Fourth Graders Appeal Rescues STEM Night At The Burbank; Thursday, April 11 At 6 PM

Photo: The Burbank School

A few months back, it didn’t look like the annual STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – Night would occur at the Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School this year, according to Kathy Posey, STEM Committee member of the Burbank PTA. There didn’t appear to be enough time to plan the event, and finding volunteers is difficult.

But don’t underestimate the will of Burbank students.

About six weeks ago, the Burbank PTA received a petition from the fourth-grade students requesting that STEM Night be planned for this year. The good news is that thanks to parent volunteers, local community organizations, and businesses, STEM Night is happening. On Thursday, April 11, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Burbank students will learn about the excitement that STEM bring to everyday life.

Given the short time the event could be planned, the STEM Committee aimed to have 15 to 20 interactive exhibits. This past week, more than 30 interactive exhibits will encourage students to engage in STEM activities! The exhibitors include:

  • Belmont High School Science Club Air Trajectory: Students will try their hand at a catapult that shoots ping-pong and golf balls.
  • Belmont Police Department Drones and Fingerprints: Students will learn how the police drone works.  They will also learn how fingerprints are lifted from a crime scene and try it themselves.
  • Eversource Pedal Power: Students will pedal a bike to learn whether an incandescent or LED light bulb requires more power.
  • Record Robotics Robot Fun: Students will drive a robot as it shoots soft donut-shaped pieces at different heights, and students will catch them.
  • Matt Taylor, the newly elected Belmont Select Board member, and a Burbank parent, will present Everyday Things Up Close: Students will look at items we use all the time but at 60x to 120x magnification. What will they see?

Burbank owes a special thanks to Belmont Orthodontics and Belmont Pediatric Dentistry for their generous support has that helped defray event costs and allowed the PTA to raise funds for continued classroom enrichments, teacher support and community building events, such as STEM Night.

Foundation For Belmont Education Name Outstanding Teachers, Farrell Award Winner

Photo: Greg Bruce, (middle) the 2024 S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence honoree

The Foundation for Belmont Education has announced the recipients of the 2024 Outstanding Teacher Awards and the S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence. Sponsored by the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, the recipients – selected among nominations submitted by students, parents, colleagues, and the community – will be honored at a public ceremony at the Chenery Upper Elementary School on Monday, April 29.

Greg Bruce, a Special Education teacher at Belmont High School and head coach of the current state champion Boy’s Rugby squad, is this year’s Farrell Excellence Award honoree, recognizes his long standing dedication and leadership both in the classroom and in the larger community. 

The Outstanding Teachers honorees are recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s students. 

 2024 Outstanding Teacher Award recipients are:

  • Joshua Streit, Belmont High School, Social Studies
  • Brenton Lussier, Belmont Middle School, Math
  • Sara Carson, Chenery Upper Elementary School, Music
  • Kendra Nnyanzi, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 1
  • Catherine Monnin, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 2
  • Molly Quinn, Butler Elementary School, Social Worker
  • Wendy Hurwitz, Burbank Elementary School, Grade K

The ceremony for this year’s recipients will be held on Monday, April 29, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Chenery Upper Elementary School auditorium where cookies and light refreshments will be served. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to everyone.

The BHS Performing Arts Company Will Be Staging ‘Something Rotten’ This Week

Photo: The poster of this year’s musical “Something Rotten”

The tale of how the world’s very first musical was staged, the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company presents its Spring Musical “Something Rotten” this week in the Belmont Middle and High School Main Theater.

Showtimes are:

  • Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m. (matinee) and 7 p.m. 

Ticketing for the shows is online, and advance purchase of tickets is strongly encouraged, as the Main Theater has limited seating capacity. Tickets can be purchased at

It’s 1595, and brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but find themselves stuck in the shadow of William Shakespeare, the Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting – all at the same time – Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. Amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to their own self.

The book is by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, who also conceived the work.

ADULTS: $15 in advance / $18 at the door
BHS STUDENTS: $5 Thursday and Saturday Matinee, $10 Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.

