DUBUQUE - Administrators at Dubuque Senior High School are taking every 9th Grade student out of class for one day this week. It's an effort to curb bad behavior by helping students feel like they're part of a school community.
It's a familiar scene. Uncomfortable bodies sitting on an even more uncomfortable gym floor.
But, school leaders hope these students learn a thing or two about life at this all-day retreat for Dubuque senior's freshman class.
Dubuque Schools Behavioral Support Specialist, Mae Hingtgen said, "The idea is to build a culture. A caring and positive culture where bullying just doesn't happen."
Recent school data suggests students feel safe at school, but they don't feel like they're connected to each other. Hingtgen says says that has to change.
Hingtgen said, "statistics show that students who feel more engaged perform better academically."
Hingtgen says building friendships is the key to improvement.
Hingtgen said, "It's hard to be mean to somebody when you have relationship. "
Older students say they're already starting to see a change.
Senior Justin Yuan said, "We used to have a huge problem with our football games, like people saying bad stuff. "
A problem of the past? Hingtgen is hopeful.
Hingtgen said, "they are the class of 2016. They are in this together. "
Change happening on an uncomfortable gym floor.