This week the LA Parent Magazine 2012 Readers Choice BEST OF Issue hit newsstands and for the fourth year in a row LA’s parents have voted STAR Education the Best After School Program, Best Educational and Tutoring Program, Best Early Childhood Program, Best Summer Camp, Best Art Program and Best Performing Arts Program! We even came in second place for Best Cooking Program for the first time! (Next year we promise it will be first.)
For each category STAR qualifies for, we rose to the top, making us in the eyes of those that matter most, the parents, the BEST of the BEST in Los Angeles. Christine Abraham of Pacific Palisades called us “a working parent’s best friend”*. This proves, once again, that our continued and tireless dedication to bringing the families of Southern California the highest quality education, enrichment and recreation programs is what brings STAR Education back into the schools year after year.
STAR is always working for you and your children, making sure that our staff is thoroughly vetted while also meeting the highest standards of education and enthusiasm. We are always striving for new and innovative classes and curricula to keep our students learning, engaged and of course, having fun! Our educational successes are measurable. Beyond the Bell has called STAR Education the “golden standard” of after school education. Our staff has helped raise test scores by up to 44 points in this last year alone!
Our Galaxy programs are head and shoulders above the average after school child care program. We were rated the Best Educational and Tutoring Program because we give every STAR child specially designated time to do their homework and our college educated staff is there ready and excited to help.
“Parents rave about the professionalism and caring of the staff, convenience and affordability of the program, and the fun their kids have. They also enjoy that STAR gives kids a head-start on homework. ‘My child begs to stay every day after school,’ says Jillion Weisberg of Los Angeles. ‘I have to limit her to two classes a day because I miss her. She has taken everything from dance to gardening to science.’”*
There’s organized sports activities, as well as built-in enrichment classes at every school site. In 2011, we were voted the Best Sports Program in LA Parent as well!
We are dedicated to making our students STARs! In the last year our events have become even bigger powerhouses with our first RockSTAR WinterFest on the Sunset Strip giving our STAR kids the chance to rock out on professional stages TWICE in one year, including our 7th Annual Battle of the Bands at the House of Blues. We had two original plays: A Cinderella Tale taught students and audiences important lessons about preventing bullying during the winter session and My Favorite Alien, a technological and astronomical extravaganza inspired by Cirque du Soleil, brought STAR families to their feet in the spring. Our 12th Annual Children’s Earth Day at the STAR Eco Station not only featured performances by all of our STAR kids, but special appearances by local politicians like Culver City Mayor Andrew Weissman and former Mayor Micheál O’Leary, environmental organizations such as Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation and the cast of Disney’s A.N.T. Farm!
With after school programming budgets under the microscope, it is more important than ever that we honor your vote of confidence. Thank you for your incredible recognition of our organization, our magnificent, dedicated and enthusiastic staff and all of our hard work. All of our efforts are for you, the parents, and your children. We promise to continue to offer the same quality programming that has gained us such overwhelming support from the community. Thank you for making STAR Education a part of your lives!
*“Best of 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.” LA Parent August 1, 2012: 18-31.
STAR Education has been traveling around the country with RockSTAR Music Education to help turn kids’ rock ‘n’ roll dreams into reality! As STAR’s RockSTAR after school music classes come to a close for summer, RockSTAR students get the opportunity to play what they’ve learned in front of family, friends and fans on famous stages in their home towns. Spring has sure been busy, as STAR has planned shows in 5 cities across the US!
The RockSTAR program kicked off the first of the spring showcases at the B.B. Kings Blues Club in Nashville, TN. Nashville is known for being at the heart of the music industry in the United States , and after watching these kids rock out, we definitely know why!
Next stop was Sacramento, CA, with 4 of our RockSTAR bands showcasing their musical genius on the stage of the Half Time Bar & Grill! The number of bands may have been few but they were sure mighty, drawing a huge crowd of dedicated family, friends, and fans.
This past week was San Diego’s 4th Annual Spring Showcase at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego. Hosted by RockSTAR director Collin Winner, hundreds of fans came out to see their mini-rockers jam out on stage!
Coming up next is STAR Education’s RockSTAR 7th Annual Battle of the Bands at the House of Blues on Sunset. Throughout the weekend of June 2nd & 3rd, over 120 student rock ‘n’ roll bands will be taking the stage for our biggest Battle of the Bands yet!
And for those of you on the East Coast, STAR’s RockSTAR program will be traveling to New York City on June 9th at the Gibson Showroom to finish off their Spring Tour!
