Weekly Community and Graduation Update

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

After the end of another great school-year, we are looking forward to a wonderful graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 12 at 7:oo p.m. in Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium.

This Tuesday, we will hold a mandatory graduation rehearsal for senior students  beginning at 5:15 p.m. in Laurie Auditorium. During the rehearsal, we will share with the seniors that our graduation ceremony is the most formal of all ISA ceremonies and has the tradition of being an intimate and celebratory event for our students and families.  We will also remind  them about a few specifics regarding the ceremony:

  • There will be a  link to live streaming video of graduation off of the main ISA homepage at www.neisd.net/isa.

  • Seniors need to be inside Laurie Auditorium’s green room no later than 5:45 p.m. on graduation day.

  • Appropriate Dress

  • Young Women: dress, skirts, or nice slacks and a blouse.  Students will be processing and recessing up and down stairs, so flats or low heels are strongly recommended.

  • Young Men: button down dress shirt and tie (jacket optional), dark colored (black, brown, grey) slacks and dress shoes (no tennis shoes or brightly colored athletic shoes).

  • Signs or noisemakers are not allowed at ISA’s graduation or in Laurie Auditorium.

  • The doors to the auditorium will open at 6:00p.m. for families and ISA community members.

  • Project Graduation begins at 10:30 p.m. at ISA. Students may be dropped off in the East parking lot of the school. The project graduation buses will return to ISA at 6 a.m. on Friday morning. Because students are up all night, we ask that students be dropped off at ISA on Thursday night and not drive home on Friday morning.

  • Finally, there will be Trinity security officers outside of Laurie Auditorium to assist with parking.  If you are in need of handicapped access, please let an officer know and they will direct you to the best area to park and also to sit in the auditorium.

Because we know that students will likely be very excited on Thursday, we hope that our senior families can take a few minutes to remind your son or daughter about the items above. We are looking forward to celebrating with everyone on Thursday!

We wish all our ISA families a wonderful summer, and we look forward to welcoming you back on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at our annual Hot Diggity Do Dah event.



Kathy Bieser and the ISA Faculty

Weekly Community Update: Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

With only four days of schools remaining, students will begin taking final exams tomorrow, Monday, June 2 and the exams continue through the end of the week. Wednesday and Thursday are early release days on high school campuses with school  ending at 1:30 p.m.  The buses, including the ISA shuttle to NEISD home campuses, will run immediately following the end of the school day at 1:30 p.m.  Student volunteers are needed to help assist teachers on Wednesday and Thursday as they pack up their rooms ahead of our summer renovations, and students are welcome to stay until 4:30 p.m. on one or both days to earn service hours. For your reference, the semester exam schedule is listed below and the complete bell schedule can be accessed HERE

  • Monday, June 3rd: 2nd and 5th Periods
  • Tuesday, June 4th: 4th and 6th Periods
  • Wednesday, June 5th: 3rd and 8th Periods (Early Release Day @ 1:30 PM)
  • Thursday, June 6th: 1st and 7th (Early Release Day @ 1:30 PM)

Paul Smith, ISA Assistant Principal, continues to collect textbooks from students; however, the deadline to turn books is quickly approaching. Please remind your student to bring any outstanding textbooks to the ISA office as soon as possible if they have not already turned them in. Students are also asked to completely clean out their lockers by 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday and take all personal items home with them.

We know that students and families are very eager at the conclusion of the year to learn their final averages in their classes.  Given that two exams are given on Thursday, it is likely that ISA teachers will be grading and recording semester exams and projects up until the Friday, June 6, noon deadline for the submission of grades.  Although some teachers may be able to post exam grades that are administered early in the week, many final averages will not be available until Friday afternoon.  We appreciate your patience as teachers work diligently to guarantee a timely and accurate posting of semester exam grades.  If a student does not earn a passing grade in a course, students’ families can expect a phone call or email from a freshman, sophomore, or junior team member on Friday, June 6 or earlier to set up a meeting at ISA on Monday, June 9 to discuss credit retrieval options.  Students may struggle to master course material and need additional time, either through an extended year program at ISA or district summer school, to further build their skills and content knowledge.  As a community, we are committed to crafting an educational plan to meet the unique needs of each and every ISA student.

