CONYERS -- More Rockdale County teachers have learned about dealing with poverty-stricken children in their schools.
Rockdale County Public Schools' officials recently brought in Dr. Eric Jensen, author of "Teaching with Poverty in Mind," to meet with hundreds of teachers in a four-day professional learning seminar.
The school system held a two-day seminar in February and March for interested teachers, as well as school administrators and central office staff, who could earn Professional Learning Units by attending.
"Our demographics have changed dramatically over the past 10 years," reported Rich Autry, chief academic officer in the Office of Teaching and Learning at RCPS, to the Rockdale County Board of Education in a recent school board meeting.
Currently, 63 percent of RCPS students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and 174 students were reported homeless at last count in January.
"We have to understand who we teach," Autry said. "We still have high expectations (for all students)."
He said the professional learning course helped teachers better understand students in poverty. Teachers said it helped reinforce the need for building personal relationships with students and showing students that they cared, according to a video played for the school board.
"It was well received from classroom teachers," Autry said. "We were very pleased."
The seminar was funded through a Title II-A federal grant.