HPS Austin Monthly April 2018 Edition

Message from the Superintendent

Gina Gregory, Austin Area Superintendent

The excitement of warmer weather has brought new endeavors for Harmony Austin. The outside learning environments at our campuses allow our students to experience the joys of celebrating Earth Day by our students working in the campus gardens, construct projects for recycling and conservation and volunteer in the community to keep our earth clean. GoogleExpeditions and a Robotics Week RockOut engaged our students in their STEM learning this month. Our campuses are conducting college fairs, and our sports teams are alive with teamwork while enjoying the outdoors. Springtime in Austin is one of the best times for learning and engaging students, the Harmony way!

Dedicated Staff

HPS Austin is staffed with committed and talented educators from around Texas and the globe. Our dedicated staff use a whole child approach to education and do whatever it takes to help our students' reach their goals. Each month, we are honored to introduce and highlight one of the amazing team members from the Harmony family.

Harmony School of Excellence Austin

Meet Mr. Brewer

Timothy Brewer fosters creativity at Harmony School of Excellence Austin as the English Language Arts Teacher. Brewer obtained a BAS from Dallas Baptist University and offers students a new perspective on writing and expressing their thoughts outside the norm. With seven years teaching experience, three of those with Harmony, Brewer believes there is value in students engaging with professionals in the community. Students gain skills in Mr. Brewer’s classroom and those skills translate into real world experiences. In the past, Mr. Brewer has invited community members such as young adult author, Natalie Grigson, lawyers who've argued cases in front of the Supreme Court such as Jordan Lorence and local public-access television show host, Matt Dillahunty. Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom for Mr. Brewer. For the past 2 years, Timothy Brewer has been writing for the acclaimed “Typewriter Rodeo” in efforts to express thoughts through free writing. This past year, Mr. Brewer also spoke at the Conference of College Teachers of English at Tarleton State University. He presented a short piece he wrote titled "Brackish" as a graduate student representative for the conference. Mr. Brewer won his category and was awarded the 2018 CCTE George Nixon Award for outstanding prose. His story and some of his poetry will also be published in the journal of the CCTE as well as The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas. Timothy Brewer delivers HPS mission everyday.

Harmony School of Political Science and Communication

Meet Ms. Madsen

As department head, ACC dual-credit professor of public speaking, and with 14 years of teaching ELA under her belt, Jessica Madsen has been an amazing resource on the HSPS campus this year. She served as English Spanish Olympiad judge, and the sponsor for UT Girls Engineering Day and Texas Women’s Conference. In addition to her commitment to the T-STEM Advisory Board Committee and serving as soccer coach second year in a row, she has spearheaded the Garden Club this year with a campus-wide compost program, a seedling project, and the club just harvested their first vegetables for Earth Day. Her success with the garden has inspired a new endeavor, the HSPS courtyard beautification project. She has created a plan using natural irrigation and selected plants that will benefit and help sustain the draining problems the space has had in previous years. She located a source for large spools that will be re-purposed into tables for outdoor classroom use. Madsen’s vision and initiative to transform an un-used space to its full potential is not unlike the drive and inspiration she shows her students in the classroom. Jessica Madsen goes above and beyond and is a dedicated staff member

Heirloom Teacher Plants the Seed

Harmony Science Academy Pflugerville alumna Maria Martinez graduated, went to college and returned to her home campus to teach Spanish. Fellow colleague and former teacher, Mrs. Heather Clifford, reflects on what it is like seeing Maria grow into adulthood and into her new role.


Giving back

Several Harmony Science Academy Austin NJHS students volunteered at Circuit of The Americas for the BP MS 150, a bike race where over 13,000 cyclists ride from Houston to Austin to raise money for MS (Multiple Sclerosis). NJHS and their Teacher sponsor, Ms. DeShazo, helped the bikers as they crossed the finish line by racking their bikes and directing them to different areas of the complex. We are #HarmonyProud of their volunteer efforts! #HarmonySoars

“Go Green” with Austin Community College

"Special thanks to Clarissa Davila and her crew from Harmony Public Schools that graciously volunteered to lend a hand." said ACC Program Specialist, Kat Watts-Martinez

The HPS Austin Outreach and Communications team give back each month in volunteering projects throughout the community. With Earth Day being in April, the team celebrated by joining Austin Community College faculty and students during Garden Earth Day at the ACC Northridge campus on April 18th during Earth Week. The team assisted by planting, mulching and pulling weeds from the campus community garden, and by getting the campus garden beds ready for a new growing season. #EarthWeekACC #sustainableACC

Prom It Safe

The goal of the STAR Cart Program is to bring awareness to under-age drinking and to inform students of all the dangers that it may bring.

