Board Briefs

February 2023

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Trustees Adopt Goals for Next School Year

The Belton ISD Board of Trustees adopted district goals for the 2023-2024 school year at its regular meeting Monday. The five goals have remained consistent for the last three years.

Deputy Superintendent Malinda Golden told trustees that the five goals are the same ones being used in the current school year and next year each will have updated key performance measures to gauge progress toward the goals.

The district’s five goals are:

  1. Strengthen and support the engagement of all stakeholders in the pursuit of the BISD vision

  2. Ensure exceptional learning experiences for each and every student

  3. Attract, retain and support a world-class team of employees

  4. Develop a district-wide culture of value, support and growth amongst all students and staff

  5. Maximize our use of resources for both current priorities and plans for the future

Student Showcase - South Belton Middle School Folklorico

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A new student group at South Belton Middle School demonstrates the district’s value of “each and every.”

Folklorico started after the school’s first Hispanic Culture Night generated interest in learning about traditional ballet folklorico and modern dances from Hispanic countries. At tonight’s performance, the group danced to “Un Poco Loco,” “El Sauce y La Palma” and “La Gozadera.”

Student members are Fidel Ayala, Delilah Martinez, Anirac Bedolla, Juliet Mendoza, Liliana Colunga, Noel Mendoza, Melody Galindo, Joldalis Navedo, Zoey Garrell, Riley Ramirez, Christina Mallette, Samyia Terry, Barbara Mar, Ni'yetta Wimes, Melody Mar, Barbara ​​Mar Degollado and Melany Mar Degollado.

The group is led by sponsors Tina Uranga-Villarreal, Evelia Avila and Frances Zaragoza. Anna Pineda is the group’s dance teacher.

Update on School Safety Audits

Trustees heard an update from Michael Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations, on school safety audits that will be conducted this spring following procedures developed by the Texas School Safety Center. Texas law requires an audit once every three years. Findings will be presented to trustees in June before a final report is submitted to the Texas School Safety Center by the end of August.

Board Recognition - College Board National Recognition Award

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A Belton New Tech @Waskow junior has earned national academic honors from College Board for top performance on the 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.

Nathaniel Neiser received the Indigenous Recognition Award. He joins nine other Belton ISD students who were honored in the fall.

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

Board Recognition - Texas Music Educators Association — All-State Choir Students

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Four Belton ISD musicians performed at the TMEA Clinic/Convention in San Antonio earlier this month with other top singers in the state.

Lake Belton High School junior Erin Hankins and Belton High School junior Jezabel Vazquez Miranda placed in the All-State Treble Choir while LBHS sophomore Pate Palomino and BHS junior Gavin Young placed in the All-State Tenor/Bass Choir.

Tonya Lovorn is the head director at BHS, while Terrance Livingston is the head director at LBHS.

Congratulations to these students and directors for demonstrating the district’s value of continuous improvement.

Board Hears Update on Campus Improvement Funds

The board also heard an update on how $100,000 in campus improvement funds are being utilized across the district. Trustees approved the funds to invest in a culture of continuous improvement and encourage innovation.

Projects include a STEM integration lab at Miller Heights Elementary, the establishment of an esports team at Belton New Tech @Waskow and the creation of a maker space at Sparta Elementary and outdoor learning spaces at Lakewood Elementary and Belton Early Childhood School. North Belton Middle School is receiving learning manipulatives to increase student engagement in math instruction. Tarver Elementary requested professional development training that will help create a relationship-driven campus culture and student connectedness.

Board Recognition - Texas Dance Educators Association — All-State Dance Students

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High School were recently named All-State dancers by the Texas Dance Educators’ Association.

The honor — the highest any Texas student dancer can receive — was announced at the TDEA Convention, held Jan. 4-7 in Houston, where the dancers were able to take classes from master teachers, choreographers and leadership experts. They also performed at the convention with the 245-member All-State dance team.

Both girls serve as captains of their respective dance teams, the Silver Spurs and Magic Belles.

The Magic Belles are under the direction of Rachel Hill and Emma Marsland. The Silver Spurs directors are Erin Choats and Shelby Carney.

Congratulations to these students who have demonstrated empathy and communication, two of the district’s Journey of a Graduate competencies, as they lead their teams.

Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Feb. 6. Committee members continued their review of several policies that are part of the TASB policy review.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Feb. 13 and heard updates on bond projects and proposed attendance boundary changes being developed.

Board Recognition - UIL Cheerleading State Finalists

Cheerleaders from Belton High School and Lake Belton High School made school history when both squads earned a spot in the UIL State Spirit Championship finals last month in Ft. Worth. The LBHS team placed 12th out of 20 finalists in UIL 5A-D1. The BHS team placed 17th out of 20 in UIL 5A-DII.

At the prelims, the teams performed a band chant, crowd-leading cheer and fight song including a mix of signs, megaphones, pom poms, flags and stunts. The finals added to those elements a situational response cheer — where an announcer calls out something the cheerleaders might hear during a football game and they have to respond with an appropriate cheer.

