The entire staff is a positive, motivated group that works collaboratively to benefit all children. Teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers, as well as the principal and the secretary are incredibly committed to making connections with students and doing what is best for student learning.
Star School has been named a REWARD SCHOOL and a BEAT THE ODD SCHOOL since 2009 to the present. Before then, Star School has earned the Golden Apple Award. On the MEAP assessment, Star School also performs in the 95th percentile in the state of Michigan, higher than many schools in the surrounding area. Scores can be compared on mischooldata.org.
All teachers are involved in the School Improvement Process and participate in the District Improvement Plan. They work to improve student learning by creating goals and action plans that promote student growth. Teachers embraced the opportunity to accomplish goals and talk about best teaching practices during staff meetings and school improvement meetings.
All teachers have been trained in Capturing Kids Hearts, a program that fosters building meaningful relationships with students in order to create a positive learning environment.
Interventions are provided for all students who need extra help and enrichment activities to keep accelerated students engaged and learning. Teachers collaborate across grade levels in order to provide the best instruction for individual students.
The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is very involved in everyday activities at Star School. They provide opportunities for students such as Birthday Club, Popcorn Day, a weekly Walking Club, Movie Night, Winter Carnival, Fall Fundraiser, Art Reach, March is Reading Month, Pajama Night, Pizza Hut and McDonald's Nights, and much more. The PTO also provides educational opportunities for all students by funding new technology, field trips, classroom libraries, classroom equipment and materials.
Teachers have identified essential Common Core Standards at teach grade level to ensure and confirm the coverage of curriculum.
Teachers assess Reading, Writing and Math on an individual basis, conferencing and teaching students one on one to ensure learning at each student's level. Teachers use the Daily Five format, Café reading strategies, DIBELS Next assessments, Writer's Workshop, and Advantage Math assessments and strategies to inform their instruction for individual students. Teachers know the importance of using student data to inform instruction and create lessons.
Star School teachers team with grade level partners, using their best strengths to provide the best instruction possible for students. They plan together weekly and sometime daily and teach with both grade level teachers in the room, making it possible for whole group instruction and individualized help simultaneously.
Fourth and Fifth grade students LOOP with their teacher for two years, keeping procedures, routines, interventions, and instruction, and student learning consistent.• Students and teachers develop deep relationships and deep understanding of learning needs within these classrooms.
It is very evident that teachers consciously use higher level thinking questions in order to produce students who can evaluate, synthesize, analyze, and problem solve.
Teachers use technology throughout their lessons, providing engaging experiences for students. Students are allowed to publish and share their writing by creating books and using technology as well as use reading and math programs to build fluency and skills. A computer lab, mobile laptop carts, Kindles and iPads, interactive Smartboards, and document cameras are used daily to enhance learning.
Common planning time is used to develop lessons, share teaching strategies, and to discuss student performance. Professional learning communities are comprised of grade level and cross grade level teachers.
Very successful student teachers are produced from our building. Teachers are very willing to work with new teachers and ask to have student teachers each year.
Many worthwhile field trips were successfully planned to provide more opportunities for students. The PTO and HEEF (Hastings Educational Enrichment Foundation) provide funds to support these nontraditional classroom settings.
Through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, Star School has many mentors who visit weekly to work closely with at risk students. These mentors are often dedicated community members or high school honors students.
The Foster Grandparent Program provides three grandparents to work with at risk students in the lower elementary classrooms at Star School. These women dedicate 3-4 days each week and provide needed interventions and individualized attention to students.
The Reading Improvement Program offers after school tutoring for at risk students, providing instruction from dedicated community members who work with students on homework and prescribed lessons.
Students are recognized each trimester at the Honor's Assemblies, awarding extraordinary projects, citizenship, and good behavior.
Students attend Character Assemblies using the True Success Program donated by Hastings Mutual Insurance Company. These whole school lessons give upper elementary students a chance to mentor lower elementary students and talk about difficult decisions and situations.
Over 95% of Star School parents attend Parent/Teacher Conferences.
Other Points of Pride
A positive, friendly and orderly building atmosphere
Assemblies such as Honors Assemblies, Character Assemblies, March Read-a-thon, Officer Bailey, Star School Talent Show, Barry County Humane Society, local veterans, local dental hygienists, Consumers Energy, the NED Show, and police.
Battle of the Books
Caught Being Good Awards
Dance with the Stars - PTO fall fundraiser
Field trips to the Kalamazoo Symphony, Pennock Hospital; State Capitol and Museum, swimming trips to the Community Education Recreation Center, The Revue, Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek Wildcats game, fifth grade middle school tour, Ag Awareness Day, fishing at Fish Hatchery Park, The Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Gilmore Car Museum, Hastings Courts and Law building, etc.
Fifth Grade Camp
Fifth Grade Safety Patrol
Fifth grade Spelling Bee
Good attendance for special Star School evening programs
Holiday Food Drive
Jo Stebbins Art Gallery
March is Reading Month activities such as Pajama Night and the Read-a-thon.
Popcorn day each month
Spring Musical program
Student Council organizes school-wide activities such as pencil sales and school clean-up efforts.
Third Grade Hallway Helpers
Many Star School dads participate in the WatchD.O.G. program, where they volunteer for security reasons during the school day. These dads patrol the school grounds, help out in the classrooms, monitor the playground and are positive and influential role models for students.