Diversity, Equity and Inclusion NEWS

2021 - 2022


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2021 - 2022 School Year

Juneteenth 2022

Celebrate JUNETEENTH June 19

Juneteenth National Independence Day - also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day - is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans during the United States Civil War. Juneteenth is named for Union Army General Gordon Granger's general order of June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. You can learn more about Juneteenth from the following resources:

[Posted 6/16/2022]
Pride Parade 2022

Belmont Pride Parade on June 11

June is LGBTQ Pride Month! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is celebrated each year in June, to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising demonstrations by Manhattan's gay community.

In celebration of Pride Month, the annual Belmont Pride Parade will be held on Saturday June 11th, at 1 pm on Town Green, 404 Concord Avenue.

For more information, please contact belmontlgbtqalliance@gmail.com

DEI Bias Form logo

BPS Online Bias Incident Reporting Form

I am writing to announce that the Belmont Public Schools Bias Incident Report Form is now available on the DEI website.

 The Belmont Public Schools Bias Incident Report Form can be accessed from the Bias Incident Reporting page on the BPS DEI website. Some important notes:

  • Submitted forms are routed to the Director of DEI Chon'tel Washington and the school's principal, who will assess the report and undertake an immediate investigation.

  • While the form may be completed anonymously, we encourage you to provide your contact information. This will enable the district to conduct a more thorough investigation and resolution. Anonymous reports may be essentially impossible to investigate.

  • More information, including definitions of "what a bias-motivated incident is" and what happens after a report is submitted, may be found on the Bias Incident Reporting page.

We encourage all members of the Belmont Public Schools community - including students, staff, parents/caregivers, volunteers, and town residents - to use this form to report any incidents of racism, bias, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation that you have experienced or witnessed, which involves a member of the Belmont Public Schools or takes place on or near school property. 

In his 5/17/2022 message to the BPS community, Superintendent John Phelan spoke of "our resolve to continue our important conversations about racism, hate, and bias toward any one group of our fellow human beings."

These are the types of discussions we must remain dedicated to, in an effort to better our community. Our goal, especially for our students, is to openly discuss these issues, learn from each other, and enlighten and embrace one another with grace and understanding. The work on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools and community is essential and has value for both the adults and children we serve. All students need and deserve to feel safe and valued in order to fully engage in their learning.

Learning For Justice, an educational resource for schools defines a bias incident as conduct, speech, or expression motivated in whole or in part by bias or prejudice. To learn more or read examples of bias incidents, please see "Tips for Identifying Bias Incidents."

The district's investigation processes, including restorative and disciplinary consequences, will be tailored to each incident. While student privacy concerns will always prevent public disclosure of specific investigation details, we will publish periodic reports to keep the community informed of the number of reports made, noticeable patterns regarding the nature of the bias incidents, and conclusions of investigations when applicable.

Please contact Chon'tel Washington, Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, at cwashington@belmontschools.net with feedback, suggestions, or concerns.



[Posted 5/20/2022]
AAPI Heritage Month 2022

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Belmont Public Schools joins the Town of Belmont in celebrating AAPI Heritage Month with events throughout May 2022

  • Belmont Celebrates AAPI Heritage – please visit www.belmontcelebratesaapiheritage.org for a complete listing of events throughout May that honor and celebrate AAPI heritage

  • AAPI 5K Run ‘n’ Walk  – The inaugural AAPI 5K Run ‘n’ Walk was held on Sunday, May 1, at the BHS track, to raise the voices and visibility of AAPI residents in Belmont and raise funds to support the Belmont Celebrates AAPI Heritage Fund.

  • AAPI Book Donation – The Belmont Celebrates AAPI Heritage Fund made a donation of 140 AAPI books to Belmont elementary schools supporting the guest reader program, and to BHS to diversify the ELA curriculum. Selections were based on recommendations of BPS teachers and administrators, following the guidelines of the Belmont Diversity Task Force.

  • Elementary School AAPI Biographies – Asian-American parent volunteers from Winn Brook Elementary School selected ten biographies of important Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, to be read to the students of all four elementary schools during the month of May.

