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Expert on Poverty and its Effects on Student Learning to Speak

Ruby Payne

How to help children learn in spite of emotional turmoil they are experiencing or have experienced is the goal of an upcoming conference at Emporia State University.

To help with that mission, nationally known speaker and author, Dr. Ruby K. Payne, will be delivering the keynote at the Second Annual Trauma-Informed Educators Conference to be held Saturday, Aug. 28 in the Memorial Union at ESU. Payne, author of “Emotional Poverty and A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” is a former high school teacher, district administrator, and elementary principal.

“We know that social and emotional factors impact student learning. It is important that those who work with youth understand these factors and how to best to support their students. Due to the generosity of a donor, The Teachers College was able to bring in Dr. Payne and host the second annual conference” said Melissa Gerleman, organizer of the conference.

“One focus of this conference will be the impact of poverty on the student experience. There are definitely teachers who have grown up in families that struggled financially,” Gerleman said. “But, unless you have lived it, many people have little to no experience with how many learning barriers there are for children raised in families who don’t have a car, enough to eat, or a way to get the laundry cleaned.”

People interested in attending the conference can register at The cost is $50 for in-person; a $50 online option is also available.

The upcoming conference will also feature members of ESSDACK’s Resilience Team: Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz, Ginger Lewman, Katie Perez, and Carmen Zeisler.

Closing keynote speakers will be Tracie Chauvin, coordinator of social emotional learning in Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, and Dr. Dustin Springer, principal at Gray Hawk Elementary in the Basehor-Linwood School District.

“There’s a need — especially due to COVID — to support educators in their work to navigate the social and emotional needs of their students in order to provide the optimal learning environment possible,” said Dr. Joan Brewer, dean of The Teachers College at Emporia State. “Poverty causes its own form of trauma. Between courses and trainings offered this summer on responding to crisis, this upcoming conference and further courses and trainings offered throughout the 2021-22 academic year, The Teachers College is committed to doing its part to assist school districts and other entities across the state to address the needs of Kansas kids and their teachers.”