Successful Opening Day For New Belmont High School Wing

Photo: A flood of students heading into the new school.

Around 7 a.m., on Thursday, Sept. 9, the first line of shower passed and behind it the skies brightened to allow the first day of school in Belmont to be one without raincoats or umbrellas.

Over at Concord Avenue, students – being driven, driving, walking and biking – began swarming to enter the new high school wing of the Belmont Middle and High School.

Despite the rain and the new street configuration that includes signal lights at Goden, the first morning was surprisingly calm. Traffic flowed somewhat seamlessly, students patiently waited at the cross walks and only a few parents attempted dropping off kids on campus – they were given a first day ‘pass’ with a reminder. The only issue on this opening day: not enough bike racks as a flood of students took the advice of the administration to wheel it to the high school.

“It’s a miracle,” said Jay Marcotte, Belmont Department of Public Works director, who came to observe how the new traffic/crosswalk lights were effecting traffic.

Maybe not a miracle as it was the result of countless public meetings (including 126 of the building committee) community notifications over the past weeks and a slew of public safety officers on the day directing vehicles and manning the crosswalks.

“Everyone is playing nice today,” said Marcotte, with his hope that it will continue deep into the school year.

For Belmont Superintendent John Phelan, this opening day with 300 educators and staff and 1,400 students arriving for a half day of school – Friday will be the first full day on the 180-day school calendar – was certainly one filled with some apprehension. Taking in the day from in front of the school with Owner’s Project Manager Tom Gatzunis of CHA Consulting, Phelan said his initial reaction to the morning was “a great deal of pride” for all who had a hand in bringing the 9-12 portion of the school on time and on budget.

Phelan has experience opening new buildings when as a principal in the Milton Public Schools the district brought on line five new schools within a decade in 2008.

“It’s alway exciting to see all our students and teachers come into a building that the voters overwhelmingly supported,” he said while taking photos of the day.

He noted that while it was conspicuous day, the project is just half complete with the Middle School expected to open in two years.

First Day Of School Goes To Plan As Key Construction At High School Site Nears Midpoint

Photo: A third of the piles have been installed in phase one of the Belmont Middle and High School project.

It was a long Wednesday, Sept. 4 for Belmont Superintendent John Phelan.

After a busy Tuesday welcoming teachers and staff back to the district after the summer recess, Phelan’s Wednesday began bright and early at Belmont High School where he joined staff and Belmont Police in a new role, as traffic monitors to assist students and parents with the first new parking and drop off scheme since the school opened 49 years ago in 1970.

With the access road which once allowed parents to drop off students at the high school’s main entrance before exiting onto Concord Avenue now a fading memory, cars, SUVs and minivans clogged Underwood Street before doubling back onto Hittinger Street and out through the Trowbridge neighborhood due to the large scale construction of the new middle and high school at the west end of the project.

But with so much that could go so wrong, opening day of the 2019-2020 school year went “very, very well,” said Phelan during the meeting of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee on Wednesday.

“The wait … was not too long into the [high] school” due in large part to the team of officers from the Belmont Police along with signs produced by the Department of Public Works and balloons used to identify where vehicles could come and go.

“It was good to see the kids back at school,” said Phelan, who when not running a school system of 4,200 students was also tasked with supplying the Building Committee with pizzas and drinks.

“All in a day’s work,” he said pushing a chart into the Homer Building.

While the work of bringing a new class of 9th – 12th graders, the largest and largest construction task to date is moving along quickly as 133 concrete piles have been driven into the ground to anchor the high school wing of the building. Just on Wednesday, 27 “corner” piles were secured, marking out the rough outline of the high school section, according to Mike Morrison, project manager for Skanska, the general contractor.

“We are one-third of the way in Phase 1 of the building,” said Morrison, noting that debris and soil is being removed from the site as construction beginning in and around the site of the school’s pool.

“All is going well,” said Morrison.

Rain, Thunder To Greet Students On First Day Of School in Belmont

Photo: Off to school.

In addition to the new backpack, pencils and lunch boxes, parents should add umbrellas, slickers and rain boots to the list of item students will bring to the first day of the 2017-18 school year in Belmont that commences today, Wednesday, Sept. 6. 

The need for added weather protection is due to the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood watch at 10:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Periods of showers and embedded thunderstorms are expected to begin in the late morning and lasting into the night with pockets of localized torrential rainfall. Hourly rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour will be possible with the strongest storms, which may lead to localized flooding of streets and low lying areas. 

Day one: 
  • It is a full day for students grades 1-12.
  • There will be no bus service available for Kindergarten students on Sept. 7, 8, and 9. Busing for Kindergarten students will begin on Monday, Sept. 12.
  • It is a Wednesday schedule for all students, meaning an earlier than usual dismissal time.

Purchase meals and plans online here.

