September 2011: Volume 2, Issue 1

Professional Development 

Concept PD Days

Concept Admin. Seminar for Directors
- Oct. 8-9, Chicago, IL

South Ohio PD Day - Oct. 21, Columbus, OH

North Ohio PD Day - Nov. 23, Cleveland, OH

Ed. Workshops at

The Bureau of Educational Research (BER) is the leading provider of staff development and training resources for educators in North America.  Their day-long workshops, conferences, and additional video and audio seminars online offer excellent professional enrichment of fun, proven, useful, and research-based ideas and techniques that are immediately ready for your school and classroom settings.

Upcoming Conferences


National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention - November 17-22, Chicago

Northwest Ohio Center (NWO) Symposium on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teaching - Saturday, November 5, 2011, Toledo, OH

Ohio Council of Teachers of Math Annual Conference - Thursday and Friday, October 13-14, at the SeaGate Convention Center and Park Inn Hotel, Toledo, OH

Fall Ohio Music Education Association (OCMEA) Conference

- Saturday, November 12, Riffe Center, Columbus, OH


Missouri Charter Public School Association Annual Conference - October 6-7, St. Louis, MO

Michigan Association of Public School Academies Annual Conference - November 7-8, Detroit, MI

Atlas Update    


All schools are now using Atlas for lesson planning, curriculum development, and collaborative sharing. Changes to content-area curriculum are frequently updated through Atlas. There is also a new forum section for sharing best practices.  

Assessment Update 

Schools will be administering the NWEA (as a replacement of the IOWA test) during September for grades K-11.


Ohio and Illinois schools will be administering the Concept Schools Achievement Tests for grades 3-11. All other states will be administering the Acuity tests.


All freshmen take EXPLORE; Sophomores take PLAN; and juniors take retired ACT tests to see their strengths and weaknesses. The EXPLORE and PLAN tests are prepared by ACT, Inc..

9/11 Events  

As the Concept Schools community, we believe that on this solemn 10th anniversary of the horrendous attacks on our Country we can do justice by renewing the commitment of our "lives, fortunes, and sacred honors" to the preservation of liberty.

HSA Cincinnati Remembers

HSA Youngstown Remembers 


Other 9/11 Resources


Brown University's Choices Program 

Ed Week's collections page 

ABC-CLIO free online resources 

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility new teaching guide   

New Group Emails   

A group email list has been established for each content area in each region - North Ohio, South Ohio, and West Concept. These email lists will be used for sharing best practices, asking colleagues questions, and generally keeping our peers updated with our classroom developments. All teachers should have received the notification of these lists by now. If not, please notify us.


Teacher Grants  

Kids in Need Teacher Grants - Given for exceptional projects, amounts range from $100 to $500. Every teacher who applies will receive free art supplies. Deadline: September 30th.


Ready, Steady, GO! - Grants for middle school teachers ranging from $100 to $500. Middle school teachers may apply through the Kids in Need website. Deadline: October 30th

Welcome to Another Great Year


Concept Schools would like to officially welcome all schools' staff back for what will surely be another great year. As noted by our constant expansion, we have a good product and are achieving results. Our students continue to outscore most public and charter schools and we continue to send most, if not all, of our seniors to college.

    Every year, we at the central office try to improve our services. It is our goal that everything we do helps you to focus totally on teaching and learning. That said, this issue highlights some of the new developments we are working on here in the central office. They include improvements to the Atlas system for curriculum and instruction, improvements to the student information system, and generally greater support and professional development for teachers.


Last School Year's Achievements and Successes

Congratulations to all of you!  

Excellent in Ohio

  • HSA Cleveland High
  • HSA Cleveland Middle
  • HSA Columbus High
  • Noble Academy Cleveland

Exemplary in Indiana

  • Indiana Math & Science Academy North
  • Indiana Math & Science Academy West

A-Rated in Michigan

  • Michigan Math & Science Academy

Top Charter School in St. Louis

  • Gateway Science Academy

Effective in Ohio

  • HSA Cincinnati
  • HSA Columbus Elementary
  • HSA Columbus Middle
  • HSA Lorain
  • HSA Springfield
  • Noble Academy Columbus

