Benefits - Harmony Public Schools

Harmony Benefits

Harmony Public Schools is proud to offer a comprehensive array of employer-paid and supplemental benefits to employees, including medical/dental/vision, retirement, professional development opportunities, college financial assistance and/or debt forgiveness, and more. Select a category at left to learn more or find out below why Harmony Public Schools is a great place to grow your career.

Harmony Benefits

Harmony Public Schools is proud to offer a comprehensive array of employer-paid and supplemental benefits to employees, including medical/dental/vision, retirement, professional development opportunities, college financial assistance and/or debt forgiveness, and more. Select a category at left to learn more or find out below why Harmony Public Schools is a great place to grow your career.

Why Work at Harmony?

Competitive Salary

Harmony Public Schools offers a starting salary of up to $61,000 for first-year teachers with annual increases based on years of experience. Additionally, Harmony offers stipends or bonuses for teaching hard-to-staff subjects, obtaining advanced degrees, performing supplemental duties, or for demonstrating growth in student outcomes.

Retirement Savings - Incentive/Match Plan

Harmony Public Schools offers salaried teachers, professionals, and administrators a great incentive to save for retirement and remain employed with the district. Through the ESC Region 10 RAMS Teacher/Employee Recruitment and Retention Plan, Harmony Public Schools will match contributions made to a 403(b) or 457(b) retirement plan on your behalf to a 401(a) savings plan up to a cap based on the “Step” you are on. Vesting and other limits apply.

Comprehensive Employee Benefits

Harmony Public Schools is a member of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas and offers a variety of employer-based and supplemental benefits, including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Retirement, Disability, Free After-School Care for Employee Children, Professional Development, College Financial Aid & Loan Forgiveness.

Pre- or Post-College Financial Aid and Support

Harmony Public Schools offers up to $20,000 in college expense support for Harmony graduates who commit to only two years of teaching at HPS. Additionally, the Harmony Education Foundation offers college loan forgiveness of master’s degree support up to $10,000 for non-Harmony graduates with two years of service.

Make an Impact While Building Your Résumé

Harmony campuses are Title I campuses, meaning that majority of our students are from low income backgrounds. While helping the most needed students, it will also help you to build great résumé even if you plan to advance your career in education or elsewhere..

And most importantly ...

Be part of a team of 4,000 dedicated and compassionate educators working each day to make a difference in the lives of 35,000 children across Texas.

Coaching Support

Two men with a computer

The New Leader Coaching Framework is designed to build the capacity of campus leaders by growing their leadership and management skills. Participants have the opportunity to engage in confidential one-on-one leadership coaching, as well as job-embedded professional learning and coaching sessions to practice data-driven decision-making processes, strengthen one’s self-awareness, and sharpen instructional leadership skills. As a member of the cohort, participants develop their leadership identity, learn to build relationships within their schools, and connect with fellow Harmony leaders as a network of support.

Mentorship & Coaching

Teachers are given the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills to become stronger leaders. Participants have the opportunity to participate in Mentor PLC (professional learning community) meetings designed around adult learning theories, instructional improvement cycles and strategies for supporting their mentees with classroom management. The skills they acquire help build their capacity and prepare them for other leadership opportunities within the organization.

Curriculum Support

Harmony Public Schools provide support and the tools needed to succeed for students and teachers. At HPS, we believe in developing a solid framework while allowing our teachers to develop their curriculum according to their students' needs while aligning the designed coursework with state guidelines.

Worker's Compensation

A life ring in a lake

In accordance with state law, Harmony Public Schools provides workers’ compensation benefits to employees who suffer a work-related illness or are injured on the job.

Workers’ Compensation benefits help pay for medical treatment Harmony Public Schools Employee Handbook 2019 – 2020 30 and make up for part of the income lost while recovering.

All work-related illnesses, accidents, or injuries must be reported immediately to the employee’s supervisor (Principal at a campus and the employee’s direct supervisor at other locations).

All appropriate incident forms must be completed and submitted to Harmony’s insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident.

Employees who are unable to work due to a work-related injury will be notified of their rights and responsibilities under the Texas Labor Code.

You will need to contact and coordinate with Summit Holdings, HPS’ Workers’ Compensation Insurance vendor, regarding their requirements as to which providers you may use to receive full coverage.

