Mr. Magadance's Blog
Dear ISA Families
This week our MUNSA students host their next fundraiser of the year on Wednesday, September 28 at at Beto’s (8142 Broadway St.). The event will last from 5:00 - 9:00pm, and there will be live music and poetry featuring ISA students and teachers. MUNSA t-shirts will be available on Wednesday, and all of the proceeds from this event will benefit CARE which works in developing countries to fight poverty and injustice through the implementation of sustainable and long-lasting solutions. We look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday!
Also on Wednesday, ISA sophomores will continue to prepare for their upcoming trip to New Mexico! Sophomores will take a field trip to the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA). At SAMA, ISA sophomores will look for evidence of acculturation and assimilation during different periods of history and in different parts of the world. This will be a great day of learning in preparation for travel in November!
A reminder to our ISA students who participate in UIL extracurricular activities. The UIL eligibility deadline for the first six weeks is Friday, September 30, at 4:30pm. Students must be passing their classes at 4:30pm to maintain eligibility.
Looking ahead, the Allied Campus Theater is excited to present Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play in the Lee Black Box Theatre. The production opens on Thursday, October 6, at 7:30pm. There are three additional opportunities to enjoy this production on Friday and Saturday, and a 2:30pm matinee on Sunday, October 9. Tickets are available at the door.
We would like to share two additional ways to support the ISA community. The MUNSA secretariat asked me to share that they are in the planning stages of an early November fun run. The secretariat is currently seeking sponsors for the fun run. If you are interested in more information about sponsoring, please contact the MUNSA Under Secretary General of Outreach at email@example.com. The Lee Volunteers Sports Association is also providing space for local businesses to advertise in their homecoming athletics program. Please see the attached flyer for more details.
Finally, we will end the week with freshman and sophomore Saturday School, on October 1. Freshman may attend Saturday School from 9:00am to 12:00pm to work on English, math, and DIM. Sophomores may attend Saturday School from 9:00am to 1:00pm to work on all subjects.
Have a great week!
Dear ISA Families,
This weekend began with an early morning for ISA students, teachers, and parents who volunteered at the Freshman Garage Sale to support the fundraising effort for the upcoming Heifer travel experience. In just about two months, our ISA freshmen students will depart for Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, to experience life in a developing country. Our partnership with Heifer International is more than a decade old, and thanks to our community’s commitment and support of fundraising events like the garage sale, these learning experiences will continue. A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers who worked organizing items on Friday, staffing the garage sale on Saturday morning, and all those who donated items for the sale. Your generosity raised over $3,100!
The Lee Campus PTSA hosts their annual Back to School Night this Tuesday, September 20 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. The evening will begin with all campus parents (ISA, STEM, NESA, and Lee) gathering in the auditorium to hear from campus leadership and the Lee Campus PTSA president. Copies of students’ schedules will be available before and after the PTSA meeting for ISA families to pick up in the ISA main building near the entrance to the auditorium. Students will also receive copies of their schedules on Tuesday during advisory and may share those with their families. After the 6:00 p.m. PTSA meeting, you will have the chance to meet all of your child’s ISA teachers as well as Lee campus elective teachers as you rotate through their classes following this schedule. Throughout the school, you will find ISA and Lee students who will guide you to the correct meeting spaces. Families of ISA juniors will hear basic details about the upcoming 11th grade travel experience to Alabama during junior class rotations. Also, families of ISA juniors and seniors are invited to hear about ISA’s internship program from ISA Internship and Service Learning Coordinator Mrs. Beth Coleman during your student’s lunch period in ISA room S-103 (ISA’s Flex Space). We look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!
Last year, ISA was awarded awarded $20,000 in earmarked scholarship dollars to assist students interested in travelling abroad. This program coordinated by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) helped send nineteen ISA students to ten different countries where students participated in programs ranging from language studies to digital filmmaking. This week we learned that ISA has been awarded an increase in dedicated scholarship dollars from $20,000 to $25,000 for students selected to participate in the 2016-2017 Global Navigator Scholarship awards for summer study abroad. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who apply to the CIEE Summer High School Abroad programs will be considered for the awards, based on both merit and need. Students interested in applying are encouraged to submit their application by the December 1, “early bird” deadline.
