HPS Austin Highlights february 2019 Edition

HPS Austin Celebrates Black History Month

Throughout Black History Month in February, Harmony Public Schools Austin honors the exceptional achievements and incredible sacrifices of those who came before us in the fight for equality for all. See how the district celebrated this month!

The student-led Afro-American Society of Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville hosted the 2nd Annual 2019 Black History Month Program. Students showcased prominent black figures and performed traditional and modern African dances, songs, and student-written poetry.

The Afro-American Society is student led and sponsored by Ms. Ashley Wright of HSAPf.
Harmony School of Innovation - Austin parent, Simone Pollard, visited this February with HSI 3rd-5th grade students dressed and speaking as Harriet Tubman to teach about her contributions as an American abolitionist and “conductor” for the Underground Railroad. “Being an African American women, there are certain African American women that I admire and Harriet Tubman is one of them. I think our kids need to know about her since she risked her life to do a great thing not many people would have had the courage to do. This presentation is a really great way for the kids to go back to that time and really envision how Tubman was risking her life and how she looked while she was doing it.”
Ms. Chelly Bell, Director of Operations for the Austin Technology Council and Ambassador for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, read “Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed to Harmony School of Innovation - Austin Pre-K through 2nd grade students. “Mae Among the Stars” is a picture book about Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space for NASA.
Harmony Science Academy - Austin teachers decorated their classroom doors in celebration of Black History Month. At Harmony School of Innovation - Austin, students were able to learn about 30 African American heroes through a history game where students and teachers were encouraged to pick up an answer sheet and match individual people to their achievements in history.
Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park 4th grade student, Nia C., created an animation through the Scratch coding program to share Dr. Martin Luther King’s life timeline. Click below to view the animation she created!

STEM for All


Nearly 3,000 greater Austin area students from 3rd through 12th grade came together for the love of all things science between February 20th through the 23rd for the 2019 Austin Energy Regional Science Fair. Harmony Austin students competed and brought back many medals with nine projects advancing to the Texas Science & Engineering Fair. We are very excited to announce the Harmony Austin winners and are proud of our students' great accomplishments.

Shehza G. and Jessie C.

1st place - Mathematics

Special Awards: Mu Alpha Theta, Tyrex Group Award

Abrar R.

1st Place - Computer Science/ Hardware/ Embedded Systems

Special Awards: Broadcom Masters SSP Award, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Naval Science Award Jr

Pratham B.

HPS Austin Superintendent Award

Pratham and Mrs. Gina Gregory, HPS Austin Area Superintendent


  • Ambereen H. 2nd Place - Computer Science: Systems Software, *Special Award - Broadcom Masters SSP Award, HSEndeavor
  • Furkan Y., Phillipe R. 2nd Place = Energy: Traditional/Alternative/Energy Efficiency HSAPf
  • Miraf R. 2nd Place - Behavioral & Social Sciences, *Special Award - Broadcom Masters SSP Award, HSAPf
  • Pratham B. 2nd Place - Physics & Astronomy, *Special Award - Superintendent Award for Austin Area Harmony Schools, HSEndeavor
  • Gabriela M. 3rd Place - Behavioral & Social Sciences HSEndeavor
  • Jack S. 3rd Place - Biochemistry HSAPf
  • Ibrahim B., Jose C. 3rd Place - Energy: Traditional/Alternative/Energy Efficiency HSEnd
  • Ethan C. 4th Place - Mathematics HSEndeavor
  • Adam S. 5th Place - Computer Science: Systems Software HSAPf
  • Amelie B., Zara K. 5th Place - Microbiology HSEndeavor
  • Arya K. 5th Place - Robotics & Intelligent Machines HSAPf
  • Kamil Y., Emin K. *Special Award - City of Austin Best in Climate Protection Sr, Earth Day - Positive Futures Award Jr, HSAPf
Winning Senior Division projects advance to the Texas Science and Engineering Fair at Texas A&M University held on March 29-30, 2019. Good luck Harmony Austin! #STEMforall #HarmonyProud


Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin

  • Shrika P., Khashvi T. 1st Place - Ocean Acidification
  • Saathvik R. 1st Place - Does Music Affect the Way You Play Sports?
  • Gia K. 1st Place - Self-Sufficient Homes
  • Eshan K. 3rd Place - Alternately Powered Vehicles

Harmony Science Academy - Austin

  • Angel J. 2nd Place - How Strongly Does Our Smell Affect Our Taste, or Does It Affect At All?
  • Mohsen A. 2nd Place - Why do humans feel electrical shocks?

Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park

  • Ashlynn M. 1st Place - How do Aquifers work?
  • Lanika Z. 1st Place - Access to Safe Water, *Special Award: Earth Day - Positive Future Awards
  • Anjali R. 1st Place - Do Bananas survive longer outside or inside the refrigerator?
  • Zaniah B. 1st Place - Thermal Expansion of Water
  • Krish P. 2nd Place - What Materials Make the Best Conductors?
  • Abhimanyu P. 2nd Place - Homemade Propeller Car
  • Hasan R. 2nd Place - Energy Loss in Solar Panels
  • Arya K. 2nd Place - Power Generating Speed Hump
  • Ashton P. 2nd Place - Egg-cellent Teeth, *Special Award: Health Through Science Award Honorable Mention
  • Ricky L. 3rd Place - Which terrain can a remote controlled go over the fastest?

Harmony School of Innovation - Austin

  • Alexis S. 1st Place - What type of Catnip attracts cats?

Harmony School of Science - Austin

  • Assiatou B. 1st Place - Pop, Pop, Popcorn
  • Ali Al A. 1st Place - Soccer Measurements
  • Lafia T. 1st Place - Electric Produce
  • Antone I. 1st Place - Does Mint Really Cool things Down?
  • Christian D. 1st Place - Do Different Types of Liquids Evaporate at the Same Rate?
  • Rishi R. 2nd Place - Global Warming
  • Tucker D. 2nd Place - Gummy Bear Science Experiment
  • Leeann B. 2nd Place - Temperature and Water Density
  • Ishant Y. 2nd Place - Effect of Distance on a Circuit
  • Brody L. 2nd Place - Plants with Different Liquids
  • Danica R., Mateen B., Rehaan A. 2nd Place - The Lemon Circuit


Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville hosted their annual Science - Technology - Engineering - Art - Mathematics Festival on February 23rd. Over 200 attendees enjoyed student projects and interactive demonstrations in chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, engineering, and math. Aside from STEM, the arts and humanities were also celebrated with an art exhibition and tastes from around the world. This event also celebrated the tenth anniversary of the school that has proudly served families in the Pflugerville, Austin, Round Rock and Manor communities since the 2008-2009 school year.

Senior Ilyas shows 10th grader Sahand the chambers of the heart.

Students play Fortnite catapult challenge!

Ms. Jenna Garza sees her DNA!

Ms. Hernandez serves chicken in mole, an authentic Mexican dish, with homemade salsa to STEAM Fair attendees.

Students play an E-Game competition.


A group of Harmony Austin families met at the new Austin Central Library on February 2nd to attend a free, community-wide STEM event, YOUTH CODE JAM ATX! Sponsored by The KLE Foundation and Google Fiber, students were able to visit a variety of interactive stations that inspired creativity as well as a curiosity in computer science. Some stations included virtual reality, game and website design, scratch game design and self-driving cars.

Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park and Harmony School of Science - Austin elementary students enjoyed the day at YOUTH CODE JAM ATX!

Check out the video to see all the action and to hear why Ms. Angela Tackett, Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park technology teacher, encouraged her students to attend the event.


Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park welcomed Hello World Studio to their 5th grade Technology class! Sponsored by RetailMeNot, students are working with programming languages for web development this semester. “Students are learning the importance of typing and the coding skills we use to create the most popular websites on the internet,” said Ms. Angela Tackett, HSACP Technology teacher. “The instructors are patient and they are encouraging independence and attention to detail.” The Harmony 5th grade web developers-in-training will be able to showcase their projects at Google Austin on Saturday, March 30th. Thank you Hello World Studio and RetailMeNot for the opportunity!


This Febraury, middle and high school students from Harmony School of Excellence - Austin and Harmony Science Academy - Austin along with teachers, Jessica Scott, Andrew Silva, and Victoria Rossi, took STEM learning outside the traditional classroom to Catalina Island Marine Institute off the coast of California mainland. Through multiple fundraising efforts, 15 students were able to experience marine biology, oceanography, ecology and astronomy. Students dissected a squid and acquired marine biology knowledge during shark/algae/fish labs. They experienced an evening astronomy lesson under a crisp sky, free of light pollution, hiked and climbed their way through an intimate island ecology lesson, and utilized state-of-the-art technology while classifying organisms in the plankton lab. Students also shadowed oceanographers & used multiple types of equipment for gathering data.

