Superintendent

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  • Superintendent's Message

     

    The state accountability ratings from the 2015-2016 school year provided a starting point to begin discussions about improving academic performance within Natalia ISD. The 2016 State Accountability report provided some insights into our strengths while also defining opportunities for improvement. Our high school earned distinctions in several areas: 1) Academic Achievement in English Language Arts, 2) Academic Achievement in Science, and 3) Closing Performance Gaps. In addition, our elementary campus earned a distinction for Student Progress. All four of our campuses earned an Accountability Rating of “Met Standard”.

    As a School District, however, we did not “Meet Standard” in the area of Postsecondary Readiness by 1 point. While Postsecondary Readiness is measured by many subcomponents, we are focusing on three areas: 1) Supporting students to pass STAAR with a score that equates to being college ready; 2) Planning for and enrolling our Career and Technology program students in a coherent sequence of classes; 3) Offering the PSAT test to all 8th, 10th, and 11th grade students; 4) Offering the SAT with essay to all 11th grade students; and 5) Implementing a districtwide college and career readiness program like AVID (Achieving Via Individual Determination).

    We believe that every kid matters every day. Whether it is the military, trade school, college, or work, every Natalia ISD student should be prepared to do whatever that choose when they graduate. This Spring, we will be embarking upon a collaborative process with our staff, students, parents, and community to create a comprehensive 5-year plan to transform Natalia ISD into the best school district in Texas.

Superintendent Publications

  • Newspaper Article 2019 01 16

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 1/18/2019

    Dr. Cones Perspective

    Comments (-1)
  • Newspaper Article 2018 12 19

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 12/21/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective December 19, 2018

    As we move into the Chrismas Holidays and reflect over the first semester, I am thankful for many things. Throughout the semester we tried to keep you up-to-date with relevant information about the district. We talked about the importance of attending school. Last year, our average attendance percentage was 94.67. As of yesterday, our attendance percentage is at 96.12. This is a significant increase, please continue to make sure we get our students to school every day during the second semester as well. Every day counts.

    We release for the Christmas Holidays at regular times this Friday, December 21st. Offices will reopen on Monday, January, 7th. Teachers will return on Monday, January 7th, and will have professional development and planning to begin the Spring Semester. Students will return on Tuesday, January 8th at normal times. Athletes will not have practices or games from December 22nd  through December 26th in compliance with a UIL requirement of neither practicing nor playing for 5 consecutive days.

    We hope everyone has time to stop, rest, reflect, and recommit to achieving our student outcomes goals. The Spring Semester will go quickly, so we will need to stay focused on finishing the school year strong.  

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 12 12

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 12/12/2018

    Dr. Cones Perspective 2018 12 12

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 11 05

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 12/7/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective December 5, 2018

    I want to make sure that we remain transparent throughout our bond project. We have met with our architects, Gara/Bomberger & Associates, to discuss next steps and general timelines and I would like to share some of that information.

     

    January 2019

     

    • Site Survey

     

    February 2019

     

    • Begin the design process

     

    March 2019

     

    • Approve design

     

    July 2019

     

    • Project “Bid” as a Competitive Sealed Proposal

     

    August/September 2019

     

    • Award Contract for Construction

     

    December 2020

     

    • Construction Complete

     

    We hope the construction will only take approximately 16 months. Additional information will be shared throughout all phases of the project.

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 10 28

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 11/30/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective November 28, 2018

    As we all know, the Holiday season is here. We have 17 school days or about 7,769 minutes of school until school is dismissed on December 21st for the Christmas Break. As excitement builds about the Holidays and students begin to anticipate the last day of the semester, it is important that we stay focused upon learning. We don't have days or hours to waste.

    We do pause to appropriately celebrate. Here are a few of the celebrations and performances reported to be happening around the district as we wrap of the semester:

    November 29th 4th Grade Parent Night @ 5:30-6:30 PM

    December 10th 2nd Grade Parent Night @ 5:30-6:30 PM

    December 13th 2nd and 3rd Grade Music Programs @ 2:30 PM

    December 13th Band Winter Concert @ 6:30 PM

    December 14th 4th and 5th Grade Music Program @ 2:30 PM

    December 19th PreK Holiday Music Program @ 6:00 PM

    December 21st Junior High Christmas Celebrations @ 2:00 PM



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  • Newspaper Article 2018 1014

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 11/16/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective November 14, 2018

    The Thanksgiving Holidays are here. I want to wish all of our Natalia ISD students, parents and staff a safe and happy vacation next week. Slow down, enjoy the week and reflect upon what you are thankful. I am personally thankful to be the Superintendent of Natalia ISD. Let me expand upon a few of the things for which I am thankful.

