December 2021
Board Approves New Colors, Mascot for New Tech
Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow will be home of the Dragons beginning in the 2022-2023 school year when it becomes a stand-alone campus of choice in Belton ISD. The campus currently operates as a program of Belton High School.
The Belton ISD Board of Trustees voted on the the new mascot at its December meeting and also approved new school colors — red and purple. Both decisions have ties to the school and community’s history.
New Tech is named after Capt. Henry Waskow, a Belton native and Purple Heart recipient who fought and died in World War II. Waskow’s legacy was largely defined by his commitment to helping others and dedicating his life to having a positive impact on those he led, his community and his country. 
The choice for purple as the secondary color was favored by students and staff because of the connection to Waskow and his Purple Heart. In 2015, the school was named the country’s first Purple Heart school.
The Dragon mascot is a nod to Harris High School, the school local African-American students attended before Belton integrated in 1963. They were the Dragons, too.
Student Showcase -
Lake Belton High School Chamber Orchestra
The Chamber Orchestra from Lake Belton High School performed “Forever Joyful,” “A Forest Snowfall” and “We Three Kings” before the start of the Board meeting. Members of the group are: David Larsen, Rachel Kim, Elana Irom, Grace Stoddard, Hannah Weems, McKayl Campbell, Liz Lozano, and Austin Inman on 1st violin; Dionne Muchena, Jillian Webb, Austin Moore, Kalyn Rhoads, Viviane Medina, Saray De La Cruz, and Zoe Forsook on 2nd violin; Erica Dawson, Diana Williams, Be Asuncion-Crabb, and A.J. Bio on viola; Zekaya Longworth, Soteria Shin, Deja Cavazos, and Emma Salazar-Canales on cello; Seth Schsenmaier and Scarlett Williams on bass; and Rachel Kim on piano. The group is under the direction of Ricky Rasura.
Board Recognition -
College Board National Recognition Program Scholars
Two Belton New Tech juniors have been named College Board National Recognition Program Scholars for top performances on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). The students were among the top 2.5 percent of test takers who identify as one or more of the following: African American, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous or attend school in a rural area or are from a small town.
Christian Hernandez was named an Hispanic American Scholar and William Asuncion-Crabb was named an Indigenous Scholar. To qualify for the recognition, the students had to achieve a minimum PSAT score and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. 
Trustees Approve Redistricting Plan at Special Meeting
Trustees approved a resolution to adopt a redistricting plan for the district that will balance population changes reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census.

The plan was presented by Mark Morrison, a Baylor Law School professor emeritus and expert on redistricting, during a public hearing at a special board meeting on Dec. 6. Morrison has worked on redistricting in Central Texas and around the state for more than 40 years.

Redistricting — the process of redrawing the lines of districts from which public officials are elected based on population changes over the past decade — is intended to ensure that district boundaries accurately reflect changes in population and racial diversity. 

According to Morrison, four of the five Belton ISD trustee districts had become imbalanced due to significant growth in the past decade — District 2, 3, 4 and 5. Under the adopted redistricting plan, District 3 is now balanced by adding population from District 2. District 2 is replenished by extending into District 4 and 5, which both needed to be reduced. 

In the 10 years since the last census, Belton ISD’s population has grown by more than 18,000 people, or 40.2%. This has equated to 3,802 additional students over the last decade for a growth rate of 38.4%. The bulk of those students — 2,238 — were added in the last five years.

Based on numbers of students added in the last five years, Belton ISD is the fastest growing Region 12 school district and the 28th fastest growing district in Texas.

By comparison, Bell County’s total population has increased by 19.5% from 310,235 to 370,647. 
Board Recognition -
Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program Participant
Belton High School sophomore Maverick Karanasos was one of 10 students nationwide selected to participate in a prestigious student leadership program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in October.

Maverick was selected for the weeklong Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program based on his commitment to the Student 2 Student (S2S) program at BHS, his extracurricular activities, community involvement and leadership potential. 

