The last few snowstorms have been challenging on us all. I want to thank the Belmont Department of Public Works and the Facilities Department for all of their hard work clearing the way for school to be in session, and want to acknowledge the efforts of the staff, families and students who navigated snowy, icy, and narrowed roads to get to their schools. February Recess is upon us, and my hope for you is to have a restful and relaxing time off after all the shoveling done this past week.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
- BPS FY18 Draft Budget: The FY18 Draft 1 budget was presented to the School Committee at the February 7 meeting. The budget provides five positions to combat high class sizes and increasing enrollment as well as one bus. There are ongoing discussions with the Board of Selectmen and the Warrant Committee. The annual public budget hearing for the school budget will take place at the April 25 School Committee meeting leading up to a vote on the budget prior to the May Town Meeting. Please click here to see the revised FY18 Draft 2 budget to the School Committee.
- Burbank Presentation: In an effort to showcase the work of our building principals, the School Committee is asking each principal to present at a School Committee meeting for the 2016-2017 school year. Principal Tricia Clifford presented at the February 7 School Committee meeting. Principal Clifford showed the growth in enrollment at Burbank and highlighted the Small Group Instruction and the Open Circle program and how it supports the district's Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the Strategic Plan. See this presentation on the BPS website.
- BHS Programs of Studies: The BHS Programs of Studies was voted on at the February 7 School Committee meeting. There were some exciting class offerings requested for next year. Those courses included subjects such as AP Computer Science, Personal Finance, and a Physical Education class called Mindful Marauders-Emerging Leaders. Please see the presentation on the BPS website.
- Kindergarten Registration: We have had many kindergarten registrations for 2017-2018 since the registration period opened on February 8. I want to thank the Director of Technology Steve Mazzola, Compliance Specialist Christine Trischitta, Web Developer Natasha Bochkov and the entire Technology Department for making year two of this online process a success.
- Belmont High School Building Committee: In preparation for the feasibility study and going into Module 3 of the MSBA process, the Belmont High School Building Committee (BHS-BC) held public interviews with four candidates for the Owner's Project Manager (OPM). The OPM will analyze the three potential grade configurations of the school (9-12, 8-12, 7-12). Please see the Belmont High School Building Committee website for more information and updates: http://www.belmont-ma.gov/belmont-high-school-building-committee.
- Space Task Force: The Space Task Force is looking into how the growing enrollment fits into the BHS plan as well as the possibility of placing modulars at one of the elementary schools for September 2018. I am going into all the schools this month to meet with the staff to get a teacher's perspective and feedback as well as keeping the staff up to date. Please see the BPS Space Task Force presentation dated 2/10/2017.
- Technology in Our Schools: Director of Technology Steve Mazzola presented the state of technology at the BHS and the impact on teaching and learning at the February 7 School Committee meeting. He reported this is the first year all BHS students had access to iPads, which were generously provided by the Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE). Please see his presentation on the BPS website.
- Later to School: Members of the Start School Later Belmont Chapter presented a petition and a formal request to the School Committee on February 7 to open a task force to explore starting school later than the current 7:35 a.m. A later start would not be for the school year 2017-2018, as the School Committee has to first vote on forming the Task Force and then the planning of a later start would take some time. Please see the presentation on the BPS website.
- Last Day of School: February for most families means planning for summer vacations and camps. Please keep in mind the last official day of school is voted on by the School Committee in late spring. We will announce and post that date on our website when it is official.
NURSES NOTE (a message from your child's school nurse)
- A reminder regarding spring sports: Please remember if your child is interested in participating in a spring sport they are required to have an up-to-date physical exam on file with their school nurse. An updated physical is a physical exam done within the past year and clears your child for participation in physical activity. If you are unsure of the date on your child’s last physical exam on record, simply call your child’s school nurse.
- Attention all 7th grade parents, SBIRT is happening soon: Starting in March 2017, the counselors and nurses at the Chenery Middle School will be piloting a new screening of 7th grade students called “SBIRT”. SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment with regards to substance abuse. Like all screenings parents will be notified ahead of time about the scheduled screenings and will have an opportunity to have their child “opt-out” if desired. The goal of this program is to let the students know that we are available to reinforce healthy decisions and to assist them in obtaining support if needed for substance use related problems. Starting in the 2017-2018 school year SBIRT will become a mandated screening for grades 7 and 9.
- Height, Weight and your Child’s Body Mass Index or BMI: At this time of year your child's school nurse will be scheduling time to measure the height and weight of students in grades 1,4,7, and 10th grades so as to determine their current BMI or Body Mass Index. Like all of our screenings you will be notified prior to the measurement of your child’s height and weight, and if there is any concern regarding the results of your child’s BMI results, you will be notified by the school nurse. Please know, every effort is made to perform this screening in private and the results are kept confidential.
The Butler and Burbank Schools were honored at the State House on February 1 in a ceremony that recognized 51 Massachusetts schools. Butler was honored for receiving the 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award given by the U.S. Department of Education for high level achievement, and Burbank was honored as a Massachusetts Commendation School for high academic progress. Congratulations to these schools, the staff and students. Read more about this event on the BPS website.
