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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's April 2019 Newsletter

date 4/5/2019

Spring has finally arrived, which is good news in particular for those of us living in New England. I hope you all enjoy great weather during the upcoming April recess. Meanwhile, our schools have been busy with many PTO/PTA events this past month, which are always well-attended by the community. We thank the PTO/PTA for organizing these school-wide programs. Please see below for the latest news and calendar events. 

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” 
― Abraham Lincoln


  • School Committee Elections: Congratulations to new School Committee members Amy Checkoway and Michael Crowley and incumbent member Andrea Prestwich for their recent election wins on April 2. Ms. Checkoway is replacing Lisa Fiore, and Mr. Crowley is replacing Jill Norton, both chose not to run again. We thank Ms. Norton and Ms. Fiore for their time and commitment to the work of Belmont Public Schools, and we welcome them all to our next School Committee meeting on April 9.
  • Belmont High School Building Committee (BHSBC):  Some important dates are coming up in the near future. BHSBC Chair Bill Lovallo will have our energy consultant talk about all the green aspects of the new school at the April 23 School Committee meeting, and the Ground Breaking Ceremony will be on May 28 at 11:00 a.m. on the grounds of the high school.  More information on this will come soon. As you know, construction will begin at the high school as soon as school ends. Please see this message below from the BHSBC:
    As work begins on the site, there will be necessary changes to how students, staff, parents and community members will access the high school campus.  When the high school opens this fall, travel and traffic will be contained to the east side of campus.  To accomplish this change in campus access, over the summer the high school site will be closed to the public east of Harris Field and this will include the high school building.  To see the detailed plans of this new configuration which will be in effect for the next two school years, click on this plan link


  • CMS Science Olympiads Eamon and Jonathan with Battery Buggy The Belmont High School Science Team and the Chenery Science Team both participated in the Massachusetts State Science Olympiad competition on March 23. This is a national program consisting of 23 events in science and engineering. The high school team placed third out of 55 teams attending; the first time they’ve placed in the top three since 2006. Of note BHS students Derek Chen and Alice Liu received a gold medal in Fossils, and Mimi Sung and Walter Shen received a gold medal in Thermodynamics. CMS students in Grades 6-8 spent months preparing for their test, lab and engineering competitions in a variety of events from building roller coasters, racing home-made vehicles, solving mock crimes to investigating infectious diseases. The Chenery Regular (Varsity) team placed fourth in the state out of 31 programs, and the Chenery Alternate-1 team placed second state-wide in the alternate competition. Seven pairs of students came in 1st place in their individual event competition: Alvin Lu and Daisy Newbury (Potions and Poisons), Shikhar Singh and Alvin Lu (Solar System), Griffin Li and Michael Voigt (Road Scholar and Battery Buggy), Vivian Weng and Cindy Wei (Density Lab), Jonathan Peng and Daniel Qi (Heredity), Serena Li and Tara Westover (Rollercoaster), and Jack Stevens and Artyom Yesayan (Elastic Launched Glider).  Congratulations to all of these students and coaches; BHS Chemistry Teacher Mark Abruzzese, and CMS Science Teachers JoAnne Marks, Jon Marks, and Niki Nitchie.
  •   Students served Chinese tea BHS students had a visit on March 1 from Gars Kerbel, who spoke to the students in some of the Chinese classes about how China was shaped by Confucius. BHS Chinese Language Teacher Muqing Gu says Mr. Kerbel explained the core values of Chinese culture, which is Confucius’ 孝 (Xiao, "Loyalty to Family") and 仁 (Ren, "Brotherly Love") based on his understanding after living in China for 17 years and being immersed in the Chinese classics, such as the Daodejing and Confucius. Mr. Kerbel also presented to students one of Confucius's most famous sayings, “Among three people walking together, one must be my teacher”. With a brush, he then wrote it on a poster in traditional Chinese calligraphy and acted it out to show the meaning of the sentence. Mr. Kerbel also brought in and made various Chinese teas for the students to teach them how to enjoy it (e.g. breathe the aroma DEEP into the sinuses). The students enjoyed learning about Chinese culture through this interactive workshop.
  • BHS Marauder of the Week for the week of April 1 is Justin Darling, for the week of  March 18 are Brogan Madden and Cody Scarfo, and for the week of March 11 are Mayura Thomas and Janae Creech Moise. Please go to the BHS website to read more about them.
  • Chenery Middle School participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Pennies 4 Patients fundraiser March 7 to March 15, and collected more than $3,000 Organized by the Chenery Community Service Club and CMS Math/Science Teacher and Community Service /Club Adviser Michael Williams, the Club planned, advertised, and collected donation boxes throughout the school. Congratulations to all for a successful drive.
  • Chenery Multicultural Night on March 28 featured international food, a new identity art exhibit by Chenery students, and a live performance by Crocodile River Music. Chenery families also told cultural stories. Organized by the PTO, it was a well-attended event by Chenery families.
  • WB Math Night Winn Brook had a successful Math Night on March 14, organized by the PTA. There were over three dozen stations with math games, puzzles and more to educate and entertain students.
  • Burbank held "Burbank Reads Across America" during national "Read Across America" month in March, where they focused on several different reading activities. One of the activities was to have students come to the office and share a summary of a book they've read with the school community through the speaker system. Burbank Principal Dr. Tricia Clifford says by sharing books with the school community, the hope is that students will try a book they haven't read. She also said it was exciting to listen to the students describe with enthusiasm the books they want others to know about.
  • Wellington 2019 PTO Carnival Wellington Winter Carnival, held on March 16, had hundreds of attendees come and take part in sand art and crafts, face painting, and traditional carnival games. One of the biggest events organized by the PTO, there are current and alumni parents as well as Chenery and Belmont High School students who volunteer, making the event a Belmont community effort.
  • Butler Library Night on February 8 had professional storyteller Tony Toledo, book readings, crafts, and a book swap. Organized by the PTA, this is always a fun night of reading.


