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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's October, 2019 Newsletter

date 10/18/2019

It is wonderful to see schools recognizing their principals and assistant principals during the month of October for National Principals Month. This is a time to acknowledge the work they do all year long. We want to join our Belmont community in thanking our administrators for their service to the Belmont Public Schools.

Below please find the latest news in the district and calendar items for school events. As always, please look at the gallery at the bottom of the newsletter for more pictures of the news entries.

“There are only three ways to teach a child. The first is by example, the second is by example, the third is by example.”
― Albert Schweitzer

Dear Belmont Community: I want to respond to the concerns regarding the high school summer reading curriculum, specifically the book, The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. There have been several letters to the local paper on this topic.

The origins of this book becoming part of our BHS summer reading list came directly from our students. There was much discussion in the media on the topic of law enforcement and race several years ago and the students brought the novel to the attention of our teachers. The book seemed like an opportunity to talk with students with the hope of detangling this complex issue in a classroom setting. The English Department at Belmont High School has used this book for the last three years. The educators have reached out to our local Belmont Police leadership and discussed this issue with them.  To further the conversation, Belmont Assistant Police Chief MacIsaac met with our staff to provide and discuss the Supreme Court Case Graham v. Conner, which determines what is legally allowed and reasonable by police in use-of-force situations.

We feel fortunate to offer our students a safe place to detangle complex societal issues in their school with local and known teachers and law enforcement officials.  We feel that this model of supporting students in their formative years to understand all sides of any intricate issue is giving them a learning experience that can be exercised and replicated for their entire life.

Belmont Public Schools has always valued and appreciated our partnership with the Belmont Police Department, and we thank Assistant Police Chief MacIsaac for his perspective, partnership and leadership.

Respectfully,

John P. Phelan, Superintendent of Schools, Belmont, Massachusetts

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

  • MCAS Presentation: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the 2019 Accountability Data, and Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias presented the findings for Belmont Public Schools to the School Committee at the October 15 meeting. The district and all the schools are classified as "not requiring assistance or intervention" because the district and all schools are meeting or exceeding their targets, which is the best classification. The 2019 test data for the New Generation MCAS is the second year of the new accountability system set by the DESE for grades 3-8. The DESE has stated in the past that the Next Generation MCAS is more rigorous than the Legacy MCAS, and the standards for achievement levels are also higher. Grades 9-12 took the Next Generation MCAS last spring for the first time. A special congratulation to Burbank and Butler for being named as a School of Recognition. Burbank is recognized for high achievement, and Butler is recognized for high achievement, high growth, and exceeding targets. Only 67 schools in the state received recognition. Please see the MCAS presentation and the MCAS Accountability Memorandum from Assistant Superintendent Darias.
  • BPS Enrollment: The October enrollment numbers for the BPS were presented to the School Committee at the October 15 meeting. October numbers are the official enrollment numbers schools in Massachusetts use to report to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and are used for reporting throughout the year. Please see the Enrollment Overview presentation.
  • District Configuration Education Plan: Last year the Configuration Working Group met and completed its task by recommending the School Committee approve the new grade configuration for the district. The new configuration consists of four elementary schools with grades K-3, one upper elementary school with grades 4-6 (in the current Chenery Middle School building), and a middle and high school campus with grades 7-8 in one wing and grades 9-12 in the other. The 7-12 portion of the configuration had already been approved by the School Committee prior to beginning the building project, and the K-3 and 4-6 configuration was approved by the School Committee in May 2019. There are two other working groups that are already underway. The first is the Technology Working Group that is focusing on technology for the 9-12 building and will expand to other grade levels after that. The second group is the Teaching and Learning Working Group of 20 teachers and administrators that began meeting last May. This group is focusing on a district vision for teaching and learning and bringing it to all educators for review and feedback in the coming months. Thank you to Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias, Director of Technology Steve Mazzola, and all the educators for their collaboration and commitment as we move forward in this exciting future for our schools and students. Please see the District Configuration Education Plan for more information.
  • Recipient CMS Gr. 5 Teacher Nicole Hynes greeted by Interim HR Dir. Judy Malone Neville, SC Chair Susan Burgess-Cox, and Supt. John Phelan Professional Status for BPS Educators: BPS Educators receive this status after successfully completing three years of employment with the Belmont Public Schools. These 26 educators were recognized at a reception held before the School Committee meeting on October 15. Congratulations to them all. Please see the BPS website for more information.
  • State Education Funding Bill: Senator William Brownsberger and Representative David Rogers attended the School Committee meeting on October 15 to discuss the new state education funding bill. The hope is for a positive vote this fall to be in place Fiscal Year 2021. They spoke about the restructuring of the Student Opportunity Act and how it modernizes the K-12 education funding. Please see more information on this new state funding formula. Please see the Student Opportunity Act Fact Sheet, the Student Opportunity Act Question and Answer sheet, and the Senate Bill No. 2350.

