Located at 4641 Roosevelt Boulevard, Excel provides a high school education at an accelerated pace with students earning their diploma in two and half years, depending on the number of high school credits students bring with and accumulate each term.
“We have a great partnership with the Philadelphia School District, where we take students that are overage and under-credited and try to accelerate them to get their regular high school diploma as quickly as possible,” said the executive director of Excel Academy South Jarrad Muller.
“We set up our school system a lot like college where we do semesters and have block scheduling,” he said. “Our students have the opportunity to earn a little bit more credits than you do in your traditional high school.”
Excel students must meet the same school district curriculum and state-mandated graduation requirements as high schools in the city.
“One huge push this year was the ACT 158 requirements and making sure our students are meeting the needs of the graduation requirements,” Mueller said.
“If they are not passing Keystones, then they have another pathway where they can achieve success,” he said. “Whether it’s in certification outside or they’re exploring college needs. We help them figure out what they’re going to do after high school.
“We want our kids to graduate here and be lifelong learners. We don’t want them to stop once they get their high school diploma. We want them to keep going and strive for college, trade school, the military or go straight into a career,” he added.
Students are also kept up to date with their progress and what’s going on at the school through meetings and announcements.
“We have a strong SEL component,” said Excel Academy South principal Misha Memon. “We have [town halls] before classes and an afternoon [town hall], which is a wrap up of what’s going on in the school and announcements during lunch.
“They also have team leaders that touch base with the students throughout classes if they’re having any issues or troubles in addition to the regular classes.
“We’re making sure we’re touching base with them morning, mid-day and at the end of the day to make sure we’re moving them along and making sure they’re doing good,” she added.
Adding to the students’ enthusiasm at Excel are the teachers. Students appreciate the academic aptitude of their teachers as well as the personal investments they make in them.
“Excel South is family,” Mueller said. “We spend a lot of time with the students.
“We go above and beyond to dig into their lives and get to know them on a personal level so that we can help them where they need to be helped,” he said.
“That may not just be academically, but it could be social and emotional. We kind of get into their lives and truly build a family atmosphere here,” he added.
Memon said she wants students to leave Excel knowing the possibilities for them are endless.
“I want them to continue to build on what they learned here and use Excel South as the foundation to continue to move forward,” Memon said.
“If they can succeed here they can do it anywhere,” she said. “There are so many other options available to them. I just want them to find the best option for them, move forward and never give up.”