Chesapeake Science Point:
Timeline & Information
Page created June 23, 2012
Chesapeake Science Point (CSP) is a publicly-funded Gulen charter school in Hanover, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The story of CSP contains all the typical elements of Gulen charter schools: problems with special education and record-keeping, failure to comply with regulations; troubling audits; obstructionism; legal threats; abuse of staff and teachers; sudden appearances of Gulenists arriving from charter schools in other states; support from Americans who have a strong ideological commitment to charter schools; and awards at "international competitions" that are touted as if they should cause everyone to overlook all other issues. In fact, this school already had serious problems before the first student even walked through the door.
Chesapeake Science Point files a lawsuit against Anne Arundel County Public Schools alleging they are owed more than $737,000, while negotiations over CSP's renewal charter contract continue. Link
June 6, 2012
Chesapeake Science Point's charter is renewed by Anne Arundel County Board of Education for 3 years, but under conditions that bear on the school's hiring, admissions process, and governing board. Link
An application for a charter school to be named Loudoun Math and IT Academy, in Loudoun, Virginia, shows Fatih Kandil as member of the board.
(Mehmet) Ilker Gurbuz replaces Fatih Kandil as CSP principal. Gurbuz was formerly principal of Baltimore IT Academy. CSP adds a 10th grade.
CSP starts school year with new 9th grade in addition to grades 6-8 which it had the previous year.
CSP student wins silver medal at INESPO science fair in Amsterdam. INESPO is run by the Cosmicus Foundation, affiliated with the Gulen Movement. A June 2011 article in a high-circulation Dutch newspaper reported how 3/4 of INESPO participants came from Gulen schools. The student qualified to attend INESPO by winning a gold medal at ISWEEEP science fair, also run by the Gulen Movement. Link
April 29, 2010
Fatih Kandil, principal of Chesapeake Science Point, and Ben Karaduman, later to become Board President of Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, appear before Delaware Department of Education and State Board of Education in connection with the charter application for First State Math and Science Academy. Kandil identifies himself as a member of the board for First State Math and Science Academy.
CSP student wins gold medal at ISWEEEP, a science fair organized by the Cosmos Foundation, which runs the Harmony Public Schools in Texas and has been linked to the Gulen Movement in two New York Times articles. (ISWEEEP has a disproportionate number of winners from Gulen schools, not only in the US but around the world.)
Aug 18, 2009
CSP moves into new building, made possible partially by a $250,000 grant from Anne Arundel County, on the initiative of County Executive John R. Leopold, "a known advocate for charter schools" (Maryland Gazette, May 23, 2009). (As an aside, Leopold was indicted on Mar 2, 2012 on "four counts of misconduct in office and one count of misappropriation of county funds;" see Baltimore Sun.)
CSP put on probation until June 2009 due to bookkeeping and management issues. Principal Fatih Kandil and teacher Ali Tuna, previously removed from their positions due to charges of student abuse, are reinstated.
Feb 23, 2008
Deadline for Chesapeake Science Point to address five issues identified by Anne Arundel Public Schools, or face extended probation or closure. As Baltimore Sun article states, "The school has wrestled with critical audits since it opened in September 2005 that have found inadequate records of special education students' progress, weak finances and personnel problems."
CSP starts school year without 9th grade; school is scaled back to only 6th-8th grades.
CSP given one month to "cure" (county official's word) problems with management and to hire a special education teacher.
CSP starts school year with a new 9th grade; in previous year it had only grades 6-8.
Aug 15, 2007
Anne Arundel County Public Schools approves the reassignment of Fatih Kandil from Site Manager to Acting Principal.
Feb 7, 2007
By unanimous vote, Anne Arundel County Board of Education votes to extend CSP's probation; charter violations found in November and apparently not yet satisfactorily addressed are a factor in the decision.
Anne Arundel County audits CSP and performs site inspection. Several charter violations are discovered.
