Weekly Community Update: January 25, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dear ISA Families,

As the February 4, 2015, deadline to submit the ISA Freshman Application quickly approaches, we are wrapping up recruiting season with two final events. First, Wednesday is our final Shadowing Day from 9:15-11:30 a.m. for prospective freshmen and their families. Interested students may still sign up using the link above. Second, on Monday, February 2nd, ISA will host our Parent Informational Meeting Night at 6:00 p.m. in the Lee campus library. This event is for parents and families of current 8th grade students interested in joining ISA in the fall of 2015. If you have friends or family who are interested in ISA and were unable to attend a Shadowing date, please encourage them to attend this informational meeting. Also, remember that the freshman application (Class of 2019) is due Wednesday, February, 4th. Although siblings of current students are granted automatic admission, they must submit an application by the deadline as well. Students may access the Freshman Applicationhere or on the ISA web page.

There are several unique opportunities for students listed in the ISA Daily Bulletin, including information on a full scholarship to Indonesia through the Indonesia-U.S. Youth Leadership Program and an internship to work as a paid intern at a local nonprofit in San Antonio for 8 weeks, as well as attend a week-long Student Leaders Summit in Washington DC. Students should see Vicki Woodard, ISA Internship Coordinator, in the ISA office for more information.

Finally, we want to send a huge thanks to the ISA Amigos for organizing last Thursday’s Pasta and a Play and Report Card Pick-Up Night. Thank you also to all of the families who attended and who made donations to the silent auction.  We appreciate your participation in our community’s event!


Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: January 19, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dear ISA Families,

We hope to see you all this Thursday night as we host our second Report Card Pick-Up Night of the year and the 9th Annual Pasta & a Play Dinner and Silent Auction. Sponsored by the ISA Amigos, Pasta & a Play allows the ISA community to give back to the larger Lee campus through our support of the opening night of the Lee theatre production. The evening is also the ISA Amigos’ last and most important fundraiser of the year, raising funds to support grade-level travel experiences and field trips. The Amigos are still accepting silent auction donations, baked goods (sign-up here), and $5-$10 gift cards for bouquets.  Items may be dropped off in the ISA office.

As you plan for Thursday, below is an overview of the evening:

5:00 PM: Dinner and the Silent Auction Begin (Cafeteria)

6:15 PM: Welcome and Report Card Distribution (Cafeteria)*

7:00 PM: Dinner and Silent Auction End (Cafeteria)

7:30 PM: Opening Night of 9 to 5 The Muscial (Lee Theatre)

*Senior Travel Meetings @ 6:30 in the Sergiovanni Room. Senior report cards  will be distributed in the Sergiovanni Room.  

If you have not purchased your tickets for the dinner and/or play,  paid reservations for this event can be made in the ISA office by returning  the ticket reservation envelope that was sent home last week. Families may also pay online using the online payment system linked off of the ISA homepage.

Necol Harness, ISA counselor, visited sophomore and junior classrooms last week to share information about the 2015-2016 ISA Dual Credit program.  Dual Credit courses allow the student to earn college credit while simultaneously completing high school courses through NEISD’s partnership with Alamo Community College. During the 2015-2016 school-year, ISA will offer two dual credit courses (AP United States History and AP English IV) to all junior and senior students who qualify and complete the application process.

Students who are interested in taking Dual Credit classes will need to qualify by taking the TSI exam. The time needed to test varies from student to student. We have scheduled five testing dates:

  • Thursday, February 5th from 4:30-9:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 12th from 4:30-9:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 19th from 4:30-9:00 PM
  • Thursday, Feburary 27th from 4:30-9:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 28th from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (There will be a  rolling start time for students who have school activities on Saturday morning)

All testing will occur at ISA in the Sergiovanni Room. Students will need to sign up with Mrs. Harness to take the exam by the Tuesday before each test day. The cost for the test is $20. We encourage students and their families to closely review the Dual Credit Information Sheet and see Mrs. Harness to receive the Dual Credit Handbook.

Finally, our campus nurse Rebecca Joplin asked us to share that medication self-carry paperwork for the upcoming senior trip must be submitted to her office no later than Wednesday, January 28. As a reminder, students are allowed to self-carry EpiPens, asthma inhalers, and hormone treatments if the required paperwork is filed with the nurse.


