OPEN HOUSE

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/65402

 

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/8f0th

The HPS Central Texas District will be hosting a Fall 2021 District Safety Meeting. 

If interested, please join the zoom link at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

 

If your student is struggling in a subject, or just has a question about tonight’s homework assignment, Harmony Public Schools has a solution.

Harmony is proud to now offer free tutoring 24/7 with TutorMe.

Through TutorMe, students in Grades 3-12 have free, 24/7 online access to verified experts in more than 300 fields.

Check out the video below to learn more, or look for the TutorMe option inside Clever in your family’s MyHarmony Portal account.

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/z2rjk

Giving Day is November 30, 2021

Giving Day is November 30, 2021

Giving Day is Tuesday, November 30th

Please consider supporting Harmony students and their families by donating to our newest family outreach program, HARMONY GIVES. Harmony Gives is a compassion project from Harmony Public Schools which provides extra assistance and resources to students and families struggling with a variety of crises that fall outside the traditional school support model. Make a monthly or one-time donation at HarmonyTX.org/HarmonyGives to Harmony Central Texas.

Anyone who gives $25 or more will receive a Pop It Toy.

Anyone who gives will be added to a raffle for a Nintendo Switch (1 winner per district)

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El Día de Dar es el martes, 30th de noviembre
Por favor considere apoyar a los estudiantes de Harmony y a sus familias donando a nuestro programa servicio de asistencia, HARMONY GIVES. Harmony Gives es un proyecto de compasión de las Escuelas Públicas de Harmony que proporciona ayuda y recursos adicionales a estudiantes y familias que luchan con una variedad de crisis que caen fuera del modelo tradicional de apoyo escolar. Haga una donación mensual o una sola vez en HarmonyTX.org/HarmonyGives a Harmony Central Texas.

Cualquier persona que da $25 o más recibirá un juguete Pop It.

Cualquier persona que dé se añadirá a una rifa para un Nintendo Switch (1 ganador por distrito)

Weekly School Newsletter

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/aq0mp

One of the questions we hear most from prospective parents interested in applying to Harmony Public Schools is “I’ve been looking at schools near me, but I don’t understand – what is the difference between a charter school and an ISD public school?” 

Public charter schools have grown exponentially in the past 25 years – both in Texas, and around the country – but we understand why many parents who grew up in a traditional independent school district setting themselves may still have questions.

That’s OK. We’ve got the answers to all of your biggest questions about charter schools.

So, what exactly is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school, and in many ways very similar to a traditional ISD school as you might think of one.

  • Charter schools do not charge tuition or application fees.
  • Charter schools accept every student who applies, as long as the school or grade level has not reached its enrollment capacity.
  • Charter school students take the same core classes and state tests (ex. STAAR) as ISD students. 
  • Charter schools are held to strict standards of financial and overall accountability by the Texas Education Agency.
  • Charter schools offer a full range of special services, including special education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Dyslexia, and 504. 

However, what makes charter schools different is what we believe makes them special. In a word, that difference is “choice.”

Way back in 1995, the Texas State Legislature decided that even though there were a lot of great schools in Texas, a one-size-fits-all approach to education might not work for all families. Each child is unique: some with special gifts, others with special challenges, and all with special dreams for their futures.

To help better serve every Texas student, the Texas public charter school system was created to allow independent, education-based nonprofit organizations called Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) to open and operate free public schools for Texas students with the promise that they would provide a new school choice in education for local Texas families.

For some charter schools, that new choice might be a curriculum that focuses on dual-language learning. For others, it might be helping students who have dropped out of the traditional school setting reclaim their path to graduation.

At Harmony Public Schools, we specialize in hands-on, project-based learning with a heavy emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as advanced college preparedness and character education.


DID YOU KNOW?

Of the roughly 100 schools in Texas certified as official Texas STEM Academies be the Texas Education Agency, 23 are Harmony Public Schools high schools – more than any other school system in Texas!

Thirteen Harmony high schools have also been named among the Best STEM High Schools in the U.S. by Newsweek.


 

Who can attend a charter school?

As long as a student lives within its geographic boundaries of the school, any child can attend a Texas public charter school. However, unlike traditional ISD schools where students usually must attend whichever nearby campus they are “zoned” to, public charter school geographic boundaries are generally very large – often covering multiple communities or counties. These large geographic boundaries are another way Texas public charter schools offer Texas families a choice in their student’s education, and are unique from traditional ISDs. For example, rather than sending their child to an ISD campus near their home address, a parent may prefer for their child to attend a school near a grandparent’s home, or the parent’s place of work. Or they may prefer to send their child to a campus that specializes in a specific curriculum, like STEM, or with a higher TEA accountability rating than their neighborhood ISD school. All of these are options with Texas public charter schools.

