The Eagle Update

The Excel Academy Weekly Newsletter: November 14, 2022

Thanksgiving Break - No School - Nov. 21 - 25

Greetings Excel Community,

It was wonderful to spend the week at Keystone Science Camp this past week with our grade seven students. They were active, engaged, often cold, and excited as we worked over the week in different settings. The best part about spending time with students is getting to see the subtle parts of their personalities and natural inquisitiveness come out as they explore and share. So many great insights, ideas, and of course, lots of laughter this past week.

As we continue through our final week before the Thanksgiving holiday, I speak for all of our staff when I share how much we enjoy getting to support the diverse identities of our students each and every day, whether inside of the building or beyond the walls where we stretch our comfort and engage in new experiences. All of it is enriching and that is our mission here at Excel Academy.

With gratitude for time with kids this past week and every day,

Dr. Susan-Marie Farmen

Executive Director

Important Updates

No YMCA this Friday

The YMCA will not be providing care on Friday, November 18th so that their staff can participate in professional development. Please contact the YMCA directly.

Fall Explorations EXPO Schedule

Our Fall Explorations are coming to a close this week and our students are excited to showcase what they've learned during our Explorations Expo this Wednesday, November 16. We invite our families to come in and observe the creative ways that students have chosen to demonstrate their discoveries.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, we will have two different Expos; a morning session for K-2, and an afternoon session for 3-8. Families are welsome to join us for either or both of these sessions. Please note that students MUST remain with staff members and go through their scheduled rotations. Students may not be signed out to travel through the building with parents. There will be a lot of moving pieces, and this is important to ensure that everyone is accounted for and safe.

The Expo schedule is:

K-2 will be presenting and observing others 8:45am - 10:15am

3-8 will be presenting and observing others 1:45pm - 3:20pm

We are looking forward to our first Explorations Expo and hope you can join us!

NJHS Hosts Food Drive for Thanksgiving

Hello Excel Families. Our NJHS is hosting a Thanksgiving Food Drive for our community and was hoping you could help out. We will be collecting food items during the week of November 14-18 to benefit the Community Table (Formerly the Arvada Community Food Bank). Food bins will be set up near the front office for your donations. Thank you for helping us to help our local community.

Some suggested Food items needed:

  • Canned items: fruit like peaches, pears, and apricots; canned veggies, and refried beans

  • Nonperishable items: peanut butter, spaghetti sauce

  • Packaged Foods: healthy packaged snacks, dried fruit, meat sticks

  • Boxed/bagged pasta and rice; dry cereals and oatmeals

  • Condiments and Spices: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise

Thank you for helping local families.

Art Room Volunteers Needed

Ms. Lucey, our awesome art teacher, is looking for volunteers to help clean and organize the art room. If you are interested come on in anytime between 12-3:30 PM. Please check in at the office and wear clothing that can get a little dusty! Questions? Please reach out to:

Free Suicide Prevention Training for Parents & Caregivers

The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical, and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us and quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know. QPR for parents/caregivers teaches people to:

  • Recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis
  • How to ask someone directly if they are feeling suicidal
  • How to refer someone to help

The next virtual training is Wednesday, November 30 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Space is limited so register now to reserve your spot.

Important Info from Our School Nurse

Respiratory viruses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), flu, and COVID-19 are spreading across Colorado and the nation. Protect your loved ones, the community, and our health care system by:

  • Getting vaccinated. Both flu and COVID-19 have effective, safe vaccines. Anyone 6 months and older can get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19. It is safe to get the vaccines together.
  • Seeing or calling a health care provider or doctor before going to a busy emergency department when you or your child has respiratory symptoms. Your provider can help you determine the best ways to manage symptoms and when it is important to be seen in the clinic, urgent care, or emergency department.
  • Staying home when sick, including not visiting or interacting with people who may be at higher risk, including older adults, young children, and infants. What might feel like a mild cold for one person can be very serious for another person. This is important to preventing the spread of viruses and causing outbreaks, which put additional strain on the hospital system.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or upper arm sleeve when you cough or sneeze, throw away the tissue after you use it, and clean hands as instructed above.
  • Cleaning potentially contaminated surfaces, like doorknobs, tables, handrails, etc.
  • Avoiding sharing cups, eating utensils, and touching your face with unwashed hands.