An employee absent because of a job-related illness or injury will be placed on FMLA Leave or Unpaid Non-FMLA Leave for First Year Employees, as applicable.

Employees with questions about workers’ compensation should contact the Harmony Public Schools Insurance Manager at 713.343.3333 or the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission at 1-800-452-9595.

Fraudulent Claims for Workers’ Compensation Filing a false or fraudulent claim is a violation of law and Harmony policy, and can result in disciplinary employment actions, including termination of employment.

Return to Work Policy Employees out on Workers’ Compensation will be entitled to reinstatement pursuant to applicable laws and the terms of Harmony’s absence control policy upon a timely return to work.

Employees out on a workers’ compensation leave of absence are required to notify Harmony’s Leave Department within seven (7) days, if they have been released for light duty, if found by any physician to have reached maximum medical improvement, if there is a change of address or phone number, or if released for full duty return to work.

Upon expiration of a Workers’ Compensation absence, and prior to returning to work, the employee must obtain a physician’s release and provide it to the HR Department or the employee’s supervisor.

Retirement

a piggyy bank

Research shows that Americans are living longer and their number of years in retirement is increasing. While your TRS pension may be enough to cover expenses during your initial retirement years, the reduced monthly income may not be sufficient for costly factors such as medical bills, taxes, and your desired standard of living. Contributing to a retirement savings plan can help supplement your pension during retirement.

The Plans adopted by Harmony Public Schools are provided through the Education Service Center Region 10 Retirement Asset Management Services (RAMS) Program and managed by Trusted Capital Group (TCG). This is the largest retirement plan cooperative in Texas in which charter and public schools can participate.

HPS is a member of the TRS (Texas Retirement System of Texas) where a mandated 7.5% is contributed from each pay period into an account, giving employees the opportunity to prepare for their retirements financially. For more information about TRS, please visit the TRS website.

Additionally, Harmony offers 100% matching contribution to employee 403(b) and/or 457(b) plan, up to $1,500 annually depending on employee tenure of service. This is in addition to employee’s TRS Retirement System Benefits.

HELP IS AVAILABLE

For assistance enrolling or if you’d like to speak with a Retirement Plan Specialist, please call the TCG Advisors Hotline at 512-600-5204 or visit www.region10rams.org/harmonytx to schedule a TeleWealth virtual appointment.

The following plans are available for you:

457(b) RETIREMENT PLAN

457(b) is an employer-sponsored, voluntary retirement plan that allows you to save money in a pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) account. Contributions to the plan are salary-deducted from your paycheck and automatically deposited into your 457(b) retirement savings account.

The 457(b) plan offers employees personalized guidance and flexible strategies to start the process of saving for retirement. TCG is the 457(b) plan administrator and advisor. Plan investments are also overseen by a committee made up of superintendents and chief financial officers, giving educators the assurance other educators are looking in their best interest.

The plan does not have any surrender charges or penalties upon distribution. Early withdrawals from a 457(b) account are not subject to a 10% percent early withdrawal tax upon separating from the employer.

As an additional benefit, opening up a 457(b) account includes access to FinPath, a program designed to help you take control of your money with the help of trusted financial advisors and online financial tools. With FinPath, you have access to financial workshops, budgeting tools, and access to live Wellness Coaches to help answer any financial question.

To get started, simply visit www.region10rams.org and establish your 457(b) account.

403(b) RETIREMENT PLAN

403(b) is a voluntary retirement plan that allows you to save money in a pre-tax (Traditional) or after-tax (Roth) account. Contributions to the plan are salary-deducted from your paycheck and automatically deposited into your 403(b) retirement savings account. Please note that early withdrawals from a 403(b) account are subject to a 10% early withdrawal tax.

TCG is the 403(b) plan administrator—managing your contributions, distributions, and personal updates. Money and investments are held with the vendor you choose to go with.

To get started, visit www.region10rams.org and find your employer’s 403(b) Approved Vendor List. Open an account by contacting one of the approved 403(b) providers directly. Next, register your access to your RAMS 403(b) administration account with TCG and set up salary deferrals at www.region10rams.org/enroll. Please note that Harmony PS has made special arrangements to offer Amana mutual funds in the Plan. If you need help setting up an account with Amana, please contact TCG Customer Service at (800) 943-9179.

