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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's February 2018 Newsletter

date 2/14/2018

It is hard to believe we have reached 100 days of school as of February 8, which means we are more than halfway through the year. The February break is here just in time to recharge our batteries. Have a restful and relaxing week, and please see the latest news from the district and calendar items.

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” 
― Plato


We all mourn the lives lost in the recent school violence in Florida. This occurrence strengthens our resolve that the safety of our schools continues to be a priority for the district. I feel confident that our SEL work district-wide helps build relationships with students and hopefully makes our children feel “known” and valued in school. Promoting this culture is an important underpinning of our proactive work so our students do not feel isolated and act out in disturbing ways. The measure of physical safety we provide in schools is equally important. I appreciate the working partnership we have with the Belmont Police over the years on this work.  Having lock down procedures and drills and staying vigilant on how visitors enter our school each day is important. Please know we will continue to meet with our building principals and the police department to ensure our staff and students are safe in our schools.


Belmont High School Building Committee: The BHSBC, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen and myself met on February 13 to do a final review and approval of the Preferred Schematic Report Presentation (PSR) for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board. Alongside this work are continued discussions with Leadership Council and faculty members regarding how the 7-12 grade configurations are split within the new building. We will continue digging deeper into the information gathered from our staff collaborations and our visioning sessions with students, teachers and parents as we partner and move forward with the BHS Design Team.   

FY19 Budget: The budget for school year 2018-2019 will be presented to the School Committee at the February 27 meeting. As a reminder, all School Committee meetings are filmed by the Belmont Media Center and are available for viewing on their website. For all School Committee documents, including this upcoming budget presentation, please see the BPS website under Committee - Public Documents and then the date of the School Committee meeting. I will also give you more information after the presentation in the next newsletter.

After School Care: We have had several meetings with concerned parents and our independently run after school providers on the subjects of space and enrollment. Not surprisingly, our current space issues at the elementary schools coupled with the growing enrollment have made after school care difficult to predict for our families. The School Committee has determined that this topic will be discussed and reviewed at the Policy Sub Committee level in the next month.

Wellington and Belmont High School Principal Searches: Both principal positions have been posted and each search will be conducted by a committee of parents, staff and administrators. The committee will review resumes and make recommendations for interviews. Two or three finalists selected by the committee will then be referred to the Superintendent. Each finalist will spend a day in the district meeting high school staff, central office staff, and community members. Each group will provide feedback forms that will be read by myself and Director of Human Resources Mary Pederson as guidance in making a decision.

BHS Programs of Studies: The School Committee voted on the new Belmont High School Program of Studies at the February 2 meeting. New courses for next year include Introduction to Robotics, 3D Art 1, Digital Art 1, and Animation 1. Please go here to see the full presentation.


We want to remind our Belmont families they do not need to register children who are already attending Belmont schools, they are automatically transferred over each year to the next grade and/or middle and high school. Existing families should only be registering their incoming kindergartners for 2018-2019.


Thank you to the Director of Nurses Mary Conant Cantor, the school nurses and building custodians for their diligence in keeping schools healthy during this season of colds and flu. The school nurses are keeping a close eye on our schools environments, following up each morning keeping track of students and staff who are out sick. Our custodians are extra vigilant in making sure our buildings are in good shape for school. 