RSV causes respiratory tract illness in people of all ages, but infants, young children, and older adults are at greater risk of severe illness from RSV. It spreads by inhaling or having contact with virus-containing droplets (typically through the mouth, nose, or eyes) produced by a person with RSV infection when talking, coughing, and sneezing. While most people who get RSV will only have cold symptoms, it may be more severe in infants and young children, as well as older adults. Symptoms can include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or coughing and can also include fever, decreased appetite, and difficulty breathing or wheezing.

If your child is demonstrating early signs of RSV, consider calling a health care provider. Your provider can help you determine the best ways to manage symptoms and when it is important to be seen in the clinic, urgent care, or emergency department. If it is an emergency, please call 9-1-1.


Anyone aged 6 months or older can get their annual flu vaccine. You can safely get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine, including the new omicron vaccine, during the same visit, if it is offered. The state health department recommends:

  • Adults 65 years and older should get one of three specific flu vaccine types: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, or Fluad quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. If one of these three is not available, people 65 years and older can get any other age-appropriate influenza vaccine.
  • Children younger than 9 years who are either getting the flu vaccine for the first time or have only previously received one dose of the vaccine should get two doses of the vaccine. The first dose should be given as soon as possible during the flu season. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose.
  • Ideally, those who are pregnant should get vaccinated as soon as possible, as they may have more serious complications if they get the flu. The flu vaccine can be given in any trimester of pregnancy.

Medicare, Medicaid, CHP+, and most private health insurers cover the full cost of the flu vaccine. You don’t have to pay anything to health care providers that accept your health plan. If you don’t have health insurance, you can still get the flu vaccine for free at certain health care providers. Free vaccine providers, as well as additional information on flu vaccines, can be found at Protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu by contacting your health care provider, local public health agency, or pharmacy to make a vaccine appointment today. COVID-19: Anyone aged 5 years and older who has completed a COVID-19 primary vaccine series should get an omicron vaccine to increase their protection against the dominant subvariants circulating in Colorado right now. People should get their omicron vaccine at least two months after their most recent dose — either their completed primary series or third (booster) dose.

General Information

Veterans Day Celebration

Thank you to all of you who were able to bring in your veteran guest to Excel last Friday. Our National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) members, students, and staff welcomed veterans with flags and applause as veterans entered the building and toured our halls. Students writing related to Veterans Day covered the walls and our guests felt the love and support down every hall.

Refreshments in the cafeteria with time to socialize brought everyone together. During this time, Excel students came in to showcase their talents and appreciation. Our 3rd-grade classes gave a sneak-peak into one of the songs they are singing in their program. A group of 4th-grade girls came in to present a gymnastic cheer to the tune of the National Anthem. Finally, a group of mixed-grade students sang America the Beautiful for the crowd.

After the demonstrations in the cafeteria, veterans were invited into classrooms to talk with students. This was a rewarding time for all.

Thank you to the NJHS members for planning and hosting a wonderful event to honor our veterans!

Middle School Musical

Mrs. Boyd is excited to start preparing for the Excel Academy School Musical performance season! In order to make these events successful, Mrs. Boyd is looking for help from the community. Please review the available slots below and pick a support piece to help make these performances truly wonderful!

Sign-up Genius

Book Fair

The Excel Academy library is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair from December 5th to the 12th. Please use the Signup Genius below to come help us volunteer so we make this a successful event. Volunteers assist with setup, transactions, and book selections. All hours count as volunteer engagement hours! Sign-up Genius

December Breakfast and Lunch Order Forms

Click HERE to sign up for breakfast & lunches.

Volunteer in the lunchroom. Sign-up HERE.

Classroom and Grade Level Information

Elementary Grades K-5

Second Step® Elementary, a research-based social-emotional learning program

Click HERE to learn more about Second Step® Elementary, a research-based social-emotional learning program.

