Board Briefs

November 2022

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New Elementary Schools Named After Local Educator, Geographic Location

The two newest Belton ISD elementary schools can now be referred to by their official names: James L. Burrell Elementary and Hubbard Branch Elementary. The

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

The schools are part of the 2022 Bond proposal approved by voters in May. Construction on Burrell Elementary is underway in the northern part of the district at 8104 Glade Dr. in Temple. Hubbard Branch Elementary is in the design phase and will be located in the southern part of the district in the Hubbard Branch subdivision.

The community’s voice played a major role in the naming process, reflecting the district’s values and beliefs. The names, nods to a longtime Belton ISD educator and a geographic location, were selected from a list of 32 nominations submitted by community members. A school name selection committee representing the Big Red Community reviewed suggestions and narrowed the pool to three options for each school, which were presented to trustees Monday night.

Burrell worked in Belton ISD for 53 years, starting as a teacher at the district’s segregated campus, T.B. Harris High School, in 1962. He later worked at Belton Middle School and Belton High School as a teacher and coach. After he retired in 2000, he served as a bus driver until May 2015. Burrell passed away in July 2020.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Michael Morgan oversaw the name selection process.

Mascots and school colors will be selected later, Morgan said.

Opening dates for both schools are still being determined. The district is starting a process now to evaluate attendance zones with plans to bring a proposal to the board in February.

More information on the May 2022 bond projects is available at

Student Showcase - Advanced Treble Choir from BMS

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The Advanced Treble Choir from Belton Middle School is under the direction of Joy Marshall and includes 18 talented seventh- and eighth-grade students. The group earned Superior ratings on their solo contest performance last spring, and two of the members were selected for the Texas Choral Directors Association All-State Choir and three members were selected for the TMEA Region 8 All-Region Choir in 2022.

The choir performed “Harmony,” by Pinkzebra, “Heart We Will Forget Him,” by Farnell, and “Sisi Ni Moja” by Naverud before the meeting.

Members of the group are Isabel Billings, Gabrielle Blizzard, Moira Correa, Roxanna Delgado, Kiaya Fallwell, Jaymisen Garelick, Ella Hice, Elianna John, Melissa Jordan, Kimora Kelly, Gisella MacDonald, Bella Majano, Olivia McRae, Alyssa Merrill, Eva Rios, Kira Trevino, Payten Troast, Nataly Valdez and Amber Young. Lauren Coltharp is serving as a student teacher this semester.

Board Recognition - College Board National Recognition Awards

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Nine Belton ISD students have earned national academic honors from College Board for top performances on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). The students were among the top 2.5 percent of test takers who identified as one or more of the following: African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Indigenous or attend school in a rural area or are from a small town.

National Hispanic Recognition Awards were presented to Rhiannon Gaddis, Jayden Guajardo, Josue Martinez and Dalilah Zuniga from Lake Belton High School and Matthew Herrera, Audriana Martinez and Diego Ramos from Belton High School. National Indigenous Recognition Awards were presented to Isaiah Devasure from BHS and Hayden Presley from LBHS. To qualify for the recognition, the students had to achieve a minimum PSAT score and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Congratulations to these students who have demonstrated many of our Journey of a Graduate competencies, including critical thinking and perseverance, to earn this recognition.

Trustees Hear Update on Bilingual/ESL Programs

Trustees heard an update on the district’s Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. Yolanda Sarinana and Vickie Dean, from the Teaching & Learning department, told trustees that the district currently has students native in 29 different languages, including Spanish, Korean, Urdu and Vietnamese. The bilingual program serves 386 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade, while the ESL program enrolls 543 students across all grades.

Board Recognition — Mark of Excellence/National Jazz Honors Competition Commended Winner & Outstanding Soloists

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The Lake Belton Middle School jazz band is celebrating after being named a Commended Winner in the Mark of Excellence/National Jazz Honors Competition.

