ExCEL Program Helps Enhance Learning in Bridgeton

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BRIDGETON - School is back in session and the ExCEL Program in Bridgeton is putting in the Extra Commitment to Enhance Learning.

Organizers said that ExCEL strives to challenge a student, to make them a better person. Not just in the classroom, but for the future.Head teacher Isais Garza said it isn’t just for students on the honor roll."I just want a student who wants to accept the challenge to be a better student, to develop the potential," said Garza.54 students, picked because of their dedication, spend sixth through eighth grade in the intensive program that runs from September to July. Smaller class sizes make teachers like Deena Osmer thankful to teach committed students."These students are very grateful for the education they’re getting here at ExCEL," said Deena Osmer, Science Teacher. "It’s a higher quality education because its more intensive. Even though my day is longer, my week is longer and my school year is longer. I’m a lot less stressed."Cumberland County Teacher of the Year Belinda Murphy is so passionate about ExCEL, that she travels all the way from Cape May County to teach math."I learned about this program about 12 years ago," said Murphy. "It’s just very unique, the six days a week, the longer day, all the kids play musical instruments."In order to help form a student into a well-rounded person, they take a music class to learn how to read music and play a string instrument. The six day a week program asks for dedicated teachers, which the program has seventeen of."It’s a reason to get up in the morning and be proud," said Brill Stech, Social Studies Teacher. "Aside from my own family this is the thing I’m proudest of in my life."In its fourteen years, the program has strived for greatness and achieved it with a boost in test scores."Families want their students to be here because it is working," said Murphy.Officials said that ExCEL is working so well that Bridgeton High School has adopted a smaller version of the program.SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source based in Millville, New Jersey that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.