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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's Welcome Back Fall 2017

date 9/1/2017

Butler School

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students:

Welcome to Belmont Public Schools 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 you know, the enrollment at Belmont Public Schools continues to increase each year, and this year is no exception. We appreciate the support of the Belmont community as we continue to allocate resources in the best manner possible to support teachers and students in the classroom. In an effort to provide class size relief at our elementary schools, three additional teachers and classrooms have been added: Kindergarten at Burbank, Grade 1 at Butler, and Grade 4 at Winn Brook.

It is our hope that these positions will reduce class size in all elementary class sizes across the district. We fully realize our goal to balance class size across the district has come with the need to place students and families outside their neighborhood schools. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this process. We look forward to the work of bringing additional modular space to our elementary level as a short term remedy to our enrollment issues as well as engaging in our continued efforts with the Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC) to provide a long term solution to this challenge.

As enrollment increases, we understand the challenge some families face with after school care issues. We continue to communicate with our after school care providers as our enrollment outpaces available space. This year we have placed over 130 elementary school students who enrolled just since June. We hope to open up more conversations as we work towards resolving this ongoing challenge.

Please continue to read below for some important and exciting updates:

Burbank Modulars for 2018-2019: We look forward to presenting the modular proposal and request for funding to the Special Town Meeting in November 2017. There will be more information about this project available to the Belmont community before this date. Please see our page on the BPS website for more information on our Elementary Modulars page on the Belmont Public Schools website.

Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC): The project now has a “building team’” on board.  The Owner Project Manager (OPM) announced last April, Daedalus Projects, Inc., and the Design Architect is Perkins and Will. Both firms will represent the Town during the design and construction phase of the building in the partnership with the MSBA. The BHSBC met with the firm in August with Perkins and Will presenting an aggressive timeline for the completion of the project. The first community forum and workshops were held last spring, and there will be future events at different times and days, including nights and Saturdays, which we hope will accommodate the varying schedules of people who want to attend. Please see the Belmont High School Committee website for more information.

New Faces at BPS: We welcome several new administrators this year at Belmont Public Schools.  They are Belmont High School Assistant Principal Thomas Brow, Director of the Preschool Briana Wall, and Wellington Assistant Principal Annemarie Stewart.

SEL and Achievement Gap for Students: 2017-2018 will be our third year of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) initiative. The SEL work will continue to be led by school-based steering committee teams. While improving our SEL skills to support all students in our first two years, we learned through this work the need to prioritize the experience for our African-American/Black students. Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year, many of our teachers through PLTs, and our Leadership Council, focused on this topic and have a great “take away” that would benefit our district as a whole. To that end, we will tap our own expertise and provide outside support to lead professional learning to better understand these student experiences, how it impacts their learning, and what we can do to improve it as well as address any and all local achievement gaps that exist.

The national conversation that has dominated our country over the last few weeks makes it clear the need to ensure a safe learning environment for all students and staff, including their physical and social emotional well being. As your superintendent, it only strengthens my conviction that our work over the last few years in SEL, and the upcoming achievement gap work, align with the values of our community and provide an open environment to discuss these important issues.

Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias gave a presentation to the School Committee this past spring on the Achievement Gap in Belmont Public Schools, looking at the school experience of our African-American/Black students and the impact on their learning. That presentation is available on our website.

Please note the complete 2017-2018 school calendar, as well as other important information regarding religious holidays, and school hours can be found here and on our website at

In closing, a reminder the first day of school for students Grades 1-12 is September 6, and the first half day of kindergarten (half of kindergarten students each day—your school will contact you) is September 7 and 8. Have a great rest of your summer, and I look forward to seeing you all soon.


John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Belmont, Massachusetts 



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  • Administration: 617-993-5400
  • High School: 617-993-5900 
  • Chenery Middle School: 617-993-5800 
  • Butler School: 617-993-5550 
  • Burbank School: 617-993-5500 
  • Wellington School: 617-993-5600 
  • Winn Brook School: 617-993-5700
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