Filling Spaces: Belmont Announces ‘New’ Asst. Super, A First CUE Leader, Extended Elementary Principals Search

Photo: The Belmont School District is filling leadership positions

The Belmont School District has taken the “interim” from assistant superintendent Lucia Sullivan’s title as the in-house candidate was hired to fill the post recently held by Janice Darias.

Sullivan’s appointment to the full-time post was one of two selections by Superintendent Jill Geiser in filling major leadership positions in the district over the past month. Sullivan’s promotion was hardly a surprise as she and Geiser have created an effective team after the superintendent arrived in Belmont this past July.

The second announcement was the appointment of Belmont educator Laura Smith as the first permanent principal of the Chenery Upper Elementary School – dubbed by the district as the “CUE” – which will take place July 1. Until then, Smith will continue serving as the CUE’s Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, a position she has held since September.

“I’m excited to step into the role of principal at the Chenery Upper Elementary School, the first leader of the school in its grades four, five and six configuration,” said Smith to the school committee on Feb. 28.

“One message came through really strongly to me is that Belmont really cares about education. And it was affirming to me to have the support of all of those community stakeholders,” Smith said. “I believe in open communication and collaboration; so, with that in mind, please, I encourage you to share your insights and concerns openly as we work together to build this new fourth to sixth [grade] school.”

Prior to coming to Belmont, Smith worked for two years as the district’s Literacy Coach in the Cambridge Public Schools. She brings previous experience as a Cultural Proficiency Facilitator (2015-2021, Cambridge Street Upper School), an Assistant Principal (2009-2015, Kennedy Middle School), and nearly a decade as a classroom teacher of English at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, a MEd degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she was honored as a James Bryant Conant Fellow, And she will soon be “Dr. Smith” as she anticipates earning a doctorate in Curricular Studies and Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina sometime this year.

Still up in the air remains hiring principals at the Winn Brook and Burbank elementary schools in which the job postings remain open with interviews coming in the spring. Geiser told the committee the district is “still within the window” from January to the spring in which a larger candidate pool is emerging.

“There’s a lot of movement” among educators seeking new positions which places Belmont in “a good situation.”

Finally the hiring of an assistant principal at the Belmont Middle School (grades 7-8) is being led by BMS’s Principal Russ Kupperstein.

The 2024-25 Belmont School Year Starts After Labor Day As Committee Approves Calendar

Photo: The 2024-5 school year calendar has been approved

Keeping with recent tradition, Belmont schools will open for the 2024-25 school year after Labor Day as the Belmont School Committee voted unanimously to start classes for first to 12th grade on Wednesday, Sept. 4, two days after the holiday.

There will be four recesses in 2024-2025:

  • Thanksgiving: Nov. 28-29.
  • Winter: Dec. 23 – Jan. 1.
  • February: Feb. 17-21.
  • April: Apr. 21-25.

As 2024 is a presidential year, schools will be closed on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Graduation for the class of 2025 will be held on Saturday, June 7.

The final day of the school year for K-11 will be Tuesday, June 24 which includes five “snow” days added. If schools are not postponed during the year due to the weather, the final day will be pushed up to Tuesday, June 17.

‘It Could Be Yesterday; It Might Be Tomorrow’: BHS Performing Arts Company’s ‘Inherit The Wind’ [VIDEO]

Photo: Henry Barnes (sitting) and Gavin Tieken-Zidel (standing right) were the leads in Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s production of “Inherit The Wind.”

Belmont High School Performing Arts Company Presented “INHERIT THE WIND” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee at Belmont Middle and High School Black Box.

​The Performing Arts Company Fall Play was the classic drama, “Inherit the Wind,” based on the real-life story of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, when a high school science teacher was arrested for teaching evolution and violating a new state law. The play tells the tale of a small town gripped in the ensuing debate about science, religion, free speech, the law, and the two legal heavyweights coming to town to battle for their causes.

The show features a cast of 18 actors and the tech crew includes more than 40 students working on lighting, scenery, costumes, props, sound, and stage management.


