Teachers Team Up to Help Kids Graduate From High School - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Teachers Team Up to Help Kids Graduate From High School

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There are more of them in your child's classroom than you may realize... At-risk students in area schools are increasing.

Thousands of local teachers met in Amarillo on Wednesday to learn how to motivate those children to succeed.

The theme was "Teaming for Success" at this year's At-Risk student conference.

The guest speakers may have easily been mistaken for stand up comedians... "We tend to think if you're rich enough, or if you're smart enough you'll make it. But there are a lot of dumb people in high places."

But their message was anything but funny. Region 16 Deputy Director Ray Cogburn says, "How to teach kids that come from poverty background, that come from abuse situations."

But that's often easier said than done. High School Special Education teacher Mona Freeman says, "They have so many other problems and they're distracted by so many other things."

So conference's like the one at the Amarillo Civic Center re-iterate just how important it is to be cheerleaders for these kids, who often lack a support system at home. 

Freeman makes it a point to do that on a daily basis, and it's even earned her a bit of a reputation on campus. "Some people call me the homework police. I'll walk down the hall... Have you done this, have you done that. Have you gotten this to Miss Stiles and have you gotten this to Mr. Petty?"

Second grade teacher April Cross says Mona is on the right track, and at Wednesday's conference, she learned it's also important to motivate the youngest group of at-risk students. "You need to give them a love of learning right at the very beginning. If you don't, then by the time they get to high school you've lost them." 

One of the biggest issues stressed at the conference is that teachers are too dependent on technology... One speaker said we need to stop texting, log off of Twitter, and stop using PowerPoint.

She says getting back to the basics helps you better connect with kids, and often times technology gets in the way.