Finally, our new Model United Nations San Antonio (MUNSA) XIX leadership asked me to thank the ISA community for the support at the Bigz fundraiser and share that the event raised $493!

I will be sending out one final Community Update of 2013-2014 school-year next Sunday, including details about ISA’s graduation on Thursday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Have a wonderful week!

Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: May 25, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Evenings for our upperclassmen will be full this week with several end-of-the-year activities and celebrations. On Tuesday, May 27 the junior team will mark our students’ formal passage into their senior year at the Junior Rite of Passage Ceremony beginning at 6:30p.m. in Trinity University’s Stieren Theater. We recommend families to park at Alamo Stadium, only a short distance across the street from the theater.  On Wednesday, May 28 and Thursday, May 29, our senior students will be conducting their Senior Portfolio presentations at ISA from 4:15-8:30 p.m. Family members, friends, community members, and underclassmen are all invited to attend any or all of the presentations.

With only two weeks of school remaining, Assistant Principal Paul Smith has begun collecting the 2000 textbooks currently checked out to students. Since school textbooks are not owned by the campus, the cost of any book (ranging from $50-$100) not returned by the end of the school year will be charged to the student/family.  Unfortunately, even if the book is found and returned to the campus at a later date, the textbook is still charged to the student/family because ISA will have already paid to replace the missing textbook. We appreciate your help reminding students to return their textbooks this week!


We will end the week with a sophomore Saturday school from 9:00a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for any students who want extra help ahead of next week’s semester exams.

Along with packing up our textbooks for summer storage, we are also in the midst of packing our entire ISA building ahead of summer renovations set to begin on Friday, June 6. During the summer of 2014 the majority of our classrooms will get a makeover including new flooring, ceilings, built in storage and computer charging stations, whiteboards, Smartboards, short throw projectors, collaborative student desks, student chairs, and teacher desks as part of the 2011 bond program. The following summer, our remaining classrooms will receive the same renovations along with upgrades to our student bathrooms. Because our building will be off limits due to the renovations, the ISA office will be located in the Lee campus library beginning on Friday, June 6.  Many teachers are looking for students in need of service hours to help them pack their rooms after school on the early release days. Students are welcome to ask their teachers if they could use the help!

Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: May 18, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

ISA faculty, seniors, and their families and friends spent a wonderful afternoon at our annual Senior Awards ceremony where we honored 115 students. We listened as the seniors’ current and former teachers shared stories about the Class of 2014. I would like to thank the Senior Team for their hard work to put together a memorable afternoon for our students and their families. Congratulations to our soon-to-be graduates on four years of learning and achievement.

Tomorrow afternoon and evening, Monday, May 19, freshman and sophomore students and their families will also be celebrating as they participate in student-led conferences. Freshman families are asked to meet the Freshman Team in the Multi-Purpose Room II (across from the cafeteria), and our sophomore famililes are asked to join the Sophomore Team in the Lee campus library.  On Thursday, May 22, our juniors will take center stage as they present their portfolios. Good luck to all of our students as they share their portfolios with their families.

We also want to remind the community that on Wednesday, May 21, there will be a fundraiser at Bigz Burger Joint from 5-9 p.m. in support of MUNSA XIX’s humanitarian effort Opportunity International.

We look forward to seeing many of you this week at ISA.


