TEXAS – Harmony Public Schools teachers in 23 communities across Texas will have a little something extra to celebrate for Teachers Appreciation Week. The Texas-based public charter school will announce Monday, May 8 a new schedule for the 2023-24 school year that includes early release Fridays for all full-time campus and district staff each week.
Beginning next fall, all staff members will be able to leave each Friday afternoon as soon as students dismiss, at roughly 1 p.m. Previously, staff used Friday afternoons for planning and professional development. These will instead be moved to earlier in the week to allow all staff to take part in the new, early release schedule.
“Teachers are the heart of Harmony,” CEO Fatih Ay said. “So we are as excited to offer to them this new perk as we believe they will be to receive it. We hope they’ll use this time for some additional self-care, whether that includes spending more time with family or just getting an early start on a relaxing weekend.”
To accommodate this policy, Harmony will be implementing a few other scheduling changes:
- Early dismissal for all students at all campuses will move to Fridays. (Some campuses currently release early on Fridays, while others do so on Wednesdays).
- Campuses that currently schedule planning meetings on Friday afternoons will be asked to move these to earlier in the week so employees can take advantage of the new early-release program. Parent-teacher meetings or professional development opportunities may still occur on Friday afternoons on a limited basis.
- Hourly employees may have options to continue working the same number of hours each week as they currently are, so they do not experience a potential salary or benefit loss due to a reduction in hours.
- School administration are asked not to assign additional duties other than regular dismissal duties (ex. tutoring, clubs) after school on Fridays to make sure all employees have the opportunity to enjoy this new self-care opportunity.
Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-born, Texas-wide public charter school system with campuses serving PreK-Grade 12 students in 23 cities across the state, including Greater Houston, DFW, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Odessa, Bryan, Beaumont, and the Rio Grande Valley. Harmony’s curriculum places a heavy focus on STEM skills, Character Education, project-based learning, and college readiness.