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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's February 2020 Newsletter

date 2/14/2020

It is hard to believe we are more than halfway done with the school year. Elementary schools celebrated 100 days of school on February 10 with activities marking the occasion.

February is also when we have a week of winter recess. We want to remind you at this time schools are not in session February 17-21. At this time, we also want to remind you schools are not in session on March 3 due to the presidential primary.

Have a wonderful winter recess.

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of the knowledge not the knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
― George Bernard Shaw


  • BPS Class Size Presentation: Janice Darias presented class sizes across the district and month to month enrollment at the January 21 School Committee. It is no surprise enrollment continues to grow. Enrollment has increased from 3,900 in October 2011 to 4,633 in October 2019 and is projected to increase to 4,700 by October 2020.
  • BMHSBC: The cranes have arrived on the construction site and are in the process of erecting the first section of steel beams. It is very exciting to see the progress and process of the project. You can access a live camera from the BPS website and take a look at the site.
  • FY21 Draft Budget: Presented at the School Committee Meeting on February 4, the primary cost drivers is the need for additional staff due to increasing enrollment. Please see the Draft 1 Budget on the BPS website.
  • Vision for Teaching and Learning: Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias will present an update on the progress of the Teaching and Learning Working Group at the School Committee meeting on February 25. This group, made up of 20 teachers and administrators representing all levels of the district, began meeting last school year to work on the district-wide vision for teaching and learning. The District Configuration Education Plan was shared with the School Committee in February of 2019. The presentation to the School Committee at the February 25 meeting will explain the process and progress so far as well as next steps. This presentation will be posted in the School Committee documents area of the BPS website after that meeting.


  • As you know, Chenery Principal Michael McAllister was chosen to fill the central office position of Director of Human Capital, formerly Director of Human Resources. The Search Committee reviewed ten applicants through a paper screening and interviewed six of those candidates. The three finalists were all sitting school principals, which we felt was an important experience base to hold as the work of the position will center on understanding the unique needs of our educational professionals and staff. We have posted the interim and permanent principal position for Chenery. While in the process of choosing an interim, please be assured Principal McAllister will not leave Chenery until the interim principal is on board. We will form a search committee for the permanent principal position after February break. That position would begin on July 1, 2020.
  • The Winn Brook Search Committee and the Burbank Search Committee have been formed and have held initial meetings and interviews with potential candidates this week. Each search committee will recommend finalists to the superintendent's office in the next few days. Please look out for information regarding dates to meet the finalists for Burbank and Winn Brook in early March. Specific dates will be communicated after the February break. We would like to thank Interim Director of Human Resources Judy Malone Neville, and Human Resources Assistant Consuelo Abrisqueta for their help during these searches.


Thank you to all the parents and guardians who attended Kindergarten Information Night on January 23. We also thank our panel of elementary principals, elementary nurses, food services, and central office personnel for being part of that night. The presentation is available on the BPS website.

Kindergarten Central Registration is in-person on March 26 and 27. Once you register your child online and fill out the Parent Interview and Home Language forms online, you will receive a link to make your appointment. The appointment will take approximately ten minutes. There is no need to bring your child.

You do not need to register an existing Belmont Public Schools student again; however, you do need to register your incoming kindergartner even if you are an existing Belmont Public Schools family. This is important for placing your incoming kindergartner to make sure he/she is in the same elementary school your grade 1-4 child is attending.

Please also take note of the Town Clerk availability due to the March presidential primary.


