ExCEL Virtual Learning Academy

student on computer

ExCEL Virtual Learning Academy

What does ExCEL stand for?
ExCEL is an abbreviation for Expanded Choices for e-Learners.  
 
Convenience of Learning at Home with Daily Instruction
ExCEL Virtual Learning Academy is a K-12 learning option designed to meet the dynamic needs of students who are finding success learning online in a non-traditional setting. ExCEL offers both full-time and blended virtual learning options with flexible pacing and on-site supports to help each student achieve ExCELlence in school and after graduation.
 
What Makes ExCEL unique?
  • ExCEL Virtual Learning Academy offers daily, teacher-led classes for K-8 students.
  • District approved curriculum to ensure students receive a high-quality public school education.
  • Students will be working with highly qualified, PA certified West Shore School District teachers. Not all charter or cyber-charter teachers are certified teachers.
  • Option for students in grades 9-12 to take all of their courses virtually or to take a blending of virtual learning courses and traditional face-to-face courses in their home-base high school.
  • Option for interested students to enroll in Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School.
  • Access to a support network of teachers, counselors, career coordinators, psychologists, literacy specialists, technology specialists, and an administrator ready to provide assistance.
  • Access to West Shore School District special education, gifted, and social work services.
  • Face-to-face support provided when needed by District staff close to your home.
  • Ability to seamlessly return to full-time in person learning at the end of the school year.
  • Students will receive a District-issued device and access to online, phone, and in person technology support by District technicians.
  • Offered at no cost to families. Local tax dollars remain in the West Shore School District.
 
Remain Connected to the District and School Programs
  • ExCEL students can earn a Cedar Cliff or Red Land High School diploma and participate in the commencement ceremony with in person learners.
  • Students can participate in all school events and activities including grade level field trips, college and career readiness activities, Academic Bowl, extracurricular clubs, athletics, musicals, homecoming, prom, etc.
  • Access to District resources including libraries, STEAM labs, and the aquaponics lab.
  • ExCEL students follow the District’s school calendar.

Family Support
  • Virtual and in-person learning opportunities for families to assist them in using software (Schoology, Seesaw, etc.), navigating available resources, helping your child with organization and time management, helping to set-up home workspaces, etc.
  • Regularly scheduled family Zoom sessions.

Eligibility
All students in grades K-12 who currently reside in the West Shore School District are eligible to attend, including those students who are currently attending an outside cyber, charter, or private school.

English Language Learners and students with IEPs will meet with school staff to assess their needs and ability to thrive in a virtual learning setting. 
  
Student and Parent Commitment 
In order to be successful students must be motivated and self-disciplined in order to be successful in any virtual learning program. Families must also be aware of the time commitment expected of their child and be prepared to partner with the District by monitoring their child’s academic progress. 
 
As parents consider ExCEL Virtual Learning Academy, it is important to note that this learning option will be different from Distance Learning 2.0 and Remote Learning Days currently utilized by the West Shore School District. Students will remain in ExCEL for the school year in which they enrolled regardless of whether or not other District students are learning in person.

Teacher Commitment
ExCEL teachers understand that virtual learning is different and will adapt their practices to meet the needs of students. Teachers will utilize engaging tools designed to provide collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Teachers will be supported throughout the year with opportunities for staff development and training in using virtual learning tools and on ways to build relationships with their students and families in a virtual environment. Staff will be available for one-on-one, small group, and office hour appointments during the school day.

ExCEL Offerings

kids on computer
Elementary Program (Grades K-5)
home-based at Rossmoyne Elementary
some work will be done offline
synchronous specials
music lessons offered
swimming in person for grades 2 and 4
intervention blocks for additional support
 
Middle School Program (Grades 6-8)
home-based at Allen Middle School
some work will be done offline
synchronous specials
band, chorus, and orchestra opportunities and music lessons offered
boating unit in person for grade 6
intervention blocks for additional support
 
High School Program (Grades 9-12)
home-based at Cedar Cliff or Red Land High School 
ninth and tenth Grade students will have daily synchronous core and asynchronous elective classes with District teachers
eleventh and twelfth Grade students will have asynchronous core and elective classes via CAOLA
face-to-face courses including Aquaponics and DaVinci 
ability to take AP and Dual Enrollment courses
opportunity for Career Development Seminars, Cooperative Education (Co-Op), and Pathways Internships 
ability to enroll in Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School
ability to participate in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) 

Wondering if ExCEL is right for your child?

Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.
 
An online learner will be most successful when they are capable of...
  • asking for help when they have a problem
  • recognizing when they’re distracted and redirecting themselves.
  • prioritizing their responsibilities
  • making time for unfinished assignments
  • problem solving
  • learning new things fairly easily
  • motivating themselves
  • learning through a variety of electronic methods, such as…
    • watching videos
    • actively participating in video conferencing sessions (Zoom)
    • listening to guided instruction
    • class discussions
    • interacting with their peers
    • hands-on activities
An online learner is most successful when their home environment...
  • has a quiet learning space free from distractions and loud noises.
  • has an adult available to support them periodically throughout the day. This is especially important for elementary aged learners.
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