SCHOOL NEWS

  • Commissioner Riley at CMS Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley visited the Chenery eighth graders on October 3. The Commissioner is visiting schools across the Commonwealth to talk about Deeper Learning. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is beginning a new initiative to foster strong relationships between teacher and student and experimenting with ways to deliver instruction that better engages students. Our project-based learning and SEL work fits well in to this state-wide initiative. Commissioner Riley, a Belmont graduate, told students he wants them to feel connected and be interested every day in learning and form those important partnerships with teachers and be kind to one another. He spoke to the students of his own struggles as a youth and how he overcame them through hard work and not being afraid to try and fail in life. The students were very attentive and engaged during his visit. Thank you to Principal Mike McAllister for hosting.
  • ELE Welcoming Picnic Lindsey Rinder, Director of ELE, held a Welcoming Indoor Picnic for families to meet each other and make new friends. More than 100 people attended the event, which began with an informational meeting to learn more about Belmont ELE followed by a question and answer time with Ms. Rinder. This well-attended and received event was a huge success and a way for families to meet each other and connect with multi-language and English-only speaking families.
  • Belmont High School Activities Fair There was a great turnout from BHS students at the Activities Fair on September 26. More than 75 clubs were represented, ranging from performing arts to sports to social oriented issues. Held annually, the event sees students sharing their enjoyment of their clubs while attracting new members.
  • BHS Students with Mayor Marty Walsh; photo by John Wilcox, Mayor's Office Walkers from the BHS Belmontian Club was recognized at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on September 29 for being the number one fundraiser in last year's High School Challenge. The group was on the Hatch Shell in Boston to rally the crowd and receive a plaque. Some of the BHS walkers got to get a picture with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Congratulations to the team, and please keep a lookout for fundraising events this year they will be organizing.
  • Butler Social Worker Molly Quinn with Inspirational Artwork Butler School Nurse, Lisa Harteveldt, led a team of teachers to create and install inspirational artwork in student and faculty restrooms before families were welcomed for Curriculum night. Nurse Harteveldt spent the weeks before cutting out the decorations, and a team of Butler staff put them up. Principal Danielle Betancourt says their hope is to spread messages of positivity, inclusion, and encouragement in the spaces everyone shares. Principal Betancourt says the children and adults alike have been uplifted by these messages. A wonderful gesture from the Butler staff.
  • Winn Brook celebrated the new school year with a Fun Run held on September 4. Belmont mom and marathon runner Becca Pizzi led the warm-up and run.
  • Line Dancing at Burbank Fall Family Social Burbank, Butler, and Wellington all had successful fall family socials. These socials are always a great way for returning families to reconnect for and new families to make new friends and conections to their schools.

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

From the Director of Technology Steve Mazzola: The new Butler School website is officially up and running! A significant amount of work, thought, and time went into building this site; including contributions from the Butler school PTA, the Butler School Advisory Council, the Belmont Schools Technology Department, and Principal Danielle Betancourt. More BPS sites will be redesigned in the future. Butler's new website design

The Butler site includes:

  • Approximately 100 pages of new and revised content.  
  • New features include a Google Translate tool and a WebReader at the top of each page, making the new site accessible to people with all abilities and devices.
  • Google calendar has been added which can be easily synced with all devices.
  • The web site has interactive features including: contact forms, list-serve subscription, staff contact information, and other enhanced search features.
  • The vibrant design incorporating variety of galleries beautifully and flexibly presenting images of our school life.
  • It has an upgraded news blog and the ability to easily share on social media, as well as enhanced communication for the PTA and other parent groups.
  • Information such as district events and school lunch menus are updated automatically by the enhanced content management system.