    Thank you to the community and voters of Natalia ISD for passing the 10.725 million dollar bond referendum. The votes were canvassed this past Monday night at our regular meeting. We will keep the community informed as we proceed through the process.

    Thank you to our teachers, sponsors, and coaches for the long hours and dedication to our kids. Thank you to our bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers and office staff for the quiet work and sometimes unnoticed work you do behind the scenes to keep our district running smoothly. Thank you to our administration for your focus on improving student achievement and supporting your staff.

    Thank you to our Board of Trustees for serving in the best interest of our children and aligning our goal through the Lone Star Governance process. We are moving towards becoming an exemplary team of eight.

    Thank you to our parents for your support and trust in the district with your most prized possessions, your children. Thank you to our students for your attendance and commitment to your education. Student learning is our sole purpose as a district.

    Together, we make a great team. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can make Natalia ISD great.

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 10 07

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 11/6/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective November 6, 2018

    Attendance is important. If either students or teachers are not at school, learning is significantly impacted.  Every school day missed is a missed opportunity for student learning. Chronic absenteeism puts a student academically at risk of failure and falling behind their peers. Therefore, it is important that students and teachers are at school for every minute possible of the school year to maximize learning.

    The legislature recently changed the long-standing requirements of how many days and how long each school day must be within a school year. Schools are now required to have a minimum of 75,600 minutes of instruction each school year. Knowing the importance of every minute of the 75,600 minutes, we have been working diligently to improve our attendance of both students and teachers. Our administrators attended the E3 Alliance’s Attendance Summit this summer and created both campus and district plans to help improve attendance. Campuses are working closely with parents.

    Our student attendance rate averaged 94.60% for last school year. This year, our student attendance is averaging 96.45%. This increase of 1.85 percentage points is significant. This means that there are an additional 20 students present in school each day as compared to last year. This equates to 20 more students receiving an additional 75,600 minutes of instruction. Furthermore, this means that an additional 1.5 million minutes of instruction are being received by individual students in the district.

    We are very appreciative of the extra efforts of our parents this year to get their students to school every day. At our last home football game this Friday night, our ECC/Elementary is celebrating 232 students that have maintained perfect attendance this year to date. The 232 students have been given free admission to the game and will be leading our Natalia Mustangs out of the tunnel to begin the game.

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 10 31

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 11/2/2018 6:00:00 AM

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective October 31, 2018

    Over the past weeks, I have discussed the many things we are doing academically in our district to increase student success as well as the facts of our Bond election that is on the November 6, 2018 election ballot. In most all bond programs, there exist more needs than can be met at any given time. Natalia ISD is not an exception to that phenomenon. After a year of planning, we recently approved a project worth 1.9 million dollars to make additional facilities improvements beyond the capability of the bond. These improvements are paid by increased energy savings that are guaranteed by law and impose no additional cost on our budget nor an increase in taxes.

    So, what are these improvements? The improvements include lighting upgrades, HVAC replacements, solar energy, sealing of building envelopes as well as security upgrades. Of the 131 HVAC units in the district, nearly 50% are beyond 15 years old. Many are inefficient and are in need of frequent repairs. The district will be replacing 48 HVAC units to provide significant energy savings and a comfortable learning environment for our students. 1963 lights will be upgraded to LED lights for increased energy savings and better quality lighting for learning. Leaking building envelopes will be sealed to reduce energy consumption and stabilize temperature fluctuations.

    In light of the school shooting scenarios around the country over the past several years, school safety has become an important consideration. Fortunately, the energy savings provides funding for a few security measures to be implemented as well. All buildings will have card access systems installed. In addition, the High School will have a security vestibule installed in the main entrance to control traffic flow and entrance into the building. Additional in-depth information can be found posted as an attachment with our last regularly posted board meeting agenda.

    School district budgets have become increasingly tighter over the past several years. We are still funded at a level lower than that of the 2011 year when the State of Texas made major funding cuts.  We will continue to think “outside of the box” about ways to fund the improvement of our schools, analyze ways to save and seek grants to supplement funding.

    Your continued support of our children and school is recognized and deeply appreciated.

