Upcoming Dates & Celebrations
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This is the first Date-Driven Smore newsletter of this school year! The goal of this newsletter is to share District calendar dates, school-related appreciation days, national recognition celebrations, and if applicable, related community events. All dates are posted to the Calendar Page of the FPS Website.
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 you'd like to submit a holiday or celebration acknowledgement for the 2024 - 2025 calendar OR if you'd like to submit a photo showing how your family honors any of the shared traditions or holidays, please complete the Cultural Calendar Form.
Stay tuned for the September "DNA" which will contain good news from around the district!
DISTRICT CALENDAR DATES
Operational dates listed within each month of the Annual District Calendar
Aug. 30 - Kindergarten Screening
Aug. 31 - Kindergarten Screening
Sept. 1 - Kindergarten Screening
Sept. 4 - No School: Labor Day
Sept. 6 - First Day (Kindergarten and BLOCKS if attending 4.5 days/week)
Sept. 7 - First Day (BLOCKS if attending 4 days/week)
Sept. 19 - Districtwide Early Release (Professional Development)
Sept. 25 - No School: Yom Kippur
First Days of School!
Grades 1-12: August 30th
BLOCKS (4.5 days/week) and Kindergarten: September 6th
BLOCKS (4 days/week): September 6th
We LOVE seeing and sharing those first day photos! If you want to be featured in photo slideshows or cover photos, simply upload your 'first day of school' photos at the link below. (We won't state student names.)
First Day of School Photos - Safety Tips:
Please consider keeping your post generic. If you are using a chalkboard / sign - avoid sharing specific information about your child such as name; school, teacher, & grade; favorite activities; and other personal details.
If you are sharing the images on your personal social media channels, double check your privacy settings. You may want to remove personal information from your account that others can see, such as your telephone number or address.
Lastly, watch out for phony friend requests. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don't know in real life. Also, think twice before you accept a friend request from someone you are already connected with. It could be an impostor trying to access your information and friends list.
10 DAYS OF SEL (SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING)
Though SEL (or Social-Emotional Learning) is integrated into our time on learning throughout the school year, our Elementary and Middle Schools will start the school year with first focusing on social emotional growth, ensuring the well being of students, and taking the time develop authentic relationships that build a true sense of belonging, before going deep into the academic scope and sequence. We look forward to expanding this model across all schools PreK-12 in upcoming years.
The goal of this SEL focus is to explicitly teach students academic and behavior routines and expectations, introduce growth mindsets, review restorative conversation questions, and to support the building of respectful and equitable student to student relationships and student to teacher relationships.
We believe that this intentional focus will support our students in having a sense of belonging and community, as well as creating brave spaces in classrooms where students take academic ownership and risk. More to come on this effort, including conversation-starters to learn about these experiences at home!
SOCIAL CELEBRATIONS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
As we move into the month of September, 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.
National Attendance Awareness Month
Every day that our students are in school is an opportunity to learn, build relationships and access support. Led by Attendance Works and 10 national partners, the annual campaign around National Attendance Awareness Month urges schools, localities, and states to promote the value of good attendance and to take concrete steps toward reducing chronic absence. As part of this we acknowledge September (or the start of school) as Attendance Awareness Month and the launch of year-long attendance campaigns.
Apart from the fact that missing classes can place a student behind in their coursework, absenteeism also affects assignments, final exams, and even the ability to read. Many of our nation's youngest students miss 10% of the school year—about 18 days a year or just two days every month. Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten, and even preK, can predict lower test scores, poor attendance and retention in later grades, especially if the problem persists for more than a year.
While taking a few days off in times of need is acceptable, avoiding school for other reasons only proves to be harmful in the long run.
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Sponsored by the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, this observance provides an opportunity to learn more about this major public health problem.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends children aged 3 through 5 years be physically active throughout each day. Find ways to help make physical activity a part of a child's life by visiting CDC's interactive Move Your Way tool (available in Spanish). It’s also important to encourage less screen time.
Parents and Caregivers Can Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth (US Dept. of Agriculture)
Library Card Sign-Up Month
Get in Your Element this September—sign up for a library card! From borrowing books, ebooks, and museum passes to getting homework help, learning new skills, or attending story time, a library card helps you do more of what you enjoy. Get a library card and dive into a new hobby, tinker in a maker space, spark your creativity, or borrow an item from the Library of Things . A library card is your most important school supply—it's elemental, really—and everyone should have one!
National Suicide Prevention Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.
The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope.
ASK: Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way.
BE THERE: Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful by after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.
KEEP THEM SAFE: A number of studies have indicated that when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, and frequently suicide rates overall decline.
HELP THEM STAY CONNECTED: Studies indicate that helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
FOLLOW UP: Studies have also shown that brief, low cost intervention and supportive, ongoing contact may be an important part of suicide prevention, especially for individuals after they have been discharged from hospitals or care services.
In the coming weeks, we will share more about this awareness month and steps we can all take to help prevent suicide.
