HPS Austin Highlights October 2018 Edition

STEM For All

Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville and Harmony School of Excellence - Austin eighth grade Gifted and Talented Education students attended a half-day visit to Silicon Labs Austin campus this October through AuSTEM. During their tour, students visited three engineering labs that demonstrated the STEM careers available at Silicon Labs. Students were also able to hear from industry experts on the operations and functions of a semiconductor company. After lunch, students formed teams and collaborated to create a variety of self-designed electronic circuits.

Harmony School of Excellence students learning through littleBits at Silicon Labs.
“They had a great time engineering with littleBits and learning about the vast opportunities as an electrical engineer. The students also got to visit a real-world lab and talk with a physicist!” said HSE G.A.T.E. teacher, Victoria Wang.
"We saw a lot of precision machines that are required to create and test microchips; our favorite being an electron microscope that smashes electrons at objects and analyzes freed electrons to produce a 3D image," said Mr. Stephen, J. Bednarskii, HSAPf G.A.T.E. teacher.


Seeing someone boarding a plane with a science fair project is anything but ordinary. For one traveling high school senior, his plane trip to Brazil was not a leisure excursion but a mission to win. In October, Fakhri, Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin high school senior, was on his way to compete and win at the International Science and Technological Fair, MOSTRATEC. He not only represented his school but also the United States of America. His science fair project, "A Heuristic Approach to Transportation and Delivery Optimization," won a silver medal at Brazil’s and South America’s largest international science fair!

Congratulations Fakhri for your silver medal win! You represented Harmony and your country well!


Students at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin visited The College of Health Care Professions campus in Austin for an insightful tour. The high school students rotated through three different disciplines; Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant and Medical Coding - Billing.

"The trip at the College of Health Care Professions was super fun! The tour was very self-explanatory and the activities were awesome. I loved meeting the teachers and college students. I loved that I was able to participate and learn about what they do. Thank you all for the great experience! " - Salma, HSE Senior

Each discipline had a hands-on and interactive session to show HSE students the types of skills learned in each CHCP program. HSE students also heard from CHCP students currently in the programs. They shared some tips on attending college and choosing their career path from an early age.

HPS Austin Celebrates National Book Month

"Reading is the key to unlocking your future. If you learn to read, you can become anything you dream. Dream big!" - Gina Gregory, HPS Austin Superintendent
Mrs. Gina Gregory reads to Harmony Science Academy Cedar Park Pre-K class.

As the weather is becoming colder this fall season, it is the best time to cozy up with a new book! October is designated as National Book Month and we definitely celebrated! Take a look at how much reading went on at HPS Austin! Happy Reading!


Friday, October 26th, was anything but the usual hustle and bustle of the early morning school hours at Harmony Science Academy - Austin. After months of anticipation and excitement, HSA students and staff welcomed four nationally renowned published book authors; Jeff Smith, Juana Martinez-Neal, Hena Khan, and Soman Chainani. HSA-Austin is a recipient of the Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars program. The school was selected to be a part of the dynamic program which seeks to bring the love of reading to life for students by inviting book authors from across the nation to give presentations to young readers as well as to provide each student with their very own autographed book.

HSA third grade students immediately began reading Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal as soon as they received the autographed book.

Students were not only able to meet and greet with each book author, they were also able to gain a better understanding of the book characters and the creative process behind each book from the authors themselves. Ms. Maira Manzanares, first grade teacher at HSA, marveled at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity her students were able to experience through Reading Rock Stars: “I think exposing different kinds of literacy is very important, especially for our kids. Some do not have access to books or libraries and with the Reading Rock Stars program, they get a hands-on literacy experience. The fact that our kids can associate a book that they enjoy with the actual author is amazing! When our kids met Jeff Smith they learned that he was writing about his own experience, and the students realized that they can too.”

Smiley's Dream Book by Jeff Smith

Each grade level organized a special welcome for each author. Pre-K, Kinder, and first grade students welcomed Jeff Smith, author of Smiley’s Dream Book, by creating a welcome poster and decorating their hallway with characters from the book.

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

HSA second and third grade students welcomed Juana Martinez-Neal, author of Alma and How She Got Her Name, by decorating birdhouses and sharing their own stories about the origin of their own names, similar to the motif of the book.

Power Forward by Hena Khan

Students in fourth grade welcomed Hena Khan, author of Power Forward, by preparing a special dessert dish taken right out of the pages of the book.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

HSA fifth and sixth grade classes greeted Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil, with decorative billboards of the book characters. Each student was excited to have their very own novel autographed by Chainani.

The Reading Rock Stars program has traditionally served elementary schools but with HSA being an elementary-middle school campus, the Texas Book Festival extended the program to include HSA sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students for the first time since the program began.

Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith
“We are very thankful and appreciative to have the Reading Rock Stars program include our middle-school students. The love of reading does begin in elementary but it is reinforced more so in middle-school. It was great to show our middle schoolers that reading and writing is still cool, even as they grow into teenagers,” said Clarissa Davila, HPS Austin Public Relations Director.