Belmont High School

Wednesday is Opening Day for Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12: All grades will report to school at 7:35 a.m. for homeroom. After homeroom, students will attend each class on their Wednesday schedule and meet with teachers.

A Quick Reference Guide, including a list of items for Opening Day and the first week of school, has been uploaded to each ParentPlus and StudentPlus accounts. 

Dismissal times this year are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:25 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 10:30 a.m.

Chenery Middle School

Start Time: 7:55 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11 a.m.

BurbankButlerWellington Schools:

Start Time: 8:40 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:50 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:40 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:40 a.m.

(1/2 Day Kindergarten: 8:40 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.)

Winn Brook School

Start Time: 8:50 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 3 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:50 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:50 a.m.

They’re Back! First Day of School in Belmont Wednesday, Sept. 2

Photo: Crossing the street at the Burbank. 

Remember the alarm clock? It probably hasn’t been heard since the last week in June; but starting today, it returns as a weekday companion for parents and children as Wednesday, Sept. 2, marks the first day of school in Belmont for student in 1st through 12th grades.

Kindergarten students get to sleep in for a week, as the youngest Belmont students start on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 8 and 9.

Belmont High School starts at 7:35 a.m.; Chenery Middle School at 7:55 a.m.; the Burbank, Butler and Wellington elementary schools at 8:40 a.m.; and the Winn Brook at 8:50 a.m. 

For school hours, the school-year calendar, bus routes, lunch menus, and more information, go to www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bps/

With students being greeted by temperatures reaching the lower 90s on both days – and with several schools lacking adequate air conditioning – school officials are suggesting students come to school with water and stay hydrated.

On these first two days of the 2015-16 year – the six Belmont public schools will be closed Friday, Sept. 4 through Monday, Sept. 7 for the Labor Day holiday – Belmont Schools Superintendent John Phelan is asking for parents and students to be safe and patient.

Phelan said due to street closures and road construction throughout the town, drivers learning new routes and parents giving long goodbyes to children on their first days, buses will likely be delayed. 

Parents driving their children to school along with students driving to Belmont High School are also being asked to be patient while each school’s administration works out the kinks of their drop-off and pick-up plans.

In addition, Phelan and the Belmont Police are asking all drivers “to be mindful of our students who are walking or biking to school.”  

“The sidewalks, streets,  and parking lots will be congested and we want to make sure all can share the road safely,” said Phelan. 

Beginning this year following a suggestion by Phelan, the district has adopted a pre-Labor Day opening to the school year. Phelan hopes starting school for two days, followed by the four-day Labor Day holiday and four days of school “will facilitate a smooth transition for our children.”

“This gradual start will give our students a chance to meet their teachers this week, find out expectations for the year, and set up their school routines,” said Phelan in his opening day memo sent to parents and teachers.

“Then, hopefully, they can spend the four-day weekend stress-free and return to school Tuesday refreshed and prepared to learn,” he noted.

Ready, Set, School! What to Know For the First Day of Belmont Schools

Wake up, sleepy heads! Wednesday, Sept. 3 is the first day of the new 2014-15 school year at each of Belmont’s six public schools! Just 184 more days before the final day on Monday, June 22, 2015. (We know that date is unlikely with snow days sure to come.) 
On day one: 
  • It is a full day for students grades 1-12.
  • No school for Kindergarteners; they begin next week. 
  • It is a Wednesday schedule for all students.

Purchase meals and plans online here.

Belmont High School

Wednesday is Opening Day for Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12: All grades will report to school at 7:35 a.m. for homeroom. Freshmen will report to the Auditorium for a brief assembly at 8:15 a.m. Seniors will report to the Auditorium for a brief assembly at 12:35 p.m. A Quick Reference Guide, including the schedule for Opening Day and the first week of school, has been uploaded to each student’s Edline account. 

The first day of school is a FULL-DAY of classes.

Homeroom assignments for all students will be posted in the main lobby and posted on the Belmont High School website. Students should report to homeroom at 7:35 am where they will receive course schedules and locker information. Homeroom teachers will explain the schedule and answer any other questions. After homeroom, students will attend each class on their Wednesday schedule and meet with teachers.

Start Time: 7:35 a.m.

Dismissal times this year are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:25 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 10:30 a.m.

Chenery Middle School

Start Time: 7:55 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11 a.m.

Burbank, Butler, Wellington Schools:

Start Time: 8:40 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:50 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:40 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:40 a.m.

(1/2 Day Kindergarten: 8:40 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.)

Here is what you’ll need to know about the first day at the Wellington, general info about arriving and leaving the Butler and  the first day at the Burbank.

Winn Brook School

Start Time – 8:50am

Dismissal Times: 

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 3 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:50 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:50 a.m.

(1/2 Day Kindergarten: 8:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.)