Sept. 4: Labor Day
Sept. 10-16: National Arts in Education Week
Started by Americans for the Arts, National Arts in Education Week offers a dedicated week to celebrate, highlight, and honor the arts as an essential part of a complete education. Students of all ages—from preschool to college to creative aging programs—benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. Celebrating National Arts in Education Week is a way to recognize this impact and share the message with friends, family, and communities.
Sept. 15-17: Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is the autumnal festival celebrating the start of the Jewish New Year. Similar to using the broadly celebrated New Year in January as a time to make “resolutions” and plan to lead a better life, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the past year and committing to make changes or improvements for the year ahead. This period of introspection stretches for ten days through Yom Kippur. Some traditions include candle-lighting, feasts with symbolic foods like challah, apples, and honey (which symbolizes the desire to have a sweet, enjoyable, and bountiful year.)
Sept. 15 - Oct. 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
Looking for ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? Explore these 8 ideas from Boys and Girls Club of America: https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/2023/July/8-ways-to-celebrate-hispanic-and-latino-heritage-month
Sept. 19: National IT Professional Day
On the third Tuesday of every September, we celebrate National IT (Information Technology) Professionals Day to say thank you to all of the hardworking technical experts within our community. It takes a solid set of skills and talents to fill the shoes of an IT Pro so, today, we say thanks to the people who support our networks, infrastructure, instructional technology, fix and program our devices, the behind-the-scenes operators, and the people who help make education as advanced as it is today.
Sept. 23: First Day of Fall
This date marks the start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. From the end of summer until the winter solstice, the days will get shorter and shorter. Saying goodbye to summer can be hard - but how lucky are we to live in beautiful New England where there's no shortage of fall-centric things to do (apple picking, leaf-peeping, watching football (Go Flyers!), etc)! This first day of fall is also known as the autumnal equinox. Coming from two Latin words, aequus (equal) and nox (night), the name was coined due to the equal length of day and night on the equinox. While it's not exactly the same, it's close enough and often differs by minutes, depending on where you are in the world.
Sept. 23: Day of Sign Language
International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on 23 September along with International Week of the Deaf. This day presents a dedicated opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. In honor of this day, try learning up to 25 first words in ASL:
Sept. 25: Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur comes ten days after Rosh Hashanah and is also known as the Day of Atonement. Referred to as the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are time for Jewish people to reflect on the past year and to seek forgiveness for the past and commit to making positive change in the next year (and beyond). Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar and is a day of fasting and prayer.
Source: Anti-Defamation League - 5 Things to Know about the Jewish High Holidays
Sept. 26: Human Resource Professionals Day
Human Resource (HR) Professional Day is celebrated every September 26 and is designed to pay tribute to those working in HR departments everywhere, as well as to raise awareness about various roles and responsibilities within HR. Our HR staff are always working hard behind the scenes to recruit, onboard, train, and support our entire staff roster. From benefits administration, absence management, employment law compliance, to contract negotiations, and professional learning - our HR team is always available to lend a helping hand.
Sept. 30: International Translation Day
This is a new and important addition to the celebratory days we acknowledge in Framingham Public Schools. Our Translators and Interpreters are crucial to ensuring that Framingham families get necessary and helpful access to their child's education and growth. As part of this, we wish to recognize the important role that translation plays in our community, in our lives, and celebrate our shared humanity.
Translation unveils a world of human experience, allowing us a window into cultures other than those we know. With thousands of languages spoken on the planet, failure to communicate effectively can be a major barrier to cooperation and mutual understanding. Language also gives us the capacity for expression and connection, so essential for society and well-being.
Translators bring people in opposite corners of the world face to face, through stories and the simple act of reading. Literary translation lifts the barriers of culture and language, to unveil the face behind the story, allowing the readers to see themselves reflected in the text, despite not speaking the author’s language.
Framingham Cultural Council Extrava-GRANT-za
The Framingham Cultural Council (FCC) is pleased to announce that it will begin accepting applications for grants to promote the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences in our community on September 1st.
To aid those who are interested in applying for the upcoming grants, the FCC will hold two Extrava- Grant-za events at the Amazing Things Arts Center (atac) located at 160 Hollis Street.
September 14, 2023 at 6:30pm: Informational Meeting
October 7, 2023 from 9am - 5pm: Application Writing Session. Members of the Cultural Council will be present throughout the day to help demystify the grant writing process. Translation will be available to Spanish, Portuguese, and ASL. No reservations are need.
Additional information about the Framingham grant program, including priorities
and guidelines, can be found on the FCC Website. The deadline for submission of applications is October 17.
The mission of the FCC is to support activities that contribute to the cultural life of the city. Funding is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). It is required that projects clearly benefit the residents of Framingham.
Last year the Framingham Cultural Council awarded thirty-three grants to individuals and groups to support a variety of programs and events from fields as diverse as drama, education, gardening, history, music, and storytelling.