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HPS Austin Monthly October Edition

message from the superintendent

Area Superintendent, Gina Gregory, M.Ed.

Fall brings the end of the first quarter of school to HPS Austin. And each year, it brings a wealth of fun traditions- football, homecoming, festivals- along with it. We were thrilled to add our official ribbon cutting celebration for Harmony Science Academy Cedar Park into this year’s Fall activities.

The family oriented culture is one of the things I love most about Harmony; and it is something that truly sets us apart. Following Hurricane Harvey, HPS Austin collected over $5000 worth of brand new items to send to our Houston families through our Amazon donation link. As we move into the holiday season, I am excited to continue the #HarmonyGives tradition to help our local Harmony families in need. Please join us as we circle the HPS Austin community during this season of giving. You may give directly through the Amazon link below or you can speak to your individual campus engagement coordinator to sponsor a family in need.

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.

Andrea Rogers

Andrea Rogers fosters creativity and confidence at Harmony Science Academy Pflugerville as the Art I, II, III, Drawing, and Advanced Placement Art teacher. With her Masters in Art Education from Texas Tech University, she also offers Dual Credit Art Appreciation to students at HSAPf. In addition to her teaching schedule, Rogers takes time after-school to mentor students to compete in the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) competition. Last school year, two of her VASE Art students advanced to State; one bringing home the very first VASE State medal for Harmony Public Schools Austin. “Mrs. Rogers is honestly so supportive. I’ve had her since 9th grade and she has helped me grow as an artist. She gives great advice when I am not feeling confident in my art pieces,” said AP senior student, Bridgette. With eleven years teaching experience, six of those with Harmony, Rogers leads the Art department for the HPS Austin district.

Even with extra responsibilities mentoring students and fellow teachers, Rogers still manages to find time to extend her creative energy and grow her art capabilities by entering art shows around the Austin area. Her artwork has been accepted to many gallery showings like Round Rock Art’s Imagine 17 in March and The Big Show Art Reception and Art Show during summer 2017. Both galleries were held at the Texas State University Round Rock Campus. Rogers also showcases art outside of the traditional gallery. In Round Rock’s 2016 Chalk Walk, Mrs. Rogers won Best New Artist for her chalk piece Rhythm Clouds & Boy. Most recently, her piece Drips of Flowers was accepted into Round Rock Art's October art show, Alcohol Ink. Out of all the pieces accepted into the art gallery show, Rogers received the Committee's Choice Award. She has also been accepted into November’s gallery showing, “Birth-Death-Life.” The art reception will be held on Thursday, November 2 at 5:30 PM - 7 PM at ArtSpace in Round Rock.

Thank you, Principals!

October is National Principals Month. Harmony's esteemed admin teams keep us going #HarmonyStrong all year long! The key to student success is a great school, and the key to a great school is a great leader. Thank you to all the Harmony Principals across the state of Texas!

Harmony Celebrates Student Success

Be the Change

Amaris M., a Junior at Harmony School of Excellence, earned 1st place in the 2017 “Be the Change” city wide creative writing contest sponsored by the Indian American Coalition of Texas (IACT). In collaboration with the “Be the Change” National Day of Service and inspired by the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the IACT asked Austin students, “What does the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi mean to you?” Amaris submitted a poem titled The Trees in Our Hearts, inspired by Gandhi's vision of world peace. The poem expresses her perspective on citizens' rights, the recent order to rescind the DACA program, and issues within the Hispanic community. Amaris and her poem also caught the attention from the local Austin newspaper, Ahora Si. "Amaris is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, caring students I have ever had," says her English teacher Ms. Safara. In addition to taking 5 Advanced Placement courses and classes at Austin Community College, Amaris is a member of National Honor Society, Mock Government and Student Council at HSE.

