December 2019

Dear Harmony Family,
I can’t think of a better way to close 2019 than to share the wonderful news that four Harmony schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth District have been named to Newsweek’s List of the Best STEM High Schools for 2020! Please join me in congratulating Harmony Science Academy-Dallas, Harmony School of Innovation-Dallas, Harmony School of Innovation-Fort Worth and Harmony School of Innovation-Garland.

This recognition validates the hard work of all our teachers, who are giving our students experiences like testing DNA, cracking computer codes, mastering robots and other STEM activities that help spark curiosity and build a foundation for scientific and technological careers.
It goes without saying how proud I am of this and ALL of our District’s accomplishments. You are working to not only change the lives of our students, but also their families. Without your drive and dedication, our successes would not be possible.

And during this special time of year, as we lean into our best human qualities and use those to positively influence the lives of others, I encourage you to remember this--no one else has what you have to share! Your commitment to Harmony is paramount to the success of all our students, and I greatly appreciate each and every one of you.
So, it is with appreciation of our successes that I extend my very best wishes to you for much happiness and joy in the upcoming holiday season. I look forward to making great Harmony strides with you in 2020!
Happy Holidays!
Mr. Harun Karan
Harmony Public Schools DFW District

 December - AIDS Awareness Month

Dec. 2 - Special Education Day
Dec. 3 - National Day of Giving / #GivingTuesday
Dec. 7 - Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance
Dec. 10 - Human Rights Day
Dec. 15 - Bill of Rights Day
Dec. 19 - Half Day/Early Release for DFW District
Dec. 20-Jan 3 - Winter Break (DFW District Staff & Student Holiday)
Dec. 21 - First Day of Winter
Dec. 22-30 - Hanukkah
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day
Dec. 26 - Kwanzaa Begins
Dec. 31 - New Year’s Eve
National Day of Giving, Dec. 3
For the last seven years, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been deemed a day for charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world to come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Called #GivingTuesday, it was created as a social media campaign in 2012 to convey a simple idea—encourage people to do good. Since its inception seven years ago, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.
Every school in Harmony’s DFW District embraced the idea of giving throughout the month of November by collecting food to donate to local food shelters. Cans of food lined hallways and donation boxes were filled to the rim with non-perishables in every school in the District. And there are still so many ways to give back to our communities. Visit GivingTuesday to browse additional ideas on how you can participate in the global day of giving. 

Volleyball Tournament Winners
Congratulations to all of Harmony DFW students who participated in the very first district-wide volleyball tournament! Thank you to all the coaches and engagement teams for their contributions! The winners were as follows:
First Place : Harmony Science Academy-Carrollton (High School)
Second Place: Harmony School of Innovation-Waco (High School)
Third Place: Harmony School of Excellence-Dallas 


TLAC Strategy of the Month: Exit Ticket
As we approach the end of Fall semester for the winter break, it is only fitting to name the “Exit Ticket” our Teach Like A Champion (TLAC) strategy of the month. If you have not used this strategy yet, the last few weeks of December is a great time to start and make it an easy routine for the rest of the year. 

Keep in mind, the best Exit Tickets:
· Are quick: 1-3 questions.
· Are designed to yield data: Did your students learn what you wanted them to learn that day? 
· Make great Do Now's: The next day with a quick review.

Read page 190-195 in TLAC, or CLICK HERE , for how Exit Tickets take students to a healthy emotional state for learning (routine) and can dramatically decrease the time spent on grading.

ESL Certification Reimbursement Update
The testing fees, up to a maximum of $500 per passed exam, are reimbursable. Bilingual/ESL and Special Education certification exams will be reimbursable for the first attempt, whether the result is pass or fail. If the exam was failed, additional attempts are not reimbursable until the exam is passed. Once the exam is passed, you are eligible for reimbursement of the passed exam.  Click Here for the full reimbursement update


Good Numbers Mark Beginning of Enrollment Season
Open enrollment for new students began Nov. 1 and by the end of last month, we had 9,718 new applicants, which is above the District's targeted number for that time period. As a reminder, all children residing in a Harmony school's geographic boundary who meet registration requirements are eligible to attend. Unlike most other schools, though, Harmony's geographic boundaries are much wider and generally include the entire community in which the school resides, meaning that all students in the area – regardless of neighborhood or family income level – have the same opportunity to attend a high-quality Harmony school. Here are a few important dates to remember as we continue to make our way through the enrollment season:
Jan. 6-24: Re-Enrollment Period for Current Students
Feb. 10: Open Enrollment for 2020-2021 Application Deadline
Feb. 11-25: Campus Lotteries Held (if needed) As a reminder, all children residing in a

New District Outreach Director
The DFW District Office has recently gained Ms. Rebecca Murry as the new Director of Public Relations. In her role, Ms. Murry will be responsible for overseeing all facets of the District's outreach, government relations and partnerships. Her efforts will enhance community relationships that could lead to increased opportunities and resources for the DFW Harmony District. Please welcome Ms. Murry to the Harmony family the next time you visit the District Office!
Cheers for Peers: Celebrating Each Other
Congratulations Dr. Maside Kabacki , Math Teacher at HSE-Dallas
From Rebecca Abraha, ELA Teacher: “Dr. Kabacki is fabulous for the following reasons: Even though she has a very demanding schedule, she always maintains a calm demeanor, has a smile on her face, is a good listener and participant in grade-level PLC meetings, and has a fabulous taste. I love how she has decorated her classroom with quality artwork and innovative items.”  

