Hundreds of Students On Waiting List to Enroll At Harmony Science Academy
Jun 21, 2012 at 4:31 PM CST
Jun 21, 2012
Parents and educators were in Austin earlier this week protesting the STAAR test and saying the test was too much for students and school districts to handle. Many schools at both UISD and LISD also struggled with the test, except one local charter school where students did above state level average. As our Annette Garcia reports, those good grades have helped harmony science academy go from being virtually unknown in Laredo to now having about 900 students on the waiting list to get in. Whether it's solving a tough math problem or putting some thoughts on paper, these students are up for it all while other kids are out for the summer. They're spending time in a classroom at the harmony science academy not because they failed a class but because they want to get ahead. “Sometimes its hard for us to even get them to leave which is awkward. We’ll be here till 8:30 9 o’clock working with them.” The common theme at this school is the love for learning. The only students here are the ones that want to be here. No bullies. No pressure to do any drugs. “It’s like a safe haven. None of that happens here.” The interest in this public charter school has exploded. Harmony science opened its doors a few years ago and will graduate its first class this coming school year. And there are already plans in the works to expand the building. The school just accepted over 140 new students but about 900 students are still on the waiting list. Kids here say they know why. “They know you by your name and birthday. They’re really nice they wont let you fall behind.” Harmony science now takes students from kinder through 12th grade. And administrators say the recent STAAR test scores here will only help. The rate of students passing the STAAR test at this school far exceeded even state levels in all but one subject. “What’s different about this school the teachers they teach you about the curriculum. They make sure you know everything. The other schools they teach you by the TAKS and its repetition over and over again.” Jackie Caballero, who attended public and private schools before harmony science says there is a difference in the way this school works. “They’re telling them turn in your work we cant accept this please come on Saturday and well talk about your grade.” Teachers and administrators plan on keeping it that way. “Its very excited we’ve kind of seen them grow. They started in 8th grade now they’re going to be graduating and leaving for college it’s exciting to see how far we've come.” Harmony Science is a public charter school and non-profit organization that has over a dozen schools across the state. There are no tuition costs and any child is welcome to apply to get in. Students are selected in a lottery months before each school year.