  • BHS Girlhood Project BHS Assistant Principal Lisa Hurtubise received a generous grant from the Foundation for Belmont Education’s Cycle 1 Learning Excellence Grants last November to fund the cost for her and 20 students to attend a course called Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture taught by Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley at Lesley University. This project supports the district’s current focus on the social and emotional health and safety of students as critical to their ability to learn. The selected students represent two groups of students who are particularly vulnerable; females and students of color. These students will be mentored by Lesley undergraduate students on topics such as fitting in, negotiating identities, and the possibilities for social change. In the fall of 2018, they will use what they learned to form a girls’ affinity group as part of the larger Student Leadership Team at BHS. The BHS students will lead trainings for other BHS students on girlhood education, empowerment, and leadership, and they will create a project for social change in the BHS/Belmont community. Thank you to Ms. Hurtubise and the Foundation for Belmont Education for providing this opportunity to our students.
  • BHS Economic Summit On February 3, Belmont High School hosted 124 students, 32 teams of approximately four students, who competed in the 2018 Chinese-American International Economic Summit. The Summit is a day-long interactive simulation, run by Boise State University, that asks students to compete in a wide range of events including quizzes (in personal finance, current events, economics and geography), a debate, and a trade simulation in which students have to negotiate among trade barriers, tariffs and financial limitations to execute a pre-determined  list of imports. The summit at BHS was unique because it is the only one that features mixed teams of students from two different countries; 52 students from Beijing China joined 72 students from Belmont High School, Andover High School and Bedford High School. Students from Belmont and Bedford were on teams that featured two American and two Chinese students. Pre-summit prep was significant, requiring students from Bedford and Belmont to communicate with the students in China for the better part of two months. Prior to the summit the students had to take two different quizzes, create a global proposal and make a sixty second video of that proposal which had to show all members of the group. Awards were given for best costume, best table display table display, and top performing countries in each of the following categories (low income, middle income, high income, and overall). Belmont students Julia Logan and Sofia Scholzman, along with their Chinese Teammates, Jing Jing and Hongguang Paio, took home top performing low-income country, Vietnam, in addition to top table display.  Belmont students Zachery Tseng and Camilla Carere, along with their Chinese Teammates, Tantong Huang and Zicheng Zhao, won the entire summit. 
  • The BHS robotics team “Record Robotics,” has been busy since January 6 constructing a new robot for the FIRST Robotics competitions this spring at Bridgewater Raynham and Reading Memorial High Schools, sponsored by the organization For the Inspiration of Science and Technology (FIRST) to increase STEM education for young people worldwide. Teams are given six weeks to design and build their robot, and the BHS Record Robotics team, is currently in the design and build phase, advised by BHS Math Teacher Christina Philips, and mentored by professional programmers and engineers. Only two years old, the team has received awards from other competitions, and has led an engineering-design centered workshop with third and fourth graders at Butler. The team needs funding and sponsorships for these competitions and to continue their mission. For more information on how to donate, please see the the Facebook page @BHSRecordRobotics, visiting the website at, or emailing
  • Congratulations to Chenery’s Lego League team, The Marine Mechanics, who competed in the Eastern MA FIRST Championships on December 16 at Newton North High School and took home the third place Champion’s Award. They were one of five Belmont teams of elementary and middle school students who competed. Each Belmont team had between 3-6 students between the ages of 9-14. Chenery parents Glenn Wong and Sterling Crockett helped coach the team. This youth competition is part of the same organization that runs the FIRST Robotics Competition that students at Belmont High School started to compete in last year. The mission of FIRST is, “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
  • Winn Brook celebrated 100 days of school with each class attempting to collect 100 nonperishable food items and/or toiletries for the PTA Annual Food Drive benefiting the Belmont Food Pantry, held during the week of February 5. A great way to mark 100 days and promote the core values of respect and community.
  • Winn Brook Teacher Brittany Tedesco's 3rd Grade Class Winn Brook third grade teacher Brittany Tedesco had her class put their social emotional learning into action by creating Valentines to thank the Belmont Police Department and the Belmont Fire Department for their service. She surprised the departments by dropping off the cards along with the boxes of doughnuts on Valentine's Day. The Belmont Police Department Facebook has some pictures posed, and there are a couple at the bottom in the gallery as well. 
  • Valentines at Belmont Public Libary On February 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Belmont Public Library and the Belmont Public Schools invited ELL families and community members to learn about Valentine’s Day and other celebrations of love and friendship around the world. They made Valentine cards for veterans at the Jamaica Plains VA Hospital, seniors at the Beech Street Center and recent immigrants receiving health care at MGH Chelsea. Organized by Director of ELL and English Language Arts, Lindsey Rinder, the goal is to promote a sense of community within the town as well as model community service (making valentines for others) that even our youngest students can do. A great way to get families and community members together, the event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the Human Rights Council, and Belmont Against Racism.
  • Burbank Jump Rope for Heart Burbank and Wellington physical education teachers are participating in the annual Jump rope for Heart event in their physical education classes. The students will learn ways we can keep our hearts healthy to prevent heart disease, and will also be raising money for the American Heart Association through family and friend donations. The Wellington event runs February 14-February 16 for grades 2-4 during their regular Physical education class time. Burbank had their event on February 9, reporting a total of 81 students, kindergarten through 8th grade, who participated and raised $3,562. Great job by all the teachers and students and their families.
  • Wellington PTO and families are helping many families stay warm during their January Helping Hands Drive by successfully collecting more than five large bags of coats and $260 worth of gift cards for local stores. The coats will be donated to Children's Services of Roxbury, and the gift cards will be distributed to Wellington families in need.
  • Wellington Multicultural Night Wellington PTO had a well-attended annual Multicultural Night on February 9. This night is where families come together to learn about and celebrate the many international cultures at Wellington. Nineteen countries were represented by the Wellington families. There was food from different cultures and a live performance by the Senegalese drumming ensemble, Rambax. Always a great night of celebration and sharing.