June 21, 2006
A largely negative report on CSP's progress towards complying with its charter is presented to the Anne Arundel County School Board. "Chesapeake Science Point did not meet the school systems' standards in special education, student support services, student records and reporting, personnel and fiscal matters" (Baltimore Sun). CSP board members seek to replace the acting principal with Fatih Kandil, who began working at CSP as a volunteer less than a year after founding Horizon Science Academy Dayton, a Gulen charter school in Ohio. (Prior to that, Kandil had worked at Wisconsin Career Academy, another Gulen charter school.) County officials are concerned that Kandil lacks experience (it is not clear whether Kandil disclosed his prior position at Wisconsin Career Academy to them). Further, Kandil is not certified by the state for the position of school principal. "Walter Federowicz, the school system's auditor, told the board that it has been difficult to get appropriate documentation from Chesapeake..." (Baltimore Sun). It is unclear whether the school will be allowed to remain open.
CSP principal and director Ozcan "Jon" Omural is replaced by Karen Keyworth, a former principal of another school, who becomes acting principal. David Hill, also a former principal, is appointed as acting Dean of Students. The problems were precipitated by the resignation of the Dean of Students, who then wrote a critical letter. Teachers then filed a complaint about mistreatment. It was found that Omural lacked state certification to be principal. County officials also found the school site to be unacceptably dirty.
Sep 6, 2005
Chesapeake Science Point opens with 112 students in 6th and 7th grade. The school opens 8 days late, due to issues such as not meeting Fire Department standards, not having a certificate of occupancy and not providing proof of insurance. Director is Ozcan "Jon" Omural, who would later leave to work for Ebru TV (a Gulenist media outlet).
For those articles with text no longer available online, try newslibrary.com.
June 21, 2012 Maryland Gazette "Chesapeake Science Point charter school files lawsuit against schools" Link
June 10, 2012 Baltimore Sun "Arundel school must comply with still-to-be-negotiated charter or be dissolvedChesapeake Science Point allowed to expand high school program but is put on two years' probation" Link
June 6, 2012 Washington Post "Should Chesapeake Science Point have its charter extended?" Link
June 5, 2012 Capital Gazette "Battle brews over charter's ability to run school" Link
May 17, 2012 Capital Gazette "Report: Charter high school may not be viable. Sloppy business practices criticized as Chesapeake Charter up for renewal" Link
Dec 29, 2011 Baltimore Sun "Chesapeake Science Point readying for 11th-grade expansion" Link
April 2, 2011 Maryland Gazette "Chesapeake Science Point keeps growing despite county criticism" (no longer available online)
May 12, 2010 Maryland Gazette "Chesapeake Science Point wins charter school of year" Link (full text no longer available online)
Dec 22, 2009 McClatchy-Tribune Regional News "Financial woes could sink charter school: Chesapeake Science Point needs to expand" (no longer available online)
Dec 21, 2009 Maryland Gazette "Charter School Could Go Bankrupt. Chesapeake Science Point Leaders Say Expand or School Can't Make Rent" Link (full text no longer available online)
August 19, 2009 Baltimore Sun "Charter School Opens Building. Chesapeake Science Point Often Struggled As Students Excelled" Link
May 23, 2009 Maryland Gazette "Charter school to move to new building next year" (no longer available online)
Mar 5, 2009 McClatchy-Tribune Regional News "Charter school expansion halted: Board also approves restructuring at Annapolis Middle" (no longer available online)
Mar 1, 2008 Maryland Gazette "Chesapeake Science Point escapes with caveat" Link
Jan 27, 2008 Baltimore Sun "Deadline nears for school on probation, Chesapeake Science Point Charter in Hanover faces possible closure if deficiencies aren't corrected" Link
Jan 23, 2008 Baltimore Sun "School facing continued probation. Maxwell calls Chesapeake Science Point improved but says it has a way to go" Link
Jan 21, 2008 Maryland Gazette "Guest Column: County Fulfilling Responsibilities Regarding Charter School" Link
Dec 2, 2007 Baltimore Sun "Last charter school defends its performance.
