The Eagle Update

The Excel Academy Weekly Newsletter: May 9, 2022

Greetings Excel Community,

Each day at 2:30pm is a kind of magical time at Excel. I get to drop everything, come to the front office, and celebrate all of the students who were recognized that day for exemplifying our SOAR values. Students tell me exactly what they did to earn such kudos and it is the best part of every day. One of my favorite comments from a student recently as he came into my office to celebrate his SOAR ticket and get a sticker to decorate it was this comment, "Wow! So, this is where the magic happens?" He had not been in the space before and he pulled up a bench and sat down to chat with me and some other winners. That moment reminds us all that building strong relationships with students is at the heart of all we do. #community

This week, I had several students who came into my office to talk about their day. It is such a beautiful thing when students rise to the bar we set for them. They are excited to give the details about everything they do, all the things they are working on, how they think about challenges, and of course, to celebrate successes. Each day there is usually one kiddo for whom this is their first time getting to celebrate and I get to watch as other students congratulate that person for earning that recognition and encourage them to continue working hard. #care and #belonging

Thank you to everyone who sends their precious young people to spend time with us each day. The weight and trust of that gesture are not slight things. Thank you also for ALL the different days/themes to shower us all for Administrator Day and Teacher/Staff Appreciation. There were treats, meals, massages, flowers, and best of all LOTS of student art, cards, notes, and sweet sentiments. On behalf of all staff, thank you for flooding us with the LOVE and support this week.

Thank you to everyone who attended the First Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast yesterday. Those who attended were treated to some delicious treats, coffee, tea, and conversation about the year ahead. Thank you to those who stayed after and shared their excitement about our direction as a school. If you did not attend, please watch your mail for the cards of gratitude coming your way from staff here at Excel.

Finally, I hope you will take some time to read about all that is happening in the next few weeks in the newsletter; there is a lot here! I also provided some key event/staffing updates in the section below and I am sharing the programming updates (linked here) as we continue to build these pieces. We are still working on many details and we will share as those develop.

With deep appreciation for our staff, students, and families,

Dr. Susan-Marie Farmen

Executive Director

Important Updates

Staffing Updates

As you may recall from BOD meetings and Leadership Coffee Chats, several staff were excited for new adventures and opportunities for growth. Here are the latests updates:

First Grade: Ms. Wilmarth (She is moving from Special Education into this role.)

Second: Michaela Criswell (She is moving back to second grade from 5th.)

Third Grade: Ms. Buske (She is new to Excel, but was a para for Ms. Zerr for a while to learn about our students/community. She left to work in another country for the summer, but will return to teach here!)

Fourth Grade: Ms. McDaniel (She has taught grade 1 for us this year!)

SLP: Paula Glenn (Our speech-language pathologist is fully retiring this year. Paula is a former Excel parent and is beyond excited to get to be here again!)

We added a role this year titled, Enrichment Coordinator. Mrs. Shelley Smith, a longtime member of the community as a parent and paraeducator will take on this role aligning our Enrichment School identity to support the coherence of field study planning, our new Explorations model, and the end-of-year projects for 7th and 8th-grade students. She has a degree in education and strong knowledge of curriculum-enrichment alignment. This role takes the planning of field studies off the plates of paras and teachers and supports our model for paras to work directly with students.

Vision Work Displays

Please be sure to take a moment to view the Vision Work boards that are mounted in the vestibule on the left side as you enter the building and by the television in the main hall. These four boards are the artist's work that captured our time together in two different parent group sessions, the staff sessions, and a BOD session. As you enter the foyer, to the right of the television near the library, you will see the BOD session and the teacher sessions captured by the artist. We hope that this supports an understanding of this valuable process and fosters an appreciation for the collective thought, care, time, effort, and heart that everyone who participated shared so we can refine our work here and create a cohesive path forward as a school community. GREAT stuff indeed!

School Lunch Menu for May

General Information

Optional pre-packaged school supply kits

Excel Academy is selling an optional pre-packaged school supply kit through Edu-Kit. This is ideal for families who would rather not hassle with the crowds in the stores. Then again, some of us enjoy the sales shopping!

The kits will be delivered to your home. Order by June 15th for the BEST pricing.

Click the link if you would like to buy a kit from Edukit.

