By Andre James, Corrspondent
The Nov. 13 BISD board meeting started off with awards for teachers and members of the community. First was Coach Patrick Henry, who received the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the highest honor the association awards to coaches. Henry is in his fourth year as Belton High School’s Swim Coordinator and Coach, and across his 35 years of coaching has been recognized 20 times as Coach of the Year, eight times as regional Coach of the Year, and twice as the State Coach of the Year.
“We obviously are very proud, we’re usually here congratulating his athletes for some great things, or his son for some incredible achievements, but what an accomplishment, and we are really proud of you.” Said Randy Pittenger.
The board also recognized Paige Carrasquillo, a third-grade teacher at Miller Heights Elementary School, as the Belton Rotary Club Educator of the Quarter, and Kim Duckworth, a functional Academics teacher at Sparta Elementary, as the Temple Rotary Club Educator of the Month.
Last, the board recognized the Military Order of the Purple Heart as the Big Red Community Partners of the month.
Board members heard from three Belton High School students currently enrolled in the new Blended Learning Course, which along with the new Online Dual Credit Courses, are a part of BISD’s District of Innovation Plan that was approved in February 2017.
The Blended Learning Course was developed Barbra Epperson, a former Teacher of the Year recipient, and is focused on not just allowing high school seniors more flexibility with course schedules for other classes and part-time jobs, but also giving them more responsibility and preparing them for after they graduate.
“It’s nice to see the responsibility, and them being able to step up to the plate. There’s a few who sometimes don’t but then I can track them down because they’re still in High School and I know their schedule,” said Epperson.
The Dual Credit Courses include seven different online courses provided by the University of Texas Permian Basin’s Blackboard Learning System. Blackboard is used by many colleges and universities for on campus and online distance learning courses and allows students to check their grades and assignment due dates, contact teachers and classmates, and turn in assignments.
“This (Online Dual Credit Courses) allows them to have flexibility throughout their day, to take a course without it conflicting with other opportunities whether it’s fine arts courses, electives or AP courses,” said Dr. Deanna Lovesmith.
The BISD board of Trustees also met with the districts architectural firm O’Connell Robertson and approved the design development for the new Lake Belton High School. Along with being presented samples of building materials, board members were also able to take virtual tours of both inside and outside of the school with VR Headsets, and shown layouts of the campus’s layout including fine arts and computer labs, and sports fields and facilities.
“I really like the colors. I like how it looks like it will last (schools design), it’s not too trendy or like a fad,” said Randy Pittenger.
The board was also presented with a list of alternate bids, items that have been identified to be added to the design documents for pricing and depending on the price will be added to the school. The list of potential alternate bids included concrete paving instead of asphalt, artificial practice fields, artificial baseball/softball fields, an additional practice field, water repellent for exterior surfaces, CAT 6A at all data outlets (network cabling), and an orchestral shell. Out of these, the board chose to include the CAT 6A data outlets to the list of included alternate bids which also includes an athletic mat room, CTE greenhouse, increased parking, two additional tennis courts, and increased athletic field storage. Afterwards, the trustees unanimously passed the Lake Belton High School Design Development Approval and authorized O’Connell Robertson with the Construction Documents. This new campus will be located off of FM 317 and FM 2483 in Temple and is slated to open in 2020.
Lastly, the trustees discussed different names for the new 11th BISD Elementary School, which along with Lake Belton High School were included in the $149.7 million bond program approved of last May and is expected to open fall 2019. Possible names include Carriage House, Charter Oak, Live Oak, River Oak, Oak Hills and the newly added Oak Ridge and Poison Oak.
The final decision for the new name will be made at the upcoming December Board Meeting.