Special to the Journal
At their monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees recognized an important community partner for their efforts to engage students in living history lessons and heard from students participating in two Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that are supported by local industry professionals.
Members of the West Belton-Harris High School Ex-Students Association were recognized with the District’s Big Red Community Partner Award after a presentation from Belton High School teachers who worked with the Association to facilitate engaging field trips to the Harris Community Center in Belton. As a part of U.S. History lessons on the Civil Rights Movement and in conjunction with Black History Month, Belton High School students had a chance to tour what once was the segregated African-American school in Belton and view artifacts that further illustrated the personal stories shared by members of the Association.
“The West Belton-T.B. Harris School is a part of our heritage and legacy,” said Board President Randy Pittenger. “I am so grateful to the members of the Association and our teachers for this great opportunity to connect our kids with local heroes and history.”
In designing programs that prepare students for the workforce and post-secondary education opportunities, Belton ISD CTE programs forge important instructional partnerships with many business and industry professionals. During the meeting, Board members heard from students and instructors specifically about their experiences with SkillsUSA and the Automotive Technology programs.
Student leaders from Belton High School’s SkillsUSA Chapter presented to the Board and described how participating in SkillsUSA is preparing them to be “Job Ready Day One,” the competition theme for the 2017-2018 year.
In February, 85 CTE students participated in SkillsUSA competitions in the areas of culinary arts, forensic science, cabinetry and mill- making, construction, automotive technology, photography and audio/video production. This was also the first year for students to compete in engineering. Of these students, 46 will be advancing to the state competition April 4-8, 2018 in Corpus Christi.
Superintendent Susan Kincannon said, “I’m proud of our SkillsUSA state qualifiers. From forensic science, cabinet making and automotive technology to photography and commercial baking, their success in the regional competitions demonstrates that our students are prepared to excel after they graduate. Our strong partnerships with the business community plays a part in these successes.”
In the fall of 2017, Belton ISD opened a new automotive technology building on the Belton High School Campus. As a part of the coursework, students have the opportunity to earn up to 13 different certifications and engage regularly with business partners. Establishing strong relationships with industry professionals ensures students are developing technical knowledge and skills that align with current trends.