THE FACTS

CONCEPT-MANAGED SCHOOLS ARE NOT TURKISH OR GULEN CHARTER SCHOOLS

Neither Concept nor the schools it manages can be named “Turkish Schools” or “Gulen Charter Schools.” They are schools that contract with a government entity or charter school board and operate under the applicable state laws in which they are located. In this respect, charter schools are highly regulated and very accountable organizations. Just because some of the founders of those organizations happen to be Turkish Americans, they do not automatically become “Turkish Schools” or “Gulen Charter Schools.”

  • More than 90% of teachers who are employed at these schools are local teachers.
  • All of the teachers are highly skilled and dedicated teachers who make a huge difference in the lives of many children everyday.
  • Some personal blogs and web sites imply that most of their teachers are Turkish. This is misleading, incorrect, and ill-intended.
  • Nevertheless, being Turkish or Turkish American is not a crime either.

94% OF THE STAFF AT THE CONCEPT-MANAGED SCHOOLS ARE LOCAL TEACHERS

Our priority is our students and their success. Therefore, our schools make it their goal to find and place the best teachers that they can in the classroom. Therefore, Concept and the managed schools recruit employees locally, nationally, and internationally, independent of any other charter schools or networks. Only 6% of the 916 employees at the Concept-managed schools were on H1B non-immigrant visas last year. Below is the list of Concept-managed schools with the breakdown down of staff numbers with H1B visas.

Name of School Total # of Employees Employees with H1B (non-immigrant Visas) % of Employees with H1B (non-immigrant Visas)
Milwaukee Math & Science Academy 20 0 0%
Minnesota School of Science 22 0 0%
Horizon Science Academy Dayton III-Downtown 24 0 0%
QUEST Charter Academy 33 0 0%
Horizon Science Academy Denison Middle 37 0 0%
Horizon Science Academy Cincinnati 44 1 2%
Noble Academy Columbus 27 1 4%
Horizon Science Academy Toledo Downtown 24 1 4%
Gateway Science Academy 47 2 4%
Horizon Science Academy Denison Elementary 21 1 5%
Horizon Science Academy Cleveland Middle 19 1 5%
Indiana Math & Science Academy West 57 3 5%
Horizon Science Academy Cleveland Elementary 18 1 6%
Horizon Science Academy Lorain 36 2 6%
Horizon Science Academy Dayton High 32 2 6%
Chicago Math & Science Academy 62 4 6%
Horizon Science Academy Columbus Elementary 44 3 7%
Michigan Math & Science Academy 29 2 7%
Horizon Science Academy Columbus High 43 3 7%
Horizon Science Academy Youngstown 36 3 8%
Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High 47 4 9%
Horizon Science Academy Springfield 35 3 9%
Horizon Science Academy Toledo High 34 3 9%
Indiana Math & Science Academy North 39 4 10%
Noble Academy Cleveland 28 3 11%
Horizon Science Academy Dayton Elementary 24 3 13%
Horizon Science Academy Columbus Middle 34 7 21%
Total 916 57 6%

RETENTION RATES OF THE SCHOOLS SPEAK VOLUMES

Concept-managed schools have high staff and student retention rates. Along with the retention rates, which speak volumes about the schools, annual surveys given to parents, staff, and students within the network exude satisfaction with the quality of education provided at the schools. Below is the list of schools with their staff and student retention rates within the last two years.

It is absurd to think those 1,000 employees, 8,200 students, and 8,000 parents are duped into some kind of international conspiracy as if they had no ability to make a judgment of their own about whether any of these accusations is true.

The fact that so many parents, staff and students choose to attend Concept-managed schools and choose to stay speaks volumes about them.

