The Eanes ISD board of trustees voted March 29 to move the last day of the 2016-17 school year from May 26, 2017, to May 25, 2017, to accommodate students during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The action also moves the date of commencement from May 26, 2017, to May 25, 2017.
Westlake High School administrators and counselors realized in January that Ramadan—a holy month in the Islamic religion in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk—begins at sunset on that day, said Claudia McWhorter, the school district’s director of communication.
That means Muslim children and their families observing Ramadan would be unable to attend commencement services, she said.
“It’s something that we look at constantly, just to make sure we are on top of any kind of conflicts that could prohibit our students from attending things,” McWhorter said.
She said the school district does not measure religious affiliation, and she could not determine how many Muslim children attend Eanes schools.
“We wanted graduation to be something that everybody had an opportunity to attend and shifting the date solved that problem,” Eanes ISD Superintendent Tom Leonard said.
In addition, the teachers’ last day for the 2016-17 session, originally scheduled for May 30, 2017, will now be May 26, 2017. A teacher workday has been added on Aug. 10, 2016, to meet the state's 187-day teaching requirement.
The EISD teachers reported having an extra day at the beginning of the school year is “a positive change,” according to background information posted in the board of trustees’ March 29 agenda packet.