Having a district-wide impact

Training aims to help teachers connect with poor students
Aug. 07, 2014 @ 05:16 PM

Vance County educators have spent the last week learning how to teach impoverished youth.

The district hosted the five-day seminar. More than 155 elementary, middle and high schools teachers participated in multi-day classes.

Francis Marion University professor Tammy Pawloski administered the training sessions at Clarke Elementary School every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pawloski, who is also the director of the Center for Excellence at Francis Marion, has been leading her department in research about the learning habits of children facing poverty for more than 10 years.

She presented statistics on the brain activity of children without enough to eat or proper prenatal care and broke down 25 strategies teachers can use to deal with their behaviors and create effective lesson plans.

E.O. Young Elementary teacher Tia Clary said it was a lot of information to absorb.

“I have learned so much,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been taking sips out of a fire hydrant these last two days.”

She said going forward, she plans to better empathize and build relationships with her less fortunate students to help them succeed.

Assistant Superintendent Trixie Brooks — also director of curriculum and instruction — said she was proud of everyone who attended.

“We are glad that we had teachers that took the time to come out and learn more about the students, which we serve,” she said.

Brooks said she hopes teachers will apply the new techniques when they return to the classroom at the end of the month.

“We don’t believe you can teach children if you don’t know who they are,” she said. “All of these things are important to make sure these kids get what they need.”

Brooks said administrators, county commissioners and school board members were invited to join in the discussion Friday.

“We are trying to make a strong impact,” Brooks said. “It is of our belief that if a child goes into one teacher’s classroom and hears ideas and goes in another teacher’s classroom with the same ideas, then we have made a bigger impact. Ultimately, we are trying to make a district-level impact.”

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispath.com.