Looking ahead to next month, freshmen, sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT during the school day on Wednesday, October 19. The test is designed to help students understand their readiness for taking the SAT exam during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. For juniors, the PSAT is also used as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. ISA teachers will begin hosting Wednesday PSAT review sessions. There are four sessions scheduled: September 21, September 28, October 5, and October 12. The sessions run from 4:30 - 6:30 pm and will be held in room S-103 (the flex space next to the EngWHAP classroom). ISA sophomores and juniors are encouraged to attend for additional test practice.
Finally, ISA sophomore math teacher, Mrs. Cathy Sporer asked me to share our efforts to start a local chapter the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society at ISA. Membership in Mu Alpha Theta is open to all students who have completed Algebra I and geometry and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. If interested, you may contact Mrs. Sporer at firstname.lastname@example.org, and students can pick up a permission form in room S-104. This form is due to Mrs. Sporer by Friday, September 23. The local chapter will complete community service projects, compete in mathematics competitions, and explore concepts in advanced mathematics!
Have a great week!
Dear ISA Families,
On Friday, September 9, the Texas Education Agency released more detailed accountability ratings for districts and campuses across the state of Texas. In August, we learned that all campuses in NEISD earned a Met Standard rating from the state. On Friday we learned that ISA earned six of seven possible distinction designations! These include recognition for achievement in all four core academic areas, closing the performance gap, and post-secondary readiness. It is because of our relationship driven approach to education that ISA continues to demonstrate outstanding levels of student achievement. These distinctions could not be possible without passionate, creative teachers; engaged, curious students; and dedicated parents! Congratulations to the ISA community on this achievement!
Friday also marked the completion of the third week of school, and students should receive a three week progress report on Friday, September 16.
We will end the week with our Annual Freshman Garage Sale on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00-1:00p.m. in the front parking lot of the Lee campus along Jackson-Keller Road. If you have items you would like to donate, you may drop them off at the front of the Lee campus on Friday, September 16 from 4:30-6:30p.m. If you have large items that need to be picked up from your house, arrangements can be made to pick these items up from 4:00-6:00pm. You may contact Stacy Rauch (210) 380-4350 or Raul Ruelas (210) 867-0619. If you are interested in volunteering at the garage sale on Friday or Saturday you can sign-up here or by pasting this URL into your browser: http://goo.gl/UZYDRp
One additional reminder that the campus PTSA Back to School Night is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20. Next week’s update will include the schedule for the evening.
Have a wonderful week!
Dear ISA Families,
We hope that your family is enjoying the Labor Day weekend! Although it is a short week after Monday’s holiday, we have a lot going on at ISA over the next few days.
ISA will take the first field trips of the year on Wednesday, September 7 when our freshmen travel to the San Antonio Zoo and our sophomores travel to The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment in San Marcos.
The zoo field trip is an ISA tradition for freshmen. At the zoo, students work in groups to complete an interdisciplinary assignment: they will write, measure, calculate, take photographs, and analyze animal habitats. This trip also serves as the culmination of the Summer Assignments unit. Freshmen will video conference with the author of The Bamboo People, Mitali Perkins. Their day will end with a sneak peek at the upcoming Storytelling Project performed by the freshman team teachers and a special guest!
At the Meadows Center, ISA sophomores will observe underwater life on a glass bottom boat tour, participate in a wetlands walk, and conduct water quality tests to better understand the water related issues affecting central Texas. We wish our sophomores a fun, learning-filled day!
The field trips described above, along with other upcoming grade-level and club field trips, are possible because of your generous service and contributions to the ISA Amigos, our booster organization.
Donations to The Amigos are still being accepted, and information can be found at the bottom of the Updated Amigos Newsletter! Beyond financial support, there are many ways for you to be involved at ISA. The ISA Amigos will be discussing upcoming projects and much more at their second meeting of year on Thursday, September 8, at 6:00pm in the Sergiovanni Community Room, please consider coming to the meeting and finding a place to get involved! Immediately following the Amigos meeting this Thursday, there will be a brief preliminary planning meeting for Project Graduation. Any interested Senior parents are welcome to join us!
