About Us


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 started an iterative process of model improvement. Funding to support this growth and development has been provided the US Department of Education under the the Investing in Innovation (i3) and National Professional Development programs. ExcEL schools are now across New York and New England.

For more information contact Dr. Jason Cervone, Project Director, ExcEL Leadership Academy, jcervone@gseis.ucla.edu
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