RockSTAR San Diego
RockSTAR San Diego
RockSTAR San Diego
The “Best Of L.A.” issue of L.A. Parent magazine hits newsstands today, and for the third year in a row STAR Education is proud to have been voted the Best After School Program, Best Tutoring Program, Best Early Childhood Program, Best Camps, and Best Sports Programs. It is another validation of our continuing success in bringing the highest-quality education, enrichment and recreation programs to deserving students throughout Southern California – and beyond!
STAR earned those votes through its massive and measurable success. On STAR-proctored exams, student math and literacy test scores rose as much as 200% through the help of our Tutoring Program, with all STAR students showing significant gains on their CST scores compared to students not enrolled in STAR.
Our After School Program continues to expand horizons for thousands of children every day through classes ranging everywhere from Ballet to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Our Camps offer children a playful break from the stresses of the school year, while subtly but firmly re-enforcing the lessons they have learned. Our Sports Program will expand even further this year, allowing the thousands of children who participate in our organized team sports to compete with each other in a huge STAR tournament.
STAR is the best across the boards, and we want to thank all of our talented staff, our dedicated instructors, our deeply involved parents and our wonderful students for keeping us at the top of our game. We are the best because of you, and we plan on being the best with you for a long, long time to come.
As we approach the twenty-fifth anniversary of STAR, we want to take a look back at all that we have accomplished over the years, as we grew from an organization with six staff members at one school to an educational institution with over 1,000 employees serving more than a million learners a year.
Many people think that the STAR program was easy to start. This could not be farther from the truth. It was an uphill struggle, involving huge personal donations and contributions from my family and I want to acknowledge and thank them, which I haven’t done in 24 years. Even today, staff members happily spend money out of their own pockets to help cover the costs whenever needed.
Staff members also routinely volunteer to work on nights and weekends, often staying in the office or at our community events until well past ten. It has not been easy, but it has been glorious. This non-profit has achieved great things through selfless sacrifice on the part of so many.
It is truly a labor of love for the children, for the schools, and for education itself. STAR’s educational outreach programs posted their best results ever this year, with students improving by as much as 200% on standardized evaluations thanks to our amazing IQ Go! Math and IQ Go! Literacy Departments.
This year has been full of special events, as our programs culminate in amazing performances, exhibits and celebrations. RockSTAR continues to rock the house, with a Battle of the Bands at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip that featured 130 awesome elementary school bands singing and playing their hearts out. RockSTAR students in San Diego also performed in a showcase at their local Hard Rock Cafe. RockSTAR will be the inaugural STAR program in our new Tennessee branch, with performances slated for Nashville elementary school students at B.B. King’s Blues Club. STAR continues to expand its scope, bringing enrichment and academic support to schools across the country.
STAR was selected by the L.A. Times to have our students perform at their annual Festival of Books at USC. The Times also requested our Language Department organize the day’s spelling Spanish bee, yet another testimony to the quality and professionalism of our programs.
The STAR Children’s Art Festival featured the work of more than 2,500 student artists who created pieces that incorporated all manner of media, from acrylic paint to pastels, from sculpture to beadwork, from minimalism to murals. This year the Art Festival also featured a series of workshops on digital photography, iPod and iPad art, jewelry making and more. For the Eco Station’s Green Halloween celebration, kids dressed up in costumes, tricked and treated, and learned from their favorite fairy tale characters ways they can help save the planet.
STAR hosted two new tournaments this year. The SkateSTAR tourney had STAR students busting radical moves and mingling with pro skaters. The STAR Chess Tournament of Kings and Queens brought students together, all in the spirit of good sportsmanship, as they angled toward the thrill of declaring “Checkmate!”
The STAR Eco Station Children’s Earth Day Festival was our most well-attended event ever, drawing a crowd of more than 40,000 who thrilled to performances by thousands of STAR students. The Eco Station also brought 1,600 students from the Oxnard School District in partnership with Driscoll Farms and the Rotary Club to the Santa Barbara Zoo for Endangered Species Day.
The Eco Station organized our annual World Ocean Day, bringing 1,000 children to Malibu to visit with members of the 8,000 year-old Chumash Native American people, who continue to live in a symbiotic relationship with the sea. Students also met with leading environmentalists and oceanographers.
Whatever the subject matter, STAR’s highly-qualified and accomplished instructors open new vistas in the imagination of our children, helping them see the magnificence of the world around them and affording them the skills and knowledge to succeed both in school and in life.
