22 November 2020

Butler Family Newsletter November 23, 2020

From the Principal

Dear Families,

While there are so many things that are disheartening in the world right now, I'd like to just take a moment to focus on one of the brightest spots in my world: YOU and the Butler Community.  The families in the Butler Community seem to have the biggest, most kind hearts, which you share generously.  Whether you have sent a warm message, decorated our spaces, sent treats to teachers, sought out ways to support one another, or have just been patient while we continue to iron out the wrinkles, you have made this challenging period a little better.  ...and in other good news, check out this article in the Belmont Citizen Herald highlighting the Belmont Helps donation to our schools!

Butler Virtual Fun Run

It's finally here!! Many huge thanks to Chris Heuisler and the Fun Run Committee for dreaming up something so delightful to both raise fun and raise funds for our school!  The videos have been very entertaining and inspiring, and our children seem to be looking forward to finding fun ways to run with their families this week.  We have also already exceeded our school goal, and the current number is $17,705.  Wow! Thank you for registering your child, sending in headband photos, and spreading the word!  The money raised helps our PTA to help us do all kinds of great things for the children.

Register:  https://www.getmovinfundhub.com/login

School Identifier: 5d4c57a2934a5

Questions? Email chris.heuisler@gmail.com


As we enter into this often festive period, I know many of you will be having a different kind of Thanksgiving than you might have hoped for.  We too have decided to scale back our usually full house for Thanksgiving, so we'll be at home with my husband and older son.  While it was a difficult decision (and I can't believe we will not have seen our younger son in a full year, as he's been at college in California), we're hoping this short term sacrifice will give us much more joy in the long term.  To all of you have also made this difficult decision, my heart goes out to you and I thank you for your sacrifice.  Even in disappointment, I hope we can hold up grateful hearts for things in our life that are good and bring us joy.  My hope for you now and always is that you have plenty for which to grateful.  

I also would like to acknowledge the complexity of the holiday, as it holds different meanings for different members of our community.  As we continue to do the hard work of examining our past practices and assumptions, I would like to share the statement our co-presidents share at the beginning of our PTA meetings. I am very grateful for our PTA Co-Presidents, Stephanie Crement and Megan Olowinski, who are such amazing partners and community members.

For those of us who are in Belmont right now, we acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the Pequosette People.

By making this statement, we pay tribute to the original inhabitants of the land and acknowledge the histories and voices that are often suppressed or forgotten.

When discussing this upcoming break with students, teachers and staff are committed to using developmentally appropriate language that honors the backgrounds and traditions of all members of our community. When reflecting on the history of this holiday we also work hard to avoid celebrating colonialism or perpetuating stereotypes about Native Americans. This article from the National Museum of the American Indian as well as the website Teaching Tolerance  are wonderful resources for educators and families to read this week and throughout the year. 

"Touchpoints" with our Specials Teachers!

As you might be aware, Mr. Trodden, Ms. Wakeen, and Ms. Livermore arrange "touchpoints" to check in with all of the children every two weeks.  They are scheduled during asynchronous time to give the children an opportunity to spend "live" time with their teachers.  This is particularly important because Art, PE, and Music lessons are all pre-recorded, so our teachers and children miss interacting with each other.  I have put the schedule on our Butler Family Calendar to help you keep track of these scheduled meetings; Mr. Trodden, Ms. Wakeen, and Ms. Livermore also put a reminder in the children's classroom stream on the morning of their meeting.  Please also know that our Specials teachers put a lot of work into preparing their pre-recorded lessons, and these are an important part of the children's learning this year.  Please make sure that your child(ren) access(es) and participate(s) in these lessons as well.  Monday: Music, Tuesday: Art, Thursday: PE, Friday: Library

Cold Weather

The weather is definitely getting colder.  Please remember to send your children to school with many layers, and with a sweater or jacket.  Windows will be open in the building and we want everyone to feel comfortable. As usual, please label all articles of clothing with your child’s name so we can help lost articles find their way home.   

Parent Workshop

The Belmont Public Schools has the privilege of working closely with McLean’s School Consultation Service. The professionals at McLean collaborate closely with our school leaders and mental health staff and have run workshops for all staff twice this year.  We are excited to announce that they will be hosting a workshop for parents and guardians on December 1st from 7:00 - 8:30. Here is a description of the workshop:

Dr. Michelle Silverman and Dr. Julia Martin Burch from the McLean School Consultation Service will host a webinar titled "Helping Your Children Charge their Batteries." The webinar will include coping skills for supporting children and promoting resilience during these challenging times and a live Q&A.

The link is: https://partners.zoom.us/j/85742322508.

Mental Health Resource

As we are all aware COVID-19 is putting incredible pressure on families. Many families are worried about their child’s mental health, but they aren’t sure where to turn or how to get started. HandholdMA.org, a new family friendly website, can help.

The website, created by a team of mental health and child development experts in partnership with parents who have “been there,” was designed for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts.

Elementary Hybrid Advisory Committee

If you would like to submit your name to be drawn for the Elementary Hybrid Advisory Committee, please complete the survey by tomorrow. We will close the survey Monday evening and draw names representing different subgroups and all schools on Tuesday.

With warm wishes for good health and peace,



Danielle Betancourt, Principal

From Our School Nurse

Covid-19 information

Our collective health relies, in part, on individual attention and responsibility. Note that some symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as the flu or a bad cold.

Please do not assume it is another condition. When in doubt, keep your child home.

Please remember your individual responsibility to review the required symptom checker each day prior to leaving the house for in person school. If you answer “YES” to any questions on the symptom checker (symptoms, recent travel, close contact to COVID case), fill out the Butler absence form  and keep your child home.

Our Health is in your Hands

The BPS nurses encourage all members of the Belmont community to continue to do your part in helping to keep our schools and entire community healthy and safe. It is important, now more than ever, to continue to practice all of the health and safety measures we are enforcing throughout the school day. Please take this time to remind your children, friends, and family members to:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Stay home when you are sick

In addition, according to Governor Baker’s new orders, please be sure to all limit social and family gatherings both indoors and outdoors.

Reminders for Thanksgiving and Travel

As we look ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday and break, it is important to follow state and CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and limitations on gatherings. Most states are now considered high risk and your child’s return to school may be impacted by your plans. We also remind all members of the BPS community that students and staff must get a COVID-19 PCR test if they have traveled to areas affected by the Massachusetts Travel Ban 

Influenza Vaccine

Per Massachusetts guidelines, the influenza (Flu) vaccine is required for all students (whether remote or hybrid). Please submit your child’s record of flu vaccine to Ms. Harteveldt by December 31st, 2020

4th Grade Physicals

If you have a current 4th grader, an updated physical exam (done within the past 12 months) is due in the clinic now.

Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our Butler community healthy and safe. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. I am here to help as we are in this together!

Lisa Harteveldt BSN, RN

Butler School Nurse




Important Links

Thanksgiving Travel

Holiday Celebrations and Gatherings

Stop the Spread