PARSONS, Kan. — Teachers and faculty members in the Parsons School District got the opportunity to learn about emotional poverty and how it impacts students.

“Of course academics are important but mental health, and keeping kids calm and regulated is just as important,” said Cody Holmes, 4th Grade Teacher.

The Ruby Payne Emotional Poverty Workshop is designed to help teachers recognize what might be causing negative emotions a student is experiencing.

During the workshop, teachers discuss different approaches and strategies to reach students and to provide tools to address and reduce anger, anxiety, and avoidance.

Emotional poverty, like financial poverty, happens when a person lacks the resources to cope with life and everything it throws at you.

“The emotional needs over the years have not changed. You know, the toys have changed the makeup and what we discussed the buzzwords, those have all changed for the most part, and we’ve gotten more specific in some regards. But for the most part, the emotional needs we had 20, 30, 40 years ago are the same emotional needs we have now,” said Ruben Perez, Education Consultant.

“A lot of those workshops they really focus on things that you know that the teachers can do to do this to their classroom to that to their classroom, And this one is more focused on understanding the student, meeting them where they are. And it’s kind of more useful than then some of those that we have because it’s more of a hands-on, it’s engaging,” said Edward Workman, Parsons High School Teacher.

The purpose of Tuesday’s event was to provide tools that motivate good behavior.

“Everyone is in a position to affect change. Everyone is in a position to help kids connect emotionally, cognitively or both. Everyone has a role to play when the village comes together in a school building because you influence each other one way or another,” said Perez.

“Simply having kids drink water, you can build strong relationships with kids and have that student talk to those adults that they have strong relationships with. That will help those students find their safe place and bring them back into their calming state,” said Holmes.

Perez adds that it’s important to have strategies that aren’t one size fits all, but a strategy that is tailored towards personality types.

“At any time you always want to sharpen your skills as to what is better for kids and so there’s always a need for a refresher or reminder. Or you know what is the latest research say, as being the more effective approach, strategy or tool in order to be more effective with kids in the learning environment,” said Perez.

“As a teacher you want to help every student both academically, socially, emotionally, and it’s very important to reach all kids, you have to find out what works for them. And use the teacher half to find ways to help them,” said Holmes.