Principal’s Favorite Article of The Week

Study: American Students Have High Levels of Education, But Stressful Lives

 While American students have high levels of educational achievement and decent test scores, they may also experience high levels of social stress and poverty.

new report out Tuesday from The Horace Mann League, a public education advocacy group, and the National Superintendents Roundtable, a community of school administrators, argues that more than just test scores should be taken into consideration when comparing countries’ education systems. In the report, researchers look at 24 indicators in six categories — student outcomes, school system outcomes, social stress, support for families, support for schools and economic inequity — in order to evaluate the educational success of nine countries.

Study authors compare school systems in the G-7 nations, seven of the world’s largest economies — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. — writing that it is “important to draw comparisons among nations that are as similar as possible.” Authors also include Finland and China “due to global interest in the educational performance of their students.”

“The goal was to look at the whole iceberg, not just the tip — and provide a clearer snapshot of each country’s performance, including its wealth, diversity, community safety, and support for families and schools,” Gary Marx, president of The Horace Mann League, said in a press release.

Comparison results were bleak for the United States. While the U.S. is the wealthiest nation in the report and has an exceptionally well-educated adult population, the study found high levels of economic inequality, low levels of support for families and higher levels of social stress than any other country examined. Countries’ levels of social stress were measured in the report based on factors such rates of violent deaths, death from drug abuse and teen pregnancy.

“With respect to social stress, the indicators suggest the U.S. has the highest rates of deaths from violence and substance abuse, and that American society is 13 to 16 times more violence-prone than other nations in this study,” the report said.

This violence can lead to stress that has a negative impact on children’s brain development, the report said. This type of impact on the developing brain could “undermine school readiness and academic achievement, and threaten serious long-term mental health challenges.”

Additionally, while policymakers in recent years have worried that American schools have fallen behind on international tests, researchers say American elementary school students perform well — although the study authors note there is room for improvement among middle school students.

On the other hand, Finland has low levels of economic inequality, low levels of social stress, high levels of support for families and admirable student outcomes.

The chart below outlines how each country fared in the study’s six dimensions. On each level, 40 is the maximum amount of points a country can receive. A dark blue box indicates that a country has scored in the top third on a dimension, a gray box indicates a score in the middle third and a maroon box a score in the bottom third. (China had inadequate data for dimensions three, four and five.)

Chart courtesy The Horace Mann League.

Jim Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable, told The Huffington Post that he thinks the report’s findings offer a number of implications.

“First, we should stop judging national school performance here or anywhere else on the basis of a single test score,” said Harvey. “The second is we need multiple measures for what’s going on in complex societies to understand what’s going on in our schools.

“The third finding is, here we are, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and we have a shocking rate of relative poverty for children,” he continued. “The existence of those levels of child poverty in the midst of plenty is really something to embarrass our country.”

Amy Zhang Selected as Winner of The National Merit Novartis Scholarship

Congratulations to Yuansi Amy Zhang for being selected as a winner of the National Merit Novartis Scholarship.

The 2014 National Merit Scholarship Competition selects from approximately 1.5 million students who entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program, only about 16,000 were named Semifinalists. They were designated on a state representational basis, in proportion to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. In order to advance in the competition and be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, a Semifinalist had to become a Finalist by fulfilling several requirements that included submitting a detailed scholarship application and presenting a record of very high academic performance. All winners of about 8,000 National Merit Scholarships are be being chosen from the group of approximately 15,000 distinguished Finalists.

Amy Zhang (Natinal Merit Novartis Scholarship)

BHS Final Exam Schedule, 2012-2013

Belmont High School

Final Exam Schedule


June 17TH – 20TH

Monday, June 17th


8:00 – 9:30

English 9

English 9 H

English 10

English 10 H

English 11

English 11H

Newcomer ELL

Transitional English

10:00 – 11:30

American Studies

American Studies H

M. World History

M. World History H

World History

World History H

You and the Law

B. Psych H.

M. World IS H

G. Leadership



Tuesday, June 18th


8:00 – 9:00

Algebra 1

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 H


Geometry H


Pre-Calc H


Mat & Prob

AD Math DM


10:00 – 11:30  

Chinese 2, 2H, 3, 3H, 4H

French 1, 2, 2H, 3, 3H, 4H, 5

Latin 1, 2, 2H, 3, 3H, 4H

Spanish 1, 1B, 2, 2H, 3, 3H, 4, 4H, 5

Wednesday, June 19th


8:00 – 9:30


Chemistry H


Physics H


Biology H


Anatomy H

Sci. Ethics

Neuro H

Dis For Tec

Int Eng Desn

Eng Des Tech



10:00 – 11:30


Thursday, June 20th


8:00 – 9:30


*A full exam schedule will be posted outside the main office.

*Last full day of classes Jun 14th

*Last day of the school year is June 21st h. It will be a ½ day.





