For a number of months, the Redwood Area School District (RASD) district leadership team has seen the need for school staff to learn more about how to effectively engage with students in an effort to create connections.

It is in those connections where students begin to open up more, and in a time when students are coming to school facing issues not specifically related to what they are learning in the classroom, having connections becomes critical.

That is where a new program known as RIPL is going to help fill in the gaps. RIPL stands for relational, impactful, preventative, leadership, and it is going to be part of local education starting next year. 

Scott Doss of RIPL talked via telephone about the program with the Redwood Area school board during its Jan. 27 meeting. He said the program was developed based on his years in education where he observed there were times when students were bringing issues to school that were resulting in unacceptable behaviors.

What he determined over the years was that there was always more to the story. The “why” students were behaving the way they were never seemed to be fully addressed. So, RIPL was developed as a way to provide training for school staff, including everyone from teachers and cooks to school bus drivers and custodians to help them create connections with students.

The training also includes an opportunity to talk with and help show students what they can be doing.

In the coming months, observations will be conducted as will surveys of staff and students at the school to determine what some of the big issues are and then the training will be customized to help the district address them.

The cost to implement the program in the first year is $11,250. The school board unanimously voted to move ahead with the program.