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: May 11, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Things are both winding down and speeding up in the halls of ISA as final exams and the end of the school-year quickly approach.  STAAR end-of-course testing in biology, algebra, and United States history went well last week as did our first week of Advanced Placement (AP) tests. The last five days of AP testing begin on Monday morning with the biology AP exam. As a reminder, students must arrive at ISA and be in their testing room no later than 7:30a.m. for all morning AP exams. Below is this week’s AP schedule:

  • Monday, May 12: Biology & Music Theory (AM), Physics A, B & C (PM)
  • Tuesday, May 13: U.S. Government (AM), Human Geography and French (PM)
  • Wednesday, May 14: U.S. History & German (AM), European History  (PM)
  • Thursday, May 15: World History & Macroeconomics (AM), Microeconomics & Italian (PM)
  • Friday, May 16: Spanish Literature (AM)

Our freshman and sophomore students will likely be spending some time this week preparing for Freshman & Sophomore Student-Led Conferences on Monday, May 19, 2014. The purpose of the conferences is for students to share their growth and learning with their families through the exploration of the students’ portfolio (blog).  The evening is a chance for parents, family members, and the students themselves to gain deeper understanding of who they are as learners through reflection and the careful exploration of their work from the year.  

Freshman students created personal invitations to the student-led conferences for their families in biology class last week. The invitation includes a space for families to select the most convenient 20-minute after school time slot. If you have not seen the invitation, please ask your son or daughter for the invitation and return it to school on Monday. Freshman conferences will take place in the new multi-purpose room across from the Lee campus cafeteria. Sophomore students were asked last week to speak with their families and use a form linked from students’ English II Google calendar to sign-up for their 20-minute after school time slot. For those sophomore families who have already signed up on the Google calendar, your sophomore should have brought home a card on Friday confirming your appointment. The Sophomore Team will conduct their conferences in the Lee campus library.  While freshman and sophomore students are signing up for a 20-minute time slot to share work on a computer, families should plan on spending another 20 minutes after the formal presentation for a few additional activities. We are looking forward to what is always a wonderful evening!

The Junior Team is also busy preparing for student-led conferences later in the month on May 22, 2014. We will be sharing details about the event in next week’s message. However, they are also planning for an end-of-the year celebration at Hardberger Park on Friday, May 23. The team is seeking parent volunteers to help transport students from Hardberger Park to ISA at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 23. If you would like to volunteer please complete the following three steps:

  • Fill out an NEISD background check if you have not done so in the last 12 months.
  • Print and fill out a volunteer driver form. Please note that it asks for a copy of your driver’s license to be returned with the form. This form can be returned to any ISA junior teacher.
  • E-mail Leslie Ramirez (lramir1@neisd.net) to let us know you are volunteering. Please include how many passengers (must have seat belts) your vehicle can hold.

Of course, our Senior Team is also preparing for a slew of end of year events as well. The team will host the Senior Awards Ceremony on May 18, 2014, from 2:00-5:00p.m. in the Parker Chapel at Trinity University. All seniors are asked to arrive by 1:15 p.m. to prepare for the ceremony. Before and after the ceremony, the project graduation committee will be selling Project Graduation tickets for $10. We also want to highlight this Important Senior Datesdocument which includes many senior specific end-of-year events, including a new date and time for graduation rehearsal. Due to a conflict with the Lee graduation, we have moved our graduation rehearsal to Tuesday, June 10th at 5:00 p.m. in Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University. All senior students must be present at rehearsal on Tuesday to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Wednesday night there will be a fundraiser at Bigz Burger Joint from 5-9 p.m. in support of MUNSA XIX’s humanitarian effort Opportunity International, an organization that provides entrepreneurs in developing countries with micro-loans to start or expand businesses. Families may bring the Bigz coupon, found in the ISA front office to the register so Bigz will donate a portion of their profits to help the MUNSA XIX fundraising goal!

Finally, we have two special meetings after school this week. On Monday, our Campus Improvement Committee will be holding a public meeting, open to all ISA families, to review ISA’s 2013 accountability report at 4:15 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room. On Thursday, the ISA Amigos will hold their final meeting of the year at 5:30 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room.

Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: May 4, 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a busy two-weeks of STAAR and Advanced Placement testing at ISA.

The STAAR  Algebra I end-of-course exam will be given to the freshmen tomorrow, Monday, May 4; all freshmen will also take the STAAR biology end-of-course exam on Tuesday, May 5. While all of the ISA freshmen will be testing on Tuesday, only those freshmen currently enrolled in Algebra I will take the exam on Monday.  Our juniors take their United States history test and final STAAR end-of-course exam on Wednesday of this week as well.  As a reminder, testing regulations require us to collect all electronic devices (cell phones and other personal media devices) from students prior to testing. Students will not be able to use them during or after they finish testing in their testing room.  However, they do have access to a landline in the ISA office. Please help by making sure your son or daughter gets a good night’s sleep and eats breakfast, so all are ready to put forth best efforts each morning!

At the same time, beginning tomorrow and continuing through Friday, May 16, ISA sophomores, juniors, and seniors will begin taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. ISA counselor Mary Reihner asked me to remind families that every AP test-taker received a sheet with his/her individual exam schedule. For your reference, the complete AP testing schedule can be accessed HERE. Students must arrive at ISA and be in their testing room no later than 7:30 a.m. for all morning exams.  If you have an afternoon exam, you are advised to bring your lunch and eat in the Peer Tutoring Center at the beginning of 4th period. There is a $15 fee for students who do not take the exam for which they registered. Below is this week’s AP testing schedule.

  •  Monday, May 5: Chemistry (AM), Environmental Science (AM), Psychology (PM)
  • Tuesday, May 6: Computer Science A (AM): Spanish Language (AM)
  • Wednesday, May 7: Calculus AB and BC (AM)
  • Thursday, May 8: English Literature and Composition: Seniors (AM)
  • Friday, May 9: English Language (AM), Statistics (PM)

Due to all of the testing this week, the ISA Amigos helped us celebrate teacher appreciation week a few days early with a wonderful faculty and staff luncheon on Friday. Many thanks to the ISA Amigos and the parent volunteers for recognizing all of our teachers last week.  As a reminder, the ISA Amigos will be holding their last meeting of the year this Thursday, May 8, at 5:30p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room. The Amigos are still seeking a parent, ideally with book keeping or accounting experience, to fill the treasurer position for the 2013-2014. Parents are encouraged to contact ISA Amigos president Maggie Nigro at mnccim@gmail.com.

As the end of the year approaches, we also want to share a few reminders about final exams and exam exemptions. Due to the senior portfolio graduation requirement, ISA seniors take their final exams early; therefore, they will be receiving their exam exemption forms earlier as well. Below is a list of important dates:

ISA Seniors:

  • Seniors will receive exam exemption forms on Wednesday, May 7th, and the forms are due no later than 4:30p.m. on Wednesday, May 14th.

  • Senior exams for ISA courses are May 21st- 27th.

  • Senior exams for Lee courses are May 29th – June 3rd.

 ISA Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors:

  • Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors will receive exam exemption forms on Friday, May 9th, and the forms are due by 4:30p.m. on Friday, May 16th.

  • Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior exams are June 2 – June 5

The exemption form must be fully completed including student signature, parent signature, and teacher signatures. Forms are turned into a grade level turn-in basket in the ISA main office. It is the student’s responsibility to correct any attendance errors before May 16th.  Students may ask Ms. Tamez or Mr. Garcia for an attendance report.  Doctor’s notes, college visit verifications, or teacher corrections must be turned in to Ms. Tamez by the end of the day on May 16th.  If a correction is necessary to earn an exemption, teachers will not sign the form until the correction is made in the school computer system. You may reference the Exemption Guidelines , Exemption FAQ, and contact Mr. Garcia with questions.

