Belmont schools need to be focused both on challenging high-performing students and supporting the academic needs of students who require or benefit from extra support. This is not a question of choosing one over the other, as we need to do both things well. All Belmont students need to be assured access to excellent quality in public education.
Children have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic, having experienced this crisis during important periods of physical, social, and emotional development. In the past few years, adolescents have experienced worsened emotional health, increased stress, and a lack of peer connection. Our schools need to provide the resources for our students and their families to address these needs.
We should have informed, realistic expectations of what we can afford now and we must plan and budget for what we want to be able to afford in the future. While some cuts may be inevitable in the short term, we need to develop a long-term plan for sustainability so that we can ensure a strong future for our schools.
I cannot stress enough that a great strength of the town of Belmont is the quality of its educators. As a parent of a current student and a recently graduated student – I can say that our family owes much to the village that helped us raise them, and this village most certainly includes their Belmont educators. It is in the best interests of our students that we work collaboratively with the BEA so that we are able to continue to attract and retain talented teachers.
Belmont's strong commitment to its fine and performing arts has made our community a wonderful place to live. Strong programs in these areas give our students another way to connect with our educators and inspire a lifelong love of the arts. My family's introduction to Belmont music came when my then-fourth-grade student picked up a trombone at a music department petting zoo. Years later, he found a community of "his people" in the Belmont Band Program and has gone on to study music at the college level. Like other music programs across the state, budget cuts and obstacles inherent in the remote learning model have presented challenges to the continued success of these programs. Now is not the time to reduce spending in arts and music. We need to focus on maintaining and ultimately improving the quality of these programs across all grade levels in our schools.
Copyright © 2023 Amy Zuccarello for Belmont - All Rights Reserved.