  • Butler World Read Aloud Day-Principal Danielle Betancourt, Fire Chief David Frizzell, Asst. Fire Chief Wayne Haley, Firefighter Ross Vona, Admin. Asst. Maeve Freaney Butler celebrated "World Read Aloud Day" on February 7 by inviting community members to read to children. Members of the Belmont Police and Fire Departments and members of the BPS attended as well.
  • Wellington kindergartners with a 100 cup tower Elementary schools celebrated the marking of 100 days of school on February 10. There were various activities in all grades. Kindergartners and first graders at Burbank, Butler, Wellington, and Winn Brook counted to 100 in a variety of ways, built a 100s chart, and stacked 100 cups as you see in the picture gallery below. Winn Brook also holds their annual food drive for the Belmont Food Pantry at this time.
  • CMS Librarian Karen Duff tells us the Visiting Author program the PTO funds is a huge success, attracting local authors as well as authors from other parts of the country. Ms. Duff tells us below about what some of these author visits are bringing to the students:
    5th Grade: Julie Berry (Splurch Academy, The Emperor’s Ostrich, The Lovely War etc) was the first author we were able to bring to Chenery and she is our much beloved 5th grade visiting author. Ms. Berry presented to all 5th graders in the Auditorium on November 4 and then ran writing workshops on November 4, 5, and 7. Ms. Berry really goes all out and has tailored her writing workshops to align with the ELA curriculum while keeping it fun, funny, and engaging. Ms. Berry will return in early June for a second round of writing workshops focusing on Point of View. Thanks to Belmont Books, author Ibi Zoboi was also able to present to 5th graders on her new middle grade novel, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich. For free!
    6th Grade: We were fortunate to bring in Rachel Gold (In the Silences) for 6th grade this year and her work with kids really transformed their thinking about what it means to be an “upstander” and support all people with kindness, regardless of their identity. Ms. Gold presented to all 6th graders in three sessions on October 21.
    7th Grade: Mitali Perkins used to come to Chenery years ago when she lived locally, and recently she came to us from the Bay Area to run writing workshops with 7th graders. This is Ms. Perkins second year in a row and 7th grade really enjoys her warmth, enthusiasm for writing, and style. Ms. Perkins presented to all 7th graders in the auditorium on October 21 followed by writing workshops throughout the day.
    8th Grade: SO HAPPY to have an 8th grade author on the list this year. Ibi Zoboi was so great with 5th grade that we invited her back to present to 8th graders, primarily around the theme of identity as it relates to her YA novel American Street.
  • Shani Getz, Nava Niv-Vogel, Maya Manela The Belmont Council on Aging announced BHS students, Shani Getz and Maya Manela are recipients of the council's Excellence in Intergenerational Programing award for their Snapshots in Wisdom project. The students created portraitures of seniors and interviewed them to create a presentation that shares advice and wisdom from these senior citizens. This project is ongoing with ten seniors profiled with the goal of profiling 20 in total. Once done, it will be presented at the senior center at the end of the calendar year. Congratulations to Shani and Maya for this inspirational work. Please go to the Belmont Council on Aging for more information on this project.
  • Butler Nurse Lisa Harteveldt, Food Services Dir. Dustin O'Brien, Asst. Food Services Dir. Gail Mulani Food Services has rolled out a fruit and vegetable bar at Butler. Organized by the Butler Wellness Committee and Food Services, it gives students the ability to choose what they want for lunch sides. Options include side salad, fresh cut pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and apples to name a few. This is a pilot for Butler, and Director of Food Services Dustin O'Brien says the first few days seem very promising with students and families responding positively to this new lunch addition.
  • Congratulations to BHS student Alek Westover, who was named a finalist for the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a nationwide science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. Alek as a finalist can travel to Washington, DC to participate in the Finals Week competition. We wish Alek luck.
  • Marauder of the Week for February 14 is Kate Devitt, February 7 is Grace Patrone, for January 31 are Soren Hallet and Abigail Yu, and for January 17 are Vanessa Yuzlek and Christian Rudder. Please go to the BHS website to read more about these students.
  • Members of the BHS Fencing Team with BHS Asst. Principal and Fencing Coach Tom Brow Newly formed BHS Fencing Team held its first meet in school history on January 17. BHS Assistant Principal and Fencing Coach Tom Brow said the team did very well and was proud of this historic meet. Since the first meet, the team has had several more. The fist year, by rule, is a qualifying year for the team. Congratulations to the team for passing this probationary year. The team will compete in next year's Division 2 Massachusetts High School Fencing Championship Tournament. Please go to the BHS website to read more about the team.


Forty-five students in grades 7-9 were accepted to the Massachusetts Music Educators (MMEA) Northeast Junior District Festival, and 22 students from BHS were accepted to perform at the All-State Festival in Boston on March 5-7. Congratulations to these students. Please read more about the All-State and Junior District Results from Director of Visual and Performing Arts Arto Asadoorian.


  • Boys Ice Hockey Game and Tribute to Cleo The BHS Boys Ice Hockey team dedicated the February 1 game to Cleo Theodoropulos, a BHS student and member of the BHS field hockey team, who passed away from Ewing Sarcoma last spring. The team wore Cleo's name on the back of their jerseys, and people in the stands wore yellow, the color representing sarcoma. The boys and girls hockey teams raised money that is going to Dana Farber in honor of Cleo.
  • January 2020 Booster of the Month Sara Firth, Girls Indoor Track January 2020 Booster of the Month Nico Carere, Boys Ice Hockey Congratulations to Belmont Boosters January Athletes of the Month are Sarah Firth, Girls Indoor Track, and Nico Carere, Boys Ice Hockey.
  • SCHEDULE: All Events, 02/13/2020 to 2/19/2020, Belmont HS
    Friday, February 14
    No events scheduled
    Saturday, February 15
    9:00 AM Boys Varsity Wrestling Burlington High School MIAA Sectional Meet Away
    1:00 PM Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Arlington High School Home
    6:00 PM Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Arlington High School Away
    Sunday, February 16
    11:00 AM Girls Varsity Basketball Newton South HS Spartan Classic vs Newton South Away
    12:00 PM Girls Varsity Cheerleading TBA Billerica Cheerleading & Dance Invitational Away
    2:00 PM Boys Varsity Swimming OPEN DATE MIAA Div 2 State Championship @ BU Away
    3:30 PM Boys Varsity Basketball St. John's Prep School Comcast Tourney @ Woburn Away
    Monday, February 17
    TBA Boys Varsity Basketball TBA Comcast Tourney @ TBA Away
    TBA Girls Varsity Basketball OPEN DATE Spartan Classic vs TBA Away
    5:00 PM Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Braintree High School Home
    Tuesday, February 18
    9:00 AM Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Wakefield Memorial H.S. Home


