April 15, 2019
Trustees Approve Schematic Design for Orchestra Addition at BHS

During their monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a schematic design for an orchestra addition at Belton High School. The approved design includes the addition of 3,200 square feet for a dedicated orchestra rehearsal hall, sectional room and three practice rooms, along with renovations to 1,200 square feet of existing band hall, instructor office space and the band music library. 
When Belton Middle School was repurposed to a ninth-grade center in the fall of 2014, Belton High School’s orchestra program began to use the band hall there. With the opening of Lake Belton High School in the fall of 2020, orchestra will no longer have a designated instructional space at Belton High School. For this reason, the board’s Capital Improvement Projects document was updated in April 2018 to include a fine arts facilities addition for Belton High School’s orchestra program.  
In November 2018, the board approved a contract with O’Connell Robertson Architects for architectural services for the new orchestra addition to ensure substantial completion and availability for the fall of 2020 when Belton High School’s orchestra program will be relocated to the main campus.  
In materials submitted to the board, O’Connell Robertson described the design for this addition as providing “the most floor plan space within the allowable expansion area,” with the additional enhancement of a “contemporary design solution” for the main entry to the Belton High School campus. The estimated project cost for the orchestra addition is $1.4 million. 
UIL Regional Qualifiers:

Belton ISD finished second overall in the competitive high school District academic UIL competition. This is the sixth consecutive year for Belton ISD to claim either first or second place in the competition which combines One Act Play, Speech and Debate, and Academic event results.

In the Academic UIL competitions hosted by Belton High School (BHS), several teams placed: Accounting, Current Issues and Social Studies were all first place teams. Calculator Apps and Science were second place teams. Individuals qualifying for Regionals are: Westley Starnes, Alvin Packard, Louis Mendoza, Karianne Hosch, Marcus Ake, Gautam Ghamande, Tyler Garrett, Doye Baker, Dean Biava, Euni Wu, Jacob Navarro, Braxton Harrison and Austin Krueger. Joseph Savoldi and Pam Rodriguez are the Belton Academic UIL sponsors.
SkillsUSA State Medalists/National Qualifiers:

BISD had 34 students compete in the State SkillsUSA competition. The group won multiple team medals and ribbons for projects submitted and will be advancing to nationals in two categories.

BHS students competing in Design competition claimed two second place finishes at the state competition. Brynna Jones received a silver medal in the T-Shirt Design category, and Ryan Peterson was awarded a silver medal in Pin Design. The Design SkillsUSA sponsor is Brittany Truitt.

A State Champion Gold Medal was awarded in the Principles of Engineering/Technology category to BHS senior Peter Morris. He is headed to nationals, along with his sponsor Pietro Giustino.

The TeamWorks team of Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow (BNTHS@W) senior Angel Collins and BHS seniors Jose Delgado, Isaac Collazo, and Patrick Frazho won gold and will advance to the national competition this June in Kentucky. This is the sixth consecutive TeamWorks state championship for Belton and sponsor Craig Sullivan.

The Automotive Projects and the Mill & Cabinet Projects teams brought home superior blue ribbons from their wins at State. The Automotive Projects Superior Blue Ribbon winners are Matthew Pehl, Gage Turner, Kaleb Acosta, and Elijah Vicker. Mill & Cabinet Projects team Blue Ribbon Winners are Randy Schoolcraft and Holley Bailey. The sponsors for these award winning students are Brian Bownds and Michael Carrillo.
FCCLA State Award Winner:

The team of BHS freshmen Elissa Davis and Krislyn Munoz won third Place and qualified as alternates for nationals in the Texas Association of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Star Event Junior Chapter Service Project Display competition. To compete in this event, Elissa and Krislyn, together, created a display board and presented on a special project they developed and executed that involved them working with life skills students at BHS on money and counting. Instructor Milissa Beechem is their sponsor. 
UIL Theatrical Design Contest State Qualifiers:

Three Belton Theatre Department students have qualified to advance to the State UIL Theatrical Design Contest. BNTHS@W junior Kaity Kempf qualified in Hair and Makeup Design, with Jamey Pearson, a BHS Junior, and Jarryd Lara, a BHS senior, qualifying in Costume Design. For this contest, students submitted design plates and a two-page design justification essay on the contest prompt – "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

This is the second year Belton has entered the UIL Theatrical Design Contest and the second year students have qualified for state. Melissa Stuhff is the Belton Theatre Director and Mel Edwards is the Technical Director.
Central Texas Incredible Kid:

A Belton ISD student was among those honored by the Central Texas Youth Coalition at their 20 th Annual Incredible Kids Celebration on April 17 at the Bell County Expo Center. The event recognized special children from the area that demonstrated admirable character traits in their service to their communities.

