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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's November 2019 Newsletter

date 11/19/2019

As we reflect on what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the parents and guardians, the Town departments, our teachers and staff, and the entire Belmont community for their continued support for our students.

We also want to thank the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee (BMHSBC) for all the work they have done this year and past years on the construction project. We are happy to report the design is 90 percent complete and is currently on budget.

The Foundation for Belmont Education continues to amaze us with their efforts and generosity, creating grants and opportunities for our students and staff for more than 25 years. We are enormously grateful to the FBE and for our continued partnership.

Belmont Public Schools would not be who they are without our partners who work tirelessly to support the district:
-Belmont Boosters
-Belmont Against Racism (BAR)
-Belmont SEPAC
-Friends of Belmont Public Schools

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
― Sydney J. Harris


A reminder that November 27 is an early release day with no lunch served. Also a reminder the annual Belmont-Watertown Thanksgiving day game is at 10:15 a.m. at Watertown High School's Victory Field. Come hear the BHS Marching Band, see the BHS Cheeleading team, and see a great game of football!


  • Town Meeting Members on November 15 voted against rescinding Belmont’s withdrawal from membership with Minuteman Career and Technical High School. In light of this vote, the school department will continue to pursue a partnership that continues this educational programming as a non-member in order to properly serve our families. We will also be exploring options in other towns and schools to seek partnerships with them as well.
  • Results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey were presented at the November 12 School Committee Meeting. This survey was administered to students in grades 7-12 along with the Middlesex League school districts. This is an important data collection tool for our work with the Belmont Wellness Coalition and our town partners. Please go to the BPS website to see the presentation.


The BPS website is now showing a live webcam of the Belmont Middle and High School construction site. It is a fun way to see the progress being made and access to links for more information on the project.

SCHOOL NEWS (more pictures in the gallery below)

  • Dustin O'Brien saving huskies on Tobin Bridge; courtesy WGDH 7 News Boston Our own Director of Food Service Dustin O'Brien is a local hero to two huskies he rescued on November 7 who were loose and on the run on the Tobin Bridge. Please take a look at the WHDH news piece for more information - well done, Dustin!
  • Author and Scholar Clint Smith addressing BHS 10th and 11th graders Writer, poet, and scholar Clint Smith visited BHS on October 25 and gave a presentation of his poetry to the juniors and seniors. Smith’s keynote focused on how we can examine American history through the lens of poetry in order to gain new perspectives about issues relating to racial inequality, immigration, and privilege. BHS English Teacher Nathaniel Markley organized the assembly after using Smith’s poetry in a unit he created last year. Markley received a grant from Belmont Against Racism (BAR) that allowed Smith to come to BHS while Smith was finishing his doctorate at Harvard. Prior to the assembly, Markley and other colleagues taught a lesson on the value of using fiction to examine history using Smith’s poems (the two which were published this past August in The New York Times Magazine special edition on the legacy of slavery). Mr. Markley says the students were very engaged during Smith’s keynote and asked insightful questions during the question and answer period.
  • Jona Lehmann, Margo Danahy, Tor Metelmann, Bennett Mohr, Nathan Sheffield, Kiril Kueppenbender Congratulations to the Belmont High School team on being one of 17 teams that earned a place to compete on WGBH High School Quiz Show Season 11. Show taping begins in January in front of a studio audience. It will premiere on WGBH at 6:00 p.m. on February 1. More information on how to get tickets to be a member of the audience will be forthcoming.
  • Each week, members of the BHS staff nominate two seniors to acknowledge their outstanding accomplishments ranging from citizenship to extracurricular activities to scholastic, called "Marauder of the Week". Congratulations to Aditi Khare and Matthew Fiore, Marauders for week of November 15, and Kripa Paudel and Jenna Crowley, Marauders for week of November 1. Please go to the BHS website to read about these Marauders of the Week.
  • Chenery P.E. Teacher Ryan Schmitt Veteran's Day Exercises were held at Chenery, Burbank and Butler schools on November 8. It is always a pleasure to have these veterans come to our schools for us to honor and thank them for their service. A surprise guest via video from a boat was CMS Physical Education Teacher Ryan Schmitt, who is currently deployed in Cuba, and who's family was in the Chenery audience. Please see more on the BPS website.
  • Wellington Fun Run Butler and Wellington both report successful Fun Runs. The schools gather to get fresh air and exercise while also raising funds to pay for PTO/PTA events, in-school enrichment, field trips, and teacher and staff support. Both schools held their runs on October 25. Butler reports raising more than $30,000, and Wellington raised more than $20,000.
  • Butler Kindergarten Teachers Audrey Ruddock and Ellen Levy All elementary schools participated in P.A.C.K. Week, held this year October 21-25. The educational program is about encouraging children to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Every day highlights a different color. Butler had a "Butler Gets Healthy" school assembly to kick off the week followed by a guess the weight of the pumpkin to end the week. See the elementary school lunch menu for how BPS Food Services celebrated P.A.C.K. week.
  • Burbank Elementary Art Teacher Nicole Pond seeing a need applied for and received a grant with Belmont Against Racism (BAR) to provide afternoon allergy-safe snacks for the METCO elementary students who ride the bus home. Ms. Pond worked with METCO Bus Liaison Lourene Scott and Director of Food Service Dustin O’Brien as well as the school nurses to put this new program in place so each elementary school METCO bus child has an allergy- safe snack on the ride home to help bridge the gap between school and home. Ms. Pond's grant is also providing funding for an activity box for the bus, a box of creative and enriching activities and books that children use on the bus ride to and from school to keep them engaged, as well as a late bus for Boston students to "Stay and Play", which is scheduled for one afternoon in March. This one day event will feature organized events with their Belmont friends. Thank you to Ms. Pond, Mr. O'Brien, all the school personnel and BAR for making this possible.
  • Weeping Willow Butler held Vocabulary Day on October 22. An annual tradition spearheaded by fourth grade teacher, Justin Chiu, the children and staff are encouraged to come in dressed as a word. They also have a parade where the children walk through the school to share their vocabulary choices and creations.


