Training held in Rapid City to help educators support at-risk students

South Dakota educators participate in Save a Child training.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - By teachers, for teachers, a training was held in Rapid City to help educators recognize at-risk behaviors in students.

The training program is called "Save A Child" and aims to help teachers, janitors, and bus drivers intervene to prevent worst case scenarios.

At-risk behaviors include bullying, depression, and suicidal tendencies, which could lead to substance abuse and violence.

The training was hosted by the Masonic Lodge of Rapid City, which supports various local youth and community projects.

This three-day training is free and attracted more than 30 educators from across the state.

One sponsor said this is supplemental to the training schools already receive.

"Our children, they have their regular backpack that they have that has all their materials and stuff, but in addition to that, they're carrying another backpack that's is in front of them that carries these emotions, these difficulties, these challenges that they're faced with in life so what our objective is, is to help teachers to identify some of these behaviors," said Michael Sparks, Masonic Lodge of Rapid City.

Sparks said he hopes teachers walk away with the tools to deal with various issues faced in the classroom.

The training includes group exercises in a classroom setting to allow educators the opportunity to share experiences and work together.

They also learn how to create action plans to help students and families overcome these issues.

"We have been doing a lot of work within the district on intervention and thinking about how we can better serve our kids, I work at a predominately Native American district, and that achievement gap has not been closed for the last 15, 20 years so we started to think about well what we can do to better identify and better help our students and our families," said Dana Haukaas, principal of Todd County Middle School.

Haukaas said she hopes this training helps push her district into the next level of implementation.

The last training was held in Aberdeen, and future training will be based on interest.