401(a) Incentive/Match Plan

A 401(a) plan is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows dollar or percentage-based contributions from the employer, the employee, or both. Harmony Public Schools has created this incentive match plan to help you help build your retirement savings by rewarding your “Steps” as an employee.

Beginning in February 2021, all Exempt (salaried teachers, professionals and administrators) employees will receive a 100% match of deferrals to the 403(b) and/or 457(b) Plan up to a cap based on the Step you are currently on. You will vest in your account (the percentage of employer contributions you own) as you stay with Harmony Public Schools longer.

Enrollment is automatic if you are contributing to the 403(b) or 457(b) Plan. To access your account, visit www.region10rams.org and click Login. More details about the plan are in the Summary Plan Description can be accessed using this link.

CONTRIBUTION LIMITS

In 2021, you can contribute 100 percent of your compensation up to $19,500, whichever is less. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute up to an additional $6,500 for a total of $26,000. You may simultaneously contribute to both 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

Employee Discounts

Harmony employees playing a game

In addition to healthcare benefits, HPS provides its employees with benefits which allow employees to enjoy their life outside of work, with discounts for major brands and retailers.

Free After School Care

Staff members with children eligible to participate in their district's after-school program will receive free enrollment to the program.

Employee Perks

Harmony Public Schools offers complimentary membership to Enjoy My Deals to all employees. Membership allows employees to save money on a variety of online and in-store purchases from some of the top brands, restaurants, and travel companies in the world. Partners include Apple, Verizon, Kohl's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Lakeshore Learning Store, and hundreds more.

Career Development

Two men making calculations

HPS believes an investment in an employee creates a cohesive learning environment for all. HPS provides all employees with career development opportunities throughout the year to enhance their teaching, leadership and creative skills, providing students with an enhanced sense of learning.

HEEP (Harmony Employee Education Program)

"Harmony Employee Education Program (“HEEP” or “the Program”) is part of Harmony Public Schools’ (“HPS”) commitment to providing high quality education to its students. In order to accomplish this goal, it is critical that HPS employs certified and highly qualified teachers and administrators; as well as preparing them for possible future leadership positions. To this end, the Program provides financial support to eligible HPS employees through tuition assistance and assistance with tuition related expenses incurred by employees striving to attain certification or graduate degree as described in the HEEP Policies and Procedures manual. "

HALA

HALA (Harmony Aspiring Leaders Academy) intends to create a talent pipeline for HPS administrator level positions. HALA is a cohort-based professional development program that prepares future HPS leaders by focusing on expanding participants’ repertoire of leadership skills. After successful completion of the program and being recommended by the HALA committee, participants will have a greater chance to apply for and be recruited by local districts for HPS administrator level positions.

LinkedIn Learning

Our parentship with LinkedIn Learning allows employees to gain new knowledge and skills from experts in the corresponding fields directly from LinkedIn, one of the most respected in professional development and networking. Employees can choose the categories they would like to learn more about, set personal goals for progress, and choose from a variety of programs that fits their individual interest and time available. Learn more at https://www.linkedin.com/learning.

Leadership Residency Program

HLRP (Harmony Leadership Residency Program) is a TEA-grant-funded program that provides authentic leadership experiences for eligible aspiring Harmony employees. The program benefits include: M.Ed. in Educational Administration with Principal Certification through UT-Tyler Yearlong, full-time campus leadership residency Authentic leadership experiences with mentorship and feedback Placement in the HPS Leadership Pipeline

Leaves and Absences

An empty classroom

HPS employees are provided with Paid Time Off as well as additional time off for holidays and summer vacation. Employees are provided with a predetermined amount of leave days based upon the days worked in an academic year. Employees are expected to notify supervisors in advance for scheduled leaves and at least one hour of unexpected absences.

Flex Days/PTOs

"Flex Days/Summer Vacation All employees agree to work a specific number of days as laid out in the HPS Compensation Manual. Employees who work more than 189 days are scheduled to work during the summer months of June and July, but the days that they actually work are flexible and will vary from campus to campus. Depending on your number of work days, you will have a set number of unpaid flex days (summer vacation days) that you can take off that will not affect your pay. Flex/vacation days must be used by the end of the school calendar year or they will be lost. Campus level employees can only use their flex/vacation days during the summer months once students have been released for summer break. District and Central Office employees may be exempt from this rule with the approval of their Area Superintendent or Department Chief. "

FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees who meet the eligibility criteria with unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons during a 12-month period. During this leave, employees that have group health coverage are entitled to continue group health plan coverage as if they had continued to work. At the conclusion of the leave, subject to some exceptions, employees generally have the right to return to the same or to an equivalent position, equivalent pay, benefits and working conditions. Employees requesting FMLA should submit their request to leave@harmonytx.org. Except in an emergency, FMLA requests must be submitted to Human Resources prior to the FMLA.

