With goal of being more inclusive, schools add religious information to staff handbook

Print Article

The Whitefish School District is updating its staff handbook and calendar to be more inclusive and mindful of the wide variety of religions that can exist in the community.

Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt and Curriculum Director Ryder Delaloye spent the last year working with administrators and local religious leaders to develop an overview of the world’s most common religions to better prepare teachers for students with beliefs that otherwise might be unfamiliar.

The school district administrators presented the information at the Aug. 8 Whitefish School Board meeting.

“The primary goal is to foster and appreciate and develop a greater understanding of the plurality of beliefs that exist in our community,” Delaloye said. “This is an acknowledgment of the religions that we have that individuals practice. One of the things that’s important to that is the intersection of where those religions’ holidays intersect with the school calendar.”

While the overview document is not exhaustive, it covers the basics of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and other belief systems, including atheism and agnosticism as well.

The calendar includes key holidays for each religion.

School Board Trustee Katie Clarke suggested adding asterisks or small notes to holidays that include fasting so teachers can plan around the practice.

Several trustees also supported making the calendar span a full 12 months, rather than just the school year.

“We’re still trying to just help educate the staff to make them aware,” Trustee Anna Deese said. “We have so many exchange students too. It would be nice to know what they’ve just experienced.”

Delaloye said the overview and calendar are meant for staff and aren’t intended to directly influence curriculum, though the topics covered are in line with current social studies and history lesson plans across the district.

Though the staff handbook addition will be a small, simple change, Delaloye stressed the importance of being mindful of others’ beliefs.

“Religion is a deeply personal experience for families and students. Especially when it’s religions that aren’t necessarily Christian in our community, it’s important to have respect for that and also to have discretion at times,” he said. “This is a really nice vehicle to help teachers in understanding the needs that may arise for different segments of our community.”

Print Article

Read More

Hole in city, county lakeshore rules being exploited

February 22, 2018 at 11:22 am | Whitefish Pilot A flaw in our lakeshore rules is being exploited by an out-of-town developer. Current city and county rules state that no structures can be built within 20 feet of the high water mark, but existing s...

Comments

Read More

Community rallies to support searchers, family of missing skier

February 22, 2018 at 9:14 am | Whitefish Pilot As the search for Dr. Jonathan Torgerson stretches into the sixth day, a community struck with grief and worry has been left without the traditional avenues to express their feelings to the family of...

Comments

Read More

Drama Club tackles mature topics in ‘She Kills Monsters’

February 21, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Whitefish Pilot Members of the Whitefish High School Drama Club took the lead when they selected the play they’ll bring to the stage this weekend. The club is presenting “She Kills Monsters,” written by Qui Nguyen...

Comments

Read More

Dogs ready to race in Flathead Classic this weekend

February 21, 2018 at 11:51 am | Whitefish Pilot Thirty-five teams are set to race in the Flathead Classic Sled Dog Race this weekend based near Olney. Race events take place Saturday, Feb. 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25 at Dog Creek Lodge and Nordic Cen...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X