The Reading Rock Stars program will continue for an additional two years and the staff and students can’t wait to see which authors will visit next! Thank you Texas Book Festival from Harmony Public Schools Austin!


Adults to this day can still remember receiving Scholastic Book fliers in elementary school, circling what they wanted and feeling excited when their brand new books were finally delivered to their desks. For the students at Harmony School of Innovation, many of their circled books are left not purchased. Each month, Mrs. Robinson explains that she hands out the book fliers for her students to take home, however most students are not able to enjoy ordering a book from Scholastic.

“Most of my families are not able to make those purchases and I find my students flipping through the fliers and wishing they could get a book,” wrote Kalyn Robinson, 2nd grade teacher at Harmony School of Innovation. “I would love for all of my students to find joy in reading and be excited to get a new book each month. How awesome would it be if ALL of my second graders could receive one free book every month?!”

With 25 students eager to read, Kalyn Robinson asked family and friends on Facebook for book sponsorship. $9 would sponsor one student for the entire school year and would ensure a brand new book is given to each student every month.

All 25 of her students have been sponsored along with 4 other classes at the school. The first delivery of books arrived in October and students were pleasantly surprised to find books on their desk with their names on them. Thank you to all who donated and provided each student with a book of their own!

If you would like to donate and sponsor another class at Harmony School of Innovation, please contact clarissa.davila@harmonytx.org


Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville high school students were treated to a new book and a field trip to the The Texas Teen Book Festival at St. Edward’s University in Austin this past October. Students read their own copy of “Dear Martin” by book author Nic Stone, weeks before the festival in preparation of hearing the author’s keynote address.

Books and transportation to the event were graciously provided by the Texas Teen Book Festival for our students to attend for the day. Thank you TTBF for providing our students with this reading experience!

At the TTBF, students attended “Cracks in the Crystal Ball,” a discussion panel to hear from book authors Samantha Mabry, Katharine McGee, Neal & Jarrod Shusterman, and Andrew Smith. HSAPf students not only heard from authors but were able to meet-and-greet with them during the festival.

HSAPf Students and teacher Ms. Maria Hernandez with book author Nic Stone

In the Community


The Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville Ballet Folklorico dance team and Harmony Science Academy Austin 4th grade student, Victoria of Guzman Ballet Folklorico performed at the 2018 Texas Book Festival! They were excited to share the dances to the many families in attendance at the TBF Children's Entertainment tent. Thank you #TBF for inviting us to dance!


Harmony School of Science - Austin has a new neighbor! HSS was happy to welcome The Charles Schwab Corporation to the neighborhood. Within walking distance, the 50-acre Austin campus sits right next to the school. As new neighbors, Schwab invited HSS third grade and Gifted and Talented students to their Trail of Treats event held annually on October 31st. Students dressed in their book character costumes and walked through the Schwab campus for treats and surprises along the way.

"Schwab continued its annual Trail of Treats Halloween event, where Schwabbies dressed up and transformed their offices into themed wonderlands for the enjoyment of over 200 local students!"


On Friday, October 26th, Harmony Science Academy - Austin participated in the annual Rundberg Educational Advancement District (R.E.A.D.) Fall Festival & Trick-or-Treat Safe Zone on Rundberg Lane event by passing out treats and playing games families in the community. With an estimated 1.500 people in attendance, HSA middle school girls from the College Readiness Leadership Program (CRLP) helped their local community trick-or-treat in a safe environment. Way to go, CRLP girls!

National Fire Prevention Month


The Cedar Park Fire Department’s HEATS Team (Helping Educate About Today’s Safety) visited Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park during October’s National Fire Prevention Month. The HEATS Team performed a Super Mario Brothers-themed show to educate students about fire safety and also included topics such as no texting while driving, pulling to the right when a safety vehicle is behind you, turning down your music and buckling up in the car.

Thank you HEATS Team! Our students learned a lot but also had fun with the high energy show!


Harmony School of Science - Austin had a "flaming hot" presentation during the Fire Safety Assembly. HSS hosted their neighborhood Austin Fire Department Station 30 for an informative presentation. Our students learned about fire safety, actions to be taken at the sound of fire alarms and much more. Students viewed the helpful tools and toured the inside of the fire truck. Our firefighters did an amazing job and we look forward to next year!



The national celebration of Hispanic culture was recognized all month long at Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin. Each morning, songs from Hispanic culture played over the school intercom for all to hear. Students also presented a piece of information or history about Hispanic culture and the people. On the last day of the celebratory month, October 15th, HSEndeavor students, under the instruction of Mrs. Jessica Madsen, held a Hispanic Heritage Month assembly of student performances and informative presentations.

At the campus celebration, students were able to hear from guest speaker, Ms. Sylvia Butanda, Latinitas Austin’s Program Director. “Latinitas is a non-profit organization that enables young Latinas to achieve personal and academic success through media and technology outreach thereby addressing the critical state of Latinas girls today.”

