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Wisconsin Public School Observance Days

2018-19 School Year Observance Days

Background

Wisconsin's 21 special observance days are part of state statutes governing general school operations (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.02). Federal law has moved the celebration of many legal holidays to Monday, however, state law recommends that each Wisconsin Special Observance Day be held on the day itself. When an observance day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it should be observed on the preceding Friday or the following Monday.

Honoring observance days can teach the elements of tradition that preserve U.S. society and foster an awareness of our cultural heritage. Observance days can be part of a rich social studies curriculum that gives these individuals and events proper emphasis, both in the context of Wisconsin and U.S. history and in relation to their effect on or improvement of our political, economic, and social institutions.

Mildred Fish Harnack Day - 2018

09/16/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Commemorates the only native-born American known to have been executed by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Mildred Fish Harnack was born in Milwaukee in 1902. Enacted April 10, 1986, from the...

U.S. Constitution Day - 2018

09/17/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Representatives of 12 of the 13 original states signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The Constitution, with its 27 amendments, defines the federal system of government and...

Wisconsin Day - 2018

09/19/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Commemorates the assets that make Wisconsin a desirable place to live and work. Falls on the Wednesday of the third week of September, which by gubernatorial proclamation is Wonderful...

POW-MIA Recognition Day - 2018

09/21/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Established to recognize those who suffered or suffer captivity in foreign countries while in active service with the U.S. armed forces. By statute, Wis. Stat. sec. 118.02(17), the day is...

Bullying Awareness Day - 2018

09/26/2018
Established as one of 21 Wisconsin Public School Observance Days to bring attention to the harmful affects of bullying in the school setting. Bullying may negatively impact a student's connection with school, their engagement with the curriculum,...

Frances Willard Day - 2018

09/28/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Commemorates the Janesville teacher and lecturer who was influential in the early women's movement and was president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union from 1879 until her death in...

Leif Erikson Day - 2018

10/09/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. Leif Erikson was born in Iceland and raised in Greenland. Norse sagas written 300 years after his death describe his explorations, around 1000 CE, of a land he called "Vinland." The...

Christopher Columbus Day - 2018

10/12/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute. The first expedition led by Christopher Columbus sighted land somewhere in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. Columbus' voyages are recognized as the start of sustained contact between...

Veterans Day - 2018

11/11/2018
Wisconsin public school observance day required by statute (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.02). This observance day commemorates the end of major hostilities of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Begun as Armistice Day in...

"The Great Hunger" in Ireland - 2019

03/17/2019
"The Great Hunger" in Ireland from 1845 to 1850, also known as the Great Famine or Irish Potato Famine, is considered by many to be the most tragic event in Irish history. When an observance day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it should be observed...

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week 2019

04/08/2019 to 04/12/2019
The annual campaign helps teach Wisconsin residents about weather hazards and provides resources to minimize the risks associated with severe weather. The statewide tornado drill is the Thursday of Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.