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.

– – –

 

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.

 

Dear Harmony Families,

Today, we would like to share some important news regarding a potential virtual learning option at your child’s school.

This weekend, a new bill to fund virtual learning in Texas public schools like Harmony cleared a major hurdle in the Texas Legislature. In its current form, schools such as Harmony Public Schools would be allowed to provide virtual learning for up to 10 percent of its student body throughout the remainder of the school year.

While the bill has not received final approval and specific details may change before being signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, it now appears very likely that schools like ours will be able to offer virtual learning in some form to students in the near future and we are looking forward to offering comprehensive virtual learning to our student population during 2021-2022 school year.

Currently, in your child’s Skyward account is a form asking your family’s interest in virtual learning. We ask that you please complete this virtual learning application form as soon as you are able. While we may not be able to accommodate every request due to potential new legal restrictions on the number of students who can participate, by understanding your preference we will be able to more quickly assign students to virtual learning should it become an option.

We will continue to share important updates with you as new information becomes available.

Thank you.

 

 

Estimadas familias de Harmony,

Hoy, no nos gustaría compartie algunas noticias importantes sobre una posible opción de aprendizaje virtual en la escuela de sus hijos. Este fin de semana, un nuevo proyecto de ley para financiar el aprendizaje virtual en escuelas públicas de Texas como Harmony eliminó un obstáculo importante en la Legislatura de Texas. En su forma actual, las Escuelas Públicas de Harmony podrían proporcionar aprendizaje virtual para hasta el 10 por ciento de su cuerpo estudiantil durante el resto del año escolar.

Aunque el proyecto no ha recibido la aprobación final y unos detalles específicos pueden cambiar antes de set convertida en lay por en gobernador, Greg Abbott, ahora parece muy probable que las escuelas como la nuestra puedan ofrecer aprendizaje virtual de alguna forma a los estudiantes en un futuro cercano y esperamos ofrecer un aprendizaje virtual integral a nuestra población estudiantil durante la escuela 2021-2022 año.

Actualmente, en la cuenta de Skyward de si hijo o hija hay un formulario que pregunta el interés de su familia en el aprendizaje virtual. Le pedimos que complete este formulario de solicitud de aprendizaje virtual tan pronto como pueda. Si bien es posible que no podamos atender todas las solicitudes debido a posibles nuevas restricciones legales sobre la cantidad de estudiantes que pueden participar, al comprender su preferencia, podremos asignar estudiantes más rápidamente al aprendizaje virtual si se convierte en una opción.

Continuaremos compartiendo actualizaciones importantes con usted a medida que haya nueva información disponible.

Gracias.

On Saturday, the HPS executive board approved a recommendation allowing all regular employees 10 additional days of paid leave should they test positive for COVID-19 or be asked to quarantine due to  close contact with another COVID-19 positive individual.

 

The benefit is available retroactively to August 2 (first day of 2021-22 school year), and extends through December 31, 2021. 

 

Employees with additional questions or who need to request leave for any purpose should contact leave@harmonytx.org.

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Today, we would like to inform you of important education option for your family if you believe your student may have experienced significant academic losses during the 2020-2021 school year.

This summer, the 87th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 1697, which allows parents and guardians to elect for a student to repeat a grade or retake a high school course.

This gives parents or guardians the right to opt for their child to:

  • repeat pre-kindergarten or enroll in pre-kindergarten if the child was eligible to enroll in pre-kindergarten in the previous school year and has not yet enrolled in kindergarten;
  • repeat kindergarten; or enroll in kindergarten if the child would have enrolled in kindergarten in the previous school year and has not yet enrolled in first grade; and
  • for grades one through three, repeat the grade the student was enrolled in during the previous school year.

For the 2021-2022 school year only, parents or guardians have the right to opt for their child:

  • for grades four through eight, repeat the grade the student was enrolled in during the 2020-2021 school year; and
  • for courses taken for high school credit, repeat any course in which the student was enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year.

When determining whether these options may be right for your student, here are some things which may be helpful to consider:

  • For children in grades 1-8, repeating may be right for your child if he/she struggled learning while remaining virtual most of the year.
  • For students who took high school courses, repeating one or more courses may be right for your child if he/she struggled in a foundational course (e.g. Algebra I or computer science) and is worried about being successful in higher-level courses.
  • If a high school student received a passing grade for the course they are requesting to repeat, they will keep their original grade on their transcript.
  • For children interested in high school interscholastic competition, parents and guardians should review eligibility rulesbased on student age.

According to the new law, parents or guardians are required to notify the district in writing (letter or email to school principal) if they elect for their child to retake a grade level or course.

By law, if a district disagrees, the district must convene a retention committee and meet with the parent or guardian to discuss the proposed retention.

After the parent/ guardian has participated in the retention committee meeting, the parent or guardian will decide if the student will be retained.

For more information or to request retention for your student, please contact your campus administration.

Thank you.

  • Harmony Public Schools

 

Additional information is available at: https://tea.texas.gov/repeatgrade and https://tea.texas.gov/restartkinder

The following is a message from Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay.

 

Dear Harmony Families,

Like many of you, we at Harmony Public Schools are greatly concerned by the rise in COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant.

At Harmony, we are working diligently to keep our schools safe and provide families the tools they need to keep their child protected from COVID-19.

Today, we would like to share with you several important updates regarding Harmony’s COVID-19 policy and procedures.

First, we would like to announce that we will be offering a TEA-approved “remote conferencing” option that will allow students a limited ability to attend classes from home if they are sick, have been exposed to COVID-19, or in a COVID-19 high-risk group.

