Published June 19, 2014
By Devin Corbitt, News Editor
Monday’s Belton Independent School Board of Trustees meeting was heavy as the board members remembered Ed Braeuer, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, who passed away earlier that morning from a stroke suffered on June 8.
Board President Randy Pittenger began the meeting with a few words and a moment of silence in honor of Braeuer.
““He wanted students to want to learn, and he made learning fun,” Pittenger said. “Those of us who remember him as a basketball coach remember how animated and excited he was and how engaged he was and how those student athletes performed at a high level for him and with him. As a physics teacher, students flocked to his classroom. He was a teacher that students wanted to be with because he really made learning fun. That passion carried on as an administrator as he led our district in curriculum development and curriculum instruction, and that influence will be felt for a long, long time, and our entire district is better because of Ed’s influence.”
Following the board’s remembrance of Braeuer, they continued on to recognize outstanding students in the district, including Christina Gaw, a sophomore who brought home the only medal from a State U.I.L. Academic meet in recent history. She placed fourth in headline writing.
Four choir soloists and one vocal group received superior ratings at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest, earning gold medals. The soloists were Christina Arellano, Tess Rudasill, Kacey Wollenberg and Riley Wesson. Madrigal received a gold medal for their ensemble performance of “Ihr Musici Frisch Auf.”
Three band soloists and two ensembles also received superior ratings at the competition. The soloists were Chad Wallace on trumpet, Byron Bordales on keyboard percussion and Heather Parker on French horn. The ensembles were a French horn quartet and a percussion ensemble.
Bordales was also selected as the Outstanding Performer in the soloist category. Each judge could only select one performer from the two-day event. This is the first time in more than 10 years that an instrumentalist from BHS had been given the honor.
The board also recognized the BISD softball team for their District 8-5A Championship win.
The two biggest items of the night included the presentation of a new app for World Geography students and S.T.A.A.R. test results.
The new app was developed by teachers, including Krystal Hawk, Megan Crook and Barbara Epperson. The app features materials used in the classes as well as links to further research. It also includes a textbook on the iPad written by the teachers, allowing the classes to go virtually paperless and significantly cutting costs for BISD.
“We really believe it’s going to benefit our students by offering an engaging, high-interest instructional format that’s tailored to the needs of our students,” Kim Christy-Anderson, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
Overall, BISD students outperformed the state in almost every aspect of S.T.A.A.R. testing. However, both Kincannon and Pittenger emphasized that S.T.A.A.R. tests are not the only means of measuring a student’s intelligence and talent.
“Dr. Kincannon’s gotten some recognition state-wide and nationally about taking a stand against high-stakes testing and the over-emphasis on these ridiculous accountability standards. We’re all for accountability that makes sense and that is authentic assessment, but so much of it is not,” Pittenger said. “We appreciate your stepping out there and going against the grain and taking that stand. We have extraordinary schools, and people know that. A sign on the wall is somewhat misleading anyway.”
The consent agenda passed without any hiccups, including the acceptance of a $5,000 donation from the Sparta PTA to buy iPads and $1,000 from H.E.B. for the fine arts musical.
In the Superintendent’s Report, Kincannon presented updates on construction at Chisholm Trail Elementary School, which is nearly completed, and North Belton Middle School. Renovations on the Early Childhood School and BHS 9 are already underway and are on schedule to be completed by the fall.
The board also discussed salaries in their meeting, approving a $175,000 per year salary for Kincannon, as well as a three percent increase in teachers’ pay, bringing the starting salary for teachers at BISD up to $43,300 per year, an increase of $1,500.
Thirty-one new staff were hired during the past month, four of whom are BHS graduates. The new hires include Merl Brandon as the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Administration. Brandon comes to BISD with 22 years of experience in education. He has administrative experience in Irion County ISD, Miles ISD and Lincoln Middle School. He taught math, business and computer skills before moving into an administrative position.
The next school board meeting will be held July 21.