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Relationships Key To Reach Students In Poverty

July 21, 2011

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Instructor Donna McKethan was explaining a poverty domino effect to teachers in last week's Ruby Payne training for Waco ISD instructors. The end of a cascade from living in the moment and inability to predict consequences is often trouble with the law or inability to handle a traditional work environment. So Waco ISD is stressing to teachers that they have to be the ones to help their students understand those cause-and-effect relationships and navigate the unwritten rules that govern the working the world.

Research from Ruby Payne was shown throughout the two-day session showing teachers what sort of skills that many of us take for granted that students growing up in poverty often lack. In an earlier piece, McKethan told teachers that relationships were shown to be one of the most valuable aspects of impoverished life. Relationships are a form of currency in a world where survival is a day-to-day focus. And McKethan highlighted over and over that you have to build relationships with these students to get through to them, even the students who seem to present the biggest challenges.

Superintendent Bonny Cain believes this training will help teachers be more aware of the vital role they can play in shaping not just the academic abilities of their students, but in the students understanding of the way the world works outside of their neighborhood. And, in a reversal of the initial poverty domino effect, an understanding of the hidden rules and a recognition of cause and effect relationships can springboard the student to break systemic poverty in their families. This training experienced by the teachers all ties in to a broad, ambitious vision that Dr. Cain and other community leaders are ready to begin.

You can hear more of Dr. Cain's ideas for integrating the community to breaking systemic poverty, as well as prior stories on the subject online at www.kwbu.org/news. Prior stories can also be heard today at 12:30 and Sunday at 3 on KWBU Rewind. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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