It's called the Tier 2 Intervention program and it's already in use in part of the middle and high schools in the district. Now, a need exists to expand this program to the elementary school levels.
"We have behaviors that are being dealt with today that 40 years ago when I was in school weren't around and wasn't necessary to deal with them," Sioux Falls School Board Vice-President Ken Alberty said.
Administrators with the Terry Redlin and Anne Sullivan schools say about 50 students could benefit from the Tier 2 program, the option of a smaller classroom environment focusing on social skills, academics and proper classroom behavior.
"We're trying to create a safe learning environment for some of these kids that have behavioral challenges, and we're willing to pilot something to ensure that happens," Sioux Falls School Board President Doug Morrison said.
Morrison says it is their best way of addressing behavioral concerns at a younger age, but not everyone was convinced.
"I ask that you move on this with caution and do some research into it and find out where this is really coming from," Mary Sheelvise said.
Concerns were also raised about a new program that helps students who struggle with reading. While each grade level showed improvements, one piece of the program for Elementary students has a 90-minute block for reading.
"I think about if we sit here in this meeting for 90 minutes, how long that is, and we're not five," Sheelvise said.
The Board assured her that each teacher has a specific plan in place for their students each day during that 90-minute block of time.
The two programs are meant to help students both in and out side of the classroom.
"I feel that if we can offer an avenue for the six to eight hours a day that we have these kids to help them to improve in all of those other areas of their life and those social skills and those boundaries, we're doing a huge service not just to the kids, but to society and to everybody they are interacting with," board member Carly Reiter said.
The Board approved the pilot program and it will begin its two-year run at Terry Redlin and Anne Sullivan starting this fall.