New Public Charter School Hopes to Become Model of Success

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A new public charter school is headed to town, and with it comes a list of academic praises.

Just drive down the streets in Bryan, and one thing you'll notice is an array of signs for Harmony Science Academy. The public charter school already has schools in Dallas, Houston and the San Antonio area to name a few, and will open its doors here in the fall.

"There's a huge difference between a school next to us and a Harmony school, in terms of expectations, in terms of performance, in different areas like TAKS tests," Harmony Science Academy Principal Ali Tekin said.

Other public charter schools in the Brazos Valley have had their shares of ups and downs.

In 2002, the Eagle Charter School in Bryan was forced to close its doors due to internal problems, but then reopened as Eagle Academy later on.

Then in 2005, the Brazos School for Inquiry and Creativity faced an investigation by the Texas Education Agency for misuse of funds from 2002 to 2004. Later that same year, they were deemed academically unacceptable by the TEA.

However, despite some of the challenges other charter schools have faced, officials with Harmony say they have a proven track record for success.

"In San Antonio, it's almost 90 percent minorities, and we have more than 50 percent disadvantaged students, but in San Antonio the school is going to be an exemplary school based on the TAKS results this year," Tekin said. "It doesn't matter how poorly they are doing in the neighborhood, we are not going to model them. Hopefully they will model Harmony schools."

The school, which will concentrate kindergarten through the second grade on reading skills. Then, third grade on will focus on math, science, and computers.

Officials say smaller classrooms are key to their success.

"It's very important because we cannot teach kids who need help of there are too many kids in a classroom," Tekin said, "so you need to have a smaller classroom size, make it so everybody can benefit from the curriculum."

The school will be accepting enrollment applications until Friday, June 15.