BHS Parent Bulletin, December 2020
Volume 4, Issue 3
We ARE Belton!
Holiday wishes from BHS Student Leadership
We delight in one another and wish each of you Joy!
Follow up to 12.7.2020 Mid-term Progress Report Message... Semester one comes to a close.
We approach the final weeks of semester one.
"Doing school" as we've been challenged to do it since March, 2020 is both different and difficult. Across Belton, the region, the country, and the globe, we've discovered the challenges of keeping individuals and a community engaged with the business of school. As such, and despite efforts to narrow a focus on "essential outcomes," we find greater numbers of students with grades which are not what one would hope nor expect. With roughly four weeks remaining, we encourage everyone to review where they stand in each course and develop a strategic plan to address them.
As shared previously, vital elements include... establishing routines, persistence on completing assignments and preparing for exams, and having regular communication with one's teachers.
Additionally, we find ourselves working on plans to afford students with opportunities to salvage credits where they are able and recover credits which are out of reach. Given the realities of "disconnect" and the potential challenge this means for future success in courses to follow, we consider some available tools to assist in the determination of mastery in addition to one's simply completing tasks to receive credits. It is becoming apparent that summer school will likely look a bit different and we may find this includes a timeline which extends to August 1. Regardless, we seek to empower our students to make the best of each situation.
Specific to our sophomore students... The Class of 2023, you've entered the Academy model and, as you know, there are introductory elective courses which serve as the foundation for your respective pathways. We invite you, we encourage you to take a serious look at how well you are doing in these pathway electives and make them a priority over the next few weeks. How well you perform in these classes may largely determine your access to the "capstone" courses and experiences which were promised you should you stay true to your pathway experience.
We do believe in you.. our students and the Belton community. We trust that, together, we can go well beyond simply surviving this difficult chapter, but finding a way to thrive.
Life is Good!
We ARE Belton!
January 4 Return from winter break
January 13 & 14. Semester 1 Finals
January 13 & 14. Class of 2024 made Academy/Pathway selections
January 14 Last day of Semester 1
January 15 Teacher Work Day - No school for students
January 18 Martin Luther King Day - No School
January 19 First day of Semester 2
Semester Two... What will it look like?
In late November, a survey was provided to families of "virtual students." This was designed to collect information about how they'd intend to participate during the second semester.It was communicated that those who didn't reply would simply remain "virtual" through the end of the 2020-21 school year.
As expected, the results reveal our "in person" population will expand a bit. We began the school year with roughly 60% of our student body "in person." However, over the first two to three weeks, the numbers dropped to roughly 50% and over the course of the semester the numbers fell to 47%. Our current projections for semester two... approximately 67% of the students will be "in person." The most significant increases are in grades 9 & 10. As it stands, we expect roughly 75% of our freshman and 72% of our sophomore classes to attend "in person."
As we approach the actual start date, we continue to monitor the data with regards to COVID 19 numbers and the impact this has on our ability to continue to deliver school and extra-curricular activities as has occurred throughout the first semester. Certainly, we consider various models of delivery. Among the options considered is to have all "in person" students attend each day. Another involves a unique version of hybrid which by design would reduce the total numbers in attendance each day while providing remote access to those not present on a particular day.
Again, we continue to reflect on numbers and possibilities. As soon as a determination is made, we will share additional information.
Class of 2021... The month of May approaches. Senior Packet to be made available soon.
"Soon to be Graduates... Finish Strong!"
A mere five months remain for our seniors and the phrase from August 2018, "May 2021... It will be here in a blink!" is beginning to make even greater sense to our soon-to-be graduates. At the time, we were encouraging every member of the Class of 2021 to make their experience over the next three years extraordinary. We challenged them to challenge themselves and to perform their very best in order to know they had done all they could and should to be prepared for what lie ahead. Some were introduced to, while others were reminded about, the A+ Program as well as the Belton School District's Cum Laude Program. The current data reveals a good number have elected to meet the challenge. For this, for them, we are proud.
Each year, we provide families of graduating students our Senior Information Packet. We are a few details and some finishing touches away from publishing our 2021 Senior Information Packet. We anticipate posting the document to the BHS Website the week of January 18.
We plan to provide an overview of some of the material for our seniors in a video link to be produced in mid-January. The packet will remain on our BHS Website through the remainder of the school year. It will contain information regarding expectations, timelines and the plans for a BHS Senior’s final days at BHS. Further, this resource will include valuable information for families as they make preparations to celebrate our seniors during the Commencement Ceremony which is scheduled for Friday, May 14th.
Guided Enrollment for the 2021-2022 School year...
With transition to the 2021-22 school year looming, the challenges to making connection at this point in time, the addition of the Class of 2025, and the continued implementation of the Academies of Belton, we acknowledge the critical significance of clear communication. With this in mind, we are refining our plans to enhance the BHS "guided" enrollment process during these challenging times.
Once again, we've reserved an evening for our "BHS Guided Enrollment for grades 8 - 11." Our evening... January 28, 2021. Prior to the "event," students and parents will be provided a brief overview with regard to the enrollment process. In it, you'll hear from our building principal and the counseling staff about the overall exercise and the importance of making quality requests. Throughout the evening on the 28th, there will be an opportunity for families to reach out to our "curriculum experts"... our teachers who are ultimately responsible for delivering the coursework listed in the Career & Educational Planning Guide. Greater details about the design will be provided soon after the break.
To our 8th graders and their parent/guardians...
