Board Briefs

December 2022

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Trustees Approve Expanding Course Offerings for 2023-2024 School Year

Belton ISD students will have the opportunity to take nine new courses next school year ranging from computer networking to new world languages and Advanced Placement and Special Education options.

The Board of Trustees approved the courses at its regular meeting on Monday.

The new courses approved include Internetworking Technologies I and II; Practicum in Information Technology; Networking/Lab; Chinese; Sign Language; Advanced Placement Seminar; Advanced Placement Research; and General Employability Skills.

Trustees also approved expanding Principles of Health Science as a middle school course offering so that students can begin the high school health science pathway earlier.

Student Showcase - Jazz Band from Lake Belton Middle School

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The Lake Belton Middle School jazz band recently won national recognition in the Mark of Excellence/National Jazz Honors Competition. Before Monday's meeting, they performed multiple holiday tunes, including “Santa Baby,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Fat Burger,” and “Uptown Throwdown.”

Members of the group are: Christopher Clement, Bridget Tosse, Adam Namkung, Hayden Sierra and Zarrah Alexander (saxophones); Alex Smith, Drew Moore and Noah Schultz (trombones); Miles Magyar (French horn); Aralina Acosta, Keagan Barnett, Aaron Cisneros, William Graham, Hunter Maher and Jacob McCready (trumpets); Talley Beard and Andy Thomas (tubas); and Macy Fowler, Caleb Franklin, Ryan Furney, Matthias Hansen, Asher Hansgen, Ben Johnson and Landon Karnes (rhythm section).

The jazz band is under the direction of Grant Shane.

Trustees Hear Update on 2022 Bond Projects

Trustees heard an update on May 2022 bond projects from Michael Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations.

Construction is underway on Burrell Elementary, located in Temple’s North Gate subdivision, Morgan said. Several other projects are in programming or design stages, which occur prior to the start of construction. Projects in the programming or design stage include classroom additions; the expansion of the district’s agricultural facility; a facility for the Delta Program, which supports students with special needs transitioning to adult independent living and work; security cameras and keyless entries; and mechanical, electrical, plumbing and roofing projects.

At Monday’s meeting, the board approved using VLK Architects for design and construction services for the agricultural facility improvements and Delta Program facility projects.

More information on the May 2022 bond projects is available at

Board Recognition - All-State Orchestra Musicians

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Two Lake Belton High School students recently earned the highest honor a Texas music student can receive — a seat in the TMEA All-State Orchestra. Freshman Emily Jeong, on viola, and sophomore Rachel Kim, on violin, were chosen for this elite recognition after an audition process that started with over 70,000 students. Jeong ranked 24th in the state while Kim ranked 80th. Both will perform in the Philharmonic Orchestra at the TMEA convention in February. What a wonderful demonstration of perseverance and critical thinking, two of the district’s Journey of a Graduate competencies.

Board Approves Academic Calendars Through 2025

The board also approved academic calendars for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. For 2023-2024, the first day of school is on Aug. 16 and the last day is on May 22. Both calendars include a parent conference/student holiday date in October to give teachers time to meet with parents during the workday. To arrive at these calendars, district leaders weighed feedback from members of the Districtwide Educational Improvement Council (DWEIC) and campus leaders.

Board Recognition - Cross Country State Qualifiers

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Two Belton High School students ran in the State cross country meet on November 4. Sophomore Olivia Brillhart placed 17th out of 149 runners. This is her second State appearance. She qualified for State this year after placing seventh in the Region III 5A championship meet in October. Junior Briac Ybanez finished 31st out of 151 runners at the State meet. He qualified after placing ninth in the Region III 5A championship meet in October.

Congratulations to these student-athletes who demonstrate communication and adaptability — two of the district’s Journey of a Graduate competencies — in their studies and athletic endeavors.

Belton ISD Receives Clean Financial Audit, Awards

Paula Lowe, an audit manager from Pattillo, Brown, & Hill, LLP also updated trustees on the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Belton ISD received a clean audit report and subsequently the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The Association of School Business Officials International also presented a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting to Belton ISD.

Temple Rotary Educator of the Month

Elizabeth Cancel is being recognized by the Temple Rotary Club for her outstanding service to Belton ISD. Elizbeth serves as a science teacher at North Belton Middle School. She is in her 14th year in education, all of which are in Belton ISD.

Her peers had the following to say about Elizabeth: “Elizabeth comes to her classroom with a smile and a kind heart for all her students. She is a lifelong learner and a master teacher who continues to seek ways to better her craft not only for herself but for her students. She is willing to lend a hand when it is needed and does it with a willing heart. Elizabeth’s classroom is an environment that every parent wishes his/her child would experience. She is such a great team member, and we are so thankful for her.”

Congratulations to this student-centered educator!

Belton Rotary Educator of the Quarter

Samanth Garrell is being recognized by the Belton Rotary Club for her outstanding service to Belton ISD. Samantha serves as a first-grade teacher at Miller Heights Elementary. She is in her 14th year in education, her second year in Belton ISD.

Courtney Brewer, assistant principal, said this about Mrs. Garrell: “The empathy she has for kids is evident in her interactions with students, staff and families. She works collaboratively with families to get to know students including their strengths, interests and aspirations. She uses this knowledge to plan engaging lessons and grow students in their academics and character. Families appreciate her consistent and genuine communication as well as the heart she has for her students. She celebrates students’ success whether that be individual success or whole class success. Her positivity, energy, and desire for each and every student is undeniable and such a gift to Belton ISD students!”

We are glad to have this World-Class Employee in the Big Red Community!

Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee did not meet this month. Their next scheduled meeting is January 9.

Facilities: The facilities committee did not meet this month. Their next scheduled meeting is January 17.

Superintendent's Report

Dr. Smith updated trustees on highlights from his month which included participating in student experiences like concerts, recitals and basketball games; visiting Tomball ISD to learn about opportunities they offer students; handing out BEEF grants with the Prize Patrol; and meeting with faith-based leaders and Watch D.O.G.S. from campuses across the district.

Department Showcase - Special Programs

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The Special Programs department works to ensure students with disabilities are provided equitable access to education and learning through an individualized continuum of services and supports. This team of 87 values engaging families and school teams, promoting student advocacy and empowerment, and education as a lifelong process. We are grateful for the instrumental work these staff members do to foster an inclusive educational environment in the Big Red Community that supports individual strengths and needs. They are truly World-Class Employees!

Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending November 30, 2022
  • Gifts, grants and bequests
  • Budget Amendment #3 for 2022-2023
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (Delcom for staff device refresh, contract for communication consulting services and ClearTouch Interactive Panels from Pathway Communications)
  • Resolution for appointment to the Tax Appraisal District of Bell County Board of Directors
  • Appointment of Concussion Oversight Committee Team

To review Belton ISD board meeting agendas and full packet materials, click here.