Geary County Schools USD475 Celebrates Implementation of 8th Grade Magnet Program

The 8th Grade Magnet Program is designed to re-engage students with a non-traditional learning approach In specially designed modular classrooms installed at the HD Karns Building. Students in grades 7-8 experience innovative real-world learning designed to hold their interest and cater to their learning styles. The classrooms feature state-of-the art equipment, project-based learning and a layout that encourages teamwork and cooperative learning.

This comprehensive program is focused on helping students make the critical transition from middle school to high school. The program utilizes a hands-on, project-based learning approach that re-engages students and prepares them for future success in high school and beyond.

What: Ribbon Cutting & Open House Event

When: Tuesday, August 27, 2019
             Ribbon Cutting: 6:30 p.m.

Where: 8th Grade Magnet Program – HD Karns Building
             Geary County Schools USD475
             300 West 9th St
             Junction City, KS 66441

“The 8th Grade Magnet will insure, that our students attending the program, will be ready to be successful as they enter the 9th grade,” said Tom Wesoloski, HD Karns Building Principal. “The 8th Grade Magnet Program will captivate our students by, showing them the real-life connections to why subjects are taught and will inspire purpose and self-confidence through immersed sensory experiences that lead to independence, responsibility and success.”

The Magnet Program can serve over 100 students each year in Math, Science, English/Language Arts, Social studies, Physical Education, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). Additional support is available for Math and Reading.

Geary County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Reginald T. Eggleston, and Principal, Tom Wesoloski, will celebrate the new program with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony for the 8th Grade Magnet Program. The public is invited to attend and celebrate the opening.

Overview of Program

The 8th Grade Magnet Program is a school-within-a-school that enhances success for disengaged learners. Focused on helping students make the critical transition from middle school to high school, the program utilizes a hands-on, project-based learning approach that re-engages students and prepares students for future success in high school and beyond. This comprehensive program is tailored to meet the specific needs of a school, allowing the district to select up to eight courses from an offering of core courses in science, math, English, and social studies and elective courses in practical arts, life skills, technology, health-based instruction, and real-world career connections.

See original article here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/geary_county_schools_usd475_celebrates_implementation_of_8th_grade_magnet_program/prweb16515969.htm

Suburban Chicago School District Celebrates Implementation of Star Academy Program

The Rich Township High School District 227 celebrates the implementation of the Star Academy Program, a non-traditional learning model designed to help give students new hands-on options to increase engagement and stay on the path to graduation.

Introduced in the Rich Township District 227 for 160 students, the Star Academy Program is recognized as one of the most effective hands-on education programs in the nation. The program will focus on Project-Based Learning (PBL), which is an instructional methodology that encourages students to learn and apply knowledge and skills through an engaging experience. PBL presents opportunities for deeper learning in-context and for the development of important skills tied to college and career readiness.

What: Ribbon Cutting & Open House Event

When: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
             5:30 p.m.
             Ribbon Cutting will be at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Rich South High School
         5000 Sauk Trail
             Richton Park, IL 60471

“The Star Academy doesn’t represent these students’ last chance at getting a diploma; it represents their best chance,” says Larry Varn, Principal of Rich South High School. “This is a new and exciting opportunity to learn in a way that they have not been exposed to before. In the Star Academy everything matters: every student, every class, and every day.”

The specifically designed program for Rich Township will be housed at the Rich South campus and will offer 9th through 12th grade students project-based activities in English, math, science and social studies during 90-minute class blocks. The program will be open to all students from the three Rich Township campuses, and students can choose to attend or be referred for admission into the program. If admitted to the program, students will have a differentiated instruction plan that will identify individual success pathways for college and career. In addition to the hands-on learning opportunities, the Star Academy Program allows students to earn a full credit for each course taken per semester.

About Star Academy Program
The Star Academy Program is a school-within-a-school that enhances success for disengaged learners. Focused on helping students make the critical transition from middle school to high school, the program utilizes a hands-on, project-based learning approach that re-engages students and prepares students for future success in high school and beyond. This comprehensive program is tailored to meet the specific needs of a school, allowing the district to select up to eight courses from an offering of core courses in science, math, English, and social studies and elective courses in practical arts, life skills, technology, health-based instruction, and real-world career connections.
Star Academy Program is a service of Nola Education, LLC.

See original article here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/suburban_chicago_school_district_celebrates_implementation_of_star_academy_program/prweb16924601.htm

McCormick (South Carolina) School District Adds Star Academy Program Classroom

The McCormick County School District yesterday showcased its new Star Academy Program, a “school within a school” that helps at-risk and disengaged students get back on path to graduation.

Introduced in McCormick at the start of this school year, the Star Academy Program is recognized as one of the most effective dropout prevention programs in the nation. Created in 2005 for the Pickens County South Carolina School District, the program is both an intervention and acceleration solution.

In a specially designed classroom that was installed at McCormick High School, students in grades 7-10 focus on English, math, science, and social studies. Students work intensively through a computer-based curriculum designed to hold their interest and cater to their learning styles, whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic. The classroom features state-of-the art equipment, project-based learning modules and a layout that encourages teamwork and cooperative learning.

McCormick County School District Superintendent Betty Bagley and McCormick High School Principal J. Steven English hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Star Academy Program.

“The Star Academy Program promises to help students who have fallen behind get back on the path to graduation,” said Bagley. “They’re generally students who really can achieve but who have not been able to find that real-life connection they need. This program captivates students and inspires purpose and self-confidence through immersed sensory experiences that lead to independence, responsibility and success.”