Share Day

Announcing Share Day in music classes K-5: Each student will be asked to share an interest, passion or talent they have with their classmates during music class. This performance is not for parents however you may want to practice with your child so they are prepared to share. Students can talk about, do, or show something that is unique or important to them. Please support your child to be prepared for their special day or reach out to Mrs. Boyd for support. Students can also use this share time as an audition for the school wide talent show which will take place in May. Some talents we have seen in the past include magic, cup-stacking, bouncing a ball, gymnastics, dancing, karate, singing, reciting a poem, skits etc. We will also discuss and practice appropriate audience behavior.

Students will be graded on their preparation and supportive, respectful audience behavior. The expectation is that each child will share.

Teacher Class Schedule

Friday, January 13th - Ms. Mackey, Mr. Burns

Friday, January 20th - Ms. Coffey, Ms. Willmarth, Mr. Cardenas

Friday, January 27th - Ms. Buske, Ms. Van der Veer, Ms. Fling

Friday, February 3rd - Ms. Criswell, Ms. Adams

Thursday, February 9th - Ms. Williams, Ms. Zerr, Ms.McDaniel

Place your Original Works Orders!

Original Works is a fundraising company that uploads student's art to an online gallery and then prints it on various objects for loved ones to order! This is a great opportunity to shop for thoughtful holiday gifts, gather mementos for the year, and support our school. More information about this fundraiser was sent home in Friday Folders. To view our school gallery...

  1. go to
  2. Click on SHOP at the top of the home page
  4. Enter our school Code -- Exa
  5. You'll need access to your students personalized code to see and order their work -- that information is found in the brochure from Friday Folders.

K-5 Music Enrichment Lessons

  • K-2nd Grade: November 2022 Music Enrichment Lesson
  • 3rd-5th Grade: November 2022 Music Enrichment Lesson

Music Performances

Music Performances are back. Please join us for some wonderful entertainment by Excel's amazing students.

2/3 Music Program: Winter Celebrations Around the World

Thursday, December 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the gym

Show Choir Performance: Have a Happy, Happy Holiday

Monday, December 12th at 6:00 p.m. in the gym

Middle School Grades 6-8

Middle School Principal Council (MSPC)

This group provides feedback from the student perspective to acknowledge what is working and where we as the adults here at Excel can improve our efforts. I am so excited to get to work with each of them this year. Brandon McGary, Bailey Chiapetta, Dillon Smith, Avery Fitzgerald, Ethan Kroyer met with Dr. Farmen to create some goals for the year. Our next meeting will be December 2, 2022 at 2:30 pm.

Culture Corner

SOAR at Excel

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! Every day, at 2:30 PM, students come to the office and Dr. Farmen, Cate Vermeer, and Kresta Vuolo celebrate every student who has earned recognition for their efforts throughout the day. This is such a wonderful highlight to our days here at Excel!

K-Paul Tassano

1-Romy Redland

2-Adalai Messner

3-Nate Stilling

4-Colton Dozbaba

5-Harlow Halverstadt

6-Ayva Howard

7-Ella Quercioli

8-Grace Fonte

The class award goes to Mr. Cardenas' Class !

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!


Save the date for the Winter Carnival!

Excel Academy's Winter Carnival is coming December 10th, 10:00-2:00pm. We’ll be transforming our classrooms into creative and giftable winter craft stations and hosting an awesome carnival with booths set up by middle schoolers in the gym for kids to enjoy. This year the Library will be hosting a Scholastic Book Fair at the same time as the carnival!

In order for this event to happen, we need help from our wonderful Excel Community to decorate the school, set up crafts rooms, and assist children with making holiday crafts and run the prize table for the carnival. Children enjoy making these crafts, then wrapping them, and giving them as special holiday gifts. Please take a look at the Signup Genius below to see when you can help out with this wonderful event! It is such a heart-warming feeling knowing that you have had a hand in making an Excel child's holiday extra special.

Click HERE to sign up to volunteer.

Don't forget to pre order your tokens! Pre order tokens. Craft Flyer

Love for Excel Silent Auction and Gala

Buy your tickets to the Love for Excel Silent Auction and Gala on February 11th, 2023! Secure your seats and take advantage of the early bird pricing.

EARLY BIRD PRICING: $52 per person - includes dinner
To buy your tickets, text the word “excelgala” to 843-606-5995
and follow the link in the reply or visit

Show your love for Excel Academy by joining us for this incredible night! Our annual adult only event will feature a live auction, a silent auction, a plated three course sit-down dinner, cash bar and MUCH more! Grab your Valentine's date and join us for a night of laughter and fun. This event sold out last time, so don't miss your chance to attend. It will be a night to remember and we can't wait to spend it with you!


