ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Rockford Public School District wants to add four more Behavior Intervention Specialists to work with kids who may be having trouble in school.
It's easier for ten-year-old Jaquaris Eubanks to focus in class. That's thanks in part to Ryan Miller, a Behavior Intervention Specialist at Haskell Year-Round Academy.
"I'll be hyper in the morning and (Mr. Miller and I) will run to calm and get some of my energy out," said Jaquaris Eubanks.
Miller works with kids one-on-one.
"When a kid has a problem in class for whatever reason, we don't necessarily just suspend them or look at them as a bad kid. We try to get at the root of the problem and solve whatever is going on so that they can be successful in the classroom," explains Miller.
District 205 believes the Behavior Intervention Specialists have helped decrease chronic truancy, keeping more kids in school. In the 2010-2011 school year, the district's chronic truancy rate was 15.8%. The following year it dropped by nearly half to 8.5% after partnering with Youth Services Network, which provides the specialists.
Jaquaris' great-grandmother says she's noticed a big difference in her great grandson after working with Miller for the last year.
"I'm just so happy about the improvements in (Jaquaris). If I didn't have (the specialists), he wouldn't be where he's at now. He'd probably be suspended," says Shelly Eubanks.
"What Ryan did was build a relationship with kids. And all of my staff do it here but Ryan just has the time and knowledge and position to be able to go farther," says Loree Leathers-Allen, principal of Haskell.
Miller says, "You just have to get to their level and let them understand that just because you have a little problem, it doesn't have to ruin your day."
Miller says the specialists also work with families at home, not just kids when they're in school. The full school board still has to approve adding the four additional specialists.