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Superintendent's May 8, 2020 Newsletter

date 5/8/2020

We know our 2020 Belmont High School graduates feel the restraints of physical distancing the most deeply, having to spend the remainder of their last year away from all their classmates. First and foremost, we are sorry this is our current situation and feel horrible for our seniors – they are missing out on many true traditions and rites of passage, and it is sad. We are trying to balance safety and celebration. As an administration we will pause this process to review and re-examine ideas that have been emailed to us from our parents and students. Our goal is to provide a safe and celebratory experience for our seniors under our current circumstances. We hope to give the community an update on this process by Tuesday, May 12.

What will happen next?

We will pause and respect the fact that our community wants to take this window of time to consider and reconsider all options. Plans in other districts are evolving, and we are in contact with our neighbors about their ideas. We will continue to review these ideas and look at them through the eyes of our seniors and through the lens of our health guidelines. Work will be done on reviewing these options over the weekend, and we hope to have more ideas and potential plans to share with the community by Tuesday. My hope is that this pause and time of reflection is received as a demonstration of our listening to you, our community, and with the desire for an enhanced outcome for the graduation event for our seniors.

As we sit and watch this pandemic play out across our country, we are all trying our best to follow the rules set in place by our local, state and national leaders, and some folks are wearing thin of our current situation. We are open to ideas, we are genuine in our objective to shine a light of recognition on our seniors that is also rooted in our responsibility to keep all involved safe.

Again, I feel for our seniors as they did not ask for nor deserve to be in this situation.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

FY21 Budget Discussions: The School Committee Finance Subcommittee held a joint meeting with the School Committee and the Warrant Committee Education Subcommittee on May 7 to continue talking about possible budget scenarios for FY21. The School Department presented a more detailed list of budget reductions as requested by the Warrant Committee Education Subcommittee. The committees will be meeting during the month of May in preparation for the budget presentation to Town Meeting in June. The May 12 School Committee Meeting also has FY21 budget on the agenda. The school administration will outline the list of reductions and the impact it will have for the 2020/21 school year at the meeting.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM

Sundial Some CMS Grade 5 scientists created sundials at home as part of their remote learning about the solar system and the study of shadows at different times of day. Students got very creative in finding suitable materials at home, finding non-rainy days, securing their sun dials from blustery winds, and tracking their observations over two days.

SCHOOL REGISTRATION UPDATE FOR 2020-2021

We are currently accepting documents from families residing in Belmont for 2020-2021 registrations. This is now a paper mailing. Those of you who have already begun the on-line process, and have submitted your Home Language form and Parent Interview form (for K-4 only) have been sent an email reminding you of paperwork needed and directing you on how to submit it. New registrations will also be emailed of this process.

A gentle reminder if you have an existing student in the Belmont Public Schools, and have a kindergartner entering the schools in 2020-2021, please register your child now. We do not know of students who will attend next year unless they are registered.

USEFUL INFORMATION

We have put links in previous newsletters to useful information. We will be placing them here from the various newsletters for your convenience.

Town and State:

Organizations:

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The Superintendent's Newsletter will be coming out on Tuesday and Friday afternoons with a section dedicated to your questions. The newsletter will allow us to stay connected as a district and offer quick updates, information, and school news while we are physically distancing. Your questions can be sent to Newsletter Questions Google doc.

BHS Principal Isaac Taylor has started his own FAQ document families can view. They have broken the document down into sections for all students, each grade level, and will update the document as more questions arise.

Will the 2020-2021 academic year start before the scheduled September 2nd start date?

The school department does not plan on starting the school year before the current start date of September 2, 2020. It is our understanding that the current COVID-19 concerns may linger through the summer and adjusting the start early may not be in the best interested of our students and staff.

Will you be refunding the spring sport athletic fee?

Yes, since there was no spring sports season the School Committee voted to have the fee reimbursed, as outlined in the email sent to families and in the Superintendent's May 1 Newsletter.

When can our kids clean out their lockers and bring their belongings home?

The Superintendent is discussing the timeline and protocols that we will need to put in place with the school principals and with Wesley Chin, the Director of the Belmont Health Department as communicated in the Superintendent's April 28 Newsletter. We will be communicating more detailed information as we receive feedback from our Board of Health.

Questions on Kindergarten fee:

We received two questions regarding the decision not to reimburse the kindergarten fee voted on by the School Committee at the April 28 meeting and communicated in the Superintendent's May 1 Newsletter. The School Department and the School Committee agreed any families who have had a change in their financial circumstances should contact the Business Office to ask for your situation to be reassessed as outlined in the email sent to families.

 


Sundial 



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