Compromise ‘Town Green’ Plan Wins Selectmen, Residents OK

Photo: Lydia Phippen Ogilby with Paul Roberts before the Belmont Board of Selectmen. 

When the Belmont Board of Selectmen voted Monday night, Sept 28 unanimously, to approve the “enhancement” plan for the green delta in Belmont Center, a round of applause rang out throughout the crowded meeting room in Belmont Town Hall.

But hold on. Wasn’t the ever-changing blueprint for the redevelopment of the parcel abutting Belmont Savings Bank the catalyst for a four-month long, running battle that included the calling of a Special Town Meeting, competing citizen’s petition, condemnations, yelling and the need to have a police officer at one meeting to “keep the peace?”  

The answer to those questions is “yes.” But through the efforts of two individuals, Belmont found a compromise design that meets the demands of protagonists from both ends of the issue.

“We actually ended up in a much better spot as a community. This is a really good answer whether you call it a compromise or an enhancement, it’s much nicer,” said Belmont Selectman Mark Paolillo. 

While many residents can claim parentage of the new space – resident Bonnie Friedman and the director of the Office of Community Development Glenn Clancy were two named by others – two former selectmen were praised for bridging the gap between those mostly senior citizens who sought to reintroduce parking and a pass through roadway in front of the bank and those who fought for the parcel to become a new “town green” with the space abutting the bank.

(A history of the dispute and the Special Town Meeting can be found here.)

Rojas’ blueprint for the 17-foot wide pass through incorporated the dual requirements of parking while creating a “pedestrian friendly space” using the same brick and concrete being used throughout the Belmont Center Reconstruction Project.

See details of the plan here.

When the roadway is closed off at the intersection of Moore Street during non-peak hours – the Selectmen agreed to hold public discussions on the best times when to shut down the avenue – the area becomes a pedestrian-friendly area.

“It really looks like a plaza,” said Rojas, noting the green space is larger than in either of the previous two plans. 

While Rojas created the plan, Ralph Jones played the role of diplomat, bringing the different sides together both after the Special Town Meeting while urging the Selectmen – which had final say on the design – to take a last stab at finding a middle ground.

“[Jones] is able to move between the Selectmen and the residents and begin the compromise,” said Friedman last month when ideas were being passed between the opposing camps.

Some areas of the design – such as extending the crosswalk along Moore Street to enhance pedestrian safety – will be reviewed, the bulk of the construction work will be completed before the end of the construction season in the next two months. 

For Lydia Phippen Ogilby, the long-time Washington Street resident whose petition began the series of events in May, said the actions of the past five months “has stirred up this community which as been asleep for a long time.”

Weather: Thunderstorms in Afternoon, Then Heavy Rain and Flood Watch

Photo: It’s raining.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch beginning late tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 29 and lasting until next month (really only until Thursday morning, Oct. 1) as heavy rains – associated with Tropical Storm Joaquin – will begin late Tuesday and last for more than 24 hours, with rainfall rates will exceed an inch an hour.

(If this was snow, it would be a foot an hour!)

The Service also warned of possible pop-up thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon around 6:30 p.m. 
Low-lying areas, some roadways and streams and ponds – such as Clay Pit Pond – could see isolated flooding. 
During Wednesday, there could be a few thunderstorms, which will enhance the rainfall amounts.

Accessibility Key at Initial Meeting on Waverley Square Station’s Future

Photo: The meeting on Waverley Square station. 

After hearing a ten-minute presentation on the future of Belmont’s two commuter rail stations in Belmont Center and Waverley Square, Board of Selectmen Chair Sami Baghdady got down to brass tacks.

“Am I hearing … that both stations would be closed, and there would be one central station possibly on Pleasant Street?” Baghdady asked interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola, who was leading the initial community meeting held at Town Hall on Monday night, Sept. 28.

“The short answer to that is ‘yes’,” said DePaola.

“What we’d like to talk about is where’s the best investment that has the best return not only for the MBTA but also the town,” said DePaola. 

An overflow audience of residents attended Monday’s Selectmen’s meeting to hear the first details from the MBTA on the future of the Waverley Square station – one of the least populated stops with only 117 passengers using the train each weekday – which for the past two years has been out of compliance with federal and state accessibility laws which would allow physically challenged riders and the elderly access to the trains.

