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Filed in Archive by on February 9, 2021


Experimental Curriculum for Exceptional Learners

The goal of the EXCEL program is to effectively meet the needs of a variety of learners. This program incorporates instructional methods that provide specialized academic support throughout the school year.

Student Selection:

EXCEL placement is based upon teacher and counselor recommendations as well as parental approval.  

  1. The typical EXCEL student can be placed in one or more of the following three general categories.
  2. The student who needs additional support in regular education classes despite exhibiting maximum effort.
  3. The student whose learning challenges severely impact the learning process and performance.
  4. The student who may be demonstrating challenging behaviors as a result of long-term academic frustration which should not be attributed to the following factors:
    • Poor behavior
    • Poor attendance
    • Lack of effort

Program Features:

Small class sizes (limited to 15) provide the special attention needed to increase the achievement of these special learners.  A team planning period that allows the core team of teachers to meet at least once a week to discuss the program while providing an opportunity to meet with administrators, counselors and special education teachers.  Teachers can coordinate classroom test dates, so students were not testing in more than two periods on a given day.  Curriculum and special events associated with the Tutorial program can be discussed during this time as well.

The success of this program rests on several important aspects; the Tutorial program, a core team of teachers that are invested in instructing this domain of students, small class sizes and one common special education DCT instructor for all core areas.

The Tutorial Component: 

The Tutorial component fosters closer teacher-student interaction and relationships while providing both academic and non-academic support.  Mentoring programs allow students to share thoughts and concerns in a safe, caring and non-judgmental setting to both peers and teachers. Teachers are mindful that their response should be honest and supportive to foster feelings of trust.

Academic Supports

  • Supplemental individualized instruction 
    • Station work – 2 or 3 small groups move around the room to a core teacher for supplemental instruction and practice
  • Foundational skill instruction
    • Study skills, note taking, reading comprehension, organizational skills
  • Completion of make-up work
    • Notes and assignments given during absence can be reviewed and completed.
  • Exam preparation
    • Various review activities are offered prior to the majority of assessments, including the mid-term and final exams.

Affective Domain

  • Mentoring
    • Students are split into 5 groups, each having a mentor teacher that guides students through various self-assessments and team building activities throughout the year.
  • Incentive Program
    • Students set target grades for each class and 2 personal goals.  Each goal achieved is rewarded with a ticket that can be cashed in for various rewards.
  • Counseling Opportunities
    • Tutorial students would participate in a whole-group presentation, run by the counseling department, once a month. 
    • After the whole-group presentation, students will break out into small groups, each led by an EXCEL teacher or counselor to debrief.
  • Community Connection
    • Various activities including volunteering in a district elementary school classroom and participation in collecting and packaging food for Street Soldiers (an area grassroots organization that provide meals and support for the homeless).
  • Family Connection
    • A parent meeting occurs before the school year to explain the privileges and expectations on being an EXCEL student.  This meeting ends with a contract to be signed by parents and students.
    • A quarterly newsletter sent out to the school building and parents/guardians.
    • Family dinners and student work displays in the 1st and 2nd semester
    • An awards banquet for families at the end of the year.