Thank you for sharing with us the joy of teaching your children. We’ll see you next year!
Executive Director, STAR Inc.
RockSTAR, the largest music education program in California, partnered yet again with the House of Blues to host their 6th annual Battle of the Bands this past Saturday and Sunday, June 4th and 5th. Family, friends, fans, and music lovers of all ages were blown away by the young talent in this awesome musical showdown, as more than 1000 musicians aged 6 to 11 in over 130 bands (up from 100 bands last year) competed for 8 winning spots. All of the young performers were ready, willing, and rockingly able to bring audiences to their feet as they clapped to the beat.
Every child enjoyed the thrill of taking to the stage, and the adults in the audience could not have been more impressed. As one elderly fan who preferred to remain anonymous stated, “I am a mother, a grandmother, and a great grand-mother, and I cannot describe how excited I am about RockSTAR! Two of my grandchildren performed…and I could see and feel their sense of accomplishment. You have made me one happy grandma!”
While all of the bands turned in phenomenal performances, only eight could reign supreme, and a panel of judges including the manager of rock icons AC/DC handed out the honors to the following bands and schools:
- Paranormal – Open Charter
- Funky All-Stars – El Rincon
- Blue Flames – Cowan
- Cowan Avenue Kool Kidz – Cowan
- Monsters Made of Stone – Dixie Canyon
- Toxic Tacos – Warner
- Fill in the Blank – Fairburn
- The Unknown Survivors – Carpenter
The winners will receive special prizes such as guitars signed by famous rockers and the chance to record in a professional studio.
For the last 6 years RockSTAR has been committed to musical mentoring with the support of Rock n’ Roll icons such as Carlos Santana, Gene Simmons, Slash, Sarah McLaughlin, Chris Slade, Brett Michaels, and Britney Spears. Our sponsors include: Rock ‘n’ Roll Gourmet, Pearl Drums, Pro-Mark, D’Addario, Korg, Epiphone, Guitar Center, and more.
RockSTAR is a comprehensive music education program that gives students a chance to turn their rock ‘n roll dreams into a reality. Offered year-round by STAR Education in after-school programs and summer camps, RockSTAR teaches its kindergarten through sixth-grade students how to play guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, how to compose their own songs and how to perform rock ‘n roll hits. Students form their own bands and learn musical skills, teamwork and professionalism, all the while embracing the power of rock.
Actress Teri Hatcher hosted a “Red Carpet Yard Sale” to benefit RockSTAR Music Education, in part, on Sunday, May 1st at the Tiato Garden in Santa Monica. Guests purchased items donated by Teri, along with items donated by such celebrities as Goldie Hawn and Kourtney Kardashian. The day was infused with a carnival-like atmosphere, as children wolfed down cotton candy and snow cones, and RockSTAR bands kept visitors tapping their feet to the beat.
Take a look at this interview Teri Hatcher gave in praise of RockSTAR!
With loads of laughter and generous acts of loving-kindness, this very special event helped raise much-needed funds for RockSTAR. For six years RockSTAR has been bringing music back into schools that have slashed their own music programs and putting the power of rock ‘n’ roll into the hands of the next generation. RockSTAR continues to expand its mission, with a new branch opening to teach kid rockers starting this summer in Nashville!
Students from STAR schools throughout the region were invited by the Los Angeles Times to perform at the annual L.A. Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California. In conjunction with the Spanish newspaper Hoy, STAR was also selected to organize the 2011 Spanish Spelling Bee. While STAR Spanish students impressed with their command of the language, STAR student performers had audiences stomping to the beat as they dazzled them with one performance after another.
The following STAR schools and groups performed:
Irish Dance – Wonderland
The Irish Dancers from Wonderland Elementary demonstrated amazing speed and agility, setting the crowd’s toes tapping with their upbeat, rhythmic, synchronized numbers!
Bollywood – Eshelman
Hip hop hooray for Bollywood! Eshelman Elementary students boogied down to the maddest music from Mumbai in this East Indian Dance performance that showcased classical dance rhythms set to India’s latest Bollywood sounds.
Dance Team – Wonderland
The Wonderland Elementary Dance Team shuffled and slid across the stage, swirling and twirling as they performed the most daring of dances with the greatest of ease!
Folklorico Dance – Oxnard
Folklorico, traditional Latin American dance style was brought thrillingly to life by students from Oxnard, with their hands clapping enthusiastically and their feet keeping time with percussive heel-stomping. It was a beat-heavy whirlwind of dancing wonders.