A dramaturg serves as a literary expert for a theatrical production, providing historical research, analysis and interpretation of a play to the cast, crew, and audience. For Inherit the Wind, Junior Lucas Holman conducted research about the history of the play, which was presented to the cast/crew throughout the rehearsal process, and participated with the cast in conversations about the present-day relevance of the show. He also wrote an essay for the program, part of which is excerpted here:

“Inherit the Wind” is a timeless work of historical fiction based on the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925, in which a high school biology teacher was prosecuted for teaching evolution, which had been banned months prior. The play was written in the 1950s as a response to the McCarthy trials and a critique to the kangaroo courts of the Red Scare.

“Inherit the Wind” takes the historical figures and blends them into a dramatization of the courtroom. On one hand, “Inherit the Wind” is a time capsule, not just of the Scopes Trial from which it borrows its story, but from the McCarthy era which it aimed to critique. Similar to Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” “Inherit the Wind” utilizes the American past to touch on its American present by interweaving the themes and conflicts of the past with what they needed to hear then. However, the play is both timely as well as timeless, as many of the critiques it directs towards the unchecked dogma of Bryanism still ring true today in the climate of a divided America.


“Inherit the Wind” is a Modern American drama, which is a style of play we have not done in the PAC in recent years. Students have had the opportunity to explore character development, naturalistic acting and play dramatic scenes, which has been a fun challenge for rehearsal and a great learning experience for them.

In March of 1925, the Tennessee legislature prohibited the teaching of evolution. The strike against Darwin sparked outrage across scientific America. Local authority figures in Dayton, Tennessee, quickly agreed: they wanted to use the new law to bring money and fame to their unknown town. They convinced John T. Scopes, on whom the character of Bert Cates is based, to stand trial. The ACLU put together a defense team led by Clarence Darrow, the most famed defense attorney in the nation in his time. Darrow is fictionalized in the play as Henry Drummond, facing off against prosecuting attorney Matthew Harrison Brady, a disgruntled thrice-failed presidential candidate who sees the defense of God as his last mission. Matthew Harrison Brady is modeled after William Jennings Bryan, the 19th and early 20th-century presidential candidate and novel politician, whose influence derived from his populist ideals. 

In addition, the tech crew has been hard at work creating the world of the show. Under the guidance of Scenic Designer Anna Moss, Costume Designer Lila West and Technical Director Ian O’Malley, students are creating the world of the play. Although the show takes place in the 1920s, we felt it was important to show that the story is not a historical artifact. As the author’s say in their preface to the script, “it could be yesterday; it might be tomorrow.” We have represented that on stage with a “Wall of Americana” spanning the last 100 years of culture and invention, a decade spanning soundtrack of American music and costumes that evoke the 1920s, but don’t lock the characters into that time period.

Performing Arts Company’s 2023-4 Season Gets Underway With ‘Broadway Night,’ Oct. 13, 14

Photo: Nicole Thoma singing “History of Wrong Guys” on Broadway Night, 2015

BROADWAY NIGHT 2023, the Performing Arts Company’s annual evening of musical theater cabaret, will take place Oct. 13 and 14, at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Middle and High School Main Theater.


Advance Ticket Purchase online recommended. Some tickets will be available at the theater 30 minutes before each performance.

Broadway Night kicks off the theater season at Belmont High. Students perform classic show tunes and contemporary work from new musical theater composers in an evening of song, dance and storytelling. ​This year, the show features more than 40 solo, duet and group performers, with a mix of humor, heart, romance and high-energy fun, plus a dance number

Broadway Night represents the core mission of the PAC, with an emphasis on showcasing student work. The performers have selected, staged and rehearsed the songs almost entirely on their own, In addition, the lighting design is done entirely by students, and the show ends with a finale song featuring the entire company

Angus On The Run: Teen Town Meeting Member Seeks School Committee Seat

Photo: Angus Abercrombie, 19, has confirmed he will be running for school committee in the 2024 Town Election

In June 2022, Angus Abercrombie crossed the raised daïs at Harris Field to receive his high school diploma from Belmont High School in spirit; he was attending the Democratic Party’s State Convention that day as one would expect from an ambitious young man with his eyes on his political future.

If everything goes according to his plans, by June 2024, Abercrombie will be setting school policy, approving the school district’s multimillion budget, and negotiating with school unions – whose members only two years before were his teachers – as the 19-year-old Winn Street resident has announced his campaign for one of two seats up for grabs on the Belmont School Committee next year.

