Director’s Notes Nov. 16, 2019

Happy Saturday! Beautiful weather to lift the spirits.  And with one week to go until Thanksgiving Break!

Just a few things for everyone to note this week.

Night With NESA

Night With NESA is this Tuesday! This is a huge open house event with performances, a food truck, activities for kids and more! Your student will probably be needed that night, if they haven’t told you already! And we could use parent help too. Get in contact with the director of your student’s program if you are interested in coming and helping, or you can always reach out to me!

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia has one more run this Sunday at 2:30. We are going to be very close to selling out, so get your tickets now if you are planning on attending! It has been a wonderful fun show!

Steppin’ Into the Holidays

Steppin’ Into the Holidays is coming sooner than you think! Get into the Holiday Spirit! Tickets are on sale now. This show will sell out.  The show runs December 6th,7th, and 8th!

Outsiders Film Festival

Join Cinema for the Outsiders Film Festival Friday, December 13th at 7:00. Dinner and a movie anyone? Tickets are just $8 and they are on sale now.

All tickets can be purchased at


College Calling- Seniors!

Seniors- you should be on the LEE senior google classroom. If you are not, you are missing out on information that you need! The class code to join is k7r5iv2

Other News:

Congrats to Creative Writing on their stellar performances today at the Teen Art Fest at the San Antonio Public Library! Pics on my blog and on our social media!

NESA Banquet theme this year is MET Gala: The Evolution of Fashion.

PTSA Thanksgiving Pie Drive. The PTSA is collecting pies for the holiday to give to faculty and staff members at LEE, NESA, STEM, and ISA. If you can help, please click on this link to sign up with your donation. Thank you in advance!!/showSignUp/8050944a5ab28a2f49-leenesastemisa


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes Nov. 8, 2019

If you didn’t get to see the Mamma Mia on the news this morning with Where’s Cleto? We will send out the link as soon as it is ready! It was really early in the morning but it was a blast. I am so impressed with each and every one of the almost 100 kids involved in the production that left here after 10 last night and showed back up by 6. Yes, it is hard work, but your passion shows! And a big shout out to our teachers too! Everyone is tired but smiling!

Mamma Mia!

What an opening night! If you missed it, that’s ok. We run 7 more shows! Join us Saturday at 7:30 or Sunday at 2:30.

Steppin’ Into the Holidays and Outsiders Film Festival tickets now on sale

Visit to purchase tickets.

Steppin Into the Holidays runs Dec, 6, 7, 8

Outsiders Film Festival is Friday, Dec. 13th.

Upcoming Recruitment Events

Magnet night is Wednesday at Blossom Athletic Center. We could use a few parent and student volunteers.

Night with NESA, our open house and celebration of creativity, is Tuesday Nov. 19th. We could use a lot of help! We are having all kinds of art stations and activities, pop up performances and more. More than likely you child will be needed this day. There will be food trucks and concessions!

pARTners Dinner Meeting

Tuesday Dec. 12, 2019 in lieu of a meeting this month, we are all going to Papoulis’s in the Quarry for a Give Back Restaurant night. 10% of the night proceeds go to NESA pARTners. We would love to see you there!

College Calling

From the Counseling Office:

Attention Seniors : Transcripts requests for the December 1st College Admission or Scholarship Deadline must be submitted no later than Thursday, November 21st –No exceptions.   This is especially important since School Offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving break the week of November 25th-29th.  Please see Ms. Norma Folley in the Counseling Office.  Any transcript requests received after the November 21st deadline will be processed after the Thanksgiving break beginning Monday, December 2nd.  Please submit your transcript requests early.

Have a great weekend!

Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes- Friday, November 1, 2019

Wow! Hello November. Coming in with a chill! We have so much going on this month, we couldn’t be happier to share it with everyone!

Mamma Mia

In less than a week we will be rockin’ some beachy disco hits here at NESA. Join us! Tickets available at


Go to DO120 and find our events (Mamma Mia and Steppin’) and vote for them so we rise to the top of the calendar for people looking for fun things to do around San Antonio. You should be able to click on NESA and then like all the events on one page. Here is the direct link:

Senior Fees

We are extending the deadline for Senior Fees for another week. The NESA senior fees were $35, cash or check to the NESA office. Forms are on the table outside of my office and here: Senior dues

Papouli’s pARTners night

Nov. 12 Join us for diner at Papoulis’s in lieu of a pARTners meeting. 10% of your check with be donated back to NESA pARTners!

