October 2020
Belton ISD Earns Perfect Score on State Financial Accountability Review

For the ninth year in a row, Belton ISD has earned a perfect score and “Superior Achievement” rating on the annual state fiscal accountability review.

Jennifer Land, the district’s chief financial officer, shared with the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting results from the 2020 School FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas) Report issued by the Texas Education Agency.

The 2020 rating is based on data from the 2018-2019 school year and evaluates school districts on 14 indicators, including the findings of external auditors, cash-on hand, debt and staffing levels. Using the 14 indicators, school districts are scored on a 100-point scale. Belton ISD received all 100 points possible.
Board Recognitions - National Academic Honors
Belton High School seniors Mitchell Bonner (pictured below top/left), Benjamin Broom and Zane Williams were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. To qualify as a National Merit Semifinalist, the students’ high scores on the PSAT placed them in the top 1 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the test last fall. As the next step in the scholarship competition, Mitchell, Broom and Williams will submit essays, recommendations and additional test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Belton High School senior Gautam Ghamande (pictured below bottom/right) was named a National Merit Commended Scholar for 2020. Ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for scores on the PSAT, Ghamande is among about 34,000 selected as commended students out of 1.5 million who took the test last fall.
Board Recognitions - National Principals Month
Each October, National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making schools great. The success of Belton ISD is a direct result of our campus principals' efforts on behalf of our students and staff. It is a worthy recognition.

Belton ISD principals are: Sheila Surovik, Belton Early Childhood School; Jennifer Connor, Charter Oak Elementary; Elizabeth McMurtry, Chisholm Trail Elementary; Cary Zepernick, High Point Elementary; Marcie Beck, Leon Heights Elementary; Dr. Becky Musil, Lakewood Elementary; Hope Orsag, Miller Heights Elementary; Becky Vaughn, Pirtle Elementary; Dawn Schiller, Southwest Elementary; Julee Manley, Sparta Elementary; Brooke Itz, Tarver Elementary; Stacie Seveska, Belton Middle School; Kris Hobson, Lake Belton Middle School; Michelle Tish, North Belton Middle School; Kevin Taylor, South Belton Middle School; Ben Smith, Belton High School; Jill Ross, Lake Belton High School; Jennisty Thomason, BNTHS@W; Sandy Garrett, DAEP.

Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Oct. 5 and discussed the Board's current policy about naming facilities. The committee reviewed sample policies from other fast-growth districts and discussed what they would want included in a revised policy for Belton ISD. District officials will draft a revised policy that includes Belton ISD's values to present to the committee next month.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Oct. 21 and reported that the installation of elementary playground equipment is underway. The committee also discussed the possibility of completing a few additional facility projects during the Christmas break depending on availability of crews. Looking forward, the committee is eager to see a report from a district-wide facilities assessment expected at the Board's March 2021 meeting which will identify and prioritize future needs.
Board Recognitions -
Temple Rotary Club's Educator of the Month
Amanda Gonsal, a kindergarten teacher at Charter Oak Elementary, was recognized for earning the designation of Temple Rotary Club's Educator of the Month. Ms. Gonsal is in her fourth year of education and her second year with Belton ISD. Her principal, Jennifer Connor, stated: "I cannot say enough about Amanda! She is a humble and quiet leader among many strong educators. Her intelligence and compassion are the perfect combination to make her an outstanding educator."
Superintendent's Report

  • Enrollment Update: The district has 12,611 students as of Oct. 19, which is 415 more students than at the same time last year.
  • Smith noted he's seen great student experiences in the classroom and on playing fields as he's visited campuses across the district. COVID-19 continues to bring unique challenges to the year, but Smith is grateful for the shared responsibility being taken by families and Belton ISD staff to keep the community safe. The district also celebrated the dedication of LBHS this month and offered tours of the new facility to taxpayers.
  • Goal 1 Update: The district is in the early stages of working to create a collective vision that articulates the community's and Belton ISD's aspirations for all students. The end result, seen in other districts as Portrait of a Graduate or Journey of a Graduate, will inform decisions the Board makes, from budget allocations to facility designs to ensuring staffing meets future needs. The district will convene a design team in November to initiate the process. Community members interested in joining the working group can email [email protected] to express their interest.
Board Recognitions -
Belton Rotary Club's Educator of the Quarter
Laurel Baldwin, a second grade teacher at Miller Heights Elementary, was recognized for being named the Belton Rotary Club's Educator of the Quarter. Mrs. Baldwin is in her 10th year in education and her second in Belton ISD. Her assistant principal, Michelle Mikeska, stated: "Mrs. Baldwin is a phenomenal educator with a heart for children. She ensures that each and every student is academically successful, while fostering a sense of community and a love of school."
Board Recognitions -
NOVA Award (Texas Council for the Social Studies)
Lake Belton Middle School sixth grade social studies teacher Kristen Atwood was recently honored by the Texas Council for the Social Studies with their annual NOVA (Early Career Educator) Award. Given to an outstanding social studies teacher in his or her second or third year of teaching, Ms. Atwood was celebrated statewide for the exceptional learning experiences she is creating for her students here in Belton ISD.
Consent Agenda Highlights

  • RFP for Strategic Planning Services
  • Appointment of 2020-2021 School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)
  • Revisions to BF(LOCAL) Board Policies, DBAA(LOCAL) Employment Requirements and Restrictions Pre-Employment Reviews and DED(LOCAL) Vacations and Holidays
  • Additional Certified T-TESS Appraisers for 2020-2021
  • Waiver for Maximum Class Size

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