What is a Charter Public School?
Charter public schools are public schools of choice that provide parents an alternative to traditional public schools. The “charter” establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure student success.
A charter public school is independently operated and can design elements of its own educational program, hire its own teachers and staff, and manage its own budget. The basic concept of charter schools is that the school enjoys enhanced autonomy, in return for accountability to its founders, parents, the public, and its grantors.
Do Harmony Public Schools charge tuition?
Tuition is not paid for attending a charter school. Harmony Public Schools are public schools, funded by the State of Texas. But, unlike school districts, charter schools like Harmony, do not levy property taxes.
Are Harmony Public Schools religious?
Harmony Public Schools is a secular and non-sectarian public school. Harmony Public Schools are not affiliated with any religious movement, organization, or belief system and are open to all students regardless of race, creed, nationality, or gender.
Who operates Harmony Public Schools?
Like all Texas Open-enrollment charter schools, Harmony is operated by a nonprofit educational organization, headquartered in Houston, Texas. Harmony currently operates 56 separate schools throughout Texas serving families in traditionally underserved communities, including every major city in the state.
The Harmony Public Schools Board of Directors are dedicated unpaid volunteers who are required to go through rigorous and continuous training in finances, operations and law and who meet regularly to adopt policies and guide the direction of the Harmony organization.
The Harmony Public Schools Board of Directors Nominating Committee is interested in individuals with expertise, experience and leadership abilities who will dedicate the time and interest necessary to contribute to the maintenance of Harmony’s standard of excellence in education.
Why should parents send their children to Harmony Public Schools?
Excellence is the Harmony Public Schools standard and this is well demonstrated by Harmony students who are consistently exceeding state averages on Texas standardized tests.
In the 2018 School Year all Harmony campuses across Texas met or exceeded state standards on the annual State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam.
Harmony Public Schools has the proud tradition of competing and winning state, national, and international STEM competitions, state and national academic commendations, and competitive internships at high-ranking universities.
What is STEM Education? Why do Harmony Public Schools focus on it so closely?
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the fields of study that examine the natural world and how it operates. Harmony Public Schools focus on STEM because it is fundamental to every field of human endeavor, from academic and critical thinking skills to social skills to appreciation and understanding of Humanities, Social Sciences, problem solving and artistic creativity.
Through Harmony’s Project-Based Learning curriculum, students work on providing solutions to real-world problems. These individual and team laboratory projects and state-wide, national and international rocketry and robotics competitions bring Harmony students to a deeper and thrilling understanding of both traditional academic topics while teaching them skills beyond the classroom, such as public speaking, teamwork and time management.
Harmony graduates are designed to effectively navigate college-level coursework by mastering advanced concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Harmony graduates have earned seats in the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, gaining coveted STEM jobs and bridging the gap between students in traditionally underserved communities and lucrative satisfying STEM careers.
What is Project Based Learning, and why do Harmony Public Schools use it?
Project-Based Learning is a learning method where students master academic concepts through designing, building and experimenting with their own and team projects and problems that search for reality-based, scientific and social solutions. Harmony students will complete multiple projects every year, giving them ownership in their successes as they learn and internalize lifelong skills in perseverance and critical thinking. It is these strategies that have made Harmony’s curriculum one of the best in the nation.
What other teaching methods do Harmony Public Schools use?
In addition to Project Based Learning Harmony uses a wide variety of methods and techniques such as Students on Stage, Custom Day Personalized Learning Environments and Character Education.
Students on Stage or SOS —
Nothing reinforces understanding of a topic more than explaining it to others. Through “Students on Stage,” Harmony students share their learned knowledge with peers, younger students, and adults.. Projects may be presented in the classroom at a local expo or in larger exhibits and competitions. The progressive stages of SOS allows Harmony students to perfect their explanations of their concepts and projects.