In March, additional information will be provided to the families of our current 8th grade students. This will include some guidance about making a successful transition to High school along with information about the importance of the Freshman year. Additionally, you'll be provided both a review of the transformation to an Academy model and what this really means for every Belton High School student. We look forward to the journey we'll share over the next four years and being in a position to both partner with and witness the development of each member of the Class of 2025.
January 26... (7 pm) - Video containing enrollment information from Mr. Clark (Building Principal) and the Counseling team will be released. The video will contain enrollment process information as well as a review of the significance of thoughtful selections. Available throughout the Enrollment process. Community encouraged to review prior to January 28.
January 28... Guided Enrollment Night... 3:45 - 7:45 pm. Staff to open zoom link and be available to address questions related to curriculum and discuss recommendations for course selection.
March (tbd)... Transition to High School Night. An opportunity for parents of our current 8th graders (Class of 2025) to learn a bit more about BHS and the transformation toward the Academies of Belton.
An update regarding "Pre AP" course titles...
With four courses at BHS which are currently identified as "Pre AP", we have determined we will not subject our budget to an additional $12,000 expense annually to maintain "Pre AP" in the title. It is important to note: The courses will not change nor will the practice of providing AP training to our teachers responsible for these courses. This will have no bearing on the experience Belton High School students who take these courses will receive. The substitute for the "Pre AP" label will be "Honors." Students enrolled in these courses will continue to be prepared to enter an "AP" course upon successful completion the "Honors" courses we offer.
Additionally, the title change will also be reflected in the transcripts of those who previously took a "Pre AP" course. "Honors" will replace the "PreAP" portion of the title. The reason... for auditing purposes, each course is assigned a specific course number and is paired with a particular course description. It is our practice to maintain course numbers if a change has little to no impact on the actual course itself. As such... slight adjustments to a course description or something like a "title change" is not cause for the creation of a new course nor course number. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your student's respective counselor or administrator.
Scholarship Opportunities for the Class of 2021
Belton Educational Foundation Awards Grants to BHS Teachers for Classrooms
Jill Kupronis, Joe Kang, Michael Kober, Tracy McNair and Kelly Wilson were awarded funds for their Grant Project "Mini-One to Maximize Gel Electrophoresis/PCR Experience." The funds received will be used to purchase a Mini-one Gel Electrophoresis System. This particular system allows DNA separation to occur in 20 minutes as compared to the regular systems which require an hour or more. This will allow students to watch the DNA separation occur in real-time within a single class block. Students will be able to connect their camera phone, press "record" and produce a time-lapse video to demonstrate the process to their friends and family!
Nick Civitello, Joe Kang, Jill Kupronis and Cydnee Regers received funds for their Grant Project "Developing cross-curricular real world experience with a robotic arm." Funds will be used to purchase a DOBOT Magician. The DOBOT is a multifunctional desktop robotic arm for practical training education. Installed with different end-tools, DOBOT Magician can realize engaging functions such as 3D printing, laser engraving, writing and drawing. It supports secondary development by 13 extensible interfaces and over 20 programming languages. The tool will be utilized by Engineering, Bio Med and Agriculture Science students.
A big "Thank you" to the Belton Educational Foundation and all of those who donate to the Foundation to support the students and teachers of Belton School District.
Scholarship Opportunities for the Classes of 2022 and 2024
Freshmen who are awarded the scholarship will receive a match on their college savings. Juniors who are awarded the scholarship would receive a $50,000 college scholarship. See the videos provided below.
For further information about KC Scholars, please reach out to BHS College Adviser Helene Slinker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academies of Belton
With anticipation, we look forward to having the members of the Class of 2024 declare their Academy preferences January 13 & 14, 2021. Their efforts during the first semester to explore the opportunities which await coupled with some personal reflection provide the basis for making a solid decision. In addition to stating an academy preference, they will identify a career pathway which will provide enrollment guidance for their sophomore year at BHS.
The Class of 2023 entered BHS for the first time in August of 2019. They became the first to experience the transformation to our Academy model. Despite some detours which began to surface in March of 2020, the journey continues with sophomore classes designed to be taught “through the lens” of the respective college and career academy. Furthermore, the level one career pathway electives which establish the foundation are well underway. Those sophomores who have navigated the challenges of schooling differently are well on their way to a “capstone” opportunity during their senior year. Experiences as members of the Academies of Belton will prepare them for unique opportunities following graduation in May of 2023.
This week we held an Academies of Belton/Ford NGL Midyear Review. The Academies Conventing Team, Belton District Leadership, Donna McDaniel with the Kauffman Foundation and members of the BHS staff collaborated and provided presentations on the work and progress of the Academies of Belton. Several things stood out during the collaboration those two days. First, there is a collaborative mindset as we work towards transforming the Belton Community and Belton High School; second, even with the challenges of the pandemic we continue to move forward and make progress; and third, there is a passion for this work and an ownership in providing these amazing opportunities for the students of Belton, current and future.
We appreciate the continued support of the Belton Community and wish all a great holiday season.
Canvas information... how to...
The BSD Return to School Plan
Future Pirates' Scroll Publication Dates
The Pirates' Scroll represents our primary vehicle to share BHS information with our parent and partner community. We intend to publish quarterly and each issue is posted on the BHS webpage. As special circumstances surface, additional issues are produced. Parents will receive notification whenever a new issue is posted.
As a reminder, our "Why Papers" are also found on the BHS Website. BHS "Why Papers" are designed to address very specific topics and in such a fashion one can gain greater insight as to the reason(s) things are as they are. Topics include, but are not limited to: Assessments, A+ Program, Cum Laude and Safety. You'll find the BHS "Why" Paper link on the BHS website.
Additional "Why Papers" will be posted as they are deemed important/useful.