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EXCEL Program: Executive Functioning Skills

At BWL, we are committed to every child who wishes to access our mainstream, traditional, rigorous academic program.

Recognizing that some students benefit from individualized instruction provided by evidence-based instructional programming to build essential reading, math, writing, and executive functioning skills, we have created the EXCEL Program —an innovative program committed to providing students with the most effective interventions and strategic instructional approaches which are also integrated into the overall BWL daily curriculum. 

What is the EXCEL Program?

The EXCEL Program at BWL is an innovative program designed to provide targeted executive functioning support for our students in grades 4–12. This is a comprehensive initiative to develop the students’ executive functioning skills around attention, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. The program matches each student with a state-licensed educator trained in executive functioning. They work closely with their students to cultivate positive habit-building of executive functioning skills and strategies for organization, time management, task initiation, planning and prioritizing, sustained attention, and flexible thinking.

What specialized approach is used within the EXCEL Program?

EXCEL Learning Specialists use a combination of evidence-based programs such as the Evolved Education EF Integrated Coaching Model, and the latest research to explicitly teach techniques that focus on each student's individual learning needs in the area of executive functioning, as well as personalized strategies to support their reading, writing, and math skill development.
  
All BWL teachers are trained in improving and developing the executive function skills for the students. Our EXCEL team communicates regularly with each student's content-area teachers and grade-level advisors. This consistent communication helps to transfer skills, enabling students to effectively and efficiently apply the strategies learned in EXCEL to be successful in their classes.

Key Features of the Program:

  • Individual Sessions: Each student will be paired with a dedicated EXCEL Learning Specialist who will meet with them individually twice weekly to teach executive functioning skills and strategies tailored to the student’s personal learning needs.
  • Academic Lab/Small Group Sessions: Academic Lab groups meet up to three times per week. During these small group sessions, students practice using the executive functioning strategies learned during their 1:1 session with greater independence, with the support of an EXCEL Learning Specialist. 
  • Explicit and Integrated Teaching: During these instructional sessions, the student's teacher will explicitly teach executive functioning strategies utilizing research-based instructional models that target a specific area of need, such as attention, working memory, or cognitive flexibility. These strategies are taught as the student progresses through the BWL curriculum.
  • Personalized Strategy Document: As each student progresses through the program, they will compile learned strategies in a strategy document to reference for future use.
  • Collaborative Approach: The strategies developed and practiced during instructional sessions will be shared with all stakeholders, ensuring a collaborative effort to support growth.
  • Habit Formation: Through consistent practice during sessions, the student will gradually integrate these strategies into their routine until they become habitual, promoting long-term success.

“My son’s homework is done with no drama. It's fantastic! My goal for him by the end of next year is to find a way to replicate this structured study environment at home somehow. Or alternatively, take you to college with him!”

Parent of 11th grade EXCEL Student

“My son is very motivated to do well and sees the results when he puts in the effort. He has much more willingness to seek out help for his work within school from his teachers and out-of-school resources. He also appreciates having time in the school day and during the week to review and work on assignments and strategies.”

Parent of 10th grade EXCEL Student

”It taught me how to hold myself accountable and get organized inside and outside school by using strategies personalized for me. It’s also a community where I’ve made friends.”

8th grade EXCEL student

“EXCEL was extremely helpful and one of the best programs the school has ever added. I was able to get so much work done and get help whenever I needed on any assignment. I think EXCEL really helped me improve this year.”

9th grade EXCEL student

“EXCEL was immensely helpful in multiple aspects. It helped with my confidence in certain subjects, organizational skills, and more.”

12th grade EXCEL student

“I love my relationships with the EXCEL teachers. Every single one always helps me and gives me academic advice and strategies, and are always there for me and just always do their best!!”

9th grade EXCEL student

“The best part about EXCEL was knowing I always had support and being able to get help when I was stressed and overwhelmed.”

12th grade EXCEL student

“All the EXCEL teachers made it so fun and in a helpful way with getting early head starts, using new skills, and looking at feedback.”

9th grade EXCEL student

How are students assessed before, during, and at the completion of the EXCEL Program? 

All students applying to the  EXCEL Program are asked to submit any educational documentation, including but not limited to, neuropsychological assessment, IEP/IESP, 504, etc. The EXCEL Admissions Committee will review applications without these documents. Prospective students will be assessed using the Mindprint Learning Assessment and the Brown Executive Function Scale. 

During and at the completion of their participation in the EXCEL Program, students will be assessed using running records and the Brown Executive Functioning Scale to indicate mastery of individualized goals. Written feedback will be provided by the EXCEL Learning Specialist for all 1:1 sessions.

By the Numbers

Results of 2023–2024 Assessments

Students and parents completed the Brown Executive Function/Attention Assessment before the program in the spring of 2023 and just recently in May 2024. This self-reported assessment measures a wide range of executive function areas including activation, focus, effort, emotion, memory, and action. Our data show EXCEL students experienced significant improvements across all areas, with the biggest gains in activation, effort, and emotion. These results are particularly impressive after only one year of the program’s implementation.

 

Total composite scores improved by an average of 29% across all areas.

35% Improvement in Activation

Activation indicates the ability to get started on tasks, and includes skills around organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, prioritizing tasks, and getting started on work tasks.

30% Improvement in Effort

Effort refers to energy and measures the ability to sustain effort for the duration of tasks and complete tasks requiring specificity.

34% Improvement in Emotion

Emotion measures whether a person is quick to feel annoyance, frustration, sudden surges of anger, or extreme sensitivity.

EXCEL Program Director

Mary Ann Lettieri, M.S. Special Education, Permanently Licensed NYS & NYC Special Education Teacher N-12; Elementary Education K-6.

EXCEL Program Advisors

Mary Miele, M.A.Ed. Permanently Licensed NYS & NYC Special Education Teacher K-12; Creator of Integrated EF Model; College Advisor & Agent with British Council 

Kim Kramer, M.S. Ed, M.S., CCC-SLP, C-SLDS, Permanently Licensed NYS & NYC Special Education Teacher N-21, Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, CERI Certified, Orton-Gillingham Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist

How to Apply

All students interested in the EXCEL Program are required to go through our assessment process. Testing dates can be chosen on the EXCEL Assessment Registration Form. After the assessment, a 30-minute feedback session will be scheduled with a member of the EXCEL Team to review the results. Decisions for the EXCEL Program will be made in accordance with ISAAGNY guidelines and notification will follow decision dates per grade. IEP/IESP and/or Neuropsych evaluation should be shared directly with the EXCEL Team at excel@gbwl.org.

Prospective BWL students and families:
The first step in applying for the EXCEL Program is to visit the Admissions section of the BWL website. Once the Admissions application is submitted, follow the instructions to apply to the EXCEL Program and fill out the Excel Program Assessment Registration Form.

Current BWL students:
If you are interested in applying for this program, please fill out the Excel Program Assessment Registration Form.

 

2024-2025 EXCEL Tuition

$25,000