Wellington Principal Dr. Heidi Paisner-Roffman We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Heidi Paisner-Roffman has accepted the position as Principal of the Wellington Elementary School beginning July 1, 2019. Dr. Paisner-Roffman is presently an Assistant Principal and English Learners Program Coordinator in the Wayland Public Schools. She began her career in education as a first grade teacher in the New York City Public Schools in 1998. In 2001 Dr. Paisner-Roffman moved to Massachusetts and began a15 year tenure in the Wayland Public Schools where she worked as a first grade teacher, special education teacher, a special education liaison and team chairperson. Her tenure in Wayland was punctuated by a three year position in the School of Education at Boston College between 2013 and 2016. Dr. Paisner-Roffman was awarded a Ph.D.in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College, a Master’s degree in special education from Bank Street College, and a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Paisner-Roffman to the district as she begins her work in July.



Classes are available for students entering grades Pre-K through sixth. Sessions are filling up fast, please go to the BPS website for more information on classes and registering.


Superintendent Phelan on Belmont Journal with host Roger Colton Roger Colton interviewed me on, Belmont Journal, on March 22. The Belmont Media Center show is about a half hour long and titled, "Needs, Values and Future of Belmont Public Schools." It was a pleasure to be on his show which can be viewed online here.


Congratulations to Andrew Xu, Bass Clarinet, who was selected to perform in the All-Eastern Honors Concert Band. He will be assisted by BHS Band Teacher Paul Ketchen, and will join students who will prepare very challenging music they will perform under the leadership of prominent conductors in this biennial event. These students will spend three days rehearsing with one of five conductors during the Eastern Division Conference of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in preparation for performances on April 7.


  • The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Massachusetts State Ice Hockey Coaches' Association announced the Belmont High School Boys Ice Hockey Team was awarded on March 17 the James F. Mulloy Ice Hockey Team Sportsmanship Award for 2019. These awards are presented to high school hockey programs that exemplify the sportsmanship qualities of James Mulloy, a former head hockey coach at various area high schools and a member and past president of the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association and Chair of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Ice Hockey Committee. Congratulations to all!
  • Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Winter Athletic Awards, held on March 14:

    Boys Varsity Indoor Track
    Sportsmanship Award: Merrill Barnes
    Coaches Award: Kai Takayama
    Boys Junior Varsity Indoor Track
    Sportsmanship Award: Joseph Thesmar
    Coaches Award: Raymond Chen
    Girls Varsity Indoor Track
    Sportsmanship Award: Laura Baird
    Coaches Award: Drew Bates
    Girls Junior Varsity Indoor Track
    Sportsmanship Award: Maya Chandrakasan
    Coaches Award: Nicole Urban      
    Boys  Varsity Hockey
    Sportsmanship Award: Nick Brown
    Coaches Award: Tim Starr
    Boys Junior Varsity Hockey
    Sportsmanship Award: Rory MacDermid
    Coaches Award: Colin Shea
    Girls Varsity  Hockey
    Sportsmanship Award: Sam Rocci
    Coaches Award: Katie Guden
    Girls Junior Varsity  Hockey
    Sportsmanship Award: Bridget Gray
    Coaches Award: Lilly Duffy
    Boys Varsity Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Dan Seraderian
    Coaches Award: Matt Wu
    Boys Junior Varsity Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Killian Dullaghan 
    Coaches Award: Noah Meyer-Herron
    Boys Freshman Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Ryan Broderick
    Coaches Award: Tyler Arno
    Girls  Varsity Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Jess Giorgio           
    Coaches Award: Megan Tan
    Girls Junior Varsity Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Morgan Haight
    Coaches Award: Katie Reynolds
    Girls Freshman Basketball
    Sportsmanship Award: Sophia Lowery
    Coaches Award: Alexandra Zarkadas
    Boys Varsity Swim Team
    Sportsmanship Award: Harry Thidemann
    Coaches Award: Justin Dong
    Boys Varsity Wrestling
    Sportsmanship Award: Kamyar Nouri
    Coaches Award: Justin Darling
    Boys Junior Varsity Wrestling
    Sportsmanship Award: Peter Krom
    Coaches Award: Kolbe Maksym
    Boys Varsity Skiing
    Sportsmanship Award: Dan Orem
    Coaches Award: Parker Lutz
    Boys Junior Varsity Skiing
    Sportsmanship Award: Charles Verdet
    Coaches Award: Dan Artamonov
    Girls Varsity  Skiing
    Sportsmanship Award: Rebecca Anderson
    Coaches Award: Yasmine Aoua
    Girls Junior Varsity Skiing
    Sportsmanship Award: Kayla Kiely
    Coaches Award: Rory Madden
    Winter Varsity Cheer
    Sportsmanship Award: Janae Creech-Moise
    Coaches Award: Angela Hicks

  • Congratulations to the 2019 Winter Middlesex All-Star Awards recipients:
    Boys Basketball
    Mac Annus
    Tim Minicozzi
    Danny Yardemian (All Conference)
    Girls Basketball
    Maiya Bergdorf
    Jess Giorgio
    Megan Tan (All Conference)
    Boys Ice Hockey
    Nico Carere
    Girls Ice Hockey
    Jordan Lettiere
    Boys Indoor Track
    Merrill Barnes
    Rafael Burger
    Kai Takayama
    Girls Indoor Track
    Laura Baird
    Isabel Burger
    Audrey Christo
    Leya El-Chanati
    Sara Firth
    Joy He
    Rachel November
    Gabriella Viale
    Boys Swim
    Damien Autissier (All Conference)
    Igor Brandao
    Justin Dong
    Jack Hayes
    Michael Pizzuto
    John Wright
    Rickey Ye
    Justin Darling
  • Congratulations to the 2019 Winter Mass Bay League Award recipients:

    Boys Skiing
    Marin Vigneras
    Max Vigneras
    Girls Skiing
    Rebecca Anderson
    Ashley Green


BASEC-BPS Fifth Annual Parent Lecture Series The fifth annual Parent Lecture Series brought to you by Belmont After School Enrichment Collaborative (BASEC) and Belmont Public Schools is presenting three lectures on Thriving in a Diverse World: Raising Racially Aware Children. The second lecture is on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School auditorium. Please go here for more information about this series.


Below are some events going on through April. Please check school websites and communications for any additional events, information or changes in dates, times, or venues.


April 5, 6, and 7 - CMS - MICCA Festival

April 8 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Rm. 113 - Boosters Meeting

April 9 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

April 10 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - BHS College Fair

April 11 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - CMS Large Community Room - CMS Author Festival and Book Fair; then at 6:30 p.m. signing at Belmont Books

April 11 - 6:30 p.m. - Wellington Grades 3 and 4 Science Night

April 11 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Winn Brook Grade 4 Bingo Night

April 11 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Parent/Teacher Band Concert; Women of Brass Concert

April 13 through April 21 - April Recess - No School

April 13 - BHS - ACT Testing

April 23 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - CMS Honors Concert

April 23 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

April 24 - 7:30 p.m. - BHS Library - BHS-PTSO Meeting

April 25 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - CMS Cafeteria - Student Council STEAM Fair

April 29 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - CMS Solo and Ensemble Concert


WB Math Night  Winn Brook-Math Night  WB Math Night Bean Table  Winn Brook Math Night  CMS Science Olympiads Eamon and Jonathan with Battery Buggy  Pointing out Qingdao on map  Gars Kerbel writing Chinese caligraphy  Students served Chinese tea  Superintendent Phelan on Belmont Journal with host Roger Colton  BASEC-BPS Fifth Annual Parent Lecture Series  Wellington 2019 PTO Carnival  Wellington Principal Dr. Heidi Paisner-Roffman