The state review was triggered when the MBTA performed significant work on the Waverley Square platform in 2012.                      

With an order from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board [AAB] mandating the MBTA to show progress towards a solution, and then either re-engineer the site with higher platforms, a series of ramps and elevators or have the state shut down the facility.

The MBTA has developed two plans for Waverley; one a comprehensive redesign and remodeling with a price tag of $30.3 million, and a cheaper alternative of $15.7 million. The high construction cost for the complete blueprint is due to the need to keep the towering retaining walls in place and building an elevator shaft on the site.

Depaola told those in attendance that the “cheaper” plan is unlikely to meet the requirements set forth by the AAB, which appears determined that the station is either revamped or closed, said DePaola.

While not included in the handout distributed to the Selectmen, the MBTA’s preferred option is the construction of a new, accessible station on a straight portion of the commuter rail line.

As Baghdady and others urged the MBTA to come to future meetings with only proposals to redesign and upgrade the 80-year-old stop, DePaola said he would prefer to locate a modern station in Belmont along the tracks near to the existing site.

“The current location is down in a deep cut so if we could move a little distance either way and have less vertical distance so it might be able to allow us to avoid the construction of an elevator,” DePaola said. 

He pointed to a new station being constructed in South Acton, which cost $20 million including land acquisition. DePaola noted the MBTA has land rights along stretches to the east and west of the Waverley Square station that could be used.

Questions of accessibility at Belmont Center 

While much of the discussion concerned Waverley Square, the MBTA noted that the Belmont commuter rail station in Belmont Center has accessibility issues, particularly its location on a curved section of the track making it “nearly impossible” to build an elevated platform to service the trains, said DePaola.

“So the idea of having two fully accessible stations … would probably not be able to happen because of the physical constraints at Belmont Center,” said DePaola. 

If Waverley is upgraded, the likely scenario is to close Belmont Center shortly and build another station near that site, he said.                                                                                                                                                                             

While the overwhelming sentiment of those residents who filled the Selectmen’s Room (many who came at the urging of Precinct 4 resident Judith Sarno) is to renovate the existing below-grade stop at the intersection of Church Street and Trapelo Road, that solution may not meet the MBTA’s own criteria.

Speaking to the Belmontonian after the meeting, DePaola said the MBTA does not view the Waverley Square station as a single location, rather, as a “project [that] is being evaluated in conjunction with other transit projects in the district.”

DePaola the MBTA proposes all new capital projects in January, a deadline he would like to see an agreement with the Board of Selectmen. 

An important part of the evaluation benchmark for moving a project forward is the cost efficientness of making large renovations at the current location.

“As we’re looking at several competing projects, it’s more likely we will spend money making a site accessible or building a new station that has 420 daily riders than one with 117 [at Waverley],” DePaola said.

DePaola noted the MBTA has a $7 billion capital budget backlog for projects “so there are more than enough projects in need of funding.” 

When asked if the MBTA would close the Waverley stop if the high cost of revamping the current site does not result in a significant increase in service and daily passengers, DePaola said “that maybe where we’re forced to go if we can’t identify the funds to upgrade it.”

“But at this point its too early to go to any conclusions. We want to seek an alternative that we can advance it into the mix of projects seeking capital funds,” DePaola told the Belmontonian. 

The Board of Selectmen and many neighbors expressed that “at a minimum, we need at least one station that’s handicapped accessible … and certainly that’s Waverley,” said Baghdady.

The MBTA will return in the next few week to Belmont to conduct a “design charrette” allowing the public to view plans and give their input to the process.

But Baghdady made it clear that “the consensus you’re hearing tonight is we’d like the station to remain in its current location, … rather than, honestly, wasting time looking at other locations in town.”

Opinion: No Short Cuts on the Cut Through

Photo: Paul Roberts (right) speaking at the Special Town Meeting in August.

Six weeks after Belmont’s Town Meeting urged the Board of Selectmen to adhere to the original design for a pedestrian friendly lawn in Belmont Center, it has, instead, unveiled yet another plan to transform a haggard and little used traffic island in front of the downtown Belmont Savings Bank, the third such design since May. The Board will formally present its new plan to the public on Monday, Sept. 28.  If you care about the running of our “Town of Homes,” you should plan on attending. 