Per TEA requirement, the total amount of time for remote instruction may not exceed more than 20 instructional days for the entire 2021-22 school year. In order to be eligible, students must meet one of the criteria below:

  • The student is unable to attend school because of a temporary medical condition that is documented by a physician licensed to practice in the United States. 
    • The student’s healthcare provider is required to complete and sign an HPS COVID-19 High Risk Exemption Medical Certification form. Parents need to submit the form to the school health aide to confirm eligibility.  Failure to provide the completed form will disqualify a student from participating. Here is the link to download exemption application form: https://www.HarmonyTX.org/medicalrequest
  • The student has a positive test result for a communicable condition  listed in state regulations at 25 Tex. Admin. Code §97.7. Parents need to provide test results to the school health aide listing the communicable condition. This includes a positive test result for COVID-19.
  • The student has been identified as having been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual as confirmed by the school, the student’s health care provider, or local health agency.  Parents need to provide written notification or send email to the school health aide.

Next, we would like to share an update regarding contact tracing and reporting of potential COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Although it is not required for schools to conduct contract tracing and inform parents if someone in their child’s class had tested positive for COVID-19, we believe families have the right to know what is happening at their child’s school. That’s why we will continue to implement the following measures.

We will:

  • Inform parents if a child or team member tests positive for COVID-19 in their classroom.
  • Conduct contact tracing to determine the potential spread of COVID-19 in our schools.
  • Provide transparency to the public about our schools by continuing to update our COVID-19 “case count” dashboard, which can be found at www.HarmonyTX.org/coviddashboard.
  • Continue to work with local pharmacies and community health organizations to host on-campus vaccination clinics for team members and eligible students age 12 and older. (Please follow your campus Facebook page and parents newsletter for more info about upcoming campus clinics near you.)

Finally, we understand that a full remote learning option is something some of our families are highly interested in.  Currently, state leaders in the Texas Legislature are convening in Austin to vote on whether they will allow districts to offer full virtual learning.

We don’t yet know what the decision of the Texas Legislature will be, or how long it may take to reach that decision.

 What we do know is that an option for virtual learning is an important issue to our Harmony families across the state. That’s why, despite the challenges schools across Texas have faced in offering virtual learning this fall, we are fully prepared to quickly move to a virtual option for those families interested, should state leaders approve this option.

We will continue to keep you updated as new developments occur.

Thank you for your support and collaboration throughout this process, and for being a part of our Harmony family.

Sincerely,

Fatih Ay | CEO, Harmony Public Schools

The following is a list of questions commonly asked by parents and students about the start of the 2021-22 school year at Harmony Public Schools.

For more information, visit https://www.HarmonyTX.org/playbook.

Harmony Public Schools
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:  Will Harmony Public Schools offer virtual learning this year?

A:  No. Harmony will return to  face to face instruction  at all campuses for the 21-22 school year as mandated by the Texas Education Agency. We are excited to have our students back in the classroom and will continue to support their social, emotional, and academic growth.

Q:  What will on-campus instruction look like for this year?

A:  Just as before the pandemic, students will attend in-person learning  according to the academic calendar. This calendar can be found on your campus website.  Teachers will provide in-person learning, which includes hands-on activities, small group projects and intervention, station rotations, teacher one-on-one support, etc.

Q:  What COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for students and teachers?

A:  Face masks are optional for both students and Harmony team members, but are strongly recommended.  Physical distancing may be maintained to the extent possible.  Hand sanitizer will be provided, and students will be encouraged to practice frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, and physical distancing.  Teachers will sanitize high-touch areas in the classroom when necessary.  Because the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, we may update protocols as the situation dictates.

Q:  My child struggled with virtual learning, and I am concerned they are academically behind.  How will Harmony help my child regain academic progress?

A:  We understand that some students struggled last year.  Our educational teams are here to diagnose learning loss and provide an intervention plan to address it.  This will include regular Response to Intervention (RTI) system implementation, after school tutoring, small group instruction, Saturday school, and summer school options.

Q:  My child excelled with virtual learning last year.  Will they be academically challenged this year?

A:  Yes!  We will continue to provide rigorous instruction with differentiated options for students including emphasis on college and career readiness.

Q:  Will extracurricular activities resume this year?

A:  Yes!  We anticipate all extracurricular activities to resume for students, including academic clubs, athletics, fine arts, UIL, competitions, etc. Check the Clubs page of your campus website throughout the year for new clubs and extracurriculars.

Q:  After a year out of the classroom, how will students and staff be supported in transitioning back to a social setting?

A:  Harmony will provide mental health support to our students and staff during and after the back to school transition period.  Each campus will utilize a Behavioral Counselor and implement support systems to ensure all students and staff receive the help they need.

Q:  Where can I apply for free or reduced price meals?

A:  All students eat FREE this year at all schools! Your child will automatically receive their free meal(s) each day in your campus cafeteria. You may, however, still be asked to complete a Free & Reduced Meal eligibility form once the school year starts, as this plays a crucial role in determining the amount of federal and state funding your child’s school may receive.

Q:  What safety protocols will be in place during breakfast and lunch?

A:  Cafeteria teams will continue to clean and sanitize dining areas.  Physical distancing will be maintained to the extent possible.  Students will sanitize their hands before and after eating, and will not be allowed to share food or utensils.  Harmony will maintain adult supervision in the cafeteria to reinforce mealtime safety measures.

Q:  Will water fountains be available for students?

A:  Students will have access to touchless water fountains and are encouraged to bring their own reusable clear water bottles to use throughout the day.  Water bottles should be taken home daily to be cleaned.

Q:  What if my child displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at school?

A:  The teacher will immediately call the Health Aide, who will pick up the student from the classroom and place the student in isolation to minimize interaction.  The school Health Aide will communicate with the parent/guardian, and the student will be sent home.  The student may not return to school until clearance is given by the school Health Aide.  Additional guidance on the criteria that must be met prior to the student’s return to school is located in the Harmony Public Schools Back to School Playbook, 2021-2022.

