Excel Academy staff and administrators joined with East Boston’s elected officials last Wednesday to cut ribbon on Excel Academy’s new facility on Moore Street.
The renovations to the building, which once housed the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea School, were completed just before the 2012-2013 school year.
Excel’s Director Yutaka Tamura took the opportunity to showcase the school’s MCAS scores. Tamura announced that last year’s 8th grade class ranked first in the state in English with 100 percent of the students scoring proficient. It was also announced that last year’s 7th grade class ranked first in the state in Math with 98 percent of the class scoring proficient on the MCAS exam.
Tamura had the current 8th grade class, which was last year’s number one ranked 7th grade class, stand and be recognized. The class received a standing ovation from the audience for their achievement.
“We have always believed that regardless of race or income background that kids in these neighborhoods can get a quality free education,” said Tamura.
Senator Anthony Petruccelli, who was an early supporter of the school, thanked Tamura and the Excel board for choosing Eastie when the school was first looking for a home back in 2002.
“It was great then and is great now to have a school of this caliber in the neighborhood,” said Petruccelli.
Excel serves more than 200 students in grades five through eight. Most students are from Eastie and Chelsea and speak a language other than English at home.
Throughout the summer construction crews worked on the interior of the existing building, the building underpinning, and work related to the elevator installation.
The renovation of the existing school building, and the construction of a 2,000-square-foot addition by architects Arrowstreet included a glass solarium as an entranceway to the school and adding attractive landscaping around the campus.
School administrators said the new building offers more traditional school amenities including larger classrooms, a 1,500-square-foot multi-purpose space, designated space for a computer lab and elements designed to support special education, English-language learner populations and extra-curricular programming.
While Excel has opened a second school in Chelsea and another in Boston in the Excel in Eastie will continue to expand.
While it was assumed Excel’s current location on Saratoga Street next to CVS Pharmacy would close once the new school at St. Mary’s opened, at a community meeting earlier this year Excel Academy Charter School’s Rebecca Cass said that was not the case.
“The plan is to move our current grades to the new school and begin a new crop of 5th through 8th graders at the current location on Saratoga Street,” said Cass.
Cass went on to say that Excel plans to expand the new St. Mary’s location to include a high school.
“This would meet the need of parents in the neighborhood by having two middle schools and one high school under the Excel name,” said Cass.