ExCEL Progam Wins Superstars in Education Award
ExCEL Progam Wins Superstars in Education Award
Posted on 02/10/2017

The Indian River School District’s ExCEL program has received the prestigious Superstars in Education Award from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

ExCEL, which stands for Exceptional Cognitive Enrichment Learning, was among the 2017 Superstars winners announced on February 24. 

ExCEL is a differentiated enrichment program for fourth- and fifth-graders who demonstrate, or have the potential to demonstrate, superior intellectual abilities and academic aptitudes. Participating students engage in small, flexible part-time grouping and/or multi-age group instruction provided in resource rooms within the school. The program is designed to foster the development of higher mental processes, creativity, independent study and problem solving. District ExCEL teachers Cindy Isaacs and Dawn Keenan provide this STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) curriculum in the district’s elementary schools.

“Our mission to provide the best possible education for every student includes the goal of meeting the unique educational needs of gifted and talented students,” said Audrey Carey, IRSD Supervisor of Elementary Instruction. “We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award and be recognized with some of the top educational programs in the State of Delaware.” 

The ExCEL program was developed in the 1980s to provide enrichment opportunities for high-achieving gifted and talented elementary students. Since that time, the program has been redesigned several times to reflect the ever-changing needs in the educational world. For the past four years, the focus has been on STEM-related content.

In November, Isaacs and Keenan took second place in the elementary school category of the STEM Educator Awards during the Delaware STEM Symposium. The awards recognize teachers or teams of teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels who demonstrate STEM innovation and excellence through teaching, academic collaboration and student engagement. 

Funded by the local business community, Superstars in Education is a statewide awards program that seeks to promote and share programs and best practices in education that show measurable results and raise student achievement. Since its inception in 1989, the program has honored more than 260 educational programs in the State of Delaware.

All of the 2017 Superstars winners will be honored at a special ceremony on May 8 at Wilmington University’s Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium.

This year’s honor is the Indian River School District’s 22nd Superstars in Education award. Previous district winners were Frankford Elementary School (1992 and 2010), East Millsboro Elementary School (1993), the district’s childcare providers’ workshop (1994), Lord Baltimore Elementary School (1998), Howard T. Ennis School (2000 and 2011), Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. (2000), the Outdoor Education Center at Ingram Pond (2001), the middle school “Meet the Challenge” program (2005), the district’s “Leadership Institute: The 2% Solution” program (2006), Southern Delaware School of the Arts (2008), Long Neck Elementary School (2008 and 2011), the district’s “Home Grown by Indian River: An Administrative Development Model” program (2009), Phillip C. Showell Elementary School (2010), Georgetown Middle School (2014), the district’s “BRINC: Linking to the Future” program (2014), Sussex Central High School (2016) and the Accelerating Pre-Literate English Language Learners program (2016). The district’s “Walk the Talk” program also received the Superstars Sustainability Award in 2010.