HPS Austin Highlights November 2018 Edition

STEM For All

November 8th is #NationalSTEMDay! This day is meant for kids to be inspired and explore their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. This day also gives us the opportunity to celebrate and come together to promote #STEM education. Take a look on how HPS Austin celebrated S.T.E.A.M. Day on it's national day and beyond!


National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day Brings Family Fun to Harmony Science Academy - Austin

Loaded with marshmallow catapults, balloon rockets, and leaf blower hoverboards, Harmony Science Academy - Austin turned National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day into a family-friendly campus event with their 2nd Annual STEAM Festival. Not wanting to miss a chance to introduce S.T.E.M. related education to their family fun nights, Ms. Amber Conner, middle school Science and Social Studies Department Chair at HSA, coordinated the festival to fall on National S.T.E.A.M. Day.

“It is very important to expose our students and families to S.T.E.A.M. because it not only gives students hands-on experience, but it also introduces a fun and exciting way to learn about these important scientific concepts.” - Ms. Amber Conner
HSA Teachers demonstrated different scientific activities that correlated to this year’s theme: energy. Mr. Unver’s science lab became a testing field that showcased the floating power of a homemade leaf blower hoverboard. Mr. Burke’s English classroom transformed in the launching zone for dozens of brightly colored homemade balloon rockets. Ms. Anthony’s Social Studies classroom turned back the hands of time and brought the high winds of the sea for homemade cartoon boats.
Music Teacher, Mr. Nutt turned the school stairway into a music concert hall where students played renditions of Beatles songs.


The Harmony School of Science - Austin cafeteria was transformed into a science lab this November thanks to the Austin Community College Hands-on Science program. The science outreach program was brought together by ACC's Physics program and their volunteers. HSS elementary students enjoyed learning about science through the many interactive exhibits at school that day! Thank you ACCHaoS!

“Our mission is to help get the message across to our kids that science is fun and that anyone can do it.” ACCHaoS


The Texas Stars’ Hockey League’s Ringo visited Harmony Science Academy Cedar Park on National S.T.E.M. day to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with the elementary students! The interactive and educational STEM show was invigorating! The students cheered as Ringo conducted chemistry experiments and played an interactive physics oriented game.


Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin hosted their annual S.T.E.A.M. showcase where students presented many STEM projects and performed lively musical acts.

HPS Austin Celebrates Student Success


From applying for financial aid, submitting college essays and waiting to hear back from universities, the college application process can be one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wrecking experiences for high school seniors. Through their hard work and determination, this experience for thirty-seven seniors at Harmony School of Excellence has ended in the joyful news of college acceptance! HSE is proud to announce that thirty-seven seniors have been accepted into their first choice of university! Sixteen of these students were accepted into more than one university!

“This is a great achievement because our students are so hard-working and they have been so excited and motivated to apply to their universities,” said Mrs. Rahime Tunc, HSE High School Counselor.

Uzziah, an HSE senior who has been accepted to both Concordia University and Texas Tech University, said the moment he discovered he had been accepted into both universities was unbelievable. “I was surprised since it came out of nowhere. I just got an email one day and it said I had been accepted into Concordia. About two weeks ago, I was in the car with my mom and I got a congratulatory email from Texas Tech. My mom pulled the car over and gave me a hug. I can’t wait to see what it feels like to be a Raider!”

All of this could not have been possible without the help of the dedicated faculty at Harmony School of Excellence. Mrs. Tunc said it best when she wrote: “Thank you to all of our teachers, coordinators, and admins for being such a huge part of our student’s educational pathway. Also, thanks to ALL of you that have written recommendation letters and helped our students with their college essays.” Congratulations HSE Seniors!


Five students at Harmony School of Excellence were able to earn a college credit toward their college degree by passing their AP Spanish Exam! Passing any AP (Advance Placement) exam can be a challenge as students must demonstrate an advance mastery of the subject they are being tested on. These students had to demonstrate mastery of the Spanish language in a test that measures their level of understanding in various areas.