  • Belmont High School Asian Culture Night – Friday, May 20, BHS Auditorium. Doors open at 5:30 pm, show begins at 6 pm. Tickets are $7 for students, $12 for adults, and free for ages 2 and under. A fundraising event of the BHS Asian American Club, bringing the Belmont community together for an evening of quality performances from fellow students and local performers, showcasing a mixture of traditional and modern acts featuring martial arts, dance, traditional instrumental performances, and more. For tickets or questions, email belmonthsasianclub@gmail.com

"...Because you are young and have dreams and want to do something meaningful, that in itself, makes you our future and our hope. Keep expanding your horizon, decolonize your mind, and cross borders." - Yuri Kochiyama (May 19, 1921 -June 1, 2014)

[Posted 5/16/2022]
DEI Equity Audit logo

BPS Post-Equity Audit Community Forums

BPS invites members of the Belmont community to participate in a forum to offer us your ideas on prioritizing and addressing issues identified in the Equity Audit Report.

Two forum sessions will be held on May 17, one at 12:30 pm and one at 7 pm.

To participate, please register at Eventbrite.

Registered participants will be requested to prepare for their forum by:

[Posted 5/10/2022]
Belmont HRC logo

Belmont Human Rights Commission (HRC) Discrimination Complaint Form

The Belmont Human Rights Commission (HRC) offers an online Discrimination Complaint Form for residents to report incidents of bias or discrimination observed in town.

[Posted 4/8/2022]
PFLAG logo

Announcing GBPFLAG Newton/Belmont Parent Group

The GBPFLAG Newton/virtual parent group meeting will officially now become the GBPFLAG Newton/Belmont group. This group is open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community and family members.


  • Fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:30 pm - 8 pm


  • Virtual on April 27, July 27, and August 24.

  • In person on May 25, June 22, and again in September for the fall at First Church in Belmont, 404 Concord Avenue.

Parents who are interested in joining this group are asked to contact: newtonsupport@gbpflag.org or Athena Edmonds at athena@edmonds.com. Athena and Carol Caravana are co-facilitators of this group.

[Posted 4/8/2022]
Rainbow Artists logo

Rainbow Artists Spring 2022

Rainbow Artists is a creative expression group for LGBTQIA+ youth and allies ages 8-11 and 12-15

Rainbow Artists

  • Ages 8-11: Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm, April 7 to June 2 (skip April 21)

  • Ages 12-15: Tuesdays 6:30-7:30pm, April 5 to May 31 (skip April 19)

Register for Zoom link

Rainbow Artists is a creative expression group for LGBTQIA+ youth and allies ages 8-11 and 12-15. Led by experienced art facilitators/therapists, we create a safe, warm space with art invitations and conversations – and occasional guest LGBTQIA+ artists!

LexPride is grateful to Community Endowment of Lexington, and endowed fund of Foundation for Metrowest, for a grant that helps cover the cost of Rainbow Artists.

[Posted 4/8/2022]
Trans Flag 2022

Transgender Day of Visibility 2022

On March 31, Belmont students and residents joined people across the nation and  throughout the world in recognizing International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrating transgender people and their accomplishments and shining a spotlight on the discrimination they face. President Biden issued the following proclamation in honor of the day.

A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2022

MARCH 30, 2022



     To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you.  The First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Gentleman, and my entire Administration see you for who you are — made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect, and support.  On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.  We celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality.  We acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our Nation and around the world.

     Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving.  Like never before, they are sharing their stories in books and magazines; breaking glass ceilings of representation on television and movie screens; enlisting — once again — to serve proudly and openly in our military; getting elected and making policy at every level of government; and running businesses, curing diseases, and serving our communities in countless other ways.

     Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity.  Transgender women and girls — especially transgender women and girls of color — continue to face epidemic levels of violence, and 2021 marked the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans.  Each of these lives lost was precious.  Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy.  We must honor their lives with action by advancing equity and civil rights for all transgender people.

     In the past year, hundreds of anti-transgender bills in States were proposed across America, most of them targeting transgender kids.  The onslaught has continued this year.  These bills are wrong.  Efforts to criminalize supportive medical care for transgender kids, to ban transgender children from playing sports, and to outlaw discussing LGBTQI+ people in schools undermine their humanity and corrode our Nation’s values.  Studies have shown that these political attacks are damaging to the mental health and well-being of transgender youth, putting children and their families at greater risk of bullying and discrimination.