Do public charter schools charge tuition?

Texas public charter schools are free to attend. Applying to a Texas public charter school is also free.

How do charter schools choose who gets to attend?

They don’t. Charter school students are never “cherry picked” from an applicant pool. Any student who applies to attend a charter school will be accepted, so long as they meet three basic criteria:

  1. They live within the schools geographic boundaries;
  2. They are applying to a grade taught by that specific school;
  3. Available seats are open in the grade-level to which the family is applying. At Harmony, if more students apply than there are available openings, the campus will hold a “blind” lottery to ensure fair an equal opportunity for enrollment to all new applicants.

RELATED: Learn more about Harmony Public School’s application, enrollment and lottery processes

When and how can a student apply to a charter school?

A student can apply to a charter school at any time during the school year and be accepted if space is available. However, most Texas public charter schools also offer an open enrollment period each year specifically for prospective new students. During this time, families can learn more about their charter school options and enter their name for the enrollment lottery, which is held in the event there are more applicants than available seats. For Harmony Public Schools, open enrollment runs each November 1 through February 10. 

MORE INFO: Learn more about how to apply to Harmony Public Schools.

How is a charter school funded?

As opposed to a traditional ISD school, which receives its funding primarily from the taxes local homeowners pay each year combined with additional funding from the state, charter schools receive their primary funding from the state and federal governments. Additionally, charters often receive both public and private grants to fund many of their innovative academic programs. For example, in recent years Harmony Public Schools has received grants of varying amounts from the U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the Elon Musk Foundation, among others.

Are Texas public charter schools for-profit?

No. By law, Texas public charter schools must be nonprofit entities. All funds received are used in the service of our students and school teams.

Do charter schools require uniforms?

That’s a decision that’s up to each charter school. At Harmony Public Schools, we do have a uniform policy. (Our students do get regular “free dress” days, though.)

Do charter schools offer the same types of programs and extracurricular activities as ISD schools?

Charter schools offer almost all of the same programs and extracurricular activities as ISD schools, though just like at an ISD school, the exact selection of extracurricular opportunities varies from campus-to-campus. Traditionally, charter schools specialize in offering a wide variety of academic-focused extracurriculars. For example, at Harmony Public Schools, some of our most popular extracurricular activities are our groundbreaking eSports clubs, LEGO robotics, rocketry, computer coding, and biomedicine. Our schools also compete in a wide variety of sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, and football. 

What level accountability do charter schools have to maintain?

Just like traditional ISDs, Texas charter schools must remain in good academic and financial accountability with the Texas Education Agency. That includes annual inclusion in the TEA’s Financial Integrity System of Texas (FIRST) and Overall Accountability ratings. Charter schools that do not meet these standards face closure by the TEA. Finally, to help families easily understand how their charter school is performing, the TEA has created a Charter School Performance Framework (CSPF), which grades charter districts on overall academic performance and closing achievement gaps.

What other differences are there between charter schools and traditional ISD schools?

There are a few other differences between Texas public charter schools and ISDs, but most don’t impact the day-to-day campus life of our students. For example, charter school boards consist of appointed volunteers with a unique interest in education, rather than private individuals who have chosen to run for election. However, charter school board meetings are still open to the public to attend and participate.

What about …?

We couldn’t possibly share all the things that make charter schools a unique and important part of the Texas educational environment in just one article. So if you have more questions, we’d love the opportunity to tell you more. Just tell us what you want to know in our Let’s Talk family communication platform, and we’ll reach out with an answer soon!


Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/xs8bw

Weekly School Newsletter

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk:

https://www.smore.com/us70z

Weekly School Newsletter

Weekly School Newsletter

Here is this week’s Hawk Talk.

https://www.smore.com/ynkm5

This year every child at Harmony Public Schools is eligible to receive free lunch and breakfast each day from our child nutrition team.
However, Harmony would like to remind parents of the need to still submit one of our critical Harmony forms instead of the application normally associated with qualifying for Free & Reduced Price Meal Programs.
Each year, Harmony Public Schools is required to collect and report the socioeconomic status of each student to the Texas Education Agency for purposes of the annual state accountability ratings and for federal reporting. The data collected is used by educational agencies to determine funding which may be used for a variety of programs and educational opportunities.
Today, we are asking parents to please complete the online form “Household Income Information” in Skyward. Upon login to Skyward, this form is accessible from the main screen. If you have any questions, please contact the Child Nutrition Assistant at your child’s school.