HSE administrators gifted the perfect AP students with special t-shirts to celebrate their hard work!

Mr. Fernando Andrews, HSE Spanish instructor, said, “This is a big achievement since students need to show they can understand Spanish in several ways. They must show they know how to read, write, speak, and listen to all the Spanish in the test.” Michael, Daphne, Jennifer, Amaris, and Stephanie not only passed the test, but they were able to earn a perfect score of 5 on the exam. This score guarantees them a college credit toward their college degree. We are Harmony Proud!


Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin senior, Fakhri, was chosen as a representative of the Austin Youth Council to attend the National League of Cities summit in Los Angeles, California from November 7th to November 11th. As an all expenses paid educational trip by the City of Austin, Fakhri was able to enjoy the city and learn from the summit as well. Student leaders like Fakhri from throughout the country met to discuss youth-focused issues with elected officials. We are #HarmonyProud of Fakhri’s representation of not only Harmony Public Schools but also the City of Austin.

"The trip was great! It was really insightful to learn about the issues affecting other cities and the initiatives that youth have started to alleviate these issues. I learned a lot of new things about policy-making, tech tools that cities use to resolve issues, and the different ways that youth let their voices be heard."

HPS Austin Promotes a Love of Learning through Art and Culture


On November 15th and 16th, middle school students at Harmony Science Academy - Austin were visited by two members, Sheenika Medarel and Brandon Harrison, of the Speak Piece Poetry Project, an Austin-based poetry workshop which aims to create a safe space for young teens to express themselves through the power of poetry.

Sheenika and Brandon showed students how metaphors, similes, anagrams, personification, and alliteration can all be used to express themselves in the form of poetry. They also stressed the importance of writing down their experiences and sharing their voice with the world. “There is no greater power than being heard. Poetry allows people to have power. It allows those who have felt unheard to have a voice,” said Brandon. Sheenika also agreed the power of poetry lies in the narrative of the poet, “It is important for them to tell their story and for them to understand that their narrative is in their control.”

Through the use of interactive writing activities and soft hip-hop music, this message of narrative power was shared with students. In Mr. Burke’s 6th grade class, students were presented with the beginning of a sentence and were asked to finish it to create a poem about themselves. Afterwards students were asked to stand up and share their work with the class. Isaac, a 6th grade student, stood in front of his peers and read a poem about the strength of his family. In Ms. DeShazo’s 7th grade class, students were asked to create a movie together and then write a brief synopsis of what they believe happens in the film. This exercise was meant to encourage creativity and get the class to think outside of the box. Several students were able to come up with original and funny story-lines.


It was a busy night on November 8th at Harmony School of Innovation - Austin as their annual Fall Literacy Night kicked off. This year’s theme, “If you Loved the Movie, You’ll Love the Book” showcased different titles that were adapted into feature films. Adorned with movie posters and character elements, the books were brought to life in the hallways of the elementary school.

Students participated in different activities that celebrated the many books they have read. Mrs. Alma Thomas-Long from the Austin Public Library helped promote their Outreach Program to our families.

In the Community


The Harmony Science Academy - Austin Pantherettes, adorned as sugar skull girls, marched in the 35th annual Viva La Vida Parade in Downtown Austin. Showcasing Pre-Columbian Americas, Colonial Mexico, and Mexico Lindo throughout the course of the parade, our girls were able to see traditional dances ranging from Aztec and Matachine Dancers to Ballet Folklorico.

The Viva La Vida Parade is a yearly event sponsored in part by the Mexic-Arte Museum and the City of Austin which celebrates the indigenous Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos. Rooted in ancient tradition, Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, takes place between November 1st and 2nd. During these two days, family members gather together to remember their deceased loved ones. Through the use of decorative displays, family members pay tribute to their loved ones by placing their photographs along with marigold flowers, sugar skulls, and their favorite foods on an “altar.” Let's give our HSA Pantherettes and their wonderful sponsor, Ms. Amber Wilson, a big round of applause! What a great way of participating in the local community!

