A significant number of students have a lot more than academics on their mind during the school day.
Thursday, nearly 50 educators from southern Illinois attended Day 1 of a two-day training to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences - or ACEs.
Teachers Jackie Hodge with Massac County Unit 1 and Kelly Holland with Marion Unit 2 offered the training. They say these adverse experiences cover a wide range of issues.
"Abuse, any sort of trauma or toxic stress that that child is experiencing in their household. It could be violence between parents, alcoholism, divorce, separation, bullying, parents in jail, or had been incarcerated, poverty."
Teachers are not just providing academic growth for students. Holland says they're really counselors who provide emotional support.
"That's what can lead to teacher burnout. I know we're looking at teacher shortages nationwide, and here in Illinois especially. When we look at the rate of teacher attrition and people who are leaving, one of those things is because they're having to continually to deal with students who are bringing these ACEs, these traumas into the classroom."
Holland say research shows ACEs changes the brain pathways of students, so they learn differently. She says educators are starting to learn how to help these students through training sessions like the one Thursday in Carterville.
She says roughly half of students in southern Illinois deal with at least one adverse experience.
Educators will meet again on November 20th to talk about strategies to help these students.