     My entire Administration is committed to ensuring that transgender people enjoy the freedom and equality that are promised to everyone in America.  That is why I signed an Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.  We are expanding Federal non-discrimination protections; promoting strategies to address violence against the transgender community and advance gender equity and equality; and disseminating new resources to enhance inclusion, opportunity, and safety for transgender people.  Additionally, Americans will soon be able to select more inclusive gender markers on their passports.  I continue to call on the Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan Equality Act, which will ensure that LGBTQI+ individuals and families cannot be denied housing, employment, education, credit, and more because of who they are or who they love.  We will continue to work to help transgender people around the world live free from discrimination and violence.

     On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor transgender people who are fighting for freedom, equality, dignity, and respect.  We also celebrate the parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, and other allies who affirm the identities of their transgender children and help these young people reach their potential.  Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our Nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them.  To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave.  You belong.  I have your back.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2022, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people — and all people.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

[Posted 3/31/2022]
AAPI Run 2022 logo

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month!

Join hundreds of runners and walkers in our community for a 5K Run 'n’ Walk on Sunday, May 1, 2022 to raise the voices and visibility of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents in Belmont!


Run or walk with your friends or neighbors to kick off the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2022 celebrations!

This family friendly event organized by the Belmont Chinese American Association (BCAA) is for everyone. We are thankful for your support for raising the voices and visibility of the AAPI community in Belmont.

The AAPI 5K Run and Walk will also raise money to support the Belmont Celebrates AAPI Heritage Fund. Managed by the BCAA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, this fund intends to support individuals or organizations to organize various activities or events for the AAPI Heritage Month celebrations in Belmont. Past projects this fund has supported can be found here.

Online registration is open through April 22, 2022. REGISTER NOW to secure one of the 200 special AAPI Carolina Blue 'Quik-dri' running shirts!

We thank the AAPI 5K Run and Walk Sponsors for their support!

  • DREAMEGA international realty

  • Belmont Pediatric Dentistry

  • Bib Sponsor: Alina Wang, Coldwell Banker Realty

Please visit our website for event updates and learn more about the Belmont Celebrates AAPI Heritage and the AAPI 5K Run and Walk 2022.

Don't wait. Register now!

[Posted 3/23/2022]
Diversity video pic

Building Awareness for A Stronger School Community

Chenery Middle School began a learning and awareness learning series called CMS Learns: Building Awareness for A Stronger School Community. Our focus is building all of our capacity around diversity, equity and inclusion and making our school a stronger, more connected place for all of us. This week, they reviewed terminology to develop a shared language. Click HERE for the slides.

CMS Learns Playlist

[Posted 3/21/2022]
Protesting anti-LGBTQ photo

Protesting Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in Certain States

Last Friday, March 11, 2022, students from across the United States participated in a walk out protesting the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in certain states.

We are proud to see so many youth from Massachusetts participate including our students from BHS and CMS. Learn more here:

[Posted 3/16/2022]
International Women's Day logo

New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Site!

Dear Belmont Community,

Happy International Womxn's Day and Happy Womxn’s History Month!

International Women's Day 2022 photo

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion site that will live on the Belmont Public Schools website.

The site features a welcome and commitment to equity from the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, DEI-related news, our strategic initiatives, and more. It will serve as a living site that will update and archive the district's past, sharing present and future equity work. In addition, we hope to provide the BPS community with an opportunity to learn more about the work of DEI in the district and stay informed about how to be involved in DEI initiatives.

We will be updating the content of our site frequently with helpful resources, events, and reporting about strategic DEI initiatives. We hope you find the new website easy to access the information you wish to know regarding our diversity efforts.

We want to thank our IT department and BPS staff members who provided support, feedback, time, and energy to create this site. For questions, suggestions, feedback, or comments, please contact Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Chon'tel Washington, at cwashington@belmontschools.net.



Chon’tel Washington (she, her, hers)
Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion
Belmont Public Schools

[Posted 3/8/2022]
BPAC logo

Lunar New Year Festival 2022!

Belmont Pan-Asian Coalition

2022 Lunar New Year Parade and Festival

Join the Belmont Pan-Asian Coalition (BPAC) in Belmont Center on Sunday, February 27, 2022, from 2-3pm, as we celebrate a multicultural Lunar New Year!

Enjoy a lion dance performed by Woo’s Martial Arts! Plus: regional costumes, special Lunar New Year dishes prepared by Patou Thai and Shine Fresh Asian, Asian teas, a kids’ parade, and more!

