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Belmont Public Schools News

Superintendent's Newsletter November 2022

date 11/21/2022

We wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and also want to remind you there is an an early release for all schools on Wednesday, November 23. Enjoy your long weekend, and we will see you back at school on Monday, November 28.

In this Issue:

Winter Weather
Family's Guide to SEL
School Committee
ELE Welcomes New Families
School News
Football at Fenway
Visual and Performing Arts
Helpful Links


Winter Weather

We want to remind you once again of the various ways you can find out about school delays and closings. As always, Belmont Public Schools will put out an automated call and email to parents and staff.

School closing or delay decisions are made with the support of the other town departments as we consider the safety of our staff and students traveling to school.

As usual, any snow days are made up at the end of the school year.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the various ways you can find out about an unexpected school closing or delay due to weather:

WBZ Radio (1030 AM) and TV (Channel 4) http://boston.cbslocal.com/closings/

WRKO Radio (680 AM) and WHDH TV (Channel 7) http://whdh.com/storm-closings-delays/

WCVB TV (Channel 5) http://www.wcvb.com/weather/closings 

The BPS Website School Closing Delayed Opening


Please see the Family's Guide to SEL from the Belmont Wellness Coalition. The goal of the guide is to help families understand what SEL is, what BPS is doing, and give some ideas of what families can do at home.


Class size-Enrollment

Enrollment/Class Size Update: At the November 1 School Committee meeting, Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias gave a presentation  looking at the October 1, 2022 official enrollment numbers given to DESE (there is also an annotated version). This annual enrollment report gives a big picture view over a number of years as well as a comparison of this year's to last year's numbers by looking at schools, student groups, and class sizes. You can view this presentation on Belmont Media Center On Demand beginning at 1:52:05.


School Bus Transportation: We are looking at transportation as part of the district reconfiguration work as we move to a 7-12 school in fall 2023 and to a K-3 and 4-6 school in fall 2024. In the second transportation presentation given to the School Committee at the November 1 meeting, the school department provided a deeper context to the four scenarios given to the School Committee at the October 4 meeting. The School Committee will vote on one option at the December 13 meeting followed by a transportation forum in February 2023.

School Department District Priorities School Committee Update: Director of District Transition Karla Koza presented an update on reconfiguration and transition and Director of DEI Chont'el Washington presented an update on the primary focus areas for DEI at the November 15 School Committee meeting.

Budget 1  

FY24 Budget: The school department presented an update on the FY24 General Fund Budget at the November 15 School Committee meeting. This update continued discussions from the presentation  and staffing roster given to the School Committee at the October 25 meeting.

As you may remember, we began the FY24 budget discussion at the October 4 School Committee meeting and continue to review the general fund budget, the federal fund budget, and the budget allocation process for opening the new Belmont Middle and High School in September 2023. Although there will be budget components at all School Committee meetings, there are specific meetings to be aware of listed below:

  • December 6 off-cycle School Committee Budget Meeting
    Present Projected “net” FTE and funding for the General Fund, federal and new school budgets​
  • ​December 13, 2022 School Committee Meeting:
    Continue budget discussions
  • December 2022 (TBD) Review with the School Committee and Education Subcommittee:
    The School Adminstration along with the School Committee will review the Special Education Multi-Year Out-of-District Funding Plan with the Education Subcommittee of the Warrant Committee
  • January 3, 2022 School Committee Meeting:
    Present Draft #1 FY24 Budget
  • January 12, 2023 Town and School Committee Joint Meeting
    Present Draft #1 FY24 Budget to Town at Budget Summit # 4


ELE Family Welcome Event

ELE department and members of the English Language Advisory Council welcomed international families new to the district on September 28. English Language Education Director Lindsey Rinder gave remarks on the ELE program, its services, and criteria for exit.  Afterward, families gathered outside to picnic and meet new friends. Many of the 60 plus languages in the Belmont Public Schools could be heard that night. Over the preceding twelve months, the ELE program in Belmont grew by 24 percent to nearly 440 students. We are fortunate to have a strong multilingual community ready to welcome newcomers and help them access the many opportunities that Belmont offers. In turn, our ELE students offer their English-only peers excellent models of risk-taking, growth mindset, and perseverance as they become fully bilingual. Please see more about the ELE program on the BPS website.