#Olympicswimmer

Harmony School of Excellence Freshman, Pilar R., is a Special Olympics medalist! Every year the non-profit organization Special Olympics Texas holds the Fall Classic, a statewide competition where athletes compete in softball, aquatics, golf, and bocce. Pilar competed in three aquatic events winning Gold in the 50-meter Backstroke, Silver in the 25 Meter Butterfly and Bronze in the 50-meter Free Stroke. Pilar is also an athlete at school where she serves as a Tigerette cheerleader. "Pilar is very loving and caring student. Not only does she have so much potential but she is such a hard worker!" explained HSE teacher, Mrs. Deitering. We are #HarmonyProud of Pilar!

celebrating hispanic heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations continued through October. Have a look at some of the fun across the Austin district as we honor contributions from the Hispanic community.

Pflugerville students hosting their annual assembly

HSAPf Spanish Club display their hand-made flags that represent Spanish speaking countries around the world

HSAPf Spanish Folklorico dancers entertain at the annual campus celebration

Austin' own Latino 102.7 radio station stopped by to celebrate with HSAPf students

Led by Spanish teacher and Harmony Alumna, Ms. Martinez-Curial, the HSAPf Spanish Folkloric Dance team performed at the 2017 Pfamily Pfestival & hosted by the Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce.

Led by Ms. Madsen, HSPS students delivered autobiographies dressed in character as Frida Kahlo, Eva Perón, and Diego Rivera

Student Nicole R. closes HSPS assembly with a magnificent performance in a beautiful blue traditional Mexican dress

HSPS staff Ms. Solorio, Ms. Martinez, Ms. Garcia, Mr. Chappell (not pictured), and Mrs. Barker organized HSPS first annual Hispanic Heritage assembly

HSS Tigers celebrated with performances by hosting Harmony Science Academy Austin students from the Guzman Ballet Folklorico dance group

HSS students enjoy their own flag parade in partnership with HSAPf Spanish club

Fernando Flores visits Harmony School of Political Science

High school students at Harmony School of Political Science and Communications received a unique visitor for Hispanic Heritage Month that not only brought students a timely perspective on being a rising Mexican-American artist but also related to students as young creative adults reflecting on the world around them. HSPS college English teacher and Yearbook/Advanced Journalism teacher, Mr. Ramon Castillo invited central Texas writer and photographer Fernando Flores to engage with students and speak on his personal experiences, his creative process and to share examples of his work. Students found his messages relevant to honing their writing craft and developing their photography skills. “As an aspiring writer, it’s inspiring to meet someone who was once where I was and is where I want to be.” Payton C., English 1301 student. Arriving eager to connect with students, Flores was prepared with a short story he read aloud entitled, “Queso”. He talked about his humble beginnings as a small-town writer from Alton, TX and his shift into the Austin scene. Flores was listed in Texas Monthly’s Top 10 Writers to Watch in October 2015, was featured in Construction Literary Magazine, and was also the recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation literary award in 2014. Examples of his photography can be accessed on Instagram using the handle @thewriterflores.

In the Community

Community Festival on Rundberg Lane

Harmony Science Academy Austin held their annual Fall Carnival in conjunction with the Rundberg Educational Advancement District’s (READ) community safe trick or treat route on Rundberg Lane. HSA Austin, our first Austin area location, has an ongoing partnership with READ which is a community driven effort to empower parents, educators, schools and city officials for the educational advancement of youth in the Rundberg area. The Fest is a way to bring the community together and provide the youth in the Rundberg area a fun and safe place to enjoy the fall season festivities. The Austin Police Department, City of Austin Parks and Recreation, Austin Independent School district alongside Rundberg area public charter schools and local businesses enjoy the fun each year. Check out the news story from KVUE below!

Fire Prevention week

In honor of Fire Prevention Awareness week, Harmony campuses hosted area firefighters to explain important fire safety tips to our elementary students. Our students learned that firefighters aren't scary and are there to assist in case of an emergency. They even took a tour of inside a real fire truck! Students also learned about the importance of having a working smoke detector in the home and what to do in the event of an emergency. At HSA Cedar Park, the message went beyond fire prevention and was delivered in an engaging way to get the attention of younger audiences. The Cedar Park Fire Department has a unique educational outreach program for area schools, called HEAT, (Helping Education About Today's Safety). In bright colorful costumes, silly superhero cadets delivered lessons on the dangers of texting while driving, the importance of wearing seat belts, checking for working smoke detectors, and in case of a fire, staying low and having a family exit plan prepared.