 Finally, the ISA project graduation committee is hosting a ZumbaThon from 6-8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 9th in the Lee campus gym to raise funds for this senior class event. Family, friends, and community members are all invited to attend


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: April 27, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

Both our  freshmen and seniors will be at Trinity University this Wednesday, April 30 for special presentations and celebrations.

ISA freshmen present their Make a Difference Presentations on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Trinity University’s Northrup Hall, Ruth Taylor Theater, and the Dicke/Smith Fine Arts Building (formerly known and still listed on Google Maps as “Ruth Taylor Art and Music”)  Students will eat a small pizza dinner and change into their professional attire after school before loading school buses to take them to Trinity.  If you have not signed your student’s field trip permission form, please ask for it this evening.  The presentation schedule and room assignments can be found HERE for families to reference (make sure you are on the “alpha list” tab, which you can access at the bottom of the document). The most convenient parking area for families is at Alamo Stadium, with the presentation rooms just a short walk across the street (follow the path alongside the fountain).  We hope everyone will be able to join us at this special event. While students will be transported to Trinity, they must be picked up from Trinity at 8 p.m. following the conclusion of the presentations.  If you have any questions, contact Mitzi Moore at mmoore@neisd.net.  Best of luck with the presentations!

While our freshmen are presenting their projects, our seniors will be nearby in the Great Hall of the Chapman Building for the Internship Mentor Reception from 5:30-7:00 p.m.  This annual event is a chance to celebrate the culmination of our seniors’ internship experiences, express our thanks for the support their mentors provided, and engage in discussions about their experiences. Seniors should arrive at 4:30 p.m. and park at Alamo Stadium. All mentors have been invited, and parents are welcome to attend.  Please contact Victoria Woodard, ISA Internship Coordinator at vwooda@neisd.net with any questions about the event.

We will end a week of celebrations with the Spanish Honor Society induction on Thursday evening as we welcome new members into the organization and recognize student achievement.

A few weeks ago, ISA counselor Mary Reihner shared with students that she will be relocating to South Carolina at the end of the school year. While we are very sad to be saying goodbye, we also celebrate her four years of service at ISA and wish her all the best.

We have begun the search for a new full-time counselor, and we will also be hiring a part-time counselor who will work with our rising seniors on the college application process. We hope to be introducing you to our two new counselors before we break for summer.

Finally, many AP teachers are hosting after school or Saturday practice test sessions to help students prepare for the upcoming AP tests, which begin May 5, 2014. Students may ask their teachers for additional details.

Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: April 20, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

In early February, we conducted our annual lottery to select our rising freshmen. The class of 2018 is as diverse as always, drawing students from every NEISD home high school and from areas as far away as Floresville.  The class includes a total of 56 siblings, and the 120 students are evenly split between males and females. It our pleasure to welcome the class of 2018, both returning families and our new-to-ISA families!

 As we begin looking forward to next year, the ISA Amigos, our parent booster organization, asked me to remind families that nominations are now being accepted for 2014-2015 board and committee positions. If you would like to read more about the positions and/or to be considered, you may sign-up on the ISA Amigos Board Nominations Form any time before May 1, 2014.

With May quickly approaching, we want to remind you of several afternoon and evening events from mid-May through the end of the month to make sure they are on your calendar. All of the events are on the ISA Community Calendar, and we will be sharing more details in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 18: Senior Awards

Monday, May 19: Freshman and Sophomore Student-Led Conferences

Thursday, May 22: Junior Student-Led Conferences

Tuesday, May 27: Junior Rite of Passage Ceremony

Wednesday, May 28: Senior Portfolio Presentations

Thursday, May 29: Senior Portfolio Presentations

It is another short week with Friday’s holiday. Have a wonderful week!


Kathy Bieser

Weekly Community Update: April 6, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dear ISA Families,

A few hours ago a bus full of ISA astronomy club members pulled back into school after spending the last few days hiking the local hill country during the day and exploring the sky at night. Congratulations to club sponsor Nick Polito and many thanks to science teachers Kristen Payne and Bonnie Brawner as well as the parents who helped us chaperone the trip.