RETENTION
STUDENT
TEACHER
SCHOOL
2009-10
2010-11
2009-10
2010-11
HSA- CLEVELAND ELEMENTARY
71%
92%
100%
80%
HSA- YOUNGSTOWN
NR
79%
NR
86%
HSA- LORAIN ELEMENTARY
70%
88%
100%
100%
NOBLE ACADEMY CLEVELAND
85%
86%
100%
80%
HSA- SPRINGFIELD
86%
71%
88%
88%
HSA- TOLEDO DOWNTOWN
NR
58%
NR

55%

NOBLE ACADEMY COLUMBUS
68%
72%
68%
74%
HSA- DENISON ELEMENTARY
69%
71%
92%
75%
IMSA NORTH-INDIANA
NR
78%
NR
73%
IMSA WEST-INDIANA
64%
67%
84%
89%
GATEWAY SCIENCE ACADEMY
NR
93%
NR
84%
HSA- COLUMBUS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
83%
92%
85%
62%
HSA- CINCINNATI
59%
75%
57%
79%
HSA- DAYTON ELEMENTARY
53%
67%
83%
69%
HSA- DAYTON DOWNTOWN
NR
76%
NR
86%
HSA- DENISON MIDDLE SCHOOL
79%
82%
88%
91%
HSA- CLEVELAND MIDDLE SCHOOL
80%
83%
100%
87%
MICHIGAN MATH AND SCIENCE
77%
78%
83%
94%
QUEST PEORIA
NR
89%
NR
93%
HSA- COLUMBUS MIDDLE SCHOOL
78%
82%
83%
78%
CHICAGO MATH AND SCIENCE ACADEMY
86%
87%
70%
87%
HSA- DAYTON HIGH SCHOOL
73%
76%
68%
74%
HSA- COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL
72%
70%
89%
82%
HSA- TOLEDO HIGH SCHOOL
70%
72%
88%
67%
HSA- CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL
85%
86%
73%
86%
MILWAUKEE MATH AND SCIENCE ACADEMY
NA
NA
NA
NA
MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF SCIENCE
NA
NA
NA
NA
Total (Network Average)
74%
79%
84%
81%

 

Staff Gender Equality

Schools Male% Female%
Chicago Math & Science Academy 28% 72%
Gateway Science Academy 22% 78%
Horizon Science Academy – Cincinnati 44% 56%
Horizon Science Academy – Cleveland Elementary 8% 92%
Horizon Science Academy – Cleveland High 49% 51%
Horizon Science Academy – Cleveland Middle 11% 89%
Horizon Science Academy – Columbus Elementary 18% 82%
Horizon Science Academy – Columbus High 44% 56%
Horizon Science Academy – Columbus Middle 35% 65%
Horizon Science Academy – Dayton Downtown 24% 76%
Horizon Science Academy – Dayton Elementary 24% 76%
Horizon Science Academy – Dayton High 39% 61%
Horizon Science Academy – Denison Elementary 28% 72%
Horizon Science Academy – Denison Middle 31% 69%
Horizon Science Academy – Lorain 27% 73%
Horizon Science Academy – Springfield 29% 71%
Horizon Science Academy – Toledo Downtown 26% 74%
Horizon Science Academy – Toledo High 29% 71%
Horizon Science Academy – Youngstown 26% 74%
Indiana Math & Science Academy – North 65% 35%
Indiana Math & Science Academy – West 35% 65%
Michigan Math & Science Academy 36% 64%
Milwaukee Math & Science Academy 22% 78%
Minnesota School of Science 23% 77%
Noble Academy – Cleveland 19% 81%
Noble Academy – Columbus 15% 85%
Quest Charter Academy – Peoria 28% 73%
Total (Network Average) 29% 71%

 

CONCEPT-MANAGED CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE HIGHLY REGULATED

AND TRANSPARENT ENVIRONMENTS

Charter schools are highly regulated environments. There is oversight on charter schools by their authorizers, the state and federal governments. They are bound by many of the federal and state laws that apply to traditional charter schools other than the freedom and autonomy given to them again by the law. Below is a list of regulations and oversight that the charter schools have:

  • Annual audits by the states or independent auditors on financials and compliance
  • Financial, employment, and compliance reports to authorizers and states
  • Federal audits on special education and Title I
  • Board meetings are open to public
  • Reports of board minutes to their authorizers
  • Their charter, 501 c 3 applications, annual tax returns, audit reports and other documents are public documents and may be requested from the schools by anyone
  • They comply with the FOIA regulations
  • Representative from the authorizers attend the board meetings
  • Regular school visits and audits by authorizers
  • Annual or end of the term evaluations for renewal by their authorizers
  • Parent, staff, and students surveys given by their authorizers…and more

Any of the aforementioned information and documents could be requested from the school. The schools are committed to full transparency and will be happy to provide anyone any information requested. Please contact each school individually for any information or public file requests. There may be a minimal copying and shipping fee, though.

Concept has schools recognized by their state  auditors  for exemplary financial reportings such as HSA-Youngstown. Below is the certificate that HSA-Youngstown received from the Ohio State Auditor in 2011

ACCOUNTABILITY IS AT THE CORE CHARTER SCHOOLS

Charter schools are about accountability. They sign a charter agreement with their authorizers; based on the states in which they are located, this could be local school districts, state universities, mayors, and non profit organizations. The charter agreements include performance matrixes, compliance requirements, and other regulations that they must abide by. At the end of their terms, which is generally for 5 years, they are evaluated by their authorizer and renewed based on their performance on academics, finance, and compliance.

Concept-managed schools have had no termination or non-renewal in its 13 years of history, nor have they had performance deficiencies or compliance violations that led to formal authorizer interventions. In addition, Concept never had termination or non-renewal of its management contract with any school board .

Below is the list of authorizers that Concept-managed schools have been working with successfully for the past 13 years in 7 different Midwest states:

1- Buckeye Hope Foundation (sponsoring 11 schools in Ohio)

Peggy Young

Director, Community School Division

Office: (614) 942-2002

Email: pyoung@buckeyehope.org

3021 East Dublin-Granville Rd

Columbus OH 43231

Phone: (614) 942-2002

Fax: (614) 942-2000

http://www.buckeyehope.org

2- Lucas County Educational Service Center (sponsoring 8 schools in Ohio)

Jim George, Director, Community Schools Center

419.724.4288

Email:  lcesc_jg@nwoca.org

4955 Seaman Road

Oregon Ohio 43616

Telephone: 419.246.3137

Fax: 419.246.3127

http://www.lucas.k12.oh.us

3- Ball State University (sponsoring Indiana Math and Science Academy West in Indianapolis)

Robert Marra, Director, Office of Charter Schools

Email: ramarra@bsu.edu

Phone: 765-285-1336

Fax: 765-285-9873

http://www.bsu.edu/teachers/charter

4- Chicago Public Schools (sponsoring Chicago Math and Science Academy in Chicago)

Oliver Sicat, Chief Portfolio Officer

Email: OSicat@cps.k12.il.us

125 South Clark Street

5th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60603

Phone: (773) 553-1530

Fax: (773) 553-1559

5- Grand Valley State University (sponsoring Michigan Math and Science Academy in MI)

Tim Wood, Director of Charter School Office

Email: woodth@gvsu.edu

201 Front Ave. SW, Suite 310

Grand Rapids, MI 49504

ph. 616-331-2240

fax 616-331-2085

6- Lindenwood University (sponsoring Gateway Science Academy and GSA-South in St. Louis)

Amanda N. Aldridge Coordinator, Charter School Sponsorship

E-mail: AAldridge@lindenwood.edu

Lindenwood University

209 S. Kingshighway

St. Charles, Missouri 63301

Phone: (636) 627-2559

7- Minneapolis Public Schools (sponsoring Minnesota School of Science)

Bernadeia Johnson

Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools

E-mail: mpssup@mpls.k12.mn.us

807 Broadway St. NE. Room 109

Phone: 612.668.0200

8- City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Common Council (sponsoring Milwaukee Math and Science Academy)

