School Committee OKs Grade Reconfiguration At Schools In 2023

Photo: The Chenery will be seeking a new name when the new Middle and High School opens in 2023.

With construction beginning on the new Belmont Middle and High School in less than a month, Belmont School Committee voted unanimously at its Tuesday, May 21 meeting to approve changing the grade configuration at each of Belmont’s six public schools.

When the Middle and High School opens in the fall of 2023, the district will place grades K-3 in the four elementary schools, grades 4-6 at the Chenery with grades 7-12 occupying the new school building on Concord Avenue.

The recommendation came from the Reconfiguration Working Group, one of the groups formed as part of the District Configuration Education Plan.

The reasons the working group advocated the changes include:

● There is no conclusive research that one configuration is better than another; rather, the research speaks to the need to ensure smooth, positive transitions from one school to the next. In addition, the grade groupings of K-3 and 4-6 are similar developmentally while the working groups believes 5th and 6th grade students will benefit from being with a younger grade.

The change will both free up space for other uses including additional classrooms at the five lower schools – Burbank, Butler, Wellington, Winn Brook, and Chenery – and allow the removal of the modular classrooms at the Burbank and the Chenery.

● There will be increased opportunity for teacher collaboration among 4th grade teachers, and vertically with teachers in grades 5 and 6.

One consequence of the changes will require a name change for the Chenery as it will no longer house the middle school. One suggestion that came during an earlier School Committee meeting for the new moniker is the Chenery Upper Elementary School.

Belmont joins the city of Boston in reconfiguring its school district. Boston is eliminating middle schools and creating two major grade configuration to reduce the number of times students switch schools with lower-grade schools ending after sixth or eight grade.

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