One item sure to be on the ISA Amigos’ meeting agenda is our Annual Freshman Garage Sale on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00-1:00p.m. in the front parking lot of the Lee campus along Jackson-Keller Road. Unlike field trips, travel experiences such as the freshman trip to Heifer International are funded by each student’s family. It is an ISA goal to make these trips possible for every ISA student. Therefore, financial assistance is often necessary. All of the profits from the garage sale will benefit freshman families requesting financial assistance, and to make the event a success, we are asking for donations from the entire ISA community. If you have items you would like to donate, you may drop them off at the front of the Lee campus on Friday, September 16 from 4:30-6:30p.m. Volunteers and students will be present to unload, sort, and organize the items. If you have a large item (sofa, dining table, refrigerator, etc.) that requires a truck to transport it, and you do not have a truck at your disposal, we will work to coordinate transportation. We have found that items such as furniture, electronics, large and small kitchen appliances, bedding, pillows, artwork, bicycles, workout machines, and dishware tend to sell well; however, we ask that you please do not bring clothing because it does not tend to sell as well. We will also gladly accept cash donations. Look for more information in next week’s update!
In addition to beginning fundraising efforts for the travel experiences, the grade-level teams are also seeking chaperones to accompany the students. While any parent who has traveled with us in the past can attest that chaperoning on an ISA trip is anything but a vacation, it does offer parents the invaluable opportunity to share in powerful learning experiences with ISA students and teachers. If you are interested in chaperoning, please be aware that we intentionally place parents in a different travel group from his or her child. We have found that this practice allows our parent chaperones to be fully present and focused on the students in their group while knowing that another adult is taking excellent care of their child. This practice also allows all of our students, including those with parents on the trip, to experience some independence while still under the watchful eye of an adult. In an effort to notify interested parents early, the teams have already created Chaperone Application Forms. Although we are seeking five to ten chaperones per trip, chaperone space is limited due to bus capacity. If there is more interest than space allows, we privilege chaperones with medical training (nurses, doctors, physicians assistants) while also considering our male/female ratio. Below are the links to the forms for all four trips. Please complete the appropriate form by Friday, September 9, for consideration!
As our team teachers continue to prepare for student travel experiences, we want to share that there is a new online platform through which parents can make electronic payments for their student’s trip cost. NEISD has introduced School Cash Online. Directions for creating an account are linked here, and these links can also be found on the ISA website at www.neisd.net/isa. Look for the orange sneakers!
Finally, you will want to put the PTSA Back to School Night/Greenback Night on your calendar for Tuesday, September 20--more details to come in next week’s update!
Have a great week!
Dear ISA Families,
After an exciting, and for me emotional, celebration of the beginning of the 2016-2017 school-year with our traditional Opening Ceremony on Monday morning, we had a fantastic first week of school filled with learning, smiles, and laughter. We welcomed new members to the ISA Community and reconnected with all those who returned this year.
We believe most of the requested schedule changes have been completed; however, students may see Mrs. Harness or Mrs. Feldman on Monday in the counseling office if there are additional requests.
Last Tuesday, August 23, opening school packets were sent home. If you have not already done so, please review the packet materials. While some forms are optional, the items below must be returned:
We ask for your assistance in returning these items to school tomorrow, Monday, August 29. The timely return of opening school documents as well as travel documents that you will receive throughout the year is an enormous help to your child’s teachers and to the school. With so many forms required for our unique field trips and travel experiences, we very much appreciate your partnership with us in getting forms returned.
Our teachers have begun preparations for the grade-level travel experiences that will enhance student learning this year. On Tuesday, August 30, the Senior Team will host a parent meeting beginning at 6 p.m. in the Sergiovanni Room upstairs in the ISA Main Building. While students may attend the meetings, they are not required to do so. The Senior Team will explain how the travel experience ties to students’ core curriculum and learning, share important travel and safety logistics, ask for volunteers to chaperone, and answer any questions parent might have.
While we know the beginning of the school-year is extremely busy for families as well as school personnel, we appreciate your attendance at these important meetings. The Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Teams will provide more information about their own fall travel experiences at our Back to School Night on September 20, and at our first Report Card Pick-Up Night of the year on October 20.
We will end this week with school photos for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors on Friday, September 2. You may order photos on the MyLifeTouch website (mylifetouch.com) using the following ISA school code: XY016026Q0.
Finally, students and their families are encouraged to read the ISA Daily Student Bulletin on a regular basis. We update the bulletin daily with new announcements and opportunities (including service, scholarships and events) within the community. You can access the bulletin through the link above, this URL: goo.gl/xQecm9, or directly from the ISA homepage at www.neisd.net/ISA. We would also like to debut a new communication tool courtesy of our booster organization the ISA Amigos. You can use this newsletter link or access the .pdf attached!