Bagley added that the community, as well as students and parents, will benefit from the workforce development aspects of the program. “In addition to learning science, math, English and social studies, students will develop skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving that make them more employable and better equipped for further skill development on the job or in college,” she said.

By adding the Star Academy Program, Bagley said McCormick Schools are making education more relevant to students. “They are anxious and eager learners once they are taught and convinced that (what they are learning) really does have meaning and means a career, a life and a way to take care of their families,” she added.

The program serves 80 students each year. Classes are scheduled in 80 to 90-minute blocks for courses in Math, Science, English/Language Arts and Science.

The Star Academy Program is a service of NOLA Education.

John Alvendia, chief executive officer of Nola Education, was among the guests at the event.

“Our goal is to create an educational environment in McCormick where at-risk and disengaged students are captivated and inspired to succeed. We are proud to provide this opportunity for students to use hands-on activities in core subject areas while developing critical thinking skills that will prepare students for a successful future,” Alvendia said.

The Star Academy Program has been implemented in more than 40 middle and high schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Texas. Based on a comprehensive set of data compiled from 2005 until 2016, 83% of participants completed the program and continued into high school. Of those, 74% accelerated two grade levels in one year. The results were achieved while serving a student population that typically sees an 85% dropout rate.

The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) recognized Star Academy Programs in Pickens County, South Carolina; Richland County, South Carolina and Berkeley County, South Carolina with Crystal Star Awards for their exemplary dropout prevention practices, including high success rates.

The Star Academy Program earned the Berkeley County School District a coveted “Districts of Distinction” award in 2018 from District Administrator magazine.

NDPC also cited Star Academy Program as a national model dropout prevention program.

About Star Academy Program

The Star Academy Program is a school-within-a-school that enhances success for disengaged learners and at-risk students. Focused on helping students make the critical transition from middle school to high school, Star Academy Program utilizes a hands-on, project-based learning approach that re-engages students and prevents them from dropping out of school. This comprehensive program is tailored to meet the specific needs of a school, allowing the district to select up to eight courses from an offering of core courses in science, math, English, and social studies and elective courses in practical arts, life skills, technology, and health-based instruction, and real-world career connections.
Star Academy Program is a service of Nola Education LLC.

See original article at: https://www.prweb.com/releases/mccormick_south_carolina_school_district_adds_star_academy_program_classroom/prweb15801167.htm

Star Academy in full swing in McCormick schools

The first semester of McCormick County School District’s Star Academy Program — a “school within a school” — is in full swing, and to celebrate its first year, the district held a ribbon cutting at its high school.

The hope is that it will have a profound effect on the rates at which students drop out and graduate in McCormick.

“These are not 1960s high school students,” interim Superintendent Betty Bagley said. Lessons will be made relevant and tangible by tying concepts to real-life scenarios and providing hands-on experiences.

Star Academy is focused on eighth- and ninth-graders, Star Academy sales manager Sam Zimmer said, because their research has shown that students who drop out typically do so by the ninth grade.

“All we need is the classroom and teachers,” Zimmer said. Training, furniture, modules and computers are provided by Star Academy.

“Teachers are more like facilitators,” Zimmer said, helping students, who do the majority of their work on computers, when they struggle with an assignment.

Lee Hunt, a social studies teacher at McCormick High, said “It’s been a learning curve for both the students and the teachers,” Although it took several weeks to get used to the program, Hunt likes it.

Regular classes have 18 to 25 students, Hunt said. The largest Star Academy class has 16 students.

“To be honest, I thought it was gonna be lame,” said Ka’Lynn Neal, a student in Hunt’s class. But she likes the intimate atmosphere and the option of taking a Chromebook home to finish work she wasn’t able to complete in class.

Best of all, “It’s not like the teacher is blabbing on about stuff you won’t even remember,” Neal said.

The Star Academy Program, a subsidiary of NOLA Education LLC, services districts in several states. It serves other districts in South Carolina, including districts in Pickens, Berkeley and Richland counties.

This is not Bagley’s first time at the helm of a school district offering Star Academy classes.

When Bagley was superintendent of Anderson School District 5, its schools featured Star Academy classes. Having seen the effect it had on student outcomes and dropout rates there, Bagley embraced bringing the program to McCormick.

Anderson 5 no longer has Star Academy, however. School districts, including Anderson 5, had to slash budgets during the Great Recession. Star Academy is expensive, Bagley said, and they could no longer afford it.

Indeed this program will cost almost $1 million over three years, Bagley said. The district’s budget is roughly $10 million.

Money to pay for the program was in a proviso approved by the state Legislature but overridden by Gov. Henry McMaster. If the veto is not overridden in a session held next week, the district, rather than the assembly, will have to pay for it.

The district decided to move forward with the program despite the possibility that it would have to foot the bill “because it was obvious the students need it,” Bagley said.

Nevertheless, Bagley said she would like to spread the program across all grade levels. Hunt, who has been a teacher in McCormick for 14 years, likes the idea. All teachers deal with some level of burnout and could benefit from a wholesale change every couple of years, he said.

“I prefer this,” Hunt said. “I needed a change of pace.”

See original article at: https://www.indexjournal.com/news/star-academy-in-full-swing-in-mccormick-schools/article_6128f005-d2e6-5d93-847b-4277762a2303.html