As we enter prom and graduation season, students will be faced with decisions on how to celebrate these milestones. At times, these decisions can be life-changing and even life-threatening when it involves alcohol. Officer Angela Johnson with the Austin Police Department and the Police Activities League (PAL) brought the interactive STAR Cart Program to Harmony Science Academy Pflugerville driving-aged students during the first week of April to give them the facts and consequences of underage drinking. This anti-DWI program informed students on laws and health issues of drinking alcohol. After an informative presentation, students were able to experience a driving course with a pair of Fatal Vision goggles, which are designed to simulate impairment. Students discovered how difficult and dangerous it is to drive while impaired.

“The program was interesting to me especially because I already drive. I learned a lot of new things about the laws that affect me personally. It’s obvious not to drink at our age and not to drink and drive but some teens do drink so this was a good presentation to bring up the dangers of impaired driving,” said Michael, HSAPf junior.

Did some say Dip-off?

We are inviting community members who are interested in volunteering their time to join us in May as a judge for HSI’s annual cinco de mayo dip-off. Please fill out the application at the link below if you would like to be involved in judging delicious queso, salsa, or guacamole! If you’d like to participate please contact Outreach Coordinator, Cindy Ojeda at crejino@harmonytx.org to reserve your spot.


Earth Day Austin

Harmony School of Science 5th grade student Aroz Chandio’s Science Fair project titled “What is the Effect of Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources on the Amount of Electricity we Need?” won a 1st place ribbon and The Earth Day - Positive Futures Award at the Austin Regional Science Fair. After winning at the fair, Aroz was invited to publically showcase his project at Earth Day Austin, the largest sustainability event in Central Texas, held at Huston-Tillotson University on April 29th, 2018.

Expedition Harmony

Harmony School of Political Science and Communications applied to host the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program.

HSPS computer science teacher, Ms. Frida Garcia coordinated the exciting visit by GoogleExpeditions. This pilot program shows teachers how to use augmented reality (AR) technology to provide a virtual classroom experience using 3D images. The day of their visit, students in Social Studies, US History, GATE, Spanish, Computer Science and English classes viewed objects such as aircraft, tornadoes, celestial bodies, and early Russian space technology using teacher-selected tour expeditions related to current classroom curriculum. “Students were very excited!” says grade 6 science teacher, Mahmut Unver, “They experienced a virtual journey through celestial objects, and got to see the differences between a hurricane and tsunami. They explored a variety of animals from their specific ecosystems. Expedition is a very useful classroom tool to engage students.” Google is bringing AR to schools to experience through the Expeditions AR Pioneer Program throughout the school year in the United States. Schools can sign up for the Pioneer Program here.

Robotics Week Rockout

HSACP second grade student, Paxton.
“Ms. Tackett’s class is a lot of fun, and working on the computer and learning to program is really cool.” says Paxton as he shows how they use Beebots in the class. “Its really cool that we have robotics at our school.”

Meet Paxton, a 2nd grader from Ms. Cross’s class at HSACP. When he’s not working hard in her class, he’s busy building robots with Ms. Tackett. Students visit the computer lab once a week as part of the STEM curriculum, and she also offers TinyTots, Code Academy and Robotics as after school clubs. Last month was extra special in the technology room. April 7-15 is National Robotics Week and Ms. Tackett planned activities for all levels of her classes and clubs. RoboWeek, as it’s sometimes referred to, is a series of grassroots events and activities in April aimed at increasing public awareness of the strength and importance of the U.S. robotics industry and of the tremendous social and cultural impact that robotics will have on the future. “In our Technology Applications classes, we use Bee Bots, We Do Lego Robots, and EV 3 Lego Robotics. Over the past month students have learned the universal benefits of learning about robotics and coding.” Using Brainpop, 2nd grade students learned how robots can be used to help with flooding before and after hurricanes. “It’s important that they learn how robotics and coding can be used to help others.” said Ms. Tackett. First graders completed Bee Bots, Legos Bits and Bricks Coding, and Kodable Coding over the last few weeks.

“They worked so hard on their robotics and coding challenges. They would self assess and always be there to help a students who had questions. Our students never gave up. They could truly run their own computer company when they get older" said proudly, Mrs. Tackett.


HPS-Austin observed this day of awareness in many different ways this month. During this time students have been learning how they can help conserve our planet’s resources and protect our natural environment.

Earth Day the Harmony Way

Harmony School of Science 1st graders learned about reducing, reusing, and recycling at home and in the community in celebration of Earth Day!

HSPS staff and students wore green, and gardening club sponsor, Ms. Jessica Madsen asked every student to bring a plant to donate, either a vegetable to grow in this year’s garden, or to support the plans for a courtyard renovation project by bringing a pre-chosen plant for its specific properties.

Harmony Science Academy National Junior Honor Society students presented to elementary students about the importance of recycling correctly. As part of the initiative, NJHS students picked up recycling from each classroom each week.

Find Your Future

Harmony School of Excellence Austin Annual College & Career Fair
Thank you to all the community partners for fostering the future workforce opportunities with our future innovators!

