In 1993, Terriann Phillips had one Latino student in her second-grade classroom at De Queen Elementary School. Since then, hundreds of families from Mexico and Central and South America, lured by work in Pilgrim’s and Tyson poultry plants, have settled in the small houses and trailers in the town of De Queen and surrounding area of southwestern Arkansas. Today, Phillips is principal and more than three-fifths of her students are Latino. Eighty percent meet the qualifications for free and reduced-price meals.

In this remote area three hours from Little Rock, Phillips and the other educators in De Queen Elementary have, matter-of-factly and without fanfare, taken on the challenge of ensuring that the children of parents who spend their days and nights killing, cleaning, and plucking chickens learn to read, write, compute, and, in their words, “think deeply.”

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