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Superintendent's April 3, 2020 Newsletter

date 4/3/2020

My hope is that everyone reading this communication is healthy and stays healthy during this difficult time. The COVID-19 epidemic has produced such a startling upheaval to our everyday lives, and our hope is to provide some balance and support for each other as we move through this pandemic.

I would like to thank our families and students for their support and patience over the last few weeks. Our educators have been working hard to provide enrichment and support, and are now working harder as they scale up to our Phase 2 Remote Learning plan. My deepest appreciation for our educators, directors, principals, and all of our staff for their professionalism and creativity as they move forward with this new learning model for our students.


We had our first School Committee Zoom meeting on March 25. The structure of School Committee meetings is to hear citizen concerns and not respond during the meetings but to give time to fully and thoughtfully answer the questions posed. We understand this format can frustrate those who want immediate answers.

Please know we have heard you, received your emails, and we will have the next Zoom School Committee meeting on April 7 to include a Town Hall forum at 7:00 p.m. to present some information on our updated Remote Learning Plan and answer questions from the community. We will have two ways of receiving your questions. One way the community can take part is to submit a question now on a Google doc. Each question will be reviewed by the School Administration prior to the meeting and an answer provided at the meeting. We will also take questions live the night of the meeting that will be facilitated by Belmont Media Director Jeff Hansell. We will get to as many questions as we can.

For any questions not answered that night, the Superintendent's Newsletter will be coming out on Tuesday and Friday afternoons with a section dedicated your questions. The newsletter will allow us to stay connected as a district and offer quick updates, information, and school news while we are physically distancing. Your questions after the remote meeting on the 7th can be sent to the Newsletter Questions Google doc. For access to the meeting, please go to the BPS website.

We love having pictures send to us with wonderful things our students and educators are doing. If you would like to share a picture of your children actively involved in remote learning at home, please email your pictures to kmurphy@belmont.k12.ma.us. Your pictures bring a smile to us all.


This is to remind you district communications and Board of Health letters are posted on our COVID-19 website page


The Belmont Public Schools is proud to announce the next Principal for the Winn Brook School is Anita Mecklenburg. We also want to announce that Seeley Okie the current interim principal of the Burbank School has been selected as the new Principal. Both Seeley and Anita will start on July 1, 2020. We would like thank the members of each Search Committees and the staff and families who attended the process last month.

We have chosen Kate Conway as the Interim Principal at Chenery. Ms. Conway’s start at Cheney has been delayed as school is currently not in session. Mike McAllister and Kate have been in contact with each other in preparation for the day we hopefully return to school this year. Mike McAllister has been working in both roles and will begin formally in his new position as Director of Human Capital at Central Office at a date to be determined.


Elementary principals have been connecting with their students during this time whether it be a math challenge or video greetings from schools We are all missing the face to face contact but this is a nice way of being with the whole school.


BHS students involved with the production of Shrek: The Musical and their families in the true spirit of the theater decided if the show can't go on, the video can. Please go to Shrek: the video to see what these students have created.


Food Services Director Dustin O'Brien Belmont Food Service teamed with local pizza supplier, Nick’s Place II, for Make at Home Pizza Kits. While families are at home, Director of Food Services Dustin O'Brien and Nick's Place II owner John Alepakis both felt this was a great way for families to engage with each other. Nick’s donated over 100 pizza kits and volunteers delivered these to homes on Wednesday, April 1st.

Please see the Food Services website page for food delivery, drive-through, and other information.


Belmont Public Library Free Books and Movies The Belmont Public Library is offering many free services on the library website. Look for Research databases, free ebooks, stream-able movies and music, and they have started virtual programming for patrons. They are offering free books, movies and music to keep from the library, all from their large room of donations which they usually save for their annual book sale. These items are all bagged by theme and put on their steps as long as supplies last and it is a rain-free day. Please see the letter from Belmont Library Director Peter Struzziero.

Please see the letter below from Belmont's Assistant Town Manager Jon Marshall regarding your Census:

By now, all Belmont households have received one or more official invitations by mail to take the 2020 Census. It has never been easier or more important to take the Census. Residents can respond on their own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. With the flexibility and support of Belmont residents, we will achieve a complete and accurate count which helps guide funding decisions for things like health centers, roads and emergency services. Both phone and online options are available in 13 languages, and assistance in many more languages is available on 2020Census.gov.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census is a once-in-a-decade count of every person living in the United States, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. The 2020 Census asks nine questions and takes less than ten minutes to complete. The information you provide on the Census is confidential and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics and cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

Census data is used to determine legislative districts, determine state representation in Congress, calculate how federal funding is allocated to states and municipalities, and develop vital information that helps us understand our town, attract new businesses, and identify areas of need for support services, health care, and more. 

The Town of Belmont has created a page with some helpful information. On the page are a number of quick links including: How’s Belmont Doing: Track Here, This allows residents to see our response rate. As of March 31st the town was at 49.5%. 

Visit the Town’s Website at https://www.belmont-ma.gov/2020-census



Food Services Director Dustin O'Brien  BPS Food Services Ready to Load  Belmont Public Library Free Books and Movies