Veterans' Day Exercises at Butler

Burbank, Butler, and Chenery held Veterans Day Exercises for our local veterans on November 7. The program included poems and patriotic songs. We thank these men and women for their service. Please see pictures from the Butler School in the gallery below.

Belmont High School 

Symphonic Band Fridays

The BHS Symphonic Band members perform live in the main foyer every Friday at the end of the school day. The band plays different selections of funk, soul, rock, hip hop, and more. This is a wonderful way to end the week and start the weekend!

BHS Marauder of the Week highlights students' accomplishments ranging from scholastic to extracurricular activities to community service. Marauders for the Week of November 18 are Chivon Coyne, Dylan Cumbo, and George Fotis; November 10 are Gabriella Athanasiou, John Regan, and Sophia Liu; November 4 are Claire Hlotyak, Miriam Woods, and Nick Mazzoni; October 28 are Leo Carpenter, Tori Nilsen and Weldon Smith; October 21 are Bora Kosar, Leo Boss, and Maima Diakhate. To read more about these Marauders, please go to the BHS website.

The 5 Minutes Ago team put together a short video each week with news, information, and a cultural snapshot of BHS. These videos, created by the student-run group and advised by BHS English Teacher Kimberly Masterson, are shown during the school day on Monday and are also on the BHS website.


Author Julie Berry with CMS students Author Sheela Chari with CMS students

Fifth grade students had a visit from author Julie Berry who gave a Creative Writing workshop, and author Sheela Chari met with sixth graders, talking about her books, and author Karthik Delivers also spoke with students. These informative visits coincided with the Author Festival held in October organized by CMS Librarian Karen Duff.

Grade 6 students created cave art in Social Studies as part of their unit about Early Humans. Students spent a day making observationswhere they learned about cave art features and purposes and then created the art.

CMS Catapult testing

Grade 7 students in Terrence Wong's and Leon Dyer's technology class are learning about the Engineering Design process by building and testing catapults.

The CMS Community Service Club held a sock drive in October. Unused socks were collected to donate to charity. This "Socktober" event is one of many the club holds throughout the year benefitting charitable organizations.


Butler Fun Run! Wellington Fun Run!

Butler and Wellington held their annual Fun Runs on October 21 and exceeded their fundraising goals. The Fun Runs are some of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the PTA and PTO, and help raise money for special assemblies, in-school enrichment, field trips, and more.

Butler Vocabulary Day Butler held their annual Vocabulary Day October 28. Staff and students come dressed up as and/or act out a vocabulary word. At the end of the day, fourth graders lead a Vocabulary Parade where all students go through the hallways, showing their words and costumes.

Winn Brook held a spirit week beginning October 31. During spirit week, students and staff who participate wear the themed clothing of the day such as halloween, pajama, and sports team/fitness. Spirit Week at Winn Brook is a fun late-fall annual tradition. Pictured in the gallery are third grade staff members dressed as different types of weather.


Football at Fenway Belmont High School and Watertown High School will play the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game this year at Fenway Park on Wednesday, November 23. The day is especially celebratory as it also marks the 100th annual game between Belmont and Watertown. Please see the Red Sox website for scheduling and ticketing.


The BHS Visual Art Department launched a new Google site. The visual arts website includes announcements, photos, and recent work from our amazing student artists.


Wellington Fun Run  Wellington Fun Run!  Butler Fun Run!  ELE Family Welcome Event  Symphonic Band Fridays  Veterans greeting Butler students  Butler Vocabulary Day  WB Staff during Spirit Week  CMS Sock Drive  Author Julie Berry with CMS students  Author Sheela Chari with CMS students  BHS Fall Play  Veterans arrive at Butler  Veterans' Day Exercises at Butler  CMS Catapult testing