The Eagle Update

The Excel Academy Weekly Newsletter: September 19, 2022

Reminder: No students at school this Friday, September 23, 2022

Greetings Excel Community,

It is that time in the school year where students are becoming more comfortable with their teachers and peers, and more knowledgeable about the schedules and the routines. Much of the review is over, and our beginning-of-the-year assessments are complete. Students are beginning to learn new academic material and we see the beginning of what we call, "productive struggle." Students grapple and at times, are even frustrated as they move into an area Vygotsky referred to as the "zone of proximal development."

As we support students in academics, we also nurture the important work you have already started at home in their behavioral development with peers and building strong student character. As with academics, they are learning and growing. Hellen Keller stated it well:

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

While it is not our goal that anyone be "suffering," we do know that many students experience challenges here and there that help them grow. The staff at Excel are deeply committed to both the academic and social-emotional well-being of every student. We know that these are the years when students are trying on new ideas, and depending on their age and development, they are trying on different personality attributes, and sometimes those are influenced by peers, social media, or popular culture.

We want every student to know we care about them, we want the best for them, and we are committed to their healthy development. We know that students often make choices that may not always reflect what families have taught or value. We also know that they are reflective, resilient, and capable of learning from their experiences. Thank you for partnering with us and trusting us when we connect with you about students. Our partnership sends a powerful message to students that we are all together on their team and we are here to strengthen them, inspire them, and help them achieve the success they desire as students, peers, and members of their communities.

With deep appreciation for your trust to partner with you,

Dr. Susan-Marie Farmen

Executive Director

Important Updates

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS)

At Excel Academy we are dedicated to creating academic and social-emotional supports linked directly to the assessed needs of our students, especially as we consider the impact of Covid on our students in the past few years. We have the opportunity to systematically screen some of the social and emotional skills of our students, using the Social Skills Improvement System™ Social-Emotional Learning Edition Screening/Progress Monitoring Scales (SSIS SEL). The SSIS SEL Edition Screening/Progress Monitoring Scales is a strength-based tool for screening and progress monitoring social and emotional competence. Teachers score each of their students in the six following areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and motivation to learn. The information gathered guides our development of school-wide, small group, and/or individual academic and social-emotional supports and interventions.

If you do not wish for your child to be included in their teacher's scoring for their class, please use the form below to opt out. Link to SSIS family opt out 22-23

Please Read: Medications at School

We have had a number of students bringing a variety of medications to school. Please do NOT allow students to carry any medications including but not limited to: cough drops, aspirin, Tylenol/Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol, cough syrups, and any over-the-counter or prescription medications. Other students could gain access to these and we have no way to ensure students do not overmedicate or take something they should not consume.

Any students who have a health plan, allergy/asthma plan, or need medications stored in the clinic, need to have their health forms updated yearly. Medication agreement forms can be found on the school website here labeled "Medication Agreement 10-18". Medications can be checked into the clinic in the original packaging with pharmacy label or students name if it is an over-the-counter medication. Medications must be stored in the clinic and cannot be kept in backpacks or lockers. There is an exception for students who self-carry emergency asthma and epinephrine pens. If your student has any health concerns, please inform our school health aide Ali Bruno or our school nurse Andrea Gansen, so we can keep your student safe at school. For those with Emergency medications please bring them to the clinic as soon as possible if you have not already.

Andrea Gansen:

For any questions please contact Ali Bruno at or 303-467-2295 x104

General Information

Colorado Department of Education Survey

CDE is seeking to understand public perception – from parents, students, educators, and education leaders on the need and desire for blended learning opportunities for students in the years ahead. Blended Learning is an education program that integrates a virtual and face-to-face learning environment for students.The survey is linked here and available until September 23, 2022.

School Breakfast and Lunch Reminders

Please remember that meals are not free for students. This means that if you want students to have breakfast and/or lunch orders must be placed on the links below. If you place orders for breakfast and/or lunch, you will be charged. If you order food and the student is absent, those orders cannot be canceled and your account is charged. Please make selections with the understanding the school cannot absorb those costs.

Back-to-School Article

Our nurse from Children's Hospital, Andrea Gansen, shared a resource with a variety of additional links/articles for topics of interest to families linked here. Please take a moment to see if there are topics of interest to you and your family.

Important Health Updates

Back-to-school also means we are back in close contact with one another. We've already seen many illnesses among our students and want to remind guardians to please keep sick students home. Students need to be free from fever, vomiting and diarrhea for a full 24 hours without medication before returning to school. We have also already had several COVID cases. Like Jeffco Public Schools, we are following guidance from Jefferson County Public Health, which you can view here. How sick is too sick for school? Please see updated guidance for Colorado Schools and Child Care Settings here.