The latest design, dubbed the “Belmont Center Green Space Enhancement Concept” does not accede to Town Meeting’s request, made at an Aug. 6 Special Town Meeting at which a motion was adopted that urged the Board to restore directly the original design for the Town Center. I stand with the majority of Town Meeting members in believing that the original plan – “Plan A” – is the best path forward to realizing the vision for a 21st century Town Center that puts pedestrians on an equal footing with automobiles and motorists. 

As for the Selectmen’s new design, I’ll say this: it is more attractive than both the cut through road that exists today and the “Plan B” design that the Selectmen adopted in their May Meeting. The compromise vision includes a narrower, brick-paved roadway with parallel parking spaces and pavers. But, it falls far well short of Plan A, which created a real space for residents in the Town Center to congregate without having to negotiate street crossings and automobile traffic. In short: the latest design is a step in that direction – but only a step. 

That’s why I will encourage the Selectmen, on Monday, to look at this “Enhancement Concept,” appreciate its strengths, thank the citizens who worked hard on realizing the compromise, including Town Meeting members Bonnie Friedman, Ralph Jones and Andy Rojas and then kindly return to Plan A. 

However, if (as I suspect) the Board is intent on pursuing its own vision for the Town Center, then they need to do what they did not do in May, namely: to step back and allow the Belmont community to consider their plan and ways to improve it. To do otherwise, by stifling public comment on the plan at their meeting, or by introducing and formally adopting a redesign would be a huge mistake. It would also be a sad reprise of the Board’s ill-considered May 28 meeting, at which they used a citizens’ petition as justification for unceremoniously ditching the blueprint for the Town Center redesign in favor of a never-before-seen “Plan B.“ That, despite that fact that construction on the Town Center had begun. 

The justification for allowing time for consideration is simple: there are many questions that must be answered about the new design. We see an artist’s rendering of the new plan, and it looks nice – but it is just a picture. The Town needs to know if this byway will it work once constructed. And that’s a much bigger question.  Among the questions, I pose to the Board are these: has a qualified engineering firm reviewed the new plans and deemed them compliant with state and federal guidelines for safety? How will the town control access to this narrow roadway to ensure pedestrian safety? Will there be limits on thru traffic for particular times of day? If so, what hours will the road be accessible? How will the town prevent motorists from using the cut through during off hours? What will the posted speed limit be? Will there be limits on vehicle size over this road? How many and what kinds of parking will be placed on the cut-through? How will traffic in and out of the Belmont Savings Bank garage be managed to ensure pedestrian safety? 

There are many other questions that might be asked, as well, and the Board of Selectmen needs to be open to hearing them. It should provide adequate time – measured in weeks, not days –for the community to make sense of their proposal and to ask for modifications to the design where needed. Only then can Belmont be sure the roadway constructed will be both safe and practical in a heavily used and congested town center. 

The unfortunate truth is that our Selectmen were presented with the opportunity to achieve a new and grander vision for Belmont Center in this redesign – a vision that would position us for the America of the next 50 years, not the last 50 years. In the face of that opportunity, however, the Board blinked. Rather than gaze steadily into the future, they opted to look backward and cling to what felt familiar. As a community, we’re still trying to pick up the pieces from that and recover a modest share of what might have been. The Selectmen can use their position, their authority and what good will they have left to help achieve that. 

That work starts Monday evening. I’ll see you there.

Paul Roberts is a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 8 and the editor of Blogging Belmont. 

Concord Avenue Repair To Take A Bit Longer Than Expected

Photo: It’s a mess on Concord Avenue.

Monday’s commute via Concord Avenue was a “hurry-up-and-wait” experience as the surface of both sides of the main thoroughfare from Cambridge and Belmont High School to Belmont Center and points west were being ripped out, leaving a lunar landscape between Cottage Street and Common Street.

The reconstruction of the roadway, part of the annual Pavement Management Program, resulted in a monumental bottleneck this morning at the intersection of Goden Street where four lanes was reduced to two with many vehicles turning across both reduced traffic lanes.

