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Kingwood High School won't reopen for school year; students to attend Summer Creek HS

KINGWOOD, Texas – Kingwood High School will not reopen for the entire school year due to damage from Hurricane Harvey, the principal announced Saturday.

The 2,782 Kingwood students will instead attend Summer Creek High School this school year.

Principal Ted Landry said in a letter to families and staff that the extensive damage sustained during Harvey will require repairs that could last the entire school year.

Landry said the school considered many options, but moving to Summer Creek was in the best interest of the students.

"Brent McDonald, the principal of Summer Creek, and I have begun working together to create systems that will support our students instructionally as well as all extracurricular activities and organizations. Going forward, this solution will be difficult and stressful.

"But I am confident that Kingwood High School students and staff will not only persevere through these trying times but will surpass our expectations and perform as they have always ... with excellence, grace, dignity and understanding," Landry said in the letter.

Humble Independent School District is scheduled to resume classes on Sept. 7.

Some FAQ's from the district's website

    Q. If KHS is going to share with another campus, why can't it be Kingwood Park High School since it is closer?

    This was the first consideration; however, KPHS does not have the capacity to hold all KHS students. KPHS was built for 1,600 students. Kingwood Park High School’s 5A campus cannot fit 2,782 students.

    Q. Why can't AHS serve KHS students?

    There are more than 3,500 students at AHS. Traffic in the parking lot and along West Lake Houston Parkway, especially at arrival and dismissal times, makes it unrealistic to bring another 2,782 students onto campus.

    Q. Can't we just bring in portable buildings?

    There are no portable buildings available. KHS would require at least 50 portable buildings for classrooms. January is the earliest that Humble ISD could receive any, and supplies are even more limited than before due to the increased demand brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

    Housing an entire school in portable buildings presents the following logistical challenges:

  •         Physical space to put 50 portable buildings
  •         Lack of bathroom facilities
  •         Lack of kitchen facilities to provide meals
  •         Difficulty in meeting specialized needs such as science labs, fine arts classrooms, and career tech classrooms 

    Q. How will Kingwood High School students get to and from Summer Creek High School?

    Bus transportation to and from SCHS will be provided to all KHS students.

    Q. Can Kingwood High School students park at Summer Creek High School?

    Yes, there is enough parking for all students.

    Q. How long will Kingwood High School be displaced?

    It could take the full school year to restore Kingwood High School.

    Q. Will meals be available?

    Breakfast will be served to SCHS students prior to classes starting at 7 a.m. The cafeteria will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all students to have lunch on campus.

     Q. If schools are splitting their schedule, do teachers still work full time?

    Yes. Principals will be providing details to all staff.

     Q. Can I transfer to a different campus?

    The International Baccalaureate Program at Humble High School is accepting applications. All other campuses are full.

And the principal's full letter:

"September 2, 2017

Dear Kingwood Families and Staff,

As you are very aware, our community has seen both devastating losses and awe-inspiring expressions of concern.  It is no doubt that we are united behind one cause - to rescue, help and heal those suffering from Harvey.

Although other campuses are ready for students to return on Thursday, September 7,  it is a foregone conclusion that Kingwood High School will not be open for quite some time.  Our campus sustained extensive damage and must be closed until repairs can be made to welcome our Kingwood Mustangs back into their school.

The moment we realized that this was a possibility, district and campus personnel have been working countless hours to provide a solution to the 2,782 Kingwood students who need to return to some form of normalcy, even if it isn't within the walls of their school....somewhere that can not only support learning, but athletics, fine arts, and all the phenomenal organizations that have become the very fabric of Kingwood High School.

Unfortunately, there is not any one option that is going to be easy or without sacrifice.  It is no small task to find a suitable home for 2,782 students.  Plans to move students at both Creekwood and Riverwood were explored so that all 10th-12th graders could be housed at Kingwood Park High School on a half day schedule. 

Creekwood would become a 6-7 campus while Riverwood would be home to grades 8-9.  This would have disrupted four campuses, most likely overcrowding them, and school would not start until the 18th of September at the earliest.  And Kingwood High School students would not be together. 

District and campus personnel also discussed moving 6th graders at Creekwood and Riverwood back to their respective elementary campuses, split the 9th grade between the 2 middle schools and house 10-12 at Kingwood Park on a split schedule.  This option also demands significant time to redo most 6-12 schedules and 6th graders would be extremely limited in their extracurricular and elective choices.

Additionally, our understanding is that TEA would like to see us dissolve KHS (our words) for one year and disperse the students across the district and raise class sizes.  We are not willing to dissolve KHS. And class sizes would be close to 40.  We do not plan to discuss this option further unless TEA forces us.

At the end of much deliberation and assessment, we arrived at the conclusion that keeping KHS students in Kingwood would result in significant delays, split up the KHS student body, and create overcrowding at 3 campuses.  Moving all of Kingwood High School to our sister campus Summer Creek High School would be in the best interest of all students.

Brent McDonald, the principal of Summer Creek, and I have begun working together to create systems that will support our students instructionally as well as all extracurricular activities and organizations.  Going forward, this solution will be difficult and stressful.  But I am confident that Kingwood High School students and staff will not only persevere through these trying times but will surpass our expectations and perform as they have always....with excellence, grace, dignity and understanding. 

We will get through this.  Our students will receive an exemplary educational experience.  My staff is committed to our kids and our community.  Harvey will not hinder us or hold us back.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Rub the Hoof!

Ted Landry"

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