Camelot Education’s Excel Academy of Roseland Recognized by Chicago Public Schools as an Exemplary Supportive School
Camelot Education’s Excel Academy of Roseland has been recognized by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for the impact of its authentically integrated trauma-informed social-emotional learning (SEL) framework, which fosters a culture of belonging to empower the city’s most vulnerable students to fully engage in their classrooms and schools.
In an official letter celebrating the school’s achievement Hellen Antonopoulos, executive director of the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Social Emotional Learning writes, “We applaud your strong, multi-tiered system of supports for students, your integration of social and emotional learning into daily practices, and the many positive and collaborative relationships you have built in your school community.”
Antonopoulos continued, “We look forward to future opportunities to showcase your school and spread your best practices to the rest of the district. Thank you for allowing us to experience your exemplary school climate firsthand.”
Excel Academy of Roseland’s achievement in SEL is formally recognized on the CPS and Camelot websites with a badge that designates their Exemplary Supportive School status, which remains in effect through June of 2022.
Roseland principal Elizabeth Landig said the recognition was the result of several years of focused, determined, and dedicated work.
“This was truly an awesome moment for us,” said Landig. “Camelot Excel Academy of Roseland has been making a concerted effort to continually enhance the social-emotional supports for our students. As a staff, we started working very hard to build our skills and develop programs to address students’ social-emotional needs. The end result was increased academic achievement.”
Landig added that foundation of the school’s SEL framework is a unique combination of research-based and field-proven practices that effectively set the stage for learning and foster academic achievement for students experiencing trauma in their lives.
“Think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which shows us that people are able to learn much more effectively when their basic needs are met,” she said. “When a person is experiencing trauma, such as homelessness, violence or loss, it is very difficult to focus on anything else.”
Tyree Booker, executive director of Excel Academy of Roseland said “proud” didn’t begin to describe how amazed he is at the staff and school culture.
“When I was given the opportunity to launch our Chicago program in 2012, I told my team this would be a mission of love,” Booker said. “We use the Camelot model to forge positive relationships in which our students, stakeholders, and community knows we were about shaping their overall growth, not just academics.”
Book continued, “While the word I used was ‘love,’ it is social-emotional growth techniques that we use to train our staff on how that vision is achieved year after year. For the current leadership of CPS to identify our efforts and deem it exemplary is a crowning achievement for us all and proves our Camelot vision works in every setting where youth need our services. We will continue this mission and will assist our sister schools in Chicago to reach the same status.”
According to Landig, the road to Exemplary Supportive School status was a collaborative process. One of the first steps was connecting to resources through the “What Works Clearinghouse.” Landig explained the website is one of the key sources out there for academic research. Their findings show that for high school students, direct instruction in SEL competencies has far greater impact on the academic achievement scores than any other intervention, including the most well-renowned and research-based academic programs.
To amplify the already extensive annual Camelot staff training program, Roseland staff partnered with Lurie Children’s Hospital and CPS’s Office of Social Emotional Learning to train the whole staff in restorative practices and trauma-informed supports. A full-time counselor was hired and implemented peace circles, a restorative practice program, targeted group therapies like Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), and a Behavioral Health Team (BHT).
“Last year, we became certified as a CPS Established Supportive School, and then we continued to build on this success to achieve the ultimate ‘Exemplary’ level,” Landig said. “We developed and implemented a full SEL Advisory Curriculum.”
In the 2018-’19 school year, Excel Academy of Roseland was the pilot program for implementing a behavioral health team approach to a multi-tiered system of supports in the Chicago Camelot schools, and then helped the other campuses to implement BHT and grow their SEL wraparound approach the next year. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made these tools even more essential.
“Since March, we have worked very hard to continue our entire SEL support system for students during remote learning,” Landig added. “These supports are more important than ever during this time, and families have been expressing appreciation for our continued wraparound supports.”
When representatives from CPS observed and analyzed the work being done at Roseland, the CPS Office of Social Emotional Learning concluded that Excel Academy of Roseland reached Exemplary Supportive School status due to outstanding execution in all of the areas evaluated:
- Collaborative leadership
- Social-emotional skills development
- Community partnerships
- School-wide expectations
- Leadership-staff relationships
- Staff-student relationships
- Student-student relationships
- Staff-staff relationships
- Family engagement
- Sense of security
- Supportive and restorative behavior correction practices
- Academic press
- Engaging instruction
- Student voice and civic engagement
“This ‘Exemplary Supportive School Certification’ is so important to us,” Landig said. “Our hope is that this will serve as a beacon to guide struggling students to our door. Chicago Excel Academy of Roseland is proud to be part of Camelot Education, a leader in empowering students to achieve their goals.”
“We want students to know that they can come to our school to get the support they need to earn their diploma and have a successful future. Your future starts at Chicago Excel Academy.”
In addition to Excel Academy of Roseland’s Exemplary designation, Excel Academy of Englewood, South Shore, and Camelot Academy of Chicago, part of the CPS SAFE school program, received CPS certifications of Established Supportive School. The Excel Academy of Southwest received a CPS certification for an Emerging Supportive School.