College Calling

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is used by colleges to determine financial aide awards. I would go ahead and call it mandatory for all students going to college. We recommend doing it ASAP because funds are first come first served. They even have an early aid estimator you can do on. Go to to learn more or start an application.

Other stuff…

Saturday School is starting up soon so if you have excessive absences look out for the information coming from LEE. You must pay the small fee on Thursday if you want to attend on a Saturday.

AP payments are now due Nov. 4th. If you are struggling, just have your student pay in cash or money order (NO checks) in the counseling office. If you are AP 2D, 3D, or Drawing that test has already been paid, you will just need to pay for any additional tests you will be taking.


Have a great weekend. We will see you next week!


Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes October 25, 2019

Steppin’ Into The Holidays

Tickets are now on sale for Steppin’ Into the Holidays! And they are going fast! Visit to procure yours today.

And grab your seats for Mamma Mia too while you are at it! Starts November 7th, which will be here before we know it.

Usher for Mamma Mia!

Use this link to sign up to usher for Mamma Mia.

As an usher, you are expected to check in at 6:15 for usher duty in the lobby on the Office Ipad and stay until released. Ushers get into the show for free. Late ushers will be sent home.

TWOTEN: NESA’s Online lit mag

Creative Writing had a new online lit mag that went live this week! I am so proud that our students have yet another venue to publish their work. I look forward to seeing it grow and evolve as forum for our student’s creative voice. Way to go CW!


AP Testing Deadline Extended

The deadline to pay for an AP exam has been extended to November 4 at 4:00pm.
· The Fall Student Registration Payment Deadline has been extended to November 4, 2019 for the May 2020 AP exams.
· Student Fees: $40 for non-F/R exams; $20 for F/R exams; additional fee of $40 will be assessed for ordering an exam after November 15th . (Exception is 2nd Semester courses such as AP Government, AP Eco, and AP Psych.)
· There will be no refunds after November 15, 2019; if students miss their AP exams in May, they will not be refunded $40. For those students who paid the reduced fee of $20 and miss an exam, they will owe an additional fee of $20 per exam.
· If students choose to pay by credit card, they will need to log in to their Skyward Portal.
· If students do not choose to pay by credit card, they may pay with Cash, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order; they will need to see Ms. Hernandez or Mrs. Allen to pay with this method. If one of your tests was paid for by the school, you will have to choose this method.

Taking the AP test is a crucial component to AP classes and is the expectation for NESA students. Please let me know if you need any help.

See you Monday!

-Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes October 18, 2019

Our first auditions of the year are this weekend. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered. We could still use a few parents to serve as a welcome wagon from 8-12. Any time you can stop by and give a little time can mean a lot to our future parents. Here is the link to the sign up genius:
Mamma Mia!
Tickets are on sale now. Some shows are already 50% sold so be sure to get your tickets early for good seats.
Steppin’ Into the Holidays
Tickets for Steppin’ Into the Holidays go on sale Friday the 25th at the stroke of midnight. Dancers will get their access codes on Thursday in an email. Hard to believe its coming so fast!
Homecoming game is Friday the 25th and Homecoming dance is Saturday the 26th. If students want to take a date from outside of LEE/NESA/STEM/ISA they need to pick up a form in the front office. I encourage everyone to be on their best behavior and remember to follow all school rules.
PTA Reflections Contest
The LEE PTSA is now accepting submissions for this year’s Reflections Art Contest! The theme for the year is “Look Within,” and students can submit original works of art in any of the following 6 categories: Visual Arts, Dance Choreography, Photography, Literature, Musical Composition, or Film Production. Contact for more information! The deadline to submit is November 5th. Rules are attached.

