Dan’s Welcome Back Letter

August 2017

Dear Belmont High School Faculty and Staff,

I hope this letter finds you in the midst of a healthy and enjoyable vacation or capturing some well-deserved rest with family and friends!  I say this each year, but is it so true – “It is hard to believe summer is almost over and the school year is about to begin.” As much as I hate to see the summer go, I am always excited to open the doors and welcome students, parents, faculty, and staff back for another successful school year at Belmont High School.

Over the summer, our head custodian, Earle Frazier and his small army of helpers have been working hard to prepare the building and grounds for opening day. Our main office, guidance, and athletics/visual & performing arts secretaries have been busy answering the many questions from students and parents, and registering athletes and new students. Many thanks to Sherri, Lisa, and Tom for their preparations to ensure a smooth and successful opening of a new year. We are in great shape for opening day.  

This year, our faculty meetings and professional development time will focus primarily on our social/emotional initiatives, the African-American/Black achievement gap, and continued implementation of two of the 4Cs (Communication & Collaboration).  These initiatives, combined with our daily responsibilities to our students present a ambitious agenda for the year.  My intention is to pace our work in a manner that allows for positive results and time for thoughtful reflection.  

I would like to continue our opening day tradition by creating the BHS FUN IN THE SUN VACATION VIDEO.  Before digging into the work and preparing our rooms for our students, I would like to stop for a moment and reflect on our summertime fun with family and friends. I am asking everyone to send me one of their favorite pictures from this past summer.  I will, in turn, create a video to be shown on our first day back, September 5th.  Please send pictures as attachments only to my Belmont e-mail address (drichards@belmont.k12.ma.us). If you would like to include friends, family members, and/or pets in your photos, please make sure you are included in the picture. Pictures are due by Wednesday, August 23rd.

In preparation for opening day with students, I am asking everyone to individually reflect on how you will develop positive relationships with your students. As we all know, relationships are the foundation of all we do as educators. Getting to know each other and our students, and building trust is the most important work we can do. On the first day of school, I highly encourage all of you to use the day to get to know your new students and reconnect with those who are returning to send a confirming message that each one of them is your first priority.  Planning an activity or two on that first day to help get to know each other can go a long way to support your efforts to build positive relationships and establish a classroom climate that fosters their social and emotional well being.  On opening day, as Sherri, Lisa, Tom, and I are out and about the building, we look forward to participating in any classroom activity you have planned.  Let us know what you have in mind, and don’t hesitate to invite us in!

As George Couros the author of “The Innovator’s Mindset” says:

“If we want meaningful change, we have to make a connection to the heart before we can make a connection to the mind. Spending time to develop relationships and building trust is crucial to moving forward as a whole. Without culture, there is no culture of innovation. It all starts by creating an environment where people feel cared for, supported, and are nurtured—the very things we know that impact learning for students in the classroom. That’s why the three things you need to ensure that innovation flourishes in your organization are relationships, relationships, and relationships. Fifty years ago, relationships were the most important thing in our schools, and fifty years from now, it will be no different.”

In closing, I want to remind everyone that all information leading up to the opening day will be posted on the BHS Principal’s Blog, https://bhsprincipalspage.com/ or feel free to contact me with any questions.

I am excited to seeing everyone on September 5th and hope you enjoy the remainder of the summer!



Dan Richards


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