Q:  Should I notify the school if my child tested positive for COVID-19 or was in close contact with someone who tested positive?

A:  Yes, families will self-report within 48 hours to the Health Aide if their child(ren) tested positive for COVID-19 or if they believe the child(ren) has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Q:  How will I be notified if my child is exposed to COVID-19 at school?

A:  If classroom exposure occurs, families will be notified via letter home, call, or school messaging services and the classroom will be sanitized.

Q:  May I visit my child’s school?

A:  Harmony always welcomes visitors to campuses and district offices, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic we will implement some limitations to minimize risk.  Visitors will check in through the front office security system, and we will continue utilization of temperature checks.  All visitors should complete a self-check before entering a school building, and visitors with COVID symptoms should NOT enter school buildings or offices.

 

 

The Harmony Public Schools Executive Board unanimously approved a systemwide compensation increase for its 4,000+ teachers and team members across Texas.

Harmony teachers and other education professionals will receive between $4,000-$7,500 per year in additional compensation beginning the 2021-22 school year for a total annual system investment of roughly $15 million.
“The obstacles our schools have overcome the past two years have shown the profound impact that highly-qualified, highly-dedicated teachers can have on positive student outcomes,” Harmony CEO Fatih Ay said. “Opportunities like this are just one way we are showing our appreciation for all that our team members have contributed the past two years and for all the hard work still to come.”

The compensation increase comes in two parts:

A $2,000-$5,500 base pay increase for teachers and education professionals. The exact amount varies by community based on local market pay scales (see chart below).

A $2,000 across-the-board “Acceleration Stipend” for all teachers and professional employees.

All non-exempt (i.e. hourly) employees also will receive a raise of at least $1/hour, with some employees receiving $2/hour or more increases depending on position and location. With these increases, no full-time hourly worker in the Harmony system will earn less than $15/hour.

The increase was the third occasion in the past two school years in which Harmony announced a major improvement to employee compensation and benefits.

In January 2021, Harmony announced a sweeping upgrade of its employer-paid benefits that provided free vision and dental plans to all full-time employees, introduced matching retirement plan contributions for 403(b) and (457(b) participants, and increased life insurance payouts from $20,000 to $100,000.

In Summer 2019, Harmony also announced statewide base pay increases for employees ranging from $3,500-$5,000, as well as additional stipends for teachers working in hard-to-staff subjects.

Harmony also was selected by the Texas Education Agency in 2020 among its first round of Teacher Incentive Allotment recipients, which provided annual bonuses for a select group of high-performing educators.

“Our teachers are always looking for new ways to invest in their students, so it’s important to Harmony as a school system to always find new opportunities to invest in our teachers,” Ay said. “Whether its compensation or benefits increases like these, or professional development opportunities that help team members grow their personal skillset or advance their careers, we believe that an investment in our people is among the best investments we can make.”

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 2021-2022 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.

This letter is for families with:

• Children who are certified for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
• Children who attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 (P2) school that offers free meals to all students.*
• Children born after Aug. 1, 2014, in families who received SNAP benefits for at least one month between October 2020 and June 2021.
*Contact your child’s school if you have questions about the school’s participation in these programs.

If you do not meet at least one of the requirements listed above, your child is not eligible for the P-EBT benefits described below.

Enrolled students (up to 21 years of age) in families that temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals for the 2020–2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). P-EBT benefits can be used to buy food from any retailer that accepts the Lone Star Card.

The application for P-EBT will open June 2, 2021. Go to yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/PEBT to apply.

The application link is case-sensitive. The deadline to apply is Aug. 13, 2021.

Who Needs to Apply?
A parent/guardian must apply if eligible child is:

o Enrolled in K-12 and NOT part of a family who received SNAP benefits for at least one
month between August 2020 and June 2021.

o Born on or before Aug. 1, 2014, and is part of a family who received SNAP benefits for the first time during the 2020–2021 school year in May or June 2021.
• A parent/guardian does not have to apply if eligible child is:
o Born on or before Aug. 1, 2014, and is part of a family who received SNAP benefits for at least one month between August 2020 and April 2021.
o Born after Aug. 1, 2014, and is part of a family who received SNAP benefits for at least one month between October 2020 and June 2021.
For more information about eligibility, applying and getting your P-EBT benefits, visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt, or call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–6
p.m. Central time.

Esta carta es para las familias con:
• Niños que están aprobados para recibir comidas gratuitas o a precio reducido a través del Programa Nacional de Almuerzos Escolares (NSLP).
• Niños que asisten a una escuela beneficiaria de la Cláusula de Elegibilidad Comunitaria (CEP) o a una escuela de la Cláusula 2 (P2) que ofrece comidas gratuitas a todos los estudiantes.*
• Niños nacidos después del 1 de agosto de 2014 en familias que recibieron beneficios de SNAP durante al menos un mes entre octubre de 2020 y junio de 2021.
*Comuníquese con la escuela de su hijo si tiene preguntas sobre la participación de la escuela en estos programas.
Si usted no cumple con al menos uno de los requisitos mencionados anteriormente, su hijo no puede recibir los beneficios de P-EBT descritos a continuación.

Estimado padre o tutor,

Los estudiantes matriculados (hasta los 21 años de edad) de familias que perdieron temporalmente el acceso a las comidas escolares gratuitas o de precio reducido para el año escolar 2020-2021 debido a la pandemia de COVID-19 podrían reunir los requisitos para recibir la Transferencia Electrónica de Beneficios durante la Pandemia (P-EBT). Los beneficios de P-EBT pueden usarse para comprar alimentos en cualquier tienda que acepte la tarjeta Lone Star.