Please see the BPS website for information on the sessions and how to register for the 2018 Summer Enrichment program offered by BPS. Always a well-attended program, this year there is an early drop off option and new courses.


  • Arto Asadoorian; photo courtesy Joanna Kaselis Tzouvelis, Belmont Citizen-Herald BHS Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Arto Asadoorian, was honored by the Belmont Council on Aging on January 25 with an Award of Excellence, recognizing his work in inter-generational programs his department’s staff and students have organized for seniors throughout the year, such as the parent/teacher chorus and band and the Belmont Community Summer Band, which gives seniors and young people the opportunity to interact and make music together, and all the student performances they bring to the Beech street Center and invitations extended to seniors in the community to attend theater department dress rehearsals free of charge. Congratulations to Arto, his department and the students on this recognition.
  • Congratulations to the ninety-seven department of Visual and Performing Arts students who were recognized at the Scholastic Art Awards and the MMEA Junior Districts in January. Please see the announcement from the Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Arto Asadoorian:
The Belmont Public Schools Department of Visual & Performing Arts is proud to announce that ninety-seven students were honored last week for their achievement in Visual Art and Music.
First, the Scholastic Arts competition announced the recipients of their “key” awards. This year there were five students honored from Chenery Middle School and fifteen recipients at Belmont High School. Students who earned “Gold Keys” will have their pieces advanced to compete the National competition in New York City. 
Adding to our excitement last week, we learned that seventy-seven students in Grades 6-9 were accepted to perform in the MMEA Northeast Junior District Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. These students will participate in the MMEA-NED festival on March 14, 16 and 17.
Congratulations to all of the students who earned these honors, to the teachers who helped them achieve such outstanding levels of technical and artistic skill, and to their families who provide endless support of their artistic endeavors.
Chenery Middle School Scholastic Art Awards:                                                  
Izzy Abdallah, Honorable Mention, Printmaking
Johanna Bouwmeester, Silver Key, Drawing and Illustration
Derek Chen, Gold Key, Drawing and Illustration
Derek Chen, Honorable Mention, Painting
Derek Chen, Silver Key, Painting
Lauren Ji, Honorable Mention, Drawing and Illustration
Marshall Reagor, Silver Key, Printmaking
Belmont High School Scholastic Art Awards:                                                      
Laurent Brabo, Gold Key, Painting 
Laurent Brabo, Silver Key, Painting 
Leen Diab, Gold Key, Painting 
Samantha Dignan, Gold Key, Painting 
Nayun Eom, Gold Key, Sculpture 
Nayun Eom, Gold Key, Digital Art 
Nayun Eom, Gold Key, Sculpture 
Nayun Eom, Honorable Mention, Mixed Media 
