In the beginning, there was Christmas. Then came Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana. Now, a growing number of school districts in New Jersey close for Muslim and Hindu holidays as well.
The increasing diversity of the Garden State is reshaping school calendars and, educators say, sometimes posing a challenge for those trying to plan out a school year, while respecting the needs of families and teachers.
"A number of groups are coming in and asking about their religious holidays, and that's making it tougher, because you have to fit 180 school days in the calendar," said Don Pavlak, president of the school board in Wayne, which now closes for Christian, Jewish and Muslim holidays. "We could be going to school 12 months a year if we give off for every holiday."