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Salem schools start the year on Jewish holiday

Posted by Kaileigh Higgins  September 3, 2010 10:00 AM

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Next Thursday, the opening day for Salem’s public schools, is the first day of Rosh Hashana.

According to Superintendent William J. Cameron, the situation is the result of unavoidable scheduling constraints. He said the city’s teachers’ union contract requires that the opening of school cannot occur earlier than two days after Labor Day.

Cameron said the district needed to schedule a professional development day for teachers prior to the start of the school year to cover the state’s new anti-bullying requirements, and the kindergarten to second grade reading program the district is initiating this school year.

Cameron said the professional development day is scheduled for Tuesday, with Wednesday set aside for each school to hold its regular pre-school year staff meetings. In response to concerns over the timing of the school opening on the Jewish New Year, Cameron said he sent a letter to all teachers asking that their first two days of classes be conducted in such a way that students absent due to the holiday ‘‘will not be put at a disadvantage.’’

— John Laidler

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