HPS Austin Highlights December 2018 Edition

Character Matters


HPS Austin area Superintendent, Gina Gregory, and district staff committed to volunteering in the community at the Austin Police Department’s Blue Santa Operation during the month of December. Staff wrapped toys and gifts for children in need in the Austin community during the 2018 Holiday season.

HPS Austin Principals, District Directors, District Staff and Austin Area Superintendent at Operation Blue Santa Gift Wrapping Volunteer Event
"The Holiday season is a perfect time to promote Teamwork, Collaboration and share Happiness." Mr. Agil Sharifov, Harmony School of Excellence - Austin Principal


Among the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the giving spirit can sometimes be forgotten. The high school members of the National Honor Society (NHS) at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin, however, are working hard to make sure the holiday spirit of giving back is not lost in their community of Dove Springs.

NHS members, along with their club sponsor Angelica Garcia, held their 3rd annual NHS Gift Giving Event on December 18th. Through NHS fundraising and sponsorship from family and friends, 26 families from their neighboring elementary school, Harmony School of Innovation - Austin, enjoyed dinner, games, and a special meet-and-greet with Santa Claus.

“Since beginning the event in 2016, we are now serving more families and delivering more gifts every year. Our students work hard to raise money for this event and they are extremely excited to see the reactions of the kids and their families when they deliver the gifts. Some of the kids open their gifts at the event, but most save them to put them under the Christmas tree,” said Angelica Garcia, NHS Sponsor.

Mackenzie Harden, NHS member and high school senior (pictured with snowflake #1), shared that the positive impact of this community event has a more personal connection to her childhood.

“I’m usually emotional at the event because I grew up with seven siblings and I know what it feels like when you parents are trying to provide what they can. I feel truly blessed to be a part of something that gives back to kids. It makes me feel better because I know I’m changing something in my community.”
77 gifts were donated this year! Way to go, HSE! You make us all #HarmonyProud!

STEM for All


After months of hard coding work, eight Harmony Science Academy - Austin 5th grade students presented their web design projects at the Hello World Student Demo Day located at Google headquarters in downtown Austin. Funded through a grant from RetailMeNot, Inc., Hello World Studio instructors have been visiting HSA-Austin’s 5th grade computer class to teach students web development, the process behind building an entire website through computer coding.

Mohsen, Brittany, Angel, Raheela, Amira, Bryan, Luis, and Stacey have been diligently working throughout the Fall semester in their computer class at HSA-Austin. Now that they have completed 8 projects in the Hello World curriculum taught during class, they have graduated as level 2 coders! The students earned a Certificate of Achievement in recognition of their academic engagement in the Computer Science field and advancement in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Congratulations to the coding graduates! #HarmonyCodes


In honor of National Computer Science Week from December 3rd through the 9th, students at Harmony Public Schools - Austin celebrated with one hour of computer coding activities, recognized as the Hour of Code. Students in Pre-K through 12th grade spent an hour coding through a variety of online activities geared to their age level. Take a look on how we celebrated!


Harmony School of Science - Austin Gifted and Talented 4th and 5th grade students kicked off Hour of Code and National Computer Science Week at the Texas State Capitol with Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott where she gave opening remarks on the importance of STEM and coding.

Students completed their one hour of code at the Capitol and were able to meet and greet with Texas First Lady Abbott. Thank you Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott for your support in STEM education!


Texas House District 136 State Representative-elect John Bucy III visited Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park during Hour of Code week! He stopped by Ms. Angela Tackett’s technology class and was able to see what Pre-Kinder and 5th grade students were learning that week!

Thank you State Representative-elect John Bucy III for stopping by our school during Hour of Code week!


While most people head to the Apple Store to upgrade to the latest iPhone, several middle school students from the Gifted and Talented program at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin visited for a special coding and graphic design workshop! Knowing her students have a true niche for art and coding, Ms. Victoria Rossi, GT teacher at HSE-Austin, wanted to give her students some hands-on experience with the latest technology during Hour of Code Week. “My students love art, technology, and a challenge! Being able to have hands-on experience with the latest tech really helped keep them engaged.” Ms. Rossi says the best part of the visit was watching her students rise up the challenge of a difficult coding sequence. “In my personal opinion, the coding challenge was pretty difficult. The students had to program a robot sphere to go through a difficult maze. I was so proud of all the students for their tenacity. They kept trying and kept coding through trial and error until their sphere reached the end of the maze.”


Each 7 HPS Austin campuses celebrated Hour of Code week with fun coding activities. Check out some below!

Our youngest Pre-K students at Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park also participated in the Hour of Code fun with codeSpark Academy's The Foos! They learned the ABC’s of coding while also having fun!

First graders at Harmony School of Innovation - Austin practice their coding skills on Scratch, an interactive online computer coding program that allows young student to code their own stories, animations, and games!

Elementary students at Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin learn to code with Scratch in Ms. Garcia's class during Hour of Code week.

Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville middle school students learn web design during Hour of Code week.

During Hour of Code week, Harmony School of Science - Austin 5th grade classes had visitors from Social Solutions, a software engineering company which specializes in working with nonprofits, to help them through their Minecraft coding adventures.