And now it appears the work will take a bit longer than initially expected.


According to Town Engineer and Director of Community Development Glenn Clancy, contractor E.H. Perkins Construction informed him that the pulverization of the roadway “is slower than expected due to field conditions such as asphalt thickness and other factors.” 

Clancy said Perkins is aiming for the middle to the end of this week for it to put a surface “binder” on both sides of Concord Avenue and onto Cottage Street.

That time frame could be affected by a forecast of two days of heavy rain beginning Tuesday, Sept, 29, which will leave the surface too wet to apply the asphalt. 

Stay tuned.


This Week: Important Town Meetings, Early Release Wednesday, Hot Chocolate

Photo: Hot chocolate Wednesday.

On the government side of “This Week”:

  • The Belmont Board of Selectmen is meeting Monday, Sept 28 in Town Hall at 7 p.m. to hear from the MBTA on the Waverley Square Commuter Rail station and to vote on the “Town Green” design as part of the Belmont Center Reconstruction Project/
  • The Belmont School Committee will hear updates on facilities such as a new field house, workout room, softball field and rec center along with information on the iPads in the school at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School.
  • The Belmont Municipal Light Board is meeting at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Town Hall is discuss and possibly vote on the buyback subsidy proposal submitted by the Temporary Net Metering Working Advisory Group.
  • The Warrant Committee will vote on officers and discuss what it has done so far on pensions at its 7:30 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at the Chenery Middle School. 
  • The Capital Budget Committee is meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall to discuss the proposed Skating Rink/Field House and other capital projects. 

Music & Movement with Rubi is an active program that will get kids – for children ages 2 to 5 –   moving, dancing and having fun. There will be two sessions held on Monday, Sept. 28: 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., held in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• The 10th-12th-Grade Book Group will be held Monday, Sept. 28, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Young Adult Room. 

Tuesday is kids 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 attend with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is located at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.
  • Pre-School Storytime at the Belmont Public beginning at 9:30 a.m. We’ll read longer books, sing and dance, and make simple crafts. For 3-5-year-olds with a longer attention span.

• If you are interested in Belmont’s award-winning Farmers Market and the idea of good food, nutrition as well as local and sustainable farming, come attend the Belmont Food Collaborative’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 28 from 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• It’s an Early-Release Wednesday for the six Belmont Public Schools on Wednesday, Sept. 30

• Chenery Middle School students are invited on early release Wednesday to head over to the library’s Assembly Room on Wednesday. Sept 30 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.

Boston West Fair Skies, a group that is fighting RNAV narrow flight paths flown by airplanes using GPS, will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room. All are welcome to attend.

• Storytime for 1’s for walkers and toddlers under 24 months will take place Thursday, Oct. 1, 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.

The LEGOs Club is back at the Belmont Public Library! If you love building with LEGOs, this program is for you. Kids in grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade will build with our LEGOs and we’ll 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 Friends of Belmont Public Library Author Series presents Dr. Craig Malkin who will speak on “Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad – and Surprising Good – About Feeling Special” on Thursday, Oct. 1 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the library’s Assembly Room. In this book, Malkin offers a radically new model for understanding the often misused term narcissism, which argues Malkin, is essentially a spectrum of self-importance. Malkin was a chief psychologist at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

 Literacy Playgroup is a parent and child group that supports child’s language and literacy development on Friday, Oct. 2, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Flett Room. You’ll play, read, sing and take home new ideas. Presented by educators from the CFCE grant program; for children age 4 and under.

• The Beech Street Center is holding a free Fire Safety Quick Check on Friday, Oct. 2 at 1:15 p.m. Join Belmont Fire Department Firefighter Ross Vona to learn how to run a quick check of your smoke detectors at home. Bring your other fire safety questions: How often should you check your smoke alarms? When were they last replaced? 

Sports: Belmont High Take Steps Back in Loss to Arlington, 42-14

Photo: Belmont running back Ben Jones.

Belmont High School’s head football coach Yann Kumin was disconsolate crossing the Arlington High School football field after his team suffered a 42-14 drubbing by the host SpyPonders on Friday night, Sept. 25.

