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Next Year’s School Holidays More Culturally Inclusive

Elementary students enjoy a performance in celebration of Lunar New Year. Courtesy of Grace Garrett.

In January, school administrators released next year’s academic calendar which includes three new school holidays: the Muslim holiday Eid al-fitr, the Hindu holiday Diwali, and the Lunar New Year, commonly celebrated in East-Asian cultures. This decision—made by Headmaster Tom Taylor, Assistant Head of School Laura Maganini, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Oman Frame and the principals—won’t result in a loss of school days overall. This year, there are 177 school days, and, next year, there will be 176.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of family affinity groups that represent different populations within our school community,” says Taylor. Taylor is correct, as Frame points out that the past two school years saw the start of the Paideia Asia Society, the Paideia Islamic Heritage Society and the Paideia Jewish Parents group. Taylor goes on to say that “it was a way to sort of formalize recognition of the different populations that exist within our community.” 

“One of the things that we’ve been able to do as a school, especially in working on a place where people feel like they belong, is making sure that we address situations that are specific to certain affinities and also give time and space for folks to have a point of contact around certain things,” Frame says. Adding these days of observance to the official school calendar marks a step toward this goal. “Having a space in which you share that common identity is critical to feeling like you belong,” Frame says.

In the scope of the school year, the change won’t be noticeable. When Paideia moved to having a full week off for Thanksgiving, “we claimed back some other days … we had some what we call professional development days or like faculty in-service days throughout the year. So, those went away when we went to the full week off for Thanksgiving, and, so, that was sort of a net-zero change,” Taylor says. There was no visible difference in the start and end dates of the calendar. Taylor still reserves “the right to adjust by a day on the front end or the back end to make sure that we have enough days of school.” 


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Michael London
Michael London, Production Editor

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