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SJCOE opening Excel Academy focusing on sports, health science
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It’s called Excel Academy, and it’s going to be the first of its kind when it opens its doors in August.

Excel is another brainchild of the San Joaquin County Office of Education which is already shepherding Venture Academy, a K-12 campus and one of the largest charter schools in San Joaquin County.

Excel is being touted as “the only collegiate sports and health science academy in San Joaquin County” by the county Office of Education.

The academy is targeting students from grades 7 to 12.

“It’s for kids who really want to go to college physically fit,” said SJCOE Superintendent Mick Founts about the new campus. But while the school will focus on sports and health science, academics will be strongly focused as well in the curriculum.

“We want them to enjoy athletics,” Founts said; however, the students also will learn that “there’s life after sports” and that includes being strong in academics.

He said that there are “so many kids” today who do not eat correctly, or exercise and stay healthy. Teaching these young children how to follow this health regimen as part of their daily life while pursuing an academically focused education will be central to Excel Academy’s curriculum.

Like other campuses, Excel will offer such sports activities as basketball, physical education, volleyball and soccer. But there will be no football offered because this is “really expensive,” as well as swimming because “we can’t afford a pool,” Founts said.

And like Venture Academy, there will be no fee to attend the school and will rely on ADA (average daily attendance) funds from the state.

The school is expected to open its doors in August with 150 students to start with, said SJCOE Public Information Officer Jacqueline Ratto.

“Any student in grades 7 to 12, who lives in San Joaquin County or a town that touches the borders of the county” is eligible to enroll, Ratto said.

The process of hiring a complete staff for the academy is still continuing. But some of them have been named. They are: Larissa Founts who will teach PE, advancement via individual determination as well as being the basketball coach; Megan Ankley who will be teaching science and Plato in addition to coaching volleyball, and Alex DeAlba who will be the school counselor and soccer coach.

Enrollment at Excel Academy is now under way for students “who want an education that uses a non-traditional thematic approach to learning,” Ratto stated.

Anyone who wants to know more about the new Excel Academy is invited to attend an informational presentation about the school on Monday, April 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. The meeting place will be at the site where Excel Academy is located, at 2720 Transworld Drive off Arch Road in Stockton in the county Office of Education office campus. Invited to attend are parents, kids in grades 6 to 11, community members and health buffs, Ratto said.

For more information about the San Joaquin County Office of Education and its various programs, visit For further details about Excel Academy, visit