PLAINVIEW- Dealing with the public has enough challenges of its own. Throw in the dynamics of dealing with different cultures and values and the challenges rise.

              According to Debbie Stennett, director of the Community Classroom at Wayland Baptist University and a longtime educator, the culture of poverty is one many overlook as having its own issues and challenges for those who work in the public sector.

              Stennett will lead two workshops in Lubbock to help teachers and agency personnel understand the behaviors of the poverty culture and help clients who fall into that category.

              The first, Poverty Training for Teachers, will be held Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Region 17 Education Service Center, located at 1111 W. Loop 289 in Lubbock. The registration fee is waived for all SDFS SSA school districts, and the fee is $75 for participants in non-member districts. Three workbooks are provided for the training, which provides 18 hours of professional development.

              The second workshop, Poverty Training for Agencies, is slated for Feb. 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lubbock Campus of Wayland Baptist University, located at 801 N. Quaker. The fee is $25 per person.

              Based on the work of Dr. Ruby Payne and Phillip DeVol, the workshop provides information on helping clients in poverty develop stabilizing resources. Participants will learn about the causes of poverty and community sustainability, the hidden rules of families in poverty, the role of language, family structure and resource development. Instruction will be provided through small-group activities, PowerPoint presentations, Web site reviews, class discussions and video clips.

              The session for teachers deals specifically with issues faced in education when developing intellectual capital in children of the poor.

              “We’re missing a lot of that capital in children because poverty issues often hinder their growth and progress in school,” Stennett explained. “Schools build communities by developing that intellectual capital. They’re facing so many other issues at home and then we expect them to step up to learn.”

              Teachers will learn about interlocking resources in poverty and classroom implications; the roles of language, story structure, and discourse patterns in poverty; discipline in poverty and classroom interventions; and cognitive and affective strategies for improving performance in students from poverty.

              The workshop content is much the same for agencies, though Stennett notes the shorter duration and the more generalized content.

              “The poverty framework for agencies is about developing a shared and informed perspective among social service professionals who daily serve the poor. Participants will learn about behavioral patterns common to families in generational poverty that often puzzle the middle class,” Stennett said. “They can expect to learn, too, about building resources within their clients to help them help themselves.”

              Stennett said the information is vital as communities work to improve the work force and the commerce of this area.

              “It’s about social change that starts deep within individuals and about connectedness and relationships with the poor whose increasing numbers threaten community sustainability in rural areas,” she said. “It’s also about breaking the cradle-to-prison pipeline. There are some states that predict how many prison beds they will need by third-grade test scores. How stunning is that!”

              Registration for the teacher session can be made by calling Region 17 offices at 792-4000. To register for the agency session, or for more information, call Stennett at the Community Classroom at (806) 291-3650.