Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quest Early College High School embraces new beginnings

From The Atascocita Observer News

For incoming Quest Early College High School student Sanchex Barber, this is the educational opportunity he was looking for to help his family and plan for the future.

Barber’s story is very similar to the stories and experiences of numerous other freshmen who are a part of the first year at the Quest Early College High School and are excited to be part of a new educational venture for the Humble Independent School District.

“If you put your mind to it and think ahead to the future, you can do anything,” Barber said.

“We are not one of the richest families but there are other students who have gone through the same experiences and serve as mentors. I plan to take full advantage of this program.”

Though this is the first year, the concept of an Early College High School in Humble ISD was discussed at length as the district wanted to find a way to reach students who are underrepresented.

To be labeled and classified as an ECHS, the Texas Education Agency has specific parameters for the school and must give the school a designation before it can be run as such.

This opportunity is also possible through a partnership between Humble ISD and Lone Star College-Kingwood.

“Quest Early College High School gives students the opportunity to earn an associate degree or 60 hours of transferable credit while simultaneously earning their high school diploma,” Kim Klepcyk, Quest Early College High School principal, said.

Quest Early College High School is one of the six designations handed out by the TEA this year to bring the total to 47 across the state of Texas with the closest being the Splendora Early College High School.

Students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors at the school will continue what is considered “Quest Classic,” which is the program they have been involved with since they started at Quest. The freshman class and every class after that will be a part of the Early College High School program.

“There are some people who will hear Early College High School and think we want the best students who are at the top of their class,” Klepcyk said.

“It is different; the purpose is to focus on and allow students who are underrepresented and least likely to attend college. This program gives them the chance to succeed and attend college with credits or an associate degree. They are the most capable but sometimes do not have the resources.”

At Quest Early College High School, the students will learn organization strategies and how to take notes adequately, which is the framework for the courses they will take. Also, the skills and knowledge they build will help make the transition seamless from high school to college.

“We give these students the resources and skills to be successful since often they are the first in their family to attend college,” Klepcyk said. “When we started to look at the model for Quest, we realized we already had steps in place to make an Early College High School successful such as the rigor, service learning and curriculum. This is our 15th year and we are very excited for this journey of change.”

The school did receive a grant to help establish the school and curriculum. Currently, this program is housed in Summer Creek High School, but the students will ultimately attend classes at the new satellite campus of Lone Star College-Kingwood in Atascocita.

The excitement and the opportunities are what Alyssa Sanchez, a new student at the Quest Early College High School, is truly the most excited about this school year.

“They started out with some tough educational courses at the beginning but the teachers are here to help us with problems and help us to succeed,” Sanchez said. “Being a part of a program where I can earn an associate degree is amazing because it brings me closer to my dreams, and I know there is nothing that can stop me.”

Fellow student Sarah Bayless echoed Sanchez’s excitement and is looking forward to the challenges she will face this year.

“At my middle school, I did not feel challenged enough, so my mom and I saw the advertisement for Quest Early College High School and we knew it would be a perfect fit. I am excited to see how the school year goes,” Bayless said.

To add to the sentiments, Barber is also excited about the school year and is looking forward to achieving commended scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

For more information about Quest Early College High School, log on to

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.