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STATE OF THE CITY: Big city opportunity, small town atmosphere

January 18, 2023 - 00:00
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    Examiner photo by Matthew Ybarra: A sold-out crowd attended the annual State of the City address at the Navasota Center Jan. 11, hosted by Navasota Grimes County Chamber of Commerce and The Examiner. Speakers included Navasota Mayor Bert Miller, Grimes County Judge Joe Fauth, NISD Superintendent Dr. Stu Musick and Aaron Farmer with Retail Coach.

Navasota ISD Superintendent Dr. Stu Musick shared supporting reasons NISD is considered a school with “big city opportunity with small town atmosphere.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, TEA School Accountability Ratings were not released, but Musick and NISD staff were anxiously anticipating results. TEA hadn’t released ratings since 2019, and those ratings were below district expectations.

Ratings were released Aug. 15, and results reflected the hard work of staff throughout the district. Navasota improved 17-points from a D rating in 2019 to an 87, B rating in 2022. All six campuses throughout the district achieved a C rating or above.

Navasota High School obtained an 83, B rating. The campus received a Distinction designation in ELA/Reading. Distinction designations are awarded for achievement in several areas and are based on performance relative to a group of campuses of similar type, size, grade span, and student demographics.

Brule Elementary has an 83, B rating, a nine-point improvement. They received four Distinction designations: ELAR, Math, Science and Postsecondary Readiness. Navasota Junior High received a 79, C rating, a 26-point improvement. They received a Distinction designation in Science.

John C. Webb Elementary had a 74, C rating, a seven- point improvement; High Point Elementary, 72, C rating, a two-point improvement and W.B. Bizzell Academy, 70, C rating.

Unlimited opportunities

NISD prides itself in being a collegiate high school where students can take dual credit courses from Blinn or as part of the University of Texas On Ramps program. Musick stated it is difficult, but students can potentially receive their high school diploma and associate degree at graduation.

College isn’t for all students, so NISD also offers Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs including Veterinary Medicine, Health Science, Engineering, Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Automotive Technology, Audio/Video and Media, Computer Science, Welding, Education Training and more. Students can graduate with various certifications that ensure they are workforce ready immediately after graduation. The construction of the new CTE wing was included in the 2017 bond passed by NISD voters.

This year Navasota High School is participating in the Tango Flight Program. The two-year program allows students to construct a fully operational plane. Students are building the plane at Navasota Municipal Airport and a pilot will be able to fly the plane once it is complete. Musick volunteered NISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Dr. Ronnie Gonzalez to accompany the pilot on the test flight.

2017 Bond Renovations

When surveying the community prior to the 2017 bond election, the community stated they wanted to see the historic Brosig Performing Arts Center that was built in 1952 and the Rock Gym built in the 1930s renovated.

Musick explained both facilities were at the point where a decision needed to be made whether to demolish the facilities and build new or renovate. Both facilities were renovated and have been utilized by the district. Musick said Brule Elementary uses the gym for daily PE classes.

Brosig Performing Arts Center is now hosting U.I.L. One Act Play competitions, concerts and more. Renovations included extending the stage, new lighting, new sound and a state-of-the-art sound booth. New dressing rooms were constructed, bathrooms renovated, a chair lift was installed and more.

Athletic Facilities

Musick also highlighted athletic facility upgrades that were not part of the 2017 school bond but paid for through a Maintenance Tax Note.

With the athletic upgrades NISD is able to host events they previously couldn’t host due to inadequate facilities. Rattler Stadium received new turf, track, video scoreboard, new sound and more. NISD has hosted district and area track meets since renovating the track, which was unusable prior to renovations.

The NHS baseball and softball field eliminated flooding with renovations that included turf fields, new dugouts, new drainage and more. New press boxes, bullpens, and batting tunnels were also constructed.

NISD also built eight lighted tennis courts and are now able to host matches and tournaments. Other renovations included renovations to the high school and junior high gyms.

The district has stayed ahead of the constant growth within the district constructing and improving facilities, showing academic growth and continuing to offer big city opportunity while maintaining a small town atmosphere.