UCLA Center X is pleased to announce the start of ExcEL 2026, the latest iteration of the ExcEL Leadership Academy! ExcEL 2026 is a five-year program funded through the National Professional Development (NPD) grants offered by the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition. This is our third NPD grant and we are excited to continue to build on the accomplishments of the previous two while also exploring new avenues for professional growth.
ExcEL 2026 will allow us to expand the Academy from our current sites in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island to northern New England where we will focus on supporting teachers in rural and remote schools across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The population of English Learners in these states has doubled in the past 20 years, and there are currently 13,000 across the region. This population continues to grow in rural areas through agricultural employment, immigrant resettlement programs, and other benefits provided by small towns. Unfortunately, many schools and teachers lack the resources to work with English Learners as districts struggle to afford full-time ESL or Bilingual specialists.
ExcEL 2026 is aimed at addressing this issue directly by working with all classroom teachers to build the foundational capacity to effectively work with their English Learners through activities and practices that can be integrated into their current classroom routines. All teachers who participate in the program will become eligible to receive endorsement as an ESL specialist.
ExcEL 2026 also provides an important opportunity to research the efficacy of our approach helping to provide better insight into effective teaching practices allowing us to provide more focused and powerful professional learning opportunities for teachers.
For this program, we have partnered with the Lewiston (ME) Public Schools, which will serve as the ‘hub’ for our new sites. The Maine Department of Education, Vermont Agency of Education, and the Vermont Rural Education Collaborative will also be serving as partners for this program.