Click the link below for the 22-23 school supply list if you prefer to shop:

2022-2023 School Supply Lists

End-of-Year Library Update

All books will be due by May 13th.


Get out your leg warmers, hair spray, parachute pants, and other rad 80s gear because the Middle School's spring dance is back! We are so looking forward to bringing back dances now that COVID restrictions have lessened. Save the date: May 20, 2022 at 6:00 until 8:00 pm. Tickets will be sold on May 16th before and after school. We'll also have a link where students can purchase them online. The cost is $7.00.

Talent Show Extravaganza

The talent show is On Thursday, May 12th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5.00 per seat. This yearly event helps to purchase and fix instruments for students use, so your donations are greatly appreciated.

There will be a few selected acts from Thursday evenings performance who will be asked to perform in an encore performance on Friday, May 13th at 2:30 in front of the school. These acts will be announced at the conclusion of the Talent Show on Thursday evening.

Federal School Meal Waivers 2022-23

The federal waivers currently in place for school meals will not be extended into the 2022-23 school year. Without a waiver extension, we will return to a more traditional service where meals are not universally free. Therefore, it will be essential that families complete a free and reduced meal application when it is available on Friday, July 1 for the 2022-23 school year. We will continue to communicate these changes extensively as we move towards the next school year.

2021-2022 School Directory

Classroom-Specific Information

Passage Works in Grade 5

We are celebrating the transition from grade 5! Parents will be meeting at the school to walk with their child's class over to Standley Lake on May 11, 2022.

Criswell - Leaving Approximately 9:15am; returning 11:30

Fling- Leaving approximately 11:15am; returning 1:30

Smith- Leaving approximately 1:15pm; returning 3:00

Recent Field Studies

  • 2nd: Butterfly Pavillion
  • 3rd: Majestic View
  • 7/8 Spanish: Denver Art Museum and Los Arcos Restaurant
  • 6-8th: CSU Spurs, Denver Aquarium, Standley Lake,

Field Day: Sign the Waiver

K-5 Field Day will be held Monday May 23rd! This year I'm excited to announce there will be a MOBILE OBSTACLE COURSE set up from Ninja Nation. Students will NOT be allowed to participate unless they have appropriate shoes (tennis shoes, no open toe, no crocs) and a SIGNED WAIVER!

Donations Needed for Field Day

As the school year winds down, it is almost time for our annual Excel Field Day! Please click on the links below to donate items for Field Day. Please drop off donations the day before the Field Day events.

K-5 Donations

6-7 Donations

Kindergarten Continuation

We are excited to bring kindergarten continuation to Excel this year! These little ones have worked so hard this year and next year they get to move into the numbered grades! Mark your calendars for this fun event: 9:00-10:00 am on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prepare for some kindergarten cuteness.

Eighth-Grade Continuation

Eighth grade students are preparing to move onto the next chapter in their education: HIGH SCHOOL! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 5:30 pm. A few notes:

  • 8th grade slides are due on 5/17 to Mrs. Puckett. The criteria are: first and last name, intended high school, and school appropriate pictures of family or friends.
  • On the night of Continuation, 8th graders will gather starting at 5pm in the 6th grade wing.

Jeffco Middle School Art Show

Congratulations to the following Middle School students. Their artwork has been juried to hang in the Jeffco Middle School Art show: Mei Memon, Michelle Pavounko, Leif Johnston, Camryn Girvan, Michael Garbarino, Xoee Quintana, Gia Newell, Truett Neiman

The artwork will be on display form April 7-May 14 at Lakewood Cultural Center (the corner of Alameda and Wadsworth) 470 South Allison Parkway Lakewood, CO 80226

Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday: 9am-1pm Artwork will be on display in the upper and lower foyer, as well as in the gallery

Culture Corner

Mrs. Anderson and the Leadership Team at Excel are working with students, families, teachers and paras to plan many of the exciting end-of-year events. We are so excited to be able to bring back activities from years past and to add new programming! Meanwhile, students are still showing our school SOAR values daily. See below!