Please come take a look at https://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bps/butler.

FBE NEWS

5K Start Nearly 700 registered runners from towns throughout New England participated in the seventh annual FBE run held on October 6. The courses were a 5K race and a companion one mile run. Originally called the Dan Scharfman Memorial run since first held in October 2013, the Scharfman family in 2019 requested the Run be renamed to solely focus on education in Belmont. The official name of the run is now the "FBE Apple Run – Belmont Runs for Education!" The FBE reports they reached their fundraising goal. Proceeds from the race are used to enrich the education provided by the Belmont Public Schools. Thank you to the FBE, the runners, the race sponsors, Belmont town departments, and the more than 100 volunteers who helped with this event. Please see the gallery below for more pictures of the race and the FBE website for more information on the courses.

VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS

  • Guest conductor Nathaniel Meyer BHS Orchestra in concert with Guest Conductor Nathaniel Meyer BHS Orchestra presented a special African-American Composer Concert, Music from the African Diaspora, on October 17, sponsored by POMS. The FBE and POMS have sponsored through grants many different guest artists and musicians over the years in these Guest-Artist events. Featured this fall is guest conductor and BHS alumnus Nathaniel Meyer, conductor of the Du Bois Orchestra, joined the BHS orchestra for three extended rehearsal days leading up to the concert. BHS and CMS Orchestra Director Margot Reavey says the fall rehearsals have "led to historical and musical connections for all BHS orchestra students". Each piece in the concert was written by an African-American composer from three different musical time periods. The program included Petite Suite-4th movement "La Tarantelle" by Samuel Coleridge Taylor for full orchestra; Danzas de Panama by Williams Grant Still for string orchestra; and Montgomery Variations by Margaret Bond for full orchestra and harp. This piece was written as a response to the Selma-Montgomery Civil Rights that led to the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The piece, dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., was only recently discovered and published.
  • Upcoming concerts at BHS in the auditorium: Masquerade Concert on October 23 at 6:30 p.m. and Grade 6 and 8 Orchestra and Chorus concert on November 21 at 7:00 p.m.

