ASCD Honors Quest Early College High School, Winner of 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award
Houston, TX (3/8/11)—Quest Early College High School, located in Humble, Tex., is the 2011 winner of ASCD’s annual Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. ASCD honored Quest today at a community-based award ceremony for students, parents, and community members at Jesse Jones Nature Center.
The award recognizes schools that move beyond a narrow focus on academic achievement to take action for the whole child, creating learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond formal schooling.
Quest Early College High School was selected as ASCD’s 2011 Vision in Action award winner because it has taken specific steps and produced exceptional results to ensure that high school aged students from all backgrounds are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
From its inception in 1994, Quest Early College founders envisioned a school that would not only address the academic needs of its students, but also the emotional, social, and civic needs. “Family,” Quest’s student advisory program, provides a safe place for all students to belong; the wellness program promotes both physical and social well-being, and the school’s service learning and internship programs directly connect the school to the broader learning community.
Academically, Quest students must master a rigorous curriculum, which targets readiness to enter a globally changing world. The early college program prepares students for college readiness and the ability to be successful in all aspects of the college environment.
“We feel very honored to receive the Vision in Action award and believe that it truly recognizes our commitment to developing all aspects of our students: the academic, the social, the emotional, and the civic,” said Quest Principal Kim Klepcyk. “The award recognizes the incredible work our students and staff do together each day. They deserve to be a model of the ASCD Whole Child Initiative.”
To be considered for the award, Quest Early College High School documented school practices that support the five tenets of the Whole Child Initiative:
- Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle. Quest’s innovative wellness program helps students establish lifelong healthy habits. For example, each student creates a personal yearlong wellness plan and reflects upon and monitors the plan as the year progresses. Goals set in the plan promote body, skill, and social fitness; students select wellness activities based on personal preference to fulfill these goals.
- Each student learns in an intellectually challenging environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults. Quest students ASPIRE to be the best they can be. ASPIRE is a Quest acronym that stands for academic behaviors, study habits, problem solving, integrity, reasoning, and engagement. Quest students use these cognitive skills to successfully interact with a rigorous, challenging curriculum. The school provides advisory, tutoring, counseling, and more to help students meet the challenge. “With the support system here at Quest, there is no reason for you to fail because everybody is willing to help,” Quest Early College High School freshman Caitlyn Floyd said.
- Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community. Quest students engage in service learning every Friday at sites throughout the community. They can be found in elementary schools, nursing homes, museums, government offices, and more. Service learning along with senior internships and Senior Exhibition foster authentic learning and strong civic responsibility.
- Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults. When students enter Quest they are assigned to a Family, a multiage group that students belong to for four years that encourages meaningful relationships among students and faculty advisors.
- Each graduate is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment in a global environment. Prior to graduation, Quest seniors complete Senior Exhibition, a capstone project in which students research a social issue, work with a group, create and execute a social action plan, and present their findings. “Follow-up interviews with Quest graduates reveal that the Senior Exhibition is the single most important preparation experience for college and the workplace,” Principal Klepcyk said.
ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter says, “ASCD continues to support a whole child approach to education in schools across the nation, and is thrilled to name Quest Early College High School the Vision in Action award winner for this year. Quest is truly a stand-out school that creates a supportive yet challenging environment for students by promoting respect and responsibility. Quest is a great model of what happens when the school improvement process focuses on educating the whole child."
ASCD, a nonprofit, worldwide education organization, began its Whole Child Initiative four years ago to encourage schools and communities to work together to ensure that each student has access to a challenging curriculum in a healthy and supportive climate. Schools across the nation applied for the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. As the winner, five team members from Quest received an all-expenses-paid trip to ASCD’s Annual Conference in San Francisco, Calif., and will be featured on an upcoming ASCD Whole Child Podcast. ASCD will continue to share Quest’s expertise and exemplary practices with its 160,000 members and the larger education community.
The 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award finalists are Westside Village Magnet School in Bend, Ore., and Northport High School in Northport, N.Y.
- Katie Test, communications specialist, at 1-703-575-5608 or by e-mail.