Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of Circle of Friends (CoF)? Visit our Mission Statement.
When was CoF founded? Visit Our History.
How many schools have implemented CoF? 245 CoF chapters have been launched across seven states, including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. More than 90,000 students with and without special needs have been positively impacted.
Is CoF a non-profit organization? Circle of Friends is a project of Community Partners
(our fiscal sponsor), a registered 501(c)(3). Tax ID # 95-4602067
I am a parent or student interested in starting a Circle of Friends (CoF) chapter, what do I do? Please contact Robyn Stack Reagan, CoF Executive Director, at Robyn@CircleoFriends.org, and she will provide you with program information to share with your local school administrators. CoF typically partners with schools at the district level.
Can elementary and middle schools start a chapter? Yes, CoF has many successful elementary and middle school chapters. CoF is for all grades levels—elementary through high school and helps to smooth the often difficult transition from one school to the next.
I am a general education student interested in joining a chapter.
If there is an active chapter at your school, participating in CoF involves meeting a student with special needs once a week at lunch for the entire school year. Attendance at special monthly group activities, on or off campus, is encouraged but not required.
What does Circle of Friends (CoF) provide? CoF provides structure, strategies and support for educators to develop a inclusion program at individual schools or districtwide.
CoF promotes social-emotional and communication skills for students of all abilities. Annual membership includes an initial consultation, online workshops, monthly resources, and phone and email support from experienced CoF Program Facilitators.
Site visits, in-person seminars, and training for trainers are also available.
How long does it take to implement CoF? School staff typically attend workshops in the spring or early fall. Within two months of the first workshop, advisors will start CoF at lunchtime. Within two years, most schools will develop a student-driven, sustainable inclusion program that includes lunch groupings and monthly activities on campus and in the community, Student-led Ability Awareness, Bullying Prevention, and other inclusive service learning opportunities positively impact students, educators and community members.
What grade level is CoF for? CoF is for elementary, middle and high schools, as well as college campuses.
What are the components of the program? Visit our Program Description page.
Is CoF a program or a school club? CoF is a social and language skills program of inclusion; however, schools often run CoF as a club so that it has a niche on campus.
Who runs CoF on a daily basis? CoF is run by elected school advisors, preferably a team consisting of a speech-language pathologist, a special education teacher, general education teacher, and a school administrator.
Are there statistics/data to support the success of CoF? There is quantifiable evidence that participants in CoF with special needs have shown positive improvement in social and language skills. Evidence also indicates that general education students improve communication and leadership skills and that campus bullying decreases. For more detailed information, contact the CoF office at Robyn@CircleoFriends.org.
Is there a cost to implement CoF? Yes. For information on cost and funding resources, contact Robyn Stack Reagan, CoF Executive Director, at Robyn@CircleoFriends.org.
What happens at the end of our consultation? Circle of Friends typically takes two years to become a sustainable part of school culture. Our annual agreement includes the initial training and manual, phone and email support, monthly resources, use of the CoF logo, and access to curated curriculum and activities. As chapters evolve and change, CoF tailors our services to provide refreshers for new advisors, develop internal trainers, and support collaboration with other chapters. Through their continued membership, CoF schools deepen their commitment to Social Emotional Learning, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, decreasing bullying and meeting the needs of a diverse student body.
My district/school is ready to begin a CoF chapter, now what? Great news! Please contact Robyn Stack Reagan at Robyn@CircleoFriends.org to get started.