  • Please see the Belmont Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) February events listed on the BPS website. Upcoming is Understanding and Managing Anxiety on February 26, 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Belmont High School.
  • The Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) spring fundraiser is on March 14, and asks you to BOND with the FBE and join in the theme of Casino Royale. The annual fundraiser is the biggest one of the year for the FBE, who raise money for programs that enrich the Belmont Public Schools. Please see the FBE website for more information on the event, tickets, and the online and live auctions.
  • Many of you attended the first BPS and BASEC lecture in the series, "Through the Lens: Envisioning Equitable Education Through Action and Community", held on February 12. There are three lectures left in the series listed below. We want to thank the district PTO/PTA organizations, Belmont Against Racism, and the Foundation for Belmont Education for helping sponsor this series. Announcements will go out in the weeks leading up to each lecture.
    March 19: Speaker and Topic is Jason Sheeler and Elijah Oyenuga - Creating Safe Environments for LGBTQ Children and Families - Partner Organization is Belmont LGBTQ Alliance.
    April 15: Speaker and Topic is Leslie M. Leslie of the Federation of Child with Special Needs - Basic Rights and Effective Communication - Partner Organization is Belmont Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
    May 7: Speaker TBD - The Intersection of Immigration and English Learners - Partner Organization is Belmont English Learner Parent Advisory Council.


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

February 17-21 - February Recess - School not in Session

February 25 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - BHS Band Concert

February 25 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

February 26 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. - BHS -SEPAC Parent Information Session: Understanding and Managing Anxiety

February 27 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS - Gr. 6 & 7 Orchestra/Chorus Concert

March 3 - Presidential Primary - School not in Session

March 4 - Elementary and High School Early Release

March 4 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Gr. 8 and BHS Orchestra Concert

March 6 - 6:30 p.m. - Burbank Movie Night

March 6 - 6:00 p.m. - Butler Math and Science Night

March 8 - Daylight Savings begins at 2:00 a.m.

March 10 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

March 11 - Elementary Early Release

March 11 - 6:00 p.m. - BHS Field House - BHS Winter Athletic Awards - Presentation of Team Awards, Varsity Jackets, League & State Awards; Approx. 7:00 p.m. sport breakout sessions, winter season recap, Coaches Awards, Sportsmanship Awards, Letter Presentation and Individual Team Awards

March 12 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Winn Brook Science Night

March 12 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Grade 7 & 8 Band Concert

March 14 - 6:30 p.m. - Belmont Hill School - FBE Spring Fundraiser: Casino Royale

March 17 - 7:30 p.m. - BHS Library - PTSO Meeting

March 18 - Elementary Early Release

March 19, 20, 21 - BHS Auditorium - Shrek The Musical - March 19, 20 @ 7:00 p.m.; March 21 @2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

March 24 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

Wellington kindergartners with a 100 cup tower  Wellington kindergartners with 100s chart  Wellington kindergartners build 100 cup tower  Winn Brook kindergartners 100 days of school 100 cups  Winn Brook kindergartners 100 days of school cup tower  Winn Brook kindergartners 100 days of school drawing 100 gumballs  Burbank first graders 100 days number puzzle  Burbank first graders 100 days puzzle counting  Burbank first graders 100 days, counting beads and making necklaces  Butler first grade 100 acts of kindness poster  Butler kindergartners 100 days of school  Butler kindergartners celebrate 100 days of school  Butler Nurse Lisa Harteveldt, Food Services Dir. Dustin O'Brien, Asst. Food Services Dir. Gail Mulani  Butler Salad Bar  Butler World Read Aloud Day with Asst. Dir. Student Services Jonathan Libby  Butler World Read Aloud Day with Belmont P.E. Teacher Ted Trodden  Butler World Read Aloud Day with Belmont Police Officer Michael Horan  Butler World Read Aloud Day-Principal Danielle Betancourt, Fire Chief David Frizzell, Asst. Fire Chief Wayne Haley, Firefighter Ross Vona, Admin. Asst. Maeve Freaney  Shani Getz, Nava Niv-Vogel, Maya Manela  Council on Aging Plaque  January 2020 Booster of the Month Nico Carere, Boys Ice Hockey  January 2020 Booster of the Month Sara Firth, Girls Indoor Track  Members of BHS Fencing Team  Members of the BHS Fencing Team with BHS Asst. Principal and Fencing Coach Tom Brow  BHS Principal Isaac Taylor, Supt. John Phelan, Jan Knight, Maya Manela, Shani Getz, Nava Niv-Vogel, Selectmen Adam Dash, Mary Ann Scali  Boys Ice Hockey Game and Tribute to Cleo 


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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