Excel Middle Years Academy Recognized as Exemplary
After just its first year, Camelot’s Excel Middle Years (EMY) Academy has been recognized by the School District of Philadelphia as an exemplary program for the way it utilizes a variety of interventions, guest speakers, and campus tours to motivate students to pursue a dream. The District specifically cited EMY for its school climate and culture.
“The fact that they’re being recognized for their achievements within the first year is a testament to the staff’s hard work and dedication,” said Camelot Education Vice President Milton Alexander. “This is a first of its kind program in Philadelphia and year one could not have gone better.”
Staff and students from the school put together a display about the program, highlighting best practices. Visitors were able to learn about the program at district headquarters next to other best practice schools.
“This is a true example of a partnership,” said EMY Executive Director Sadiqa Lucas. “Our success is not solely on us or the District. We have become successful by working together and with the full support of the District.”
The team at EMY entered this school year after working in high schools. They brought the Camelot approach into this newly formed “continuation” middle school.
“Middle school presents a different challenge but we are supporting them emotionally and giving them the tools they need for high school. We know what tools they need for high school because we’ve worked with those older students for many years,” Lucas said.
EMY is Philadelphia’s first continuation model and first accelerated middle school. It’s modeled after Camelot’s very successful accelerated high schools in that it is designed to help kids who need more structure, smaller class sizes and a smaller overall school. By middle school, many Philadelphia students have already fallen seriously behind. The idea is that by the time the student completes middle school she can choose to apply to the high school she most wants to attend. They are no longer labeled as a student who can’t succeed.
“The kids have bought into the family atmosphere,” Lucas said. “That’s what has made us successful. Our team has so much talent and devotion to these kids. This is not just a job. It’s not just a school. This is home.”