The Eagles' Nest September 12, 2021

The Community Newsletter of EXCEL Academy PCS

Volume 3, Issue 2

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Week One and DONE!

Our first week is under our belts and it was a successful one! I want to personally thank all who "packed their patience" and have been flexible as we work through our typical first day(s) of school adjustments.


ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL: Though we are still ironing out some logistics, we have dramatically reduced the times around arrival and dismissal (yay!) On Friday, almost all students we in the building before 8:10 a.m. and we completed dismissal before 3:30 p.m. Here are some things you can do to help us out even more with reducing that time.


  • Please remember to drive to the farthest space BEFORE dropping off, attempting to pick up your scholar. There should be no gaps between your car and the next. This will assist us in getting more cars into the parking lot and move students along more quickly.
  • For the safety of your child and others, please remain in your car. We almost had an incident on Friday when a student ran toward a parent who had gotten out of her car and walked up to retrieve her car. The safest place for you to be is in your car so we can quickly transition your scholar in without incident.



BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: Our VIRTUAL Back to School Night is THIS WEEK! Families of scholars in grades K-4 will meet Tuesday, September 14th, and families of scholars in grades 5-8 will meet Wednesday, September 15th. Both meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. This is the time that we will explain schoolwide policies and procedures, introduce you to some of our school and charter leaders, and then you will have the opportunity to go to a breakout room where the teachers will share more information about their curriculum - syllabus, grading factors, etc. You don't want to miss it!


The Zoom links for both meetings are below, see you there!



This Week Is National HBCU Week!

This week EXCEL Academy is recognizing the cultural significance of the nation's historically Black Colleges and Universities. All week long, we will support our College and Career Readiness pillar by exposing your students to these institutions that have helped to shape our nation and raised the level of excellence through scholarship.


On Friday, September 17th, all EXCEL scholars are invited to show love for their favorite HBCU by wearing a tee-shirt of an HBCU with their uniform bottom. Let's see which school gets the most "rep!"

Random COVID-19 Testing

Many of you may have seen the email that came from Dr. Goldson regarding random COVID-19 testing. With the rise of the delta and other variants of the virus, PGCPS is hoping to keep our communities even safer by randomly testing groups f students whose parents have consented for them to be tested. At this time, we only test students who are symptomatic. Expanding our testing capacity to cover asymptomatic students will further protect the PGCPS community at large and our school.


The consent form for testing is attached below. Please download it, print, sign, and send it to Nurse Bendu (francess.bendu@pgcps.org) if you would like for your child to participate.

Headphones and Testing

Our testing and assessment season will begin next week and ALL students will be using headphones for assessments. K-2 students who received headphones last year can use the same ones issued to them for this school year. Returning 3rd-8th grade students are encouraged to use the ones they utilized last school year as well.


We have some headphones for use for our 3rd-8th grade scholars but we cannot guarantee that they haven't been used by other students. If you prefer, you can purchase an inexpensive pair of headphones with a 1/8 inch male jack (they can be found at Five Below, among other discount stores) for the express purpose of your child's use. Earbuds will not work. In-person students should bring them to school on Friday, September 17th in a labeled, ziplock bag to ensure preparedness for the upcoming testing week.


If you have any questions please email your child's classroom/homeroom teacher. Thanks!

Retention Procedure Review: School Year 2022

This year, we are sharing the PGCPS Administrative Procedure on promotion and retention as required by AP5123.2. Although we have no plan to retain any students at this point of the year, it is our duty to make you aware of your parental rights and what the steps to the process are.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you monitor your children's grades and performance through SchoolMax Family Portal and communicate regularly with school staff. Additionally, it is CRUCIAL that parents attend to the various forms of communication (newsletters, Class Dojo, emails, etc.) that staff sends so as not to miss important information.


If you have any questions or concerns about your child's progress, please reach out to his or her teacher(s) or Professional School Counselor. The complete procedure is attached below.


ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DEFINITIONS


Promotion: Students are expected to become creative and innovative thinkers and master certain skills if they are to be successful in succeeding years. Essential foundation skills in reading, writing, and mathematics must be developed in grades K - 3. If these skills are not mastered, the student may experience difficulty with school tasks in subsequent years. In grades 4 - 6, the emphasis is placed on applying basic skills and strategies, developing higher-order thinking and communication skills to learn content, and learning independently.


Retention: A student may be considered for retention when the student has not demonstrated appropriate levels of achievement, in response to interventions based upon his/her needs, does not qualify as a student with a disability, and would benefit from additional experiences with the curriculum. When retention is determined to be the appropriate course of action, written notification will be sent to parents or guardians and at least one conference per semester will be held with parents or guardians prior to the retention. If the parent and school personnel cannot reach an agreement relative to the retention, the final decision will be made by the elementary school principal and communicated in writing to parents or guardians.



MIDDLE SCHOOL DEFINITIONS


Promotion: For purposes of clarification in this procedure, a

middle school student is any student in grades 6 (including elementary based), 7, and 8. The middle school years are a time when students consolidate previous learning, explore new program areas, and focus on continuous development and application of academic skills. Middle school students are expected to successfully complete all subjects taken.


Promotion to high school from middle school will be based on the criteria as listed in the transition skills document attached to this procedure (see below.) Promotion and retention of students from middle school to high school will be discussed in collaboration with the Instructional Director. The final decision for promotions shall be made by the Associate Superintendent.


Retention: A student will be considered for retention when the student has not achieved satisfactorily in response to interventions based upon his/her needs, does not qualify as a student with a disability, and would benefit from additional experiences with the curriculum at the same grade level. When retention is determined to be the appropriate course of action, written notification will be sent to parents or guardians and at least one conference per semester will be held with the parents or guardians prior to the retention. Middle school students who have failed at least two of the core content courses (mathematics, reading, social studies, and science) and must be considered for retention will be given the option of attending a summer school credit recovery program. Students must complete the credit recovery program with at least a grade of “D” to be considered for promotion to the next grade.

Happy 15th Birthday EXCEL Academy PCS!!

We are so excited to be celebrating 15 years of learning here at our school!


EXCEL Academy Public Charter School is the longest-operating school in PGCPS and was the vision of our Founder, Pastor Denise Johnson. Throughout the years, she has been a beacon and a light for our school community. She envisioned a school built on the four pillars of Character Development, College and Career Readiness, Cultural Arts, and Community Engagement. Throughout the years our school has changed and evolved in location (moving from Riverdale to Landover) and operation (transitioning from EXCEL Foundation to SEED, Inc.), but the spirit of our school and the love for our families have not. We continue to provide our students with a standards-based, holistic, college and career preparatory education.


We are excited to reach this milestone and look forward to celebrating it. More details to come.

A WORD FROM OUR OPERATOR - SEED, Inc.

The next public SEED/EXCEL Governing Board Meeting will be Thursday, September 23rd at 6:00 p.m. The link to the virtual meeting is below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86000758117?pwd=RGUxWWh5WkZpWm1xWWdiMmU0WWsrQT09

Meeting ID: 860 0075 8117 Passcode: 971074

Important Dates to Remember: September 13th - September 26th

  • Monday, September 13th: HBCU Week Begins!
  • Tuesday, September 14th: K - 4th grade Back to School Night (see information above); 3rd - 6th-grade virtual student materials pick-up (8:30 - 11:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, September 15th: 5th - 8th grade Back to School Night (see information above); First Day of National Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Thursday, September 16th: Yom Kippur - SCHOOLS AND OFFICES CLOSED
  • Friday, September 17th: HBCU Pride Day - students can wear their favorite HBCU tee shirt with their uniform bottom
  • Monday, September 19th: iReady Reading diagnostic assessments begin for grades K-8. A schedule for your scholar's specific date will be coming next week.
  • Friday, September 24th: EXCEL Academy Public Charter School Founder's Day

EXCEL Academy Public Charter School

EXCEL Academy Public Charter School's mission is to provide its students with a standards-based, holistic, college preparatory education.