 

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott officially signed into law a new education funding bill that will allow public schools like ours to offer full virtual learning to up to 10 percent of our student body enrolled in Grades K-12.

 

Under the law, to be eligible to participate and remain in virtual learning, students must meet all of the following criteria:

 

  • Students must have passed the most recent STAAR exams (if applicable to grade level). If student did not take STAAR, NWEA grade-level proficiency is required, AND;
  • Students must have earned a “C” grade of higher in “foundation curriculum” courses taken virtually or remotely in the previous school year (ex. Math, reading), AND;
  • Students must have no more than 10% unexcused absences during the previous school year, and maintain less than 10 unexcused absences in a six-month period.

 

Recently, we asked families to log into Skyward to let us know if they prefer for their child to attend virtual learning or continue in-person learning on campus. The deadline to make your selection is Wednesday September 15, 2021. For those who select “Virtual Learning,” we will cross-checking their student records to determine their eligibility status. Those selected will be notified by their home campus soon and given further directions on how to begin online learning.

 

For those not selected for virtual learning or who wish to remain in-person learning from campus, Harmony will continue to offer its “remote conferencing” option on an as-needed basis. Under this program, students can learn from home for up to 20 instructional days if they have a pre-existing medical condition, or are forced to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure. Additional days may be granted upon TEA approval with required documentation.

 

Harmony thanks you for your ongoing support and patience as the situation regarding virtual learning unfolded these past few weeks. Whether your student is attending virtual or in-person, we look forward to a great school year with you and your family.

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La semana pasada, el gobernador Greg Abbott promulgó oficialmente una nueva ley de financiación de la educación que permitirá a las escuelas públicas como la nuestra ofrecer aprendizaje virtual completo para hasta el 10 por ciento de nuestros estudiantes.

 

En consecuencia, Harmony Public Schools se complace en anunciar que comenzará a ofrecer una opción de aprendizaje virtual a partir del lunes 4 de octubre para los estudiantes elegibles, según lo permitan los límites de inscripción.

 

Según la ley, para ser elegible para participar y permanecer en el aprendizaje virtual, los estudiantes deben cumplir con todos los siguientes criterios:

 

 

  • Los estudiantes deben haber aprobado los exámenes STAAR más recientes (si corresponde al nivel de grado). Si el estudiante no hizo STAAR, se requiere competencia de nivel de grado de NWEA, Y;

 

  • Los estudiantes deben haber obtenido una calificación “C” o superior en los cursos del “plan de estudios básico” hechos de forma virtual o remota en el año escolar anterior (por ejemplo, matemáticas, lectura), Y;

 

  • Los estudiantes no deben tener más del 10% de ausencias injustificadas durante el año escolar anterior y mantener menos de 10 ausencias injustificadas en un período de seis meses.

 

Recientemente, les pedimos a las familias que inicien sesión en Skyward para informarnos si prefieren que su hijo asista al aprendizaje virtual o que continúe con el aprendizaje presencial en el campus. La fecha límite para hacer su selección es el miércoles 15 de septiembre de 2021. Para aquellos que seleccionen “Aprendizaje virtual”, verificaremos sus registros de estudiantes para determinar su estado de elegibilidad. Los seleccionados serán notificados por su campus de origen pronto y se les dará más instrucciones sobre cómo comenzar el aprendizaje en línea. 

 

Para aquellos que no hayan sido seleccionados para el aprendizaje virtual o que deseen seguir aprendiendo de manera presencial desde el campus, Harmony continuará ofreciendo su opción de “conferencias remotas” según sea necesario. Bajo este programa, los estudiantes pueden aprender desde casa durante hasta 20 días de instrucción si tienen una afección médica preexistente o si se ven obligados a ponerse en cuarentena debido a un diagnóstico positivo o exposición a la COVID-19. Se pueden otorgar días adicionales con la aprobación de la TEA con la documentación requerida.

 

Gracias por su continuo apoyo y paciencia mientras se desarrolló el aprendizaje virtual estas últimas semanas. Ya sea que su estudiante asista virtual o presencialmente, esperamos tener un gran año escolar con usted y su familia.