Harmony school districts receive superior ratings - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Harmony school districts receive superior ratings

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 8:30 pm

All seven Harmony Public Schools districts statewide received “Superior” ratings by the Texas Education Agency in its preliminary FIRST Accountability Rankings.

Created by the 77th Texas Legislature in 2001, the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is designed to encourage public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

Five Harmony Public Schools districts – including those serving families in the communities of Brownsville, Greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Laredo, Katy, Sugar Land, Cypress, Bryan and Beaumont – received a “Perfect 100” score.

Harmony’s El Paso District – which also serves students in Lubbock and Odessa – scored a 98 on the FIRST ratings, while Harmony’s district serving Austin, Pflugerville and Cedar Park scored a 96.

“We are proud of the work being done each day in our districts to make sure the funds entrusted to our schools are being spent in a way that is both financially responsible, and that creates new and innovative educational opportunities for our students,” Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay said.

Using data from the 2017-18 school year, the FIRST ratings are calculated using 15 financial indicators, such as administrative cost expenditures; the accuracy of a district or charter’s financial information submitted to TEA; and any financial vulnerabilities or material weaknesses in internal controls as determined by an external auditor.

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-born, Texas-wide charter public school system offering a free, nationally-recognized curriculum focused on STEM and Character Education to Texas students in Grades PreK-12. In 2018-2019 the TEA also awarded the Harmony Public School system six “A” ratings in its annual Accountability Ratings.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement also honored Harmony with an $8 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant for its pioneering “LEAF to STEM” program, which is focused on innovative teaching methods for science, technology, engineering and math students at the elementary level.

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