Stepping into Excel High every morning as the sun rises is horrid as we are bombarded by security guards yelling at us to get in line, empty our pockets, and take our bags off as if this were some sort of prison. If you haven’t caught it yet, we go through metal detectors every morning without fail.
According to U.S. News Excel has a 78% graduation rate, 22% science proficiency, 33% mathematics proficiency, 29% reading proficiency, and science proficiency, and a 16.8/100 college readiness.
As a student at Excel, it has been a horrible experience. If not every day then every other day something is going on other than learning. Whether it’s a fight, fire alarm, or school-wide safety mode, we are being pulled away from learning constantly. School should not be like this. Although the structure of the school is breathtaking. Everything else is horrible. Some might argue that within the midst of the horrible things that are happening, there is some good like the AP classes, the clubs, and sports. However, the AP classes we have are scarce and mostly online, and no one wants to repeat the COVID-19 learning experience. As for the sports we only have a few and only two of which are actually good (volleyball and boys soccer).
I got trapped in this school because of the misleading school website that promoted all the things they previously offered. It’s taken them three years and counting to fix the school website which leaves me to believe the inadequacy of the staff and students is ultimately going to be the demise of Excel High.
A teacher who did not want to be named had this to share: “I started off as a middle school teacher. But I didn’t like the curriculum so I switched to high school. As a teacher who has taught at Excel High for seven years, I choose to stay because despite all the challenges there is a group of students that are good that need and deserve good teachers. They keep me motivated to do my job even though it’s really challenging. Compared to the other two schools.”
Matthew Marther, a senior at Excel High shared his reflections with me. “My perspective on Excel High is a pretty bad place to be in for a student who does their work and goes to class and follows proper courtesy. It’s a very bad school for me. What stopped me from leaving this school is the lack of options we have in BPS, because exams schools you can only get if you take an exam in the ninth [grade] and transfer after the ninth, every other school in BPS besides an exam is pretty crappy. The state segregated districts so I can only go to school in Boston. The bathroom here is crappy. I have a video of the bathroom where it looks like someone threw up blood. Someone tried to sell me drugs once. If the students cared, teachers would too.”
Excel High’s failure is a reminder of the importance of investing in education and providing the necessary resources to ensure that every child receives a quality education no matter the school’s reputation. By addressing the lack of adequate resources, implementing comprehensive academic programs, fostering effective leadership and administration, and establishing robust student support systems, Excel can regain its status as a quality institution. It is our responsibility as a community to come together and advocate for that change that is so desperately needed at this school.