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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's 2018 Welcome Back

date 9/4/2018

Opening Day for Staff 9-4-18 Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,

Welcome to Belmont Public Schools (BPS) for all of our new families, and welcome back to all of our returning families.  I hope you all had quality time with your friends and families and are enjoying the summer weather. I want to thank our administrators, administrative assistants, teachers, the custodial and facilities staff, and the Belmont Department of Public Works for their hard work to ensure a smooth start in September as we prepare for the opening of school.

As we look toward the first day of school on Wednesday, September 5 for students in grades 1-12, a reminder this is an early release day for all students.  Please note kindergarten begins with a half day as the first day on September 6 and 7. Half of kindergarten students report to school on September 6 and half of kindergarten students report to school on September 7. Your school will contact you as to which day your child will attend.

Needless to say, the enrollment at Belmont Public Schools continues to increase each year, and some relief measures have been put in place for this school year and beyond. The proposed school department budget for the 2018-2019 school year includes nine positions allocated across the district. The school department and the School Committee would like to thank the Warrant Committee, the Capital Committee, and Town Meeting members for supporting all aspects of the school budget. These positions and added resources will help support our teachers and reduce class size as we continue to address growing enrollment challenges in the district.

Over the summer months, modular classrooms were added to Burbank Elementary School as a short term remedy to address our growing enrollment at the elementary level. This work compliments our continued efforts with the Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC) to provide a long term solution to this challenge. We want to thank Town of Belmont Director of Facilities Steve Dorrance, who put in tremendous time, effort, and experience to ensure the delivery of goods, classroom set up, and completion of the Burbank modular project. We also want thank the Town and the Space Task Force Committee who explored space options for the modulars, and the Burbank community for this much needed expansion.

Much has been accomplished but there is still much to do and look forward to during this school year. Please read on for some updates and news for this school year and beyond.

BPS and Belmont P.D. Partnership: We appreciate the efforts of Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin and Town Administrator Patrice Garvin to secure funding for an additional School Resource Officer (SRO). This position will primarily serve the four grades of students at the Chenery Middle School and partner with current SRO Melissa O’Connor, who serves Belmont High School. In addition to their duties at the middle and high schools, they will connect with families of elementary schools when needed.

New Administrators at BPS: We have several new administrators this year as well as staff who have taken on new administrative roles. Please welcome three administrators new to Belmont Public Schools; Wellington Principal Allison Franke, BHS Assistant Principal Daniel O’Brien, and METCO Director Rosa Inniss. We are very pleased to have them join our school community. Some familiar faces in different roles are BHS Interim Principal Thomas Brow, previously the assistant principal at BHS; BHS Assistant Principal Michael Bruno, who will be part time and continue his role as a special education teacher at BHS; Assistant CMS Principal Nicolette Foundas, who previously was a Grade 5 teacher at CMS; and Beth Rumley, now the Director of Nursing for BPS. We welcome them to their new leadership positions.

After School Care Expansion: We identified sufficient space in four of the schools that need expansion for their aftercare programs. Our after school programs have applied to the state for an increase in their capacity via the licensing process. Once that licensure is secured, the after school providers will communicate with their families the process for enrolling more children for the 2018-2019 school year. The Policy Sub Committee of the School Committee will continue the work of addressing some of the long term issues related to after school care. I want to thank our principals and after school care providers for their joint work in helping to increase space and supporting more families with after school programming as well as teachers who have given the use of their classroom space.  I would also like to thank our parents and guardians for feedback and input on this work.

Kindergarten Central Registration for 2019-2020: We are working on a central registration process for incoming kindergarten students entering the 2019-2020 school year. This will give parents and guardians an opportunity to meet school officials and get information on school department services and allow many school assignments to be completed prior to the aftercare program deadlines. We continue to work towards our goal of balancing class sizes across the district, with school placement as part of our registration process. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time.

Belmont High School Building Project: During the 2018-2019 school year, we will be entering the next few phases of the Belmont High School Building Project.  It is very exciting to see a building design as presented to the School Committee on May 8 come to fruition after much input and support from the Belmont community.  We thank the Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC), our educators, directors, and administrators for all their time, effort, and feedback that have brought us to this point. We also thank the Belmont residents who volunteered on the BHSBC for their incredible time commitment towards this project. This is especially true for the BHSBC Chair Bill Lovallo and Vice Chair Pat Brusch. If you wish to view this building design, please go here.

Our Belmont teachers and educators have done great work with the Design Team to shape the floor plan and design plan, addressing topics that range from general design and adjacencies of programs and classes to very detailed work about classrooms and instructional spaces.  The vote of a grade configuration of 7-12 by the School Committee provides the district with a creative opportunity to implement a renewed vision of teaching and learning for our students as well as provide much needed relief as it relates to our enrollment and space challenges. At the June 19, 2018 School Committee meeting, the construction phasing schedule and exterior design update was presented to the Belmont community at a joint meeting of the BHSBC, the School Committee, and the Board of Selectmen. Upcoming meetings and more information on the project can be found here.

A full MSBA review of the Design Team’s submission was held on July 11, 2018.  The MSBA voted unanimously to approve the 7-12 grade project on August 29. We are pleased to have made all of our deadlines the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has set for us.

With those approvals in hand, the Town is seeking a debt exclusion vote at the general election on November 6.  We thank the Belmont community for supporting the Belmont High School Building Project. School administration will continue to present to the Belmont community this fall this fall on the BHSBC work and plans at school PTO/PTA meetings.  The BHSBC Committee will continue to hold public forums throughout the year as well.

On behalf of our staff, I would like to thank every community member, parent and/or guardian for their support for students in Belmont.  We appreciate their time and dedication, and we thank our Belmont community.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the faculty and staff of the Belmont Public Schools.  Their dedication, hard work, and expertise drive the success of our schools. We look forward to another productive and exciting year ahead as we continue our valued partnerships with parents, guardians, educators, staff and administrators in our work for the Belmont Public Schools.

The Belmont Public School calendar, as well as other important information regarding religious holidays, and school hours can be found on the BPS website.

 I look forward to seeing you all soon.


Respectfully,

John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Belmont, Massachusetts


Opening Day for Staff 9-4-18 



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  • Administration: 617-993-5400
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