This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Harmony Science Academy (Waco)4
Posted December 10, 2013
- a teacher
Harmony Science Academy administration takes in interest in all students and cares for the well being of each student. Yes, there is some bullying. However, this is being dealt with and is not tolerated. The middle school and high school students have textbooks as I have seen these books. I do not teach at the elementary level so I do not know about the textbook situation at that level. There are high academic expectations for all Harmony students and the school is very much geared to getting students prepared to go to college. Dress code is enforced and so are behavioral guidelines. There are not high rates of absence and I have not been aware of a high incidence of illness among students. Overall Harmony is a good school with a number of good teachers. Yes, there are improvements that are needed such as improved custodial services. I have worked in two other districts and all districts and schools want to "look good."
My kids no longer attend this school. Dirty school! My kids were sick all the time. Bullying is an issue. 27 student per class, only 1 teacher. Ask to see the books your kids study, they don't have any. They mostly use print outs from websites the teachers subscribe to. The administration does not care for the well being for the students nor do they care about their learning, they only care how to make the school Look good.
While this can be a good option for some, this does not represent a "GreatSchool." The student/teacher/staff ratio is not as low as published across the board. Many classrooms are over 25 students/teacher. The school has a high turnover rate. There have been three different principals over the past three years. It is very common for staff members to leave during the school year. For the most part staff members are hard working, helpful and competent teachers while others may not be certified to teach. There seems to be too much emphasis on looking good (0% dropout rate, non-indoctrination practices) and not enough with consistency in providing a safe, engaging and rigorous academic experience.
We are fortunate to be a part of the wonderful school! We are finishing our 5th year there so we were among the group of students and parents that started the school. We have that special connection with the school and the staff. We truly see it as a "family." The opportunities and expectations of the students is wonderful. You will not find a more dedicated group of teachers than at Harmony-Waco. My children are constantly involved in something, therefore leaving less time to engage in other nonproductive things. We have experienced both private and public schools, but Harmony is definitely our top choice. I have always experienced nothing but support from the administration and my concerns have been quickly addressed. I take the time to meet and get to know the staff and they do the same. Needless to say, we are proud to be a part of the HSA-Waco family!
This school is not as good as it pretends to be. While math and science are emphasized, other subjects suffer, and the administration fails to support teachers of English and social studies. Students do not turn in their homework and teachers are unable to teach properly. The year we left, the principal was completely absent, to the point where students speculated as to whether there was a principal. The students are primarily slackers, and those who are there for the academics suffer.
If you live near Waco, Texas, you should seriously consider applying to Harmony Science Academy Waco. My family is finishing our second year at HSA Waco. We have been very happy with the dedication of the faculty, administration, staff, and parents. Harmony Schools have been rated in the Top 100 Best High Schools in the US for several years. HSA Waco was selected as a Top 100 Middle Schools in Texas for 2010-2011, as well as a TEA Exemplary School. The school is small, but has plans to expand, including the possibility of a second Waco campus. The sense of community among enrolled families is outstanding. Drugs are simply not tolerated, and good character is strongly encouraged. High school students will quickly tell you the curriculum is academically demanding. The parents of these high school students will tell you that the HSA program equals Waco High's Athens Program or Vanguard's program. Some rumors were spread that HSA Schools were Moslem "private" schools. This is definitely not the case. While people of all faiths work and study together at Harmony, this is a secular, state government-funded charter school. All religions are respected, but none are promoted.
The teachers and staff work tremendously hard to focus on the childrens' education, health and sense of being. Being a small school, all staff learn the names of the children and reconize their parents. This creates a core body to help in getting needed facilities and supplies through school monies and through fundraising.