Award Ceremonies

Classroom teachers will be hosting Trimester 3 Award Ceremonies in the last week of the school year. Our elementary and middle school students will receive awards for high academic achievement, a certificate for those who were weekly SOAR winners, Specials awards, and a special Eagle Ambassador award selected by classroom teachers for individuals who exemplify one of Excel’s values: self-discipline, outstanding effort, accepting of others, resilience, on a regular basis. Teachers will reach out to families if their child is receiving academic awards or if they are receiving an Eagle Ambassador Award. Look to emails about how this looks in your child’s specific classroom. Awards will be on the 24th and 25th. We are doing our best to schedule these so they don't overlap as much as possible to accommodate multiple-student families!


Thank you for all the teacher appreciation love! #care

Fabulous field studies and activities have been enriching student experiences: Race2Read, Wishtree, Oceanography Week and more! #community

Students celebrating with admin their daily SOAR ticket earnings. #belonging

SOAR for Students

Self Discipline, Outstanding Effort, Acceptance of Others, Resilience

SOAR at Excel is a way for all staff to recognize the ways students exemplify important student values and behaviors that contribute to a safe, positive, and impactful learning environment for everyone!

K-Brielle Miller

1- Hunter Johnson

2- Kyle Stephan

3-Max Muckel

4- Taylen Martin

5- Colin Lapham

8- Jonathon Welch


LAPS FOR LEARNING Donations and Prizes

What you need to know:

All donations are due by May 13 either online or turn into the front office.

Every $25 donated earns 1 ticket.

Tickets will be given to students on May 16.

Prize Jars will be in the lobby starting the afternoon of May 16th through May 20th. Students can place their tickets in the jar of the prizes they want to be in the drawing for.

Prizes include: Denver Zoo Family membership, Tickets to Water world and Urban Air, Gift Cards to Scrumptious, Yeti Ice Cream shop, and more.

Winners will be announced on May 23!

Excel Gives Community Day

Greetings Excel Community!

This year we're starting a new tradition here at Excel called Excel Gives Community Day. Our hope in this endeavor is that we can show our children that serving the community is an actionable step that they can participate in to help shape the world. We believe that teaching our children to donate time and energy to service will encourage them at a young age to become global citizens.

The idea of this event is to gather donated items from each of you, then hold a community sale at Excel on June 11th to raise funds for a charity. Each year we'll choose a new charity to donate our proceeds to, and this year we're keeping it local and supporting our neighbors that have been affected by the Marshall Fire. All proceeds from this year’s sale will be donated to the Community Foundation Boulder County to the Wildfire Fund.

If you’re interested in joining the Excel Gives Community Day committee, please email by May 9th as we will need to build a small support team to help with logistics.

What you can do:

1. Donate items to sell – Start cleaning out your closets and garages to gather up sellable items that can be dropped off at Excel. Donations will be accepted June 6th-8th from 7:30 am – 3 pm. Contact Erin for large item donations at

2. Donate time – We need volunteers of all ages to come and help sort through donated items June 6th -10th. We’ll be bringing in, sorting, and pricing donated items. Kids are encouraged to come and help on these days with a parent or guardian.

3. Help run the sale – We’ll be staging volunteers throughout the sale to help with customer service and general sale duties. Another great opportunity for kids to join parents for a good cause!

4. Donate baked goods – We will be accepting baked goods to sell on the day of the sale. Please bring these goods on June 10th or the morning of the sale, June 11th.

5. If you have a 6-foot table that you can let us borrow for the sale, please contact Erin at

Please start gathering up items that are in good condition to sell:

Clothing – All sizes, no holes

Housewares – Furniture, kitchen, bedding, knickknacks, electronics, etc.


Lawn and Garden – Pots, Furniture, lawnmowers, etc.

Sports Equipment – Bikes, scooters, snowboards, skis, etc.

Any items generally sold at a garage sale will be accepted if in sellable condition

Please contact Erin with any questions or if you’d like to join our committee.

Thank you for all your support,

Erin and the Excel Gives Team

PTO Elections

Are you looking for more ways you can become involved with

the Excel School community? Do you want to support and give

back to our school, teachers, and parent-community? Are you a

stay-at-home parent or a parent working outside the home with some free time

and flexibility to be involved in planning and coordinating some

outside-school-hours events? Click on the links here for more information:

PTO Election Flyer 2022


Board of Directors


The next regular BOD meeting is at 6 pm, Tuesday, May 10th, 2022. Here is the link to the Board Tab on the website with additional meeting information.


