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Religious Observances

August 9, 2011


Dear Families:


Re: Student absences for religious observances

 Ramadan, a major religious holiday for our Muslim students, families and staff, will be observed during the first week of school, August 29 – September 2, 2011. Students in grades 1-12 start school on August 29. Kindergarten students start school on August 31. Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan in which Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset, could be August 31 and September 1.

 As a religiously and culturally diverse school district, we are concerned about the education of all of our children.  The policies and procedures schools put in place for excused absences and ways to make-up work will appropriately address students who may miss school due to religious observances.

 Absences for religious reasons may be excused if a parent or guardian notifies the school in writing. In your note, include the number of days your child will miss school, the dates he or she will be absent and the reason why.

 In the case of Eid, it may be best to notify your child’s school when teachers return to work the week of August 22-26, 2011.


School activities during opening week

Opening week activities are a time for school staff to establish rituals and routines; give parents and students information about school schedules, classroom and school procedures and safety information; and assess students’ reading and mathematics levels. During opening week, school staff get to know students and students get to know each other.

 During elementary school opening week, students meet teachers and classmates and learn about classroom and  school procedures, including those used on buses and in the cafeteria. In many schools, after children attend for at least two days, the Fountas and Pinnel reading assessment begins. In most schools, it takes about two weeks to complete the reading assessment. Teachers listen to each child read in order to identify reading levels and analyze errors. The assessment allows teachers to tailor their instruction to the specific needs of each child. This information is shared with parents and guardians at parent/teacher conferences.

 During typical middle school opening week activities, students receive their class schedules, participate in orientation activities in their homeroom and learn about breakfast and lunch services.

 During high school opening week, students receive their classroom schedules, textbooks, locker assignments, course information and general school orientation about events, policies and procedures.


What students and families can do to get missed school work

Parents and guardians can contact their child’s school or teacher the week of August 22-26, 2011, to learn about what their child will miss during an absence.

Tips for students include:

·       Find out what was assigned during your absence

·       Arrange for a study buddy in each class to copy the lecture notes from someone reliable. (Try talking to a couple of classmates.)

·       Access class information via the class portal on the MPS website

·       Contact your teachers to get any handouts distributed while you were gone.

·       Turn in any homework promptly when you return from your absence. 

Procedures vary among schools, but generally assignments are available in a student’s classroom before or after an absence and online on the parent portal and teacher websites.


Activities to acquaint students to school

Your child’s school will send a back-to-school newsletter that will include important information for you and your child. If your child will be absent the first week of school, there may be opportunities before school for you to get information about the first week of school. Read the newsletter or contact your child’s school to find out if any of the activities below will be available.

  • Goal-setting conferences with parents during teacher opening week
  • Orientation activities for ninth-grade students
  • Open houses during teacher opening week


We look forward to working with you and your child to make this school year a great year. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school or our office.



Theresa Battle

Mark Bonine

Michael Thomas
Associate Superintendents