Excelling at Excel Academy

February 4, 2015

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On December 3, 2014, I shadowed Ms. Kelly Knowles, the school’s Partnership Coordinator. She organizes partnerships between different schools and organizations in the community such as the partnership between Stone Ridge School and Excel Academy. She gave me a behind the scenes tour and let me visit in different classrooms so that I could see the whole academy’s package.

The faculty and staff encourage the 700 girls who attend Excel Academy, to participate in the classroom, in order to build confidence, respect and love for one’s community, which advance’s their professional development as young females. These students are being trained to be prepared for high school and college, with the values they have learned while attending Excel. Their core values are Integrity, Discipline, Enjoyment, Achievement, Leadership, and Sisterhood (IDEALS). They are immersed in these values from the time they enrolled in the school, and then by the end of their education at Excel Academy they take these values and live by them, holding high the legacy of Excel.

While I was visiting the classrooms, the kindergarteners especially, were profoundly literate. Their reading skills were impressive and the teacher’s techniques seem highly effective, when students were having trouble either pronouncing or interpreting a word. Excel ensures that their students are active readers by the time they attend kindergarten.

I am deeply impressed that Excel Academy accommodates all types of learners and trains their faculty and staff, how to educate girls with cognitive delays, girls who are academically gifted, and also girls who do not speak English as their first language. Each student receives both interactive group work, and individual attention a few times a day, which allows them to interact with other students and gives them time to individually improve.

College attendance is stressed as important from the initiation of education at Excel Academy. Each individual class room has a college or university name to represent their class. They decorate their classroom according to their specific college or university, with the school’s colors and memorabilia. I asked Ms. Knowles if this is effective by encouraging the thought of the possibility of going to college, she answered,”Yes, it definitely does. You can hear very often during the week, the girls doing their college chant. We definitely want our girls to go to college and it’s something that comes through our curriculum. and just something we really like for all our girls to maybe attain.”

During the tour I asked Ms. Knowles why attend an all girls school, she responded,”Basically, it makes them stronger. They are more confident. We think that girls also have the capability of being more outgoing, if they’re in an all girls setting versus a co-ed setting. It’s just an all around self-esteem booster to be in an all girl school.” I agree with her statement, these girls are confident, and so are Stone Ridge Girls. Our teachers teach us to become leaders, so that we can be ready for the world. I believe that Excel Academy and Stone Ridge School were partnered up, not just because we are both all girls schools, but that we all share the same values, which make Stone Ridge Girls excellent models for the younger Excel Scholars.

 

 

 

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