Student aiding returned this year because administrators believed that the pandemic was improving and because teachers had been asking for more support. 

“I’m not sure if we would have brought student aides back this year if teachers hadn’t talked to their instructional counsel and said, ‘we need this back, we need the assistance student aides provide,’” King said. “Teachers have been doing this their whole careers and they’ve always had someone to manage certain pieces.”

Many teachers have not been able to teach the same curriculum for their students as before the pandemic because they have not had the necessary support. This has made teachers grateful that student aides are returning. So far, 41 teachers have requested student aides. 

Pictured above is Mandy Tucker with her student aide, junior June Jang.

“I’m desperate for [aides],” photography teacher Mandy Tucker said. “I can’t do the darkroom without having help. It’s super critical for my curriculum to be able to give students that experience.”

Students are also excited for the opportunity to aide with 46 students applying to be an aide. 

“I like that the position has returned,” junior and applicant Sienna Cano said. “I think it provides another layer to subjects and their inner workings. I do possibly want to do something art or photo related and I think being an aide [for photography] can help [me] understand what role I’d be most interested in in terms of that field.” 

Student aide applications were due on Jan. 7. All juniors and seniors who applied were accepted and should see a student aide period on their spring semester schedule.