Bereavement Leave

"School employees may be absent, without loss of pay, in the event of the death of one of the following relatives of the employee or his or her spouse: husband, wife, child (including a biological, adopted, stepchild, a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis, or foster child), father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandchildren, or any person who may be residing in the employee’s household at the time of illness or death. No more than five paid bereavement leave days will be used for this purpose in any one school year. Additional unpaid leave days may be requested and offered at the discretion of the campus Principal, Area Superintendent, and Department Chief. "

Emergency Leave

Employees may be granted up to two days of emergency leave without loss of pay or accumulated local leave for destruction of their home or domicile flood, fire, or storm, or other natural disasters. Such leave is subject to the approval of the campus Principal or Area Superintendent or designee. Any further leave granted will result in a deduction of the daily rate of pay or accumulated local leave, unless otherwise provided by Harmony.

Summer Extra Leave

"Harmony Public Schools (“HPS”) will offer eligible staff members the opportunity to take additional vacation time under a special, voluntary, unpaid Summer Leave Program. All professional employees and administrators who are on the 215-day calendar, as well as Central Office Employees, may request up to, but no more than, six weeks (30 business days) of summer leave. "

Military Leave

"Harmony Public Schools is committed to protecting the job rights of employees absent on military leave. In accordance with federal and state law, it is Harmony’s policy that no employee or prospective employee will be subjected to any form of discrimination on the basis of that person’s membership in, or obligation to perform service for any of the Uniformed Services of the United States. Specifically, no person will be denied employment, reemployment, promotion, or other benefit of employment on the basis of such membership. Furthermore, no person will be subjected to retaliation or adverse employment action because such person has exercised his or her rights hereunder. If any employee believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination in violation of this provision, the employee should immediately contact the HR Department."

Competitive Compensation

A happy lady with a cap

Harmony Public Schools believes in recruiting and rewarding high quality education professionals. Accordingly, HPS is proud to offer one of the most robust employee compensation programs in the state. Additionally, Harmony offers several stipends for additional duties and bonuses for academic performance.First-year teachers can earn up to $61,000 per year, with salary and other increases based upon additional years of experience, relevant certifications, subjects taught, interest in supplemental duties, personal educational history and growth in student outcomes.

Click Here to see the 2019-2020 Teacher Salary Schedule

Advanced Degree Stipend

"Teachers who hold a Master’s degree will receive an additional $1000 annually. Teachers who hold a Doctoral degree will receive an additional $2500 annually. Band Level employees will receive a 2 STEP increase for a Master’s Degree or a 3 STEP increase for a Doctoral Degree. "

Experience Stipend

  • Teachers on steps 5-9 will receive an additional $1000 annually.
  • Teachers on steps 10-30 will receive an additional $2000 annually.
  • Teachers are only entitled to one Experience stipend.
  • Experience stipends are included in the annual salary and will be prorated based on the number of days worked.

A Harmony teacher teaches medical science

Hard-to-Staff Stipends

Mathematics (Grades 4 & up)$3,000
Science (Grades 4 & up)
Bilingual, ESL (Grades PreK-12)
Special Education, Dyslexia (Grades PreK-12)
Computer, Technology Applications (Grades 4 & up)$2,000
GT (Grades PreK-12)
English Language Arts and Reading (Grades 4 & up) $1,000
Social Studies (Grades 4 & up)
Generalist (Grades PreK-3)
CTE Teacher (Teaching 3 or more CTE Courses/Sections)$6,500
Campus Instructional Coach$5,000

  • CTE Teachers (defined as a teacher teaching a minimum of 3 year-long CTE coded courses) will receive an additional $6500 annually. For each additional (4th and beyond) year-long CTE coded course that they teach, they will also receive the Supplemental Duty CTE Teacher Stipend. (For stipend information refer to pages 10-11)
  • Teachers are only entitled to one Hard to-staff Subject stipend, which is assigned based on their job title.
  • Hard-to-Staff Subject stipends are included in the annual salary and will be prorated based on the number of days worked.

