We want to focus on how STEM–that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math–skills can form the core of a curriculum that covers all of the core subjects.Yes, that includes even social studies and language arts!

As noted in this blog post by staff at Portland, Oregon’s Concordia University, the old attitudes that say that STEM skills and language arts are totally distinct from each other are simply outmoded. To quote the article, “the two fit nicely together, building upon and reinforcing the combined skills and content of each”. This post offers an array of helpful and inspiring links, including a helpful illustration, created by Stanford University, that shows how traditional STEM skills naturally overlap with language arts curriculum.

View Full Diagram

And the National Council for Social Studies echoes this assessment with regard to Stem and social studies curricula. In his article, Executive Director Lawrence Paska calls attention to the fact that both STEM and social studies are designed to bring together multiple disciplines into a new way of understanding the world around us: “When partnered together, “STEM” and “social studies” enable us to ask deeper questions and propose sharper conclusions based on a wide body of evidence.” 

At Star Academy, we are focused on delivering a standards-based program that carries a STEM focus throughout the students’ day–from science and math to english and social studies–through engaging, kinesthetic, project-based instruction. We know from experience that this approach can have a dramatic impact on even disengaged, academically vulnerable students.

To learn more about how Star Academy is helping students achieve lasting success, please visit our website, or contact us.

We look forward to sharing more new ideas in our next issue.

The Significance of Soft Skills

One of the most important aspects of our success with students is in helping them build so-called “soft skills”; that is, the social and interpersonal behaviors that are key indicators of employability, workplace readiness, and long-term personal and professional achievement. Because we’re always on the lookout for great ideas, inspirational stories, and especially cutting-edge scientific data, we were pleased to find a video that summarizes the important work on this topic done by Dr. Christy Lleras of the University of Illinois.

Click to Watch

We agree with Dr. Lleras that, as important as it is to help vulnerable students raise their test scores and other measures of academic improvement, helping them strengthen motivation, cooperation, and strong work habits can be just as vital in helping them find long-term success in their careers and lives.

The Star Academy program fosters a unique environment where cooperative, hands-on learning is an everyday experience, helping students learn precisely the soft skills that they may not have developed previously, due to personal, economic, or other challenges in their lives.

To learn more about Dr. Lleras’ work, we encourage you to review her paper on this topic. To learn more about how Star Academy is helping students achieve lasting success, please visit our website, or contact us.

We look forward to sharing new insights in our next issue.

A Peek into Our Classrooms

The Star Academy program is designed to be a comprehensive school-within-a-school. Five classrooms are used for Math, Science, ELA and Social Studies.

Transformed Learning Environment

Star Academy transforms existing classrooms into new learning environments. The academy includes computers for every student, all project equipment, and custom furniture workstations that provide appropriate workspace for all of the program’s curriculum activities.


With great attention to detail, Nola Education has partnered with experts in architectural design to create an innovative, functional learning environment for every academy classroom.

Graduation Season!

We want to focus on graduation season — a time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate our students’ accomplishments and successes, and to start planning the ways that we’re going to make next year even better.

This is our favorite time of year at Star Academy. As a business, we work day in and day out with dedicated educators and administrators, always seeking new ways to help students succeed. And we’re incredibly proud of this year’s crop of Star Academy grads who are getting the most out of what they’ve learned from our award-winning, STEM-focused, standards-based program, and using it every day as they transition into colleges and careers.

As we watch them move their tassels from right to left at their graduation ceremonies, we reflect on how far they’ve come. Many students who have benefited from the Star Academy started out disengaged, academically vulnerable, and in danger of dropping out. But by taking advantage of our program’s rigorous, kinesthetic, project-based instructional approach, they learn the academic and interpersonal skills they need to succeed in the next phases of their lives.

Star Student Spotlight

We’re particularly proud of Austin N Johnson, who recently completed the Star Academy Program at George County High School in Lucedale, Mississippi. To support him as he heads to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to pursue a petroleum engineering degree, we are proud to award him with a $500 scholarship.

“Star Academy, to me, was the best part of my school career,” says Austin. “It was a chance for me to be successful in school. I learned new ways to learn and the hands-on teaching helped me a lot. The biggest impact Star Academy had on me was that my class was more of a family than just regular people I went to school with. I looked forward to going to school with my friends every day!”

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Austin. We look forward to sharing more stories with you in a couple of weeks. To learn more about how Star Academy is helping students achieve lasting success, please visit our website, or contact us.