Abercrombie is the first person to submit a Statement of Organization of Candidate’s Committee with the Town Clerk’s Office (Nomination papers are still weeks away from being available). The Emerson freshman already has a campaign web page up and running and is active on X (formally Twitter), TikToc, Facebook, and Instagram, where Abercrombie is seen chummy with local, state, and national Democratic leaders.

A lifelong Belmont resident educated in the Belmont public schools, Abercrombie ran and was elected to Town Meeting in April, which at the time caught the attention of the Boston Globe. Since then, the Democratic Party activist has been featured in the Globe, WBZ-TV, and National Public Radio, which described him as one of a growing number of “Gen Z politicians pushing to become leaders of today.”

At first glance, dismissing the teenager as a passing fade would be to the challengers’ disadvantage. An energetic campaigner, Abercrombie topped Precinct 8 Town Meeting results with 544 votes, the second largest town-wide tally. He is a frequent participant at public, board, committee, and school meetings where he is gaining a reputation for thoughtful, engaging comments.

School Committee Chair Meghan Moriarty and Jamal Saeh are up for reelection in April 2024.

The Belmontonian interviewed Abercrombie after the 2025 Budget Public Forum at Town Hall.

You have submitted organization papers with the Town Clerk. Are you considering running for School Committee?

Abercrombie: Yes, I’ve decided to seek a seat on the School Committee.


Abercrombie: “[Belmont] is really at an inflection point. We’re about to ask voters for the biggest override ever, and we need to prove that we have the leadership to spend that money how it needs to allocated. I’ve attended our schools recently and I’ve watched the cuts get made to programs and increased fees that were imposed from when I was in kindergarten to the Winn Brook [Elementary] and the High School . I’ve watched every part of the school experience – not just in the classroom but also transportation issues, sports, activity fees – becoming tougher and tougher, especially for our families who don’t have the time and money to push for their kids outside of school. I want to advocate for them on the committee.

You’ve said you will bring the insight and interests of students to the school committee which, you’ve noted, is the largest constituency who doesn’t have the opportunity to be heard via the ballot box.

Abercrombie: Absolutely. There are a lot of students who have a deep attachment to this community. But the first time they’re actually able to vote on the issues that matter of this community, they’re often going ready to go off to college and university. That makes it really difficult for us to properly hear their voices and for the people who are in the halls of power to weigh those voices correctly.

What are the three main goals that you will bring to the school committee?

Abercrombie: Number one, we need to fix our long-term Special Education program with good wraparound services. Ensuring we are serving every student’s needs, and when possible and appropriate, keeping them in-district.

Number two, transportation. The way students get to school, right now, is unfeasible. It’s getting students to and from school in a climate conscious, low-traffic impact, and safe manner. And that also means pushing back school start times because student drivers who are tired are not safe drivers.

Number three is communication. Leveraging my background in campaigns, communications, and community organizing to better connect and engage families with school programming. We can’t allow students to fall through the cracks just because their parents don’t have time for what is sometimes a full time job; keeping up-to-date on in-school opportunities and needs.

You’re 19 and a full-time college student at Emerson. How do you respond to those who believe you lack the experience to take on the job?

Abercrombie: Well, last year at Emerson College, I ran the allocation of a $1.1 million budget. I did it. Everyone has spoken to has been happy about how that budget went down. Look, Belmont has six people on our school committee who bring different experiences, and we need to make sure that every part of the conversation about our schools is represented on our school committee. That includes parents, students, and people in the town who are not currently in either of those groups, but still deeply feel the effects of our school department. That’s why I’m running.

School Week: A Decade Of Work Ends With A Ribbon Cutting Opening Belmont’s New Middle And High School [Video]

Photo: (In no particular order: Superintendent Dr. Jill Geiser; Jim McDonald, MSBA; School Committee Chair Meghan Moriarty; retired Superintendent John Phelan; Building Committee Chair Bill Lovallo; and BMHS students Charlie and Ellie Shea, Jane and Allison Caputo, Maybe Thurston, Elizabeth Zuccarello, and Sarah Lovallo cutting the ribbon opening the new Belmont Middle and High School on Sept. 6, 2023)

Under a blazing hot summer sun, a decade of planning, financing, and construction culminated in the ceremony cutting of the ribbon opening Belmont’s newest school, the Middle and High School, held on the opening day of the 2023-24 school year, Wednesday, Sept. 6.