La presentación de solicitudes para P-EBT se abrirá el 2 de junio de 2021. Visite yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/PEBT (en inglés) para presentar la solicitud. El enlace para la solicitud distingue entre mayúsculas y minúsculas. La fecha límite para presentar la solicitud es el 13 de agosto de 2021.

¿Quién debe presentar la solicitud?
Un padre o tutor deberá presentar la solicitud si el niño que reúne los requisitos:
o Está matriculado en K-12 y NO pertenece a una familia que recibió beneficios de SNAP durante al menos un mes entre agosto de 2020 y junio de 2021.
o Nació el 1 de agosto de 2014 o antes y pertenece a una familia que recibió beneficios de SNAP por primera vez durante el año escolar 2020-2021 en mayo o junio de 2021.
• Un padre o tutor no tiene que presentar la solicitud si el niño que reúne los requisitos:
o Nació el 1 de agosto de 2014 o antes y pertenece a una familia que recibió beneficios de SNAP durante al menos un mes entre agosto de 2020 y abril de 2021.
o Nació después del 1 de agosto de 2014 y pertenece a una familia que recibió beneficios de SNAP durante al menos un mes entre octubre de 2020 y junio de 2021.
Para más información sobre los requisitos, la presentación de la solicitud y cómo recibir sus beneficios de P-EBT, visite hhs.texas.gov/es/pebt, o llame al Centro de llamadas de P-EBT al 833-442-1255, de lunes a viernes, de 8 a.m. a 6 p.m. hora del centro.

 

 

Harmony Public Schools is excited to announce a new partnership with Texas’ favorite designer jewelry brand Kendra Scott.
As part of the brand’s “Shop for Good” community initiative, Kendra Scott will be donating 20 percent of all sales during a two-day event in May to Harmony’s COVID-19 Gap Fund, which supports Harmony Public Schools students experiencing learning gaps due to COVID-19.

To participate, simply purchase any item from select Kendra Scott stores from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 or online at KendraScott.com anytime May 4 & 5, and have 20% of your purchase automatically donated to the HPS COVID-19 Gap Fund when you use promo code “GIVEBACK-1D9P” at checkout.

To learn more or RSVP in order to receive reminders, visit https://www.HarmonyTX.org/KendraScott.
Participating Texas store locations include (5-7 p.m. May 4 only):

AUSTIN
• The Domain: 11506 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX
• Lamar: 3800 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
• South Congress: 1701 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX

DFW
• ClearFork: 5217 Marathon Ave, Fort Worth, TX
• Preston Center: 8383 Preston Center, Dallas, TX
• Highland Village: 1500 Cottonwood Creek, Highland Village, TX
• Plano: 5800 Legacy Dr, Plano, TX

EL PASO
• La Villita: 6801 North Mesa Street, El Paso, TX

HOUSTON
• Bay Brook: 700 Baybrook Mall, Friendswood, TX
• City Centre: 806 Town & Country, Houston, TX
• Cypress: 9945 Barker Cypress, Cypress, TX
• Highland Village: 2701 A Drexel Dr Houston, TX
• Katy: 23501 Cinco Ranch, Katy, TX
• Sugar Land: 16535 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX

ODESSA
• Commons at North Park: 2900 Loop 250 Frontage Road, Midland, TX

SAN ANTONIO
• The Quarry: 310 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX
• La Cantera: 15900 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX

SHOP ONLINE USING PROMO CODE GIVEBACK-1D9P (May 4 & 5):
https://www.KendraScott.com

About Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott is a leading jewelry brand named for its founder Kendra Scott, a single mom from Texas who created a fashion empire by making and selling jewelry from her home. The brand now has store locations in almost every state and three countries (though their headquarters are still right here in Texas). Their founder is also well known for her frequent appearances as an investor on TV’s “Shark Tank.”

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.

 

Teachers and other staff members of Harmony Public Schools will receive a major upgrade to their employer-paid benefits package after the Harmony Public Schools Executive Board unanimously approved a sweeping new benefits expansion.

 

The package will go into effect later this spring with the start of Harmony’s annual benefits enrollment period, and includes new employer-paid benefits related to health care, retirement, and life insurance.

 

“The past year, the world has seen the true value of our teachers and team members in a way they never have before,” Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay said. “These professionals who take such good care of our students deserve to know that they are being taken care of, as well – both their immediate needs and their long-term needs. So we are excited to be able to offer them an additional set of benefits that saves them money on their health care costs each month, while also helping them prepare for their retirement down the road.”

 

The new benefits include:

 

MATCHING RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS: Exempt employees can receive 100% matching contribution to employee 403(b) and/or 457(b) plan, up to $1,500 annually depending on tenure of service. This is in addition to employee’s TRS Retirement System Benefits.

 

  • Previously: No employer matching contribution. 

 

FREE VISION: Free vision care for employees.

 

  • Previously: Employee-paid supplemental benefit.

 

FREE DENTAL: Free dental care for employees. 

  • Previously: Employee-paid supplemental benefit.

INCREASED FREE LIFE INSURANCE POLICY: Free $100,000 life insurance policy for all Exempt employees.

 

  • Previously: Free $20,000 life insurance policy.

 

The package amounts to a roughly $2.4 million estimated increase in annual expenditure on employer-paid benefits for the Texas-based school system. However, Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay said the investment was worth it because of the positive impact on employee quality of life, work-life balance, and workplace satisfaction.

 

“The investments with the best returns are always the investment made in people,” Ay said. “We’ll continue to make these kinds of investments on behalf of our employees as often as we can.” 

 

The expansion was the fourth major announcement related to employee benefits made by Harmony in the past year. The school system also announced two employee bonuses last year, as well as a promise to continue independently offering the now-expired federal COVID-19 leave benefits for impacted employees.

 

For a full list of Harmony Public Schools employer-paid and supplemental benefits, please visit https://www.harmonytx.org/benefits.