    Comments (-1)
  • Newspaper Article 2018 10 24

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 10/26/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective  October 24, 2018

    Strong parental and community engagement is key for an educational system to be great. Parents, Students, Community, and the School are all critical partners in the process of proving a quality education. I want to open up a conversation of how we can move beyond the traditional activities that are customarily done to something that creates a better partnership with increased student achievement.

    Parent and Community engagement operates from a needs assessment process.  Basically, we seek to identify the needs of our community and find ways to mobilize resources to share.  Marisa Saldana, the Natalia ISD Community Liaison, has enlisted several parents and community members to assist in improving our student academic outcomes through a comprehensive engagement parent committee.  Through this committee, we have been able to provide over 2000 meals to the community, increase parental awareness of the curriculum and instruction through a parent resource site, gained parental input in the planning and advertisement of campus events and implemented the Watch Dogs’ program which increases student safety on campus.  Last year we hosted our first annual Parent Symposium that aligned resources from several vendors based on information shared by our community. The event centered around the needs of Natalia and improving Student Academic Outcomes. This event was a success and we look forward to hosting it again this school year. Our focus is to include parents and guardians into the academic aspects of the District.  By doing so, our students have a better opportunity to succeed academically because we are all one team. We encourage any parents/guardians or community members who wish to volunteer or get more information to please contact Mrs. Saldana at marisa.saldana@nataliaisd.net or 830-663-4416 ext. 7007.

    While typical “open houses” serve a purpose and are needed, they don’t provide the opportunity for a stronger connection. We also want to provide dedicated time to dive deeper and focus on what your student is doing at their grade level with their specific teachers. We want you to know what they are learning, how they are learning, and what you might be able to do at home to assist. To begin this process, the Early Childhood Center along with the Elementary will begin this process by hosting nights by grade level. These nights have been tentatively set and will be coming out from campus administration soon: Kindergarten, November 12th; 1st Grade, November 15th; 2nd Grade, December 10th; 3rd Grade, November 27th; 4th Grade, November 29th; 5th Grade, November 14th. We hope these nights are well attended and look forward to making then better in subsequent years.

    We are also increasing our communication to parents and the community in several ways. Our Natalia ISD webpage is undergoing a refresh behind the scenes to be a better resource for parents and the community and should be live soon. We will be fully pushing out our Natalia ISD application in both android and ios platforms soon. The application will allow parents to follow student grades, school calendars, lunch menus and district social media feeds (without needing to have a twitter or facebook account). Knowing that online postings do not reach all of our stakeholders, we started publishing the District Newsletter again this past year and mailing it out. In addition, we also began this weekly article in the newspaper from the Superintendent.

    To wrap it up, the old saying that “It takes a village to raise a kid” holds true when describing what needs to happen in a community for students to be successful. We must be supportive of our students, teachers, administrators and board of trustees if we want to be great. I see this happening more with each passing day.

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  • Newspaper Article 2018 10 17

    Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 10/17/2018

    Dr. Cone’s Perspective. October 17, 2018

    Having already talked about college, career, and military readiness as well as numeracy, the final component is Literacy. The ability to read is foundational to success in all other subject areas. The average adult in our country reads on a 7th or 8th Grade Level. We expect our graduates to be more than average. We focused our district goal on 3rd Grade because research has clearly stated that students that are reading on grade level at the end of the 3rd Grade have a significantly increased chance of graduating and being successful in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue: The percentage of 3rd Grade students at or above the college and career readiness level (Meets) on STAAR Reading will increase from 31% to 50% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental improvements for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 37% 2020- 44% 2021- 50%.

    We had an in-depth discussion of Literacy and its importance at our monthly Board Meeting last night. I would like to elaborate on a few of the things that we are doing across the district to increase Literacy. Foundationally, we have strived to align the English Language Arts Curriculum from K-12. In this process, we have focused on a Balanced Literacy Approach, Gradual Release Model, Use of Mentor Text, and a significant increase in access to reading materials. Reading materials available in our classrooms and libraries have been greatly increased. Through a partnership with Scholastic Books, we continue to offer free books to our youngest readers over Winter and Summer Breaks. In addition, we started a Summer Reading Bus that travels around the school district to give students summer access to reading materials.

    We have focused on individual students in need of literacy intervention with time built into the daily schedule. Our teachers have been provided a Literacy Series Professional Learning by our Academic Services Department to improve the implementation of research-based best practices.

    Next week, I will discuss Parental Involvement. Specifically, I want to open up a conversation of how we can move beyond the traditional activities that have been customarily done in almost all districts to something that creates a true partnership to help our students achieve beyond our wildest expectations.

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