Harmony School of Excellence Austin hosted their annual College and Career Fair where High school students had the chance to engage with college recruiters and industry professionals. It was an informative event where students learned about future opportunities while practicing soft skills. Representatives from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, Huston-Tillotson University and Texas Tech University shared information on college applications and acceptance. Students also learned Latino voting right opportunities with Texas-based multi-issue organization, JOLT. Professionals from Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin Police Department, RBFCU, and Girl Scouts of central Texas were in attendance to field questions from students on career exploration and workforce readiness.

Choice is Key

It is the norm for parents to continue to live in the same town they grew up in and have their children attend the same school but for charter schools like Harmony, which have only been around for 15-20 years, it is not as common. Harmony Public Schools is beginning to see a wave of "legacy children" attending their parent’s previous schools. Celida sends her pre-kindergartner son to Harmony Science Academy Austin, the same school she attended.

Student Spotlight

Twenty-four HSACP students participated in the Math Pentathlon tournament (Division 2) at Glen High School last weekend and several students earned medals. Jaeden Frazier from second grade won all five games. He earned a gold medal and his name will be added to the Math Pentathlon Hall of Fame. According to his teacher, Ms. Cross, Jaedan is a hard working student and a great helper to his friends. His favorite classes are Math and STEM. He loves playing chess and he is also our class origami master. He is also good at sports, art and public speaking. He currently enjoys working on multiplication and division problems.

Harmony Students Speak Their Piece

The Speak Piece Poetry Project hosted a writing workshop for 8th grade Harmony Science Academy students during April's National Poetry Month. Teaching Artists Brently Caballero and Joe Brundidge first performed a spoken word poetry piece to students and then hosted a writing workshop to create their own works of poetry.


Not Your Typical Coaches

Elementary students at HSA and HSI had an amazing opportunity to play basketball at the 3rd annual Police Activities League of Austin youth basketball clinic. Students are learning the fundamental skills of basketball with the support of Austin Police Department officers. Thank you APD Officers for being the role models students are searching for.

Introducing Ultimate Frisbee

Coached by grade 5 math teacher, Daniel Ramirez, who says “I am very proud of how our student athletes are representing the Harmony family!”

The Harmony School of Political Science Ultimate Frisbee team played its second round of two games last weekend and had back to back wins over St. Francis Middle School and Magellan Middle School. Adwari, Jonas, Carlos, Andrik, Eduardo, Tyler, Jayden, and Josiah played tough and pulled out a last second victory over the very talented St. Francis team. All of the players showed Harmony spirit while exhibiting great sportsmanship! Go Hawks!

Civic Engagement

Be The Change

"The program focuses on educating both youth and parents on substance abuse prevention issues, effective communication, and making healthy lifestyles choices. With your help, we can keep our students safe and healthy. We greatly appreciate Youth Advocacy's partnership." HSE Engagement Coordinator, Mr. Ozguven

Over a course of nine weeks, Harmony School of Excellence Austin middle school students are participating in youth advocacy programs. Creating Lasting Family Connections delivers substance abuse education to teens and young adults in Austin. Students have opportunities to learn from community members the importance of family relationships, behaviors address to truancy, and school disciplinary problems.

Community Leaders in the Making

While the City of Austin Police Department Officer Ray Kianes patrols the Rundberg area, he also serves the community by volunteering to teach students about skills in interpersonal communication, public speaking and leadership that they can use in the school setting as well as at home and in the community.
"Providing lessons in leadership help students gain confidence that will help them make good decisions when unsupervised. These lessons are focused on public speaking, proper decision making, setting goals and debate and will help the youth now and in the future. " APD Officer Kianes

The Middle School Leadership Class is led by APD Officer Kianes in partnership with R.E.A.D. (Rundberg Educational Advancement District) and the Austin Police Activities League of Austin. Officer Kianes volunteers his time to teach 10 middle school students aged 11-13 years at Harmony Science Academy - Austin School on Rundberg Lane, the same community he has been patrolling for the last ten years.

Volunteer with Harmony

We need you! Can you help? Community members and parents are encouraged to volunteer at HPS. Every day, volunteers fulfill essential needs especially in the administrative, support and fundraising areas so that HPS's teaching staff can focus all its energy on its young students. Volunteers may be utilized in the classrooms, assisting in the office, library, and cafeteria, or at community fundraising events. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up at the link below!

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Meet the district office leadership staff

Left to Right: Toroman Yayla- Director of Finance; Taji Jordan, MS, PHR- Director of Talent; Gina Gregory, M.Ed.- Area Superintendent; Dana Moses, M.Ed.- Director of Operations; Allanur Agaberdiyev, M. Ed.- Director of Academics; Ozan Doganay, M.Ed.- Director of Engagement

930 E Rundberg Lane Austin, TX 78753

1421 Wells Branch Pkwy Suite 200 Grades: 6th-12th

13415 FM 620 N Grades: 5-12th

12200 Anderson Mill Rd Austin, Texas 78726 Grades: PK-4th

11800 Stonehollow Dr. Suite 100 Grades: K-5th

2100 E St. Elmo Rd Grades: 6th-12th

2124 E St. Elmo Rd. Grades: K-5th

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