Concept Connections is a monthly newsletter that celebrates student and staff achievement and highlights community engagement and outreach from across the Concept Schools Network of 30 public charter schools in the Midwest.  

Concept Schools changes the trajectory of students' lives!

Welcome Back to School

As the calendar flipped and the season turned toward Fall, we welcomed nearly 12,500 students back to school across 30 schools managed or operated by Concept Schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, and Michigan.
High expectations for learning have been set by students and staff alike, and we wish everyone a successful school year.

At the end of July, all school and network administrators met outside Chicago for a two-day Leadership Summit.  Administrators collaborated in grade level and departmental teams and shared best practices and strategies on how best to support student learning and community engagement.

Congratulations Class of 2016

As our recently graduated Class of 2016 begins the next journey of their lives, it is important to recognize their achievements one last time:
  • 89% of students were accepted to 4-year colleges
  • They received over 
    $29.4 million in merit-based scholarships
Concept Schools Leadership Summit 2016

At the end of July, all school and network administrators met outside Chicago for a two-day Leadership Summit.  Administrators collaborated in grade level and departmental teams and shared best practices and strategies on how best to support student learning and community engagement.

Teacher of the Month

As part of our ongoing effort to improve
teaching and learning, Concept Schools is starting another recognition program to honor, promote, and encourage outstanding teachers among our schools. The Concept
Schools Teacher of the Month will serve as a community point person who both promotes charter community schools and innovative
teaching strategies.

Teachers of the month will receive a
certificate, $100 gift card and will be recognized via Concept Schools publications.
Administrators and teachers who work at Concept Schools shall nominate any
kindergarten through twelfth grade Concept teacher who:
  • Has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues
  • Plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school
  • Is poised, articulate, and possesses excellent communication skills
  • Uses technology as a tool for learning, communication and collaboration
Mini Grants-Closing the Achievement Gap

In order to provide our innovative teachers with an additional support beyond what they currently receive
from their individual schools, Concept
is excited to announce an annual mini grant competition, open to all teachers within the network.
$10,000 is available for this grant opportunity with a cap of $1,000 for each grant.  
Ideas could range from incorporating materials/curriculum related to your diverse student body, increasing test scores, improving student/teacher retention, improving student attendance, parental involvement,
going green initiatives, online learning, flipped classroom, blended learning, adult learning, or any extra curricular activities.
Leaders Step Up As Concept Alumni College Liaisons

Gabrielle Blackshire, Junior at Case Western Reserve University

As a growing number of alumni embark
on their college journey, Concept Alumni Network (CAN) is there to support them; but we recognize that having a support network on campus will be more of a direct help. That's why we've begun appointing Concept alumni with leadership and volunteer experience to serve as the Concept alumni liaison at their own colleges and universities.
College Liaisons will help fellow alumni navigate all that their school has to offer, provide support, and help communicate how CAN strives to support Concept alums.
New Plan Learning Education Scholarship

The Concept Alumni Network (CAN) initiated its mentorship program thanks in large part to the financial support from New Plan Learning (NPL).

Through an ongoing collaborative partnership, CAN and NPL are posed to award the NPL Education Scholarship to 30 graduates who are currently attending college and have registered within the Concept Alumni Mentorship Program.
There is no doubt that this financial award will touch our students' lives and  by receiving a mentor from a successful professional in the community, hopefully it will make the college experience a little easier.
First Lady Michelle Obama Meets with Cleveland's Mathtastic 4

The First Lady briefly greeted the Mathtastic 4 at the United State of Women Summit in June (Photo courtesy of Amanda Lucidon)

Horizon Science Academy Cleveland Middle School 8th grade students, Kellie Keaton, Shadarria Robinson, Anaya Spencer, and Jayla VanHorn, otherwise known as the Mathtastic 4, attended the June Summit for 
The United State of Women in Washington D.C. 
At the Summit, the students presented their award-winning video  that they produced and submitted to the national MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge during the STEM-focused seminar Cracking the Code: Access to STEM for all Women and Girls.
Please view their award-winning video here.

Along with their participation at the Summit, Miss Keaton, Miss Robinson, Miss Spencer, and Miss VanHorn were treated to presentations and stories shared by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and many other notable speakers. 
"It was a great experience that I'll never forget," Miss VanHorn stated.  "I enjoyed the treatment they gave us, the magnificent view of Washington's Monuments, and the overall atmosphere was amazing."
Concept Schools CEO Make Home Visits

Concept Schools President and CEO Mr. Sedat Duman visits the home of a Chicago Math and Science Academy family

Schools within the Concept Network organize home visits throughout the school year to enhance communication and strengthen relationships with parents and guardians.  Recently in August or September, Concept Schools President & CEO Sedat Duman visited the homes of two Concept Schools families in Chicago, IL. 