Have a wonderful week.
Dear ISA Families,
It was a great pleasure to see everyone who attended ISA’s 23rd Annual Hot Diggity Doo Dah yesterday, we served up several hundred hot dogs, passed out student schedules, unveiled new ISA Amigos spirit items, held freshman and sophomore parent meetings, and glimpsed our classroom spaces in the new ISA science building. The most important and enjoyable part of Saturday is the time we took to reconnect with returning ISA families and welcome new members to our community. Thank you for your patience as you made your way through the parent stations throughout the morning and for braving the rainy weather! I would like thank the ISA staff, the ISA PALS (Peer Assistance and Leadership), NHS, and SHS students for helping to set-up, coordinate, and run the event. As a small school with a faculty and staff of 30, we are especially grateful to the ISA Amigos, our booster organization, for their help in hosting the event.
If you were unable to attend Hot Diggity Doo Dah, the ISA Amigos asked me to share that a volunteer form will be sent home to families in the Opening School Packet. Students may return this form to their core teachers. When a need for volunteers arises, you will receive an email detailing the assistance requested.
Tomorrow we will officially open the new school year at our traditional Opening Ceremony. ISA families are invited to attend Opening Ceremony tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the Lee campus auditorium. There is still some construction taking place on campus so we recommend that you arrive on campus before school begins at 8:45 a.m. to give you plenty of time to park, check in at the ISA main office for a visitor’s pass, and get settled in the auditorium. The Opening Ceremony will include our traditional welcome in multiple languages, greetings from students, and lots of first day excitement!
In the morning, students will report to advisory at 8:45 a.m. to receive a new and updated copy of their schedule. Over the weekend, ISA counselor Stacey Feldman and ISA Dean David Garcia adjusted some schedules based on student requests or to balance teachers’ class sizes. All this week, Necol Harness, Stacey Feldman, ISA Assistant Principal Vicki Woodard, and Instructional Deans David Garcia and Luke Freeman, and I will be meeting with students who wish to change their schedule. On the first day of school, our priority is making sure we meet with any student who is missing a core class (math, science, English, social studies, and world language) before meeting with students who wish to change elective classes. Please know that we are working as quickly as possible to get students into the correct classes, so they do not miss valuable instruction. ISA teachers anticipate schedule changes during the first week of school and will assist students who may join a class on the second or third day of school. Please reassure your student that we are committed to crafting the very best schedule possible for each student, and all students wishing to change their schedule will have the opportunity to meet with one of us to discuss their course options.
At the beginning of each school-year, it is important for us to collect up-to-date information from ISA families. Students will receive an Opening School Packet on Tuesday from one of their core teachers. Included in this packet are many important documents to review and return to the school. Please return documents to the school with your student no later than Friday, August 26, 2016.
Magnet school buses and regular school bus routes will be running tomorrow for the first day of school. Families may access the schedule at the URL below:
Additionally, ISA will be hosting exchange students from Argentina, Brazil, and Norway this school year. We are excited to welcome our international students and continue our tradition of cultural exploration and exchange in our global community!
Finally, one aspect of ISA’s mission and identify focuses action to improve our world for ourselves and others. We would like to invite our community to participate in efforts to help families impacted by the recent flooding in Louisiana. In cooperation with the non-profit organization, Summer of Service (SOS) http://www.sossanantonio.org, we would like to contribute to the collection of tax-deductible donations and items to send to the Lamar Dixon Shelter in Gonzales, LA. Checks can be made out to SOS San Antonio. 100% of all donations will go to the shelter to be distributed to families in need. High need donation items include: baby supplies (diapers, wipes, blankets, pacifiers, bottles, formula, etc.); socks (all sizes); school supplies; and towels. If you are interested in making a donation please drop-off donation items in Ms. Bonnie Brawner’s classroom S109 by Thursday, August 25. Please see the attached flyer for more information. For questions, more information, or how to make a monetary donation, please email email@example.com.
Dear ISA Families,
With only one week remaining until the first day of school on Monday, August 22, I am writing today to share updates and upcoming events at ISA.