Are you a business owner or a parent with something special to share? Please consider donating or sponsoring our auction! We are excited to share your generosity with our community through event signage and accolades, a listing on the PTO website, and more!

Teacher and Staff Sponsor tickets, Business Sponsorship Tables and Friends Tables are available. Teachers and staff of Excel Academy will have discounted tickets available.

November Community Night

Our November Community Night was a huge success with 70+ families coming out for a great night at the school to enjoy InNOut Burger, Frozen yogurt & Fun n games!

We were able to combine this community night with a fundraiser raising $1334.05 from In-N-Out and $156 from Frozen Yogurt sales! Big thanks again to all our families who were able to join us and participate!

These funds will be allocated across both Field studies and the purchase of new IPads!

November PTO Newsletter

The Eagle Eye, our PTO newsletter, is linked here. Please take time to read what is happening with this important organization that supports so many experiences in the Excel community.

5th Grade Load the Lounge

We are inviting 5th grade families to participate in our new PTO initiative to "Load the Lounge" for the month of November! Let all the outstanding Excel Academy teachers and staff know just how much we appreciate them by providing them with nutritious snacks, sweet treats, and other items for the lounge. November items can be brought by you or your student to the front office anytime. Sign up for a slot or two! When possible opt for Costco/Sam's Club sizes and individual servings of food items. Every $10 you spend equals an hour of volunteer time!

(The PTO will be supplying additional items including Keurig cups, mints, gum, (more) chocolates, simple meals, etc...)

Sign-up HERE

PTO Call for Volunteers

Please consider joining a committee! The PTO is getting ready for two of our premier events, and we want your help!

The Winter Carnival is happening on December 10th and we need help with:

Event Planning and Craft Selection

Take Home Craft Prep

Event Set-up and Decorations

Day of Event Help

Carnival Booths Set Up and Help

The kickoff meeting will be held both virtually and in person some time in the next week and a half. We would love to have you attend! Email to join us!

The Silent Auction and Gala is happening in February 11, 2023 and we are building a team to host this exciting event! We will be meeting later in October to get started on all the planning. Come join us! Email to join us! Parent involvement is one of the most important factors in your child's academic success and all your time spent on these endeavors counts as engagement volunteer hours!

Board of Directors

Board Meetings

The next BOD meeting will be on Monday, November 14th (adjusted to accommodate Election Day the prior week.) Here is the link to the Board Tab on the website with additional meeting information.

Support Excel: Committee Participation!

If you are interested in being part of the impact in our community, we want to hear your ideas and have you join one of the board committees! Committees are a very important facet of charter schools, including ours, in that they allow members of the school community to have a direct voice in many of the important operational and strategic planning processes. All committees at Excel report to the Board of Directors and typically require a relatively small time commitment. The Excel Academy Board of Directors is seeking new members for the following committees:

School Accountability Committee - This committee reviews student achievement data, helps the executive director create the annual Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) and develops the annual Parent Satisfaction Survey and Staff Satisfaction Survey.

Technology Committee - This committee assesses technology needs of the school and makes corresponding recommendations, seeks out opportunities for grants, committee also reviews technology services contracts.

Facilities Committee - Includes the Excel’s facilities manager; this committee oversees building maintenance and construction.

Enrollment Committee - Help our school create and implement a marketing and recruiting plan, and work on ways to foster better communications within and from our school community.

Community Engagement Committee – We would like to find ways that Excel can partner with community members/business to support authentic and real world learning to solve community challenges, create long-term partnerships with businesses and non-profits.

If you have expertise or interest in any of these areas and would like to get involved in our school in a meaningful way, please send your name, the committee in which you are interested, and an email address to

The board member responsible for each committee will contact individuals with next steps. Each committee will coordinate and set its own schedules, which are yet to be determined. The Board is eager to get these committees going on their respective tasks and is looking forward to very productive groups.

Enriching Activities Outside of School

Please contact Julie Smith or Sandy Hinojosa in the office if you know of opportunities for students after school that would like to post information in our Eagle Update.