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: January 11, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dear ISA Families,

Congratulations to all of the ISA students who participated in MUNSA XIX last week, the largest conference to date in MUNSA history!  We extend our thanks to the ISA Amigos and parents for staffing and donating food to the sponsor room throughout the event.  Additionally, MUNSA XIX could not have taken place without the support of Trinity University, our venue. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Angela Breidenstein and the entire Department of Education. Finally, I would like to send a huge thank you on behalf of the ISA community to Cassie Allen and Melanie Anderson, MUN sponsors!

Although the event has come to an end, we can relive the highlights through the MUNSA XIX Newspaper, which includes press releases written by ISA freshmen and upperclassmen. Congratulations to the MUNSA Press Secretaries and our ISA Freshmen on their publication!

On Thursday, January 15, financial aid experts from UTSA will be at ISA to lead a session for ISA senior families on filling out the FAFSA forms. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room, and all senior families are strongly encouraged to attend this important financial aid meeting.

Our next school-wide ISA event for families is the second Report Card Pick-Up Night of the year and the 9th Annual Pasta & a Play Dinner and Silent Auction on Thursday, January 22, 2015. Sponsored by the ISA Amigos, this community-building event raises funds to support grade-level travel experiences and field trips. Below is an overview of the evening:

5:00 PM: Dinner and the Silent Auction Begin (Cafeteria)

6:15 PM: Welcome and Report Card Distribution (Cafeteria)

7:00 PM: Dinner and Silent Auction End (Cafeteria)

7:30 PM: Opening Night of 9 to 5 The Muscial (Lee Theatre)

Paid reservations for this event can be made in the ISA office by returning the ticket reservation envelope that will go home with students this week. Families may also pay online using the online payment system, which will be linked to the ISA homepage shortly. The ISA Amigos will be discussing this upcoming event at their monthly meeting this Thursday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room.

Looking ahead, the ISA Interact Club will be marching in San Antonio’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March on Monday, January 19. Any student wishing to participate may pick-up a permission slip from ISA teacher Mitzi Moore to ride an ISA bus to and from the event.   Please look for final details in next week’s Sunday message.

Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: January 4, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dear ISA Families,

Happy New Year!

Model United Nations San Antonio (MUNSA XIX: Visionary) begins Wednesday evening when the conference is called to order during the Opening Ceremonies at Trinity’s Laurie Auditorium. ISA families are invited to attend the Opening Ceremonies from 7:30-8:30 p.m. along 1100 student delegates from across San Antonio, Texas, the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala as we begin the three day event.

More than 400 ISA students will be participating in MUNSA XIX. Freshman students will attend the simulation on Thursday, January 8 to cover the event as part of the ISA Press Corps. Freshmen have been learning about journalistic writing in English class and will write press releases about the event when they return to school. Sophomores will serve as country delegates and attend all three days of MUNSA XIX. In addition, a large portion of juniors and seniors will be running the simulation as co-chairs, press secretaries, photographers, secretaries, technology support, runners, and MUNSA XIX peacekeepers. Finally, there are ten senior members of the MUNSA XIX Secretariat who will lead the event. The Secretariat has spent countless hours over the last six months preparing for this week’s events along with Ms. Cassie Allen and Mrs. Melanie Anderson, the MUN sponsors.

If you cannot attend Opening Ceremonies or if you would like see more, you may visit MUNSA XIX at Trinity University during the committee sessions or attend the Closing Ceremonies in Laurie Auditorium on Friday, January 9, 2014, from 6:15-7:00 p.m. You may access the complete MUNSA XIX Schedule here. When you arrive at Laurie Auditorium, look for the MUNSA XIX peacekeepers (wearing blue berets) who can help direct you to committee rooms. Best of luck to all of our students for a successful MUNSA XIX!

Before MUNSA begins on Wednesday, we will kick off the first day of the second semester tomorrow with an hour-long advisory from 8:45-9:45 a.m. where students will receive their second semester schedules. We will run an adjusted bell schedule for the remainder of the day, but school will dismiss at the normal time.

Looking ahead, the next whole-school ISA event is Report Card Pick-Up Night on Thursday, January 22. Teams will pass out report cards and share updates.  This is the same night as the eighth annual ISA Amigos Pasta & A Play: a dinner, bake sale, and silent auction to raise money for the ISA Amigos, our sole booster organization.

