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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's May 28, 2020 Newsletter

date 5/28/2020

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It finally feels like our New England "spring/summer" is here. Usually at this time we invite local veterans to several schools to honor them for their service through song and poems. We are sad we could not provide that this year; however, Winn Brook School decided to continue the tradition. Please see more on that below and other news from the district.


FY21 Budget  Update: As you know, the Town is facing a tremendous revenue shortfall for fiscal 2020-2021 of at least 25 percent. There needs to be a balance on what the school budget can survive on and what the Town needs to run. The School Department last week presented a budget cut of $920,000. This week, at the School Committee meeting, a budget cut of $1,020,000 was presented. This would mean the four new positions we sought due to growing enrollment at the middle school in grades 6 and 7 would be cut. There is a School Committee Finance Subcommittee joint meeting with the School Committee on May 28 at 3p. Please see the agenda for this meeting and access.

Cares Act Presentation: We did get some good news regarding Belmont's allocation from the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a federal law to address economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Belmont is receiving $127,474 to be allocated among all schools in Belmont, public and private, based on total enrollment. Our proposal is to use that money for two technology integration specialists for a one-year appointment to prepare and respond to a possible return to remote learning. Please see Assistant Superintendent's presentation for more information. All of our operations need to be looked at through an operational lens partnering with Town departments and the board of health as well as state guidelines with the ability to pivot in the event a plan needs to change.

COVID-19 Back to School September Planning: We are actively planning our fall return to school with a planning group of 43 teachers, administrators, and staff. The group had two meetings and are continuing to look at several options; 1) traditional opening, 2) hybrid remote and in person with a lower student body attending school at one time, 3) remote learning for all with a design to build relationships between teachers and students if begin the year in this way. Please see Assistant Superintendent's presentation to the School Committee for the progress so far. There will be an updated plan presented at the June 9 meeting with a community forum component to voice thoughts and concerns.

Last Day of School Vote: The School Committee officially voted the last day of school is June 17.


We are happy to announce Ms. Karla Koza as the next Principal of the W.L. Chenery Middle School for the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Koza holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning from DePaul University, a Master’s Degree in English from Simmons College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University. She has been an Assistant Principal of Grafton High School in Grafton, Massachusetts for the past five years.  Prior to becoming a school leader, Ms. Koza gained a depth of experience teaching English at Grafton High School and Reading/Language Arts in Grades 7 & 8 at the Luiz Monoz Marin Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT.

Her selection is the result of a thorough and thoughtful process that included interviews with Leadership Council, staff, parent/guardian, central office, and rigorous background calls and reference checks. We are especially appreciative that so many Chenery parents/guardians were able to participate in this process, and we thank them for doing so. Ms. Koza will begin as the Principal of the W.L. Chenery Middle School in July, 2020.


BHS Senior Capstone Theses and Projects: The English department this year is particularly proud of the  Senior Projects from the Class of 2020. Among the projects are senior theses and capstone products. Students writing a thesis demonstrate their ability to create an original argument and synthesize multiple sources including secondary evidence. Students creating a capstone product investigate an inquiry question that is intellectually and emotionally engaging and culminates in academic and creative expression. Both projects show the growth of students’ thinking and writing over the course of a year and are amazing accomplishments. These seniors submitted creative and thoughtful works during a challenging time.

Grade 5 Moon Project CMS Phases of the Moon: Director of Science Liz Baker says Grade 5 was working on the Solar System unit. Some scientists got creative finding materials at home to create a model of the phases of the moon. Here you see Elia's, Matt's, and Summing and Elizabeth's interpretation of the project.


Senior Day Kickoff The kickoff event for Senior Spring began on May 22 with a Drive -Thru Party in the BHS parking lot. This was an opportunity to pick up caps and gowns, items form school and memorabilia for the 2020 BHS senior class. There was music and staff to greet the seniors as they made some noise while winding through the parking lot with appropriate health guidelines in place. See pictures of the event below in the gallery.


Winn Brook Principal Janet Carey sends us this message to honor our veterans: Unfortunately, this year, we were unable to honor our local Veterans by inviting them to our annual Memorial Day concert. Instead, since the concert traditionally features our third graders, Winn Brook Music Teacher Kassie Bettinelli provided directions for students to record themselves singing a patriotic song which they had been practicing. Families recorded the individual children and then submitted the audio file to Ms. Bettinelli who miraculously merged all the voices, along with instrumental music. We are grateful to parents and guardians for helping their children complete this optional assignment. In honor, and in mourning, of all those who have given their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces, we’d like to share this musical tribute from our third graders and Ms. Bettinelli, which was also sent to our local Veterans. 


Staff Recognition Day Invitation Staff Recognition Day was held on May 20 to celebrate 55 members of Belmont Public Schools for their years of service ranging from 10 to 35. Although the reception was a bit different this year, virtual instead of everyone gathering, the sentiment is the same in that we thank everyone for all of their years of service to Belmont Public Schools and the students of Belmont.


Please see the Food Services website for Wednesday meal-kit food content, food delivery, drive-through hours, and other information.


We have put links in previous newsletters to useful information. We will be placing them here from the various newsletters for your convenience.

Town and State:



The Superintendent's Newsletter has a section dedicated to your questions. Your questions can be sent to Newsletter Questions Google doc.

Those of you who want to see the questions that were already answered in the Superintendent's Newsletter can go to the Superintendent's Newsletter Questions Archive.

BHS Principal Isaac Taylor has started his own FAQ document families can view. They have broken the document down into sections for all students, each grade level, and will update the document as more questions arise.

Grade 5 Moon Project  Elia's Phases of the Moon Activity  Matt's Moon Phases with Oreos  Summing's and Elizabeth's Moon Phase diagram  A little celebratory music  Car fun  Proud Senior Moment  Senior Bags  Senior Kick Off Day  Senior Day Kickoff  Staff Recognition Day Invitation