Dear Harmony Families & Team Members,
With a new year comes new opportunities and a time for new beginnings. We believe this school year is going to be filled with more opportunities than ever for achievement, exploration, and inspiration for our students and team members across Texas.
This year, Harmony is proud to welcome its largest class ever – roughly 42,000 students – to our 60 campuses. Harmony also experienced its largest batch of new student applicants – more than 50,000 – for this school year. Neither of these accomplishments could have been possible without the support of our Harmony families and staff members sharing the good word about their school with friends, neighbors, and families. For that, we owe you our thanks.
Whether your family is new to Harmony or you’ve been with us for years, Harmony will offer each of our scholars the same high-quality, STEM-focused education filled with opportunities to connect and engage with their schools, teachers, and classmates.
Though it has been only a few days since the first of our schools opened for the 2022-23 school year, already we have some exciting news to share. This week, the Texas Education Agency released its first State Accountability Ratings since the start of the pandemic. We are excited to report that five HPS districts and 23 HPS campuses earned a perfect “A” rating on this key report. Two districts and 32 campuses also received “B” ratings. Collectively, Harmony was the highest scoring major Texas charter school network in terms of the percentage of campuses which scored a “B” or better.
These results come on the heels of some extraordinary spring STAAR test results, which found that statewide not only had most of our students made up any achievement loss caused by the COVID pandemic, but in the majority of our schools, our students actually scored higher than they did pre-pandemic. Despite these successes, the work to help our students fully rebound from the pandemic will continue throughout 2022-23, as we continue to emphasize additional learning acceleration and ongoing emotional well-being support for our students.
Our TEA Ratings and STAAR scores are just a couple of the reasons why we’re so excited to begin another school year, but there are plenty more. In addition to our normal annual programs and initiatives, Harmony will be focusing on several key areas this school year:
- School culture and climates of character will continue to be a primary focus for all of our campuses. The positive results of this ongoing initiative already are plain to see. Systemwide, we have seen a dramatic drop in behavioral incidents at our campuses, as an increase in counselor staffing is helping to better support students before possible issues arise. HPS also is proud to share that in 2021-22, three of our campuses were named National Schools of Character, making a total of seven HPS national winners in the past three years. Thirteen campuses have also been named State Schools of Character. We expect several other campuses to earn these honors this year.
- We will continue to focus on school safety measures and scientific-based health protocols to keep our students and staff safe and focused on achievement. Over the summer, each of our schools conducted additional campus safety training, including security audits of their points of entry. This is in addition to the long-standing security measures already in place, which include yearly safety audits, which exceed the TEA requirement of once every three years. We will continue to work to increase the safety of our school communities, as keeping our students and team members safe is our highest priority.
- For our former students, we will continue to offer a number of assistance programs to ensure their long-term success after HPS. First, the HPS Alumni Career Center will provide ongoing support and services to assist them with career development, job placement, and long-term success. Next, Harmony is extending its postsecondary support services with the new Alumni College Coaching program. The program aims to provide on-college campus coaching, and monthly success workshops to increase Harmony graduates’ enrollment, retention, and more importantly their college completion. It will be piloted at three universities this fall: the University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, and North American University. Finally, our College & Career counselors are wrapping up a successful season of “summer melt” intervention to make sure last year’s graduating seniors become this year’s entering college freshmen. Across our system, HPS made personal contact with 94% of our Class of 2022 to make sure they are still enrolled in college, have their financial aid in order, and know when and where to be on Day 1 of college.
- To help prepare our students for the workforce, we will continue to expand our Career & Technical Education (CTE) and Industry-Based Certification (IBC) programs. Harmony currently offers more than 650 career pathways courses in 10 different fields, including Biomedical Science, Engineering, Programming & Software Development, Accounting & Financial Services, and Business Management, among others. In 2021-22, HPS invested more than $19 million in federal funds into these programs, allowing more than 15,000 students to get a jumpstart on the future careers of their dreams.
- Through our Harmony Partners in Education program, we will continue to seek businesses, volunteers, and other community members who can bring resources and opportunities to our schools and students. During 2021-22, Partners in Education matched more than 1,000 partners with school projects across our system.
- For students interested in a career in public service, HPS will continue to expand its rapidly-growing Service Leadership Society, which already is among the largest of any school system in the state. Harmony’s SLS program is dedicated to encouraging civic engagement among our students and exposing them to leadership opportunities within their communities while at the same time, allowing them to interact with elected officials and their staff.
- To continue supporting the continued influx of interest in Harmony, we are continuing to add new campuses and expand others. This school year, HPS debuts two new campuses – Harmony School of Excellence-Katy and Harmony School of Science-San Antonio – as well as four additional major campus expansions. We’re also breaking ground on three others – in El Paso, Fort Worth, and Leander – this school year.
As you can see, we all have a lot to look forward to this year.
On behalf of our team members, faculty and staff, I would like to welcome you and your family to the 2022- 2023 school year. We look forward to getting to know your family better this school year and sharing all that Harmony has to offer.
CEO | Harmony Public Schools