Teacher Growth

“You’re given a path at Excel that helps you expand as a teacher, and you’re constantly reflecting and building yourself. I feel like every day I continue to grow.” 

– Brendan Livingston, 8th Grade Learning Specialist, Excel Academy Orient Heights

Coaching & Development
  • Excel has a strategic development plan for new staff members that starts from New Staff Orientation and continues into the coaching relationship throughout the school year. Excel aims for the experience of new teachers to be as seamless and supportive as possible.
  • New teachers work with multiple coaches including a school-based instructional leader, a content area expert and a student culture leader provide regular coaching.
  • New teachers have weekly check-ins and feedback sessions with their managers. Excel utilizes an observation & debrief cycle, differentiated by teachers’ skill level and tenure, to support teacher growth.
  • All new Excel teachers submit weekly lesson plans to their managers and receive feedback before the next school week begins.
  • Friday afternoons are reserved for staff professional development and team collaboration.
  • Excel teachers enjoy a balance between autonomy and structure in their lesson planning. Instructional Leaders provide departmental unit plans and assessments, and teachers have the freedom to design day-to-day lessons and infuse creativity into the execution of unit plans and assessments. 
  • Each Excel teacher has a weekly extended block of planning time to long-term plan, analyze student work and student data, and/or complete other instruction-related preparation.
  • Excel teachers push themselves to evolve, iterate, and continuously improve curriculum and instruction. This is evident in network-wide initiatives around increasing rigor and shifting the cognitive lift to students.
  • Excel believes that learning happens when students are actively engaged in flexible thinking, problem-solving, analysis, and discovery. Two high school courses that encourage this kind of engagement are Biomedical and Computer Science.
  • Teachers participate in Grade Level Teams, School-Wide Teams, and Department Teams, all of which cycle through a regular meeting and planning schedule. 
  • Collaboration is the fabric of daily life at Excel, evidenced through school-wide systems and supports that allow teachers to focus on teaching.
  • Teacher voice is a central value at Excel. One of our six staff norms is “Weigh In to Buy In,” making Excel a highly teacher-driven organization.
  • All Excel content teachers collaborate with special education teachers and ELL specialists, depending on the needs of the students in their classes. These collaborative relationships foster growth and development for students and for teachers.