Continuous Improvement in Ohio

  • HSA Cleveland Elementary
  • HSA Dayton Elementary
  • HSA Dayton High
  • HSA Denison Middle
  • HSA Toledo High
  • HSA Youngstown  
Leadership Updates within Concept Family 

Concept Schools Family welcomes and congratulates all new administrative members:

  • Yasar Bora - Superintendent of West Concept Schools
  • Donald Shanahan - Instructional Coach of  West Concept Schools
  • L. M. Sheffield - Instructional Coach of South OH Concept Schools
  • Ihsan Ozulas - Director of Turkish Language Education
  • Lindsay Rosasco - Administrative Assistant, Concept Central Office 
  • Nicole Kratz - Director, HSA Cleveland  Elementary
  • Jessica Lindskog - Director, HSA Columbus Elementary
  • Alper Sarli - Director, Columbus Middle
  • Nuh Celik - Director, HSA Denison Elementary 


 CSSIS keeps improving daily. We are getting a lot of meaningful feedback about the direction it's heading and we truly appreciate all the constructive feedback. We still have a lot to do and are always open to new ideas. Here are some new additions and changes:

  • A new student/parent portal is on its way. 
  • Student check list and a report to keep track of which student is missing what assignment. If a student is missing his/her shot records, schools will be able to get a report of it. 
  • New coloring and layout. We are making some major layout and coloring changes under the hood. New layout will help everyone, including people with small screen resolution, access the system in a better way. 
  • Student bulk update has been added. Now, you may set the section, lunch status, or homeroom of many students at once in bulk.
  • Assessment management has been added under transcript menu. Now, college guidance personnel may enter students all assessment scores, including state or local assessment, into the system. 
  • We keep adding more reports almost every week. Some worth mentioning are the GPA report, period attendance reports for teachers, class roster report with and without photos, and student checklist report. 

As always we are open to any constructive feedback and comments. Help us make CSSIS the best student information system possible.  

Regional CS Events

Due to our expansion across states, this year many Concept Schools events will be held first regionally and then system-wide. These events include: 

  1. Concept Schools Art Fair
  2. Concept Schools Basketball Tournament
  3. Concept Schools Spanish Bee
  4. Concept Schools Spelling Bee
  5. Concept Schools Turkish Olympiad

Please review the Concept Schools website for dates and locations.

Best Practices Tip #1: Using Graphic Organizers

Everyone knows the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words". They also know it to mean that a complex idea can be conveyed with a single image.  Bring this principal to life by implementing graphic organizers in your classroom.  Graphic organizers are effective for all learners, especially visual learners and English Language Learners.  The use of graphic organizers has been proven to increase comprehension and retention of material (Fountas and Pinnell 2001).   Organizers may be used for any subject or grade and can be easily modified for differentiated instruction.  Implementing organizers is a great point-of-entry for challenging material because students can clearly organize information by making mental images and connections at-a-glance.  Students take charge of their learning with this approachable way to manage information.  When you're planning and designing effective lessons, consider using graphic organizers in the following ways:

  • Explore new information and relationships.
  • Access prior knowledge.
  • Develop an understanding of a body of knowledge.
  • Share knowledge and information generated.
  • Take notes during a lecture.
  • Group brainstorming.

Websites for Graphic Organizers  


This brainstorm and mind map website lives up to its motto "brainstorming made simple."  Create a free account to access more features or get started quickly by clicking the large "Start Here" bubble. 


Mindomo's mind mapping allows you to graphically store complex concepts, tasks and ideas in a structured form that is perfect for educators.  A free account gives you 3 maps or $6/month for unlimited maps and more features. 


Although this site is not free, is great for teachers because it focuses on collaboration of graphic organizers.  You can share any creation easily by inviting users by email, or simply send them a unique and secure direct link to get feedback and share ideas.


Book of the Month for Graphic Organizers


The Teacher's Big Book of Graphic Organizers: 100 Reproducible Organizers that Help Kids with Reading, Writing, and the Content Areas, by Katherine McKnight.


This book contains graphic organizers across content areas with simple directions on how to apply and adapt the organizers for before, during and after activities.  The author also included useful tips and strategies for teachers who want to design their own organizers. Some organizers included are Venn Diagrams, Fish Bone, Spider, Peer Review and Text-Think-Connect.