BPAC Lunar New Year flyer

[Posted 2/25/2022]
Sybrina Fulton photo

Sybrina Fulton: Cultivating Justice Toward Racial Equity

Sybrina Fulton Mother of Trayvon Martin


Cultivating Justice Toward Racial Equity

Thursday, February 24, 7pm on zoom watch from anywhere online at Belmontmedia.org/publictv 

see the replay here:

Sybrina Fulton flyer

[Posted 2/24/2022]
MLK 2022 photo

Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Community Breakfast

BELMONT’s 28th Annual

MLK Virtual 2022 Breakfast flyer

Rahsaan Hall photo

Guest Speaker - RAHSAAN HALL, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

The Arc and the Pendulum:
The long journey toward racial justice

9:00 am
Attendees admitted beginning at 8:50 am

This event is free to the public.

Your donations to support BELMONT SCHOOLS’ METCO SUPPORT FUND are appreciated. Please send your check to Belmont Against Racism, P.O. Box 649, Belmont, MA 02478 or donate on-line via PayPal at belmontagainstracism.org at the “donate” button.

Mark your calendars: Eventbrite registration at bit.ly/MLKBelmont2022

For more info: Contact Belmont Human Rights Commission at 617-993-2795 or belmont.hrc@gmail.com

Co-sponsored by: Belmont Human Rights Commission, Belmont Against Racism, and Belmont Media Center.

[Posted 1/3/2022]
Belmont Town Seal

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Board of Selectmen issued the Proclamation to Celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Awareness Month.

On November 20th the world marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, to honor the lives that have been lost to anti-transgender hate and violence over the past year. Transgender Awareness Month is celebrated annually in November to uplift the voices and bring awareness to the experiences of the transgender community. The Town of Belmont honors and celebrates the achievements and resiliency of transgender individuals.

Read the entire proclamation here: Transgender Day of Remembrance Proclamation

[Posted 12/16/2021]
BPS letterhead blue

Condemnation of Hate

Dear Belmont Schools Community,

I am reaching out to share information about and condemn several incidents that have occurred at Belmont High School and Chenery Middle School since the beginning of the school year. These incidents of hate have targeted our Black and brown, Jewish, and LGBTQIA+ community members. Taken individually, these events are each deeply harmful and unacceptable. Taken as a group, they compel us to look carefully at what is happening in our community and what we can do to prevent future incidents of harm in our schools.

When incidents like these occur, our principals work quickly to inform the community at the school where the incident took place. We are committed to timely, transparent communication when issues arise. Because of the recent prevalence of these events, now is also the time for a district-wide communication.

Let me be clear: any act of hate is unacceptable in the Belmont Schools community. We have no tolerance for hateful language, symbols, acts or sentiment. We care about each one of our students and community members and we are committed to working diligently to eradicate hate, educate and support our students, and improve our community.

Some parents have asked me whether this behavior can be attributed to the emotional strain the pandemic has put on students. To answer this question we must acknowledge the fact that incidents of hate are not new in Belmont, or in any community. Acts of hate occurred prior to the pandemic and they continue to occur now. But we also acknowledge that the pandemic has been very difficult for all of us, and that we have seen an increased need for student support this year. The district foresaw this need, budgeted appropriately, and hired four additional social workers to support our middle and high school students.

We will continue to work with students in classrooms, on sports teams, in extracurricular activities, in formal and informal ways to communicate and uphold the values of the Belmont Public Schools. Some of the actions we have taken in our schools include full school presentations, homeroom discussions about symbols of hate, and classroom discussions about the negative impact that hateful and derogatory messaging and words have on our students and school culture. We also implemented some student-based activities as well as time for student sharing. At Chenery, students created positive messages and posted them on the main office wall as a public show of support. Additionally we have held restorative circles and discussions with students and staff in an effort to listen, educate and guide students through challenging experiences. We also work specifically with the students who are directly involved in these incidents; disciplinary measures that we have at our disposal range from community service and extra-curricular penalties to suspension.

Next week we will continue to meet with staff and discuss and explore more proactive protocols and actions that will lend themselves to building positive culture and ensuring a safe school environment for all students. At the district level we have reached out to the Belmont Human Rights Commission and look forward to their help in reviewing recent events and discussing productive short- and long-term strategies moving forward.