“When children can see, hear, touch, and smell things first hand, they leave a mark much deeper than anything they could learn in the classroom. Nature, in fact, is the ideal classroom for so many reasons. Students can truly see and understand what is being taught, they make a connection and become more invested in their learning,” said Jessica Scott, HSE-Austin teacher.
“At multiple points there are those 'ah-ha' moments where students make a deep connection to nature and start to really understand the content. Sometimes, this is forest ecology, marine biology, stewardship for the environment and how we’re all connected. No matter when it happens, it’s a beautiful, proud moment for all involved. You can see kids falling in love with the world around them and this is what builds life-long learners and stewards of the earth.”
Throughout their many STEM adventures during the 6 days in California, students were able to experience living in cabins on an internet-free island, kayaking in the open ocean to a private beach where they went “eeling” (fishing for eels) and finally debriefing and relaxing over a beach campfire. Ms. Scott hopes these trips continue for years to come, as they have undoubtedly changed the lives of hundreds of students.

HPS Austin Celebrates National Children's Dental Health Month

February kicked off National Children’s Dental Health Month which highlighted the importance of oral health in children and celebrated the important work of dental hygienists. During the month, our dental community partners came out to campuses and visited with our young Harmony Austin students to begin a strong base of healthy oral habits.


In February over the course of three weekly sessions, 2nd grade students in Austin’s Harmony Science Academy and Harmony School of Innovation had special guests from the Austin Community College’s Department of Dental Hygiene to teach them about the importance of oral health. Ms. Shurron Miller and Ms. Megan Westphal’s 2nd grade students learned about the lasting effects that processed sugar can have on teeth, how to properly brush and care for their mouth on a daily basis and about healthy foods to eat for their teeth. “It’s important to us to come out into our community to make sure they get a better understanding of how to care for their teeth,” said Stacey, one of the ACC Dental Hygiene students visiting Harmony. “We hope that they walk away with just a little bit more education on the importance of taking care of their mouths so that they can lead healthy lives. Hopefully we make a difference and have a positive impact on the kids.”

Ms. Miller (bottom right photo) believes these lessons will be extremely beneficial and have a lasting impact in her student’s lives. “I love this program because my students get to experience an interactive and engaging lesson on dental care that will stick with them. They’ve learned a lot and are excited to practice what they’ve learned at home.”


The St. David’s Foundation Dental program visited Harmony School of Science - Austin during Children's Dental Health Month to share with students the importance of preventing cavities. Students also received a free goodie bag of oral care items such as floss, toothpaste, and a brand new toothbrush.

"Children's Dental Health Month isn't just important to us because we have a dental program that serves children, it's also important because CAVITIES are the most preventable disease among children! Our incredible dental team will be getting the word out to students all across our community this month, and we're kicking off a poster contest among some of the schools we serve. Here's our Purple van team presenting to Harmony School of Science - Austin!" - St. David's Foundation

In the Community


For the last few years, the University of Texas at Austin has hosted The UT Project, the largest day of service where UT students volunteer their time and beautify parts of the city in an effort to encourage local communities to reclaim public spaces. This year, Harmony Science Academy - Austin was able to welcome back the UT Project for its 4th consecutive and final year.

“I hope the students and teachers feel that there’s always someone in the community looking out for them. We’re here for them. I hope it just raises their spirits and that it encourages them to one day want to be able to help out and give back to their communities.” - Andres Garcia, UT Project Tools Lead

Over 85 volunteers came to our campus to help address some of its needs. Thank you all for your hard work! Thank you to our wonderful UT Project On Site Crew: Moselle Rodriguez, Andres Garcia, Katelyn Ashok, Maria Maynard, and Nicholas Firestone for being such a great team!

This year’s projects included cleaning out and mulching the community garden, painting the school cafeteria, the wooden benches, and the exterior of the smaller Cub Building.


Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville College Readiness and Leadership Program students along with the campus Chess Club visited a local Pflugerville community assisted living home. Students spent time chatting, playing games and spending quality time with senior citizens.


On Sunday, February 17th, several members of Harmony Science Academy - Austin National Junior Honor Society spent a whimsical afternoon volunteering their time at the Zilker Botanical Garden for their Beloved Faerie Tea Party event. HSA-A students and their teacher sponsor, Ms. Abby DeShazo, assisted in serving tea, juice, miniature cakes, and fruit to a few faeries-in-training set to explore the gardens at Zilker. As part of NJHS, students have to meet a certain number of service hours by volunteering in the community. Ms. DeShazo researches and finds many opportunities for NJHS students to complete these hours alongside her. Thank you for your commitment to not only your students but to the community as well.