ATHLETICS

  • Belmont Soccer Night Belmont Soccer Night featured the BHS Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer teams vs. Winchester teams. This event gathers Belmont youth soccer players from Belmont 2nd Soccer and the Belmont Soccer Association who participate in pre-game and halftime activities. A great annual event organized by community volunteer John Carson and sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank.
  • Booster September Athletes of the Month David D'Agostino and Marina Cataldo Congratulations to the Belmont Boosters male and female Athletes of the Month for September: David D'Agostino, Boys Golf, and Marina Cataldo, Girls Swimming and Diving.
  • The BHS Varsity Softball team and the BHS Field Hockey Team both showed their winning team efforts for two noteworthy causes. BHS Varsity Volleyball held a successful fundraiser for the New England Center and Home for Veterans called "Serving for Soldiers" at their October 2 match. Donations were collected by members of the team from fans in the stands as well as baked goods for purchase. The BHS Field Hockey Team as well as all the Middlesex League field hockey teams played and raised money in Cleo Theodoropulos' honor on October 14 for the Go4theGoal Foundation. Cleo passed away last April and was a BHS junior and a member of the BHS Field Hockey team. The BHS Team previously donated more than $18,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Please go to the Middlesex Field Hockey website for more information on how to donate.
  • Congratulations to BHS Girl's Soccer Player Senior Marina Karalis, who was named one of the TheBoston Globe EMass girls soccer players of the week.
  • 2019-2020 Belmont High Winter Sports Sign Ups will take place on October 29th @ 2:30 p.m. in the following locations:
    Girls Basketball, Room 221B
    Boys Basketball, Room 113
    Girls Ice Hockey, Rm 221A
    Boys Ice Hockey, MOD 2
    Girls & Boys’ Indoor Track, Wenner Field House
    Winter Cheer, Band Room
    Boys Swim, BHS Cafe
    Alpine Ski, MOD 3
    Wrestling, Mod 5
  • Schedule - All Events 10/18/2019 to 10/25/2019 - BHS and CMS:
    Friday, October 18
    3:45 PM Girls Varsity Swimming Melrose HS Away
    4:00 PM Boys Varsity Soccer Reading High School Away
    4:00 PM Boys Junior Varsity Soccer Reading High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Wayland High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Volleyball Wayland High School Away
    5:00 PM Boys V & JV Cross Country TBA Bob McIntrye Twilight XC Invitational Away
    5:45 PM Girls Junior Varsity Soccer Reading High School Home
    6:00 PM Girls Varsity Volleyball Wayland High School Away
    7:00 PM Boys Varsity Football Arlington High School Away
    7:00 PM Girls V & JV Cheerleading Arlington High School Away
    7:30 PM Girls Varsity Soccer Reading High School Home
    Saturday, October 19
    8:00 AM Boys Freshman Football Cancelled- Arlington High School Home
    8:00 AM Girls Freshman Field Hockey Reading High School Home
    9:30 AM Girls Freshman Soccer Reading High School Home
    2:00 PM Boys Junior Varsity Football Arlington High School Home
    7:00 PM Girls Varsity Swimming Reading High School Away
    Sunday, October 20
    10:00 AM Girls Varsity Cheerleading TBA Tewksbury Cheer Invitational Away
    Monday, October 21
    9:00 AM Boys Varsity Golf OPEN DATE MIAA Div 2 North Tournament @ Far Corners GC Away
    1:30 PM Coed Chenery Middle Cross Country Carlisle MS Carlisle Invitational Away
    4:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Reading High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Volleyball Reading High School Away
    6:00 PM Girls Varsity Volleyball Reading High School Away
    6:30 PM Boys Freshman Soccer Arlington High School Home
    Tuesday, October 22
    4:00 PM Boys Varsity Cross Country Arlington High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Varsity Cross Country Arlington High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Soccer Arlington High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Field Hockey Arlington High School Away
    6:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Field Hockey Arlington High School Home
    7:30 PM Girls Varsity Field Hockey Arlington High School Home
    Wednesday, October 23
    4:00 PM Girls Varsity Swimming Stoneham High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Soccer Arlington High School Away
    4:30 PM Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Arlington High School Home
    4:30 PM Girls Freshman Volleyball Arlington High School Home
    5:45 PM Boys Junior Varsity Soccer Arlington High School Home
    6:00 PM Girls Varsity Soccer Arlington High School Away
    6:00 PM Girls Varsity Volleyball Arlington High School SR. Night Home
    7:30 PM Boys Varsity Soccer Arlington High School Home
    Thursday, October 24
    4:00 PM Boys Freshman Soccer Woburn High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Field Hockey Woburn High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Woburn High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Field Hockey Wilmington High School Away
    4:00 PM Girls Freshman Volleyball Woburn High School Away
    4:00 PM Coed Chenery Middle Cross Country McDevitt Middle School Away
    5:30 PM Girls Varsity Field Hockey Woburn High School Away
    Friday, October 25
    4:00 PM Boys Junior Varsity Soccer Woburn High School Away
    4:00 PM Boys Freshman Football Woburn High School Away
    6:00 PM Boys Varsity Football Woburn High School Home
    6:00 PM Boys Varsity Soccer Woburn High School Away

SAVE THE DATE

  • Belmont Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is holding parent information sessions and social gatherings. Please see more on the SEPAC page located on the BPS website.
  • BHS House of Horrors and an addtional Kids House of Horrors with crafts and face painting in the BHS cafeteria at 5:00 p.m. on October 23. Admission for the Kids Haunted House is free, House of Horrors is $5. All proceeds go to Mass Audubon.
  • The 2019 Booster B-Drive will be on October 27 from noon to approximately 3:00 p.m. This community fundraising event is for the Boosters single biggest fundraiser all year. Please see more information on the Boosters page on the BHS website.
  • FBE Spelling Bee for grades K-6 will be held on November 2 at Chenery beginning at 2:00 p.m. This is always a well-attended event by the Belmont community. Please go to the FBE website for more information.
  • Belmont police is presenting, Vaping - Know the Facts!, on November 21 in the BHS auditorium at 6:00 p.m. Please see the BPS website for more information. 

