Kingwood Park High School Excels in College and Career Readiness

October 2013 | Houston, Texas
BY: Amy Williams

Humble Independent School District’s Kingwood Park High School (KPARK), established as a 9th grade campus in 2007, grew into a full-fledged four-year high school in 2008. Among the school’s rich college ready culture, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) serves as a prominent contributor.

HazelAnne Prescott, 9th grade Social Studies teacher and AVID site team coordinator, and Bruce Cox, Head Baseball Coach and 11th grade Social Studies teacher, have seen a major increase in students’ enthusiasm and college readiness since the program began. 

“At Kingwood Park, our program has really grown this year. We’ve gone from approximately 69 students last year to about 145 this year . . . and the numbers continue to grow,” said Prescott.


When AVID first entered KPARK in 2008, thirty students were enrolled in the program. Now that knowledge of the program’s college readiness success rates has spread, the number of students is on a steady rise.

“The middle schools have really encouraged students that if they are going to take an honors class, they need to take AVID also. Students have liked the support from the program and have continued taking AVID in high school,” said Prescott. “We also realized that there is a big jump between middle school and high school curriculum and that AVID is that little buffer to help students do well in their high school years.”

Previous non-AVID KPARK students typically experience a 65-percent increase in their mathematics grades once they have settled in to the program. Even more impressive is the college admission success the program has provided.

“At Kingwood Park, our AVID students are at a 100-percent rate of admittance into four-year universities when they graduate,” said Prescott. “Because the program pushes for students to take more advanced classes and supports them in the learning process, students come out of high school with the knowledge and thinking skills they need to be successful in college.”

KPARK students are taught skills and provided tools that maximize rigor in all their classrooms. Students are engaged in note-taking, tutorials, and even guided through the college preparation process.

“For juniors and seniors, literal college preparation is built into the program. We practice and sign up for the SAT, and apply for colleges and financial aid. We do it together, so it really pushes the students to meet deadlines,” said Prescott.

But AVID’s influence does not stop there; once a school joins the program, the entire school is impacted in many ways.

“At KPARK, we had to get buy in from all the teachers in the school.  And now, Socratic seminars, philosophical chairs and Cornell notes are all a part of our school. The support AVID gives is just tremendous,” said Prescott.

In talking with supporters of the program, many express the profound difference between the college readiness culture AVID provides in comparison to others they have tried. While aspects such as SAT preparation or intense note taking are popular, Prescott believes tutoring, which is done twice a week, is key.

“It teaches students the process of how to find answers to the tough questions they must solve in their courses, instead of giving them the answer immediately. By doing this, students learn how to ask critical questions about their topics and mentally connect the dots so that they can apply this process once they are on their own and, in turn, understand the material more deeply,” explained Prescott. “This is a critical skill that students need for college, and AVID students come out of the program with it mastered.”

In addition, the collaboration and inquiry that the students engage in on a daily basis are considered to be stepping stones to the students’ future.

“In AVID, students have to work together and inquire about the nature of the material they are studying — these skills will help them at the next level,” said Bruce.

To learn more about AVID and how your school can become part of their family, please visit their website or attend an AVID Informational Session. Also be sure to check out the AVID National Conference, which will be held in Grapevine, Texas. The conference is open to the public, and there are more than 70 break-out sessions for participants to choose from.