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Superintendent's Newsletter February 11, 2021

date 2/11/2021

We begin this newsletter with a gentle reminder that February recess begins next week, Monday, February 15 through Friday, February 19. If you have any plans to travel during this time, please see the communication from nurses regarding following the state travel order and BPS protocol. Have a wonderful and safe week.

Please see the table of contents below:

School Committee
Kindergarten Registration
School News
Visual and Performing Arts
Foundation for Belmont Education
Useful Information


Chair's Report: Please see the Chair's Report from the February 2 meeting which answers the Google questions submitted to the School Committee.

Update on COVID Testing and Vaccines: At the February 2 School Committee meeting, we updated the committee on the state pool testing program and vaccines for educators as well as emailed the Belmont community on February 5. Please see that email for more detailed information on this subject.

FY22 Budget: Many of you attended the PTO/PTA elementary budget meeting on February 10 where we presented information on the FY22 budget and upcoming $6.4M override on the town April ballot. There is another presentation for the middle and high school levels on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. If you are an elementary parent and were not able to attend the elementary presentation, please join the March presentation. These meetings are live streamed, and, as always, you can view public meetings OnDemand on the Belmont Media Center website as well as get information on the BPS website under the School Budget tab.

The town Warrant Committee is presenting a fourth budget forum, "Understanding the Override Decision", tonight, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. The school department is also presenting at this meeting. We hope you can attend; however, if you miss this forum, you can view it OnDemand on the Belmont Media Center website. This budget presentation, as well as all the town budget presentations, can be found on the town website under the FY22 Budget Information tab.

BHS Program of Studies: SC voted at the February 2 meeting to accept Modern Band, a new music course added to the BHS Program of Studies for the 2021-2022 school year. Visual and Performing Arts Director Arto Asadoorian presented this new school-based music program that utilizes popular music as its central curriculum and teaches students musical styles they may already have some familiarity with; rock, pop, Motown, soul, hip-hop, R&B, electronic dance  music, and other contemporary styles. The hope is that Modern Band will appeal to students who are not currently being served by the traditional music program and ensembles offered at BPS.

BHS Community Service: BHS Principal Isaac Taylor presented a request for a reduction in community service hours at the February 2 School Committee meeting. This request was to take the pressure off of seniors who during the pandemic are either having a difficult time finding opportunities or have a compromised individual at home and don't want to risk exposure to COVID. The Class of 2021 would have all hours waived, the Class of 2022 would have their hours reduced by 20 hours, and the Class of 2023 and 2024 would reduce by 10 hours each. The thought behind including the lower classes was to be fair in not expecting these students to complete four years of community service in two.

Athletic Fee: The MIAA and the state approved the Fall 2 sports season. At the February 2 meeting, the School Committee Finance Subcommittee voted to keep the same reduced fee structure as the fall and winter sports due to a modified sports season; first sport is $325, second sport is $220, third sport is $110. Please see the Fall 2, 2021 Athletic Department Update.

School Calendar for 2021-2022: The School Committee voted on the school calendar for 2021-2022 on February 2. The first day of school is Thursday, September 9 for students in grades 1-12, and Wednesday, September 8 for staff. Please see the calendar for the start of kindergarten and preschool.

This is a departure from the School Committee policy of beginning school on the Wednesday before or after Labor Day, depending on the date of the holiday. Beginning on September 9 allows us more time to move into the grades 9-12 wing of the new Belmont and Middle High School building while construction begins on the grades 7 and 8 wing.

Next School Committee Meeting: The next School Committee meeting is on Tuesday, February 23, at 6:30 p.m.


Kindergarten Registration 2021-2022 Belmont Public Schools online registration for your incoming kindergartner is open for School Year 2021-2022. We are pleased to announce BPS offers free tuition for kindergarten. Please see important registration information below for current BPS families: 

  • You do not need to register a grade 1-12 existing Belmont Public Schools student again.
  • You do need to register your incoming kindergartner even if you are a current Belmont Public Schools family. To ensure placement of your incoming kindergartner at the same elementary school as your grade 1-4 child, please submit all required documents to complete registration for your incoming kindergartner by April 9.
  • Current Wellington preschool families will be emailed registration instructions.
  • To enter Kindergarten, the child must be five years old on or before September 1st of the year they will attend school.

If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact the school you registered with.


