The Eagles' Nest September 13, 2020

The Community Newsletter of EXCEL Academy PCS

Volume 2, Issue 3

Big picture

Assessment Season Has Arrived for All EXCEL Academy Scholars!

This week will be the start of assessments for all students at EXCEL Academy. For our K-2nd grade scholars, they will begin with iReady diagnostic beginning Tuesday, September 15th. This assessment will let teachers know exactly where your scholars are and will also give instructional support that will best meet the needs of your child. This assessment will be given three times within the school year. You can click below to watch a video and learn more about iReady.


Our 3rd - 8th-grade scholars will be taking the Bridging Diagnostics Assessment (BDA) beginning tomorrow. This assessment will not only let us know where students are so we can plan for instruction, but also let us know where scholars are academically compared to other students across the district. This assessment requires the TestNav app that we have been discussing for the past few weeks. 3rd - 8th-grade scholars will take the iReady assessment later on in the month.


There are some EXTREMELY important things for parents to remember during this time:


  • Testing is secured. Under NO circumstances should others support or assist scholars with the answers. Doing so would create a testing violation and COULD result in the invalidation of scores and WILL have to be reported to the District. Scholars should be in a separate room when testing.
  • Students should be in a “sterile” testing environment as much as possible. Please ensure scholars do not have any print support AND please take their calculators or cell phones during testing.)

  • Headphones are required.


Please access the attachments below for support on BDA schedules, iReady, finding TestNav on your county-issued device, and Parent Tech Support Centers for assistance with downloading the app.

Publicity Release Forms SY '21 - LIVE DRAWING TOMORROW!

HAVE YOU COMPLETED YOUR CHILD'S PUBLICITY RELEASE FORM YET?

(We are only at 39%!)


Throughout the school year, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and the Prince George’s County Board of Education conduct activities that may be publicized by local or national news media or used to promote the school system.


Publicity activities include interviews, photographs or videos of individuals or groups of students, or student works (including, but not limited to, artistic works, athletic activities, performances, and competitions) that may be used in websites, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, print or online publications, or videos.


All parents must indicate if you will allow or deny us permission to use your child's images on our various media outlets. Please complete the form below by midnight TONIGHT!


On Monday, September 14th at 6:00 pm we will have our LIVE drawing for three customized EXCEL Academy child masks! We are hopeful that you will give us the opportunity to share your child's brilliance with the rest of the world by saying yes!


We will go live on our Facebook Page for the drawing, so be sure to like our page to see the results!

Big picture

Mandatory Headphones Starting September 14th

Now that families and scholars have had two weeks to adjust to our virtual learning environment, we are putting structures in place the help transition them to a more "authentic" classroom setting. So, starting tomorrow, all students will be required to wear their headphones for virtual instruction. This will support scholars in various ways:


  1. It increases student independence and self-efficacy;
  2. It promotes compliance with federal FERPA laws that protect student educational confidentiality;
  3. It allows teachers to properly assess students' skillset and determine if more supports are needed to advance or remediate learning.


We appreciate the many parents who gave us positive feedback in the last week and at Back to School Night regarding this shift. Our kindergarten students have already made the transition and are doing well. Please note that students who are getting assistance from parents/caregivers will not get full credit for their work. We must move in this direction so that we can better support our scholars and give the adults freedom as well.


We thank you as always for your support and look forward to seeing your scholars mature and grow!

Back to School Night 2020!

Back to School Night for the 2021 school year is in the books! We want to thank our Founder and Governing Board member Pastor Denise Johnson, PGCPS Board of Education District 4 Member Bryan Swann, our PTO Executive Team, our families, and our AMAZING staff for TWO NIGHTS of wonderful! We had over 200 families sign-on for both nights. This was a great start to what will be an even better year!
Big picture

SEED/EXCEL Board Meeting Is Thursday at 6:30 pm

Our governing board will be meeting Thursday to discuss enrollment, our work around reframing the mission and vision, renewal, and status of the Parent Representative position. The meeting can be accessed using this link:


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



Thursday's agenda and minutes from the August meeting are attached below.

Important Dates to Remember: September 2020



  • Tuesday, September 15th - iReady Assessments begin for students grades K - 8 (teacher-scheduled)



  • Friday, September 25th: Professional Development for Teachers - No school for students

College and Career Readiness and Our Community

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Frequently Asked Questions ...

Q: Are Wednesdays a day off for students?

A: No - all students have some form of synchronous or asynchronous instruction on Wednesdays. All of our students have either Guidance or Art, and all students should be meeting with their teacher(s) in small groups for reading and/or Math. If you are unsure of your child's Wednesday special, please email your child's teacher. If students do participate in group instruction or submit the work assigned by their teacher that day, they will be marked absent and will not be able to make up the work.


Q: Will all students receive a device for distance learning? When will the devices be available?

A: All students will be loaned individual devices for distance learning. At this time, we do not have any additional devices to assign to students. Across the nation, there has been a high demand for electronic devices, which has resulted in a delay in our receiving. If in fact you currently have a device that could be used, we would appreciate you picking up additional devices around September 21, 2020. We anticipate that additional devices will be received at or before that time. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.


Q: What time do classes start?

A: Elementary students should log on at 7:45 am, MS students should log on at 8:00 am. Instruction for all students begins at 8:00. It will end at 2:10 pm for elementary students (K-5) and 2:40 pm for middle school students (6-8). Individual schedules will be presented during the EXCEL Forward Launch Day.


Q. My student can't access a PGCPS email account. What should I do?

A. Visit idm.pgcps.org and follow the steps to reset the password. New students and those unable to change passwords online should contact their school’s password administrator. View a list of password administrators by school here.


Q: As for attendance, do students have to attend live lessons to be counted present, or can they do the work and still get credit?

A: Students must be online on live instructional days to be marked present. Recorded lessons will be posted in the Google Classroom for review. Students who have an unlawful absence will receive a zero for all work missed on that day. if for whatever reason your child is having connection issues, please email the TEACHER and let him/her know about your challenges. Students can be excused but will still have to complete the work that was due for that day. We continue to follow Administrative Procedures 5121.1, 5121.2, and 5113 for Grading & Reporting and Attendance.


Q: When is the main office open?

A: You can call the school building on Mondays and Wednesdays to reach someone in the main office. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays you would need to email the staff member you want to contact on other days until things have changed. Do not come to the building without an appointment, you will not be given access.


Q: Do students still need to have their medical documents updated?

A: Students must continue to have their medical documentation updated as per the state of Maryland requirements. Please reach out to Ms. Bennett-White at selita.bennetwhite@pgcps.org for further information.


Q: Will students have live lessons or recorded?

A: Lessons in core content areas (Elementary - RELA/Math; Middle - RELA, Math, Soc. Studies, Science) will have live instruction. Creative arts lessons will also be live. Others may be recorded or live.


Many of the answers to these and other questions can be found in the PGCPS Reopening Plan. English/Spanish

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.