All ISA students will receive a flyer and a ticket reservation envelope on Monday, January 12 for families to reserve dinner and/or theater tickets. To help the ISA Amigos plan, please return your family’s reservation envelope no later than Tuesday, January 19 to the ISA office.  If you prefer to pay online, you may purchase tickets using an online payment that will go live next week and can be accessed off the ISA homepage. Tickets ordered online or using the envelope will be available for pick-up on the night of the event in the cafeteria.

Have a great week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: December 14, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Semester exams begin on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, and continue through end of the week. Below is a list of the exams that will be given on each day this week:

  • Tuesday, December 16: 2nd and 5th Period Exams
  • Wednesday, December 17: 4th and 6th Period Exams
  • Thursday, December 18: 3rd and 8th Period Exams
  • Friday, December 19: 1st and 7th Period Exams

Although students take one or two exams per day, other class periods will be meeting each day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, December 18 and Friday, December 19 are early release days on high school campuses, with school dismissing at 1:30 p.m. The buses, including ISA shuttles to NEISD home campuses, will run immediately following the end of the school day at 1:30 p.m. Students are welcome to stay after school until 5:00p.m. on Thursday, December 18 to study and/or to use our computer lab to prepare for their last two finals on Friday.

At last Thursday’s German travel interest meeting we shared this overview of our travel to our partner school in Frankfurt. The German Trip Application is due no later than Friday, December 19th.

Thank you to all the families who are hosting students from our partner school inTakayama, Japanwhen we return from the winter break. As a reminder, we will hold an hour-long  Japanese Hosting Orientation meeting on Monday, January 5 at 6:00p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room. We have a few final Japanese students to place in ISA homes. Interested families may express interest by completing this Japanese Hosting Application.

This will be the last weekly community update until Sunday, January 4, 2015, the day before we return from winter break.  I wish you and your family a peaceful holiday season.


Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: December 7, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

As our first semester comes to a close and we begin to look ahead to the second semester, I would like to highlight an event that will take place on January 22, 2015.  Through the successful collaboration of the ISA Amigos and the Lee High School Theater Department,Pasta & A Playhas become an ISA tradition. This event is the final and one of the most important fundraisers for the Amigos, featuring a pasta dinner and silent auction followed by an evening of theater presented by our students.  As the event approaches, the ISA Amigos asked me to share the silent auction donation form and donation letter for use by individuals and businesses who may want to give services and/or items for the auction.

The Amigos will hold their monthly meeting this Thursday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the ISA Sergiovanni Room. Immediately following the ISA Amigos meeting, we will hold an interest meeting for summer travel to our partner school in Frankfurt, Germany. The interest meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last no more than an hour as we explore the possibility of ISA travel to Germany during the summer of 2015.

We are seeking several additional host brothers and sisters for our Japanese exchange students visiting January 6-16, 2015.  If your family is considering hosting but needs additional information regarding responsibilities, you may contact me via phone or email. Because their visit overlaps with MUNSA, we are planning to have the exchange students shadow their ISA host brother or sister as much as possible.  Although the Japanese do not arrive until after winter break, we need to finalize host families prior to the break. If you are interested in hosting, please complete the Japanese Hosting Application by Friday, December 12th.

Finally, we will end the week with a Sophomore Saturday School at ISA from 9:00-noon. All sophomores are invited to attend.


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: November 30, 2104

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Before we return to school to wind out the last few weeks of the semester and in the spirit of the Thanksgiving Break, I want to share a few thoughts of appreciation. I am thankful for another successful year of fall travel experiences, for all the parents and guardians who shared the gift of time or financial support to make these trips possible,  for the hardworking parent chaperones who accompanied us,  for the teachers who spent months organizing the travel and adapted and problem-solved when faced with weather or bus challenges, and, most importantly, for our students whose curiosity, empathy, and desire to make meaningful change in their world continually inspire hope among us. If you have not had the opportunity to see the students in action, we encourage you to view our Twitter hashtag #isatravel2014 from our fall travel experiences. The Tweets offer a window into students’ experiences and a possible springboard for conversations about your son’s or daughter’s learning.

I am also thankful for our faculty and staff’s generous giving to the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, who were recognized before the break by the North East Educational Foundation (NEEF). As the NEISD high school  with the highest per capita giving for the second year in a row, ISA was awarded a $1500 grant that we will use to support field trips and our exchange programs.

