On the first school day after important federal workplace safeguards expired for millions of Americans,  Harmony Public Schools’ Executive Board voted to independently provide the much-needed benefits to its 4,000+ employees.

 

The benefits previously were part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a federal program which provided American workers a number of workplace safeguards related to COVID-19. Primarily, the benefits included up to 10 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) days if an employee was unable to work due to COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, possible exposure, or required quarantine for themselves, a family member, or child care provider. 

Those federal benefits expired December 31, 2020. However, The Harmony Public Schools’ Executive Board voted at an emergency meeting Monday night, January 4, to independently extend the same benefits to employees throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

 

“The Harmony board felt this action was not only an important thing to do, but the right thing to do for our staff and their families,” Harmony CEO Fatih Ay said in a letter to employees  Tuesday. “By offering these benefits, our team members can know that their jobs and livelihoods will not be impacted if they need to seek treatment for COVID-19 or stay home with possible symptoms. Additionally, our student families also can know that Harmony is doing all it can to take care of the team members who take care of their students, and reduce potential COVID-19 exposure on campus.”

On the first school day after important federal workplace safeguards expired for millions of Americans, Harmony Public Schools’ Executive Board voted to independently provide the much-needed benefits to its 4,000+ employees.

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-born, Texas-wide public charter school system with campuses serving PreK-12 students in 23 cities across the state, including Greater Houston, DFW, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Odessa, Bryan, Beaumont, and the Rio Grande Valley. Harmony’s curriculum places a heavy focus on STEM skills, Character Education, project-based learning, and college readiness. 

 

The school system has committed to offering both in-person and remote learning options for students throughout the 2020-2021 school year, and is now accepting applications for new students for the 2021-22 school year.

 

About Harmony Public Schools

 

Harmony Public Schools are 58 high performing PreK-12 college preparatory charter schools throughout Texas. Harmony blends the highest standards and expectations, with a rigorous math- and science-centered curriculum and dedicated and engaged teachers and families to cultivate excellence and prepare students to succeed in college, careers and life. At Harmony Public Schools, we believe every child can succeed, and we are committed to helping them realize their full potential. To learn more about Harmony Public Schools and our 58 campuses across Texas, please visit: www.harmonytx.org, and follow us on Twitter at @HarmonyEdu and ‘Like’ us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarmonyTexas.

(TEXAS) – On the eve of National Principals Month, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $27.8 million Teacher and School Leader Incentive grant to Harmony Public Schools to train, equip, and retain top-level school leaders at its campuses across the state.

This project will strengthen and evolve Harmony’s existing Human Capital Management System, developed through a previous Department of Education grant project (Teacher Incentive Fund, 2016), to more explicitly focus on strengthening instructional leadership by better positioning and supporting current and rising principals and instructional leadership teams to excel and remain in their roles—especially in high-need schools. Harmony has 50 schools designated as high-needs throughout the state.

The project design draws on proven research showing that strong instructional leadership improves educator effectiveness, which, in turn, accelerates growth in student outcomes.

“Great schools require great leadership,” said Harmony CEO Fatih Ay. “That’s why one of our highest priorities at Harmony Public Schools is to equip our principals and other school leaders with the tools they need to build cultures of achievement, character, and community at their campuses.”

Harmony was one of only 13 school systems in the country to receive the DOE grant and the largest of three Texas recipients.

“Great teachers deserve to be treated as the professionals they are and to be compensated accordingly,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement Wednesday, September 1. “All too often, though, they lack access to relevant professional development courses and are compensated on a step-scale ladder that treats them like cogs in a machine instead of as individuals with unique talents and interests. We’ve challenged today’s awardees to rethink all of that, and they have risen to the challenge.”

The new funding brings the total amount awarded to Harmony by the Department of Education within the past few years to $92.5 million. 

  • In 2012, the DOE awarded Harmony a $30 million Race to the Top grant to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers.
  • In 2016, the DOE awarded Harmony a $26.7 million Teacher Incentive Fund grant to develop a merit-based system for rewarding its highest-performing teachers. (The system, known as H-STEP, was foundational in Harmony being named to the Texas Education Agency’s inaugural class of Teacher Incentive Allotment districts in Fall 2020.)
  • In 2018, the DOE awarded Harmony an $8 million Education Innovation Research grant to  build upon Harmony’s project-based learning STEM model for Grade 6-12 students by introducing similar curricula to students in Grade K-5, and by creating a system of support and professional development for elementary school teachers.

“Great principals and school leaders, given their unique talents and devotion to their teachers and students, should receive the support they need to continue to be successful,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan. “Under the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program, the U.S. Department of Education provides assistance to school districts that are rethinking how to strengthen instructional leadership to make sure principals and leadership teams are well equipped to support their teachers and students. I look forward to seeing how the grant funds are utilized by Harmony Public Schools.”

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-born, Texas-wide public charter school system with campuses serving PreK-Grade 12 students in 23 cities across the state, including Greater Houston, DFW, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Odessa, Bryan, Beaumont, and the Rio Grande Valley. Harmony’s curriculum places a heavy focus on STEM skills, Character Education, project-based learning, and college readiness. In 2020, Harmony hadall 23 high school campuses named among the Best High Schools in America by U.S. News and World Report, 13 named to the Best STEM High Schools in America by Newsweek, and earned two National School of Character recognitions from Character.org.