Cindy Zautcke,

Charter School Specialist

Institute for the Transformation of Learning

E-mail: cindy.zautcke@marquette.edu

Phone: (414) 288-1540

9- Peoria School District, PSD 150 (sponsoring Quest Charter Academy in Peoria, IL)

Grenita Lathan

Superintendent,

Peoria Public Schools District 150

3202 N. Wisconsin Ave.

Peoria, IL 61603

Email: grenita.lathan@psd150.org

Phone: (309) 672-6768

10- Indianapolis, Office of the Mayor (sponsoring IMSA-North in Indianapolis)

Beth Bray

Director of Charter Schools

2501 City County Building

200 E. Washington Street

Indianapolis IN 46201

Phone: 317.327.3621

E-mail: beth.bray@indy.gov

As these authorizers are very familiar with our schools, any one may contact them to hear more about the Concept-managed schools.

CONCEPT WAS FOUNDED BY TURKISH AMERICAN EDUCATORS

WHO WERE ALREADY IN THE USA AS PART OF THEIR COMMUNITIES

In contrary to the picture being depicted intentionally, founders of Concept schools or Concept-managed schools have been in the US for a long time. They were established Turkish Americans, studying, working and raising their families here. They were part of the communities in which they lived. Their motivation was to make a difference in education in cities and communities in which they lived. Today, the board of directors of Concept-managed schools are made up of local individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise who are committed to providing great opportunities to the students in their communities. They represent various heritages  and come from different racial and professional backgrounds. All of the Board of Directors of both Concept and Concept-managed schools are volunteers.

CONCEPT AND CONCEPT-MANAGED SCHOOLS HAVE NO AFFILIATION

WITH ANY POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS OR ANY OTHER MOVEMENT

The only movement we are part of is the charter school movement, which is getting bigger every year with the superior results of student achievement at charter schools.

Public charter schools are free, open enrollment schools that give communities and families educational options. The charter school model involves parents, teachers , the board of directors, and community and civic leaders in their programs. Public charter schools are given a level of autonomy or freedom to innovate around curriculum, staffing, and other areas, in exchange for a strong degree of accountability. The “charter” belongs to a local non-profit organization. This entity may choose to hire a Charter Management Organization to help them meet their mission. Concept is proud to be such a charter management organization.

Charter schools are changing the way public education takes place in this country and that upsets many defenders of the status quo. However, any objective analysis will show that change is needed if we want to fulfill the American promise and educate our next generation of leaders and citizens.

Concept is independently operated with no affiliation or ties with any other charter school or management organizations around the country. Concept Schools is an Illinois-based not-for-profit charter school management organization. Concept is not a charter holder. It contracts with local Board of Directors to manage the schools on their behalf. Each school that we manage is a separate 501 c 3 organization with their local board of directors. Concept is accountable to the local boards for financial management, student performance, reporting, compliance and more. Concept’s management agreement gets renewed (like the charter agreement) on an annual basis upon performance evaluation by the local Board of Directors.

NEITHER CONCEPT NOR THE SCHOOLS WE MANAGE ARE PERFECT ORGANIZATIONS

With almost 1,000 employees in schools that are located in large urban centers, the staff of Concept’s schools is very diverse, including teachers from many different races, religions, backgrounds, and nationalities. In fact, it is partly due to the very diversity among our staff that helps make our schools so successful.

However, it is natural that when you deal with about 1,000 staff, 8,000 parents and more students that mistakes, disagreements, disputes, and resentments sometimes arise. Such cases are always handled properly through legal means.

Concept is still considered a nascent organization with 13 years of history. We have made mistakes, though unintentional, in the past. We always value feedback from our staff, parents, students, and other stakeholders and corrected our mistakes both at management and school levels. We still value feedback and opinions of those who in their heart have the intentions of helping us help students. Please contact us with any concerns, feedback, ideas, and thoughts.