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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's December 2018 Newsletter

date 12/19/2018

We wish you all Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, and a restful winter recess. Please read below for news from the district.

“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.” 
― Abraham Lincoln


The last day of school before our winter recess is Friday, December 21. Please know we are conducting a full day of school on that day. The winter recess begins Saturday, December 22 through January 1, with school back in session on Wednesday, January 2. 


Weather Advisory Information December 21 is the first day of winter, and this seems like a good time to remind us all the radio and television stations to tune into for school delays or closings. As always, Belmont Public Schools will put an automated call out to parents and staff.

When faced with inclement weather, we will consider the following options: closing school for the day, calling for a one-hour delay, calling for a two-hour delay, and/or having a full school day. These decisions are made with the support of the other town departments as we consider the safety of our staff and students traveling to school.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the various ways you can find out about an unexpected school closing or delay due to weather:

WBZ Radio (1030 AM) and TV (Channel 4)

WRKO Radio (680 AM) and WHDH TV (Channel 7)

WCVB TV (Channel 5) 

The BPS Website


School Later Start Time: As you know, we sent out three surveys last spring to parents, guardians, students, and staff regarding a later school start time for the high school. The survey responses have been tabulated and reviewed. After presenting this information to the policy committee, a recommendation of 8:05 a.m., a half hour later start time from the current start time of 7:35 a.m., was then presented to the School Committee at the December 18 meeting. The recommendation is to pilot this later start time at the high school for one year to inform a larger conversation about the possibility of implementing later start times for the entire district. During this year, we will get feedback from teachers and the community, we will see what the traffic and safety issues are for students getting to and from school, and gauge how sports and after-school events are impacted. An email with more details on this subject will be sent to parents and guardians of our grades 8-12 school community in early January.

Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC): An email was sent to parents, guardians, and staff on December 10 with an update on December 17 informing of campus work as outlined by the BHSBC. There is now a website for ongoing construction activity, notifications, and updates. Please visit the construction company website (Skanska) at


  • CMS Science Teacher Nichole Nitchie with students CMS received 150 science books from Subaru as part of the Subaru Loves Learning initiative. These books are endorsed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science on various subjects that are both high interest and related to our grades 5-8 science curriculum. BPS Director of Science, Technology and Health Elizabeth Baker says the books are rich examples of informational text and will expose our students to more science writing, careers in science, and thousands of impactful images. We thank Subaru for their generous donation.
  • Ninety-three BHS students were inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS) on November 28. Selection of students for membership is by a faculty council and is based on the NHS criteria of "four pillars" students must demonstrate excellence in (scholarship, service, leadership, and character) along with a qualifying cumulative grade point average.  Please see more on the BPS website.
  • 2018 WGBH High School Quiz Show BHS Team Congratulations to the BHS Quiz Show team comprised of Cameron Anderson, Eliana Roberts, Matthew Miller, and Tor Metelmann with Sei Young Jang and Lara Zeng as alternates. The BHS team is one of 16 teams that earned a place to compete on WGBH's High School Quiz Show, Season 10. The show will begin taping in January. The first taping is on January 20 with doors opening at 1:15 p.m. You can reserve your tickets here. Please also look at the BPS and WGBH websites for more information.
  • The BHS Marauders of the Week for November 26 are Crystal Nayiga Magandazi and Phoebe Derba, for December 3 they are Brian Buys and Anjali Ramakrishnan, and for December 10 they are Jessica Wang and Perry Sullivan. Please go to the BHS website to read more about these students.
  • WBZ Meteorologist Barry Burbank visits with Butler First Graders Butler first grade students recently had a visit from WBZ-TV meteorologist Barry Burbank. Mr. Burbank spoke with the students about his work and showed a DVD about the WBZ Weather Team and weather forecasting. Mr. Burbank also filmed a short video of the Butler first graders, which ran on CBS Boston, Channel 4 on November 29. Please go here to see that video.

  • Butler Buddy Bench Butler introduced their new Buddy Bench, a place to go during recess when they are looking for someone to play with. A fourth grade student had the idea and brought it to a member of the Butler Student Leader Corps (BSLC) with the hope students use it if they feel lonely and to have other students keep a look on the bench to engage someone sitting there. BSLC members visited classrooms to explain where it is and how the Buddy Bench works. A great idea from thoughtful students. 


Our students, families and staff are showing their generous community spirit by giving to others less fortunate. Below are some of the fundraising and drives the schools, PTO, PTA, and school Community Service groups are doing.

  • Snowflakes for CS BHS Belmontian Club for approximately 20 years has made and sold snowflake ornaments to students and staff to fund gifts for families struggling with critical illness through Community Servings (CS), a non-profit organization in Jamaica Plain. This organization services families who live in Eastern Massachusetts.
  • Winn Brook Gift Drive, held December 3 through 7, teamed up with the Massachusetts Department of Children and families who will distribute the donated gifts and books to needy children in the area.
  • Wellington is holding a Helping Hands cold-weather gear drive from December 3 through December 21.
  • CMS Community Service Club members sort and box food items The annual Chenery Food Drive is run from December 10 to December 14, benefiting the Belmont Food Pantry - the biggest donation the pantry receives all year. CMS Community Service Club members run the event and stay after school each day to count and box all donations. More than 30 volunteers comprised of CMS students, parents, and BHS students, boxed and loaded up 3,002 items onto a truck on December 15. The strong volunteer turnout had the task completed in two hours rather and the four or more anticipated. Well done.


Kindergarten Information Night for parents and guardians of incoming kindergartners in the fall of 2019 is on January 24 at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Chenery Auditorium. This is a general information program about kindergarten and introduces the new Central Kindergarten Registration process. Presenting are Superintendent John Phelan along with school and central office personnel. Please note this night is for adults only. For information on registering, please go here.


The FBE announced the Learning Excellence awards granted for Cycle 1 of the 2018-2019 school year. In this first cycle, 12 Learning Excellence grants totaling $34,597 were awarded. In addition, the FBE Board of Directors has also approved funding of two Special Initiatives: Studying Skillful Teaching ($15,375) and Curriculum Enrichment during the Grade 8 trip to Washington, DC ($5,000). Including the above grants, since 1993 the FBE has awarded more than 780 grants totaling over $3.7 million. We thank the FBE for their continued support to Belmont Public Schools. Please go here to see a summary of the awards.


  • October 2018 Athletes of the Month Stephen Carvalho, Boys Cross Country, and Jane Mahon, Girls Volleyball Congratulations to Belmont Boosters October 2018 Athletes of the Month Jane Mahon, Girls Volleyball, and Stephen Carvalho, Boys Cross Country.
  • BHS basketball Senior Captain Danny Yardemian holds a new BHS Basketball Individual game scoring record of 46 points, scored on December 14 at Lexington High School. Congratulations to Danny.
  • Below are the 2018 Fall Middlesex All-Stars; congratulations to all:

Boys Cross Country

Stephen Carvalho
Girls Cross Country
Audrey Christo
Isabel Burger
Field Hockey
Morgan Chase
Emma Donahue (All Conference)
Katie Guden (All Conference)
Mia Kaldenbaugh
Meaghan Noone
Derek Brown
Jarred Edwards
Rhaki Joseph (Offensive All Conference)
Sam Sagherian
David D’Agostino
Patrick Kilcoyne
David Pergamo
Boys Soccer
Seamus Dullaghan (All Conference)
Jorge Mejia Guzman
Girls Soccer
Emily Dexter
Ella Gagnon (All Conference)
Morgan Krauss (All Conference)
Marina Karalis
Megan Tan
Girls Swim
Anna Bauerle
Sophie Butte (All Conference)
Angela Li
Chloe Park
Sophia Estok
Mindee Lai (All Conference)
Jane Mahon


Please go here to see the December Newsletter. Highlights include the reopening of the Children's Room and their Food for Fines program that runs December 10 through December 24.


Below are some events going on through January. Please check school websites and communications for any additional events, information or changes in dates, times and venues.


December 17 through December 21 - Chenery Library - Chenery Book Fair (Tues.-Thurs. 8am-5pm; Fri. 8am-11am)

December 24 through January 1 - No School - Winter Recess

January 4 - 7:00 p.m. - Belmont Rink - Wellington Sue Tudisco Skate Night

January 6 - 5:00 p.m. - TD Boston Garden - BHS Varsity Boys Basketball vs. Algonquin R.H.S. (Please go here for more information)

January 8 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

January 9, 11, and 12 - Off Site - Sr. District Festival

January 10 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - CMS Large Gym - Lower School Movie Night

January 14 - CMS Auditorium - 9:00 a.m. Grade 5 Orchestra and Chorus Concert; 7:00 p.m. Grade 5 Band Concert

January 18 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Belmont Rink - CMS Ice Skating Night

January 18 - 6:30 p.m. - Winn Brook Movie Night

January 21 - No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 22 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

January 24 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Kindergarten Information Night for Parents/Guardians of Kindergartners entering in fall of 2019 (Adults Only at this Event)

January 25 - 5:45 p.m. - Wellington Cafeteria - Moira Gavin BINGO Night

January 26 - Off Site - All-State Auditions

January 28 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - CMS Solo and Ensemble Concert

CMS Community Service Club members sort and box food items  CMS Science Teacher Nichole Nitchie with students  2018 WGBH High School Quiz Show BHS Team  Butler Buddy Bench  WBZ Meteorologist Barry Burbank visits with Butler First Graders  Winn Brook Gift Drive  October 2018 Athletes of the Month Stephen Carvalho, Boys Cross Country, and Jane Mahon, Girls Volleyball  Snowflakes for CS 



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Contact Us

  • Administration: 617-993-5400
  • Belmont 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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