Harmony Schools Approved by D.C. Charter School Board

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment


It is our honor to give you the good news. You can read the Washington Post piece here. You can also check out the tweets that were tweeted during yesterday’s meeting at the bottom of the page.

“The D.C. Public Charter School Board voted at its meeting Monday night to give conditional approval to Harmony Public Schools, which operates the largest charter chain in Texas.

Harmony plans to establish an elementary school focused on science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — that will grow one grade each year until it serves children in kindergarten through grade 12. Eventually, the organization hopes to operate several elementary and middle schools feeding into one stand-alone high school, Harmony Superintendent Soner Tarim said in an interview.

Members of the District’s charter school board said they were impressed by the hands-on and project-based learning they observed when they visited Harmony schools in Texas. Harmony’s strong academic record helped it win a $30 million Race to the Top grant from the Obama administration last year.

“I saw a lot of active learning, not just sitting and listening to the teacher,” said Darren Woodruff. “That was impressive and something that is really needed in the District of Columbia.”

Naomi DeVeaux, deputy executive director of the District’s charter school board, said the board’s staff had examined the allegations against Harmony but found no cause for concern or evidence that laws had been broken.

She said a wide range of officials spoke highly of Harmony, including officials at the U.S. Education Department, the Texas Education Agency, members of the Texas state board of education and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to educate children in the nation’s capital,” Harmony spokeswoman Julie Norton wrote in an e-mail. “Nationwide, there’s a need for STEM education and we’re excited and committed to providing a model in STEM education excellence for students in Washington, D.C.”

Harmony approval

Donna Garner Back to Her Defaming Ways

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

It seems Donna Garner has returned her defaming ways again. She wrote an article, where she clearly distorts and misinterprets the data about Harmony Public Schools.

As Harmony Schools Advoctes, we have obtained the “correct” information from Harmony officials. Here it is:

61% (23 out of 38) of HPS campuses have earned at least one distinction designation compared to 42% of all Texas campuses.

21% (8 out of 38) of HPS campuses earned distinctions in all three potential areas compared to 9% in Texas.

It is surprising to see how the above data are used in a negative manner. As for the claims about end-of-course tests and some students being told not to participate, we believe this is the worst part; very disrespectful to all the teachers and administrators on our campuses. Everyone is so great with test security. Below you can also find out the data about the number of teachers on H-1 visas.

Harmony Table

Once again, Donna Garner bites on granite! When she made a claim last time, her accusation was debunked. But she seems to have recovered from her latest embarrassment.

Harmony aims to replicate successful STEM education model in Washington, D.C.

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Harmony aims to replicate successful STEM education model in Washington, D.C.

(from Harmony press release)
Texas’ largest charter school operator applies for first charter outside of state
Houston, Texas – November 11, 2013 – Texas-based Harmony Public Schools (HPS) recently submitted an application for a charter in Washington, D.C., its first school outside of Texas. HPS operates 40 high performing K-12 college preparatory public charter schools throughout Texas and is headquartered in Houston.

If approved, Harmony School of Excellence-DC (HSE-DC) would open for 2014-2015 school year and bring HPS’ nationally recognized science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) model for educating college-ready students to the nation’s capital. HSE-DC would serve approximately 216 students in grades kindergarten through five the first year, adding a grade each subsequent year until it ultimately serves approximately 850 students in grades K-12.The application was submitted to the Washington, D.C., Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB).
“We believe Harmony has the education model and experience to provide Washington, D.C., students the opportunity to excel in STEM subjects in a safe, stimulating environment,” said Dr. Soner Tarim, CEO and Superintendent of HPS. “The nation’s economic success depends on a workforce proficient in STEM subjects and possessing the skills and capacity for innovation. Harmony’s model provides the education and critical thinking skills that students need to lead innovation in the future.”

Harmony’s philosophy is that excellence in math and science prepares youth to succeed in college, the workplace and the 21st century. Harmony’s model for success relies on challenging curriculum with project-based learning as part of the core studies, ongoing assessments that monitor student progress and a culture of high expectations. By recognizing that each child is unique, with special interests and abilities, Harmony can create student-centered education that caters to the individual and celebrates diversity.
Harmony Public Schools currently operates 40 campuses across Texas in mostly under-served communities. The HPS model works to close the achievement gap for minority populations, with students consistently excelling at STEM courses and performing higher than regional and state averages on standardized test scores. Harmony serves a diverse population of students, with each campus serving a student population representative of the community in which campuses are located.  System-wide, about 56 percent of Harmony’s students are eligible for free and reduced lunches and 80 percent are minority. More than 40,000 Texas students have been educated at Harmony since 2000.

Subscribe Harmony Students Advance in National VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Two Harmony students from Houston were chosen among 38 participants who wrote essays for the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition.

Every year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization hosts the Patriot’s Pen competition, a youth essay writing contest that engages students in grades 6-8 in researching and writing about a selected topic, helping them to form an understanding and appreciation of the service of our country’s veterans. The topic for the 2013-14 school year was “What Patriotism Means to Me”

This year, students at the Harmony School of Innovation-Houston worked with VFW Post 5619 to submit nearly 40 essays for consideration, and from that group Hasham D. and Vincent P. were selected as the first and third place winners respectively!

They will now advance to the next round of the competition in hopes of making it to the finals to win 1st place and the grand prize of $5000. HSI-Houston principal Mr. Bilal Ozen, assistant principal Mr. Huseyin Demirhan, teachers and the parents to Hasham and Vincent are all extremely proud of the students’ accomplishment.

For more information on the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, their mission and other activities, please visit http://www.vfw.org/home/

PASCO Partners With Harmony to Enrich Project Based Learning Program

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Global education technology company provides support to Harmony’s PBL initiative.

PASCO is the global expert in 21st century science education. For almost 50 years, we have been designing, developing and supporting innovative education technology solutions for primary, secondary, and university level science.

PASCO and its network of science education partners have assisted educators on both school-level and ministry-level projects in more than 100 countries around the world.

From the article:

” With the $30 million grant, Harmony has joined forces with PASCO scientific and strengthened their physics program, using the latest PASCO technology and physics apparatus. PASCO has supplied the schools with probeware, software, and data collection devices, as well as a rich Professional Development plan to support the program.”

Chromebook Roll-Outs at Harmony Campuses

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment


Students at Harmony Public Schools were all smiles this week as they finally received their own personal Chromebooks

This week, Harmony Public Schools had the honor of passing out Lenovo Chromebooks to all 6th-12th grade students.

This is just one of the many technological benefits students will receive as a result of the Race-To The-Top District Grant funding awarded to Harmony by the U.S. Department of Education.

In late 2012, Harmony Public Schools applied for and was chosen as one of the first charter systems to ever receive this award. More information about Harmony’s Race-to-the-Top Grant activities can be found here and here.

Waco Harmony Science Senior Wins Youth Citizenship Award

August 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Harmony Science Academy Waco gave us the good news.

Elyse Pravel loves math and robotics, but it’s the Harmony Science Academy student’s passion for helping others achieve that makes her stand out.

She was named the 33rd Outstanding Youth Citizenship Award winner during a luncheon Monday at the Waco Lions Den. The Rotary Club of Waco and the Tribune-Herald co-sponsor the awards.

The University of Texas-bound senior spends three hours Tuesday evenings as a mentor with the College Readiness Leadership Program. The program assists eighth- and ninth-grade girls in preparing for college life, Pravel said.

Read more here


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