 

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.

 

 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, September 21, 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
12 Novels
4 Fiction
4 Nonfiction
1 Poetry
3 Student Choice

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

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

Note: This document is intended as a simplified version of our Harmony Public Schools “Back to School Playbook 2020-2021.” For further information or clarification on any topic, please refer to the Playbook.

 

When will campuses re-open?

As of August 1, 2020, campuses are scheduled to open Tuesday, September 8 for in-person learning to those students who wish to attend in person. Families may also elect to continue learning in a virtual setting from home. 

 

Could the campus reopening date change?

Possibly. Harmony Public Schools is closely following guidance from the Texas Education Agency, public health officials, and others in determining when to reopen our campuses. Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our students, team members, and communities while preserving academic continuity for our learners.

 

What safety measures will be in place when campuses open?

Harmony is instituting a wide variety of health protocols, which are described in detail in “Back to School Playbook 2020-2021.” Among the new measures are:

  • Temperature screenings for students and staff.
  • Requiring all students and employees to wear a mask when on campus or in other group settings. (Students may bring their own mask, or the school will provide them.)
  • Limiting average class sizes to allow for social distancing. (Exact class size will be dependent on number of students attending in-person versus online-only.)
  • Spacing desks at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing and/or installing partitions where students cannot be kept six feet apart.
  • Severely limiting classroom rotations/switches to prevent the spread of germs across campus and to limit person-to-person exchanges.
  • Staggered drop off and pickup times to limit person-to-person exchanges.
  • Modified drop off and pickup procedures (ex. Students going directly to class after drop off and/or waiting in classroom at the end of the day until parent arrives for pickup).
  • Requesting all students wash hands frequently.
  • Detailed nightly cleaning by contracted company.
  • Required Coronavirus Awareness & Prevention trainings for all employees.
  • Remaining flexible regarding student and team member absences due to COVID-19, as allowed by TEA guidelines and applicable employment laws.

 

How often will the campus and/or my student’s work station be cleaned and disinfected.

At the end of the day, custodial services will clean and sanitize all desk surfaces including seat, chair back, desk, any dividers if available with soap and water or all-purpose cleaning agents and sanitizers that meet state and local food safety regulations. Staff, including teachers, may also perform more frequent cleanings throughout the day, as needed.

 

What happens if a child or staff member attending school on-campus tests positive for COVID-19, is exposed to someone who is positive, or displays symptoms of COVID-19?

Anyone displaying the signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should follow below self-quarantine policy:

Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with Positive Testing

The following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with Negative Testing or MD Note

If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19 and wants to return to campus before completing the above stay at home period, the following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • Either obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis OR obtain a negative COVID-19 test AND

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications).

  1. Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with No Testing and No U.S. Based Medical Provider’s Note

The following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Readmittance will be granted when the following has been completed:
  1. Proof of negative COVID tests or U.S. based medical provider’s alternative diagnosis delivered to campus health staff or registrar if no health staff is available OR

  2. when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • The individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

For more information on quarantine measures, including requirements for specific scenarios, see the “Back to School Playbook 2020-2021.”

Can parents visit their child at school during the school day?

Harmony is asking parents to limit visits to campus only to necessary appointments which cannot be done through virtual meetings. Harmony requests that all in-person visits be scheduled in advance. All visitors who enter the building will be required to wear a face covering and those who proceed beyond the reception area (pre-arranged and approved appointments) will follow campus guidelines for visitors. 

 

How do I purchase uniforms for the new school year?

Uniforms can be ordered online using the Revtrak online ordering site listed on your campus website. Uniforms will be available to pick up once campuses reopen. Campuses will remain flexible with the enforcement of uniform policies until families are given an appropriate amount of time to order and pick up uniforms. Students will not be required to wear uniforms for online learning.

 

Will drop-off and pick-up change?

Yes. Both drop-off and pick-up times will be staggered to limit potential cross-exposure among persons. 

 

What will lunchtime and breakfast look like?

Lunch will be served in the classrooms, however breakfast may be served either in the classrooms or in the cafeteria based on the number of students attending in-person. If eating in the cafeteria, students will be socially distanced.

Before and after meals or snacks all students and staff will also be able to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

Can I eat lunch with my child on campus?

At this time, due to COVID-19, parents and visitors will not be permitted to visit students during mealtimes.

Can I bring lunch to my child on campus?

Parents bringing food during the school day is prohibited.  Students who forget their lunch will be provided a school meal. 

Note: This document is intended as a simplified version of our Harmony Public Schools “Back to School Playbook 2020-2021.” For further information or clarification on any topic, please refer to the Playbook.

 

What do I need to learn from home?

Students will need access to a computer device and the internet to complete schoolwork from home. Students without consistent access to either may receive them from their Harmony campus. Campuses will begin distributing them via drive-through pick-ups starting the first week of August. Additionally, students may find that headphones, especially noise-canceling headphones, are helpful for online learning, however they are not required.

 

Will I need to shop for school supplies?

Yes. All students regardless of learning location (i.e. home or campus) will be completing assignments alongside their peers using the supplies listed by their campus.

 

Is anything different about online learning this year?

Yes, quite a bit. Harmony has upgraded its online learning by switching to a new system called Schoology. Through Schoology, students will be able to interact and engage with their teachers and peers in real-time throughout the school day to provide and more advanced and enriching school experience. Families will also have full access to grades, progress reports, assignments, classroom learning materials, calendars, and more from within the Schoology platform, providing a simple one-stop-shop for all things related to their student’s learning experience. Students and families will receive more instruction on accessing and logging into Schoology as classes begin.

 

Will online learners be taught differently than on-campus learners?

