Religious Holiday Calendar
One manner of accommodating students’ sincerely held religious beliefs is to be considerate of known religious observances when scheduling significant exams/events/activities.
Please review the table below of the major religious observances likely to lead to significant numbers of MMSD student or staff absences during the school year. The list below is a "short list" of major observances for the larger faith communities in Madison. The longer list is linked above.
|Major Religious Observances
Birth of the Báb Commemorates the birth of the Báb in 1819
Birth of Baha'u'llah Commemorates the birth of the Baha'u'llah in 1817.
Naw Ruz Bahá'í New Year which marks the end of the month of fasting and is a joyous time of celebration.
Eid al-Fitr Muslim day of feasting to celebrate end of Ramadan
Eid al-Adha Muslim holy day known as the Feast of Sacrifice
Gurpurab of Guru Nanak Dev Ji - Celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism
Vaisakhi - Celebration of spring harvest and, for the Sikhs, the creation of the Khalsa Panth, which united the entire Sikh population and gave them the identity that Sikhs have today
Bandi Chhod Divas - A Sikh holiday celebrating the liberation of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, and 52 other unjustly imprisoned political prisoners by the Mughal Empire. This holiday often overlaps with Diwali
Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year
Yom Kippur Jewish Day of Atonement
Passover Jewish Festival celebrating the Exodus from Egypt (esp. first two days)
Christmas Celebration of the birth of Jesus
Easter Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus
Knowledge about the religious heritages of our community promotes understanding among families, students, and school staff, and it also raises awareness of circumstances in which school staff may be approached by a student or family with a request for religious accommodations. As part of the District’s commitment to honor the diverse religious faiths of our students and staff, the information included on this page is intended to serve the following purposes:
- To inform administrators and teachers about the diverse religious practices of their students and staff
- To increase staff awareness of major religious observances within each religious tradition that may cause significant numbers of absences from curricular and instructional activities, with the understanding that individuals within each faith community may or may not follow all the prescribed rituals in the manner presented in the calendar
- To advise administrators and teachers of Board Policy 4039, which requires accommodations for a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs
Historically, the MMSD’s Religious Holiday Calendar has not been intended to provide an exhaustive list of the diverse array of religious beliefs and practices in existence. The religions included in the calendar represent predominant faith communities of students within the Madison community. Representatives from these faith communities have advised MMSD regarding the religious holiday observances that are most likely to give rise to a need for accommodations. The District is always open to including other religious traditions on the calendar in order to fulfill the calendar’s educational purpose.
In the event that conflict does occur between a school schedule and a student’s religious observance, there is a specific Board of Education Policy (Policy 4039) that addresses academic accommodations for a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs. As stated in Policy 4039, students or parents/guardians in need of religious accommodation for religious beliefs should contact either the classroom teacher, the building Principal, an Assistant Principal, or a Principal-designee. The District is required to provide for the reasonable accommodation of a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs with regard to all examinations and other academic requirements. Significantly, however, Policy 4039 is not intended to be an exhaustive statement of situations in which some type of accommodation may be appropriate and/or legally required. Whenever a school is presented with a situation that is not directly addressed by the Policy (e.g., a request made in connection with athletics), please seek assistance from the appropriate Assistant Superintendent and MMSD Legal Services to the extent necessary.
Student confidentiality and privacy are of the utmost importance as well. Therefore, all requests for a religious accommodation (whether falling under Policy 4039 or otherwise) that are presented to any District employee shall be treated as a confidential matter involving pupil records.