“We lost to them by the same score last year, and I know we can be competitive with this team,” said Kumin, whose squad drops to 1-2.

“We couldn’t do the little things, and we did not take advantage of our opportunities,” Kumin told the Belmontonian after a night of frustration that the program has not progressed as the coaching staff had hoped. 

Coming off an emotional victory the previous Friday – a final-minute win over Medford – and a solid week of practice, Belmont came to Arlington seeking to replicate the run/pass offense that proved to be a recipe for success for the Marauders.

But from the start, Belmont could not find a rhythm on either side of the ball. Last week’s star performer, senior running back Mekhai Johnson, was never the explosive factor as he was against Medford when he gained more than 200 yards rushing.                                                                     

On its second possession, the Marauders fumbled the ball deep in its end as the SpyPonder pounced the miscue and soon found itself in the end zone for a 7-0 at 1:31 in the first quarter. Belmont’s next sequence of plays told the glum tale of the night’s proceedings; the kickoff return went for negative yards as Belmont started from its 5-yard line. The Marauders’ offense stalled on three plays, and the subsequent punt traveled only 20 yards. Arlington capitalized by going 24 yards in six minutes to score its second TD. A third SpyPonder touchdown quickly pegged Belmont with a 21-0 deficit with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

With time running out in the half, Belmont turned to junior QB Cal Christofori who engineered an impressive 10 play, 80 yard drive with passes to junior receiver Trey Butler and seniors Justin Wagner and Joe Shaughnessy before dumping the ball to Johnson in the flat who scampered 21-yards in for the touchdown with 38.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to

But on the subsequent kickoff, Arlington sophomore Alijah Woods took the ball 80 yards down the left sideline for a momentum killing touchdown, to up the halftime lead to 21, 28-7. 

With Arlington threatening early in the third quarter, the Marauder defense recovered a fumble as Arlington running back Patrick Conroy attempted to stretch the ball into the end zone. But two plays later, Christofori’s pass was intercepted by defensive back Abel Negussie, who ran it into the end zone for a “pick 6” touchdown and an insurmountable 35-7 lead.

Johnson would score on a one-yard TD to give him five touchdowns in the past two games.

The Marauders will be back home on Friday, Oct. 2 when they greet 1-2 Woburn High School at Harris Field.



Sports: 18th Ranked Field Hockey Beats Lexington, Big Game Monday at Winchester

Photo: Serena Nally leading the Belmont offense against Lexington.

Facing its toughest challenge of the season, Belmont High School Field Hockey took advantage of its scoring chances and the defense chalked up another shutout to beat visiting Lexington High, 2-0, on Friday afternoon, Sept. 25 at Harris Field.

“I was sweating for all 60 minutes,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessie Smith as her squad remained undefeated at 6-0 with five shutouts and seeing the Marauders enter the Boston Globe Top 20 Field Hockey poll at 19th.

“We haven’t been in a tight game this year,” said Smith.

“We weren’t playing that well; we were nervous. We saw the name “Lexington” and in the past they’ve been a powerhouse. Today, they had some solid players, but I think we could have stepped up a little bit more. But we got the job done.”

The win over Lexington (4-2) keeps Belmont atop the Middlesex League Liberty Division as the season hits its midpoint at the end of the week.

There is no let up of the pressure on Belmont as it visits 6-1 Winchester High (ranked 18th in the Globe poll) on Monday afternoon, Sept. 28.

Two Marauders continued impressive scoring streaks as freshman Morgan Chase (four goals in the last four games) and senior Kerri Lynch (11 goals for the season, scoring in each game) tallied to improve the Marauders’ scoring totals to 31 for and 2 against.

Chase said her goals were coming from “staying wide and staying open for the ball when it goes through the middle.”

“[Chase] is the player who can get the rebounds off the pads to knock it in and that’s why she’s a great right wing,” she added.

In the most competitive game of the season, Belmont found itself relying a great deal on the back three – Sophia Stratford, Molly Goldberg and Lilly Devitt – and sweeper Molly Thayer who set up in front of goalie Christina McLeod. The defense was able to run with and push out most Lexington ventures inside the Belmont shooting circle (inside 15 meters from the goal) with Thayer intercepting many attempted passes in the zone.

