My children have attended this school for the two+ years we have lived in Austin, having attended HSE in Houston prior, and I've found this school to be excellent. It is an exemplary school and the standard is high, and my children are doing very well here. The teachers truly care and give extra effort to making sure all students are successful. THIS is what I look for in a school!!!
I will never let my own kids go to this school after having seen it from the inside. The principal has created a toxic environment which can't help but to trickle into the classrooms. She targets staff (and students) if she feels they are challenging her. This has lead to a very high turnover rate. That means that every year is like a learning year for the (new) and inexperienced staff. In addition, resources are virtually non-existent unless teachers buy them. Lastly, I have to agree with a previous post about the amount of "high need visas" being suspicious and the fact that most of the so-called teachers coming over from Turkey are almost impossible for students to understand. They also have no skills in classroom management. Google NY Times and Turkish Schools, as well as 60 Minutes and Turkish Schools. Then draw your own conclusions.
I also taught at Harmony School of Excellence. I've taught for 15 years, but have never seen a school mismanaged to this extent. There is a huge riff between the American and Turkish Teachers. The Turks are here on a "High Need Visa." Harmony Schools has more of these Visa's than the technology industry combined. Most of the Turkish teachers can't speak much English, but they can teach the kids? I was harassed and yelled at constantly by the principal. If your Musilm, your safe. If not, run in the other direction. This school is funneling money back into Turkey. There are NO supplies for the kids with classrooms being tiny and packed with kids. Kids are charged to get their cell phones back, Saturday detentions/tutorials are mandatory for many. This Saturday School is just another way for the Turkish teachers to be paid $25 hr. for sitting. Google Harmony Schools, read the New York Times article from Summer 2012, its only the tip of the iceberg.
Being a former employee, I have somewhat of a unique perspective. The majority of the staff is some of the most hard working individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. Then there are the Turkish members of the staff, most of which I am sure have never taken a teaching course or have never held anything close to a teaching position prior to working at Harmony. Numerous times I saw competent American teachers get passed over for positions so they could justify bringing another Turk over on a work Visa. The students do work hard and were a great group of kids. They perform well on the state tests, but I believe that is a direct result of the extra hours of instruction that are assigned only to the American teachers and the numerous extra hours that they put in. It is sad & frustrating that there are only 2 qualifications to meet in order to advance as faculty. One is to be male, the second is to be Turkish. Unfortunately, I did not meet the second qualification, so I spent all of my years working under Turkish first year teachers who were somehow made department chair. Sending your kids here will get good state test results, but don't be surprised by high faculty turnover.
The level of communications out of this school is substandard. Lodging a complaint against the school staff is useless because of the high degree is nepotism at this school. We get notice of a Saturday event less than 18 hours before the (mandatory) takes place. Further, I am beginning to have doubts that a certain science teacher is qualified to teach since she is so poor at speaking clear English.
We pulled our daughter out of the Del Valle ISD. Harmony is a far better school than Del Valle; Bastrop schools are worse than Del Valle so I understand the comments of one of the other parents. While I like the curriculum we don't like the lack of physical education, the actions like "no Halloween" due to safety concerns, and we have witnessed but not experienced the awkward discipline. The parents and families of a lot of the students are rough. We stopped participating in any extracurricular activities due to the lack of involvement by other parents and when they do participate we watch our belongings very closely.
The teachers focus on learning. The program is about the basics with no fluff. While there are certainly some issues with SOME teachers language skills, those aren't the ones teaching English. They are teaching science and other subjects. And they DO know their stuff. And the teachers here LOVE what they do. We pulled our son from Bastrop last year. Now been at Harmony for two years. We have seen a vast improvement in the education received at Harmony. No more wasted time on social games and drama that you get at Bastrop. Discipline? Yeah. They come down hard. But I like that. If your kid can't fathom getting through school without texting his friends in class then this is NOT the school for you child. He will be kicked out before the year is up. If you want your kid to learn, then Harmony is for you. Thanks, Harmony.