Remember to call the school's attendance line at (303) 467-2295 extension 5 by 8:30 any time your child will be absent from school and include the reason for the absence in the message. Thank you for helping keep our students, staff, and community healthy by staying home when sick!

Classroom and Grade Level Information

New Art Teacher: Erin Lucey

As many of you know, Deb Humrich has retired but remained here to start the year while we found an art teacher for our school! Erin Lucey started last Thursday and she is thrilled to be here at Excel. Ms. Lucey earned her Associate of Studio Arts from the Community College of Denver and her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in British Columbia. While studying and working in B.C., she designed and taught unique, experimentation-based art classes at Mobile Art School, and later partnered with the founder to create a corporate team-building art-based program. Her teaching methodologies focus on the importance of play, experimentation, and embracing ‘mistakes’ with lessons utilizing diverse mediums. She is excited to nurture the creativity in every student and become acquainted with the community.

Explorations Are Underway At Excel Academy

Explorations have begun! WOW! There was so much excitement in the air on Wednesday afternoon as we began our first session of Explorations! Every Wednesday afternoon, students have the opportunity to dive deeper into a topic that they chose. All students had input into which area of interest they would like to explore and are now working in mixed grade-level classrooms with students who have similar interests. Students are asking questions, looking for answers to those questions, and are driving what they want to learn about their particular topic.

This round of Explorations will consist of nine weeks, with the Expo being held on Wednesday, November 16. The Expo will be a time for students to showcase what they've learned and discovered about their topic of interest. Parents will be invited to attend. More info to come as we approach the date of the Expo. Be sure to ask your student about their topic every Wednesday! For questions, please reach out to Mrs. Smith at

Teachers will be reaching out with information about what students may need for their time together or to ask for parent volunteers, library book support, ideas about guest speakers, or special talents the community may wish to share.

Elementary Grades K-5

Honoring Service Members with the Flag

Bryson Post, grade 5, wanted to honor his great uncle who served in the Army as Private First Class (E-2) for 2 years and fought in the Vietnam War and who recently passed. Bryson learned how to raise the flag and lower it in honor of these members of his family and their service to our nation. Those family members were:

Mario Alberto Alvarado (Great Uncle)

Started in the Army - based in Ford Ord California

From 1968 -1990

Rank= PFC. (E-2)



Jose Francisco Alvarado (Grandpa)



Based Ford Ord. California

Staff Sargent E-7


Third Brother (Great Uncle) Survivor of the 2 Brothers…

Luis Fernando Alvarado





Based in Ford Ord California

Music Enrichment Activities

Ms. Boyd, our music teacher, would like to invite students to participate in additional music enrichment activities at home during the month. Please refer to the links below for some interactive music fun. She will change out the activities at the beginning of each month. Please heck back for more opportunities to explore, listen, create and share the joy of music.

K-2nd Grades Music Enrichment Activity

Recognize Music in Daily Life

Music Enrichment Activity Kindergarten - 2nd Recognize Music In Daily Life OBJECTIVE: Students will use the choice board to expand their interest in music. MATERIALS: Music Choice Board Activity Choices Click on the choice board link above and become familiar with the options within.

3rd - 5th Grades Music Enrichment Activity

STOMP Introduction

STOMP Introduction *Links work best if you view in Present mode!

Middle School Grades 6-8

Schoolwide Assembly is an Opportunity to Grow Our K-8 Community

In preparation for our first assembly, the NED Mindset Mission, we have included our middle schoolers to ignite excitement in our youngest grades. Students in our Leadership Elective created large poster invitations for our Kinder and 1st grade classrooms. On Wednesday, a group of 8th grade students connected with our Kinder and 1st grade classes by presenting the invitations and asked them to join middle school at our first assembly.

The NED Mission Mindset Assembly will take place on Tuesday, September 20. We are excited that while all students will attend the assembly at two different times, our K-1 students will join our middle school students as their special guests. NED stands for: Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best. The assembly is designed to engage and entertain students, schoolwide. Every event at Excel Academy presents an opportunity to grow our K-8 Community. Go Eagles!

National Junior Honor Society at Excel Academy Middle School

This year, the advisors for the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) will be Shelley Smith and Danielle Kaschub. Invitations are coming this week to all eligible 7th graders. Those invitations will be based on last year's GPA. Watch for those invitations!