Viva La Vida Parade

For the 3rd year in a row, Harmony Public Schools Austin’s drumline, dance, and cheer teams participated in Austin’s largest and longest-running Dia De Los Muertos parade in downtown Austin hosted by Mexi-Arte Museum.

hps austin promotes a love of learning

Austin Energy's Power Town

Tamera Tate from Austin’s electrical company, Austin Energy, presented “Power Town” to Harmony School of Science and Harmony Science Academy 5th grade students. The presentation teaches basic electrical safety concepts using different scenarios to demonstrate safety hazards in a model town. Tate showed intriguing scenarios using real electric currents to emphasize safety around fallen power lines. Thank you to Austin Energy for helping us learn more about how electricity works!

Invent It. Build It.

Students from Harmony School of Excellence, Harmony Science Academy Pflugerville, and Austin displayed hands-on STEM demos at The Society of Women Engineers' Invent It. Build It. Expo. The student STEM experts were excited to share their knowledge with Expo guests and even got to show projects to fellow Harmony classmates who participated in the student program.

Civic Engagement

2017 Lights Festival

"It is important to get out and serve in the community by volunteering because you learn from these real-life experiences. You learn how to interact with people and at the same time you feel that you are part of a team," HSAPf Senior, Dennis.

A group of twenty-five Harmony Science Academy Pflugerville high school "Students who Promote Random Acts of Kindness" (SPARK) volunteered at the 2017 Lights Festival in Rockdale, Texas. The HSAPf students helped with check-in, handing out participants’ kits, answering questions, and cleanup. The Lights Fest is held in different cities around the United States and Great Britain. The Lights Fest is dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the environment and everyone who attends the event. The fest also donates to a charity in each city that an event is held. The SPARK students enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer and support the fest in honor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Arbor Day Austin

“It felt good to be helping out and making the earth a little better,” 8th grader Annee.

Harmony Science Academy Austin National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) students joined their sponsor, Abby DeShazo, as volunteers with The Austin Community Tree (ACT) Program in celebration of National Arbor Day. The ACT program is a free tree planting program offered to Austin area neighborhoods with a low percentage of trees. The program heavily depends on volunteers for their Arbor Day projects. The NJHS 8th grade students were able to help plant trees by mulching the dig sites, carrying the trees to be planted and cleaning up trash in the Highland Park neighborhood in Austin, Texas.

Harmony Science Academy Cedar Park Ribbon Cutting

Principal Yilmaz shared, “Our greatest joy comes from the sights and sounds of our students enjoying the simple things at Harmony. While today we are celebrating the successful opening of the new school; we are also celebrating the extraordinary learning that comes to life within it.”

Faculty and staff from Harmony Science Academy Cedar Park worked tirelessly to prepare the new facility for PreK-4th grade students for the start of 2017-18 school year. To commemorate the success, the ribbon cutting ceremony was planned to precede the school’s fall festival in order to make it a grand community and family event. Speakers included Area Superintendent Gina Gregory, Principal Ilker Yilmaz, and Kristyne Bollier; Mayor Pro Tem City of Cedar Park, as well as three students who did a great job explaining why they love their new school.

red ribbon week

HPS Austin had fun celebrating Red Ribbon week with daily themes in efforts to raise awareness to be drug free

Bully prevention month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month! This year, five HPS Austin campuses hosted a special guest, Frank from the “Don’t Be a Monster” program, to teach students the importance of being an upstander. Harmony School of Innovation hosted the award winning Buddies Not Bullies assembly with Todd McKinney.

National School Lunch Week

Thanks to an exciting partnership between DairyMax, GENYOUth, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the PepsiCo Foundation Harmony School of Excellence received a $10,000 grant for cafeteria equipment to serve "Grab and Go" breakfast. Students who eat school breakfast are better able to learn, achieve higher test scores, are less likely to be absent from school and behave better in school.

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: Victoria Stockstill, M.Ed.- Director of Communications and Development; 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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