We are grateful to have Chon’tel Washington, our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, on board to support this work, as well as strong partnerships with the Belmont Human Rights Coalition, and the many volunteer groups that represent our families and community. We will lean on the expertise and partnership of these groups moving forward. 

I appreciate your commitment to creating an educational community that welcomes, celebrates, and supports all community members. Please feel free to reach out to me with any thoughts.


John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Town of Belmont

[Posted 12/16/2021]
Indigenous Peoples Day logo

Announcement about Indigenous Peoples Day

On May 5, 2021, Belmont Town Meeting voted in favor of Warrant Article 10 to establish that the second Monday of October would be commemorated as Indigenous Peoples Day in the Town of Belmont. We are grateful to the Belmont High School students who collaborated with community members to bring Warrant Article 10 to Town Meeting and to the Town Meeting members who approved it.

Indigenous Peoples Day honors the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the United States and aligns with the Belmont Public School district’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Belmont sits on the original homeland of the Pequosette Tribe.

An important part of our ongoing work is making sure our curriculum provides both mirrors, where students can see themselves reflected, and windows, where they can learn about people whose experiences differ from theirs. This has resulted in changes to curriculum units and texts, especially in English language arts and social studies; the work to make sure all voices and perspectives are included is ongoing.

We invite you to celebrate the first ever Indigenous Peoples Day by participating in two special events planned to mark the moment:

We Still Live Here

  • Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project Documentary Screening and Discussion on Zoom

  • Thursday, October 7

  • 6 PM

  • Click here for more information and to register to attend.

Celebration for Belmont’s First Indigenous Peoples Day with BOMBAntillana

  • Monday, October 11

  • 9:30-10:30 AM

  • Winn Brook School Field

  • Click here for more information.

[Posted 12/9/2021]
DEI Equity Audit logo

Equity Audit Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is a pleasure to introduce myself and to announce the next phase of the Belmont Public Schools, district-side equity audit.

Today, educational excellence means creating learning environments where every student feels safe, included, and empowered to achieve. Bringing this vision to life requires hearing from students, teachers, and staff to better understand the state of equity and inclusion at school.

For those of you who may be new to the idea, an equity audit is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization in the key areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion for schools.  It is a means of assessing how we are doing in these key areas, as well as identifying areas in which we need to improve.  It is something that many organizations and schools have done in the past, and something the Belmont Public Schools is enthusiastic to take on this year.

In November 2020, the School Committee endorsed the proposal to approve Belmont Public Schools to work with external education consultants from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Teaching Systems Lab to conduct an equity audit for BPS. Through the equity audit the selected consultants, Elizabeth Borneman and Belicia Smith, are taking a comprehensive look at the district's policies, practices, and systems, focusing on bias and barriers to access and success. You can learn more about our chosen consultants, Elizabeth and Belicia, here. As part of the equity audit, data will be collected through a climate survey, interviews, and focus groups with key community members, including students, staff, and families.

The Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey provides schools and districts with a clear picture of how students, teachers, and staff are thinking and feeling about diversity, equity, and inclusion in school. The survey can help schools and districts track the progress of equity initiatives through the lens of students and staff, identify areas for celebration and improvement, inform professional development, and signal the importance of equity and inclusion to the community. The student topics were developed in partnership with the RIDES Reimagining Integration - Diverse and Equitable Schools Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Student Survey Questions:

The following student survey questions will cover the topics:

  • Diversity and Inclusion

  • Cultural Awareness and Action

  • Sense of Belonging

As we continue to create a more inclusive environment for teaching and learning, student input is essential. Therefore, we hope that you will encourage your child(erns) participation. A high response rate will enable us to confidently take the necessary actions to make Belmont Public Schools more inclusive and equitable for all.

Additional communication about how you and your child(ren)’s can participate in the equity audit is forthcoming. Students will receive instructions from their teacher or a school representative about the survey and focus group.

Parents/Guardians can view the student survey ahead of time here. Please review the Equity Audit Phase II FAQs, which includes additional information about the data collection process.

Should you have any questions, please contact me by phone at 617-993-5422 or via email cwashington@belmontschools.net and I would be happy to answer them.


Chon’tel Washington
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Belmont Public Schools 

[Posted 10/14/2021]