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|ULM companion course expands seminar message|
New teachers entering the Ouachita Parish school system will have one additional requirement this year.
They must participate in a graduate-level sister course to the day-long poverty seminar the parish school system co-sponsored earlier this week.
The University of Louisiana-Monroe Division of Continuing Education will offer a semester-long graduate course centered on the book, "A Framework to Understanding Poverty," by Dr. Ruby Payne.
Payne's book also served as the foundation for a seminar by the same title held at the West Monroe Convention Center Tuesday. The seminar marked the kick off of an effort to help school teachers, law enforcement officers and others better understand how to communicate with impoverished children. Besides the parish school system and ULM, the seminar was conducted by the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce and the City of West Monroe.
ULM's Dr. Marilyn McIntosh said a number of participants at Tuesday's seminar had already approached her about the course.
"For all teachers, Tuesday's conference was an eye-opening experience concerning how the different aspects of poverty impact students from those background, especially when they enter a middle-class school system," said McIntosh, who will administer the online class for ULM.
McIntosh said the course will take topics covered at the seminar and expand them by bringing in community leaders in the field of education to help teachers apply what they learned Tuesday to their work in the classroom.
All incoming, new teachers at Ouachita Parish Schools will be required to take the course as part of their induction. The system will pay each teacher's $250 tuition to take the class.
McIntosh's class, however, is not confined to just new teachers.
"There are also several experienced teachers and administrators who will be involved in the course as well," McIntosh said. "They want to further expand their knowledge about how to address poverty and how poverty impacts their schools."
Through interactions with a number of presenters over the course of the semester, McIntosh said teachers would be able to form relationships to assist them in dealing with issues that arise when impoverished students attend mostly middle-class schools.
"We really want to build a network of resources and support for these new teachers as they encounter any new situations they aren't equipped to handle on the job," McIntosh said.
The cost of the program is $250 and students are encouraged to also purchase the textbook, "A Framework to Understanding Poverty," by Dr. Ruby Payne.
For information about taking part in the class, or for more information, contact the ULM Division of Continuing Education at (318) 342-1030.