If you would like to contact Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Kaschub directly, please email at and

Culture Corner

Volunteer Opportunity: Library Support

Do you love books? Does the thought of supporting students in finding the perfect book warm your heart? Do you enjoy working with students in kindergarten through 8th grade? Are you available for a regular volunteer opportunity on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays from 1:30 - 2:30? If you answered "yes!" to these questions, then Mrs. Dozbaba, our Librarian, would love to talk with you! Our library is in need of a small cadre of volunteers who are willing to commit to a regular hour or more every week to support students in checking out books, re-shelving returned books, picking up books from classrooms in need of being returned, finding books teachers request for classroom studies, and supporting Mrs. Dozbaba with various other activities in keeping the library running smoothly for our students. Please contact Mrs. Dozbaba at for more information.

SOAR for Students

Self Discipline

Outstanding Effort

Acceptance of Others


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! Here are our drawing winners from this week:

Andy Oakberg- KG

Emmy Swainson- 1st

Sebastian Boszor- 2nd

Wolfgang Yeager- 3rd

Peyton Criswell- 4th

Tai Neisser- 4th

Lien Nguyen- 6th

JJ Ramirez- 7th

Each week, we recognize a class winner because an entire class was noticed exemplifying one or more of our SOAR values. This week, Ms. Willmarth's first-grade class was recognized. Way to go grade one!

For these students, and for every student who earns SOAR tickets, congratulations! Showing all the ways students exemplify these values makes us such an amazing place to learn and grow each day. Super job Excel Eagles!


PTO Newsletter & Events

The PTO has lots of exciting information to share with you! Check out our September Newsletter, see our upcoming Restaurant Night information, RSVP to our upcoming events and Save the Date for both school and family events!

PTO Eagle Eye September Newsletter! Click Here

Mod Pizza Restaurant Fundraising Day: Thursday, September 22nd is Excel Academy's Mod Pizza Restaurant Fundraising Day! Excel receives 20% of all digital and in-store fundraiser sales when you bring your fundraiser flyer, mention the fundraiser at checkout, or order online (or app) with the digital coupon code all day on the 22nd!Mod Pizza Address: 9515 Ralston Rd, Suite 100 Arvada, CO 80002
Our online ordering code is: MODF10791

Volunteer Opportunity! Twisted Penny will run from September 26th to October 7th. We need three volunteers each afternoon for about an hour after school to help out. Sign up to help us with this fantastic fundraiser that benefits our Field Studies and Specials Departments! Twisted Penny Volunteer Signup:

Dad’s Night Out Evite: Join John and Bill at Resolute Brewing Company on Friday, September 30th at 6pm for a cornhole tournament! RSVP at
Address: Resolute Brewing Company 18148 W 92nd Ln Unit 100 Arvada, CO 80007

Mom’s Night Out Evite: Calling all Excel Family Moms, Grandmoms, Caretakers, and anyone who loves a good girl’s night out, it's time for us to take a night off and have some fun! Let's get together to make new friends, meet up with old friends, and for some well-deserved, good old fashioned, no-kids-are-around-so-let's-be-grown-ups time. We're meeting at Flights Wine Cafe in Olde Town on October 5th from 5:30 until 8:30 then we'll head over to Arvada Tavern for more fun. RSVP at

Excel Academy Outreach Committee

Serving on the Outreach Committee is an opportunity to celebrate and offer assistance right in your own backyard. Join us in providing gifts for teachers and staff celebrating momentous life occasions such as a wedding or birth of a child. Help us offer dinner or rides home to Excel Academy families experiencing life altering events such as a new baby, death in the family or serious illness. Let's stand in the gap when a school family is struggling to put food on the table or provide holiday gifts for their children. Contact Amy Keleman at 720-343-6173 or to be added to the Outreach Committee list. As a need arises, you will be contacted via SignUp Genius with an explanation of how you might be of assistance. You are also encouraged to contact Amy Keleman if your family or someone you know may benefit from our care. We are discreet in our communication and respect the confidentiality of the families we support.

September Load the Lounge Initiative: 7th Grade

September is 7th Grade Families opportunity to show their Love by Loading the Staff lounge with goodies. Here is the link for 7th grade families to sign up for items!

Board of Directors

Board Meetings

The next BOD meeting is a workshop at 6 pm, Tuesday, September 27th. Here is the link to the Board Tab on the website with additional meeting information.

Enriching Activities Outside of School

Cub Scouts

Cub Scouts is for all boys and girls, grades KG - 5th grade.

Our next Pack Meeting is Tuesday Oct 11th at 6:15pm at Arvada United Methodist Church.

Den meetings (grade-level meetings) will be held monthly. Cub Scout Flyer