The philosophy that students who act out need attention more than punishment is gaining ground in one district dealing with increased behavioral issues in elementary schools.
In Sioux Falls School District, the Tier 2 program is focused on building relationships and showing students how to follow directions or accept “no” for an answer. The pilot program began in Anne Sullivan and Terry Redlin elementary schools and now will expand.
“I think we’re seeing gains with kids and continually seeing kids who are able to control their emotions and their social behavior and becoming calmer,” Anne Sullivan principal Kirk Zeeck said.
Students who are identified as needing the Tier 2 program work with a specific teacher in a separate classroom outside their regular room. The separate class has a 1:3 teacher-student ratio. Students work on projects that are designed to teach the skills they individually need. These can include learning to apologize, follow directions, and curb argumentativeness.
“You really have to train everybody who comes in contact with children on how to implement the plan consistently,” said Deb Muilenburg-Wilson, special services director for the Sioux Falls School District.