LaVergne Lake
PHOTO / KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

Educators from LaVergne Lake Elementary will participate in an emotional poverty workshop when they return to school the first week of August.

The workshop, which will be led by Ruben Perez, is based on Dr. Ruby Payne’s recently published “Emotional Poverty in all Demographics.” Payne, the founder and CEO of aha! Process, is an expert in the field of poverty.

District-level administrators participated in a similar workshop in Spring 2019, but this will be the first on-site presentation.

“When you think about poverty, a lot of times people think about dollars and cents and how that impacts you financially,” said Mark Gullion, coordinator for federal programs and RTI, “but what (Payne) is really getting at is students’ emotions and sometimes even adults.”

Educators will learn to create safer classrooms by reducing “less than” and “separate from” experiences for students; teach students about a regulated, integrated brain and how to calm themselves; help build strong inner selves in students through validation; identify and address insecure and emotionally unbonded students; and be aware of our own emotional realities as we promote the safety and well-being of students.

“Consequences will always be needed. But we can change the approach,” Payne wrote.

In short, Gullion said, “Poverty can come in multiple formats (and) some of our students have different needs.”

And some of those needs do not pertain directly to academics.

LaVergne Lake will use some of their Title 1 funds to pay for the workshop scheduled to take place Aug. 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

LaVergne Lake, led by Paige Johnson, is one of 12 Title I schools in Rutherford County and one of eight at the elementary level.

“This was a school-initiated workshop,” Gullion said.


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