Chenery Middle School Update - Week of January 16, 2022

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January 17, 2022

Dear CMS Community,

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. Thank you to the Belmont Human Rights Commission, Belmont Against Racism, and Belmont Media Center for sponsoring the powerful 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Community Celebration. I am grateful for the work of these community organizations.

Thank you to those who joined the PTO and the Belmont Wellness Coalition last week for the review of the data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey which helps us all better understand the stressors and risky choices some students make to respond to the stressors.  You can find that presentation HERE  Belmont Public Schools has the good fortune to work with the Belmont Wellness Coalition and McLean Hospital consultants to help our community support students as they struggle with mental health issues. 

The data from the YRBS and our everyday experiences tell us that our students in Belmont are not immune to a variety of challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Mental health concerns touch every corner of our student population. I urge you to review their slides to better understand the very real problems and behaviors our students are exhibiting as a result of mental health concerns. The first step to assist our kids is to be aware. The second powerful step is to have very open and honest conversations with our children. We need to build our toolbox for this most critical support we give to students. 

Please join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 7:00pm with McLean Hospital consultants for a webinar. This opportunity is for parents of students in grades 7-12, with a focus on increasing our understanding of the challenges facing students today and spotlight strategies parents and caregivers can use to support students in navigating stress while living full and rewarding lives. See more details and virtual meeting link below. 

Last, please be sure to review the updated guidelines around COVID, quarantine, isolation, and pool testing that can be found below. 

I wish everyone a happy and healthy week ahead.

Best Regards,

Karla B. Koza, Principal



January 17

NO SCHOOL in Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

January 21

CMS Safety Drill  

January 28

CMS Ice Skating Night    7-8pm – Belmont Rink

February 3

McLean Parent Workshop - Supporting Students Through Stress 7:00PM

February Dates

February 1, 8 and 15

Discovery Museum for 6th Grade

March 8 

8th Grade NAEP Testing (Info to come)

May Dates

(5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 6/1)

Discovery Museum for 5th Grade



As the pandemic continues to evolve, so too does the guidance and protocols for our schools. The Belmont School Committee discussed this updated guidance at our most recent meeting on January 11, 2022. Please see the Superintendent’s recent email to families HERE.

Please refer to the following link for a quick reference: POSITIVE COVID TEST - updated BPS isolation guidance

DESE FAQ for January 6, 2022 - (Quarantine, Eating)

DESE/DPH Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios - SY 2021-22

Superintendent’s Recent Update on Changing Practices for BPS

From the Nurses - Routine COVID Safety Checks - Information about Pool Testing


February 3rd from 7:00-8:00PM - Link to join Webinar https://partners.zoom.us/j/87111429404

Our students are going through a lot. Mental health challenges are on the rise. Please join this CMS/BHS co-sponsored event to learn how to best support our children. For parents of students in grades 7-12, this webinar will focus on increasing our understanding of the challenges facing students today and spotlight strategies parents and caregivers can use to support students in navigating stress while living full and rewarding lives. Specifically, this webinar will cover interventions to build resilience and address stress reactions in students. We will discuss approaches to improve communication and understanding, promote resilience, and coach youth through big emotions and stressors. Attention to how COVID-19 and current societal stressors play a role will be addressed throughout. 

There will be a Q&A portion at the end of the webinar. Please use this google form to provide your questions in advance. We will work to answer as many questions as possible. Please note, McLean consultants will not provide direct clinical recommendations.