African Dance and Drumming – Loyola Village
Loyola Village Elementary presented a performance steeped in the traditional culture, dance styles and drum techniques of Africa. Blending African percussion with thrilling and stylized dance moves, these students transported audiences back to the very birthplace of dance!
Marquez STAR American Musical! – Past and present students from Marquez Charter school performed songs from several historical musicals that dramatized major turning points in American history. These talented students have performed at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica and at the Duke Theater on Broadway in New York City!
RockSTAR All Star Band – Various STAR schools
The RockSTAR All Star band featured students from several STAR schools, keeping rock and roll alive and well as they wailed their hearts out.
A little girl is making some big noise with a song she mixed and recorded all by herself. Tallulah , a 1stgrader at Topanga Elementary School, is a sweet, shy child, but she found herself the toast of the town after laying down tracks for her own hip-hop/techno composition, “The Sparkle Song”.
Tallulah composed the eminently dance-able groove as part of STAR Education’s “Future of Music” program. A beat-heavy, bass-thumping track featuresTallulah’s infectious repeated exclamation of “Yeah, Baby, Yeah! ” The song was an instant hit with her fellow students, who continue to cheer for her whenever she walks in the classroom. Tallulah is having the time of her life!
The tune has begun to make online inroads, and could well become the next big viral hit. When we asked Tallulah what she would like to be when she grew up, she coyly responded, “A doctor, not a rapper.” Her instructors at STAR hope she’ll consider becoming both.
Five hard-rocking bands from Fairburn’s RockSTAR Camp tore through a crashing, thrashing set at the Grammy Museum’s Clive Davis Theater. The young rockers kicked out the jams, wailing away on such tunes as “Whip It” by Devo and “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. A packed crowd cheered, stomped, and pumped their fists in the air, reveling in the power of rock. RockSTAR will return to the Grammy Museum on August 6th for another round of performances, this time featuring bands from RockSTAR Camp at Dixie Canyon, so get the hair spray and the tattoos ready for another rip-roaring good time!
100 RockSTAR bands cranked out the jams at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip this past weekend, competing in RockSTAR’s 5th Annual Battle of the Bands. Legendary hip-hop artist DMC hosted along with STAR’s own Christopher and Tessa Parkhurst. The event had kids thrashing and wailing onstage and audiences going wild on the floor.
The press was there to capture it all, with a news report running on Channel 2: http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Families, friends, and pure rock enthusiasts crowded together for a chance to see the young rockers tear through classics like “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Beat it”, “Come Together,” and (of course) “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”. The kids brought boundless enthusiasm to their performances, along with talent to spare. They strummed and drummed and screamed and squawked like pros thanks to the inspiring instruction they received in the RockSTAR program.
“RockSTAR didn’t just teach us about music, it taught us about stage presence, so I felt really good and confident up there,” said Natalie, a 10 year-old from Castle Heights Elementary who plays guitar for The Llamas. “I’ve never had so much fun in my life!”
In between his hosting duties, DMC sang RockSTAR’s praises as well. “RockSTAR offers kids this incredible opportunity. It breeds creativity, and finding creative expression is one of the most important parts of being a kid, of being alive.” DMC also lauded the way the program brought people together. “We’ve got kids here from all races, all backgrounds, making music. The music unites them all.”
DMC made his own contribution to musical unity with a special performance of his classic rap/rock anthem, “Walk This Way”, backed by student members of the RockSTAR program. One proud, anonymous parent conceded the Grammy winner was “about” as good as the kid rockers. Plenty of those kid rockers hope to make a career out of their newly developed skills.
“It would be great to be a rock star because you fly everywhere on airplanes and stay in fancy hotels,” said Simone, 7, of Warner Elementary, a singer with Vitamin R. “But most important, you get to make awesome music.”
K.C., 10, from Canfield Elementary, who performed with The Nutcrackers, tentatively agreed. “Maybe I will become a rock star when I grow up.” K.C.’s dad, wearing a Dodgers hat, placed a gentle hand on his son’s shoulder and said with a wink, “If the baseball career doesn’t work out.”
Logan, an 8 year-old guitarist with the M & Ms from Open Charter Elementary expressed the essence of rock ‘n’ roll philosophy. “I love to play the guitar, but even more, I love to make the fans cheer. It’s all about the fans.”
Every single fan who attended and every single rocker who performed went home more than satisfied. If you want to keep rocking through the summer, please sign up for one of our RockSTAR summer camps at http://www.starcamps.org/rockstar.html.