Our final hosting opportunity of the year is right around the corner. We recently received an email from our partners in Takayama, Japan, to confirm their visit from January 6-16, 2014. It isn’t necessary for our guests to have their own bedroom, only that they have their own bed. If you are interested in hosting, please complete this application ASAP.

Finally, on Monday, December 1st, semester exam exemption forms will be distributed to students in their English classes. Students who meet the criteria described in the exam exemption guidelines will be exempt from taking up to three of their semester exams. The exemption form must have a student, teacher and parent signature and are due in the ISA office by 4:30 pm on Friday, December 5th. Because attendance is an important part of having an exemption granted, it is important that all doctor’s notes or college visit verification forms are brought to Mrs. Tamez by December 5th. Any questions about exam exemptions may be sent to Mr. Garcia.


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: November 9, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

By this time next week, six charter buses packed full of luggage, trip binders, snacks and excited sophomore and juniors students will be on the road, and our freshmen students will be full of anticipation for their departure the following day. As teachers and families complete final preparations for our biggest field trips of the year, we want to share a few medication reminders:

  • All medications, prescription and over the counter medications (OTC), must be checked-in to teachers.
  • Only FDA approved OTC medications and prescription drugs will be administered. Students may not carry and teachers cannot distribute non-FDA approved items (vitamins, homeopathic remedies). If this presents a serious medical issue, please contact me at ebiese@neisd.net no later than November 12th to discuss possible options.
  • If paperwork, including a doctor’s order, is on file with our school nurse Rebecca Joplin, students may self-carry these three medications: asthma inhalers, Epipens, and hormonal treatments. We can still accept these medications without the paperwork on file; however, students will not be able to self-carry.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to review the October 30th Report Card Night trip presentations, please take a few moments to review the most up-to-date information from your student’s teachers: Freshman Team Travel PresentationSophomore Team Travel Presentation & Junior Team Travel Presentation. These presentations, along with additional trip information, are posted on the team Travel Websites for your reference.

If your student has traveled in the past with ISA, you know that we use the ISA science building as the check-in site. Due to construction, we ask that you park in the student parking lot, allowing space for the charter buses behind the science building. When you arrive, students traveling out of state will be able to purchase make-your-own snack bags from the Project Graduation committee for $5 or $8 at the departure times listed below.

Saturday, November 15

  • Junior Check-In & Bag Drop-Off: 11:00-12:30 pm (30 minute intervals based on bus assignment)
  • Sophomore Check-In:
    • 7:45 p.m. (medication to check-in)
    • 8:30 p.m. (no medication to check-in)

Sunday, November 16

  • Junior Check-In: 5:00 a.m. (goody bags sold only during bag drop off on Saturday!)

Monday, November 17

  • Freshman Check-In:
    • 7:00 p.m. – last name A-G
    • 7:10 p.m. –  last name H-O
    • 7:20 p.m. – last name P-Z

Before three quarters of our school hits the road next week, we will continue the ISA 2014-2015 recruiting season tomorrow Monday, November 10 at Bradley Middle School as we present at the second of three NEISD Magnet Informational Sessions, which are special events for 8th grade students and their families.  We will also be hosting our additional shadowing dates for prospective freshmen (current 8th graders) and their families after returning from Thanksgiving Break. Families are encouraged to register early by completing the ISA Shadowing Form.  Our 2014-2015 Freshman Application is also now posted on our website.

Good luck to our freshman and sophomore students who will be participating in simulations on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Working in teams, our freshmen will advocate for a set of environmental policies during their presentations and speeches while our sophomores will participate in an international debate set at the turn of the 20th century about the future of the Congo Free State. These simulations, as well as others that students will encounter during their four years at ISA, are designed to provide opportunities to interpret situations, events, and issues from many perspectives; to defend personal perspectives; and to understand the influences on these perspectives. If you are on Twitter, we will be tweeting out photos of our students in action during these simulations and while on the road next week @ISA_globies.

Finally, the Amigos will meet on Thursday, November 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room.  All parents are welcome to attend!

Have a great week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: November 2, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Classes will be shortened on Tuesday and Wednesday, both early release days, to provide professional development time for teachers and staff. The buses, including the ISA shuttle to NEISD home campuses, will run immediately following the end of the school day at 2:05 p.m. ISA teachers will use Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon to examine students’ portfolio posts from the first nine-weeks and to complete final preparations for the upcoming travel experiences.  We ask that you return any outstanding paperwork to a team teacher as soon as possible to help them prepare for departure day.