In the Community


Members of the Texas State Legislature reached out to their communities this holiday season and selected a constituent to decorate an ornament for the Senate Chamber’s Christmas tree, meant to highlight what makes their community special. This year, Senator Judith Zaffirini reached out to Mr. Ricardo Zavala, founder and president of Dove Springs Proud (DPS), a non-profit organization which seeks to positively impact youth and families living in the 78744 zip-code area. Given that kids are a special interest group for DPS, Mr. Zavala wanted a school to represent the 21st Senatorial District of Texas. Harmony School of Innovation - Austin students were ready to answer the call and began working on a design for the ornament.

HSI - Austin elementary students, Curtis, Alexis and Vicky along with Mr. Zavala, visited the Texas State Capitol to hand deliver the Harmony themed tree ornament to Senator Judith Zaffirini’s office.

Thank you Senator Zaffirini for letting HSI-Austin represent Texas Senate District 21!

HPS Austin Promotes a Love of Learning


Harmony School of Excellence - Austin middle school students in Ms. Mary Francis Bennings’ English class were visited by special guest speakers from CoMeTrY, a collaboration of poets seeking to captivate and encourage young adults to share their personal stories through poetry. Ignatius “Iggy” Mwela, CoMeTrY co-founder, and Chad Songy spoke to students about the emotion behind performing your art in front of an audience. “Your presence is felt the moment they see you. Own the stage...it shows that you are authentic, it shows that you are human...let the audience feel you,” said Iggy after several students got up to read their work.

One student who seems to have taken their message of expression to heart was HSE-A 8th grader, Makaylah. “Poetry, to me, is a way for me to write out my feelings. It’s almost a therapeutic thing where I turn my feelings into something for others to feel too.” Makaylah read an original poem of hers to the class and was excited to receive feedback from established poets. “It was really fun because it didn’t feel like they were judging us. It was just very open and you could just talk with them.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Makaylah!


Aida A. Cerda-Prazak and Brittany Vargesko from the Austin Pen Club visited Harmony Science Academy - Austin Leadership Academy to inspire students to write personal thank you notes. “Part of being a leader is showing gratitude and thanking those who help you and these students are well on their way to becoming community leaders,” said Ms. Cerda-Prazak. Thanks to the generosity of the Austin Pen Club, students were able to take home their very own shark fountain pen.

HPS Austin Celebrates Student Success


Having fulfilled the requirements necessary for membership in the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica (Hispanic Honor Society), Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville high school students and their families were invited to an induction ceremony and reception of the “En un Lugar de la Mancha” HSAPf chapter. The Spanish Honor Society promotes the study of the Spanish language and culture and to foster an environment of friendship and community involvement. Students must have an honor average in at least three semesters of a Spanish course. They must also be in a Spanish class during the month of induction.

HSAPf Spanish Teacher and Chapter Sponsor, Ms. Maria de Lourdes Hernandez, welcomed guest speaker Luis Ramon Loo from La Z 107.1 radio station to the induction ceremony.
“I would like to thank Spanish Honor Society students for their hard work, and their support. Also I would like to thank the school administrators for always supporting us.” - Ms. Maria de Lourdes Hernandez


Congratulations to Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park 5th grade student Zaniah! She received 2nd place for her art piece in the 2018 Zilker Holiday Tree Art Contest sponsored by Austin Parks & Recreation.

Civic Engagement


High School students from Harmony School of Excellence - Austin and Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville’s Mock Government Progam had a special one-on-one session with newly elected State Representative James Talarico from District 52. A former educator turned politician, Representative Talarico engaged in a lively Q&A with mock government students about political matters regarding public policy, educational funding, school safety, and immigration.

“I’m hopeful the nontraditional pathway Talarico took to become a civic leader was impressed upon our students in a way that they feel empowered to achieve greatness,” said Dustin Cox, External Director Harmony Public Schools and co-sponsor of Mock Government


Families from Harmony School of Innovation - Austin were treated to a Winter Wonderland Concert.

Harmony Science Academy - Austin hosted their annual Holidays Around the World event where classrooms were transformed into different countries representative of the diverse student body.

Harmony School of Science - Austin transformed the school hallways into a winter wonderland!

Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park students created holiday cards for their family and friends!

Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville hallway doors were decorated to show off the holiday excitement!

Harmony School of Science - Austin 3rd grade students enjoyed pajama day with their teacher Mrs. Longoria!

Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park elementary students celebrated the holiday season with a pajama party!

HPS Austin will begin the 2019 Spring semester on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019. Monday, January 7th will be a professional development day for our teachers. We hope everyone is enjoying their winter break safely!

Happy New Year!

Volunteer with Harmony


Join us Wednesday, January 23rd for our most anticipated annual Harmony Public Schools Austin District Science Fair! HPS Austin middle and high school students will present their science investigations to a panel of judges from 1:00 - 3:00PM. The public is welcomed to view the student's projects after that time. The Awards Ceremony will begin at 4:30PM to announce the category winners.

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

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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