During the afternoon of January 21, CMS will walk through three safety drills with the support of Belmont Police. We will be reviewing protocols and procedures with staff this week. We will provide an overview for students on Wednesday of this week. Drills will include Lockdown and Evacuate. Safety drills are necessary to provide students and staff with the tools and strategies available to them in the case of an emergency. These drills can provoke anxiety and concern with some of us. Our plan is to provide a calm but informative approach to responding to emergencies. A few ways to help students understand the necessity of drills includes:

  • Let them know that school is a safe place and that part of the job of teachers and school staff is to practice safety skills. 
  • Make connections to safety habits you already practice. Explain that the lockdown drill is another safety habit just like the many safety habits you do on a regular basis, for example, wearing seatbelts and bike helmets. 
  • Though it may be new to your child, the lockdown drill will be best learned through practicing.
  • Follow your child’s lead. If they seem worried or uncomfortable, help them to identify their feelings and talk with them about ways of handling them. 
  • Let your child know when CMS performs lockdown drills they are announced as a drill.
  • Consider your child’s unique needs. If you are concerned about how your child will handle the lockdown drill, please reach out to the school. From Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

If you are concerned about how your child will handle any of the drills, please reach out to your child’s grade level counselor.


Initiated in 2019, this event features Asian pioneers in science, politics, research, literature, activism, and more who will share their experiences with the Belmont community through a short presentation and Q&A session. Our event aims to

  • Enhance recognition of a student's cultural roots and identity: this does not only include Asian American students, but all students from different racial backgrounds can learn about self-discovery on their own identity.
  • Display the impact of Asians in the fields of science and technology, social sciences and humanities, public service, activism, and arouse student interest in fields.
  • Inspire students to take their responsibilities on their communities and to pursue excellence, innovation and leadership.
  • Build potential connections between BHS students and the speaker’s community.

This year, our event features author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Georgia Tech assistant professor Srijan Kumar, and Hmong-American University of Wisconsin-Madison pHD student Kao Lee Yang. For more information about our speakers and event, please see this information document linked here.

The event will be taking place on Thursday, 1/27/21 at 3:00 PM EST in the Black Box theater at Belmont High School. This event is free and open to the public. Although audience members will be in the theater, the speakers will be speaking to us through a projected video conference and not in person due to Covid and travel complications.


Our grade 5 choral and orchestra student concert can be viewed HERE. Thank you to the students and staff who made this musical experience happen. Thank you to Belmont Media for capturing it for us.



The Belmont Public Schools offers tutoring to students who are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID and not able to attend school. 

  • Tutoring services are delivered virtually for up to 10 days per student
  • Tutoring referrals are made once the need for quarantine is determined.  However, as it takes a few days to process a referral and arrange a tutor, the tutoring may not actually begin until students return to school given the short 5-day quarantine.  In cases like this, the tutoring will focus more on academic support for transitioning back into the classroom vs provision of curriculum/instruction while the student is absent.
  • Tutors coordinate content and materials directly with the classroom teacher

During the initial communication with the school nurse related to quarantine you will be asked about your interest in tutoring for your student.


You do not need to register a grade 1-12 existing Belmont Public Schools student again.

You do need to register your incoming kindergartner even if you are a current Belmont Public Schools family. To ensure placement of your incoming kindergartner at the same elementary school as your grade 1-4 child, please submit all required documents to complete registration for your incoming kindergartner by April 8.

Current Wellington preschool families will be emailed registration instructions.

To enter Kindergarten, the child must be five years old on or before September 1st of the year they will attend school. Please begin your kindergarten registration online as of January 28. If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact the school you registered with.


The Chenery Middle School has developed the following guidelines to ensure that the private school application process runs smoothly for students, teachers, and counselors: CMS Private School Application Overview 2021-2022.  This information can also be found on the CMS website: https://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bps/cms/School-Info/Departments/Guidance.  Please contact your student’s school counselor if you have any questions or need additional support with this process.


We are grateful that our counseling team has grown. In order to provide clarity to families in how to refer a student for academic, emotional, or behavioral support please follow these guidelines. Click HERE for mental health resources for families outside of the school setting.


School Counselor

Carla Hawkins, Grade 5 Ext.5823

Lindsay Culver, Grade 6 Ext. 5834

Robyn Cohen, Grade 7 Ext. 5833

Joe Quinn, Grade 8 Ext. 5824

Your first stop to refer a student for review and support. 