HPS Austin Celebrates Student Success


Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville high school students competed in the Texas Art Education Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) this February and brought home 12 medals! “I’m proud to say our students did very well and I am beyond proud of them! Out of 18 school districts, 31 schools, 81 teachers and 1445 entries, only 118 pieces advanced to state VASE!” said Mrs. Andrea Rogers, Art teacher at HSAPf. 2 MEDALS: Diego A., Vivian M., Emely M., Shaiza G.; 1 MEDAL: Pearl T., Brian D., Cihan R.

Shaiza G., HSAPf 11th grade student, advanced to State VASE competition in April for her piece titled Time Travel. We are #HarmonyProud of her and wish her the best of luck!

Time Travel by Shaiza G.

HPS Austin Promotes a Love of Learning


On February 2nd, Harmony School of Science - Austin welcomed several Harmony campuses from across Central and South Texas for the Harmony Public Schools District UIL Competition. Competing campuses this year included Harmony School of Excellence - Austin, Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville, and Harmony School of Innovation - Laredo.Students from elementary and middle school were able to test their academic skills in various categories like Chess, Ready Writing, Listening Skills, Number Sense, Oral Reading, Science, Spelling, Math, and Art.

HSA - Pflugerville students placed in almost 10 different categories and won over 20 awards! Way to go HSA - Pflugerville!
“I’ve always liked math and when my teacher told me about it (UIL) I told myself ‘I’m going to take this chance.’ I’m not going to let it slide because I have high hopes for myself and I want to accomplish something,” said Vivian, HSE-Austin student pictured in white shirt.


Middle school students in the College Readiness and Leadership Program at Harmony Science Academy - Austin had a special guest speaker from Latinitas, a non-profit organization that aims to encourage young girls between the ages of 9-18 to enter the media and technology sectors. Ms. Sylvia Butanda, the Program Director for the Austin extension of Latinitas, spoke about the strength that can be found in leadership, the benefits in helping out your local community, and the empowerment that comes when you say ‘yes’ to new opportunities. Apart from discussing her academic background and about her college experiences, Ms. Butanda also encouraged students to seek out their passion in life as this could be a great way to find out what kind of life they envision for themselves.

“Find what you want to do in life and let that lead you. Don’t close yourself off to opportunities because it's new or scary. Say yes to all the different opportunities that will come to you. I said yes to everything I could and that opened up doors to so many opportunities to meet new people and to make new connections in my life. Don’t be afraid to say yes.”
Thank you, Ms. Butanda, for coming out and encouraging our kids to find their passion!

Dedicated Staff


For the last six years, Dove Springs Proud, a community group of committed Dove Springs alumni and residents, have celebrated individuals and organizations who, through their unwavering dedication, have helped to improve the community of Dove Springs. On Thursday, February 7, the Dove Springs Proud 6th Annual Award Ceremony celebrated Mrs. Christel Sullivan, the High School Dean of Students at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin. President and Founder of Dove Springs Proud, Ricardo Zavala, presented the award to Mrs. Sullivan for her proven history of going above and beyond when working for DPS to serve the youth and residents of Dove Springs.

“I am so incredibly touched by this recognition as it truly is a privilege to work in the Dove Springs community. Though I only work in the Dove Springs area, the countless community events Mr. Zavala and DPS host for all Dove Springs families makes me feel at home. It is an honor to work alongside our amazing Harmony staff, who like me, are dedicated in helping our Dove Springs students succeed in life. I am so lucky that Harmony has given me the opportunity to find such a fulfilling experience through our mission and core values. Thank you Dove Springs Proud for this recognition!”

Mrs. Christel Sullivan graduated Cum Laude from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) with a Bachelors in International Relations and Magna Cum Laude with a Masters in International Law. She is currently pursuing her second masters in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. After teaching Social Studies for 2 years in Mexico, Mrs. Sullivan moved to Austin and started her career with at Harmony School of Excellence - Austin. During her time with Harmony, Mrs. Sullivan has served as a Spanish teacher, Spanish District Department Head, Activity and Outreach Coordinator, and Head Counselor. She currently serves as the High School Assistant Principal of Students.

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 | Dustin Cox, MBA - Director of External Relations | Toraman Yayla, M.Ed. - Director of Operations | (Not Pictured) Robert Navarro - Director of Finance
HPS Austin District Office - 13415 Fm 620 N Austin, Texas 78717

HPS Austin schools

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

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

Tiffany Molina, 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

Amy Chankin, M. Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Innovation - Austin


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Created By
Clarissa Davila

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