Sylvia has empowered many girls and young women in Central Texas with media and technology training. During her visit, she inspired HSEndeavor boys and girls to strive for their best!

The assembly also included a parade of students wearing their Quinceañera dresses. Mrs. Madsen spoke of the significance and beauty behind the tradition of the sweet 15th birthday celebration in Mexican culture.

“I wanted to do something different this year for Hispanic Heritage Month. Let me share one of the most beautiful parts about our culture - Quinceañeras. People don’t understand the concepts behind the symbols and the big dresses. It really stems from our history and it is something that we still practice today. The girls were so willing to put on the dresses again to show off because it was such a momentous time in their life,” said Mrs. Madsen.

CBS Austin KEYE visited and showcased HSEndeavor's Hispanic Heritage Month! Take a look at the story below!


Mexic-Arte Museum education associates, Ms. Natalia Rocafuert and Ms.Paulina Dorsal-Terminel, visited Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month! Ms. Rocafuerte read Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony to Mrs. Cindy Ojeda’s Pre-K classroom.

HPS Austin Celebrates Student Success


Jedadiah, a middle school student at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville, loves to draw and dreams of becoming an illustrator. When he isn’t studying hard at Harmony or busy drawing his characters, he is at rehearsal preparing for his role in a new short film. His first movie, Thunder Road was shown at SXSW Film Festival and received many great accolades. The film received the Narrative Feature Competition Grand Jury Winner this year at the festival. Jedadiah is happy to be a part of the film but of course he was nervous watching his acting on the big screen for the first time as many actors are. With Jedadiah’s strong work ethic and hard working attitude, he will be sure to have continued success in all that he does! Congratulations and good luck Jedadiah!

HPS Austin Promotes the Love of Learning through Art and Culture


On October 22nd, Harmony School of Excellence was visited by Ms. Natalia Rocafuerte, the education associate from the Mexic-Arte Museum. Her arrival makes the introduction of a 6-week art program set to teach Art II high school students about the creative and technical principles of print screening, a process in which ink is transferred onto different surfaces through the use of stenciled designs. Funded through the 78744 Community Youth Development Program (CYD), Mexic-Arte will use project-based learning to encourage these students to think outside the box. Mexic-Arte art instructors will be teaching print screening twice a week. Each student artist will create their own design to print screen onto a t-shirt that they will be able to keep. Let’s give a big Harmony thank you to Mexic-Arte!

“It is important for the students’ creative development that they are exploring new mediums and making new discoveries...I hope they will gain an in-depth understanding of the process and history of screen printing as an art form. But more than anything I hope they gain a more intense love of learning and discovering new things for the future.” -Mrs. Henry, HSE art teacher.

National Bullying Prevention Month

October is nationally recognized as Bullying Prevention Month which seeks to unite communities and schools together by educating them on how to keep our youth safe against bullying. Through the use of school assemblies and weekly themed activities for teachers to enact in their schools, National Bullying Prevention Month at HPS Austin hopes to demonstrate to students the effects of bullying and strategies on how to prevent it.


On October 11th, Harmony School of Innovation - Austin invited a nationally known motivational youth speaker, Gabe Salazar, to speak to fifth grade students about the power of education leading to big dreams. He also used his own life experiences to talk to the students about the various types of bullying that may be encountered at school. Before leaving, Mr. Salazar left HSI with one final message of hope: “We are the solution to bullying in America.”


As Bully Prevention Month aspires to end bullying in schools, one new law takes this initiative even further to make sure a student is held accountable for their actions online as well. David’s Law passed in the last legislative session in 2017 and made it possible for educators and parents to partner against cyberbullying. Middle school students at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville were visited by Maurine Molak, Mother of David who died of suicide. The new law named after David was introduced to students. “I wanted the students to take the lesson that there is a mother, father, brother, sister and other family members that grieve with that child that is being bullied,” said Erika Kirkland, HSAPf Assistant Middle School Principal. “David’s Law passed in 2017 and it is very important for the students to understand David’s story. Who better to do that than David’s mother?”

“David’s Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to ending cyber-assisted bullying by educating communities about the harmful effects of cyber abuse, providing support for bullying victims, promoting kindness, and supporting legislation that prohibits the cyberbullying of minors.”


Harmony Science Academy Austin students were visited by a very special guest brought by the Don’t be A Monster: A Bullying Prevention Program this October. As the largest 501 non-profit organization that teams up with haunted houses across the nation, the Don’t be a Monster program introduces students to Frank, a monster inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Students get to know Frank and his journey as a victim of bullying. Through a series of short video presentations and two of his friends, Frank shows students the simple yet powerful steps they can take against bullying. Thank you Frank for making an appearance at our school!

Students were able to dance with Frank along with Ms. Stanton, HSA Assistant Principal.

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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