Civic Engagement


Although the high school students at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin were not yet of age to vote this 2018 Midterm Election Day, a group of students and their Social Studies teacher still wanted to engage their student body and expose them of the voting process.

The HSE-Austin Mock Government program along with their teacher sponsor, Ms. Rebecca Tims, held a mock election in the school cafeteria during lunch on the November 1st Midterm Election Day. After casting their ballot tickets, students were given "I Voted" stickers. With over 400 student ballots turned in that day, HSE elected Lupe Valdez as their Gubernatorial Representative and Beto O'Rourke as State Senator. Although the actual turnout of the race had different results, students were able to take part in the political process.

“Through mock elections, students began the process of discussing politics to become a more informed voter. The youth vote is normally the lowest voter turnout during elections and my hopes are through mock elections more students will practice their rights once they are of voting age.”- Ms. Rebecca Tims


The HPS Austin district hosted a field trip for student first-time voters to cast their early votes at the University of Texas Flawn Center. When asked how Harmony School of Excellence senior Kaitlyn felt about her first voting experience, she stated “Our votes matter. It feels good.”


For the past three years, students of the National Honor Society at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin have teamed up with the American Red Cross for a blood drive in which age-qualifying students and teachers can donate. Founded in 1881, the American Red Cross is an non-profit organization dedicated to serving people in need across the nation and around the world. In recent years, the American Red Cross has set up various scholarships to encourage schools to participate in blood drives. Not only do these scholarship help boost the number blood drives the American Red Cross hosts every year, they also help to instill a sense of altruism in young adults who participate. NHS members were able to reach their goal of 35 pints donated blood and earned a $500 scholarship for one senior in their club.

Ms. Angelica Garcia, club sponsor for the NHS and Spanish teacher, believes this message is vital for her members to understand. “This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about volunteering and for our kids to see that they can make an impact in their community. We’re just so thankful for all the volunteers that helped out during this year’s blood drive and to our students who are the real superheroes for giving blood.”

HPS Austin Honors Veterans

Harmony Public Schools Austin supports our Veterans! We want to thank the brave men and women who currently serve and have served our country!


On Sunday, November 11th, the HPS Austin Public Relations district team had a great morning honoring Veterans at the Austin Veterans Day Parade & Ceremony. Dustin, Clarissa and Victoria volunteered for the parade event by passing out poppies to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. They then marched in the parade up to the Texas State Capitol. #VeteransDay


For Veterans Day, the elementary students at Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park learned about the different branches of the military, wrote letters to veterans, and heard from a veteran who is also a staff member, P.E. Coach Janice Beardslee. HPS Austin thanks her for her service in the U.S. Navy and for speaking with our students about Veterans Day.

HPS Austin Area Superintendent Gina Gregory with Marine Veteran Sergeant Sanchez, wife Jessica and daughter Ayvah, Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin family.

Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin staff with Sergeant Sanchez.

Sergeant Sanchez visits with Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin Kindergarten class.

Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park celebrated Harmony Veteran families with Wall of Honor display.

Harmony School of Science - Austin Veterans Day Wall of Honor.

Harmony School of Innovation - Austin students and faculty wore their shirts to salute Veterans!

Dedicated Staff


High School Senior year is filled with many school traditions such as college field trips, senior walks and senior spirit week. These special traditions are meant to honor the hard work the seniors have dedicated to their education. It is final farewell for seniors who are about to embark on their next great adventure -- adulthood. At Harmony School of Excellence - Austin, a special senior tradition comes in the form of a t-shirt. For the fifth consecutive year, teachers and administrators have sponsored all 57 seniors for their senior t-shirts. The sponsorship not only ensures that all seniors get to walk away with a memento of their senior year, but they also serve as a reminder of the unique bond that forms between teacher and student.

