From the Principal's Desk - Back to School

Dear BHS Families, 

I hope that you have all been able to make the most of the summer. The BHS faculty and staff are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to school on Thursday Sep 9, 2021.

With our state of the art new high school building nearing completion, Our new high school is truly unbelievable- I am excited for BHS students to see the spaces!I would like to thank everyone involved in the final push towards opening our doors in less than three weeks time. This 2021-2022 school year promises to be a year like no other, and I am excited for a much more normal experience for our students than in recent memory. As you will have seen from the superintendent's welcome letter and FAQ document last week, we are committed to a fully in-person school year, in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control , The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Massachusetts Department of Health. In order to accomplish this, we will use every mitigation strategy at our disposal, including masking for all staff and students while indoors (in line with the Belmont Town Mandate), enhanced ventilation, hand washing, cleaning, and distancing where possible. Students will be able to eat while unmasked in designated areas, and mask breaks will be available during the day.

As we head into the new school year, it is important to recognize that we have all had a range of different experiences over the past eighteen months. For many of our students and their families the past year has had its frustrations. To be clear, this year is not going to be back to normal that we had all hoped for during the vaccine rollout in the spring and early summer. That being said, our goal is to return to the aspects of high school life that make the experience memorable and valuable for our students. This means more opportunities to see and work with friends, less time completing assignments online, and more of the projects and hands-on experiences that bring learning to life.

In order to make the school experience as positive as possible, our focus this year will be on taking responsibility. I am extremely proud of the way that our students have taken personal responsibility during the pandemic, and I would like to build on our collective responsibility this year. Where everyone takes responsibility, the faculty will be able to put their energy into teaching and learning, and building positive relationships with students. In particular, this means taking responsibility for following the expectations around masking, using the symptom checker, hand washing, and social distancing where possible. We will also be focusing on attendance this year, and I would like every student to prioritize getting to class on time for every lesson. I will be sending out more information about the attendance policy in September, but the core message is that every class is important! Parents, please call the absence line as early as possible (617) 993-5999. Students, be organized when you need to miss school and get your parents to call in advance; and if you get sick during the day, see the nurse to get dismissed.

In addition to promoting responsibility around school rules, I would also like to explore ways where students are able to take more responsibility for their choices. As you may know, this year we have been piloting changes to the course selection process that allow students to choose their own course level without going through the override process. We allow students to start their own clubs and activities, and have an active student government. As we figure out what school looks like this year, I would love to hear ideas for how to promote collective responsibility in our school.

Most importantly, high school is an opportunity for every student to learn to be themselves. We may all be wearing masks, but this does not take away from our uniqueness. Our goal is to foster an environment where everyone can be themselves, while respecting one another. 

Below, you will find useful information for the start of the school year. Please enjoy the rest of the summer. We look forward to seeing all of our students soon, for another year of learning and growth.

Sincerely, 

Isaac Taylor

Principal 

In this memo you will find additional information about the following topics: 

  • Getting to and from school
  • Student tours
  • Junior/Senior Off Campus Privileges
  • Student lockers
  • Student parking
  • Student schedules
  • Back to School Night

Getting to and from school

There was a traffic meeting on Tuesday 8/17 with regard to vehicular, cycle, and pedestrian access to the high school. Several topics were discussed at this meeting. The school department is awaiting final approval for pick-up and drop-off arrangements. I will send out an update, with recommendations for accessing the site, as soon as possible.

School Tours

School tours will take place on Tuesday Sep 7, 2021 During the tours, students will be able to explore the building, but will not be able to go into classrooms. These tours are for students only, and we cannot permit guests to accompany students (including parents and guardians). We will be providing community tours on a Saturday in October. We recognize that these tours are taking place on Rosh Hashanah. This is due to a combination of a later than expected turnover of the building and the holiday weekend. I apologise for the impact that this will have on our students who are observing the high holiday.

When arriving for the tours, please be aware that no vehicles are allowed to enter the site. I encourage walking/cycling where possible. Students arriving by car are advised to allow plenty of time for parking. Students being dropped off should follow the guidance on getting to and from school (above). Enter the building at the front entrance, and check in and the greeting table (this will be obvious!). Students will meet with assistant principals at the beginning of each session for a brief overview of the building and then be free to move about the building with their schedules. 9th grade students will be able to pick up their devices from technology during their orientation window. 

The tours will take place as follows:

Class of 2022 (Seniors): 

A-J → 8:30- 9:15

K-Z → 9:15 -10:00

Class of 2023 (Juniors): 

A-L → 10:00-10:45

M-Z → 10:45 - 11:30

Class of 2024 (Sophomores): 

A-K → 11:30 - 12:15

L-Z → 12:15 - 1:00

Class of 2025 (9th Graders): 

A-K→ 1:00-1:45

L-Z → 1:45 - 2:30

Junior/Senior off-campus privileges

A reminder that juniors and seniors are the only students allowed off-campus privileges at BHS. Students in good standing are able to leave campus during a free period, with parent permission. It is the students responsibility to get back to school on-time for their next class. Parents of juniors and seniors must complete the off campus application form to approve off-campus privileges for their student. 

Senior Off-Campus Application Form

Junior Off-Campus Application Form

Completed, signed application forms can be returned to the main office, or scanned and emailed to Joan Paras jparas@belmont.k12.ma.us. The deadline for submission is Friday Sep 10, 2021

Students must also show their color coded student ID when leaving campus (new IDs will be printed after picture day). Students must use the main doors when leaving and returning to campus. All other doors on campus are alarmed.

Senior Parking Lottery

There is no student parking at the high school. However, the town of Belmont has allocated 90 parking spaces for students along Concord Ave. As such, we will be giving out 90 parking permits to seniors in a  lottery. If you would like to enter the lottery, please enroll here- PARKING LOTTERY. The deadline for entering the lottery is Thursday September 2 at 12:00 noon. One entry per senior. We will draw the lottery during the senior tours on Tuesday Sep 9, 2021 at 9:00 am. Students do not need to be present for the draw, but are welcome to attend. We will draw all of the submissions and assign a number to each student. Should more parking be made available at a later date, we will give out parking permits in that order.

Please be aware that having a parking permit does not guarantee a spot. Anyone parking without a permit in student designated student parking on Concord Ave, or parking illegally, is subject to traffic enforcement by the town. We recognize that an absence of student parking at the new high school is disappointing, particularly for our seniors. 

Student Lockers: 

We will assign student lockers to those that request them beginning with 9th and 10th grade students and then moving up to 11th and 12th grade students if remaining lockers are available. If you would like to request a locker, please use the form here LOCKER FORM. Please request a locker by Thursday September 2 at 12:00 noon. Students will be contacted about their lockers prior to student tours on September 7th. 

Student Schedules: 

Students will receive an email when the portal is opened and their schedule is available. We aim to have schedules posted by Friday 9/3. Students with questions about their schedule after they have been released should contact their guidance counselor. 

Back to School Night: 

Please mark your calendars for Back to School Night on Thursday, 9/23 from 6-8pm. Back to School Night will be held virtually this year. More information about accessing meet links will follow in the coming weeks. 

Reminders from past weeks!

Anonymous Tip Line:

  • Please text 978-540-5375 if you have information that you feel you should report to our school administration team and school resource officer.





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