The Eagle Update

The Excel Academy Weekly Newsletter: September 13, 2021

Greetings Excel Community

Thank you so very much for the outpouring of support in the past week. As a new leader at Excel, my heart was full, and my cup ran over. I am so deeply grateful for those who took the time to reach out provide insights and ideas, and share heartfelt support during this sometimes uncertain time. Here we go into our second edition!

I shared the quote below in our morning all-staff huddle last week:

Passion is the energy that keeps us going, that keeps us filled with meaning, and happiness and excitement, and anticipation. Passion is a powerful force in accomplishing anything you set your mind to, and in experiencing work and life to the fullest extent possible.

It was not credited to anyone but it was certainly powerful! It really made us think about the potential there is behind passion. One thing I learned during my empathy interviews with families and in hearing from students, is that passion matters and connecting passions and interests to learning and volunteering in our community can be a powerful catalyst for increasing engagement and joy. I hope that students who emailed me to join the Middle School Principal Council (MSPC) will share their ideas with me as we seek to harness the power and potential of students' passions. My own passion is elevating their voices and their choice in the design of our learning here.

In the coming months, you will also notice that our website is changing. (Some changes are already happening!) I have read lots of feedback from folks in the past, read the former Communication Committee documents, and harnessed the passion of our Dean of Culture, Marisa Anderson, to help me with improvements and updates to our website. We had a lot of access issues with Jeffco, but we found great support in their technology department and we were off and running. As we continue to work on this public-facing part of our school, we hope you find materials increasingly organized, current, accurate, and easily accessible. Thanks for your patience as we work on these pieces this year.

The second part of this important work will be harnessing the incredible talents here at Excel. We have already started working with the photojournalism students to use their photos and they are starting to interview different members of the Excel staff. As they engage in this work, we will highlight it on our site. We will also work with students to determine what types of materials they want to take ownership of on the site. I cannot think of a better way to make the most of each day than to harness the potential of our students and showcase that each week. I also want to make good on my promise to families; volunteer where you have passions! Please reach out to teachers, to the PTO, and to staff here to find a niche. The school is made better when we all come together.

Imagine that for one moment...all that passion, harnessed in this place, on behalf of kids. That is some incredible energy indeed!

With deep passion for this work each day with the community and staff,

Dr. Susan-Marie Farmen

New Business Manager

Welcome to Keri Lee, our new business manager. She brings such a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role. We are so excited to welcome her to the Excel Community!

SOAR at Excel


Outstanding Effort

Accepting of Others


These are student core values we are focused on at Excel. Students are filling the jar in the office with SOAR tickets and they are excited. Each week we will draw names in the office and highlight students who have been recognized. A focus on these values helps us always look for the best in others and these words connect to both our 7 Mindsets curriculum for social-emotional learning and our initial work toward what it means to be a highly effective school. We hope you will get to celebrate a SOAR moment with your student soon!

SOAR Winners = Eagle Ambassadors

We had our first Friday SOAR drawing to choose a few students to highlight for exemplifying our student core values. These first Eagle Ambassadors are:

Calum Boyd-Kindergarten

Sadie Swainson- Second Grade

Lia Wallman- Sixth Grade

Avery Field- Seventh Grade

Julian Vigil- Eighth Grade

Each student will receive a certificate and will be displayed on the front hall bulletin board when we change it out for September. These students will also be acknowledged in a trimester-end celebration. More details to come!

Managing Covid at Excel: Gratitude from Dr. Farmen

The changing guidance and the efforts to protect our student population are a time-consuming endeavor with many moving parts. I want to thank our office staff, Julie Smith and Starr Svaldi, and our clinic aide, Sandy Hinojosa, our nurse from Children's Hospital, Jessica Francois, Vince Yanker, our Facilities Manager, and our assistant director, Alice Allen for their ongoing collaboration, efforts, and dedication to the safety and well-being of every child. Together, they work with me, Jeffco, JCPH, teachers, and families to be a responsive and informed team. Our community is made better by this team!

Reminder: All Visitors and Volunteers

This is a reminder that anyone volunteering inside the building must present proof of vaccination at the front desk Anyone entering the building must wear a mask at all times. Lunch volunteers are asked to wear masks. Thank you all so much for keeping every child as safe as possible in these changing times. If you want to get Covid Tested, you can use the free Covid resources linked here.

Outdoor Lunches

Thank you so much to those of you who signed up to help at lunch! Students enjoyed being outside and we were so happy to have adults to support this endeavor. Please continue to sign up to help cover all lunches each day. Sign up Genius is linked here.

Please remember to send a beach towel with your student so there is a dry, comfy place for lunch.

Athletic Updates: Let's Play Some Sports!

All student athletes (cross-country, soccer, and volleyball) should have provided proof of vaccination. All unvaccinated student athletes are strongly encouraged to provide weekly negative Covid test results.

OTHER SPORTS NEWS: (Note: Vaccinations and testing requirements apply to the below):

Kindergarten Sign Return

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thank you to those who were able to return their Excel Yard Signs in the drop-off line. The signs are right inside the front doors and a list of students will be with the signs this afternoon. If you were unable to return your sign this morning, please return it at pick up today or tomorrow by the end of the day. Add your sign to the stack inside the front doors and cross your student's name off the list so we know it was returned. We appreciate your help! Please add a volunteer hour to your tracker after your sign is returned.

Thank you,

Excel PTO

Final Call for MS Principal Council (MSPC)

We are forming a MSPC (MS Principal Council) Several students have emailed to express their interest and share why they believe they would be great representatives for the school. If you have students who would like to be part of this, please encourage them to email Dr. Farmen.

PTO Events

PTO: Twisted Penny Fundraiser

Monday, Sep. 13th, 8am to Friday, Sep. 24th, 3:30pm

11500 West 84th Avenue

Arvada, CO






Twisted Penny Details

The PTO needs a little help with all the fun, so if you have an hour to donate and get some volunteer time right around pickup this week, use the Signup Genius List below and come count with us! We need a couple of extra hands each day for about an hour to help manage, count and report daily totals.

The students and staff are really excited about all the FUNdraising we get to do over the next two weeks. There are great daily classroom prizes and an Art Department to support! Thank you all for helping your students participate by sending in pocket change, and remember - greenbacks and checks are also counted as positive points (we are in a national coin shortage after all ).

Alana Mace (Excel PTO)


PTO: Bliss Frozen Yogurt Fundraiser

Wednesday, Sep. 15th, 3:30pm

11651 West 64th Avenue

Arvada, CO

Gala Ticket Sales Open Oct. 1

Stay tuned for more information about this wonderful event to support the school. Tickets go on sale in October!