Assistant band director Jacob Guerrero compiled recordings of the group’s best performances last year and submitted them for the contest. The competition recognizes outstanding achievement in performance by high school and middle school bands, choirs and orchestras from throughout the United States. The top 25% of entrants are recognized as National Winners. The second 25% are named Commended Winners.

Two students also received “Outstanding Soloist” recognitions — Jordan Hamilton on trombone and Christopher Clement on alto saxophone.

Members of last year’s jazz band included: Keagan Barnett, Avery Diaz, William Graham, Hunter Maher, Keller Myers and Gabe Vacula (trumpet); Christopher Clement (alto saxophone); Naomi Hwang (tenor saxophone); Olivia Cromwell, Beckett Echols, Asher Hansgen and Ben Johnson (drums); Noah Lanham and Jacob Mccready (French horn); Evan Lazott (piano); Evan Abell and Felix Peterson (bass guitar); Macy Fowler (guitar); Alex Smith, Rylan Parr, Drew Moore, Jordan Hamilton and Sienna Trehern (trombone); and Major Arant, Andy Thomas, Brock Winkler and John Flor (tuba).

The recognition highlights the district’s value of a continuous improvement mindset modeled by staff and cultivated in classrooms.

Rotary Educator of the Month — Temple

Marla York is being recognized by the Temple Rotary Club for her outstanding service to Belton ISD. Marla serves as an eighth-grade social studies teacher at North Belton Middle School. She is in her 24th year in education and her 19th year in Belton ISD.

The principal at NBMS said this about Mrs. York: “Marla goes above and beyond. She does a fabulous job at teaching history to her students, supporting them in after-school extracurricular activities, and holding high standards for their academic performance. North Belton Middle School is thankful for her dedicated service to each and every student. I am honored that she is selected for this award and that she represents the NBMS community.”

Congratulations to the student-centered educator!

Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Oct. 31 where trustees reviewed three policies as part of the Texas Association of School Boards' (TASB) recent policy review. They also reviewed the Board Operating Procedures and FDA(LOCAL) and FDB(LOCAL) related to interdistrict and intradistrict transfers.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Nov. 7. Trustees heard updates about the school name selection committee's work and progress toward 2022 bond projects. They also discussed the upcoming attendance boundary review in anticipation of opening the new elementary schools. Members ranked parameters to consider by most critical to least critical. This input, along with input from other stakeholders, will be used to develop boundary recommendations that will be brought to the board in February.

Department Showcase - Teaching & Learning

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The Teaching & Learning department is led by Dr. Deanna Lovesmith, assistant superintendent for Teaching & Learning. The department provides instructional support and professional learning in core academic areas, as well as the oversight of programs for students who are: homeless or in foster care, English learners, gifted and talented, advanced academics, Career and Technology education, and students served through 504 and special education programs. In addition to providing instructional support for campuses, the department also oversees areas of school accountability, assessment and data, professional learning, curriculum revision and resources and counseling services. The goal of the department is to support campuses in providing exceptional learning experiences for students. Thank you to these employees for their dedication and commitment to exceptional learning for students.

Superintendent's Report

  • Dr. Smith said that a highlight from his month was going on campus visits with individual trustees. He hopes trustees are able to see how their work on goals, setting direction, and providing sound governance and policy decisions helps staff do great work in the classroom.
  • Other highlights were being a guest speaker at Belton High School, serving as a judge for an FFA event, and attending the Roy & Jean Potts Swim Invitational. Each of these events showcased students demonstrating Journey of a Graduate competencies.
  • Dr. Smith thanked administrators for hosting the District Safety & Security Committee meeting. This month the group reviewed a report from Uvalde and discussed ways to improve Belton ISD.

Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending October 31, 2022
  • Gifts, grants and bequests
  • Budget Amendment #2 for 2022-2023
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (Apple for staff device refresh)
  • Revisions to FDA(LOCAL): Admissions, Interdistrict Transfers - 2nd Reading
  • Revisions to FDB(LOCAL): Admissions, Intradistrict Transfers and Classroom Assignments - 2nd Reading

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