Sioux City’s Opportunities School, focusing on behavior and mental health

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We’re now well into the school year, long enough for some parents to notice some changes or struggles in their child’s behavior or academics.

In this week’s Mental Wellness Wednesday, we tell youwhere Siouxland schools turn when traditional interventions aren’t working.

“Our school is a lot like a one-room schoolhouse,” Boys and Girls Home Education Director, Ben Mohning said.

The Opportunities School at the Boys and Girls Home provides small groups of students a chance to have highly individualized care.

“Both on academics and behavior, we try to help them understand more about their needs and what they can do to try and be a better student and learn some of the social skills that they need,” Mohning said.

Their focus is on behavior and improving a student’s overall mental health.

“We have classroom environments that allow students to express themselves, talk about issues they may be having, almost a townhall where they can talk to each other about issues they may be having,” Mohning said.

Teachers say those group sessions always end on a positive note, encouraging one another and setting the tone for a positive day. That constant focus on the positive helps students adjust their mindset and control their behavior.

“One thing we’re working on is meditation and breathing activities. If they can move and breathe in a particular way, it can help them calm down and bring things back down,” Mohning said.

These are all skills that can help them learn how to better function in a typical classroom setting.

“Our goal from the time they start with us to the time they finish is to get them back to the public school,” Mohning said.

If your child is struggling with their grades, behavior or other issues at school, the first step is to talk to your school administrator.

School districts in the tri-state region can make the decision to refer students to the Opportunities School at the Boys and Girls Home.

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