FBE Spelling Bee2 The FBE Spelling Bee, held on November 2, had nearly 800 participants - the highest number to date. One of the FBE's biggest fundraisers for the Belmont Public School, we thank them for organizing it and for those in the community who participated, attended, volunteered, and sponsored this event. Please see the BPS website for more information.


  • Burbank is now serving breakfast. New this year, hot and cold breakfasts are available at Burbank 8:25-8:40 in the cafeteria and costs $1.75; $0.30 for reduced prince or free for eligible students. The breakfast menu on any given day may include items like granola and yogurt boxes, bagel with cream cheese, egg and cheese on an English muffin, eggs w/ breakfast potatoes, French toast bites. All would be offered with fruit and/or vegetables and milk. Burbank Interim Principal Seeley Okie noticed the students who take buses to Burbank may not have time to eat breakfast and get to school on time, so he partnered with Director of Food Service Dustin O’Brien to start breakfasts at Burbank. Principal Okie says this helps METCO students, who get on a bus at 6:50 a.m., and another parent said she is happy with this new program, because now their child has time to ride their bike to school and get breakfast. “We hope all families will appreciate this service, even if they do not take part often or at all,” says Principal Okie. “Burbank Breakfast is just one more way in which we do our best to support every student in every way."
  • BPS Food Services Eat Local Spotlight BPS Director of Food Service Dustin O'Brien says to look out for EAT LOCAL headlines over the coming months. Pictured is one of the High School options; Panko Crusted Pollock sourced from the Maine coastline served with homemade Tartar Sauce, Lemon Wedge and Roasted Asparagus. Belmont Food Services goal is to feature locally sources food along with supporting local farms and businesses when possible. BPS Food Services is partners with a number of local vendors including Iggy’s Bread, Walden Meat, North Coast Seafoods, Sid Wainer Produce, and Nick’s Place
  • Starting November 18, students of Belmont High will be able to make their own Belgian Waffles for breakfast. Toppings will include fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, banana, etc.) maple syrup, Nutella and many more. This menu option will be sold as a Premium Breakfast. Prices are $3.00 for full paid, $.30 for reduced meal and $0 for free meal benefit.


  • Chenery Students making kindness mural.jpg CMS art students worked together and created five "Kindness Murals". Please see more from CMS Art Teacher Kathleen Byrnes: Almost 400 students in all of Ms. Byrnes’ fifth through eighth grade classes worked together to create multiple mural installations all over the school with the theme of “Chenery is Dripping in Kindness.” Students, inspired by the work of artist Jen Stark created either a drip shape or a radiating shape which was later painted with either a color combination, or a black and white pattern. Over two weeks’ time, students combined all 400 shapes, playing a Tetris of sorts, to include everyone. In fact, mural shapes were assembled using over 5,000 glue dots. Once assembled, students focused on what it meant to be kind in school. We discussed how small acts of kindness can really make an impact on one another. Students came up with their own phrases such as “Kindness is like a convenience store, its open 24/7” “Protect Others,” “Love not hate”, and “Kindness is free…sprinkle that stuff everywhere!” and illustrated their words using calligraphy techniques onto some of the attached shapes. Because school can be hard for everyone at one point or another we agreed to do our part to make it easier by being kind to one another with the hopes that our kindness can inspire other, one smile at a time. The murals are in the main display case as you walk into school, the main office, the lower school office, the upper school office, and the first floor art hallway.
  • The BHS fall play, Animal Farm, held on November 7, 8, and 9, was a huge success. Theater Director Ezra Flam says the cast and crew of almost 100 students created a visually beautiful and thoughtful production. Adding to the educational mission of PAC, there was a post-show discussion and question and answer with audience members all three nights of the show. Please see pictures below.


