A foundational goal of the ExCEL program is to recruit and partner with individuals who open to a vocation in Catholic school education. ExCEL understands the work of teaching in Catholic schools as a holy mission—one that shapes the future Church and brings about the Kingdom of God on earth. Thus, the program aims to partner with individuals who are excited by and take seriously the prospect of a career in Catholic education, who envision their opportunity in ExCEL as not just an chance to engage in temporary service, but as the first step in a lifelong calling to work with Catholic schools.
ExCEL also aims to develop teachers who learn about and practice social justice through a commitment to educational equity. In accordance with Catholic social teaching and the Church’s preferential option for the poor, ExCEL seeks to place teachers in Catholic schools where they are most needed: schools serving students from historically marginalized populations, schools that have been traditionally hard-to-staff, and/or schools that have fewer resources than neighboring communities. We in ExCEL believe that working, teaching, and learning with the least privileged sisters and brothers of our society not only brings special purpose to a vocation in teaching, but helps give each child of God what he, she, or they deserve (that is, seeks equity) and aligns with the Christ’s challenge to find himself in the “least” of our communities.
To help prepare and develop teachers for equity-oriented teaching, ExCEL requires its members to take two years of teacher preparation and induction courses at Santa Clara’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology. In these courses, ExCEL teachers study the practical methods of effective teaching; explore the pedagogical, social, and psychological theories underlying such methods; and engage in professional reflection towards lifelong development. These studies meet the California state coursework requirements for a teaching credential and Master of Arts in Teaching.
"In many classes at Santa Clara, assignments fit perfectly with what I was teaching or going to teach. I could easily implement classroom projects by trying out new practices with my own students. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your students succeed with practices you learned at graduate school."