Upcoming Dates & Celebrations
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This is the sixth of ten Smore newsletters to be distributed this school year with the goal of sharing District calendar dates, school-related appreciation days, national recognition celebrations, and if applicable, related community events.
These Date Driven Smores and their contents are a work in progress. There is a group of community members working behind the scenes to help identify dates, the explanations of importance, and how we as a District approach them. If we are missing anything or you wish to contribute information, please email email@example.com! We are open to feedback on these date-driven newsletters!
Stay tuned for the February "DNA" which will contain good news from around the district!
DISTRICT CALENDAR DATES
Operational dates listed within each month of the Annual District Calendar
Feb. 20 - No School: Presidents' Day
Feb. 21 - 24 - No School: February Break
SOCIAL CELEBRATIONS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
As we move into the month of February, the trending events and holiday acknowledgements listed below will begin to pop-up on social media. Here is a little information about the upcoming dates and what they mean.
Month and Week Acknowledgements
February is dedicated as Black History Month, honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, including the civil rights movement and their artistic, cultural and political achievements. (Here are 120 things you probably didn’t know were created by Black inventors!)
While this is traditionally a time to share and show support of Black and African Americans, celebrating accomplishments and drawing attention to Black excellence can be exploitative if we do not also recognize and act on the fact that much of the oppression and pain felt by our Black friends, family, colleagues, and community members are very in the present, not only the past.
Just days before Black History Month began, the world was once again witness to brutality and lack of humanity directed at a Black person. The anger, the exhaustion, the need for action, change, and accountability, is real and present. Not imagined. Not past tense. Just as the contributions and excellence and accomplishments of Black Americans are not something found only in history, the suffering of Black people in America is alive and well today.
Source: Black History Month and Black History from History.com
Please see below for Community Event information that relates to the excerpt above. If you have any questions, please contact the event organizers whose contact information is below.
Police Department Community Discussion
The event information below was shared by Rev. Dr. J. Anthony Lloyd, Pastor of the Greater Framingham Community Church.
Given the recent tragedy of Tyre Nichols’s death, it is important that we once again bring in local law enforcement to share our concerns and learn what they are doing to protect and respect our communities.
WHEN: Sunday, February 5th immediately following the Worship Service
WHERE: Fellowship Hall of the Greater Framingham Community Church (44 Franklin Street, Framingham, MA 01702)
WHO: Anyone is welcome to attend. They expect to have officers from Framingham, Southborough, Marlboro, Natick, and Ashland Police departments.
For more information: (508) 626 - 2118 | GFCCNET.ORG
Sun, Feb 5, 2023, 11:30 AM
Greater Framingham Community Church, Franklin Street, Framingham, MA, USA
Week of February 1st
Specifically, the holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln signed what would later become the 13th Amendment. This amendment is so important because it helped end the physical slavery in the United States. National Freedom Day has been celebrated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1941.
Source: National Freedom Day
Feb. 1: ImbolcImbolc, also called Saint Brigid's Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, and is celebrated from Feb. 1-2. Imbolc is not only celebrated by people who follow one particular religion, as it can and has been celebrated by Christians, Pagans, Wiccans and Agnostic people who just want to welcome in the springtime.
Groundhog Day always falls on February 2nd. On this day, the emergence of the groundhog (woodchuck) from its burrow is said to foretell the weather for the following six weeks. According to Puxatawny Phil, we are facing another 6 weeks of Winter. Better bundle up!
Source: Groundhog Day by Britannica
Feb. 2: Candlemas
Candlemas, a Christian holiday, is a solemn and worshipful time, a time to try to be “a light in the world.” Also known as, the 'Feast of the Presentation of the Lord', it is celebrated forty days after Christmas. On this day, many bring candles to their churches to be blessed. The candles represent Jesus and the day of his induction into Judaism, and they go toward explaining the name of the holy day, Candlemas. There are as many additional traditions and various guidelines for the observance of Candlemas as there are different sects and denominations of Christianity itself.
Source: Candlemas from CatholicCulture.org and Candlemas Day – February 2, 2023 from National Today
Feb. 5-6: Tu Bishvat
Tu Bishvat begins at sundown on Sunday, February 5th and ends at sundown on Monday, February 6th. Tu Bishvat or the “birthday” of all fruit trees, marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. In ancient times, this helped Jewish farmers establish exactly when they should bring their fourth-year produce of fruit from recently planted trees to the Temple as first-fruit offerings. In modern times, Tu Bishvat also serves as an opportunity for planting trees.
Source: Tu Bishvat from Chabad.org and from also from My Jewish Learning
Week of February 6th
National School Counseling Week 2023 (#NSCW23) focuses public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA (American School Counselor Association), highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February.
The 2023 theme is School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big.
Feb. 7: Safer Internet Day
Started by ConnectSafely, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that educates people about online safety, privacy, security and digital wellness, Safer Internet Day encourages everyone to come together and play their part in improving the internet.
This international event is celebrated in more than 100 countries and has a global theme of Together for a Better Internet. In the U.S., they are focusing on five topics:
Media literacy and critical thinking
Picking on peers
Wellness, identity and self-respect
Scams, predators and creeps
Need a resource? Here is a 'by parents, for parents' collection of clearly written guidebooks that demystify apps, services and platforms popular with kids and teens. In PDF format. Feel free to download, print and share: https://www.connectsafely.org/parentguides/
Source: Safer Internet Day
February 10th and 11th
Cameron Drama Company presents The SpongeBob Musical
Cameron Middle School
215 Elm St, Framingham, MA 01701
There is also a Sensory-Friendly Performance of this show taking place on Thursday, February 9th at 5pm. Tickets are currently sold out. If you have any questions, please contact Teri Shea.
