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Belton Educational Enrichment Foundation surprises grant winners

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The halls were alive with the sound of music. Cow bells to be exact.

Members of the Belton Educational Enrichment Foundation (BEEF) and BISD administrators cheered on and jingled bells as they surprised principals, teachers and paraprofessionals across the district Monday and Wednesday. They were delivering grants for a wish list of items to enhance opportunities for students and staff.

BEEF awarded $74,825 in grants to elementary, middle and high school educators for resources such as virtual reality systems, physical education equipment, classroom libraries and immersive learning games.

Leon Heights Elementary Instructional Coach Hugh Burke was excited to receive a $3,500 BEEF check for Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) tools.

“This is going for a Lego STEAM kit,” he said. “We’ll purchase 12 engineering kits that will go in our interactive STEAM lab.”

Sparta Elementary teacher Stacy Bostick and her fellow fourth- and fifth-grade teachers wanted to increase those kinds of direct, hands-on experiences for students with their grant, “You Complete Me: The Story of a Complete Circuit and the Forces at Work.”

“For each of our classrooms, we’re going to get forces lab material and circuit material,” Bostick said. “We’re going to have some real neat circuitry. We make the circuits light up and learn we need a power source, wires, lights and buzzers.” 

Technology was also a part of Belton High School Allen Driggers’ grant proposal: green screens for social studies projects.

“Last year when we did projects we realized we were limited to space and used white walls,” he said. “The kids actually suggested it. They want to use artificial backgrounds, and having green screens will make it really great for them and help with the presentations.”

Enhancing an already impressive site was the goal behind BHS FFA instructor Brad Hobbs’ grant proposal for a hen house at the district’s Ag farm.

“The plan is to raise hens at the Ag farm to get more of our students, not the ones who show animals, but more of our students involved and out there using the property,” Hobbs said.

In addition to teaching grants and paraprofessional scholarships, BEEF also awarded $5,000 literacy grants each to Southwest Elementary, Chisholm Trail Elementary and Miller Heights Elementary.

“We get more books in their hands, so they’re building those reading skills and closing gaps,” Chisholm Trail Elementary Principal Elizabeth McMurtry said. “We’re helping them excel from where they already are.”

Founded in 1992 as an independent, nonprofit corporation, BEEF was established by friends of the school district with a mission “to enhance the quality of education by engaging the community to provide grants and scholarships for the students of Belton ISD.” Annually, BEEF awards student scholarships for college high school seniors, scholarships for paraprofessionals to further their education and innovative teaching grants.

“The BEEF grants give teachers a chance to receive funds to buy supplies and tools for education that they might not be able to get otherwise,” BEEF Board President Allyn Testroet said. “The funding from the state is limited, as everyone knows. It’s important because we can bring innovation into the classroom

For more information, or to donate, contact the BEEF office at 215-2024 or visit the Foundation link.

And to see more photos of deserving educators go to BISD.net/photos