, Salem, MA

July 11, 2013

Kindergarten opening in Beverly changed to avoid conflict


---- — BEVERLY — Responding to complaints from the public, the School Committee has reversed course on a decision to schedule the first day of kindergarten on Rosh Hashana.

The committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to move the first day to Sept. 6 in order to avoid a conflict with the Jewish New Year, which starts at sundown on Sept. 4.

School Committee President Maria Decker called the original decision to start kindergarten on Rosh Hashana “an oversight.”

“You never do the first day of school on a major high holy holiday,” Decker said.

Decker said she received complaints after now-former Superintendent Marie Galinski sent a letter to kindergarten parents on June 17 announcing that the first day of kindergarten would be changed from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5.

In the letter, Galinski said the date was being changed to allow time for training for kindergarten teachers on a new kindergarten assessment required by the state.

Galinski had recommended the Sept. 5 date to the School Committee’s curriculum subcommittee at its June 5 meeting. Annemarie Cesa, the chairwoman of that committee, said she did not realize that Sept. 5 was Rosh Hashana.

“Obviously we would never have scheduled it had we known it was the first day of Rosh Hashana,” Cesa said. “I assumed that it had been checked. We heard from people in the community, and it was a very easy decision on our part (to change it to Sept. 6). You don’t ever want your child to miss the first day of kindergarten.”

The first day of school for other grades remains the same — Aug. 27 for grades one through six and grade nine, and Aug. 28 for grades seven through eight and 10 through 12.

Galinski retired on June 30. Albert Argenziano is serving as interim superintendent and assisting with the search for a new superintendent.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or