No. All students will be taught using the same material and at the same pace by the same Harmony teacher. In most cases, online learners will be taught simultaneously alongside their on-campus peers, unless the student is taking part in asynchronous learning (i.e independent learning outside normal school hours).

 

How will grades be calculated?

Grades will be counted on the traditional 0-100 scale. The “pass/fail” grading system that was implemented out of necessity during the Spring 2020 semester will not be used.

 

What hours of the day will online classes be taught?

Your campus will announce the specific schedule for your student, but generally speaking, classes will be taught online in real-time by their teachers during normal school hours (instructional minutes may vary by grade, according to Texas Education Agency requirements). This is called “synchronous learning.” A sample schedule can be found in the Harmony “Back to School Playbook 2020-2021.” Students needing to learn outside this timeframe can choose to learn independently. This is called “asynchronous learning.”

 

What rules or expectations are there for online learners?

Synchronous online learners will be asked to comply with the following rules:

  • Student’s camera must be on during class time.
  • Student should maintain school-appropriate behavior.
  • Student should be dressed appropriately. (shirt, school shirt, jeans or khakis are OK).
  • Only the student may be visible (no friends or siblings).
  • Student’s microphone should be off unless instructed by a teacher (this prevents background noise).
  • Students are expected to interact through the Zoom chat function.
  • Students must show up on time.
  • Students must use appropriate and respectful language at all times.
  • Students are asked to use tools such as “raising your hand” (available in Zoom) and the chat feature if you have a question or want to answer a question.
  • Student should remove distractions, such as going where there’s less background noise and turning off your phone.
  • Student should use headphones, if possible, for increased privacy and better speaker and microphone quality.
  • Students should have all required materials for class (books, paper, markers, etc..) nearby before the session begins.
  • Students should be prepared to be called on to answer a question or participate in a discussion or activity at any time.

 

How will absences and attendance be counted for online learning?

Students who are logged in and learning alongside their teacher and classmates during normal school hours (synchronous learning) will be counted in attendance when they lo in to learn. 

 

Student who learn independently through self-guided instruction (asynchronous learning) will be counted in attendance when they meet daily learning benchmarks and/or turn in daily assignments by no later than 11:59 p.m. on the given schoolday.

 

What happens if my child doesn’t have a computer to do their schoolwork on while learning from home?

Harmony will supply a computer device and/or internet access for the purpose of completing schoolwork to any student that does not have consistent access at home. These will be provided beginning the first week of August and distributed by drive-through pickups at your nearby Harmony campus.

 

Will my child have to wear a Harmony uniform for online learning?

Students may choose to wear a uniform if they would like to when learning online, however they are not required to. Instead, they are required to follow the dress code guidelines set forth for “Free Dress Days” set forth in the Student & Parent Handbook. This states:

 

“Garments must be free of holes, tears, inappropriate wording, logos, messages or advertising. No short, skin tight, or legging dresses, or skirts may be worn. All dresses must have sleeves. Students may not wear low cut, midriff-baring, or backless blouses. Students may wear jeans, but they cannot be tight pants including jeggings, tights or skinny style pants. Clothing items must not depict images of violence.”

 

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.

At Harmony Public Schools, our top priorities are the health and safety of our students and staff, as well as the academic and developmental growth of our scholars.

In response to the continued spread of COVID-19 in the communities which we proudly serve, Harmony Public Schools is announcing the following revised plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

 

THE BASICS

Students at all HPS campuses statewide will start the academic year on Monday, August 17 in an online-only setting. Classes will continue online-only until at least Tuesday, September 8. During these three weeks, you will receive a survey asking your family to choose the option of either continuing classes online only, or returning to campus for in-person learning after Labor Day, if possible. Harmony will announce no later than the first week of September whether there is a need to extend online-only learning further, or if families who have opted for on-campus learning may return for in-person instruction. Students who opted for at-home learning will continue to learn remotely throughout the remainder of the school year, unless they notify their campus of a change request through Skyward.

All HPS staff will continue to work remotely while campuses are closed, unless a specific and essential job function requires their presence on campus or at an administrative office.

HARMONY SCHOOL START PLAN for 2020-'21

REASON FOR CHANGE

The primary purpose of these changes is to provide a safe educational environment for both our students and staff members, as well as to comply with local ordinances in many of our Harmony communities which specifically prohibit in-person schooling until after Labor Day.

SUPERIOR NEW ONLINE LEARNING SYSTEM, FEATURING ENHANCED STUDENT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES & EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Accelerating your child’s education – even when learning from home – is one of our core missions. That’s why we’ve spent the summer completely revamping our online learning system to create a more interactive learning environment that’s easier to use for families, better connects students to their teachers and classmates, and – most importantly – promotes academic growth even while our campuses are closed.

 

With our new Schoology learning management system, students attending classes online will experience a robust academic experience with more one-to-one engagement with teachers through live classroom sessions, regular online office hours, as well as academic tutorial sessions, and intervention services for students who need them.

 

Students also will enjoy options for at-home, online extracurricular activities — including club activities, and both e-sports and academic competitions — that will allow them to stay connected with their classmates online, even if they can’t be together in person.

 

Parents will have full access to instructional materials, assignments, grading, calendars, student progress updates, and parent messaging in one simple platform.

 

Best of all, when it’s time for your student to return to campus, the Schoology system will follow them seamlessly back to campus, making the transition easier for both your student and your family.

 

Harmony teachers have spent their summers learning the intricacies of Schoology and will be prepared to incorporate it into their learning beginning on the first day of class.

 

 

 

 

STUDENTS NEEDING COMPUTER DEVICE OR INTERNET ACCESS

For the purpose of completing schoolwork, Harmony Public Schools will provide computer devices and/or internet access by request to those students without access at home. Each campus will have a drive-by pickup option for computer and WiFi access in early August. For more information, please contact your Harmony campus.

