STARS Academy engages students in an academically rigorous, equitable education program through arts integration and interdisciplinary study. Our school includes dedicated dance, visual arts, and music teachers as a way to effectively engage visual arts, dance, music, and theater into the curriculum. This integration allows creative expression for students through both mind and body, as they bring their ideas and dreams to life. STARS Academy believes that exposing children to the arts helps them become more successful students, better connected to their communities, more confident in their personal development, and better prepared for their careers. Through these opportunities, students become well-versed in a wide range of art media and techniques.
STARS Academy believes in an active learning process, rather than passively receiving teachers’ knowledge. Lessons integrate multiple content and performance standards, build upon prior knowledge, and allow for reflection, self-assessment, and metacognition. STARS Academy brings learning alive as students apply classroom learning to tangible problem solving. Students learn about and value academic disciplines by connecting the arts with core subjects such as math, reading, and science. As the arts require so many valuable qualities such as imagination, creativity, critical thinking, self-discipline, and confidence, at STARS Academy students are able to develop strong cognitive habits that continue with them into adulthood and their careers.
In addition to the academic benefits of the arts, they also impact emotional and social understanding. A benefit of the arts is that they remove boundaries. By doing so, students are able to experience and understand the increasingly complex world around them in a safe and creative way. Additionally, the arts promote positive social development and joyful learning through dance, music, theater and visual arts, keeping students engaged in their education and school. Ultimately, through an arts-integrated school, educators are able to provide their students with both an indispensable and invaluable opportunity to learn. These students have goals that enable them to become competent, self-motivated, and life-long learners.
STARS Academy’s student-centered learning focuses on a personalized approach to learning. We see arts integration as fundamental to our educational program. However, it is not the entirety of our program. Our goal is individual student success, both academically and socially. At STARS Academy, teachers come to know students individually, and work as a team to address each student’s academic and social needs. We embrace learning as a dynamic experience in which children actively participate in inquiry processes with their teachers. Additionally, our goal is to develop student leaders through peer practice partnerships and collaborative creation.
STARS Academy provides our students opportunities to showcase their learning in public through family events, presentations, and publications. Our students are empowered to take on responsibility, advocate to effect and create change, and develop a sense of self. They constantly reflect on their own learning across all subject areas. This extensive reflection lies at the base of cognitive development. It also builds critical thinking skills in children that allow students to examine and make sense of the world. To help students develop the qualities of a 21st century learner, we push students to develop the skills and motivation they need to become life-long learners. We believe that learning occurs when student’s mental models are adjusted, as are their existing set of beliefs, to accommodate new experiences.
STARS Academy utilizes/incorporates non-discriminatory and inclusive policies, practices, and pedagogies at all times. All students see themselves as vital components of the school culture. STARS Academy employs the practice of co-teaching in order to better serve our students, some of whom have disabilities and can remain in their class all day due to this model. Our general education teachers and special education teachers deliver lessons, often together, to various classes. This level of parity between general education and special education is reinforced throughout the school.