The BHS team includes Briley Campbell, Nathan Carrasco, Paige Champlin, Addison Crouse, Addison Dunahoo, JezzieMarie Gracia, Malorie Holman, Sydney Isdale, Alexia Martinez, Briyana Mendoza, Avery Rivera, D’Alessandra Rivero, Taylin Rynkowski, Kelis Smith, Sharon Turner, Kimberlyn Wiggington, Alexandria Yeargin, Katelyn Bailey, Sophia Detert, Vanessa Gauna, Destiny Schutz, Lauren Seidel, Brayton Torres, Abigail Weiss, Gracie Warne, Ailyn Berry, Alaina Jewell, Kirsten Rivera, Aubree Whiteside, Gabrielle Marek and Mabry Kennedy. They are coached by Kristin Hennage and Veronica Pinedo.
The LBHS team includes Ailish Scammell, Alexia Moffenbier, Allison Wren, Aubrey "Emmy" Lee, Avelina Betancourt, Brooklyn Cory, Chandler Stahl, Christina Walker, Emma Fertig, Erika Walker, Gabriella Davila, Hayden Presley, Holly Wilson, Jalynn Russell, Jameela Cordero, Jasmine Hernandez, Jocilin Kwan-Nguyen, Katie Taylor, Katy Briggs, Landyn Johnson, Lauren Stefek, Lorissa Hubbard, Haylee Thomas, Maya Yberg, Natalee Hoover Waltman, Presslie Vargas Leon, Rayne Cory, Ryley Ellis, Sofia Vincent, Tiani Hall, Taylor Love, Aylah Miller, Emily Jones, Makaylyn Atkinson, Jazzell Jenkins, Kaitlyn Maus, Kayson Tanner, Shelby Chaney, Delaney Jensen and Zakayia Frederick. They are coached by Laura Bulls and Marcia Russell.

Superintendent's Report

In his monthly update to the board, Dr. Smith reminded trustees of the process to develop the district strategic plan before its adoption in July 2021. He then highlighted ways he's seen part of the strategic plan — to foster a culture of learning that provides a voice, choice and ownership for students — lived out in the classroom. Dr. Smith said the more Belton ISD can teach students to collaborate and explain their thinking, the better off they'll be in the workplace one day.

Board Recognition - National Football Foundation National High School Academic Excellence Award 5A State Winner

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We are proud to share BISD’s Journey of a Graduate is reflected in a recent recognition of the LBHS Bronco football team as the 5A winner of the 2022-2023 National Football Foundation High School Academic Excellence Award. To be named a finalist, teams have to maintain a 3.0-grade point average or above throughout the regular football season. The Texas High School Coaches Association honored 53 different high schools this year, with LBHS being one of only 13 5A schools to be recognized. The Broncos were also finalists last year.

Board Recognitions - Texas Department of Agriculture "Best of the Bunch" Award

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Belton ISD’s Nutrition Services department recently received statewide recognition for participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Farm Fresh Challenge. As part of the challenge, Belton ISD ate local foods and learned about Texas agriculture, while staff shared their success on social media. For its efforts, Nutrition Services earned the “Best of the Bunch” award — the highest award tier available for school districts. This is the third consecutive semester that Belton ISD’s team has been honored with this achievement.

Thank you to our Nutrition Services staff for being world-class employees!

Temple Rotary Educator of the Month

Nikki Cottrell is being recognized by the Temple Rotary Club for the month of January for her outstanding service to Belton ISD. Nikki serves as a fourth-grade teacher at Sparta Elementary. She is in her 14th year in education, and her 10th year in Belton ISD.

Julee Manley, principal at Sparta Elementary, said this about Mrs. Cottrell:

“Mrs. Cottrell has a heart for students. She has been an integral part of Sparta’s fourth-grade team for 10 years. She loves her job and takes all parts of her job very seriously. Her priority is her relationships with students and making sure all areas of their well-being are taken care of to include social emotional and academic needs. I have had the privilege of watching Mrs. Cottrell teach for 10 years. She creates a learning environment where students and adults feel welcome, accepted, and strive to be their best. She knows and understands the learning standards for reading and writing and teaches in such a way that students also develop a passion for these subjects. Mrs. Cottrell is a product of BISD and pours into our community in many ways in order to make it better. She is an asset in every way, and I am so excited to work with her every day.”

Belton Rotary Educator of the Quarter

Rachel Hill is being recognized by the Belton Rotary Club for her outstanding service to Belton ISD. Rachel serves as a dance teacher at Belton High School. She is in her 15th year in education, 14 of which are with Belton ISD.

Ben Smith, principal at BHS, said this about Rachel:

“For 14 years, the Belton High School dance program has had the fortune of being led by Rachel Hill. Under her direction, the Magic Belles have amassed numerous local, state, and national championships and recognitions. The BHS dance program is one of the best in the state of Texas. Further, Rachel’s leadership has had a significant impact on our overall campus culture. She has been a key player in increasing student, staff, and community involvement in BHS events and promotions that highlight accomplishments of our school. Finally, her passion for dance is evident through her commitment to expanding dance opportunities for all ages. She has led heavy work in expanding dance experiences to our middle school and elementary students through frequent middle school visits as well as camps and events that foster participation in dance at early ages. The dance program at Belton High School and its feeder schools is in exceptional hands under the direction of Rachel Hill. Countless students have and continue to be rewarded with an enriching experience of the arts through dance and movement because of her dedication to doing what she loves, teaching kids.”

Department Showcase - School Counselors

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Belton ISD has 40 school counselors across our 19 campuses available to support students in their academic and social development. Counselors play a pivotal role in providing social-emotional lessons in classrooms and, at the secondary level, offering guidance on career planning and post-secondary education.

These men and women work to reduce obstacles and barriers that prevent students from reaching their potential. They act as advocates for students, promoting success in their personal and academic lives with a focus on achievement, prevention and intervention.

National School Counselors Week was earlier this month, and we are happy to continue celebrating these world-class employees tonight and throughout the year. Thank you for the way you support our students and staff in the Big Red Community.

Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending January 31, 2023
  • Gifts, grants and bequests
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (RFPs for Internet Access and Managed WAN Solutions, and maintenance, repair and operations services, equipment and supplies, and kitchen equipment)
  • Amendment to investment management agreement with Meeder Public Funds
  • Acceptance and close out of Southwest Elementary HVAC replacement project and approval of final payment
  • Resolution concerning payments to district employees during emergency closure due to inclement weather and reduction in educator required days of service

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