Barnwell, SC – April 25, 2023 – Members of Barnwell School District 45 (BSD45) and the community came together for a ribbon cutting celebration that took place at Barnwell High School to showcase the hands-on learning of the Star Academy program. BSD45 was a recipient of an Innovation Grant, a grant award designed to support innovation and career-focused learning.
Star Academy is a dynamic STEM-driven, hands-on program proven to advance and inspire students through its project-based and technology-driven curriculum. Through their courses within the program, students can work both independently and collaboratively to develop academic, leadership, and employability skills. Star Academy reinforces learning by tying lessons back to real-world scenarios and careers that students might experience outside of the classroom. Within BSD45, students at Guinyard-Butler Middle School and Barnwell High School have the opportunity to be a part of the Star Academy program.
When asked how this program aligns with the district’s initiatives and their goals for student success, Superintendent Crissie Stapleton shared, “One of our greatest goals with implementing the Star Academy at the middle level first was to focus on helping students make the critical transition from middle school to high school. Because the program utilizes a hands-on, project based learning approach, we have seen that it re-engages students and prepares students for future success in high school and beyond. We were so blessed to be able to implement the program at the high school, as well, so we could help students who may not have been able to benefit from the program when they were in the middle school.”
As part of the event, those in attendance had the opportunity to tour the Star Academy
classrooms and see the learning in action. Student ambassadors chosen to assist with the tours led guests through their classrooms and were able to share their firsthand experiences of the program.
“Sometimes students struggle early on with the Star Academy model because it is so different from what they’re used to in traditional classrooms. At Star Academy, each student is in his or her own driver’s seat and take ownership of their education and their growth as an individual – work ethic, accountability, collaboration, and more. Once they understand and embrace the model and begin to empower themselves with it, they’re headed off towards success – fast!” shared Denise James, Star Academy Director at Guinyard-Butler Middle School.