Accepting Nominations for the 2015 Teacher of the Year Award!

Concept Schools' annual Teacher of the Year program continues to draw the best and brightest teachers throughout our network. Give that special teacher the credit he or she deserves by filling out this easy online form to nominate the teacher you think is most deserving of the title "2015 Teacher of the Year."   


Anyone can nominate a  

teacher, including students, parents, fellow teachers, and administrators.


In addition to receiving

$1,000 in three divisions (elem, middle, high), the person selected as Teacher of the Year serves as a role

model for other teachers  

and as a community point person who promotes charter community schools  

and innovative teaching strategies.


The deadlines are below: Nominating a teacher:  

February 27, 2015.



April 17, 2015.

The winners will be announced on May 21st.

HSA Toledo Is Getting College-Ready!

Horizon Science Academy Toledo organized a college and career fair to promote a college-going environment. All the high school students had a chance to talk to more than 15 college representatives to get more familiar with the college application process and to see what options are out there. The event was a huge success.

STEAM Showcase by Quest Charter Academy

Quest Charter Academy in Peoria, Illinois held a student showcase as part of the Building STEAM Program, a week-long series of events designed to showcase connections between the arts and STEM education.


Student presentations covered STEAM areas such as music, dance, painting, robotics, gaming technology, dentistry, ergonomics and field trips to Caterpillar Visitors Center and a Caterpillar Inc. manufacturing facility.

Winning projects, along with their creators, will be recognized at the Peoria Symphony Orchestra performance Saturday of "Nature's Majesty. The Journal Star visited to see the events. Read the full article here.

STEM Clubs Rocked the Capitol Building in Springfield, IL

Over 30 students from the 4 Chicago schools in the Concept network (Chicago Math & Science Academy, HSA Belmont, HSA McKinley Park, and HSA Southwest Chicago) presented science, technology, engineering and math demonstrations on November 11 at the Capitol building in Springfield, IL  


As politicians, visitors, and members of the press passed through the Capitol rotunda, students conducted their experiments to show what they have been working on and handed out flyers to teach passersby about their schools and programs.  

Hard Work Paid Off!

Congratulations to HSA Columbus Middle School and Noble Academy Columbus, who walked away from the First LEGO League (FLL) competition hosted by HSA Columbus Elementary on Saturday, December 13 with 1
st Place and 2nd Place victories in robot game portion of the competition.

Not only the teams received the highest score in overall, but also both teams qualified to compete in the district tournament on January 10th.

Chicago Math & Science Academy also hosted an FLL tournament on December 13, and their RoboMinds team gave a strong showing in the competition.

Concept Schools' Spelling Bee 2014 Winners 

We asked them to "Bee Brilliant" and they were!  


On Saturday, December 6th, Concept Schools hosted its annual spelling bee at the University of Illinois' downtown campus. Over 120 students from our 31 schools competed in this year's "Bee Brilliant" event. Each year our teachers commit extra time to prepare their students by holding school-wide bees and the winners then join us in Chicago. This year the 3-5th grade group did an exceptional job by competing for an unprecedented 10 rounds. Below are the results!


3-5th Grade Group Individual Winners:

  • 1st Place Noah Garland, GSA Smiley                                         
  • 2nd Place Liberti Little, IMSA North                             
  • 3rd Place Rebecca Cano-Beltran, HSA McKinley Park 

Best Overall Team (s) - Tie:

HSA McKinley Park

GSA Smiley       


6-8th Grade Group Individual Winners:

  • 1st Place Jamele Croom, HSA Columbus Middle School        
  • 2nd Place Yared Woldegerima, CMSA
  • 3rd Place Ridwan Haydor, MMSA

Best Overall Team:

HSA Columbus Middle School

Math Demonstrations Are Back in Cleveland!

Back by popular demand at the CONSEF STEM Expo are the student-created Math Demonstrations! This year will feature more than 60 math demonstrations (a 1/3 increase over last year to be precise), including Ames Room, Coin Jumping, 4D Bubble Shapes, Solar Hot dog cooker, and many more!


In its 13th year, the Concept Science & Engineering Fair will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio on April 18, 2015.


Last year, more than 40 math demonstrations were showcased by our talented students at CONSEF. They built a 30-feet high geodesic dome, a stick stool that can hold 5 lbs., a 6-ft-long wooden bridge without any glue, exhibited phenomenal facts Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio, and more only using the fundamentals of Algebra and geometry.

The purpose of these math demonstrations (besides having fun!) is to apply the knowledge and understanding of mathematics to conduct in-depth, "real-world" investigations. The STEM Expo and Math Demonstrations are open to all students, parents, and community members to enjoy hands-on activities and explore the excitement and opportunities that math offers.

HSA-Lorain Adapts to Growing Autism Rates

We are proud of Horizon Science Academy-Lorain in Ohio, a Concept-managed school that is supporting students with autism and adapting to a growing demographic of students. Through individualized education plans and program design, the caring Special Education team partners with teachers inclusively, and students are supported in Resource settings with a variety of unique supports.


Our schools utilize our public school charter sponsors with Autism Itinerant collaborations, and staff use exemplary researched-based practices on a daily basis.

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum-a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.  


Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered.


To learn more about autism, visit  


And to learn more about Concept Schools Department of Special Education, please visit

Embracing Interdisciplinary Learning

The third grade students at HSA Dayton Elementary in Ms. Rose Amstutz's room have had an exciting year diving into a new type of intricately woven curriculum. Reading, writing, science, social studies and even art are explored under a unit concept.


During the unit titled "Value," students were able to link the concepts of migration of animals and immigration of people. Students learned about pioneer times (migration of people) and visited Carriage Hill Farm to learn about life long ago.


In the fall, as the students were learning about traditions handed down from generation to generation, Ms. Amstutz invited her students' grandparents in a classroom activity. The grandparents shared with the students what their school experience was like in an interview. Ms. Amstutz has a blog where she details her students' immersion into each interdisciplinary unit: . Congratulations to Ms. Amstutz and her students on truly creating a unique learning experience!

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