Students crave connection and interaction, and an online setting can make that difficult to achieve. At Excel, we understand this important socio-emotional need, so we’ve launched a new opportunity for our students to connect and engage with each other and our staff. Excel Middle School students have the chance to participate in Conversation Club, while Excel High School aged students can sign up for High School Hangout. These one-hour sessions will be conducted every 4-6 weeks, giving students an opportunity for guided as well as open discussion and connection with their peers.
The goal of the sessions is to help our students build community through interaction with their peers. We understand the need for our students to discuss the topics important to them, to find commonalities, and to understand their differences. Students are not required to participate or even to be on camera during these group sessions; they can choose to observe with limited or no participation at all. For students who are hesitant or feel anxious about being put on the spot, don’t worry! No on is going to force you to speak until you feel comfortable to do so yourself.
Interaction with peers and open discussion is important, but another goal of these sessions is for our staff to provide guidance. During our sessions, students will receive direction from school staff members that will help them focus on success in our programs.
Each session will cover different topics, polling questions, and steps for success. We want to encourage our students to understand how to be successful in our user platform and in their courses. After some ice breaker style conversation time led by staff, students might learn about how to finish the school year on time so that they can enjoy the summer. In some sessions, we’ll conduct informal polling questions, and in most of the sessions, students will participate in breakout groups by grade level based on the number of registered participants.
Students can even let us know what topics they would like covered by emailing their Academic Success Coach. If you’re unsure about who your Success Coach is, you can find that information in an email that they sent to you after you were enrolled in your courses. They reached out to you at the start of your enrollment in an email message called “Tools for Success.” That email contained resources about how to contact your Academic Success Coach and a link to Success Coach Corner, a helpful student resource provided by the team.
As we move forward and expand this program, we look toward a future where your students’ subject matter experts will conduct live sessions to help students with specific academic topics. In these academic sessions, students will be given time to connect with instructors who will cover specific topics for their courses.
How to Sign Up
Signing up is easy! You will find a registration link in an announcement about a week before the session. These announcements will be made through our learning management system, where you access your courses. After the announcement, students need to register in order to participate so that our staff has a headcount for each session. We also take the time to verify that each registered participant is an Excel Education Systems student since keeping our students safe is a major priority in any venture such as this.
Registered students will receive a link to the meeting 24 hours before the event via the email that they used to register for the session. Because the meetings are held live through Zoom, students will need to make sure that they’ve downloaded this free resource in order to participate.
Questions and Troubleshooting
If you or your student faces any difficulty getting signed up or they’re struggling to use their link on the day of the session, it’s important to call the school right away at 800-620-3844. Each session is locked after 15 minutes, so if you can’t get in by that time, your best bet is to sign up for the next session and contact the school or email your success coach to make sure you know the process ahead of time for getting in on the Zoom call.
We are excited for this opportunity for our student community to grow together. Guiding our students toward success through community building is the goal of Conversation Club and High School Hangout. If you’re ready to participate, be sure to watch for the announcements and sign up for the next session. We can’t wait to get to know you better!