CALENDAR

Below are some events going on into mid-November. Please check school websites and communications for any additional events, information or changes in dates, times and venues.
DATE/TIME, PLACE/EVENT

October 18 - 5:30 p.m./Gym; 6:30 p.m./Cafeteria - Wellington Movie Night

October 19 - 8:00 a.m. - BHS -  PSAT (Sophomores and Juniors only)

October 21 - 7:00 p.m. - PTO Meeting

October 23 - Elementary and Chenery Middle School Early Release

October 23 - Butler Fun Run

October 23 - 5:00 p.m. - BHS Cafeteria - BHS House of Horrors with an additional Kids Haunted House

October 23 - 6:30 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Masquerade Concert

October 23 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Winn Brook - SEPAC - Basic Rights: Understanding the IEP

October 25 - Wellington Student Fun Run

October 25 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - CMS Cafeteria - Grade 7 and 8 Halloween Dance

October 24 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Winn Brook Fourth Grade Halloween Party

October 27 - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. - BHS Field House - BHS Booster B Drive

October 27 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Belmont Public Library Assembly room - SEPAC - Dyslexia Movie and Communty Forum

October 29 - 6:00 p.m. - Shelburne Community Center, 2730 Washington Street, Roxbury - Reception with Boston Parents; 7:00 p.m. School Committee Meeting

October 29 - 2:30 p.m. - BHS Various Locations - BHS Winter Sports Sign-Ups

October 30 - Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School Early Release

November 2 - FBE Spelling Bee for Grades K-6

November 3 - Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m.; Turn Clocks Back One Hour

November 7, 8, 9 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Fall Play

November 12 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

November 14 - 6:30 p.m. - Burbank Library Night

November 19-22 - Winn Brook Book Fair

November 19 - 6:00 p.m. - BHS Field House - BHS Fall Athletic Awards

November 21 - 8:00 a.m. - CMS Coffee with the Principal

November 21 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Grade 6 and 8 Orchestra and Chorus Concert

November 20 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Winn Brook Game Night


Wellington Fall Picnic  Asst. Supt. Janice Darias, Supt. John Phelan, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin  Commissioner Riley at CMS  ELE Welcoming Picnic  BHS Students with Mayor Marty Walsh; photo by John Wilcox, Mayor's Office  Butler Social Worker Molly Quinn with Inspirational Artwork  Inspirational Artwork 1  Inspirational Artwork 2  Inspirational Artwork 3  Staff putting up inspirational artwork  Staff with inspirational artwork  Winn Brook Fun Run  Wellington Fall Picnic  Butler's new website design  BHS Orchestra with guest conductor Nathaniel Meyer  Guest conductor Nathaniel Meyer  Booster September Athletes of the Month David D'Agostino and Marina Cataldo  Belmont Soccer Night  5K Start  Dog Runner  Family Finish  Jumping Man  One Mile Start  One Mile-They're Off!  Volunteers  Belmont High School Activities Fair  Line Dancing at Burbank Fall Family Social  Professional Status Reception  Reception for Professional Status  Recipient CMS Gr. 5 Teacher Nicole Hynes greeted by Interim HR Dir. Judy Malone Neville, SC Chair Susan Burgess-Cox, and Supt. John Phelan  BHS Orchestra in concert with Guest Conductor Nathaniel Meyer  BHS Orchestra taking a bow  BHS Orchestra, Orchestra Director Margot Reavey, and  Guest Conductor Nathaniel Meyer 



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  • Burbank School: 617-993-5500 
  • Wellington School: 617-993-5600 
  • Winn Brook School: 617-993-5700
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