SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Sioux Falls School Board is expanding a program that teaches social and emotional skills to students.

Hundreds of children took part last year in the program that aims to take a proactive approach to addressing an increasing number of behavioral issues. School board members have now voted to expand the program to a seventh school, the Argus Leader ( reported.

The program, called Tier 2, brings students into a separate classroom to work with a teacher on building social skills such as following directions or accepting “no” for an answer. Students get into the program at the recommendation of their teachers.

“It isn’t a consequence to go to Tier 2,” said Deb Muilenberg-Wilson, director of special services.

Tier 2 began as a pilot program in 2014 at Anne Sullivan and Terry Redlin Elementary Schools. The program expanded in 2016 to four more schools: Hayward, Garfield, Hawthorne and Cleveland Elementary Schools. Now, the program is expanding to Laura Wilder Elementary for the upcoming school year.

“I’d say it’s probably no longer a pilot,” Superintendent Brian Maher said.

After this school year, the district will do a large-scale report on the program and decide whether to expand or continue it. Maher said the program doesn’t necessarily have to become a district-wide program, but it will be used where it’s necessary in schools.

The program costs more than $614,000, which includes training in the Boy’s Town Well-Managed Schools system for all employees in buildings using the program.

Muilenberg-Wilson thinks about another 30 students will be served at Laura Wilder.

Information from: Argus Leader,

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