My son has only been in this school for two weeks. This school is unfair when it comes to making decisions on discipline. My son and I had a conference with the Dean of Discipline and he brought up an issue that a group of girls wrote a complaint aganist my son. He presented us with the documents the girls had written but he never asked my son to write his side of the story down before going to the committee. I told him there are always two side a story. When you going to discipline someone you need to hear what all involved parties have to say not just what one has to say before making decisions. During the conference I got the feeling the Dean doesnt want my son at his school so I ask him and he replied I dont want him here. Im headed to the attorneys.
We will be pulling our daughter out of this school and we are sending her back to her Round Rock ISD school, which was good. They have been completely disorganized from day one. My daughter has been there almost a week and has still not received her class schedule, or a locker that works. The teachers seem nice enough but have no idea what the administration is doing. They have done nothing all week but tell the kids about rules and discipline. We received the syllabus for classes we are still not sure when she has because it changes every day... and most of it has so many miss spellings and incorrect grammar it is amazing that they are teaching my child. It must be that English is their second language. And don't be fooled that this school is free... it isn't... they nickle and dime you to death!
This is one of the best schools i have viewed yet and im planning to come here soon so fill me in with the info. please! oh and im a freshman in high school!
My son is extremely happy to be at Harmony Science Academy North Austin. He said the teachers here are nice and want you to do good which he did not feel at the Manor ISD. I am glad to have a private school atmosphere tuition free. A fellow friend had the same reading assignment during the summer. My son took the test and his friend did not (in Manor Middle school). The reason Manor didn't is because too many kids didn't read it. I am glad that HSANA did give the test to show to the students that they will be held accountable. Already I see the difference of which school cares if they read their book or not. HSANA does not tolerate distractions in class which makes a better learning environment. However, if the student is having a problem, they take the time to find out why.
this has been a terrible school and getting worse every year. my kids complain about the teachers poor attitude, the cafeteria food that is catered who knows where, the smart aleck remarks by the staff. no wonder so many parents have pulled their kids out this year. the office secretaries complain about the attitudes and being over worked and under staffed also.
Teachers are dedicated and so friendly, work hard. HSA is a Perfect school.
This is the best diversed school for a child to go to. I love Harmony, the parents, and staff!
Our daughter just started her 4th year at HSA and we couldn't be happier. It was a blessing to find a school populated by true Educators who want to help their students excel. This is a departure from the union 'teachers' found in the local public school districts whose only interest is in indoctrinating the students in a Socialist philosophy. It's true that HSA doesn't have the athletic or liberal arts offerings of the 5A schools in the area, but there are plenty of independent opportunities availble to the students to make up for it. We have only 2 complaints about HSA: 1) it is sometimes difficult to understand some of the faculty and staff. They may want to look into personal development courses to improve their English skills; and 2) the faculty and staff has a bad habit of holding events with virtually no notification.
I gennerally like the school. Yeah its small, but thats a benefit that students have to take advantage of. I could only think of one negative aspect-that there are hardly any extra-curriculars for high schoolers, but this school gives so many opportunities, it almost overrules the negatives
One of the most positive aspects of this school is the multicultural atmosphere. It creates an open-minded learning environment. Also, the staff is young and serioulsy works round the clock because we aren't just teaching one subject - we are teaching several subjects, tutorials, clubs, UIL, and planning all types of events. This type of envolovement really helps teachers get to know each and every student, not just the ones sitting in your room for 45 mins a day. I have learned a lot from our students. As far as the discipline is concerned, it is strict, but we don't have fights or any severe incidents at Harmony due to our strict rules.
the school is unnecessarily strict and unorganized the teachers are hard to understand it is very stressful mostly because the teachers regularly lose the homework and say the student did not turn it in. there are very little sports and no freedom at all. the high schoolers need to wear uniform. even the seniors for no real reason. most teachers don't teach there way they use pre set power point presentations. so its not the same experience as when a teacher is talking.
school needs more sports and activities. parents are not involved I am now attending this school and I hate it. it is unassailably strict and not organized
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