Kingwood High's road to recovery spreads students to other campuses after Harvey

Courtney Fischer Image
Monday, September 25, 2017
Kingwood HS take on classes elsewhere after Harvey damages campus
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ABC13's Courtney Fischer looks at how Kingwood HS students are adjusting to a new normal.

KINGWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been a little over three weeks since Kingwood High School was inundated with flood waters spawned by Hurricane Harvey's rainfall.

The campus was forced to shut down, and faculty and officials had a short amount of time to not only regroup and decide how the school year would continue. They would have to essentially find a new school that students will call home for the year ahead.

"When we walked through it, we knew we weren't going to have school soon," recalled Humble ISD superintendent, Dr. Elizabeth Fagen.

The costs are still being tallied for Kingwood High.

"The latest figures that I have seen are somewhere between $30 million and $40 million."

RELATED: Kingwood HS remains closed

Those numbers could be higher once everything is calculated.

But as cleanup began, other decisions needed to be made quickly. Chief among those issues is where to send the 2,600 Kingwood students for the school year.

"[Students] initially came forward through lots of different means, saying please keep Kingwood High School together. Please let us have that senior year of being Mustangs. Please let us have our schedules and athletic teams and fine arts and bands."

In less than a week, a decision was made.

"It was clear to us that Summer Creek (High School) was the best and only option to keep Kingwood High School together."

RELATED: Two options weighed in decision of Kingwood, Summer Creek students

Here's how the split schedule works: Summer Creek students are in the classroom from 7 a.m. to 11:19 a.m. Kingwood students come in from 12:11 p.m. until 4:30 p.m..

To accommodate both student bodies, a college-type schedule was created. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, students attend 60-minute classes.

"And then you have Tuesday, Thursday classes that are like 83 minutes. That allows for some pretty significant instructional time.

While the new schedule was doable on paper, was it manageable for parents and students?

After a week into the new scheduling, many say spirits have been high.

"A few weeks ago, we didn't even know if we were going to have a marching band or not," said student Liv Velvin. "Not a week later, two weeks later, surprising, we're able to practice on this field."

Kingwood students are using Turner Field at Humble High School for their activities.

"It's been an adjustment of a standpoint for him," said Kingwood parent Shawn Finch. "He's up early morning, going to practice, being on the field at 7:30, so it makes for a long day."

While a few extracurricular activities are happening here at Turner, other locations are being utilized as well. For example, the orchestra is currently practicing inside a church.

And when class is in session, students need to make the longer 30- to 40-minute commute over the Summer Creek.

"To think of what they did and were able to do in such a short amount of time, to get the kids to be able to go to class, to be able to continue with their activities, and do it in a week. I'm absolutely amazed," applauded parent Bob Taylor.

It's no secret Hurricane Harvey temporarily displaced this year's faculty and student body, but some said the whole experience has definitely made them stronger.

"The school spirit has been higher and better than ever before," said student Hannah Bell. "It's helped a lot between the students and the staff. It's just been amazing."

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