Coming back to help out the defense were junior leaders Julia Chase and AnnMarie Hebalow who was under the weather for several days before the match. The pair won nearly all their one-on-one encounters including a classic battle at the 20-meter mark where Hebalow fought a Lexington forward for 10 seconds before taking possession.

After surviving three corners and one deep run towards its goal, Belmont’s offense began to take hold to the game, as midfielder and senior captain Serena Nally took control of the center of the field, setting the offense attack and keeping pressure on the Lexington midfielders, creating turnovers on the transition.

“She was our MVP today,” said Smith of Nally, noting how she “stepped up all over the field, she was where ever the ball was defensively, but she really took charge today. We were down a little bit offensively today, and she took that position right up and delivered the ball.”

Belmont’s forwards – Lynch, Chase, and Katherine McCarthy (four shots) – never allowed Lexington’s defenders and midfielders a chance to catch their breath as they pushed down the wings and through the center to keep the Minutemen on the back heel. 

It was a drive from the wing by defender Devitt which set up Chase in close to slotted the ball by the Lexington goalie at the 18 minute mark in the first to give Belmont the only goal it needed. 

And the sniper Lynch took advantage of a Nally push and netted the ball with 12 minutes remaining in the match. 


Belmont Yard Sales, Sept. 26-27

Photo: Yard sale in Belmont.

Yard sales in the “Town of Homes.”

21-23 Alma Ave., Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to noon.

38 Alma Ave., Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

48 Alma Ave., Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

57-59 Alma Ave., Saturday, Sept. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

11 Chandler St., Saturday, Sept. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

40-42 Clyde St., Sunday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

18 Edward St., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26 and 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

100 Elm St. Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

39 Loring St., Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

4 Palfrey Rd. Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

129 Waverley St. Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

MCAS Results Show Belmont High Students are Advanced and Proficient

Photo: MCAS tests results for Belmont.

Belmont High’s student test takers demonstrated an advanced command of English and math while the registering some of the highest levels of science competence statewide, according to 2015 School and District MCAS results released by the state on Thursday, Sept. 24.

While there have been improvements with Chenery Middle School students in those scoring advanced placement, attention in science instruction will continue at the school.

And there will be a bit of a wait to get a peek at the elementary school results as the district was selected by the state last year to take the new Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. 

“Belmont High School students’ MCAS results continue to be very high, demonstrating the positive results of well-aligned curricula, high-quality instruction, and high expectations for all students,” said Janice Darias, Belmont’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“We are very fortunate in Belmont to have such skilled educators as well as curriculum and school leaders. These MCAS scores are the result of their dedication and focus on teaching and learning for all students,” said Darias

According to results released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of tests taken in Spring 2015:

Grade 10 students (class of 2017, current 11th grade): English and Math.

In both subjects, there is a slight increase this year in the number of students earning Advanced status. In English, 99 percent of the students scored proficient or advanced; in math, 97 percent scored proficient or advanced.

Grade 9 students (class of 2018, current 10th grade): Introductory Physics MCAS.

There is an increase this year in the number of pupils earning advanced on this subject. 97 percent of the students scored proficient or advanced. 

Over at the Chenery Middle School:

• Grades 5 and 8 students: Science and Technology/Engineering MCAS.

The 8th grade results are relatively unchanged for the past four years. This year 76 percent earned proficient or advanced levels. In 5th grade, the district saw an increase in the number of students earning proficient or advanced in the 2014 results at 81 percent, while the 2015 results were similar to previous years with 71 percent earning proficient or advanced, a 10 percent drop in the category at the school.

“Science has been and will continue to be an area of focus for the district,” said Darius.

“We began our work on science curricula revisions and updates with the release of the revised ELA Frameworks in late 2010, which include nonfiction reading and writing in science. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is preparing to release revised state frameworks later this year, and we have already begun planning next steps for updating our curricula, especially Kindergarten through 8th grade,” said Darias.

Results for Belmont Elementary and Middle school students in grades 3 through 8 are delayed by a month as the district was selected to be part of a two-year test of PARCC. While some PARCC results have been released, Belmont students took the test on paper forms rather than via a computer format.