Ruth Ann Lawson, a senior at BNTHS@W was nominated by her principal, Ben Smith, for her role in organizing and leading numerous events and community service projects on campus, including the establishment of “Threads,” an on-campus clothing and food pantry for students.
BNTHS@W Recognized for Winning State Video Contest

Students at BNTHS@W were named winners of a student video contest, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). During the board meeting, TASB Director Mildred Watkins of La Vega ISD made a presentation to BNTHS@W teacher and film coach Kristie Shepherd, along with several students who helped create the video. As second-place winners in the high school category, they received $2,500 for use in the classroom or campus.

The contest was open to all Texas elementary and secondary public school students, and winners were selected in three categories: elementary, middle/junior high, and high school. In the contest, students were asked to tell what makes their schools exceptional, how the school earned community support, what makes Texas public schools the best choice, and how their school is making a difference in students’ lives and future success.

BNTHS@W’s video “Belton New Tech Rocks” is a visual tour of the campus with students highlighting the variety of available options including joining the award-winning robotics team, enrolling in video game design and virtual reality courses, participating in athletics, and becoming members of leadership teams.
2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Statewide Semi-Finalist Award:

Principal Michelle Tish was recognized as a 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Statewide Semi-finalist Award winner. Out of more than 1,500 applicants from across Texas, Michelle was one of just 50 principals and approximately 200 other teachers, districts, early childhood providers and school boards to advance in the judging process. In addition to a letter of recognition and certificate signed by Chairman Charles Butt, Michelle received a $500 gift-card.
Big Red Community Partner – Special Olympics Area 12 – Heart of Texas:

This school year, Belton ISD has continued focusing on connecting with students and creating moments that matter as we meet mission of providing an education that challenges every student to excel. We want students, staff and their families to reflect back on their time in our classrooms and schools with the confidence that we and they have created moments that mattered. For the special programs department, parent engagement and the resources provided by Special Olympics Area 12 – Heart of Texas staff supported the district returning to Special Olympics Texas competitions last year. That participation grew this school year to include elementary student athletes and more athletic competitions, creating even more moments of pride for the kids and this community. Including the upcoming track and field competition on Saturday, April 27, 34 student athletes have proudly represented the district in Special Olympics competitions this year.
For their partnership and role in creating important opportunities for all kids, Special Olympics Area 12 is this month’s Big Red Community Partner. Area Director Tommy Smith accepted this award.
Superintendent's Report

Spring Update and Employee Service Award Presentations:
Service award presentations began on Tuesday, April 16, and will reach every campus and department. Employees with 10 years of service will be provided a pin. Employees with service beyond 10 years, in five year increments will also be honored with a pin.

This year, we are honoring 127 employees who, together, have accumulated over 1,835 years of service to Belton ISD. In addition, we are honoring 32 retirees. These employees have given 550 years of service to Belton ISD.

Graduation Preview:
On Thursday, May 30, we expect to graduate approximately 811 students. 677 seniors will graduate from Belton High School and 134 from Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow. Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow will graduate at 2:00 p.m., and Belton High School will graduate at 7:00 p.m. at the Expo Center.

Baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 19, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church. It’s being sponsored by the Belton Minister’s Fellowship. 

Topping Out Ceremony for Lake Belton High School:
On Friday, April 26, we will celebrate a major milestone in the construction of Lake Belton High School during a special “Topping-Out” ceremony. One of the final steel beams for the main campus entry way will be hoisted into place following a BBQ lunch and short program in the campus gym. The North Belton MS Varsity Choirs will perform for approximately 200 construction workers and 100 community guests.

The beam that will be hoisted into place during the ceremony will be available for guests and members of our community to sign Friday morning, as well as the Thursday before the event. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 25, future Broncos, parents and community members are invited to sign the beam on site to become a permanent part of Lake Belton High School.

Legislative Update:
House Bill 3 is the bill we have been tracking since we reported last month. HB 3, as passed by the House, invests $6.3 billion of new funding for public schools. The bill increases the basic allotment and creates a new early childhood allotment to fund full-day prekindergarten for eligible students. 

Funding models received from Chariman Dan Huberty showed that this bill would provide increased revenues of over $7.5 million for next school year. The bill also includes additional New Instructional Facilities Allotment (NIFA) funding, which could provide an additional $2 million dollars for us for the opening of our new schools. Late last week we heard from our state representative that additional property tax relief measures supported by the governor could impact HB 3 as it is currently written, but it’s still unclear what this means to Belton ISD.

As a fast growth school district, the potential of House Bill 3 to increase our revenues has been particularly important as we plan for the opening of new schools and additional staff. There are a number of bills being heard this week, and we are continuing to monitor. There are six weeks left in the session and time for the legislature to make adjustments to positively impact public schools.