Dedicated staff to help SJSD students with behavior

Behavior interventionists will help students regulate their behaviors and learn social and emotional growth.

Posted: Feb 8, 2020 11:39 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In the hallways of the schools that make up the St. Joseph School District, a staff dedicated to helping kids in a new way will soon be working right along with teachers.

"The teachers worry about growing academically, I worry about growing emotionally and socially." Sara McLaren, a behavior interventionist said.

McLaren is one of the first in the district to work in the new role, the superintendent said it was created by the school board to better help kids.

"They’re folks who have training in expertise in dealing with students that have social and emotional behavior challenges." Dr. Doug Van Zyl, Superintendent, SJSD said.

McLaren’s early step into the role was made possible by her past experience working with kids with behavioral challenges, she ran a structured classroom with kids with behavioral challenges for 18 years before stepping into this new role.

"We deal with a lot of the same students," McLaren said. "It’s interesting to see kids start to finish on their behaviors."

McLaren said her work leaves an impact on the kids, and she wants to see it grow just as much as the district does.

"I feel very strongly about what we do," McLaren said. "Every school could benefit from it."

Van Zyl said funding for the behavior interventionists program has come from funds inside the district's budget, he hopes it will lead to a positive change for students in the district.

"We want to make sure we’re putting things in place that we can manage and maintain for the long haul." He said.

The district looks to expand the program in the fall.

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Another warm and humid day across much of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. The region could see a few storms and heavy rainfall as we head into Thursday morning. Temperatures will rise into the upper 80s.
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