The BHS Belmontian Club came in second place out of more than 50 schools in the 2016 Boston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer High School Challenge. Their hard work paid off in donations to a great cause and also allows them to be on stage at the Hatch Shell at the beginning of the 2017 walk on Sunday, October 1. Congratulations to the team and all who supported them.
BHS Community Service students participated in Working to Help the Homeless by holding a food drive to benefit Y2Y Harvard Square, a shelter run by Harvard students for youths between the ages of 18 and 24. The BHS group donated food, toiletries, $370 in gift cards to fund perishable items and $637 in monetary donations. Congratulations to these students and to club adviser and Community Service Coordinator Alice Melnikoff for a job well done. Please see the BHS website for more on this drive.
Butler celebrated the Patriot's Superbowl win (and historic game!) on February 6 by wearing something Patriot or patriotic (red,white and blue). See more pictures at the bottom in the gallery.
- On February 3rd, Chinese Language Teacher Yu Chen Chung Swallom and her Chinese 4 Honors class visited the Chinese House at Peabody Essex Museum. The house is a type of historical residence called “siheyuan 四合院”. The students have studied the structure, fengshui, and traditional Chinese values associated with this type of house. The visit to the house reinforced the students’ understanding of Chinese culture.
Some Chinese 2 students at BHS participated in Chinese New Year Gala hosted by Belmont Chinese American Association on Jan 28. The students performed a popular Chinese square dance named “Little Apple” and a musical performance of the Chinese folk song, “Jasmine Flower”. The students reportedly had a great time and enjoyed working together to participate in a local community cultural event. Chinese Language Teacher Munqing Gu and her students wish you all a prosperous Year of Rooster!
The Chenery Art Show held on February 15 was a huge success. This is the second year of the eighth grade elective art show at the school. The show was entitled, "Coral Reefs: A Cautionary Tale", and was an interactive art show experience. Congratulations on the show and all the hard work put in by students and Chenery Art Teachers Katie Kelley, Kathleen Byrnes, Kristen Ripley, Sarah Libertini.
Despite the weather and delayed school start on February 10, the Wellington Multicultural Night had a large attendance. Sixteen countries were represented by Wellington Families who explored international cuisines through desserts and storytelling at this PTO event.
VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
- Visual and Performing Arts department received great news on the results of the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards and the MMEA Northeast Junior District Auditions. Twenty-four students from BHS and five from CMS earned a total of 37 distinctions from the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards, and 52 students are accepted to participate in the MMEA Northeast Junior District Festival in honors Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. These students were selected based on the results of auditions held at the end of January. Congratulations to all the students who were recognized and to those who participated. Please see the BPS website for the full list of names.
- On February 13 BHS hosted an all-day workshop resulting in a concert that night with he BHS Wind Ensemble joined by the Lexington High School Wind Ensemble with guest conductor Charles Peltz from New England Conservatory. A great experience for these groups to be able to rehearse and experience working with a professional conductor.
SAVE THE DATE
- Learn how you can support your student's Social Emotional Learning (SEL) at home by attending one of these presentations:
Monday, April 3 – Grades K-4 Elementary School Parent Presentation – 7:00 p.m. – Chenery Middle School Auditorium
Wednesday, April 5 – Grades 5-12 Middle and High School Parent Presentation – 7:00 p.m. – Belmont High School Auditorium
Funding made possible by the Foundation for Belmont Education
- The Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) is holding their annual fundraiser on March 18. Tickets are on sale soon, please see the FBE website for more details.
Below are some of the numerous events going on through mid-March. Please check school websites and communications for more events and any additional information or changes in dates, times, and venues.
DATE/TIME - PLACE/EVENT
February 20 through February 24 - February Break
February 27 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Grade Five Parent Presentation on Environ. Camp
February 28 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Large Community Room - School Committee Meeting
March 1 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Chorus/Orchestra Concert
March 1 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Library - BHS PTO Meeting
March 2 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Chorus and Orchestra Concert
March 3 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Butler Math and Science Night
March 6 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - BHS Cafeteria - BHS Real World Career Night
March 6 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Grade Six Band/Chorus/Orchestra Concert
March 7 - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - CMS Large Gym/Outdoors - Grade Six Star Gazing Party
March 8 - Elementary and High School Early Release
March 9 - CMS Sixth Grade Social
March 9 and 10 - All State Festival (March 10 Performance at Symphony Hall/Boston)
March 10 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Burbank Cafeteria - Burbank Movie Night
March 11 - SAT Testing at BHS
March 14 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Large Community Room - School Committee Meeting
March 15 - Elementary Early Release
March 15 - 6:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - BHS Winter Sports Awards Night
March 16 - CMS Staff vs. Students Basketball Event
March 16 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Winn Brook Math Night
March 16 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Grade Eight D.C. Trip Meeting for Parents
March 18 - BHS Field House - Wellington Carnival Night
March 18 - 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. - BHS - FBE Annual Fundraiser
March 20 - BHS Spring Sports Begin
March 22 - Elementary Early Release