Over the last few weeks, students have been making plans in their advisories to participate in Global Youth Service Day this Friday, April 11, 2014.  On Friday, every ISA advisory will perform service in the local San Antonio area including visits to school, parks, and non-profit organizations. The event, coined “Globie” Youth Service Day by our freshmen, is a new tradition this year to celebrate our 20th year.  After spending most of day in the community, students will return to school around 2:00 p.m. to debrief with their advisory.  With Advanced Placement (AP) testing coming soon in May, we will also use the last hour of the day to complete pre-registration for our sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Best of luck to all students and their advisors on our very first Globie Day of Service!

While our sophomores, juniors, and seniors complete AP pre-registration during 8th period on Friday, our freshman students will be in the cafeteria setting up for a special freshman and sophomore dance. The dance, organized by a freshman Make A Difference group, costs $5 and runs from 6-8 p.m. in the cafeteria.  If you are available to help chaperone the dance, please email Mitzi Moore at mmooor@neisd.net.  The following day, Saturday, April 12 the Freshman Team will run a Saturday School from 9 a.m. to noon for any students in need of additional help from their teachers or a space to work. Mrs. Moore also asked me to remind families that freshman Make A Difference presentations will take place after school on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at Trinity University, and there will be more details to come!

The ISA Junior & Senior prom is the following night, Saturday, April 12 from 7:30-11:30 p.m. at the Northern Hills Golf Club. Tickets are on sale for one more day this week at lunch in Betsy Landry’s room for $35 per person; however, the price will go up at the door on Saturday.  Please remind your son or daughter that non-ISA students attending as guests are required to bring a photo ID (driver’s license or school ID) with them to the prom.  Also, once students enter the prom they will not be allowed to leave and return later in the evening. When students arrive, there will be two NEISD police officers on duty to help with parking and to direct students.

Finally, we just confirmed a new partner school in Germany! They are planning to visit October 2-17, 2014, for a two-week immersion experience in American homes and schools. If your family may be interested in hosting, please complete this short German Hosting Interest Form (only 3 questions). The level of hosting interest will help us decide how many students to invite for next year’s visit.


Kathy Bieser


Weekly Community Update: March 30, 2014

Dear ISA Families,
The STAAR English end-of-course exam will be given this week to our freshmen on Monday, March 31 and to our sophomores on Tuesday, April 1.  Please help by making sure your son or daughter gets a good night’s sleep and eats breakfast, so all are ready to put forth best efforts each morning.   Our teachers have been working hard with students to prepare them well, and we know they will do their best!

These testing sessions will take up almost the entire day, with a lunch break mid-way through the exam. Testing regulations require us to collect all electronic devices (cell phones, iPods and other personal media devices) from students prior to testing. Students will not be able to use them during or after they finish testing in their testing room.  However, they do have access to a landline in the ISA office.

During testing, our number one priority is supporting the students who are testing.  Therefore our ability to deliver items, check-out students, and process other paperwork is more limited than on a regular school day so please expect longer delays on Monday and Tuesday should you need assistance from an ISA faculty member or our support staff.

While our freshmen and sophomores will be testing, our junior and senior students will follow the regular bell schedule, attend their normal elective and core ISA and Lee classes, and will not be dismissed early.

The end of our week picks up with lots of activity. On Friday, forty-five student ISA astronomy club members, sponsor and physics teacher Nick Polito, and several faculty members and I will depart for Leakey, Texas, for a three-day field trip to the Foundation Free Camps to study the night’s sky in darkness of the Texas hill country. While these astronomy students are participating in astronomy acitivies on Saturday afternoon, our new Model United Nations XIX rising junior and senior co-chairs will be at ISA with sponsors Cassie Allen and Melanie Anderson for a day-long training, which begins the nine month process to prepare for next year’s simulation.

Have a great week!


Kathy Bieser

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