Chesapeake Science Point complains about audits by county" Link
Feb 10, 2007 Maryland Gazette "Board expresses support, doubt for charter school" (no longer available online)
Feb 3, 2007 Maryland Gazette "Probation extended for school" (no longer available online)
June 23, 2006 Baltimore Sun "Charter Decision Stalled: School Board Could Vote on Closing Troubled Hanover Site in July" Link
April 21, 2006 Baltimore Sun "Charter schools struggle to survive: Problems with locations, administrators, highlight challenges to starting an institution. Missteps reveal challenges to starting a charter school" Link
Mar 14, 2006 Baltimore Sun "Charter School Under Scrutiny: Teachers Allege Mistreatment; Leader Suspended" Link
Sep 7, 2005 Baltimore Sun "Chesapeake Science Point almost didn't open. But after a last-minute scramble to get the building ready, pupils were yesterday's final addition to the science and math charter school." Link
Aug 31, 2005 Baltimore Sun "Charter school may face year delay, Certificate of occupancy needed by tomorrow for Tuesday opening Chesapeake Science Point still is renovating" Link
ASSOCIATED SCHOOLS AND UMBRELLA ORGANIZATIONS
Chesapeake Science Point's charter holder corporation is the Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, which also runs Baltimore IT Academy and Chesapeake Math and IT Academy.
The following charter schools are said to be modeled after CSP:
- Baltimore IT Academy (opened 2011)
- Chesapeake Math and IT Academy (opened 2011)
- Loudoun Math and IT Academy, Loudoun VA (currently applying for a charter)
- First State Math and Science Academy, Delaware (this school never materialized)
Gulen charter schools in the Mid-Atlantic states, including Maryland and North Carolina, contract with WEDUF, the Washington Education Foundation, an organization that Ben Karaduman is/was associated with. Link
In common with other Gulen charter schools, CSP advertises itself as having won recognition at "international competitions." The competitions referred to are ISWEEEP, INESPO, the Turkish Language Olympiads, and the EMC2 math competition at Phillips Exeter Academy (to the best of our knowledge, these are the only ones).
A few examples of how CSP boasts of "international" recognition:
- Fatih Kandil, speaking at a meeting of the Delaware State Board of Education on April 29, 2010 to appeal the denial of the charter application of First State Math & Science Academy, stated that "Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School was established in 2005. And in the five years, it has accomplished local, state, national and international accomplishments in terms of math, science and technology."
- A Feb 1, 2011 press release from CSP about the success at the EMC2 competition quoted a parent as saying "Our team competed very well in this tournament and gained a lot of experience in this international level competition." As noted elsewhere in the press release, the only non-US teams attending the competition were 4 teams from China. Only one of these teams placed in the top rankings in any of the categories; all other winning teams were from the US. Describing this competition as "international" seems exaggerated.
- An April 6, 2011 article in the Capital Gazette stated "The school has one of the largest science fairs in the state and its students have won honors in national and international math and science competitions."
ISWEEEP, INESPO, and the Turkish Language Olympiads are all run by the Gulen Movement, and favor Gulen schools. ISWEEEP is run by the Cosmos Foundation, which the New York Times connected to the Gulen Movement. INESPO is run by the Cosmicus Foundation, also Gulenist. The Gulen Movement clearly has a financial interest in using the competitions it operates to generate awards for students at its own schools.
GRANTS (including other schools run by Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation)
Chesapeake Science Point $250,000
As reported by Maryland Gazette, May 23, 2009, $250,000 grant from Anne Arundel County, on the initiative of County Executive John R. Leopold, "a known advocate for charter schools."
Baltimore IT Academy $1,392,235
Document from Maryland Public Schools website: "Based on its approved SIG [School Improvement Grant] Plan, Baltimore IT Academy will receive $465,091.00, in the first year; $463,572.00, in the second year; and $463,572.00, in the third year. The 3 year SIG grant totals $1,392,235.00 for Baltimore IT Academy." Link
Chesapeake Math & IT Academy $550,000
CMIT (Chesapeake Math and IT Academy) received a $550,000 start-up grant from the state of Maryland. Link