SUWANEE -- The mother of a student at Riverside Elementary said she was shocked by the school's plans to hold aptitude tests during Rosh Hashanah.
While the school's administration changed the testing dates for her, she's still unhappy with Gwinnett County Public Schools for having initially planned to allow testing during the Jewish New Year.
"They would never have scheduled testing on Christmas or near Easter," said Ayson Levin, the mother of a boy in second grade at Riverside Elementary. "Why can't they be more mindful?"
The Levins found out several days ago that the annual CogAT -- Cognitive Abilities Test -- was planned for Sept. 17-18 during the Jewish holiday. "When I looked into it, it looked like most schools in the county were going to have it during Rosh Hashanah," Levin said. "When I talked to them at the testing office, they said they knew it was on Rosh Hashanah, but they thought it was only orthodox Jews that celebrated on that date."
Added Levin: "I don't know if it was that they didn't know or that they didn't care."
Sloan Roach, a spokesperson with the school district, said that GCPS "does consider religious holidays as well as school holidays and the schedule for other assessments in setting its testing calendar."
Added Roach: "However, it is often difficult to avoid conflicts as this is a very busy time of the year -- Yom Kippur is the next week, early release days fall during the following week, the week after that includes a student holiday and then ITBS (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills) testing is set to begin."
Roach said it was her understanding that the school moved its testing to later in the window "to avoid the conflict."
The CogAT window is set for five days, Roach explained. Testing requires about an hour each day and is completed during a three-day period. "Schools have the opportunity to schedule within that window on any three consecutive days. Make up days are provided during that time as well. In this case, there is flexibility provided within the window and students would not be excluded from participation because of the conflict of dates."
Despite that fact, Levin said it's the principle of the situation.
"It's surprising that in this day and age this is still a problem," Levin said.
She said that while Riverside Elementary "did eventually come through for me, and they did get the dates changed, I hope (the district) will be more mindful in years to come."