You are invited to two special events this week organized to help students of all ages and their families understand and prepare for college.

First, you are invited to attend the annual NEISD College Fair at Blossom Athletic Center and Piper Bass on Wednesday, November 5 from 6:00-8:00p.m.  More than 100 colleges and universities will be in attendance to speak with students and their families.  Students may attend the event with their families, or students may ride the “ISA College Fair Spirit Bus” to the fair. Permission slips for the spirit bus may be picked up in the ISA counseling office, and pizza will be provided after school (at 2:05 due to early release) in the peer tutoring center for students riding the ISA spirit bus. The bus departs at 5:00p.m. and returns to ISA at 7:30 p.m. Students may also be picked up at Blossom if it is more convenient as long as they are checked by a parent/guardian no later than 7:15pm, allowing the bus to return to ISA on time.

Second, all families are invited to a Financial Aid Seminar at 6:00p.m. on Thursday, November 6 in the ISA Sergiovanni Room (upstairs in the ISA building). A representative from the office of Financial Aid at Trinity University will present information about applying for financial aid.  Although the presentation is geared towards senior families, we strongly encourage all families to attend to build their understanding of the financial aid process.

We will end the week with a Freshman Saturday School at ISA from 9:00-noon ahead of their Global Environmental Problems simulation and presentations the following Wednesday.

Finally, if you were unable to attend Report Card Pick-Up last Thursday, students may bring a note to the ISA office at lunch to pick up their report cards. Below are the links to the travel presentations presented by the freshman, sophomore, and junior teams. Please read through the presentations if you were unable to attend, paying special attention to the medication procedures and policies.

Freshman Team Travel Presentation

Sophomore Team Travel Presentation

Junior Team Travel Presentation

 Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: October 25, 2014

October 26, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

ISA received exciting news last Tuesday when we were named one of twenty Spurs Team Up Challenge grant winners and were presented with a $2500 check at a special pep rally at the At&T Center.  The grant application, submitted by a group of ISA students in one our new electives, Social Entrepreneurship, outlined the students’ plan to build a school garden down the street at Jackson Keller Elementary. Over the next several months, they will submit grant benchmarks and reports; they hope to be named as one of the five winners who will each receive an additional $20,000 to further expand their projects. These students are also responsible for planning and publicizing Global Youth Service Day initiatives for San Antonio after ISA was named lead agency for the city a few weeks ago. Returning families may remember that we started the Global Youth Service Day tradition last year in honor of ISA’s 20th anniversary when we took our first whole school service field trip to a variety of locations across the city. We are looking forward to seeing what year two brings when we celebrate service during the April 17th event!

Along with pursuing collaborative grants like the two above, we also encourage students to apply for individual grants, which are available to high school students One such grant with an upcoming deadline is the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. Interested students are invited to join Mrs. Woodard for a work session on Monday, October 27th during 5th lunch in the Sergiovanni Room.  Having coached several grant awardees through the process, Mrs. Woodard has valuable tips and suggestions to share along with the eyes of  an expert editor!

As I mentioned in last week’s update, we will host our first ISA Report Card Pick-Up Night of the year on Thursday, October 30th beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Teams will be reviewing final details regarding the upcoming travel experiences and collecting any last minute paperwork. Representatives from the ISA Amigos will also be selling ISA spirit items in the cafeteria to families who want to purchase a few extra items before the trips depart.  Below are the meeting locations:

  • Freshmen: Lee Library Multi-Purpose Room #1 (You met in this space at Hot Diggity)

  • Sophomores: Multi-Purpose Room #2 (Building across from the cafeteria)

  • Juniors: Sergiovanni Room (Upstairs ISA main building)

  • Seniors: Lee Library

After attending the grade-level meetings and picking up your student’s report card, you are invited to enjoy a pancake dinner in the cafeteria. Tickets for the event, benefitting MUNSA XIX’s humanitarian cause Opportunity International, are $5 and will be served until 8 p.m.

We will finish the week on Friday by cheering on our freshmen as they depart to our feeder elementary schools and present their Storytelling projects. Best of luck to our freshmen as they present their first major ISA project!

Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser


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