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Bozeman, MT: District focuses on social/emotional skills; help when behavior affects others

Oct 21, 2018, Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle: Bozeman students learning social and emotional skills … That’s why the Bozeman School District has adopted an array of programs to teach children social and emotional skills. Some aim broadly to teach all students to cope with everyday playground conflicts. Other programs are targeted at kids struggling with more serious issues. … She and Emily Dickinson [Elementary] teachers and counselors explained social and emotional learning at this week’s lunch visit by the eight Bozeman School Board trustees. … This year Emily Dickinson is “totally full” with 531 students, an increase of 56 in one year, Hays said. Some 15 kids don’t yet speak English, 12 are getting counseling for trauma, some are homeless, and a handful are at risk of harming themselves or others. A few have lost parents to murder or suicide…. One of the best changes happened three years ago, Hays said, when the school district hired licensed school counselors to meet state accreditation standards…. Wade Harper, the school’s counselor and psychologist, said he gives one-on-one counseling when students’ behavior is really affecting the classroom. He counsels kids in small groups who are struggling with issues like friendship, self-control, conflict, calming down and divorce. He also counsels students dealing with trauma…. Hays said the school tries to make the playground a positive experience, by emphasizing what kids can do instead of what they can’t. Still, there have already been 10 suspensions this year for misbehavior, she said. “There are consequences.”


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