Modern day Northside ISD is described as an urban, suburban, and rural district whose boundaries extend from densely populated communities inside Loop 410 all the way to the Texas Hill Country. Northside ISD encompasses 355 square miles in what has become north west and far west Bexar County and spills into Bandera and Medina counties.
In 1949, 11 rural schools joined together to form Northside Consolidated School District. Those schools were Leon Springs, Los Reyes, Helotes, Locke Hill, Leon Valley, San Antonio Heights, Lockhart, Mackey, Clifton, Hoffman, and Culebra. The main purpose of the consolidation was to build a high school for the children of the dairy and vegetable farmers and cattle ranchers.
In 1955, the district became Northside Independent School District. Five years later, the original Northside High School was renamed Marshall High School, and the tradition began of naming NISD high schools after U.S. Supreme Court Justices. This is also the year that the School Board integrated the high school.
The 1960s saw explosive growth. Northside enrollment doubled in the first three years of the decade, and doubled again by 1967. In 1966, Northside fully embraced integration and closed West San Antonio Heights School and transferred African American students to ten elementary schools.
The 1970s were a time of modernization and development for Northside. New schools continued to come on line as the San Antonio population shifted to north west Bexar County which boasted good schools, fair taxes, affordable housing and wide open land. NISD was well on track to become the largest public school district in San Antonio. In the 1980s, Northside was named the fastest growing school district in Texas. By the decade’s end, enrollment was up to nearly 50,000.
In 1994, NISD adopted a strategic plan that also included the creation of the Northside Education Foundation, which in 2010 has an endowment of almost $2 million, and funds hundreds of teacher grants annually. Enrollment grew to over 60,000 students during the 1990s.
Beginning in 1995, the need for hundreds of new classrooms every year became apparent. From that year and every three years since, voters have consistently approved bonds to build to new schools and make renovations to older campuses, and add technology.
In 2000, NISD became the largest Texas Recognized District, a huge achievement when you consider the socio-economic and ethnic diversity of the school district.
As enrollment hit over 71,000 students in 2003, the funding for education from the state continued a steady decline thus straining local resources because school districts reached their legal limit of taxation. But Northside’s reputation for academic excellence continued to draw thousands of families to western Bexar County. NISD became the one school district that had over 50% of all the new single family homes being built in the County. Thus the descriptor of “The Destination District” was born.
Enrollment for the 2002-03 school year was a landmark event. When 3,369 new students enrolled in NISD, it represented the greatest enrollment increase in one year ever in the history of Northside School District.
In 2004 NISD was named a Texas Recognized District for the fifth year in a row. The highlight of 2005 was being named the Best School District in Texas by H-E-B. The grocery giant and “power partner” selected NISD as the most outstanding school district and awarded NISD $100,000 in scholarships. In 2006 NISD became the largest district in Texas to earn a Recognized rating for the second time; and in 2007, NISD was selected as one of the five finalists for the Broad Prize for Urban Education, a prestigious national award.
Northside schools, students, teachers and leaders have been visionary. NISD’s elected officials and superintendents have been instrumental in many of the statewide improvements in areas ranging from facilities and funding to instruction and governmental relations. NISD’s reputation as the “go to” District in Texas continues to allow NISD to be a powerful voice for equity and adequacy in Texas.
NISD started out as a little farming school district with 823 students. But 60 years later, NISD has been transformed into a powerhouse in academics, athletics, fine arts and in governmental affairs. With an enrollment of 94,369 in 2010, NISD is the fourth largest public school system in Texas.
One of the hallmarks of a quality school system is community support. In NISD, that translates to a community that has approved over $2 billion in bonds in the last 15 years. That and high academic achievement make NISD “San Antonio’s Premier School District.”C
Click here for the complete detailed history of NISD including timelines.