Dothan educators discuss issues of poverty at institute - Montgomery Alabama news.

Dothan educators discuss issues of poverty at institute

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Faculty and staff for Dothan City Schools are gearing up for the start of a new school year learning about an issue that faces more than half of their students, poverty.

Of the more than 9,000 students in the district, 67.8 percent live in poverty according to the school district. The topic of the annual Institute Day was understanding how to address the needs of those students.

"We deal so often with students of poverty with Dothan City Schools. We want to make sure our employees are able to relate to our students and understand the backgrounds from which they come," said Teresa Davis, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

Davis says in Dothan City Schools they've seen an increase it two types of poverty - emotional poverty and situational poverty. Emotional poverty is where students may lack a support system outside the school and situational poverty is where a parent may lose work.

"It depends on if a plant has closed or a lot of times something may just happen with the family because of medical reasons," said Davis.

The session included guest speaker, Ruth K. Payne. Payne wrote the book "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." During the session, she talked to teachers about interactions with students in their classroom and gave tips to make sure every child can have a successful school year regardless of any challenges.

Educators say they walked away with tools they can implement in the classroom tomorrow. 

"We have to understand we have to do more than educate. We have to go into the community to find out what we can do to help them when they're at school and not at school," said Edward Flemming, Principal at P.A.S.S Academy.

"We have to remember where kids come from," said Toni Jones, Secretary at Slingluff Elementary. "It may impact the way they act in the classroom, the amount of parent participation you have in your school. You really have to see where they're coming from, and don't assume that each parent will handle things differently. Be very respectful and calm and kids are just kids."

During the institute, the school system was awarded $45,000 in grant money from the Dothan Education Foundation.

School starts for Dothan City Schools Wednesday.

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