November 2019

Dear Harmony Family,

As we enter a season of thankfulness, I’d like to take an opportunity to recognize the many things for which we are thankful for here at Harmony.

We are thankful for our students who come to school every day, ready to learn and grow. They give us a daily reminder of why we are here and why our work is so important. I’d also like to thank Harmony parents, family advocates and volunteers we partner with who enthusiastically contribute so much to our schools. We are also thankful for teachers, assistants, coordinators, nurses, secretaries, lunchroom aides, administrators and ALL staff here at Harmony who care so much about student achievement, and who always put the needs of our students before their own.
And as we kick off a new enrollment season, I’d also like to take a moment to reflect on why it’s so important to help current and prospective families make an informed decision about Harmony Public Schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth/Waco district.

Parents are provided with increasingly more options when it comes to their children's education. So it’s in our best interest to continually provide information and answers on how to serve students and families seeking specific paths toward academic success. Harmony is here to build partnerships among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first, by providing outstanding educators, and secondly by maintaining a strong culture of achievement. We believe that a good education can take students anywhere they want to go.
So, as we embark on the new enrollment season, remember: We are all ambassadors for Harmony, and what you are doing matters! You are making a difference! And I am thankful for you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Mr. Harun Karan | Superintendent
Harmony Public Schools DFW District

Nov. 3 - Daylight Savings Time Ends
Nov. 5 - Election Day
Nov. 11 - Veterans Day
Nov. 12 - Young Readers Day
Nov. 18-22 - American Education Week
Nov. 20 - Education Support Professionals Day
Nov. 21 - National Parental Involvement Day
Nov. 22 - Substitute Educators Day
Nov. 25-29 - Thanksgiving Break (Student & Staff Holiday)

National Young Readers Week, Nov. 11-15
Co-founded by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress , National Young Readers Week challenges principals across the country to become shining examples for literacy by choosing one day to read their heart out all day long—from the first bell, to the last, in hallways or on playgrounds--on any day during National Young Readers Week. Choose your day. Choose your reading location. Interested in taking the challenge? Register your school, here !

American Education Week, Nov. 18-22
American Education Week (AEW) celebrates not only the hard-working men and women who work on behalf of America’s students, but also elevates and champions the outstanding work and contributions of teachers, para-educators, cafeteria workers, school nurses, school secretaries and custodians—plus countless others! The week-long celebration honors students and parents, too, honoring the collective community that works to create a quality public education for every student. Visit the AEW website for a list of week-long activities and special observances.

Home Visits
One of the best ways we show our investment in the lives of our students is though Harmony's Home Visit Program. We want to ensure our students know that they have the support of both their school and their family in their academic pursuits. We are encouraging staff to visit students who are newcomers, transition grades and/or seniors. When we retain our students, we are able to provide more support which will equip them with the necessary tools and mindset for overall success beyond college. So get a home visit scheduled today! (Pictured is HSA-Carrollton Principal Mr. Jacob Norman and Superintendent Karan on a visit to the home of middle school student Jacob Cano. Jacob has been a Harmony student since Kindergarten.)

Home Visit Request Form for Parents: An Added Bonus!
To empower our parents, we have provided an alternative to schedule home visits. Parents now have the flexibility to request a home visit at their discretion. On your school webpages, we have created a Home Visit Request Form under the “Parents” subsection. 


Instructional Strategy of the Month: TLAC - Begin With the End (Backward Design)
By: DFW District Instructional Coach, Ms. Oyoke, Fort Worth-Innovation

Begin With the End is a strategy in which the teacher identifies standards for a unit, breaks them down into smaller objectives (learning targets), develops an assessment plan, and then creates lessons with aligned activities.

With so much content to cover in a single class or subject area, it is easy to unintentionally craft lessons that are not in line with the ultimate goal. By working backwards, or beginning with the end, teachers can plan each step (the unit goals, the assessments, the lessons, and the activities) so they stay focused on the finish line.

Teachers clearly understand the learning targets, plan and select appropriate lessons and activities, use effective formative and summative assessments that are aligned to the learning targets, and use assessment data to help students master the learning targets.