 

MEAL SERVICES
Free meal services will continue to be provided beginning the first day of school. Please contact your campus or follow them on Facebook to learn more about meal pickup dates, times, and locations.

 

 

ATTENDANCE FOR AT-HOME LEARNERS

A daily digital attendance record will be taken for all students learning from home, according to Texas Education Agency guidelines and requirements. Those at-home learners not in attendance will be marked “Absent,” as they would if learning on campus.

 

ENHANCED ON-CAMPUS SAFETY PROTOCOLS

To make sure our on-campus learning experience is as safe as possible for HPS students and staff members, Harmony will institute a broad spectrum of campus safety protocols once on-campus instruction resumes.  Some of the new safety protocols include:

  • Temperature screenings for students and staff.
  • Requiring all students and employees to wear a mask when on campus or in other group settings. (Students may bring their own mask, or the school will provide them.)
  • Limiting average class sizes to allow for social distancing. (Exact class size will be dependent on number of students attending in-person versus online-only.)
  • Spacing desks at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing and/or installing partitions where students cannot be kept six feet apart.
  • Severely limiting classroom rotations/switches to prevent the spread of germs across campus and to limit person-to-person exchanges.
  • Staggered drop off and pickup times to limit person-to-person exchanges.
  • Modified drop off and pickup procedures (ex. Students going directly to class after drop off and/or waiting in classroom at the end of the day until parent arrives for pickup).
  • Requesting all students wash hands frequently.
  • Detailed nightly cleaning by contracted company.
  • Required Coronavirus Awareness & Prevention trainings for all employees.
  • Remaining flexible regarding student and team member absences due to COVID-19, as allowed by TEA guidelines and applicable employment laws.

 

 

HANDLING OF COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

Whether screened at school or self-screened at home, the following conditions are considered symptomatic of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and could lead to a required leave from campus:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19

 

RETURNING TO CAMPUS AFTER COVID DIAGNOSIS OR SYMPTOMS

Anyone displaying the signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should follow below self-quarantine policy:

Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with Positive Testing

The following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

  1. Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with Negative Testing or MD Note

If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19 and wants to return to campus before completing the above stay at home period, the following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • Either obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis OR obtain a negative COVID-19 test AND

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications).

Exposure (confirmed or unconfirmed) or Illness with No Testing and No U.S. Based Medical Provider’s Note

The following criteria must be met in FULL:

  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Readmittance will be granted when the following has been completed:
  1. Proof of negative COVID tests or U.S. based medical provider’s alternative diagnosis delivered to campus health staff or registrar if no health staff is available OR

  2. when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  • The individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

FAMILIES NEEDING ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

We look forward to partnering with your family this school year to help your child continue to grow academically. We understand that any adjustments to the normal school environment or calendar may create unexpected challenges for some families. If you would like to discuss specific needs for your student or family that are not addressed above, please contact your local Harmony campus or contact us via our Let’s Talk online platform.

 

 

 

AVISO DE CAMBIO EN EL PLAN DE REAPERTURA DE LAS ESCUELAS PÚBLICAS DE HARMONY

 

En las Escuelas Públicas de Harmony, nuestras prioridades son la salud y la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes y nuestro personal, así como el crecimiento académico y de desarrollo de nuestros estudiantes.

En respuesta a la continua propagación del COVID-19 en las comunidades a las que orgullosamente servimos, las Escuelas Públicas de Harmony anuncian el siguiente plan revisado para el inicio del año escolar 2020-21.

 

ASPECTOS BÁSICOS

Los estudiantes de todos los campus de HPS en todo el estado comenzarán el año académico el lunes 17 de agosto en un entorno solo en línea. Las clases continuarán solo en línea hasta al menos el martes, 8 de septiembre. Durante estas tres semanas, usted recibirá una encuesta en la que se le pedirá a su familia que elija la opción de continuar las clases solo en línea o regresar al campus para el aprendizaje presencial después del Día del Trabajo, si fuese posible. Harmony anunciará, a más tardar en la primera semana de septiembre, si es necesario extender más el aprendizaje solo en línea, o si las familias que han optado por el aprendizaje en el campus pueden regresar para la instrucción presencial. Los estudiantes que optaron por el aprendizaje en casa continuarán aprendiendo a distancia durante el resto del año escolar, a menos que notifiquen a su campus una solicitud de cambio a través de Skyward.

Todo el personal de HPS continuará trabajando a distancia mientras los campus estén cerrados, a menos que una función de trabajo específica y esencial requiera su presencia en el campus o en una oficina administrativa.

MOTIVO DEL CAMBIO

El propósito principal de estos cambios es proporcionar un entorno educativo seguro tanto para nuestros estudiantes como para los miembros del personal, así como para cumplir con las ordenanzas locales en muchas de nuestras comunidades de Harmony que prohíben específicamente la escolarización presencial hasta después del Día del Trabajo.

NUEVO SISTEMA SUPERIOR DE APRENDIZAJE EN LÍNEA, CON MEJORES OPORTUNIDADES DE PARTICIPACIÓN DE LOS ESTUDIANTES Y ACTIVIDADES EXTRACURRICULARES

Acelerar la educación de su hijo, incluso cuando aprende en casa, es una de nuestras misiones principales. Por eso hemos pasado el verano renovando completamente nuestro sistema de aprendizaje en línea para crear un entorno de aprendizaje más interactivo que sea más fácil de usar para las familias, que conecte mejor a los estudiantes con sus maestros y compañeros de clase y, lo que es más importante, que promueva el crecimiento académico incluso cuando nuestros campus estén cerrados.

