‘All voices count in this school district’

Elementary school districts add two Islamic holy days to calendar

Members of the District 30 Board of Education applauded its vote to add two Islamic holy days to next year’s school calendar.
Members of the District 30 Board of Education applauded its vote to add two Islamic holy days to next year’s school calendar.
Nick Ciccone/Herald

Met with enthusiastic applause, District 30 passed a resolution on Feb. 2 ensuring that the schools would recognize the two holiest days of Islam on the calendar next year — the third and final elementary school district in Valley Stream to do so before the Central High School District makes its decision.

Moments before the measure passed, Superintendent Nicholas Stirling spoke about the district’s history of being inclusive and diverse.

“We have had a long history of having a multicultural curriculum in this district, as well as recognizing and including all cultures in the work that we do with our students — not only to learn facts but to grow an appreciation for each other as a whole and as a community,” he said, adding that “all voices count in this school district.”

Trustee Cristobal Stewart said the board’s decision ranked as one of his proudest moments as a trustee.

District 30 would have been the first Valley Stream school district to vote on the holiday on Jan. 23, but its regular meeting was canceled because of bad weather. School districts 13 and 24 passed their resolutions on Jan. 24 and 25, respectively.

Valley Stream schools began debating whether to recognize the two Islamic holidays — Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr — on the school calendar next year, after some 400 people attended the high school district’s board meeting on the evening of Election Day seeking the change.

Beginning in 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially designated the Eid holidays for public schools in the city. As part of the designation, officials mapped out a plan for the next 30 years to coordinate school calendars because holiday dates change every year based on the lunar calendar.

Syosset schools added the two Muslim holidays and Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, to next year’s school calendar in October. The East Meadow school district approved Eid al-Adha and Diwali in Decemeber for next year’s school calendar. Several other Nassau County schools are considering adding the holidays, including Herricks, East Williston and Jericho. The Mineola School District recently approved a motion to ensure students who celebrate the holidays would not have homework next year on those dates, but did not give them the days off.

The Central High School District’s next regular meeting will be held on Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. at Memorial Junior High School.