Students clearly understand the learning target, the connection between learning target and lesson/activities, assessment criteria, and how to monitor their own progress toward mastering the learning targets.

It generates higher quality lessons because teachers are focused on the intended outcome throughout the planning process.

Quick Tips:
In your planning, be sure to build in time for students to continue practicing skills they have mastered to keep those skills alive and extend students’ ability to use them.

You can collect assessment evidence from a variety of formal and informal assessments, including tests, quizzes, performance tasks, observations, and/or projects.

DA1 2019 Results Show Good Academic Start for DFW District
Based on the initial results of the DA1 scores, Harmony DFW exceeded the Harmony Public Schools’ scores in 11 out of 14 tested subjects, including all tested middle school subjects. The DA2 test in December will test all the Fall’s semester content material. 


Enrollment Season is Open!
Open enrollment for new students begins today, Nov. 1. 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 some important dates to remember during this enrollment season:

Nov. 1: Open Enrollment for 2020-2021 Begins for New Students
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)


Trade Booth Equipment Available to Use
The District Communications and Marketing Office has trade show booth equipment available for campuses to use for their recruiting events and other engagement activities. Equipment includes a tent, chairs, pop-up banners and tablecloths. To request use of any piece of equipment, please contact Susan Campbell at at least one week in advance of needing the equipment. Equipment must be picked up in person by the requestor, signed out by and returned to the Communications and Marketing Office.

Have Some Good News to Share with the District?
If your campus has some good news to share and you’d like to get it included in the Insight Newsletter , please send your information to Ms. Campbell by the 15th day of every calendar month. Any information received by that date may be included in the following month’s newsletter and/or be given media consideration. Let’s see those great stories!


TEAMS ESC Account - District Deadline for Submitting Documents
Employees who provide service records (or other documentation) may receive credit, if the documentation is submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 15, and for late hires within 30 business days of their first day of employment. Service records received after this date which qualify for a salary increase will be processed for the following school year.

If additional compensation is claimed for an advanced degree, the official transcripts must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 15. Late hires have 30 business days from their first day of employment. Transcripts must show the date the advanced degree was conferred. Transcripts received after this date which qualify for a salary increase will be processed for the following year.

If additional compensation is claimed for having a professional certification, the certificate must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 15. Late hires have 30 business days from their first day of employment. Certifications received after this date which qualify for a salary increase will be processed for the following year. 
Please reach out to your designated Talent Specialist, below, if you have submitted any of the above documents to your TEAMS ESC account.

Nivea Leite,
214-570-1606 ext 3105
Dallas-HSA Elem
Dallas-HSA MH
Garland- HSI
Carrollton- HSA
Dallas- HSI
Plano- HSA
District Office

Shimilya Curtis,
214-570-1606 ext 3118
Fort Worth-HSA
Fort Worth-HSI
Grand Prairie-HSA
Grand Prairie-HSI
Waco- HSA
Waco HSI

New District Office Employees
There are even more new faces in the DFW District Office!

  • Helen Miller, District Accountant
  • Atyrgul Kalchabaeva, Assistant District Accountant

Cheers for Peers: Celebrating Each Other
Congratulations Sarah Johnson , Secretary at Fort Worth HSI!
From Sarai Perez, Library Assistant: "Sarah has been so supportive and has been extremely helpful as I have transitioned into this new position. She is always friendly and ready to help others."

Congratulations Lindsay Lipscomb , ELA Teacher at Fort Worth HSI!
From Amitha Thottam, ELA Teacher: "She has been so welcoming and supportive to her new teammates as well as juggling so many hats as graciously as she does."

Congratulations Tina Millirons , Kindergarten Teacher at Grand Prairie HSI!
From Carrie Lofland, ESL Teacher: "She is always focused on her students and there to support her fellow teachers. She deeply dedicated to her job, is always professional, supportive and isn’t scared to ask for help! She is a true blessing to our school, parents and especially our students!"