  • Butler Principal Danielle Betancourt reading during Literacy Week Butler PTA organized a Principal PJs Read Aloud to celebrate Literacy Week held February 1 to February 5. In addition to the Principal Danielle Betancourt read aloud, BHS students shared read aloud videos with Butler children, and local author and illustrator, Hanna Cha, did a live-reading of her book.
  • Concord Museum virtual trip-Butler gr. 3 Butler third graders took a virtual field trip to the Concord Museum last December to supplement the curriculum unit on the history of Native Peoples in New England. Sponsored by the PTA, Butler third graders learned about the geography of New England and where and how the Native Peoples lived in New England before Europeans arrived. In addition, they examined pictures of early tools used by indigenous peoples of North America.
  • CMS 7th grade engineers explored "Infographics", the concept of systems engineering to model inputs, processes, outputs, and feedback among components of transportation, structural, or communication system. Please see the video showing a visual example of this project.
  • BHS freshman crafting event BHS Freshman Class Officers organized a crafting event after school in the cafeteria on January 22. Freshman could safely socialize while creating winter crafts for Belmont Manor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center to use for decorating and sharing.
  • BHS Marauder of the week of February 5 are Camden Johnson and Tilly Hamer, for the week of January 29 are Laura Jansen and Caerwyn Saar, and for the week of January 22 are Colin Martin and Emma McDevitt. Please go to the BHS website to read more about these students.
  • The following BHS students named as finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholoarship Program. These students are now eligible to be selected for National Merit Scholarships offered this spring. Please see the National Merit Scholarship website for more information on this program. Congratulations to the following seniors:
    Isabel T. Burger
    Katarina L. Chen
    Charlotte E. Conroy
    Alexander W. Fick
    Sarah A. Firth 
    David A. Jen 
    Edward P. Lee 
    Alicia A. Lugovskoy
    William Jackson Mann
    Jessica D. Peng
    Jason Tang
    Howell Xia
    Yao Xiao 


Congratulations to the twenty BHS students accepted into Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State ensembles. Visual and Performing Arts Director Arto Asadoorian says it is by far the most from Belmont High School in recent memory. Please see the list of these students below:
Katherine Arkin (Grade 11), oboe 
Lot Bates (Grade 11), cello
Madeleine Christensen (Grade 11), chorus
Lydia Haddad (Grade 11), French horn
Lem Hicks (Grade 10), French horn
David Jen (Grade 12), chorus
Megan Kornberg (Grade 11), oboe
Gaeun Lee (Grade 11), clarinet
Joshua Lee (Grade 9), bassoon
Priscilla Lee (Grade 10), violin
Colin Martin (Grade 12), bassoon
Julie Meng (Grade 9), violin
Lora Ovcharova (Grade 11), French horn
Benjamin Quinn (Grade 11), chorus
Irene Son (Grade 11), clarinet
Christina Xi (Grade 9), violin
Jeffrey Yi (Grade 11), viola
Daniel Zhang (Grade 11), tenor saxophone
Anthony Zhao (Grade 10), clarinet
Kenny Zhou (Grade 11), tuba


The Fall 2 Season will have tryouts/practices beginning the week of February 22, and registration is open until Wednesday, February 24. Please see the Fall 2, 2021 Athletic Department Update for more information.


  • FBE Spelling and Trivia Bee 2021 The FBE announced two Rapid Response Grant awards awarded in January. These grants were created by the FBE to provide quick and responsive funding to educators for needs that arise due to COVID. We thank the FBE's for their continued support of our educators and students. Please see the FBE website for a summary of the awards.
  • The Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) held a Virtual Spelling Bee and Trivia night on February 6. The Virtual Bee was able to include more groups by dividing into two segments this year: a Family Bee and a Teen and Adult Bee. Please see the FBE website for more information on this community-wide event and for the 2021 winners.


For your convenience, below are links to useful information from previous newsletters.

Belmont Public Schools:

Town and State:


Winn Brook Grade 2 Recess  Kindergarten Registration 2021-2022  Butler Principal Danielle Betancourt reading during Literacy Week  Concord Museum virtual trip-Butler gr. 3  BHS freshman crafting event  BHS Freshman crafting  Freshman crafting  Freshman crafts for Belmont Manor  FBE Spelling and Trivia Bee 2021  Butler Gr. 3 virtual trip to Concord Museum