  • School counselors triage need and then may engage administration and/or social workers as needed.
  • Fields concerns from parents and may discover need to refer for additional support.
  • Communicates with students/parents and gathers additional information.
  • Monitors students’ grades, attendance, and reaches out to students and parents with any concerns.
  • Part of the response team if a student requires immediate intensive support.

Social Workers

Paula Lazar, Violet and Key Teams

Mollie Bourne, Lower School

Ashley Peterson, Upper School

  • Support students based on required services in IEPs. 
  • Support students referred to them through school counselors.
  • Counseling links to external counseling supports, DCF, and other community resources. 
  • Part of the response team if a student requires immediate intensive support. 

School Psychologist 

Colleen Leary

  • Meets with students weekly who have counseling listed on their IEP or 504 plan.
  • Triage any students with safety concerns and make next step referrals; communicating with administration, guidance and families.
  • Meets with additional students in need for social/emotional support when space allows either regularly or on an emergency basis.


Click here for CMS Student Council Calendar of Events 21-22


The Chenery Middle School 2021-2022 Yearbook is available for sale! The yearbook is a 150+ page hardcover record of the 2021-22 school year. It will document student life, activities, student portraits, staff photos, events, grade eight farewell ads, and much more. The yearbooks will be given out to students during homeroom before the end of the school year (no later than June 17, 2022).

Start by clicking this link for the 2021-2022 CMS YEARBOOK

After clicking the link above, you’ll be able to -

  • Order a Yearbook - $25.Deadline to order - March 31, 2022
  • Order a Grade 8 Farewell Ad - Full Page - $75, 1/2 Page - $50, 1/4 Page - $40 You design and layout on the Jostens Yearbook website. Yearbook theme (colors and formatting) will be applied to your design. Examples of Grade 8 Farewell Ads Deadline to order - February 4, 2022

Upload Yearbook Photos

  • The Photo Upload Portal is the place to upload any and all photos for the 2021-2022 yearbook.
  • Deadline to upload photos - March 31, 2022
  • Please consider uploading any photos you have. Photos you took at a game, celebration, outing, concert, dance, CMS Staff photos, out of school, groups, event, trip, etc.

Don’t delay, order a yearbook today!

Cheetah Spot

Does your child ride a school bus or can’t make it to the store when it is open? If so, they can pick up a green order form outside of the school store and follow the directions on the form. Students can use the order form to place and receive an order so they don’t miss the bus.

How to Sign Up For CMS Email

To receive the communications sent out on the Chenery Middle School listserv, click HERE.

Helpful District and School Documents


Principal Karla Koza



Please contact me in any of the ways below.

Chenery Middle School
95 Washington Street
Belmont, MA 02748




Lower School (5 & 6) Assistant Principal Nicolette Foundas email: nfoundas@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5820

Upper School (7 & 8) Assistant Principal Mark DiStefano email: mdistefano@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5831

ENCORE & Student Programming Assistant Principal Ryan Holland email: rholland@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5801

Lisa Hurtubise, ELA Reading Director email: lhurtubise@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617 993-5945

Elizabeth Baker, Director of Science email: ebaker@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5970

Jonathan Golden, Director of Mathematics email: jgolden@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5805

Deborah McDevitt, Director of Social Studies email: DMcDevitt@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5980

Vicky D'Annunzio, Interim Director of World Language email: vdunnuzio@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5950

Arto Asadoorian, Director of Fine and Performing Arts email: aasadoorian@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-5990

Lindsey Rinder, Director of English Language Education email: lrinder@belmont.k12.ma.us and voice mail: 617-993-1044

Jonathan Libby, Assistant Director of Student Services email: jlibby@belmont.k12.ma.us

Rosa Inniss, METCO Director email: rinniss@belmont.k12.ma.us 

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