Internationally known speaker will present her 'Framework for Understanding Poverty.'

    Since she's known around the world for her expertise on issues related to poverty and, not to mention, she's not exactly cheap to get as a presenter and speaker, Crookston School District Superintendent Chris Bates said that it was almost taken as a joke when Crookston High School Principal Lon Jorgenson recently wondered, "Could we get Ruby Payne?"

    School district officials had been speaking with various organizations in the community that are affected by poverty or are charged to try to reduce poverty or help those who are poverty-stricken, Bates recalled, and discussing ways to work together to tackle the subject.

    "Someone at some point said something like it's a shame we couldn't get someone like Ruby Payne here," Bates recalled Monday. "Then Lon said, 'Could we get Ruby Payne?'"

    They got Ruby Payne, thanks to a partnership between the local school district and five other districts in the region, who will split the cost of getting her here, $8,000 for a three-hour presentation.

    "We're bringing someone in who is internationally renowned on the challenges of poverty," Bates told the Times Monday. "We will be adding a community portion to her day for others to take part; it's an opportunity for us to kind of give back by opening it up to others."

    Payne will be the featured presenter at the teacher/staff workshop on Aug. 29 that will precede the start of the 2013-14 school year. Partner school districts  that will be taking part include Fertile-Beltrami, Ada, Clearbrook/Gonvick, Fisher and Kelliher.

    "This is the first time we have tried to put on a function with local schools that should be considered our friends and neighbors," Bates explained via email. "We hoped that by working together we can provide our staffs and communities with an opportunity that would be clearly out of reach for any one school standing alone."

    A sampling of entities that will be invited to the free-of-charge  "community" portion of Payne's presentation that will precede the teacher workshop could include the faith community, Polk  County, Tri-County Community Corrections, Northwestern Mental Health Center, United Way of Crookston, Crookston Chamber of Commerce, the U of M, Crookston, law enforcement, licensed daycare providers, etc.

    "She's kind of has a 'Wow!' effect," said Bates, who previously attended a Payne presentation in St. Cloud. "What she has to say is really relevant to our community."

About Ruby Payne    
     Dr. Ruby Payne, founder of aha! Process, along with being an author, speaker, publisher and career educator, has traveled extensively since the mid-1990s to present her work “A Framework for Understanding Poverty.” With her various speeches and workshops, she offers strategies for successfully raising student achievement and overcoming economic class barriers. An expert on the mindsets of economic classes and on crossing socioeconomic lines in education and work, as well as for social change, she has trained hundreds of thousands of educators and other professionals in seminars throughout the world. These places include the U.S., Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Slovakia, Trinidad-Tobago and Ireland.

    Dr. Payne received a bachelor's degree from Goshen College, Goshen, IN; master's degree in English literature from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI; and doctorate in educational leadership and policy from Loyola University, Chicago, IL.

    Working for more than 30 in public schools as a high school department head, principal and central office administrator of staff development, Dr. Payne has had much experience with helping students from all economic backgrounds achieve academic success. She has written K-12 curricula in all content areas, developed extensive staff development programs for 1,500 staff members and assisted with the strategic plans of numerous organizations.

    Dr. Payne has written or co-authored more than a dozen books – besides the bestselling A Framework for Understanding Poverty – and has received numerous awards for her contributions to education and the community. Her latest book, From Understanding Poverty to Developing Human Capacity (2012), includes articles, some of which were published in educational publications.

    Times' Student Staff Writer Katie Davidson contributed to this story.