FRAMINGHAM – The 9-member Framingham School Committee will consider reducing the number of religious holidays for Framingham Public School students and staff for the 2018-19 school year, based on a recommendation of the district’s calendar committee comprised of staff and parents.
The Calendar Committee will recommend the School Committee adopt a policy to still continue to recognize the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, but to reduce the number of days for staff and students off from school from two to one.
Presently, the School Committe Policy IC-ICA reads “The Framingham Public Schools will be closed one day for Yom Kippur, one for Good Friday, and two consecutive days for Rosh Hashanah, whenever these holidays shall fall upon days of usual school attendance.”
School Committee Policy JHE allows for “excused absences from school are allowed on major religious holidays so that students may freely participate in their religious activities without conflict with their school obligations. Due to differences in religious practices, observance by individual students will not be
uniform. Parents may, in writing, excuse their students from school for any religious days important to the child’s religious beliefs. In addition, schools will be closed for Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Good Friday.”
The Framingham School Committee will see a presentation from the Calendar Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, February 13.
A vote on the 2018-19 school calendar is not expected until after school vacation week in February, maybe as late as the first week in March.
The City of Marlborough has no school days off for religious holidays. The Communities of Ashland, Natick, Hopkinton, and Sudbury all observe Rosh Hashanah with just one day of no school.
The recommendation by the Calendar Committee was not taken lightly, wrote Framingham Public Schools Director of Secondary Education Anne Ludes in a memo.
Ludes wrote that most school districts only observe one day, and that absenteeism increases around holidays.
She also wrote that the start of the school year is “disjointed” and it makes it “challenging for teachers to establish routines and expectations.”
But she wrote the biggest issue is the strggle for parents to find child care on “no school days.”
Below is a first-look at the proposed 2018-19 school calendar:
First Day of School: August 29
Religious holidays – no school:
- September 10 (Rosh Hashanah)
- September 19 (Yom Kippur)
- April 19 (Good Friday)
Full-Day Professional Development Days:
- Monday, August 27, 2018
- Tuesday, November 6
- Friday, February 15, 2019
- Friday, April 12
- December 24 – Tuesday, January 1
- February 19 – 22
- April 16 – 18
Proposed 180th Day: June 17, 2019