Reflections Flyer 2019-2020 Look Within LEE

2019 Reflections Rules

Have a great weekend!
Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes Oct. 11, 2019

I want to start off this week’s Director’s Notes by talking about one of my top priorities to all parents, students and families of NESA students: safety and wellness. The safety of our babies is the number one priority for everyone at NESA and LEE High School. Our work in this area will never cease. I have heard from a couple of people this week due to a few issues that have arisen in our community, and I was able to be more proactive because of the information I was given. That care and concern is what I love about the NESA community. Please never hesitate to contact me with any questions or issues. It takes a village and I thank you for being that village with me.


Remember- Monday is a student holiday.

Cinema is going to the Josiah Film Festival Thursday.

Next Saturday is Auditions.

Chalk it Up- Saturday!

Saturday we have Chalk It Up! Come visit the VAs and NAHS down on Houston St. from 10-4 and maybe make a little art yourself!


NESA Student Artistic Enrichment Fund

Did you know pARTners provides financial support for eligible NESA students to access enhanced training and opportunities beyond the curriculum that NESA provides? SAEF application through NESA pARtners due October 25, 2019. Use this link to get the form and more information. You must be a member of NESA pARtners to receive the scholarship.

College Calling: Logging Volunteer hours

Did you know the NEISD student portal (and the Parent Portal) has a place to log in student volunteer hours? It keeps track of the hours and will email the supervisor (parent, teacher, CEO, whowever!) of those hours with an easy verification link so all the hours logged are accounted for. Students can then even ear recognition from the District! This is the kind of stuff colleges want to see. Here is the link to check it out:


Student Opportunity: NESA pARTners Fiesta Medal Design Competition

Want to have hundreds of people wearing your design around Fiesta? Here is your chance!


Fiesta medal should be NESA themed, and say NESA or North East School of the Arts somewhere on it.

Should have year 2020 on it as well.

Ultimate product will be around 2”x2”, so nothing too intricate.

4 colors maximum

Any medium is accepted.

You can turn designs in to Mrs. Pagona on paper by sending them to the NESA office, or if it is a digital drawing, through email.

Winner receives a free Fiesta medal of their design and a NESA shirt!

Designs due October 28th.


Have a great three-day weekend. Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!


Sarah Pagona

Director of the North East School of the Arts

Extra Director’s Notes- October 7th

Hello everyone! I few things that didn’t make it into the Friday update, but we want you to know!

pARTners meeting

NESA pARTners meeting is this Tuesday, October 8 at 7pm in the PERC! Park in the big lot by the NESA entrance.

CPK giveback

Join us at California Pizza Kitchen on Oct. 14th for lunch or dinner, mention NESA pARTners when ordering, and a portion of all the sales goes to fund the pARTners scholarship fund!  Plus, you don’t have to cook!

Card Drive

NRF is still having a card drive benefitting the San Antonio Behavior Center. If you have playing cards or card games you would like to donate send them to school with a student. Each classroom has a box for people to drop the games. The final collection date is this Friday.

SAAEA T-shirt

The San Antonio Art Education Association, a non-profit volunteer organization that supports art teachers all over the city with scholarships and professional development, is selling their t-shirts this year to help raise money to send teachers to conferences and classes. I am the VP of the organization so I can assure you that 100% of the proceeds go to benefit art education right here in San Antonio. The shirts are super soft! A picture of the shirt is attached if you are interested. Shirts can be delivered to NESA and I will pass them out or they can be shipped to you. Here is the link to order:

Have a great Monday!


Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes Oct. 4

Wow! Big week for NESA. Check out our grant wining teachers! Our first round of applications closed today, so the office was quite busy. And we had a big field trip today. Visit our social media sites for some good pics of our Cinema/Visual Art/ Creative Writing field trip to the McNay today where students kicked off their collaborative participation in the McNay spotlight program.

Heidi Whitus receives NEEF grant

The North East Educational Foundation has awarded Heidi Whitus, Cinema Director at NESA, with a grant for over $1500 to purchase innovative Cinema technology for student use. These include cages and rigs for cameras, as well as lighting so that they can achieve more innovative cinematography. Way to go Mrs. Whitus, raising our Cinema program to the next level!

Amie Charney- Grant recipient

Yesterday our Creative Writing Director was announced as one of the four winners of the Harlequin Creator Fund. This is a grant through Harlequin publishing that gives financial support and editorial mentorship to female writers. Mrs. Charney won for a 12 episode TV series about a writer whose novel goes viral. What an excellent mentor for our Creative Writers! Here is the link if you wish to learn more:

Looking to next week…

Chalk It Up!