“This is your building now. Congratulations,” Bill Lovallo, the Middle and High School Building Committee chair, told the assembled students and teachers. Lovallo, along with vice chair Pat Brusch, led the team that shepherded the project after 3/4 of town voters approved a $212 million debt exclusion in November 2018. Construction started in June 2019.

“Your vote made an impactful statement to Belmont and the surrounding communities, approving at the time one of the largest public school projects in the state,” said Lovallo. “Why? Because this community is committed to investing in our future, particularly the future involving our children.”

Costing $295 million to construct, the 450,000-square-foot building will house more than 2,300 students in grades 7-12. Including the hundreds of geothermal wells that will heat and cool the building, more than 2,000 solar panels will be a major electrical power source when its installation is completed at the beginning of 2024.

While the project – designed by Perkins+Will and constructed by Skanska USA – came in “on time and on budget,” according to the building committee, there currently is projected a $1.9 million deficit as a result of a reduction in the $83 million initially promised by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The shortfall – due to a dispute on what areas of construction are deemed reimbursable – will be resolved in the next 18 months.

Yet that is a future concern as Wednesday saw town and school department officials, employees, and dozens of middle and high school students celebrate the opening of the school year and the completed school held outside of the high school’s dining area overlooking Clay Pit Pond.

“It’s easy for us to see, looking at this building, that the physical spaces of teaching and learning have changed education,” said Meghan Moriarty, chair of the School Committee. “In the coming year, on behalf of the School Committee, we want to help the Belmont community to see how teaching and learning has changed to meet the needs of all of our Belmont students. And how this innovative space and our educators are catalysts in that change.”

In the end, seven Middle and High School students, along with officials, took scissors to ribbon and welcomed the newest school to the Belmont district.

On a side note, 12 years nearly to the day as a kindergartener helping cut the ribbon to open the new Wellington Elementary School in 2011, Sarah Lovallo joined six of her fellow schoolmates in the ribbon cutting for another new school.

The current members of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee are:

Amy ZuccarelloSchool Committee Member
Patricia BruschCommittee Vice Chair, Permanent Building Committee Chair, Capital Budget Committee
Thomas CaputoSelect Board Member, CMS parent
Joseph DeStefanoPlanning Board, construction experience, CMS and BHS parent
David BlazonDirector of Facilities
Patrice GarvinTown Administrator, MCPPO Certified
Bill LovalloCommittee Chair, Permanent Building Committee, engineering experience, CMS parent
Michael McAllisterPrincipal, Chenery Middle School
Robert McLaughlinPermanent Building Committee, Warrant Committee
Christopher MesserCommittee Secretary, operations and real estate experience, BHS parent
Diane MillerArchitecture experience, CMS and BHS parent
Joel MooneyPermanent Building Committee, engineering experience
Jill GeiserSuperintendent of Schools
Ellen SchreiberWarrant Committee Member, CMS Parent
Jamie SheaFoundation for Belmont Education, BHS teacher, Burbank, CMS, and BHS parent
Emma ThurstonCommittee Treasurer, business experience, BHS Parent

Let’s Have Coffee And A Chat With The New School Supers: Jill Geiser and Lucia Sullivan

Photo: (from left) Belmont School District’s new superintendents: Jill Geiser and assistant Lucia Sullivan

The Belmont School District invites residents for a coffee and conversation with its new superintendents: Jill Geiser and Assistant Lucia Sullivan.

You can attend the meet and greet in person at the School Administration Building, 644 Pleasant St. on the following days and times:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 9: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 11: 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 14: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served!

Virtual Meeting Zoom: Click here to Join

  • Tuesday, Sept. 26: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Please RSVP for Planning Purposes: Meet & Greet RSVP

More meeting opportunities with Jill and Lucia to come.