The Port Washington Union Free School District (PWUFSD) is looking into adding Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by more than one billion Hindus around the world, as a holiday on the school calendar. In a recent meeting of PWUFSD Board of Education (BOE), The Diwali holiday was discussed and it was stated that efforts were being made in this direction and the board was looking into it.
“This matter has been raised during community comments at several of our last BOE meetings by families that observe holidays that are not currently days that we close school,” said President of the Board of Education Karen Sloan. “Upon reflection, the BOE and Administration feel that we would like very much for our school calendar to reflect our philosophy of embracing and supporting our diverse community. Dr. Mooney is currently working on the calendar for next year and looking into if and how we can work our calendar to accomplish this and meet all requirements. We hope to have the final calendar by the end of January 2018.”
At the Jan. 9 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney stated, “we are working on the calendar. I am aware that a number of districts have adopted their calendars. We just have found out from the State of New York that the last day of school for the 2018-19 school year is going to be June 26. That is three days into that last week in June. It is a bit of an anomaly. I do not believe it is something that is going to be happening beyond the 2018-19 school year, but on occasion there just aren’t enough days in the calendar, so we have been working to fit in our contractual number of days. We are hoping to have our calendar finalized soon and we most certainly are giving every consideration to three additional holidays that some of the other school districts are looking at as well.”
In 2017, six neighboring districts declared Diwali a holiday for students. The districts included East Meadow Schools, East Williston Union Free Schools, Half Hollow Hills Central Schools, Herricks Union Free Schools, Hicksville Union Free Schools and Syosset Central Schools.