 

Con nuestro nuevo sistema de gestión del aprendizaje Schoology, los estudiantes que asistan a clases en línea experimentarán una sólida experiencia académica con un mayor compromiso individual con los maestros a través de sesiones de clase en vivo, horarios de oficina regulares en línea, así como sesiones de tutoría académica y servicios de intervención para los estudiantes que los necesiten.

 

Los estudiantes también disfrutarán de opciones de actividades extracurriculares en línea en casa -incluyendo actividades de club y competiciones académicas y de deportes electrónicos- que les permitirán estar conectados con sus compañeros de clase en línea, incluso si no pueden estar juntos en persona.

 

Los padres tendrán acceso completo a los materiales de instrucción, tareas, calificaciones, calendarios, actualizaciones del progreso de los estudiantes y mensajes para los padres en una plataforma sencilla.

 

Lo mejor de todo es que cuando sea el momento de que su estudiante regrese al campus, el sistema Schoology lo seguirá de forma constante de regreso al campus, haciendo la transición más fácil tanto para su estudiante como para su familia.

 

Los maestros de Harmony han pasado sus veranos aprendiendo las complejidades de Schoology y estarán preparados para incorporarlo a su aprendizaje a partir del primer día de clase.

 

 

ESTUDIANTES QUE NECESITAN COMPUTADORA O ACCESO A INTERNET

Con el fin de completar las tareas escolares, las Escuelas Públicas de Harmony proporcionarán computadoras y/o acceso a Internet, previa solicitud, a aquellos estudiantes que no tengan acceso en su casa. Para solicitar un dispositivo o acceso a Internet, comuníquese con su campus de Harmony.

 

SERVICIOS DE COMIDA
Se seguirán ofreciendo servicios de comida gratuitos desde el primer día de clases. Comuníquese con su campus o sígalos en Facebook para obtener más información sobre las fechas, horarios y lugares de retiro de las comidas.

 

ASISTENCIA PARA LOS ESTUDIANTES EN CASA

Se llevará un registro digital de asistencia diaria para todos los estudiantes que aprendan desde casa, de acuerdo con las directrices y los requisitos de la Agencia de Educación de Texas. Aquellos estudiantes en casa que no asistan serán marcados como “Ausentes”, como si estuvieran aprendiendo en el campus.

 

PROTOCOLOS DE SEGURIDAD MEJORADOS EN EL CAMPUS

Para asegurarnos de que nuestra experiencia de aprendizaje en el campus sea lo más segura posible para los estudiantes y miembros del personal de HPS, Harmony instituirá un amplio espectro de protocolos de seguridad en el campus una vez que se retome la instrucción en el campus. Algunos de los nuevos protocolos de seguridad incluyen:

  • Controles de temperatura para los estudiantes y el personal.
  • Exigir que todos los estudiantes y empleados usen mascarilla cuando estén en el campus o en otros ambientes de grupo. (Los estudiantes pueden traer su propia mascarilla, o la escuela se la proporcionará).
  • Limitar el tamaño promedio de las clases para permitir el distanciamiento social. (El tamaño exacto de la clase dependerá del número de estudiantes que asistan de forma presencial o solo en línea).
  • Espaciar los pupitres al menos seis pies de distancia para mantener un distanciamiento social adecuado y/o instalar separaciones donde los estudiantes no puedan mantenerse a seis pies de distancia.
  • Limitar severamente las rotaciones/los intercambios de clase para prevenir la propagación de gérmenes en el campus y limitar los intercambios de persona a persona.
  • Escalonar los horarios de entrada y salida para limitar los intercambios de persona a persona.
  • Modificar los procedimientos de entrada y salida (por ej., los estudiantes van directamente a clase después de la entrada y/o esperan en el aula al final del día hasta que los padres llegan a buscarlos).
  • Pedir a todos los estudiantes que se laven las manos con frecuencia.
  • Limpieza nocturna minuciosa por la empresa contratada.
  • Requerir capacitaciones de Concientización y Prevención del Coronavirus para todos los empleados.
  • Permanecer flexible en cuanto a las ausencias de los estudiantes y miembros del equipo debido a COVID-19, como lo permiten las directrices de TEA y las leyes laborales correspondientes.

 

 

MANEJO DE LOS SÍNTOMAS DE COVID-19

Ya sea que se examinen en la escuela o que se autoexaminen en casa, los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades consideran que las siguientes condiciones son sintomáticas de COVID-19 y podrían implicar un abandono obligatorio del campus:

  • Tos
  • Falta de aire o dificultad para respirar
  • Escalofríos
  • Temblores repetidos con escalofríos
  • Dolor muscular
  • Dolor de cabeza
  • Dolor de garganta
  • Pérdida del gusto u olfato
  • Diarrea
  • Sentirse afiebrado o una temperatura medida mayor o igual a 100 grados Fahrenheit
  • Contacto cercano conocido con una persona con COVID-19 confirmado por un laboratorio

 

REGRESO AL CAMPUS DESPUÉS DE UN DIAGNÓSTICO O SÍNTOMAS DE COVID

Después de un diagnóstico de COVID-19 o de la aparición de síntomas, los estudiantes y el personal deben estar sin síntomas durante al menos 72 horas antes de regresar al campus, incluyendo una temperatura de menos de 100 grados sin el uso de medicamentos antifebriles. Aquellos diagnosticados con COVID-19 también deben tener una nota del médico que permita el regreso.

 

 

FAMILIAS QUE NECESITAN APOYO EXTRA

Esperamos asociarnos con su familia este año escolar para ayudar a su hijo a seguir creciendo académicamente. Entendemos que cualquier ajuste en el entorno o calendario escolar normal puede crear desafíos inesperados para algunas familias. Si desea hablar sobre las necesidades específicas de su estudiante o familia que no se han tratado anteriormente, comuníquese con su campus local de Harmony o comuníquese con nosotros a través de nuestra plataforma en línea Let’s Talk.

 

 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.