Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

For National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), students at the Excel Academy of South Shore, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, studied the contributions of Hispanic Americans to our culture and society. The month culminated with an assembly where students showcased what they learned about Hispanic culture throughout the month. The lively event included song and dance performances and presentations on notable persons, food and historical events. “What a fantastic job students did in presenting various topics celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Principal Shani K. Hawkins, M.A. Ed. “They exceeded expectations and made us [...]

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage2022-11-14T16:33:02-05:00

I’m a teacher, but I was also “that student”

A teacher’s background – as someone who struggled in school – deepens her connection with alternative education students By KARYN L. DRISCOLL, English 4 Teacher, Excel Academy South | September 5, 2022 - This fall, I will return to the classroom for my second year teaching English at Philadelphia’s Excel Academy South, an accelerated high school experience for students seeking a smaller, more personal setting, intensely focused on elevating social skills, emotional wellness, and academic success. My colleagues and I are committed to helping students succeed by developing meaningful relationships with each of them, therefore understanding their individual needs, challenges, and strengths. When students feel safe and valued, they become empowered to take charge of [...]

I’m a teacher, but I was also “that student”2022-09-07T13:12:02-04:00

Excel Academy students overcome struggles to graduate and achieve academic dreams

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Imagine the feeling of setting a goal you thought was unrealistic – only to achieve it despite huge odds. Dozens of grads at the Excel Academy schools did just that. CBS 2's Steven Graves met some of the students who are getting a second chance to achieve their academic dreams. The graduation ceremony for the multiple Chicago campuses of Excel Academy was held at Christ Universal Temple, 11901 S. Ashland Ave. At the ceremony, each tear shed is a heavy emotional release. There is joy, fear, shock, and happiness from students - or even a grandmother who could [...]

Excel Academy students overcome struggles to graduate and achieve academic dreams2022-06-10T12:30:22-04:00

SESI Alumnus and Student Mentor Discusses Personal Journey in Chalkbeat Essay

Raynard Gillespie, an alumnus and program mentor at Excel Academy of Englewood in Chicago, wrote a personal essay featured in Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization reporting on education across America. Raynard shares his journey of dropping out of school in ninth grade and then returning to high school at age 19 and graduating from Excel Academy. "At this new school, the teachers and staff didn’t give up on me and always pushed me to improve. If my classmates or I got a C, they helped us work toward a B, and then toward an A. Having someone in my corner [...]

SESI Alumnus and Student Mentor Discusses Personal Journey in Chalkbeat Essay2022-01-28T16:15:44-05:00