Katherine Parrish Whitbeck, MA, SFASU Doctoral Student, NISD Teacher

Creating Space for Students of All Faiths in the Public School


As immigrants, including refugees, from diverse cultures bring their life experiences to the American social landscape, more immigrant children and children of immigrants are entering American public schools, including rural schools. Part of this diversity includes differing faiths. In one rural high school in East Texas, educational leadership provides space for students of the Muslim faith to pray during the school day, and teachers of students enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Sheltered Instruction classes to discuss their different faiths with each other and with their teachers. An inquiry into their experiences provides a rich narrative of the changing normality experienced in the rural high school.