Special to the Journal

Belton ISD students will have the opportunity to take nine new courses next school year ranging from computer networking to new world languages and Advanced Placement and Special Education options.
The Board of Trustees approved the courses at its regular meeting on Monday.
“We’re always evaluating how our offerings stack up with the current market demands,” Deanna Lovesmith, assistant superintendent of Teaching & Learning said. “To ensure our students can graduate and be fully prepared for either the workforce or higher education, we have to offer classes that provide the skills and training they need to be successful at the next level.”
The new courses approved include Internetworking Technologies I and II; Practicum in Information Technology; Networking/Lab; Chinese; Sign Language; Advanced Placement Seminar; Advanced Placement Research; and General Employability Skills.
Trustees also approved expanding Principles of Health Science as a middle school course offering so that students can begin the high school health science pathway earlier.
“We’re always looking for ways to create exceptional experiences for students based on their unique needs and passions,” Lovesmith said. “We’re grateful for a Board of Trustees that supports the district’s values and beliefs with action that allows us to increase opportunities for each and every student.”
In other news, trustees heard an update on May 2022 bond projects from Michael Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations.
Construction is underway on Burrell Elementary, located in Temple’s North Gate subdivision, Morgan said. Several other projects are in programming or design stages, which occur prior to the start of construction. Projects in the programming or design stage include classroom additions; the expansion of the district’s agricultural facility; a facility for the Delta Program, which supports students with special needs transitioning to adult independent living and work; security cameras and keyless entries; and mechanical, electrical, plumbing and roofing projects.
At Monday’s meeting, the board approved using VLK Architects for design and construction services for the agriculture facility improvements and Delta Program facility projects.
More information on the May 2022 bond projects is available at www.bisd.net/bond_2022.
The board also approved academic calendars for 2023-2024 and 204-2025. For 2023-2024, the first day of school is on Aug. 16 and the last day is on May 22. Both calendars include a parent conference/student holiday date in October to give teachers time to meet with parents during the workday. To arrive at these calendars, district leaders weighed feedback from members of the Districtwide Educational Improvement Council (DWEIC) and campus leaders.
Paula Lowe, an audit manager from Pattillo, Brown, & Hill, LLP also updated trustees on the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Belton ISD received a clean audit report and subsequently the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The Association of School Business Officials International also presented a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting to Belton ISD.
“These are the highest form of recognition in the area of accounting and financial reporting,” Melissa Lafferty, chief financial officer, said. “I’m proud of the way our business staff works hard to achieve excellence in the district’s financial reporting.”