We're all Bobcats! School bumper stickers and T-shirts promote a defining characteristic of Belcher Elementary--inclusiveness. Students, parents and staff all agree that Belcher is a special school.
Belcher Elementary opened in 1959 and moved from double sessions at High Point Elementary into its new building on Jan. 4, 1960. The red brick building was located on a two-lane blacktop road, surrounded by orange groves and wooded areas. Principal John DiLeo led the new school until 1968. His special attachment to Belcher led him to return as principal from 1978-1988. Henry F. Raichel served as principal from 1968-1969 and Dr. Marvin Moore from 1969-1971. Franklin Tennian was also principal of the school twice, 1971-1978 and 1988-1992. Lynn Cunningham was the school's first woman principal from 1992-1999, followed by Patricia Huffman until 2003. Lisa Roth is currently principal.
In the '80s and '90s technology brought changes to the school. In 1989 each classroom was wired for cable television and Belcher Bobcat News (BBN) was born. Fifth-grade teacher, Linda Callahan, worked with students to produce their own morning news show that included features such as weather, interviews with staff, the tooth fairy and book reviews. Visitors came from other schools to see the district's first student-produced news show in an elementary school. Mrs. Callahan continues to work with students to produce this morning news tradition.
The school was wired for Internet connection in 1997. This project was a joint effort of the school staff and volunteers. School secretary at that time, Wanda Marchant, and her husband, Bob, were instrumental in making this project a success. Teachers and students now have access to the Internet in each classroom.
Over the last several years the school has undergone additions and renovations. In 1988 the media center was remodeled and an exceptional education suite was added to the campus. As traffic on Belcher increased, it was necessary to redesign the school entrance and parking. During the summer of 1994 the school entrance was changed from Belcher Road to Lancaster Street. Recent renovations include new cabinetry and white boards in all classrooms as well as a new play field and playground equipment. During the 2005-2006 school year Belcher underwent major renovations which included a new roof, new air conditioning units, completely redone bathrooms, new carpet and tile in all the buildings and the cafeteria, and new paint in all the buildings and rooms. Belcher might look the same on the outside but it is very different on the inside.
New programs have been added to the school. Belcher became an ESOL center, welcoming students from many nations. A STARS (Students Targeted for Achievement, Recognition and Success) class was formed in 1993. The educable mentally handicapped program was added in 1996. In the 2003-04 school year, Belcher became a Title I school and the recipient of a Reading First grant as part of the No Child Left Behind program.
Belcher enjoys the support of an active and award winning PTA. Staff luncheons to welcome teachers back to school, book fairs, teacher appreciation activities and sponsoring field trips have become an annual tradition. PTA also provides special programs that support the school curriculum. Additionally it has focused on school beautification. Through PTA efforts a courtyard with picnic tables, landscaping and a sidewalk was completed between 1992-1994.
The opening of the school nature center in the spring of 1997 was a culmination of work by the PTA, teachers and students who joined forces with community and governmental agencies. Through the efforts of classroom teachers, Lynne and Edward Purdy, grants were written allowing the school to transform an unused area of the school campus into native Florida ecosystems. This outdoor classroom allows students to study native plants, animals and water conservation. Students continue to work on this project yearly.
Belcher Elementary has an award-winning physical education program, which is noncompetitive and emphasizes fitness and skill development. In 1994 physical education teacher, Kay Glass, was named the Florida Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Belcher was selected by the National Physical Education Association to receive its Model School Program Award in 1997. Belcher was one of only eight schools selected nationwide and the only Florida school to receive this award.
Traditions play an important role at Belcher. Family Fun Nights were initiated to bring parents, students and teachers together to build our school community. Staff members cook and serve a hot dog dinner. Classrooms are open for parents and students to visit. An art exhibit and choral program also are included. Noncompetitive field days are exciting events for students. A variety of physical activities are planned around a theme such as Americana Day or Harry Potter Day. Parents and staff members join in the fun as volunteers and participants. Every Friday is school spirit day. Cheers are done on BBN, and students and staff members wear school shirts. This is one more way we remind ourselves that we are all Bobcats.
As we enter the new century, Belcher's mission is Believe - Act - Achieve. Incorporating the new mission into a school rich in tradition and character will yield a school that continues to be quite special.
Principal: Lisa K. Roth
Grades Served: K-5
Number of Students: 683
2215 Lancaster Dr.
Clearwater, FL 33764
Phone: (727) 538-7437
Absence Line: (727) 588-5100
Spanish Line: (727) 507-4061
Fax: (727) 538-7255
Regular School Hours: 8:35 a.m.-2:35 p.m.
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where Is Belcher?
Belcher Elementary is located in beautiful Pinellas County in west central Florida. It is on the east side of Belcher Road on Allens' Creek, half way between East Bay Drive and Belleair Road. Click here for a more detailed map and driving directions to Belcher Elementary.