Along with Principal Ali Kuran and Community Engagement Coordinator Irene Bermudez, Mr. Duman visited with the Reyes family from Chicago Math and Science Academy. 

Ms. Rozial Reyes is the parent of current CMSA Junior and member of the Robotics Team Eric Catalan, and CMSA graduates Justin Catalan (currently enrolled at Harold Washington College) and Christian Catalan (currently enrolled at Northern Illinois University). 

Ms. Reyes has always had a high involvement in the education of her children as well as the whole CMSA community.  She has served on the CMSA Parent-Teacher Organization and has participated in many school activities.  She actively volunteers in the Robotics program and assists the team with her expertise.

Concept Schools administrators and staff meet in the home of the Rau family from Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park 

Mr. Duman also joined Principal Cafer Cengiz, Music Teacher Kovatch, 3rd grade Teacher Wade, and Teacher's Aide Samantha Martin to visit the home of the Rau family from Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park.  

Todd and Jennifer Rau are parents to three students: Sebastian (2nd grade), Esmeralda (4th grade) and Yadhira (5th grade).  The Rau family has been a part of HAS since it first opened.  Mrs. Rau has continuously expressed her satisfaction with the school's academic and extracurricular programs, and she and her husband are very involved with school activities.  The family is very interested in liberal arts, especially music and literacy, as well as environmental issues.

"I was impressed by the level of engagement of both families in their kids' education which I strongly believe contribute to their academic success," said Mr. Duman.  "I urge all of our schools in the network to establish strong relationships with their parents." 
New Year! New Home!

The first day of school at Horizon Science Academy Belmont

On September 6, parents and students were able to walk into the new home of Horizon Science Academy Belmont in Chicago, Illinois- now located only two miles from its prior and dated campus at 2456 North Mango Avenue.  "The parents are so happy to be here," Mr. Serdar Kartal, the principal of Belmont shared.
Relocating the school proved necessary as students, staff, and the community outgrew the prior facility.  HSA Belmont is now a three story building with many more classrooms, a full cafeteria, outdoor playground, fully-equipped science labs, community meeting rooms, a combined gymnasium and auditorium, an adjoining parking lot and a much needed library.
The Open House for parents, families and the community was held Wednesday, September 21.  Even though the weather was wet and rainy, parents, guardians, and community residents who once attended the original school, St. James Catholic, felt pleased about what had been done both inside and out.  One neighborhood resident, Mrs. Lorraine Hansen, marveled at the positive changes.  "I love what you have done here!" Mrs. Hansen said.  "I used to work here for years as a special education teacher.  I even visited my old room on the second floor!  Thank you for resurrecting this building!"  

A local resident noted, "You have brought life back to the neighborhood!"
For the past three years, HSA Belmont thrived as a community-centered school in the North Austin neighborhood, and knowing a move was imminent, Concept Schools did not want to leave the parents who were so much a part of our Belmont school family.  So, Concept Schools surveyed HSA Belmont families, and after gaining their overwhelming support, 91% of all students willingly followed us to our new location.  Mr. Kartal added about finally completing the move, "I feel accomplished and hopeful.  The parents really feel like this is their building.  They really own the school."
We have high hopes for Horizon Science Academy Belmont for this upcoming school year!  

North OH Regional Visit at Cuyahoga Community College
Teacher Institutes

During the month of August, representatives from travelled throughout the Midwest to meet and facilitate collaborative learning experiences for all staff during their teacher institute days.  

The schedule of the Institute Days included: addresses by a host of keynote speakers, charter school sponsor representatives, Concept Schools Chief Academic Officer Mr. Ali Uslu and Director of Communications and Growth Dr. Christopher Murphy;  and the Directors of Concept's Academic Departments facilitated break-out sessions focused on curriculum, teaching and learning strategies, formative and summative assessments, student achievement and growth data analysis, and academic and social-emotional interventions and supports.

Concept Schools in the News
Three Teachers Shine at Horizon Science Academy Lorain

Three teachers from the Horizon Science Academy of Lorain, Ohio have received Governor's Awards for their achievements in STEM education and student research in their classrooms.

Please click here for more.

Michigan Math and Science Academy & 
Chicago Math and Science Academy
: Among Best High Schools in the Nation 

Each school received Silver Medal Rankings for 2016.

Please click here for more information on Michigan Math & Science Academy. 

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Des Plaines, IL 60018
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