Schools To Start After Labor Day This Year. After That, We’ll See

Photo: The calendar.

After a spirited give and take over three meetings, the Belmont School Committee agreed the 2017-18 school year will begin, as it has traditionally over the years, usually after the Labor Day holiday.

But after that? Well, we’ll see.

At last week’s meeting, the committee – by a five to one vote – decided far too many Belmont families have already started or completed their vacation or summer camp plans to upset the apple cart of tradition, voting to begin the 2017-18 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Kindergarteners would not start full-day schooling until Monday, Sept. 11.

Under this schedule, the last day of school – with five snow days already added – will be Wednesday, June 20.

The vote continues the School Committee policy of beginning school on the first Wednesday of September.

“I would lean towards sticking to the policy we have now,” said Committee member Elyse Shuster who in earlier meetings was willing to take a new look at the policy.

Under the alternative start day, the 2017-18 year for students would have commenced on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Students would return on Thursday, Aug. 31 before taking a four-day holiday recess before coming back on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Championing a pre-Labor Day start date is Belmont Superintendent John Phelan who said students and staff would benefit from entering school before the holiday to decrease start-of-the-year anxieties and begin the school year “ready to go” on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Member Susan Burgess-Cox, the lone “no” vote, said while she understands the reasoning behind the later start date as “not shortening summer,” she noted if the school year ends earlier “so will your summer in June.”

While the committee stuck with current convention, it will discuss possible policy changes for future school years and will update the public in coming meetings.

Shuster said she’d like for the policy subcommittee to draft a note which would allow for flexibility in starting the school year much like what occurs in the Weston schools. Its policy, adopted in 2011, starts school on the Tuesday after Labor Day if the holiday occurs before Sept. 5; if Labor Day is on the 5th or later, the year begins on the Wednesday before the holiday.

“This would be a good compromise to have a consistent policy” that would allow for a flexible start date concerning Labor Day, said member Murat Bicer.

In addition to keeping the status quo on starting the school year, the committee approved an

  • One additional early release day for Chenery Middle School student; to allow more time for parent/guardian/teacher conferences.
  • The first districtwide early release day will be in the first week of October, moving from the traditional last week in September.
  • And since Veterans’ Day in 2017 falls on a Saturday, which under state law is celebrated on the day and not on the following Monday, the holiday does not appear to impact a school day in the coming school year.

This Week: Primary Voting, Basketball Playoffs, and a Leap Day

Photo: Go vote Tuesday.

On the government side of “This Week”

  • The Planning Board will hold an early morning meeting beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 2 at Town Hall. It will discuss the proposed zoning amendments for single residence C zoning and a number of issues regarding GR districts.

• Today, Feb. 29, is Leap Day, which is added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the Earth does not orbit around the sun in precisely 365 days. It is also Sadie Hawkins Day, and if you know what that is, you are at least 50 years old and remember newspaper comic strips. (It’s when a woman proposes marriage to a man.) Also, it is a tradition in Ireland and Britain that women may propose marriage only in leap years. 

 • Music & Movement with Rubi, a movement and music program recommended for ages 3 to 5 (but 2-year-olds are welcome) will be held in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room on Monday, Feb. 29. There will be two sessions: 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

 ESL Conversation Circle for beginners takes place on Monday, Feb. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• Girls Who Code will meet on Monday, Feb. 29 from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library.

• The Belmont Food Collaborative Board meeting will occur at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29 in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• Tuesday, March 1 is the Massachusetts Presidential Primary Election. Go out and vote.

• Tuesday is story time at both of Belmont libraries.

  • Pre-School Story Time at the Benton Library, Belmont’s independent and volunteer-run library, at 10:30 a.m. Stories and crafts for children age 3 to 5. Parents or caregivers must attend. Siblings may visit with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.
  • The Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue will have preschool story time at 9:30 a.m. 
  • Story Time for 2’s and 3’s is at 10:30 a.m.

• The Council on Aging holds Living Alone Social Group on Tuesdays at 2:15 p.m. at the Beech Street Center. It’s an exciting opportunity for seniors who live alone to increase their social supports and connections. Each week begins with an activity or presentation, and concludes with snacks and socializing. If you live alone and are looking for a chance to meet others, please contact facilitator Blake Benton, Social Work Intern, to join:, or in-person at the Beech Street Center.

• The Belmont Public Library’s Teen Book Club is meeting in the Young Adult Room from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 to discuss An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet.

Belmont High Boys’ Basketball host Brighton High in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 North Sectional Playoffs. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 at the Wenner.

• It’s early release Wednesday (March 2) for Belmont’s four elementary schools and at Belmont High School.

 Infant Storytime, for infants up to 12 months and pre-walkers, includes a short program of songs and rhymes followed by time to play and socialize. The fun takes place on Wednesday, March 210:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• Chenery Middle School students are invited on early release Wednesday to head over to the library’s Assembly Room on Wednesday. March 2 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., to do your homework while enjoying some hot chocolate. This is for middle schoolers only so high schoolers are on their own. This event is provided for free, thanks to the Friends of the Belmont Public Library.

• What is becoming an annual event, the Belmont Public Library is proving room for the assembling of Peeps dioramas this Wednesday, March 2 at 2 p.m. in the Flett Room.

• The Belmont Boosters welcomes New York Giant Mark Herzlich to the Beech Street Center at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 who will talk about being a cancer survivor and read from his book “What it Takes – Fighting For My Life and My Love of the Game”

Sustainable Belmont meets on Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

Parents of Music Students (POMS) will be holding its monthly meeting Wednesday, March 2, 7 p.m. in the Belmont High School’s Conference Room. 

• The Belmont High School Band Concert will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in the school’s auditorium. The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Jazz Collective will perform under the direction of director Paul Ketchen. 

• Belmont Historical Society Board meeting Wednesday, March 2 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Claflin Room of the Belmont Public Library.

• Storytime for 1’s for walkers and toddlers under 24 months will take place Thursday, March 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room, sharing simple stories, songs, and nursery rhymes and end with time to play.

• If you love building with LEGOs, this program is for you. The LEGOs Club lets kids from Kindergarten through 2nd-grade build with supplied LEGOs and the Belmont Public Library put all the creations on display in the Children’s Room. The fun begins Thursday, Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the library’s Assembly Room.

• The Belmont High Girls’ Basketball squad is heading to Marblehead High to take on the Magicians in a first round match in the MIAA Division 2 North Sectional Playoffs. on Thursday, March 3. 7 p.m. start.

• The 7th- and 8th-grade Chorus and Orchestra Concert for the Chenery Middle School will be in performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 3 in the school’s auditorium.

• Healthy Living for Your Brain & Your Body is a free workshop by the Alzheimer’s Association. will be held Friday, Mar. 4 at 1:15 p.m. at the Beech Street Center. Join us to learn about research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging. This one-time workshop is open to all ages.