Students in the S2S program help welcome new classmates to the school, create a positive environment, support academic excellence and ease transitions. Yvonne Cox, Heather Fuss, Sandra Rodriquez, Jacklyn Davis and Natisha King are co-sponsors of BHS’ S2S program.
Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Dec. 6 and reviewed edits made the BED(LOCAL), the policy about public participation at board meetings. Members also discussed the District of Innovation process and policy implications.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Dec. 8. Committee members heard an update on the Bond Exploration Committee and recommendations for new school colors and a mascot for Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow.
Board Recognition -
All-State Orchestra Musician
Jackson Belobrajdic, a senior from Belton High School, has been selected as a violinist in the TMEA All-State Orchestra. He is the first orchestra musician from Belton ISD to earn a place at this elite level. Belobrajdic was ranked 81st out of almost 400 violinists which placed him first chair, concertmaster, of the Sinfonietta All-State Orchestra. He will perform at the TMEA convention in February.
Superintendent's Report

  • Dr. Smith pointed out several highlights from December 2021, including attending music concerts, dropping in on campuses and presenting more than $90,000 in grant money with the BEEF prize patrol.
  • Campus listening sessions were held throughout the fall and will continue in the spring as a way for staff to alert Dr. Smith to system-wide issues and ideas for the future that can be incorporated into improvement plans. Dr. Smith said that the sessions have uncovered that campuses are experiencing more challenging behaviors as a result of the pandemic and he has asked district leaders to study corrective discipline further.
  • The Bond Exploration Committee has brought Dr. Smith recommendations that he will continue to review and consider bringing before the Board.
  • The district's enrollment as of Dec. 9 was 13,362.
Board Recognition -
Texas Council for the Social Studies Elected Officer
Elizabeth Howson, a teacher at North Belton Middle School, was recently elected to serve as a Middle Level Representative for the Texas Council for the Social Studies. This non-profit organization works to advance social studies education across Texas because it believes a quality K-12 social studies education equips students to civically engage in the improvement of their communities, to respect differences in a diverse society and to participate fully in the democratic process.
Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending November 30, 2021
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (Maxim Healthcare Services)
  • Supply, equipment and service bids (RFPs for Career and Technical Education equipment, supplies and services and for professional development consultants, services and materials)
  • Award of RCSP #2112-600-271 for the Southwest Elementary School HVAC project, approving the expenditure and authorizing the superintendent to negotiate and execute a contract
  • BED(LOCAL): Board Meetings - Public Participation - 2nd Reading
  • Contract for purchase of real property on Charter Oak Drive, Temple, TX

To review Belton ISD board meeting agendas and full packet materials, click here.
Board Recognition -
Temple Rotary Club's Educator of the Month
Courtney Crossley, an English teacher at North Belton Middle School, was recognized for earning the designation of Temple Rotary Club Educator of the Month. She is in her 10th year in education, all with Belton ISD. Mrs. Crossley is highly committed to the daily teaching of her students. She is humble, well prepared, and always approachable to her peers and students as a team player. She is constantly adapting her classroom and curriculum to meet the needs of her students. More than that, she cares about her kids and makes meaningful relationships with them. She is hard-working, reliable, and fun to work with.
Board Recognition -
Belton Rotary Club's Educator of the Quarter
Emily Dossman, a second grade teacher at Sparta Elementary, was recognized for earning the designation of Belton Rotary Club Educator of the Quarter. She is in her fifth year in education, all with Belton ISD. When you visit Ms. Dossman's classroom, you will see her passion for reading, writing and social studies. It is evident by her classroom set up, which creates cozy spaces for students to use for reading and lots of books to choose from each day. She also fosters a belief in each student that they are an author. Students write all types of books and share them with one another and the class. Ms. Dossman also shares her passions for running and Disney with her students, and they cheer her on as she competes in races.