Congratulations Rachel Brown , Math Interventionist at Fort Worth HSA!
From Bianca Laserna, Computer Teacher: "She has contributed multiple things for our school. She is the number one of all home visits in DFW. She has brought OutTeach to our school. That has put in an outdoor learning center and more than $75,000 worth of improvements. She has created the Nora Islam Scholarship. She has brought staff and parents together to create two lending libraries. She has had Sprouts to sponsor $2,000 to this scholarship, She is also been an amazing competitor for Destination Imagination and has her team placed 2nd place for Service Learning, and 6th in Scientific. She has done many things for our school but these are a few that are the most notable."

Congratulations Sara Brustein , 2nd grade teacher at Carrollton HSI!
From Diana Marr, 2nd grade teacher: "Sara has given freely & graciously of her time to assist me with ALL aspects of being a new here to Harmony & ALL that entails. She always makes time to assist no matter what she has going on, she listens, understands, helps, provides solutions, practical help, emotional support & is a resilient and trustworthy friend & colleague. Sara is a quiet achiever, she lives each & every one of her students, she cares, she understands, she reaches deep - I couldn’t do this job without her!"

Congratulations Jill Townsend , Kindergarten teacher at Garland HSA!
From Michelle Shahda, Reading Interventionist: "She goes above and beyond to prepare and teach her kiddos, is helpful and kind toward her fellow teachers and staff members, and is just excellent about what she does!"

Congratulations Thomas Kalb , Social Studies teacher at Dallas HSI!
From Tina Stephens, Assistant Principal: "This educator cares deeply for our scholars and creates an atmosphere of trust and respect in the classroom. He takes his responsibility on our discipline committee seriously and then backs it up by running our after school restorative detention. He is almost always the first one to say "yes" when asked to volunteer for extra duty on campus."

Congratulations Cheryl Irwin , Assistant Principal at Waco HSA!
From Tamara Moore, Teacher Assistant: "She is amazing with the children and their families and she supports the staff! Highest Integrity and love and logic!"

District Office Shout Outs:
Congratulations Linda Moore . District Assistant Director of Operations
From Denis Hopovac, District Accountant: "She established a process to follow for Child Nutrition."

Congratulations HSA Carrollton campus, PTO and Staff !
Aaron Gecit, District Director of Engagement and Support, shares the following: "PTO had a wonderful surprise for HSA Carrollton staff. The teacher's lounge was renewed with brand new seating section and a dining area."

Congratulations Fernando Cepeda , CTE Engineering Teacher at Dallas HSA!
From Mucahit Karakas, District GT Coordinator: "Awesome dedicated STEM teacher. Always has a project with students."

Congratulations HSI Garland campus !
From Mucahit Karakas, District GT Coordinator: "Most improved campus."

Congratulations HSA Garland campus !
From Aaron Gecit, District Director of Engagement and Support: "Welcoming front Lobby."

Principals' Honor:
Congratulations Jeffrey Williams , Math Teacher at Euless HSA!
From Sevde Aslan: "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 Melissa Kunko , Science Teacher at Dallas HSA Elementary!
From Claudia Kongamnach: "Ms. Kunko is an innovative teacher who inspires her students through STEM projects and creative writing. Her students are always excited about her class. Recently her students made a model raft that hold at least 20 pennies and students also figure out a way for the raft to propel through the water. "

Congratulations Leann Brown , Child Nutrition Assistant at Dallas HSE!
From Ilker Fidan: "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

The Dallas Morning News featured a Harmony student's award-winning commentary in its Oct. 22 edition. Manasseh Odiba. is a junior at Harmony Science Academy-Carrollton. The column won first place in the Anti-Defamation League’s ADL Texoma Walk Against Hate Essay Contest.

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
Jan. 1 - New Year’s Day
Jan. 6 - Student Holiday (DFW District PD)
Jan. 7 - Start of New 9-Week Period/First Day of Second Semester
Staff at HSI-Carrollton participated in a dyslexia simulation Oct. 17 in an effort to better understand the needs of their students who are struggling with the learning disorder. Just another shining example of the #DedicatedStaff here at Harmony!
Harmony DFW | PR Department |214-570-1606 |