  • Congratulations to Stephen Carvalho placed 11 in the State Div. 1 All-State Race.
  • The BHS fall competition Cheerleading Team are the 2019 Middlesex League Champions - congratulations to the team.
  • Katie Guden, BHS Field Hockey, Boosters Athlete of the Month October 2019 Stephen Carvalho,  BHS Cross Country, Boosters October 2019 Athlete of the Month Congratulations to the Belmont Boosters Athletes for the Month of October 2019 Stephen Carvalho, BHS Boys Cross Country, and Katie Guden, BHS Field Hockey.


Belmont Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) has parent informations sessions and social gatherings this month. Please see the BPS website for these dates.


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

November 19 through 21 - Wellington Book Fair

November 19 through 22 - Winn Brook - Book Fair

November 19 - 7:30 p.m. - BHS Library - BHS PTSO Meeting

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

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

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

November 21 - 6:00 p.m. - BHS Little Theater - Vaping Awareness Presentation by the Belmont Police Dept. for High School/Middle School Parents

November 23 - Off Site - BHS Sr. District Auditions

November 25 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Gr. 7 Orchestra/Chorus Concert

November 26 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

November 27 - Early Release for Thanksgiving Recess

November 28, 29 - Thanksgiving Recess

November 28 - 10:15 a.m. - BHS vs. Watertown Football Game held at Watertown High School's Victory Field

December 2 - Winter Sports Begin

December 3 - BHS Auditorium - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - BHS-PTSO showing of the film "Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience", followed by Q&A session.

December 4 - CMS Early Release

December 4 - 8:00 a.m. - CMS - PTO Meeting

December 4 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

December 5 - 6:30 p.m. - BHS Junior Future Planning Night

December 7 - BHS - SAT Testing

December 9 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Gr. 7 and 8 Band Concert

December 10 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Community Room - School Committee Meeting

December 11 - CMS Early Release

December 11 - 7:30 p.m. - BHS Library - BHS-PTSO Meeting

December 12 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Winter Concert #1

December 13 - Burbank - Book Fair

December 13 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Butler Family Art Show

December 13 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Cafeteria - PAC Coffeehouse

December 14 - BHS - ACT Testing

December 16 - 7:00 p.m. - CMS Auditorium - Honors Concert

December 18 - 7:00 p.m. - BHS Auditorium - Winter Concert #2

Butler Kindergarten Teachers Audrey Ruddock and Ellen Levy  Winners of guessing the pumpkin weight with Butler School Nurse Lisa Harteveldt and Professional Aid Michael Mann  Author and Scholar Clint Smith addressing BHS 10th and 11th graders  Jona Lehmann, Margo Danahy, Tor Metelmann, Bennett Mohr, Nathan Sheffield, Kiril Kueppenbender  Belmont VFW Post Commander Kip Gaudet and Veterans  CMS P.E. Teacher David Gonzales  CMS P.E. Teacher Ryan Schmitt.jpg  CMS Principal Michael McAllister.jpg  Grace and Julie Schmitt.jpg  Retired Butler Custodian Robert Johnson.jpg  Veteran's being introduced to audience.jpg  2nd place runner-up tie Booming Bumble Bees and BEEched Whales.jpg  All in.jpeg  Busy spelling.jpeg  FBE Spelling Bee1  FBE Spelling Bee2  Funny moment at the Spelling Bee.jpeg  Lightning spellers.jpeg  Ready Bees.jpeg  Winning Team Spelling Champs.jpeg  Ready to spell.jpeg  Chenery Students making kindness mural.jpg  Kindness messages 1.jpg  Kindness messages 2.jpg  Kindness messages 3  Kindness messages 4  Kindness messages 5  Kindness messages 6  Kindness messages 7  Kindness messages 8  Kindness messages 9  Kindness messages 10  Butler Principal Danielle Betancourt aka Wonder Woman hi-fives runners  Butler Fun Run  Wellington Principal Heidi Paisner-Roffman and Belmont Parent and Marathoner Becca Pizzi  Wellington Fun Run  Kindergarten Teachers Melanie Hannon, Kelly Hiltz, Kathryn Doyle, Kerry Lapon as Pete the Cat  Winn Brook Guidance Counselor Joanna Colton as Ms. Frizzle  BPS Food Services Eat Local Spotlight  Katie Guden, BHS Field Hockey, Boosters Athlete of the Month October 2019  Stephen Carvalho,  BHS Cross Country, Boosters October 2019 Athlete of the Month  Dustin O'Brien saving huskies on Tobin Bridge; courtesy WGDH 7 News Boston  Athletic  Blizzard and Glamorous  Fourth grade leading parade  Precipitation  Weeping Willow  BHS 2019 Fall Play Animal Farm  Animal Farm  Animal Farm 2  Jona Lehmann, Margo Danahy, Tor Metelmann, Bennett Mohr, Nathan Sheffield, Kiril Kueppenbender  Chenery P.E. Teacher Ryan Schmitt