Harmony Public Schools is currently accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year for both students and team members.

 

About Harmony Public Schools

Harmony Public Schools are 58 high performing PreK-12 college preparatory charter schools throughout Texas. Harmony blends the highest standards and expectations, with a rigorous math- and science-centered curriculum and dedicated and engaged teachers and families to cultivate excellence and prepare students to succeed in college, careers and life. At Harmony Public Schools, we believe every child can succeed, and we are committed to helping them realize their full potential. To learn more about Harmony Public Schools and our 58 campuses across Texas, please visit: www.harmonytx.org, and follow us on Twitter at @HarmonyEdu and ‘Like’ us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarmonyTexas.

Reading skills are foundational to educational success for all students.

Encouraging students to read more improves their skills and promotes a love of reading they can continue throughout their educational years and into adulthood.

That’s why Harmony Public Schools is hosting a fall Reading Challenge for all students in all campuses.

Join your classmates from across your campus and across the state from Monday, October 5, 2020 though Sunday, January 3, 2021 as together we show our love for reading and discover new and exciting ideas, authors, and stories through our favorite books.

Along the way, we’ll recognize our top readers and campuses each month, share favorite book picks, and ask for your reviews on some of your favorite reads.

The reading challenges by grade are:

Kindergarten – Grade 2
20 Books

Grade 3-5
10 Novels
3 Fiction
3 Nonfiction
1 Poetry
3 Student Choice

Grade 6-8
11 Novels
4 Fiction
4 Nonfiction
1 Poetry
2 Student Choice

Grade 9-12
12 Novels
4 Fiction
4 Nonfiction
1 Poetry
3 Student Choice

Share your favorite reads on social media by tagging Harmony and using the hashtag #HarmonyReads.

Families have enough to concentrate on these days without having to worry if their child has the tools they need to complete their schoolwork.

If your child doesn’t have consistent access to a computer device or the internet to complete schoolwork during virtual learning, Harmony Public Schools is here to help.

Beginning the first week of August, Harmony campuses across the state will be offering drive-by technology pickup days where families can pick up free computer devices and internet access solutions (ex. WiFi hot spot) for students to use to complete virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year.

Last spring, about 4,000 Harmony students took advantage of our device-lending program, or about 1-in-every-8 students.

Through these devices, students and families will be able to access Harmony’s new learning management program Schoology. Through Schoology, students will be able to interact with both teachers and peers in a more in-depth, interactive learning experience that includes both live and on-demand classes, academic tutoring, interventions services, parent-teacher conferencing, and even extracurricular activities.

Families will also have full access to grading, assignments, schedules, progress reports, and messaging with Schoology, placing all a family’s educational tools in one easy-to-use program.

Best of all, when the time to return to campus comes, the student’s Schoology account will follow them back to campus, easing the transition for students, families, and teachers.

To find out when your campus will host its technology pickup day, follow them on Facebook.

To learn more about Harmony’s 2020-2021 reopening plan, visit https://www.HarmonyTX.org/ReOpening.

 Harmony Public Schools will allow each family to choose whether to continue learning from home or return to campus for in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year, based on each family’s unique needs. Families can also switch between the two as local COVID-19 conditions or family situation changes.

The flexible learning plan was announced by Harmony CEO Fatih Ay in a letter to families.

“The best choice for Harmony in 2020-2021 is the choice that’s best for your family,” Fatih said. “While this flexible plan may be an uncommon approach, we firmly believe it is the right approach for families during these uncommon times.”

Families that choose at-home learning will have access to the same rigorous, academic environment that they have come to expect from their neighborhood Harmony campus, taught by teachers trained for educating and engaging students in a virtual environment.

Families who choose to send their students for in-person learning will find a safe and organized learning environment that they can feel comfortable sending their child to each day. This includes enhanced health  and sanitary protocols, as well as possible adjustments to daily routines to help keep all of our students and team members as safe as possible.

All students will continue to receive the same full academic and support services from their teachers, counselors, and school leaders that they would receive on-campus, including our English-language learners and students receiving Special Education services.

Helping to keep families connected regardless of their learning location is Harmony’s new, all-in-one learning management system Schoology. Through Schoology, students and families will have full access to instructional materials, assignments, grading, calendars, and parent messaging in one platform that follows them seamlessly from at-home to in-person learning and back, if needed.

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-born, Texas-wide public charter school system with campuses serving PreK-Grade 12 students in 23 cities across the state, including Greater Houston, DFW, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Odessa, Bryan, Beaumont, and the Rio Grande Valley. Harmony’s curriculum places a heavy focus on STEM skills, Character Education, project-based learning, and college readiness. 

Harmony Public Schools is currently accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year for both students and team members.

About Harmony Public Schools

Harmony Public Schools are 58 high performing PreK-12 college preparatory charter schools throughout Texas. Harmony blends the highest standards and expectations, with a rigorous math- and science-centered curriculum and dedicated and engaged teachers and families to cultivate excellence and prepare students to succeed in college, careers and life. At Harmony Public Schools, we believe every child can succeed, and we are committed to helping them realize their full potential. To learn more about Harmony Public Schools and our 58 campuses across Texas, please visit: www.harmonytx.org, and follow us on Twitter at @HarmonyEdu and ‘Like’ us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarmonyTexas.