There are so many reasons why Northside ISD is a strong school district. In 2016, Northside hit an all-time high in enrollment, added more than 700 new teachers, opened two new schools, and more than 6,700 students received diplomas in 12 commencement ceremonies. The Class of 2016 earned more than $118 million in college scholarships and the District’s graduation rate reached an all-time high. For the Class of 2015, the most recent data available, the graduation rate was 94.3 percent.
Despite Northside’s size and continued growth, there are numerous opportunities provided for students to succeed in academics, athletics, fine arts, and many other extracurricular pursuits. It takes everyone – students, teachers, staff, parents, business partners, community members, and the Board of Trustees – to maintain the high standards and expectations that make NISD the wonderful district that it is.
The challenges of school finance and public education funding remain in Texas. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the current system “satisfies minimum constitutional requirements” and placed responsibility for addressing school funding on Texas lawmakers. With the 2017 Legislative session on the horizon, the past year in Northside ISD serves as testament to the opportunities, choices, and successes found in public education.
NISD continues to grow
The official enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year is 105,550 students. To accommodate the growth, two new schools opened in August- Randall Fields Elementary School and Bennie Cole Elementary School.
The Board of Trustees named the elementary school that will open in 2017 – Kallison Elementary School. Also opening in 2017 is Northside’s 11th comprehensive high school Harlan High School. In 2016, the Harlan attendance zone was approved by the Board; future students selected the Hawks mascot and Columbia blue, black, and silver school colors; and Robert Harris was named the school’s first principal.
- Longoria, a special education teacher at Cody ES, was named the 2017 Region 20 Elementary Teacher of the Year. It was the eighth consecutive year that a Northside teacher was recognized by Region 20.
- Carol Hudson, a kindergarten teacher at Brauchle ES, was named a winner of the 2016 Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
- Three teachers and one principal were named finalists in the 2016 HEB Excellence in Education Awards.
- Stan Laing, Executive Director of Athletics, received the 2016 Grant Teaff Coaching Beyond the Game Award from the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA).
Other highlights of 2016:
- Colonies North ES celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 and Fernandez and Leon Springs elementary school celebrated their 25th anniversaries. In addition, the library at Rhodes ES was named after longtime and retired principal Robert Lehr.
- More than 7,800 iPads were issued to teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, and other professional staff. The initiative provided an added digital tool to the established curriculum and was designed to enhance student learning.
- In July, the Northside Swim Center hosted training camp for the United States Olympic Swim Team before they competed in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Though most of the camp was closed to the public, thousands of people attended a free Observation Day event to see eventual Rio gold medalists like Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.
- The Northside Sports Gym opened in time for basketball season with a Texas-sized pep rally dedication featuring hundreds of students. The new facility is located in the Farris Athletic Complex and more than 1,300 volleyball and basketball players from ten high schools will compete there annually. The District’s original gym, Paul Taylor Field House, was built in 1973 when there were only three high schools.
- 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the Marshall HS basketball team winning the state championship. The players, coaches, and their families returned to NISD for special recognition at a game and a reception.
- More than 1,000 students from 72 NISD elementary schools participated in the 20th Solar Car Races at Gus Stadium. The races are a culminating event for fourth and fifth graders who build cars in an afterschool science program.
- The national nonprofit Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) recognized Northside for leading the path to eco-friendly propane fueled school buses. A ceremony was held at Passmore ES with special guest, former first daughter and PERC spokesperson Jenna Bush Hager who surprised teachers by presenting them with a $10,000 donation.
- When a recording of the national anthem didn’t work at a volleyball game, Holmes HS volleyball player Marina Garcia stepped up to the microphone. Cell phone video of her impromptu performance went viral garnering national news attention and opportunities for Garcia to perform at events across San Antonio.
- In April, 7,000 juniors took the SAT for free during the school day at their home campus. It was the second time the Board-funded initiative was offered to students.
- Warren High School and Northwest Crossing Elementary School each won $20,000 as champions in the 2016 Spurs Team Up Challenge, sponsored by the Silver and Black Give Back.
- Two Northside ISD PTAs were named 2016-18 National PTA Schools of Excellence. Folks Middle School and Ellison Elementary School were among 173 schools from across the country to receive the special designation.
- Northside continued to support the Go Public campaign which raises awareness of the wonderful things happening in Bexar County public schools.
- The District’s use of social media continued to grow reaching 41,000 followers on Twitter, 30,000 “likes” on Facebook, 304,000 views on YouTube, and 8,000 Friends of Northside e-mail subscribers.