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BOE Sets 2016-2017 Calendar, Includes Day Off for Muslim Holiday

December 15, 2015

 

The Board of Education adopted the calendar for the 2016-2017 school year at yesterday’s December 14 meeting. The school year will begin on Monday, August 29, 2016, and is scheduled to end on Friday, June 16, 2017. To accommodate the September 12, 2016, professional day added by the Board of Education last month, students will now attend school on October 21, 2016, which previously had been scheduled as a non-instructional day.

   On Nov. 10, the Board voted to close school for Montgomery County Public School students on Sept. 12, 2016, which coincides with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The Board’s vote will make Sept. 12 a professional day for staff in the proposed 2016-2017 school year calendar.

   Six members of the Board voted to approve the calendar — Board President Michael Durso, Board Vice President Dr. Judith Docca, Chrisopher Barclay, Jill Ortman-Fouse, Rebecca Smondrowski, and Student Member of the Board Eric Guerci — and two members abstained from the vote — Phillip Kauffman and Patricia O’Neill. It was Kauffman and O’Neill who voted against the proposed day off for Eid al-Adha back in November.

   During the holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, Muslims commemorate and remember the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. It is the same story which is in the Judeo-Christian scriptures of God ,or Yahweh—as Jews and Christians refer to him—or Allah in the Muslim culture, asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Abraham showed God that he was willing to make such a sacrifice in God’s name, and Allah revealed to him that the “sacrifice” had been fulfilled by Abraham’s willingness to submit to God’s will and Abraham’s son was spared.

   “Many members of our community have respectfully asked for this holiday for many years and I believe that today’s decision is just the right thing to do,” said Durso, in November. “I am confident that our staff can make this professional day a very valuable one that serves our educational interests and enables us to continue to improve as a district, while allowing our students this day to spend with their families.”

   The school calendar is based on 184 instructional days for students (four more than the minimum required by the state of Maryland) and 193 duty days for teachers. The calendar was developed in partnership with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, the school district’s three employee associations, and the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils, as well as other community members and school system leadership.

   The Board also adopted a contingency plan that would extend the school year until June 23, 2017, depending on how many days would be needed to make up for lost instructional time due to emergency closings.

   The Board and staff discussed that MCPS will likely recommend an earlier start to the 2017-2018 school year and will also study how MCPS uses its professional days for staff.

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