A teacher and a student standing in front of the board

Supplemental Stipends

Teachers, interventionists, and campus instructional coaches who perform the supplemental duties outlined in the table below are eligible to receive the corresponding stipends as indicated. Supplemental/Extra duty stipends are authorized for the specific year and are not renewed for the future years unless specifically authorized for those years. This means additional duties such as campus department head, district department head, etc. are assigned annually and are not guaranteed responsibilities that carry over from year to year. Supplemental pay will cease when there is no need for the duty or the employee becomes ineligible. Supplemental duty pay will be prorated per semester (not daily).

  • Only teachers, interventionists, and campus instructional coaches are eligible for supplemental duty stipends unless otherwise specified. Please see page 22 for supplemental duty stipends in admin/professional category.
  • Districts may choose not to offer certain stipends
  • Stipend amounts and requirements will be reviewed and may be changed each year
  • Supplemental duty stipends will be paid in two lump sum payments. Half of the stipend will be paid out in December and the other half of the stipend will be paid out in May. The Adopted 7/27/2019 9 exception to this is Saturday Tutoring and Saturday Extra Duty pay which will be paid monthly.
  • Employees who leave Harmony for any reason before the end of the assignment are not eligible to receive the supplemental duty stipend.
  • Supplemental Duty Annual Stipend amounts listed below are the amounts employees will receive for completing the assigned duty for the entire school year.

Bonuses

Teachers who demonstrate growth in student academic outcomes as well as display effective teaching based on classroom observations may be eligible for bonuses.

Refer a Teacher Stipend

Harmony Public Schools values our teachers and their expertise in spreading the word about the amazing things that happen each and every day at our 57 campuses scattered throughout Texas. Teachers are our best references; therefore, we are excited to offer a program were teachers can refer other great teachers to us. Refer A Teacher program offers a Harmony teacher $350 for referring another teacher to one of our schools for a full time teaching position. Refer A Teacher has a window for referrals that spans from March 1st to July 31st.

A truck loaded with appliances

Moving Stipend

To qualify for a moving stipend, an employee must:

  1. be currently employed by HPS or certain charter schools which have a licensing agreement with HPS in a full time TRS eligible position for a minimum of 90 work days
  2. submit all required documentation within 45 days of starting at the new HPS location to moving@harmonytx.org
  • Employees are eligible for a moving stipend due to:
    1. a transfer between campuses within the same HPS district;
    2. a transfer between HPS districts; or
    3. a new employee moving to take a job with HPS from certain charter schools which have licensing agreement with HPS.
  • To qualify, the relocation must also meet a minimum distance test: the employee’s new job location must be at least 50 miles farther from the former job location. Employees moving under 50 miles are not eligible for moving stipend.
  • Eligible employees will be provided a fixed amount stipend that will be subject to all applicable payroll and other related taxes and deductions. The amount of the stipend is based on distance between the prior and new campus locations.
  • The moving stipend is calculated as follows: A base amount of $2000 plus $5 per mile.
  • Moving stipend recipients must work for Harmony for at least 2 academic years (after receiving the stipend)
  • In the event that an employee and their spouse are both employed by HPS, each employee will be entitled to 50% of the moving stipend.
  • Other procedures regarding the moving stipend may be created by the Human Resources Department.
  • For moving stipend related questions, please contact HR at moving@harmonytx.org

People listening to a conference

Training Stipend

"Harmony believes in growing its staff. Employees are encouraged to attend professional development. HPS will pay for certain trainings as well as staff development courses. Teachers may be eligible for a daily stipend if they attend additional required trainings outside of their regular work calendar. Teachers who attend to a required training such as PLTW in the Summer or out of their regular work calendar are eligible for a $120 per day training stipend."

  • Required training is a training that a teacher must attend in order to teach that particular course and is requested by the school.
  • Certification or highly qualified related trainings are not eligible.
  • Other required trainings may be considered and will be evaluated by the Human Resources Department.

Professional Testing Fee Reimbursement

"Harmony Public Schools (HPS) encourages employees to enhance their knowledge and skills and professional development. This policy encourages employees to achieve a highly qualified or certified status. Testing fees, up to a maximum of $500 per passed exam, are reimbursable."

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