ExcEL has its origins in a committed group of educators who wanted to explore a pathway to success for English Learners. Even in schools and classrooms, where ‘best instructional practices’ were practiced, positive impacts were small and marginal. The program developers believed there was a better way – and that transformative change would only happen when every teacher became a teacher of ELs and had the knowledge and skills to make that a reality.
These ideas were initially moved into practice with the support of a National Professional Development grant in 2007. The early EXCELL (Excellence for Connecticut’s English Language Learners) model focused on building the instructional capacity of teachers in four Connecticut districts (New London, Montville, Norwich and Stratford). EXCELL provided comprehensive, job-embedded coaching and professional development to mainstream teachers. Support was delivered in the context of school-based professional learning teams. EXCELL led to demonstrable improvements in teacher competence as well as student outcomes. In several cases English learners outperformed their native English counterparts on state assessments.
The success of this small pilot led to a commitment to model improvement based on the initial funding under the Investing in Innovation (i3) and National Professional Development programs. ExcEL schools are now located in Tarrytown (NY), Ossining (NY), Freeport (NY), Nyack (NY), Elmsford (NY), Norwalk (CT), Derby (CT) and Shelton (CT) . Shelton is also the site home of the ExcEL Leadership Academy, designed to be the center for coordination and growth for all ExcEL initiatives.
For more information contact Dr. Jason Cervone, Project Director, ExcEL Leadership Academy, firstname.lastname@example.org