But the Anne Arundel school, Chesapeake Science Point, had to fight to keep its doors open this spring after Anne Arundel Schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell and his staff detailed alleged management problems, including consistently negative cash flow, that have dogged the school since its founding.
Now, supporters of the proposed Loudoun Math and IT Academy are being asked to address the concerns raised across the Potomac River.
“It just seems like problem after problem after problem, and they weren’t minor,” Winsome E. Sears, a member of the Virginia Board of Education, said of the Anne Arundel school at a June 28 meeting on the Loudoun plan.
“How can we ensure that we don’t have these same problems?” she asked.
The Loudoun applicants wave aside questions about the Anne Arundel school, saying that it has a clear record of satisfying students and parents and producing high achievement in science, technology, engineering and math — the fields known collectively as STEM.
“We need more choices in Loudoun,” said Ali Gokce, a father of two who serves on the governing board of the proposed Loudoun school. “With the U.S. losing its edge on science and math education, parents want more rigorous STEM education.”
The state board could vote on the proposal as early as July 26. If it is approved, the plan will then go to the county school board for a final decision. Applicants hope to open the school in 2013.
It would serve almost 700 students in grades six through 12.
The school could be the first charter in Northern Virginia. Another charter proposal is pending in Fairfax County.
Like Chesapeake Science Point, the Loudoun effort is led primarily by scientists, educators and businesspeople of Turkish origin who say theirs is a successful school formula.
At the Anne Arundel school, teachers make home visits to connect with families and offer free early morning and weekend tutoring. Students are encouraged to accelerate through the math and science curriculum, taking high school-level math courses while still in middle grades.
They also have the option of taking Turkish-language classes and visiting Turkey with their teachers. They routinely participate in the Turkish Olympiad — an international contest in poetry, singing and folklore — as well as local and national competitions in science and math.
“I believe we were able to put together a very strong community over there,” said Fatih Kandil, a former Chesapeake Science Point principal who is now part of the Loudoun group.