Nayun Eom, Silver Key, Art Portfolio 
Chloé Gilligan, Gold Key, Painting 
Taemin Jang, Gold Key, Painting 
Gabriella Landaeta, Gold Key, Painting 
Flynn Leeb, Silver Key, Painting 
Zhijia Liu, Honorable Mention, Painting 
Abigail Mohr, Gold Key, Painting 
Calista Reagan, Honorable Mention, Painting 
Victoria Shaw, Gold Key, Painting 
Sambridhi Subedi, Honorable Mention, Painting 
Emily Zhang, Gold Key, Painting 
Jia Jia Zhang, Gold Key, Mixed Media 
Jia Jia Zhang, Honorable Mention, Design 
Chenery Middle School MMEA Junior Districts:                                                 
Angus Abercrombie, Chorus, Grade 8
Kate Arkin, Oboe, Grade 8
Gabriella Athanasiou, Chorus, Grade 7
Lot Bates, Cello, Grade 8
Chris Bauge, Bass Clarinet, Grade 7
Gabrielle Baxley, Chorus, Grade 8
Nicole Bufano, Chorus, Grade 8
Ava Carere, Tenor Saxophone, Grade 8
Gemma Carlile, Chorus, Grade 8
Leo Carpenter, Jazz Trombone, Grade 7
David Carter, Trumpet, Grade 8
Krista Chan, Trombone, Grade 8
Jasmine Chen, French Horn, Grade 7
Kevin Chen, Clarinet, Grade 7
Victoria Chen, Trombone, Grade 7
Andrew Colman, Chorus, Grade 8
Alex Cook, Chorus, Grade 6
Jesse Dong, Jazz Saxophone, Grade 8
Emma Duff Pierce, Chorus, Grade 8
Luke Fitzpatrick, Trombone, Grade 7
Deborah Fu, Violin, Grade 7
Nathaniel Gillette, Trumpet, Grade 7
Lydia Haddad, French Horn, Grade 8
Lizandra Hawkinson, Chorus, Grade 7
Lem Hicks, French Horn, Grade 7
Andrew Huang, Violin, Grade 8
Aditya Jain, Jazz Trombone, Grade 8
Tilda Jones, Flute, Grade 8
Emily Kaiser, Chorus, Grade 8
Daniel Karma, Jazz Trumpet, Grade 7
Clark Kinzinger, Viola, Grade 8
Francesca Kitch, Violin, Grade 8
Fiona Knoor, Flute, Grade 7
Megan Kornberg, Oboe, Grade 8
Kiril Kueppenbender, Oboe, Grade 8
Isaac Laing, Cello, Grade 8
Gaeun Lee, Piano (Jazz), Grade 8
Clare Liang, Flute, Grade 7
Dahlia Liu, Violin, Grade 8
Hannah Lowenstein, Chorus, Grade 8
Andrew Lu, Violin, Grade 8
Bowen MacLennan, Trombone, Grade 8
Christina Manjikian, Chorus, Grade 8
Yatin Mankan, Chorus, Grade 8
Theo Martin, Trumpet, Grade 7
Elia Matrician, Oboe, Grade 8
Henry Min, Clarinet, Grade 8
Robert Monovich, Jazz Guitar, Grade 8
Hannah Oh, Viola, Grade 7
Lora Ovcharova, French Horn, Grade 8
Shanta Pai, String Bass, Grade 8
Diya Rana, Chorus, Grade 7
Erik Rosenmeier, Chorus, Grade 8
Mary Scott Hart, Chorus, Grade 7
Agnes Shen, Flute, Grade 8
Brian Shu, Oboe, Grade 7
Irene Son, Clarinet, Grade 8
Samuel Stevens, Cello, Grade 8
Claire Svetkey, Baritone, Grade 8
Niel Taylor, French Horn, Grade 7
Giulio Valfre Zaydenman, Chorus, Grade 8
Tyler Vuong, Viola, Grade 8
Jonathan Wang, Violin, Grade 7
Nia-lael Wangia, Chorus, Grade 8
Andy Wei, Flute, Grade 8
Robyn Wessman, Percussion, Grade 8
Henry Yao, Alto Saxophone, Grade 7
Daniel Zhang, Tenor Saxophone, Grade 8
Anthony Zhao, Clarinet, Grade 7
Ken Zhou, Tuba, Grade 8
Belmont High School MMEA Junior Districts:                                                      
Maya Chen-Jones, Flute, Grade 9
Margo Danahy, Viola, Grade 9
Alexander Fick, Clarinet, Grade 9
James Fitzpatrick, Trumpet, Grade 9
Laura Jansen, Violin, Grade 9
Lavanya Senthil, Chorus, Grade 9

