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
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
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
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
Lisa K. Roth
Number of Students: 683
1839 N Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33764
Absence Line: (727) 588-5100
Spanish Line: (727) 507-4061
Fax: (727) 538-7255
School Hours: 8:35 a.m.-2:50 p.m.
(Early Dismissal Hours on Wednesday:
8:35 a.m.-1:35 p.m.)
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
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.