Chalk it Up is Saturday Oct. 12th from 10-4 on Houston Street! NESA VA will have a space there, as will our chapter of National Art Honor Society, which is run by Mrs. Gonzales and incorporates NESA, ISA, STEM, and LEE students in to one big art loving honor society! The event is free to the public, so come by, make some art, eat some food, groove to some tunes and say Hi!

Magnet Night

Magnet Night is at Blossom Athletic Center on Thursday Oct. 10th from 5:30-7:30. We are asking for a few student and parent helpers if you are interested in helping us find the next generation of talent for NESA!

Early Release

Early Release on Oct. 11th so everyone gets out at 2:15!

Columbus Day/ Indigenous Peoples Day Holiday

No school for the students on Oct. 14th

Tickets for Mamma Mia go on sale next week!

The general public can buy tickets to Mamma Mia! starting Friday morning October 11th. Get them while they’re hot! We are hoping to sell this one out!

College Calling- This week is all about AP Testing Info

All students should have received their join code for their AP tests if they are in any AP classes. Please make sure all students have joined and signed up to test. If your student is in an AP class they should DEFINITELY take the test! The test gives college credit and in the world of college credit that means free money.

For example, at UTSA a course is about $2,000, so passing the class with a 3 (and sometimes even a 2 for some foreign languages) is like getting 2K! Even if a student attempts a test, but does not pass, college admission officers like to see a student follow a course through to the end.

The district deadline is October 24th for any AP students to pay for tests; cash or credit card.
Cash ONLY Payments will be taken in the LEE counseling conference room the following dates:

October 17th – All lunches

October 18th – 7:30-8:45 a.m.

October 21-23rd – All lunches

Students may make credit card payments online through their skyward account if they registered prior to October 3rd.


Parking Shuttle Changes

Effective Monday, September 30, 2019, the shuttle service will start at 7 am for trip to the LEE campus from the parking lot on Blanco Road. The service will end at 10:45 am and reconvene at 1:45 pm through 6:30 pm. For students who park in that lot and need access to their vehicle between 10:45 am and 1:45 pm, they will need to report to the main office so that we can arrange for transportation to that lot. Based on the data collected with the service shuttle this year, there is no need to continue the mid-day shuttle system. Thank you for your assistance with this matter.


Have a great weekend!

Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts

Director’s Notes Sept. 27, 2019

What a show last night! The VA show and the IM show combined to be one of the most energetic shows we have had here! I have received phone calls this morning with people raving about how impressed and entertained they were. If you missed it, put the next one on your to do list. It’s not till January, so I will remind you all!

Ads for Dance and MT

Just a reminder that if you are interested in placing an AD in the playbill for Mamma Mia, Carrie and Merchant of Venice. The due date is in one week. The Dance program has a little more time. Both order forms are attached. Feel free to reach out to me at with any questions you might have.
ad form MT      advertising form- NESA Dance

AP Exams

Students who will take Advanced Placement Exams in May 2020 will pay for the exams from October 7 – October 24. Keep an eye out for info from the LEE counselors or from your student’s teacher.

College Calling!

Here is an article I found on US News and Reports with some tips on how college applicants can stand out from the crowd. Some start early and some are just plain good life advise, like check your social media!


Additionally, I just want to highlight a few things this week from the Principal’s newsletter that goes out because I think they are extra important!

From Principal Crowe’s parent letter:

Homecoming Information

For those students who are requesting to bring a guest to the Homecoming Dance that is not a LEE or ISA student, forms will be available in the main office starting September 23. The deadline to submit forms for approval is October 18 by 4:30 pm in the main office.

College Advisor Information

Please see below for Ms. Estrella’s contact information. Feel free to reach out to her with any questions about college. Cindy Estrella, College Adviser at LEE High School Trinity University College Advising Corps Office: 210.356.0857 Email: “My mission is to foster a college-going culture on the campus while delivering personalized guidance on college admission, transition, enrollment, and financial aid assistance.”


Have a great weekend!

Sarah Pagona, Director of the North East School of the Arts