An after-school counseling program for students and parents is trying to keep more kids in school instead of suspending them.

The program has been in place at Duval County schools for some time but for this year school leaders are tracking how many students enroll and if the program is making a difference. The program is called The Student Option for Success Program or SOS. It’s an after-school counseling program for students and parents who are experiencing disciplinary problems in the regular school settings.

The curriculum includes classes on Communication, Bullying, Anger and Impulse Control, Conflict Resolution, Self-Esteem, Empathy, Bullying, Peer Pressure, Decision Making and Goal Setting. Student and parent/guardian are required to attend the sessions together. Classes run for three weeks, two times per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thursdays session at Sandalwood High school dealt with Conflict Resolution and Self-Control.

Dr. Mohamad Saleh and his daughter Svetlana enrolled in the program in lieu of his daughter being suspended for five days. It's not intended to be an easy way out but rather it's aimed at helping students learn from their mistakes.

"I actually learned something myself that's helpful like making goals, not procrastinating and expressing what you're feeling," said Dr. Saleh.

But he’s not the only one learning. "Our communication has gotten better," said his daughter Svetlana.

Classes run from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. they are also available at different locations for secondary and elementary school students. Any parent that wishes to benefit from the program can request to attend with their child.

LINK | New suspension program

Program locations: Ed White High School, Englewood High School, Mandarin High School, William M. Raines High School and Sandalwood High School.