At the September board meeting, Humble ISD trustees found themselves in the middle of the second week of a long and painful recovery from the most damaging hurricane to hit the Houston Gulf Coast area since the great Galveston hurricane of 1900. Hurricane Harvey flooded much of the community, resulting in severe damage to two district facilities. Kingwood High School is closed for up to a year and the Eggers Instructional Support Center for months.
Although the beginning of school was delayed, Humble ISD is up and running. It was reported that over 41,000 students – 96 percent of the expected enrollment – had shown up for school in the first week.
At the meeting, board members reported that 23 facilities sustained some sort of damage, with the estimated damage at Kingwood High School in the area of $40 million. It is estimated to take 20-35 more days just to dry the building out before administrators can get into it, where they expect to find more problems not yet identified.
The business part of the meeting concentrated on the status of all of the schools now that the school term has started, including Kingwood and Summer Creek high schools.
Those students are sharing the Summer Creek campus on a split-shift basis. After the first two days, both parents and the administration acknowledged the process was a logistical challenge. The challenge is in terms of the total time required for buses to get to and from the Summer Creek facility at the south end of the district from Kingwood in the north end of the district. The second day was reportedly much better compared to the first day. Administrative officials are hopeful that the overall trend in improvement will continue as experience and adjustments to schedules are made.
Three Kingwood parents expressed their support as well as concerns about the Kingwood/Summer Creek split-shift operation. Albert Seyegh, the father of two Kingwood High School students, said, “I appreciate the district’s efforts in trying to create a solution that is tenable, at least for the time being. I appreciate the collaboration between Summer Creek and Kingwood high schools. My primary concern is my childrens’ high school experience. Yesterday, my daughters boarded a bus at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at Summer Creek at 12:17: one hour, 45 minutes on the bus.”
Their trip home began when they boarded the bus at 5 p.m. and arrived home at 6:30 p.m. Seyegh said, “They were tired. They were in good spirits and were excited about school, but it was a long day. I am concerned about my daughters. I don’t have a solution but I do have a historical precedent.”
Seyegh explained the precedent was during the 2007-8 school year when Kingwood High School had major renovations made and 23 temporary buildings were located behind the baseball fields. He asked that these kinds of ideas be considered as soon as possible, especially if the school will be out of service for a full year.
The two other parents who spoke echoed the same concerns. Fagen and the board responded that these alternatives had been considered. “We are all in this together” was the general consensus as the recovery continues to move forward. In other business, the board approved boundary lines for Middle School No. 9, to be opened in 2018, which are anticipated to alleviate overcrowding at Timberwood and Willowcreek middle schools. In addition, elementary students currently zoned to Eagle Springs Elementary will eventually attend Timberwood Middle School, while some students zoned to Atascocita Springs Elementary will attend Timberwood Middle School and others will attend the new middle school, depending on their residence address. Some students from Lakeshore Elementary will attend Middle School No. 9 while others will be zoned to Woodcreek Middle.
Teachers of the Year from each of the district’s eight middle schools and six high schools and the district’s Career and Technology Education Center were recognized. They are: Priscilla Kovacik (Atascocita MS); Ellen Chaney (Creekwood MS), also honored as a district finalist; Tomekka Williams (Humble MS); Michelle Neyrey (Kingwood MS); Shayla Green (Riverwood MS), also honored as a district finalist; Koshika Smith (Ross Sterling MS); Heather Syska (Timberwood MS); Cornelia Patterson (Woodcreek MS); Carlee Kennedy (Atascocita HS), district teacher of the year; Saul Tapia (Humble HS); David Kniess (Kingwood HS); Amy Balke (Kingwood Park HS), also honored as campus teacher of the year; Brett Crawford (Quest Early College), also honored as campus teacher of the year; Hayley Hueske (Summer Creek HS); and Kira Newsroom (CATE Center).
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