BHS Earns Second in Mass. State Economics Challenge

The students who represented Belmont were Juniors, Anna Hillel, Lingene Yang, Amy Zhang and Ziling Zhou. The team finished second in the state in the Massachusetts State Economics Challenge and on their way to the runner-up spot our team was the only team to achieve a perfect score during their macroeconomic section.

The team lost to Phillips Andover during the quiz bowl (the finals) and this represents the third straight year the two teams met in the quiz bowl.  Additionally the meeting of Belmont and Phillips represents the last two national champions (Phillips in ’11 and Belmont in ’12)

Econ Pic 1

National Recognition for BHS Student-Talin Tahajiaan

Belmont, Massachusetts—March 18, 2013—The Belmont High School English Department is proud to announce that junior Talin Tahajian is a national award winner for writing in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her collection of five poems, including “Chrysanthemums” and “Of Blood and Butter,” received a Silver Key for Writing, an honor shared with 14 other students grades 7-12 in Massachusetts.  She and other national winners will be honored at the 90th anniversary celebration of the Scholastic Awards at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 31st; she joins Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates, among others, as Scholastic Writing Award alumni.  Tahajian’s writing and the work of other winners, including six winners in the visual arts from Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School, will be displayed soon in the online gallery at

This recognition is just the latest in a string of awards and accomplishments the young poet has accumulated, beginning with an Honorable Mention from Cricket magazine when she was just 11 years old.  Tahajian is now a genre editor for Polyphony HS, an international print poetry journal for teens based in Chicago, and photography and creative writing editor for[Slippage], an online poetry journal based in San Diego that works to close the gap between literary, artistic, and scientific pursuits.  She was recently accepted by the prestigious New England Young Writer’s Conference at Breadloaf and will attend creative writing workshops there this May.

Earlier this winter, Tahajian won the Helen Creeley Student Prize for Poetry for her poems, “Concerning Death and those flowers at cemeteries,” “Brain & body,” and “A complete history of cafeteria ashes.”  Tahajian went through three demanding rounds of auditions and was judged in large part by her readings, rather than solely the text of her poetry.  The Helen Creeley Student Prize for Poetry was established by the Robert Creeley Foundation in memory of poet Robert Creeley’s sister, who inspired him to write poetry and was a poet herself before her untimely death.  This year the Robert Creeley Prize went to internationally-celebrated poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and Tahajian gave a reading of her own award-winning poetry to open Nye’s reading at the ceremony in Acton earlier this month.


Creativity and Why it Matters

A recent U.S. study, Creativity and Education: Why it Matters, sheds new light on the role of creativity in career success and the growing belief that creativity is not just a personality trait, but a learned skill. A summary of some of the key findings are listed below:

Image credit:
  • 85% percent of professionals agree creative thinking is critical for their career success, and 68% of respondents believe creativity is a skill that can be learned.
  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of poll respondents say creative thinking should be “taught as a class – like math or science.” 
  • Many more believe creativity is important to their career now (78%) than they thought in college (57%).
  • The majority (82%) wish they had more exposure to creative thinking as students.

    Check out this infographic on the value of creativity created by Adobe.  Be sure to also check out the recent Adobe press release emphasizing why creativity should be taught as a course in schools.

BHS Student-Siemens Foundation Regional Finalist

I am pleased to announce that Ziling Zhou has been selected as a Regional Finalist in the 2012 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The Siemens Competition has become the most challenging and prestigious research-based high school science contest in the country. Being selected as a Regional Finalist is an exceptional achievement. Out of 1,900 students who submitted projects to the Siemens Competition only five individuals and five teams in each of six regions advance to the regional competition. Congratulations Ziling!!

BHS Student named finalist at 12th Annual MIAA Student Sportsmanship Essay/Multimedia Contest



“How Do the Values of Educational Athletics Build Your Future?”

The following students were selected as finalists in the 12th Annual MIAA Student Sportsmanship Essay/Multimedia Contest. First Place and Runner Up entries in both categories will present their work as honored guests at the 19th Annual MIAA Sportsmanship Summit on Friday, November 16 at Gillette Stadium. In addition, a collection of finalist and honorable mention essays will be printed in “Sportsmanship: A Game Plan for Life

Volume XII.” This booklet will be distributed to attendees of the Sportsmanship Summit and will be sent to MIAA member schools.

Congratulations to all students who submitted outstanding work for this contest.



Carver Middle High School


Duxbury High School


Roberto Diaz – Holyoke High School

Kathleen Roffo – Longmeadow High School

Lynnfield High School – Reading Memorial High School

Needham High School – West Springfield High School

Emma Chambers – Belmont High School



Erin O’Donnell – Nashoba Regional High School


Kelly Avard – Easthampton High School


Bridget Kelly – Arlington High School

Christina Wahle – Sturgis Charter Public School

Rachel Vaz – Greater New Bedford Regional Voc/Tech High School

Matt Demirs – Lynn English High School

Minseok Kwon – Littleton High School

Emily Hart – Algonquin Regional High School

Joseph McWeeney – Lexington High School

Yadin Rosen – Sharon High School

Alex Pariseau – Millbury Memorial Jr/Sr High School