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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 8, 2024

Dear County and District Superintendents:

Inclusive Practices to Support All Students’ Cultural Observances, Spring 2024

California’s students, families, and educators represent the exceptional diversity of our great state.

As Californians of many backgrounds prepare for cultural and religious observances in the coming months, the California Department of Education (CDE) would like to make sure that all educators have access to information and resources that support the inclusion of all students and families, as well as compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Title VI protects students from discrimination on the basis of real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.

Below are dates of religious or cultural observances occurring during the spring of 2024, as noted on the CDE Calendar of Events web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fb/cdecalendar.asp, and guidance regarding accommodations that may support observant students’ participation in educational activities:

  • Ramadan (Evening of March 10, 2024–April 9, 2024)
    • Observant students may be fasting during the school day and may attend prayer events with family in the evenings. Some students may also want to participate in midday prayers, around 1 p.m. Some students may benefit from accommodations at prayer time, and some fasting students may benefit from accommodations during physical education activities. “To-go” options for school lunch are also supportive of families who depend on school meals but may be fasting during the school day.

  • Easter (March 31, 2024)
    • Observant students may be celebrating with their family and/or church communities during the day on Sunday, March 31, 2024. In the case of weekend observances, the CDE encourages educators to be mindful of potential family obligations when scheduling major exams and deadlines.

  • Eid al-Fitr (tentatively April 10, 2024, date may vary)
    • For most Muslim communities, the date of Eid is not set until the sighting of the moon and is therefore tentative. Observant families may celebrate in the evening prior to Eid to break their fast together. Observant families may also attend morning prayers together on the day of Eid and may miss school or work to celebrate together during the day. The CDE encourages educators to be mindful of potential family obligations when scheduling major exams and deadlines.

  • Passover (Evening of April 22, 2024–April 30, 2024)
    • Observant students may be following dietary restrictions during the week of Passover, including avoiding leavened items such as bread and cereal. Observant students may benefit from nutritional options and may be more likely to bring cultural food from home during this week. Observant families may have gatherings on the evening of April 22 and 23. The CDE encourages educators to be mindful of potential family obligations when scheduling major exams and deadlines.

The CDE encourages all schools and local educational agencies to proactively communicate with educators and staff about the importance of preventing any bullying or discrimination on the basis of students’ real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.

By ensuring that all students feel safe and welcome at school during times of religious or cultural observance, we celebrate the incredible diversity of California and of our local communities across the state.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:es
Last Reviewed: Friday, March 8, 2024

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