Custom Day Personalized Learning Environments —
The Harmony school day is uniquely structured to allow for maximum learning style flexibility. A two-hour block is reserved daily so that students can work independent of their classmates, based on their personal academic needs. This block of time can be used by students to receive additional tutoring, pursue advanced coursework, engage in extra college-readiness and preparation or to work on personal educational projects. But this customized environment is structured and monitored. Within these two hour learning sessions, teachers and their students develop and modify individualized learning plans as needed, allowing Harmony students to take ownership of their own education.
What is "Character Education" at Harmony Public Schools?
Harmony’s approach to learning does not stop with academics. Rather, beginning in elementary grades, Harmony’s goal is to grow its students, into principled and effective adult leaders possessing key characteristics such as honesty, courage, persistence, integrity, and kindness through Character Education. Harmony treats Character Education as it does its STEM courses, teaching these vital character traits the same way it teaches academic subjects.
Harmony realizes that our children are our future. And so, Harmony uses “Second Step”, a research-based socio-emotional curriculum teaching respect, teamwork and work ethic that provides age-appropriate lessons using music, stories, and art. Second Step works. It is now used in 30 percent of all U.S. elementary schools and is produced by the nonprofit Committee for Children headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
Does Harmony Public Schools offer additional academic support, such as after-school and Saturday tutorials?
Yes. While each Harmony campus offers these additional educational services at various times, all Harmony campuses offer after-school and Saturday tutorials as needed where students can catch up or deepen their understanding and gain additional practice in challenging subjects.
Moreover, Harmony high school students receive college and career counseling and can participate in independent study and dual-enrollment college classes.
Do Harmony Public Schools Offer Gifted And Talented Programs?
Yes. Harmony Public Schools is committed to providing a rigorous, high-quality education to all its students. To meet the needs of those who show advancement in certain areas, Harmony provides Gifted and Talented Education, or GATE, beginning with students as young as kindergarten.
The GATE program provides accelerated learning through additional enrichment activities, pull-out sessions, and extended lab hours.
What courses are offered at Harmony Public Schools?
Harmony Public Schools offers a wide array of both core and elective academic coursework to provide every student with options that match their interests while satisfying state graduation requirements. Of course, Harmony’s curriculum focuses on STEM and from kindergarten on provides a broad spectrum of classes that boost student interest in STEM fields. Many Harmony high schools employ an advanced curriculum program in a variety of fields such as engineering, and biomedical science known as Project Lead The Way.
Harmony students may also qualify for Advanced Placement courses as early as the 9th grade.
You can learn more about Harmony’s course offerings from Pre-K to 12th grade by clicking the “Academics” tab from this website’s home page.
Does Harmony Public Schools enroll students with Special Needs?
Of course. Harmony Public Schools is very proud of its programs geared towards students with Special Needs where qualifying student can receive extra attention from instructors, additional support mechanisms for students and their families, as well as classroom and other accommodations.
Does Harmony Public Schools enroll students with Limited English Proficiency?
Yes. English Language Learners (ELL) at Harmony Public Schools receive additional instruction to help them develop their English language skills to help them fully participate in academic and social settings. Through the use of communicative and integrative methods of second language teaching the Harmony ELL program focuses on mastery of English language skills in listening, comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking.
How do Harmony Public Schools handle bullying and student discipline?
Students will not learn and succeed unless they feel safe and are in a safe environment. Student safety and well-being is the cornerstone of harmony policy that is tough on bullying and other negative behaviors. Additionally, Harmony’s focus on family dynamics helps to identify and address situations that may lead to student bullying and potential disciplinary issues. Harmony Public Schools all have an expulsion prerogative and will use it when student safety or well-being is threatened and when otherwise appropriate.
Is there a School Uniform policy?
Yes. Harmony wants its students concentrating on learning and not on the latest fashion fads. Parents will purchase uniform shirts prior to the start of each school year. Information about accommodations and additional uniform and dress code requirements are found in the Harmony Parent/Student Handbook on this website.