Feb. 11: International Day of Women and Girls in Science
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women to promote women and girls in science. This day both calls attention to the gender gap that has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world AND acts as a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing in fresh perspectives, talent and creativity. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.
Week of February 13th
According to National Today, Random Act of Kindness Week takes place February 14th - 20th and is "a celebration of all the ways we can become a positive influence in each other’s lives. Even one small act of kindness can mean a great deal to somebody. The world can be selfish and cruel sometimes and not everyone receives the same kind of support they need. In such a world, it is important for us to constantly be reminded to be kind to one another and to give others hope whenever we can. A small and random gesture of kindness can go a long way."
This is kicked-off with Friendship Day (in many of our schools). On social media we will share kindness themed happenings from within our schools.
Feb. 13: International Epilepsy Day
International Epilepsy Day is the brainchild of the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy. It is a special awareness day that takes place on the second Monday in February to shine a light on the challenges faced by people living with epilepsy.
Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is the fourth most common neurological disorder and one of the oldest-known medical conditions. The condition causes electrical activity in the brain to stop for a short time, which leads to recurrent seizures. Even though 65 million people in the world live with epilepsy, there is still some stigma around the disease. International Epilepsy Day exists to educate the general public about epilepsy and to teach people how to provide better care for people living with the disorder.
Here are some resources from the Epilepsy Foundation to learn more about what a seizure looks like and what to do if you see someone having a seizure. The more everyone talks about epilepsy, the less people living with the condition have to fear discrimination, worry about receiving improper first aid, or keep their epilepsy hidden in the shadows.
Source: International Epilepsy Day (National Today)
Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, is a holiday when people express their affection for loved ones and friends with greetings and gifts. Who is the mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from? Explore the meaning and history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England: https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2
Additional Source: Britannica.com
Bridging gaps between youth and law enforcement, SROs are valuable and essential members of the education community and they deserve unwavering respect and support from the public in the pursuit of keeping schools and students safe.
SROs are full-time law enforcement officers with sworn law enforcement authority, trained in school-based policing and crisis response and assigned by an employing law enforcement agency to work with schools using community-oriented policing concepts.
This day was established by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) to encourage schools and communities to recognize School Resource Officers who support the students and communities they serve.
Feb. 15: Nirvana Day (sometimes celebrated on February 8th)
Nirvana Day, also called Parinirvana, is a Buddhist Holiday that remembers the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80. "Nirvana" is believed to be the end of the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism teaches that Nirvana is reached when all want and suffering is gone.
Sources: Learn Religions or an article on BBC.co.uk
Feb 18: Mahashivrati
Mahashivratri is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festivals of India. The planetary positions on this night, which is also the darkest night of the year, are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. This all-night festival was created due to the believed benefits to one’s physical and spiritual wellbeing while remaining awake and aware in a vertical posture throughout the night.
Feb. 18: Lailat al Miraj / Shab e Miraj
Shab-e-Miraj is another name for Lailat-Al-Miraj. It is Muslim holiday observed on the 27th of Rajab in the Islamic calendar each year. Within Islam, Isra and Mi'raj refers to a miraculous nighttime journey undertaken by the Prophet Muhammad, in two legs. First from Mecca to Jerusalem, and then from Jerusalem to the heavens. According to QuranFocus.com, Muslims consider Shab e Meraj to be one of the pivotal moments in Islamic history, recognized as a national holiday in several Muslim nations so that people can take the day off to observe it. To celebrate it, each Muslim community has its own traditions and rituals. Some Muslim families would set up some nice decorations around the neighborhood with candles and twinkling lights to brighten up the neighborhood at night. They may also serve various delicious meals and sweets to their families as they celebrate it.
Source: Lailat al Miraj/ Shab e Miraj
Week of February 20th
Conceptually this is a pretty simple holiday, but given time and change, it is actually a bit tricky to explain! In short, this holiday was originally celebrated as George Washington's Birthday. The National Holiday expanded to celebrate all U.S. Presidents and to be consistent by an annual observation on the third Monday in February which is why it isn't always held on the same date. It is one of eleven permanent federal holidays established by Congress.
Now for the tricky part! According to Almanac.com, George Washington celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his birth year as 1732. When he was born, the Julian calendar was in use. During Washington’s lifetime, people in Great Britain and America switched the official calendar system from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. To summarize, Washington’s birthday changed from February 11, 1731 (Old-Style Julian calendar), to February 22, 1732 (New-Style Gregorian calendar).
Feb. 20: World Day of Social Justice
Observed annually on February 20th, World Day of Social Justice focuses on the plight of social injustice throughout the world and creates space to press for improvements and solutions. There are many social justice issues in the world today. Gender inequality, systemic racism, and unemployment are just a few. Much of the world’s population, through no fault of their own, are deprived of basic facilities, such as homes, jobs, healthcare, education, nutrition, and more. It is the responsibility of the privileged to ensure that we can create a just world where social justice is a norm.
Around the world, teachers and parents alike also use this day to teach the young children in this world about the ideologies of social injustice and why it is important; so the next generation won’t make the same mistake like the ones before so we can all live a happy, safe, fulfilling life without fear. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Conversation Starter: What can you do to promote social justice?
Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. On Ash Wednesday, observers of Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Nazarene faiths and more will have ashes applied to their foreheads in the shape of a cross. People generally wear the ashes — which symbolize penance, mourning and mortality — throughout the day to publicly express their faith and penance.
Sources: Ash Wednesday from Christianity.com and more info from Time.com
Ayyam-i-Ha is a holiday observed by those of the the Baha’i Faith, which is a dynamic world religion with several million adherents from a variety of different religious and cultural backgrounds. During Ayyam-i-Ha (translated as "Days of Joy" or "Days outside of time") Baha'is and friends perform acts of charity, give gifts to friends and family and attend social gatherings, before a period of fasting begins.