If you have not been on campus recently, you will be surprised by the results of the construction projects that have been completed! I am pleased to share that ISA has moved into our new instructional space including science classrooms, multipurpose spaces, a computer lab, and a teacher resource center. These spaces are surrounded by two interior courtyards! As of this writing, progress continues toward completion of the JROTC building and Lee athletics facility, including new tennis courts and field turf. More information regarding the Lee campus improvements, including aerial photos, can be found on the NEISD webpage outlining the NEISD Bond Program Projects at Lee High School.
It is also my pleasure on behalf of the ISA faculty to share that this past Friday the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the 2016 Accountability Reports, and ISA received a rating of “Met Standard” after having met criteria in all four of the accountability target areas: Student Achievement, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness. Congratulations to ISA on this wonderful accomplishment!
With the arrival of this school year, we are excited to welcome seven new members to the ISA faculty and larger community:
Please help me welcome all of our new community members as we continue to learn together this year!
I am also excited to share that two familiar members of our community will be filling new roles on the ISA leadership team:
Additionally, I would like to highlight five communication tools that we have in place at ISA to provide students and families with the most accurate and timely information as possible.
Finally, we are looking forward to introducing new faculty and reconnecting with the ISA community on Saturday, August 20, 2016, during the 23rd Annual Hot Diggity Doo Dah, ISA’s back to school event. At Hot Diggity Doo Dah, there will be a special parent station staffed by ISA teachers to help familiarize you with the tools above, so you may stay abreast of the many activities and events taking place on the ISA campus.
Please review the Hot Diggity Doo Dah flyer that was mailed out last week for all of the details about Hot Diggity.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of our faculty or staff members if you have questions or need any assistance as we start the new school year! A special welcome goes out to our new-to-ISA families, both of incoming 9th grade students and transfer students.
Steve Magadance and the ISA Faculty and Staff
In recent weeks, I have been contemplating the idea of listening. An aspect of listening that I frequently find myself drawn to is empathy. How well do I understand a topic from another person's perspective rather than my own?
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Although not directly about listening, Bishop Tutu described life in South Africa before and during the transition between Apartheid and a new democratic system of inclusion for all peoples of the “new” South Africa. Bishop Tutu explained that leaders of the new government were influenced by a South African philosophy about the connection between individuals--ubuntu. Bishop Tutu contextualized ubuntu with a simple statement, “I am because you are”. He explained that this philosophy helps us understand our own humanity by understanding the humanity of others. Ubuntu was especially important as new leaders in South Africa considered the ways in which leaders of the deposed South African government might be treated, and ubuntu influenced the Truth and Reconciliation movement that assisted South Africans as they healed their country.
In many ways, I think the philosophy of ubuntu describes the concept of empathy. As educators, if we consider this idea of connectedness we begin to understand that we have great influence on families, colleagues, and students with whom we interact. Equally, these individuals have a great deal of influence on us and who we are. By listening and acting with empathy, we can come to a better understanding of the needs of others.
We are defined by how we respond and relate to people, and people are defined by how they respond and relate to us. How does this impact the way we listen to each other? Do we listen for the opportunity to speak our mind? Do we listen to compete and win? Do we listen to understand?
With the beginning of a new calendar year and the school year's second semester comes change. Students get new classes, teachers meet new students, performing arts groups shift to concert season, and there is a marked shift in the athletics season. Men's and women's basketball takes center stage by opening district play and men's and women's soccer warms up for their full seasons.
The main office at CTJ is also experiencing our share of changes. With Mrs. Shore's transition into the principal's role at Hill Middle School, everyone in the main office has worked together to continue to serve our community at a high level.
During this transition period, I fell upon the TED Talk embedded below. In his 2008, talk Benjamin Zander discusses his--and by extension--our passion for classical music. While lulling his audience with a lovely prelude by Chopin, Zander touches on the concept of visionary leadership. As the maestro explains playing by impulses he demonstrates how to play in one single impulse or seeing the value of the whole piece of music.
Leaders are not altogether different. Having a holistic view of an organization is required to fully steward and communicate the vision for the organization. In this period of change it would be extremely easy to lead with many impulses rather than one single, clear impulse. The music is nice too. Happy New Year!
Autumn is here! With the change to more mild weather the mood in the halls at CTJ is shifting too. Johnson Homecoming week begins on October 5, and culminates with the annual homecoming football game against Roosevelt 7:30 p.m. at Comalander Stadium on Friday, October 9, and the Dancing Through the Decades Homecoming Dance at CTJ on Saturday, October 10, from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Homecoming is also marked by unique dress up days. Here are the themes: