The Anne Arundel County school system is considering making Yom Kippur a school holiday in response to parent and staff requests, officials said yesterday.
Attendance data showing the number of students who take the day off for religious reasons also were a factor considered by officials who presented a tentative calendar for the next academic year.
"Although our numbers are still low, they are growing," said Georgiana Maszczenski, an administrator in charge of designing the calendar.
Baltimore and Howard County schools have observed Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, both Jewish holidays, for years. Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, falls in September or October; Rosh Hashana, which marks the Jewish New Year, is nine days earlier.
Data on the number of Jewish students in Anne Arundel County schools were not available because the system does not collect such information.
In other business, board members unanimously voted to support a new advanced placement program. It will certify high schools as AP recognized, certified or distinguished.
To receive a designation, a school must offer a number of advanced placement courses and support programs, as well as reach a level of student success. An AP-recognized school will need to offer 12 courses while certified and distinguished schools will need 17 and 24, respectively.
To aid students, Superintendent Eric J. Smith said he is removing requirements, including an essay and teacher recommendation, which students traditionally have needed to enroll in an AP course.
"I think it's important that there be that kind of access - that kids that want to do more demanding work be given the opportunity to do it," Smith said.