The application deadline has come and gone, and we had two candidates apply for our three open positions. This means that there will not be an election and these two candidates will be appointed to fill two of our three positions. The Board will look to appoint a third member to fill the 3rd seat available. We will keep our community updated on this once determined.

We would like to welcome our candidates, both Kia Murray and Matthew Bruno, to the Board of Directors Team. Their 3 year terms will officially begin with the 2022-2023 school year in August, but they will be joining the current Board at our meetings in June for on-boarding training and our Retreat Workshop. We’ve also invited them to join our upcoming meeting on May 10 for a quick introduction to those in attendance. Please be sure to join us to hear from them.

For those who can’t attend the meeting, here’s a quick spotlight on our new members!

Kia Murray

I am a dedicated and passionate educator with 18 years of experience teaching in and leading charter schools. I currently work as the Director of Academic Services at the Colorado League of Charter Schools, the statewide charter school support organization, where I coordinate and provide coaching to charter school teachers and leaders in the areas of data and accountability, teacher effectiveness, and leadership practices. I want to serve on the Board because of my commitment to education and desire to support Excel Academy thrive as a school option in Jefferson County. I am the mother of a current Excel kindergartener and a 3 year old.

Matthew Bruno

Excel Academy is a partnership of students, teachers, administrators, and parents. As a parent, I care about my children’s education and the impact it will have on their life course. As a candidate for the Board of Directions, I believe I can cultivate this partnership of all our schools’ key influencers. My professional background in people and project management leading teams of varying sizes and diverse backgrounds will directly align with guiding and supporting Excel and the Board. I think having an open mind will provide a fresh look for Excel while also supporting the direction it is already headed.

Thanks to both Kia and Matthew for their willingness to step into this important role for our school!

Extracurricular Opportunities

Trails of Miles Track Club

Summer track club for middle and high school students.


7th-12th Girls’ Mountain Biking Clinic

Girls’ Mountain Biking Clinic

Hosted by the Ralston Valley Mountain Bike Team. Visit us at

Who: 7th – 12th grade who are interested in learning more about mountain biking (Moms are welcome too!)

When: Saturday, May 7th from 8:30am – 11:30am (snack lunch included)

Where: Ralston Valley High School, 13355 W 80th Ave, Arvada, CO 80005

We’ll meet on the southwest side grass. Look for the RVMTB trailer.


· Intro to mountain biking

· Learn some basic skills

· Learn about the bike team

· Connect with other girls who like to ride bikes

· Have fun!

Bring your bike, helmet, and water bottle. No mountain biking experience necessary. Must be able to ride a bike.

Youth Rugby

Youth Rugby by Superior Rugby Football Club. This club is not affiliated with Excel but is a great opportunity for athletic enrichment. Youth Rugby flyer


CU Anschutz is excited to be offering 2-weeks of summer camps for grades 7-9 at Aurora Science and Tech Middle School! Camp activities include inquiry-based exploration, hands-on experiments, tours of CU Anschutz Medical Campus facilities (Animal Science Adventures) and interactions with campus scientists and technicians.


Grades 7-9

June 13-17; 9am-4pm

June 20-24; 9am-4pm



Grades 7-9

June 20-24




Grades 7-9

June 13-17




CU Science Discovery, in partnership with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus strongly believes that all kids, regardless of means, should have an opportunity to attend a summer program if they have an interest in doing so. The Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor will provide a limited number of one-week scholarships to rising 7th-9th grade Aurora students.

Applying is easy! Awards will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Click below for full details. Scholarship applications must be received by APRIL 22, 2022 for full consideration.


Connect with us: | 303.492.7188

Rebel Volleyball Alliance

This club is not affiliated with Excel but is a great opportunity for athletic enrichment.

Rebel Volleyball Flyer

Awest Summer Leadership Camp

It is time for the annual Awest Summer Leadership Camp where students can learn the importance of leadership and gain life skills. Our camp is available for all incoming 7th, and 8th grade students, as well as 9th graders who will be attending Arvada West in the fall. Join us here at Arvada West on June 8th, 2022. Feel free to contact Gianna Syzek.

with the Arvada West Student Council.

The students who want to participate need to fill out this google sign up form attached in the link here.

Arvada West Student Council

11595 Allendale Drive Arvada CO 80004