Angie Zhao, Flute, Grade 9


  • Congratulations to the BHS Boys Swim and Dive Team with a perfect 7-0 record in the Middlesex League and for setting new pool records. Please see the BHS website for more information.
  • Carly Christofori, BHS Girls Basketball Bryson Lipson, BHS Wrestling The Belmont Boosters Athletes of the month for January are Carly Christofori, BHS Girls Basketball, and Bryson Lipson, BHS Wrestling - congratulations to them both.

Here is the Athletic Schedule for the remainder of the week:

Thursday, February 15
4:15 PM Boys Junior Varsity Basketball Arlington High School Home
4:15 PM Girls Junior Varsity Basketball Arlington High School Away
6:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball Arlington High School Home
6:00 PM Girls Varsity Basketball Arlington High School Away
Friday, February 16
5:00 PM Boys Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Woburn High School Away
5:00 PM Boys Wrestling Teams MIAA Div 2 @Milton High School
Saturday, February 17
TBA Girls Varsity Basketball Comcast Tourney @ Malden Catholic Away
10:30 AM Boys Varsity Indoor Track MIAA Div 2 Meet @ Reggie Lewis Track, Roxbury, MA Away
10:30 AM Girls Varsity Indoor Track MIAA Div 2 Meet @ Reggie Lewis Track, Roxbury, MA Away
12:50 PM Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Arlington High School Home
2:30 PM Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Arlington High School Home
Sunday, February 18
TBA Girls Varsity Basketball Comcast Tourney @ Malden Catholic Away
2:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball Brighton High School Comcast Tourney @ Malden Catholic Away
2:00 PM Boys Varsity Swimming MIAA Div 2 State Championship @ BU Away 


  • February 28 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - CMS - BASEC/BPS Parent Lecture Series, "Building Resiliency in Kids with Learning and Attention Difficulties", with Dr. Ellen Braaten, PhD, supported by the Foundation for Belmont Education, Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, and Belmont Media Center. If you need childcare, please email
  • March 6 and 7 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - BHS - BASEC/BPS Parent Lecture Series, ""Promoting Resiliency in Young Children and Teens: A Home and School Toolkit" with Rachel Poliner, supported by the Foundation for Belmont Education, Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, and Belmont Media Center.
  • The Foundation for Belmont Education is having their Silver Anniversary Fundraiser on March 17 at 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Belmont Hill School. For more information and tickets, please go to


The Belmont Public Library is 150 years old, and during March 2 through 4 is having three days of special events to mark the occasion. Please see the library website for more information.


Below are some of the numerous events going on end of February through early March. Please check school websites and communications for more events and any additional information or changes in dates, times and venues.


February 15 - 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - BHS Little Theater - BHS PTO Speaker Series, "Steps to Staying Organized", RSVP here

February 19-23 - February Recess - No School

February 26, 27 and March 5 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - BHS Little Theater - Belmont Idol Auditions

February 27 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

February 28 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - BHS Large Ensembles; Chorale, Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Band

February 28 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - CMS - BASEC/BPS Parent Lecture Series, "Building Resiliency in Kids with Learning and Attention Difficulties", with Dr. Ellen Braaten, PhD

March 6 and 7 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - BHS - BASEC/BPS Parent Lecture Series, ""Promoting Resiliency in Young Children and Teens: A Home and School Toolkit" with Rachel Poliner


Wellington Multicultural Night  Arto Asadoorian; photo courtesy Joanna Kaselis Tzouvelis, Belmont Citizen-Herald  BHS Girlhood Project  Winn Brook Teacher Brittany Tedesco's 3rd Grade Class  Card from a class member to Firefighters  Card thanking for service  Burbank Jump Rope for Heart  Carly Christofori, BHS Girls Basketball  Bryson Lipson, BHS Wrestling  BHS Economic Summit  Valentines at Belmont Public Libary 



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Contact Us

  • 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
  • BPS Webmaster: send email


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