Excel Academy’s mission is to prepare students to succeed in high school and college, apply their learning to solve relevant problems, and engage productively in their communities.
Excel Academy Charter Schools is a network of tuition-free, public charter schools serving the Massachusetts communities of East Boston and Chelsea. It was founded to address the severe academic underperformance and low college matriculation rates of the student populations in these neighborhoods. Our founders envisioned a free, public school alternative where all students would be held to the highest academic and behavioral expectations, and college would become a reality. As a true public school, Excel is defined not by whom we exclude but by whom we include in our community. We are proud of the fact that we serve many students with special needs.
The network’s first school opened in fall 2003 in East Boston and now serves 224 students, grades 5 through 8. Excel Academy Chelsea, the 2nd school in our network, opened in fall 2011. Our third school, Excel Academy Orient Heights, opened in August of 2012. Our first high school, Excel Academy Charter High School, opened in fall 2015. Excel now educates 793 students in grades 5-9. At full scale in 2019, Excel will enroll a total of 1,350 students in grades 5-12.
Over the past seven years, Excel Academy has proven the opportunity gap can be closed. For 6 years in a row, Excel 8th graders have been the top-performers of all 450 Massachusetts public district and charter schools on the state’s MCAS exams.
Since its founding, Excel has adopted the identity of being a college-preparatory school — first as a single-site middle school, then as three middle schools, and now as a middle and high school network. Our purpose and theory of change is clear: we believe that a college degree has the potential to fundamentally change our students’ life trajectories and close the opportunity gap that exists between kids growing up in disadvantaged circumstances and those who do not. Excel focuses on college from the day students arrive in 5th grade, and now with a high school of our own, we are closer than ever to ensuring we our students are prepared for a 21st century economy.
Excel Academy’s students are admitted through a blind public lottery process. Excel’s student attrition rates are very low — much lower than the state and local averages. In 2015, 871 students applied for fewer than 300 seats in grades 5-9 at our four schools.
Our students, the majority of whom are children of first generation immigrants, are among the most underserved learners in the cities of Boston and Chelsea. Traditionally, these students score significantly below the state average on annual math and English MCAS examinations. One of the fundamental reasons Excel was created was to address this achievement gap, and we have done so.
We are a true public school in that our students reflect the local communities we serve. Excel’s student population consists of the following demographics:
- Approximately 75% Latino and 80% low-income
- Roughly 55% of students report speaking a language other than English at home
- Approximately 20% receive Special Education services across our four schools
- Only 16% of children report having parents who have pursued education beyond a high school degree
- On average, over two-thirds of our fifth graders arrive at Excel reading three or more grade levels below the educational standard for their age-level, and with computation skills that test at two or more grade levels below standard
Excel is a proud member of The Network, a select group of the highest performing Building Excellent Schools (BES) schools. The Network challenges and supports high capacity leaders to examine and improve the quality growth of their organizations.
*Click here to review the 2015-16 Excel Academy Annual Report as submitted to and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).