Click here for the complete 2013-2018 MMSD Religious Holiday Calendar Document.

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.

Please also see the longer MMSD listing religious and cultural observances that should be considered when scheduling exams, events, and activities, including a 5-year calendar of dates.

Faith Community

Major Religious Observances

Considerations

Bahá'í

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.

  • Observances begin at sunset the evening before the holy day. Students, staff and community may be involved in evening observances the evening before, as well as the evening of the holy day.
  • Students 15 years and older may refrain from eating or drinking during school hours between March 2-20.
  • Some students may refrain from doing school projects that occur on evenings when the observance begins after sunset.

Islam

Eid al-Fitr  Muslim day of feasting to celebrate end of Ramadan

Eid al-Adha  Muslim holy day known as the Feast of Sacrifice

 

  • The observances of Muslim holy days begin in the morning and students may also be involved in observances around sunset and early morning.
  • Students need silent and convenient places to perform daily prayers at certain times during the school day.
  • Some observances require fasting and/or dietary restrictions.
  • Some students may refrain from doing school projects that occur on evenings when the observance begins after sunset.

Judaism

Rosh Hashanah  Jewish New Year

Yom Kippur  Jewish Day of Atonement

Passover  Jewish Festival celebrating the Exodus from Egypt (esp. first two days)

  • Observances begin at sunset the evening before the holy day. Students, staff and community may be involved in evening observances the evening before, as well as the evening of the holy day.
  • Some observances require fasting and/or dietary restrictions.
  • Some students may refrain from doing school projects that occur on evenings when the observance begins after sunset.

Christianity

Christmas  Celebration of the birth of Jesus

Easter  Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus

  • Although conflicts with the school calendar rarely arise in connection with the direct observance of the Christmas holiday (usually falling during Winter Break) or Easter holiday (observance typically occurs on a Sunday) within the Christian faith communities, numerous other observances within the various Christian traditions may result in requests for school-related accommodations.

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.

Click here for the complete 2013-2018 MMSD Religious Holiday Calendar Document.