Congratulations Tanisha Johnson , Dean of Students at HSI-Waco
From Kristi Hill, Campus Instructional Coach: “Our Dean of Students has taken a lot of time and effort to help clean up discipline issues that followed many of the 6th and 7th-grade students to HSI-Waco. She is using the student handbook with fidelity so that students, staff, and parents know what is expected. Ms. Johnson had a large task controlling behavior on the HSI-Waco campus after losing the remarkable Cheryl Irwin and she is handling it well. While I was on the HSA-Campus, we had a reputation of unruly and poor behaved students. Many of those students came to the HSI-Waco campus but after the first few weeks of school, behavior began to turn around.”    

Congratulations Ilker Fidan , Principal at HSE-Dallas
From Amy Rivers, Leader Resident: “I’m not sure if this counts since it's helping both students and staff, but Mr. Fidan goes above and beyond when it comes to being a principal and is one of the hardest workers in the school. The majority of principals that came to my school stayed in their office the majority of the time (unless doing observation/walk-through's). If he sees your struggling, but working hard he will find ways to help (either himself, or find others). He will literally become whatever you need (coach, mentor, teacher, maintenance guy, IT expert, conductor of traffic, pizza delivery guy). He's so dedicated that he even checks/responds his email at midnight regularly. I've never had a principal so willing to help out when needed, despite already having a full schedule. He's done things like help counselors put in student CTE codes for PEIMS, fill in for admins during ARD meetings, mentor students/help get missing assignments to them, deliver 25 pizza's on a vacation day during spring break, fill in for lunch duty monitoring... the list could go on and on.” 

Congratulations Chinyelu Okoye , District Instructional Coach 
From Melissa Pettijohn, ESL Coordinator at HSA-FW: “She has been a great asset to HSA-FW in supporting new teachers and veteran teachers that need extra support. She has opened the channel of communication up to our Harmony staff and Mrs. Okoye is aiming for our teachers to grow professionally and create a rigorous and effective learning environment for their students. Educational support and engagement is her passion and she wants to help all of those striving for educational excellence.”

Congratulation Alejandro Jaimes , District Coordinator-Maintenance 
From Scott Coleman, District Director-Academics: “Mr. Jaimes exemplifies professionalism and cheerfulness in the district office - always!”

Congratulations Marilyn Robinson , Teacher Assistant at HSA-Garland
From Holly Crone, Reading Interventionist: “Ms. Robinson always goes above and beyond to support staff with technology questions or needs. Our students have an optimum learning environment in part due to the relationship Ms. Robinson shares with our teachers.” 

Congratulations Holly Crone , Reading Interventionist at HSA-Garland
From Marilyn Robinson, Teacher Assistant: “Mrs. Crone is consistently working for the success of the students, but also for the entire team that is at our campus. She is cheerful, fair, authentic and a joy to see each day.”

Principal's Honor Roll
Congratulations Melissa Kunko , 4th Grade Teacher at HSA-Dallas (Elementary)
From Claudia Kongamnach, Principal: “Kuno is an innovative teacher, who inspires her students through STEM projects and creative writing assignments. Students love her class and are always excited about the next projects.” 
Congratulations Jeffery Williams , Math Teacher at HSA-Euless
From Sevde Aslan, Principal: “Mr. Williams is an amazing person and team-member. Mr. Williams has great rapport with students, always ready to assist with any issues students or fellow teachers might have. Always volunteers to help with academic or extracurricular activities.”
Congratulations LeeAnn Brown , Child Nutrition Assistant at HSE-Dallas
From Ilker Fidan, Principal: “Innovative, energetic, extra miles and amazing team player.” 

Know someone you'd like to nominate? Use this link to nominate anyone for a job well done. Cheers for Peers Nomination Form

Useful Links
Are you aware of any educational opportunities that you could share with Harmony? An internship? Shadowing opportunity? Scholarship? Mentorship? Research opportunity? After School program? This could be through a professional organization, a former employer, a spouse’s employer, a faith-based organization or your alma mater etc. Please send the idea to Ms. Murray at

National Mentoring Month

Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
Jan 1-3: Remainder of Winter Break (DFW District Staff & Student Holiday)
Jan. 6: Student Holiday/DFW District PD
Jan. 7: Start of New 9-Week Period/First Day of Second Semester
Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Student & Staff Holiday)
In yet another example of Harmony staff doing whatever it takes to help their students reach their goals: Staff at Harmony School of Innovation-Fort Worth expressed thanks and gratitude for their students by putting surprise sticky notes on their lockers just before the Thanksgiving break. Administrators and teachers stayed late the night before placing the notes on each student’s locker. When students arrived the next day, they discovered their surprise. Some of the things overheard as students came in included:

"Every locker has a note?"
"Wait! Did they do this on the other (high school) side?"
"Hey, I got one on my locker from Mr. Guney!"
"How do they have time for this? I don't understand!"
"There's no way I would have stayed after school to do this, but it is awesome!"
One student, jumping up and down at her locker, "I know who wrote this!" The other student with her, "Now we have to go look at mine!"
Harmony DFW | PR Department |214-570-1606 |