The Eagles' Nest September 26, 2021

The Community Newsletter of EXCEL Academy PCS

Volume 3, Issue 2

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage at EXCEL Academy!

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. On Wednesday, September 15th our scholars across the building began celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through various lessons, songs, and artistic experiences, and we will continue not just through October 15th but throughout the school year. As we begin to look at the month of October, we would like to highlight the stories of some of our amazing families here at EXCEL Academy who also share the culture and inspire us every day. We invite you to share them with us, to be featured here in the Eagle's Nest. Feel free to talk about your background, your profession, your childhood, your journey to Prince George's County, or anything you would like to share with our community. Email your stories to Principal Sothern at We can't wait to hear from you!

A Welcome Message from our IB Coordinator!

Welcome to a new school year at Excel Academy PCS! My name is Erin Troast, and I am the new International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme Coordinator here at Excel. This year, we will focus as a building on developing our Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students in grades K-6. By choosing to implement the PYP, EXCEL Academy is poised to develop students’ academic, social and emotional well-being, focusing on international-mindedness and strong personal values. Teachers and staff are currently deep in the planning process of developing our first Units of Inquiry - more information will be shared with you as we get closer to beginning our first Units of Inquiry. In the meantime, please feel free to check out our IB Information Site, here.

You are invited to join me at a Virtual IB Parent Information session on October 6th, 2021 at 6 pm. Meeting details are below.

Topic: IB Parent Information Session

Time: Oct 6, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 839 9318 2296

Passcode: 111743

Testing and Assessments Continue

A hearty thank you to ALL parents who ensured your children had their headphones as we began testing, but guess what - IT'S NOT OVER! :)

This week, all students grades 4-8 will take the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) assessments that they were unable to take last spring. Again, it is highly important that in-person students come to school with headphones and a charged device. Additionally, virtual students MUST attend their regularly scheduled classes on time so that they do not have to have make-ups and miss out on instruction with their peers. A hearty breakfast and timely arrival will support their efforts in doing their best. Thank you!

Arrival and Dismissal Reminders

Kudos to our entire school community for your work in helping to expedite our arrival and dismissal process! We have definitely reduced our times on both ends, but have a few reminders that we believe will help further ensure the safety of the process and expedite it at the same time:

  • Do not drop your scholar off on the front porch before 7:40 a.m. This is an unsafe practice as there is no staff officially on duty before this time and your child(ren) will be unsupervised. Once you see the morning duty staff (not the principal) open the doors for middle school breakfast and come outside to begin their duties, that's when you can safely leave your children. Please note if you choose to leave them before this time, we can not be legally responsible for them.
  • ALL afternoon pick-up parents and aftercare programs MUST have their orange hangtag with them. Beginning in October we will be switching to calling numbers only, so please have it ready for the person on duty in the parking lot. If you don't have one please reach out to the front office.
  • We are still having to remind cars to pull all the way up to the closest car in front of them. Leaving big spaces between cars reduces the number we can get into the parking lot and slows down the process. Please do what you can to support this effort.
  • Be cooperative and courteous with the school staff in the parking lot. We are all responsible to demonstrate the behavior we want our children to replicate. This includes waiting your turn in the lot and not "jumping the line" - please refrain from this.

Thank you in advance for all you do and for working with us to smooth out this process!

Family Engagement: Increasing Our Efforts

This school year, EXCEL Academy is looking at ways to increase the quality and ways in which we engage our families. We realize that traditionally, family engagement is a one-way street, with the school dictating what and how information is shared. But this year we want to find more ways to "engage" our family community by increasing the ways you contribute to our school through programming, instruction, sharing resources, or any other ways you feel you could contribute. We believe that this will improve the quality of the experiences of the student, teacher, and parent and improve student performance overall.

As such, we want to hear from you!! Please complete the BRIEF Google survey below to let us know how you believe you can best contribute to the mission and vision of EXCEL Academy Public Charter School. We look forward to increased opportunities to partner with you!

SY 2022 Publicity Release Forms

It's that time of year again! Yes, we are still collecting information, and THIS time we want to be able to feature your scholars for our various celebrations (honors assemblies, recognition in The Eagle's Nest, etc.) and their accomplishments. As such, we need ALL parents to complete this Publicity Release Form for each scholar that you have here at EXCEL so that when it is time, your scholar's star can shine bright. Please note that, due to the virtual nature of our celebrations, it is possible that your child will not be featured if you decline permission.

Click the form below and submit it by Friday, October 1st. The first class to get ALL of their forms submitted will get a treat from Principal Sothern

Thanks so much for your cooperation!

Happy Birthday Pastor Denise Johnson!!

Today is the birthday of our school's Founder, Pastor Denise Johnson! This Thursday, the SEED/EXCEL Board celebrated Pastor Johnson immediately after its meeting by adopting a resolution that, moving forward, every September 26th with be "Founder's Day" here at EXCEL Academy Public Charter School.

Pastor Johnson is a trailblazer in PGCPS as she paved the way not just for the founding of our charter school but for many others in our district. A former teacher and employee of PGCPS, she envisioned a community-school model where scholars would focus on character development, receive rigorous instruction and be prepared for a future in college and/or careers, tap into multiple modalities through a focus on cultural arts, and develop networks that support scholars through community partnerships.

Throughout the years, her inspiration, support, and counsel have been a hallmark of our school community, so we want to take time to "give her flowers" and celebrate her. Have an amazing day Pastor Johnson, we love you!

Welcome Ms. Delores Harris - Paraprofessional Educator!

EXCEL Family, please extend a warm welcome to Ms. Delores Harris as EXCEL's new Paraprofessional Educator! Ms. Harris has served EXCEL for the last two+ years as a substitute teacher, serving in all grades Kindergarten - 8th grade. Ms. Harris has had a long career in education, servings scholars in multiple grades in both public and private schools. Welcome back to the Eagle's Nest and we look forward to having you officially join our staff!


  • THERE WILL BE NO BOARD MEETING IN OCTOBER. The next public SEED/EXCEL Governing Board Meeting will be Thursday, November 18th at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!
  • Our first Family Market of the year will be Thursday, October 7th from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Parents who pick up scholars in the afternoon, as well as virtual parents, are welcome to avail themselves of the donations.

Important Dates to Remember: September 27th - October 2nd

  • Monday, September 27th: MCAP ELA assessments begin for 4th-8th grade scholars.
  • Friday, October 1st: Professional Development day for staff - ALL SCHOOLS CLOSED
  • Monday, October 4th: MCAP Math assessments begin for 4th-8th grade scholars.
  • Wednesday, October 6th: IB Parent Information Night
  • Thursday, October 7th: Family Market 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.