HPS Austin thanks all of the HSE-Austin staff for sponsoring a senior!

Ms. Victoria Rossi, Gifted and Talented teacher at HSE-Austin, participated in this tradition for the first time and feels that the senior t-shirts are a way to show them how much they mean in the lives of their teachers. “I was so excited to be a part of it this year. This tradition is such a great opportunity to bond with the kids and to do something really special with the seniors. I love this tradition because the kids all get excited about the t-shirts, and it shows our teachers care about our students as people too.” Ms. Rossi’s senior shirt recipient was Amanda, a student she was able to know well last school year during her first year of teaching at HSE-Austin. “I chose Amanda because we were both new last year and we really connected through that experience.”

Uzziah, senior shirt recipient, agrees this tradition helps to solidify the nurturing bond between teachers and students. “I think this is a good tradition because it makes the bond between the student and teachers special.” Uzziah’s senior shirt sponsor was Mr. Ozguven, HSE-Austin’s very own Engagement Coordinator. “I felt really good and happy that one of the leaders for our CRLP club gave me a shirt.”


Going on a decade of teaching, Mr. Jeremy Lippart takes his job as a high school Social Studies teacher at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville very seriously. He knows the influence he has on his students and he doesn’t take it lightly. Mr. Lippart strives to empower his students to think for themselves and find their voice in the current political climate they live in.

“Social Studies teachers have the opportunity to engage in really interesting and intense conversations with our students. The subject matter is something that is literally affecting them and their political opinions and identities are being formed around this time in their lives.”
Mr. Jeremy Lippart teaches U.S. and Advanced Placement (AP) Comparative Government, Economics, AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville.

He not only lectures his high school students about the importance of civic engagement, but he also leads them by example. As a veteran, his commitment to his country and the community is evident every day inside and outside of the classroom. This school year, Mr. Lippart has been chosen as a teacher fellow along with 11 other teachers state-wide for the first Teacher Advocate Leadership Institute. The program will help participants learn how to formulate education policy, engage in conversations with various constituencies, and advocate for charter schools at the legislature.

Mr. Lippart hopes to be the voice of not only his students but for his Harmony colleagues and for the families they serve. “I would like to fight for our students and our school community to make sure that all of us have our best opportunity for success and aren't held back or frustrated by bureaucratic or financial concerns beyond our control.”

Congratulations Mr. Lippart on being chosen for the program. HPS Austin is proud of your commitment to Harmony Public Schools, Texas charter schools and the communities that they serve.

Harmony Public Schools Austin

HPS Austin Leadership Team

Left to Right: Ozan Doganay, M.Ed. - Director of Engagement and Talent | Allanur Agaberdiyev, M. Ed. - Director of Academics | Clarissa Davila - Director of Public Relations | Gina Gregory, M.Ed. - Austin Area Superintendent; Dana Moses, M.Ed. - Director of Operations | Dustin Cox, MBA - Director of External Relations | Toraman Yayla, M.Ed. - Director of Finance
HPS Austin District Office - 13415 Fm 620 N Austin, Texas 78717

HPS Austin schools

Mr. Engin Dogan, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville

1421 WELLS BRANCH #200 Pflugerville, TX 78660 GRADES: 6TH-12TH

Kyle Borel, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Austin

930 E Rundberg Lane Austin, TX 78753 Grades: PK-8th

Waylon Stengler, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin

13415 Fm 620 N Austin, TX 78717 Grades: PK-12th

Ilker Yilmaz, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park

12200 Anderson Mill Rd Austin, Texas 78726 Grades: PK-5th

Mehmet Subas, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Science - Austin

11800 Stonehollow Dr. #100 Austin, TX Grades: K-5th

Agil Sharifov M.Ed. M.A Principal | Harmony School of Excellence - Austin

2100 East St. Elmo Rd. Austin, Texas 78744 Grades: 6th-12th

Tiffany Molina, M. Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Innovation - Austin


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Created By
Clarissa Davila

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