2022-23 Leana Endowment Grant Recipients Announced

July 29, 2022

The Lenesa Leana Endowment for Innovative and Collaborative Education was established to honor the innovative strategies and collaborations that former Head of School Lenesa Leana fostered during her tenure at Belmont Day. The endowment provides grants to teaching and non-teaching faculty to support the many ways our community explores and implements innovation with the spirit of collaboration from the classrooms, art studios, and science lab to the kitchen, administrative offices, playing fields, and beyond.

Arts Faculty
Grade 6 Field Lab to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)

The sixth grade Arts Launch program is a year-long introduction to the art disciplines offered at Belmont Day—digital technology, music, theater, visual art, and woodworking. The grant will support a class field lab at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. The immersive experience will create a connecting thread to guide students to make connections among the art disciplines offered at BDS. For teachers, the visit will foster cross-curricular collaboration back on campus.

Nicole Buck, Missy Hartvigsen, Lauren McDermott
Pilot for a BDS Ballet/Dance Studio

The grant will support a pilot dance program to expose students to ballet—a physically demanding, musical, expressive, and artistic sport. The pilot will provide inclusive access to an art form that has traditionally been exclusive—requiring significant financial resources and strict gender roles—to everyone.

Lana Holman, Nathalie Pellenq, Amy Sprung
Grade 4 – Beyond Summer Reading

This cross-curricular collaboration will bring together fourth grade’s summer reading book Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz with their social studies unit on ancient civilizations and geography and research on French monuments and geography in French class. Activities will include a visit and creative writing workshop with the author, field labs at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the development of project work that integrates technology for students to show their learning from these visits. Additionally, students may create laser-cut representations of French monuments.

Kathy Jo Solomon and all teaching faculty
School Garden

The Belmont Day Garden has blossomed over the last ten years. It now includes a 20×80 foot vegetable and herb garden, an adjacent pollinator garden, fruiting trees, two Warre honey bee hives, and most recently, an outdoor classroom. This grant will help refurbish structural elements of the Belmont Day Garden and provide additional materials to support the classroom collaborations and curricular connections that are growing each year.

By Kassie Bettinelli, music teacher |

November 17, 2023

In March of last year, a few students approached the music teaching team about the possibility of organizing a talent show. Knowing one hadn’t been scheduled for the spring, and that planning one for the future could be an awesome…


November 17, 2023

Second Grade’s New Mural Is a Feast For the Eyes For our summer reading book this year, second graders read Tomatoes for Neela, written by Padmi Lakshmi and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. It is a story about a young girl…

By John O'Neill, director of athletics |

November 3, 2023

This fall, BDS piloted an intramural volleyball team that spent the season learning the game, practicing skills, and holding weekly scrimmages. Over the course of the season, players improved tremendously and are prepared to step into a more competitive environment…


November 3, 2023

Spanish Students Learn, Share About El Días de los Muertos Spanish students learned about and celebrated the traditional Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Through different audio activities, students engaged in hands-on projects. Sixth grade…
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