Curriculum Review

The curriculum review process ensures a regular, cyclical review of all seven curriculum content areas: English and Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Health, and Technology Education, Social Studies, World Languages, Physical Education, and Fine and Performing Arts. During a seven year period, Curriculum Steering Committees for each discipline plan, develop, implement, and evaluate curriculum for all content areas.

Learning Benchmarks

Curriculum and Learning Benchmarks help teachers, parents, and students understand more clearly what students need to know, understand, and be able to do throughout their study of the core curriculum from kindergarten through middle school. These documents are distributed at parent/teacher conferences. Belmont High School teachers provide course outlines to students and parents at the start of the school year.

Benchmark documents coming soon:

  • Grades K-2
  • Grades 3-4
  • Grades 5-6
  • Grades 7-8

English Language Arts and Reading, K-12

Program Description

Belmont Public Schools is dedicated to providing all students with a rich, rigorous, well-rounded English language arts program which empowers students with the language and thought processes to learn and to communicate.  A key to success for all students is the development of efficient and effective reading and writing skills and strategies.  Developing these skills requires ongoing staff development and parent education in the area of literacy instruction in order to use current research and best practices across the system.  Together, teachers and parents can help students develop the positive attitudes and academic skills that will enrich their lives and enable them to become lifelong learners. 

Elementary, Grades K-4:

The elementary school language arts program includes instruction in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking. Instruction in these key areas is integrated with all other areas of the curriculum. The program’s goal is for all students to develop to their fullest potential the language arts skills so central to success in school and fulfillment in life. An effective reading and writing program depends upon specific teaching in the following areas:

(a) developing an awareness of the processes of reading and writing;
(b) increasing knowledge of the print-sound code and standard writing conventions;
(c) understanding the purposes and genres used in text;
(d) developing habits of lifelong readers and writers.

Teachers guide students as they master new strategies in different contexts and gradually release responsibility to students as they practice these strategies independently. Instruction takes place throughout the day in a variety of grouping patterns (whole group, small group, individual) and in a variety of situations:

  • a read aloud,
  • shared reading,
  • interactive writing,
  • guided reading and writing,
  • independent reading and writing, and
  • reading and writing across the content areas

World Languages, 5-12

Program Description

The Belmont Public Schools offer students a choice between four languages: French, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. Students will receive daily instruction in their chosen language through 7th and 8th grade, with a proficiency target of Novice High by the end of 8th grade.

At Belmont High School, students can continue studying the same language as in Middle School or begin a new language. Students are required to complete two years of world language study for graduation, however, we strongly encourage students to study a world language throughout their four years at Belmont High School. We offer Advanced Placement courses in French, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish

The world languages curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks and the National World Language Standards. The overarching objective for all world language curricula is linguistic and cultural proficiency. These are the enduring understandings that guide our work:

  • Culture is the products, practices and perspectives of a group of people.
  • Language is a vehicle for culture and reflects a culture’s norms and mores.
  • Language and culture evolve over time.
  • Our language and culture influence the way we see the world.
  • Studying other languages and cultures broadens our perspective on our own culture and the world.

Language is taught in a communicative context, and from the earliest levels students apply what they learn to read, write, speak and listen in the target language. For students of Latin the emphasis is on using the language to read, translate and understand authentic texts in Latin.

Science and Technology/Engineering

Science and technology/engineering are essential studies for all students in the Belmont Public Schools. By integrating science and engineering practices with science content standards, students grow to understand the nature of science and to develop a strong, broad foundation in scientific literacy. Students are encouraged to refine their understanding through collaborative sense-making, make connections to what they learn in other classes and develop a scientific approach for exploring the world around them.  Students in all grades will work to: 

  • Ask and refine questions as they observe and explore natural phenomena
  • Construct a variety of models to represent their thinking
  • Plan and carry out investigations, including the collection and analysis of scientific data using mathematical and computational thinking 
  • Produce scientific explanations and technological solutions and
  • Communicate their findings and evidence clearly and effectively. 

It is our goal that students in Belmont do, create and explore science through collaborative and individual work. With frequent opportunities to observe and engage with our natural and physical world, students are guided to form connections between science concepts and their own experiences. In addition to our core content that spans the four main domains of Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering, students are taught to look for scientific concepts that apply across disciplines, such as cause and effect, structure and function, scale, proportion and quantity. To best prepare all students to be thoughtful, responsible, and engaged in the scientific discussions and decisions that they will face in their future, course work emphasizes skill development in evidence-based thinking and reasoning as well as communication of scientific ideas. 

The K-12 science and technology engineering curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Learning Standards, which are a state-based adaptation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Social Studies

The social studies program of the Belmont Public Schools is dedicated to developing informed, responsible, and active participants in democratic society who are prepared to live in an increasingly global and interconnected world.  The goal of our history and social science curriculum is to enable students to acquire the knowledge,skill, and judgment necessary to continue to learn for themselves; to participate intelligently, justly, and responsibly in civil life; to deliberate about local, national, and international issues; and to avail themselves of historical and cultural resources such as historic sites, museums, parks,libraries, and multimedia information sources wherever they may live or travel.  Learning a simple chain of chronological events does no thelp prepare students for the increasingly fast, diverse, and challenging world they will be entering upon graduation from the Belmont Public Schools. To enable them to do so, teachers must reinforce the development of 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, research and analysis,reading and interpreting documents and data, as well as oral and written communication.  Throughout all of their Social Studies course work, students are consistently reminded how history is relevant to their lives.

To achieve these goals, the social studies curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts History and Social Science Frameworks that focus on a content-based curriculum revolving around the disciplines of History,Geography, Economics, Civics, and Government as well as the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy that incorporates the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies.