Exciting Grant for New Neuroscience based Professional Development Series for Teachers at STAR Education
STAR Education is excited to announce that they are a recipient of a $35,000 grant from The Braitmeyer Foundation to develop and implement a Neuroscience-based professional development series. The series will be aimed at teaching educators how to use the most up-to-date research in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and sociology in their classrooms. The educators will be given basic scientific theory along with practical suggestions on how to enhance material retention and most effectively set up their learning environments.
The series will be an eight session program covering the following topics:
1) Plasticity and Mindset
3) Attention, Focus and Persistence
4) Stress and Emotional Regulation
5) Happiness; Social and Emotional Learning
6) Memory and Study Skills
7) Brain care (Sleep, exercise and nutrition)
8) Teaching Neuroscience to children
Our resident neuroscience expert, Anne-Marie Cziko, Ph.D. , will be developing and implementing the course. (You can read Anne-Marie’s bio and the rest of our STAR GATE staff bios here.) We will also be featuring articles covering her research summaries on the series’ topics here on the STAR News blog. Her goal with these summaries is to help both educators and parents guide their children to reach their maximum potential.
Included in the Braitmeyer Foundation grant is a fund matching program allowing us to run the to provide a 50% discount to the first ten schools that sign up for the series during the pilot year. Please inquire with the STAR GATE department if your school or district is interested in participating.
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 jumped in to lead the charge for S.T.E.M. in Southern California (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). San Fernando Valley middle-schoolers get to see this integrated curriculum at work in our innovative Roller Coaster Mania three week camp that exposes kids to the world of monster coasters and the science and math that makes them work.
Roller Coaster Mania is the brain child of STAR’s Department of Education. Headed up by Karen Mowrer, Gina Hendron, and Kerry Chow, the camp will be conducted at California State University Northridge (CSUN) and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The camp runs from July 9-27 and gives low income students the chance to see science and math at work in one of the most exhilarating places imaginable.
Students will design and build their own coasters using high tech tablets and test the science behind them with fun and hilarious activities. Participants in the camp can look forward to bungee jumping an egg, speed trials, and testing out the physics of sling shots and catapults.
Students will mix fun and learning to encourage college educations and future careers. STAR was awarded a Gear Up Grant for the project which aims to raise college attendance among low-income students. The grant helps fund a 6 year program to follow current seventh graders all the way up through high school and beyond.
The finale of the camp will be the trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. STAR will be working with involvement from the American Coaster Enthusiasts who will guide students through the park and lend their incredible insight on the history and workings of the rides.
STAR’s Assistant Director of Education, Gina Hendron, noted that the need for STEM has become so great because of the stigma that students often place on science and math. “The great aspect of the program is how it takes something that many kids feel stinks – math, and shows them how it is behind something really cool – roller coasters.” Gina also noted that over half of the program is made up by female students, a demographic which is usually low in science and math fields.
Students from 4 middle schools in the San Fernando Valley are already partially funded through the Gear Up grant, but the most important aspect of this camp is the behind-the-scenes tour of Six Flags, giving the students an even closer look at how their new skills apply to the real world.
Bring math and science to these students with a hands-on, real-world experience while also giving them a positive summer camp adventure with their classmates and teachers. Please help us get these amazing kids to Six Flags on Friday so they can see the roller coasters in action after all their hard work in the classroom. Donate to Roller Coaster Mania here.
STAR Education has made the jump to light speed this summer with the Jedi-approved Science of Star Wars: Clash with the Dark Side summer camp. From rockets to magnetism, to taking a ride on a real-life hovercraft, our student padawans have been making the connection between the science of our daily world to the realm of imagination seen in the blockbuster movie series.
At IQ-GO Science, the science program at STAR, science is always as fun as it is educational, but this camp was out of this world. Our young Jedi were able to work their bodies and minds as they developed their Force skills in our Jedi agility training program. Lightsaber duels each day finally culminated in an epic struggle with one of our Sith Battle Lords.
The highlight for many was a ride on the STAR hovercraft which brought up images of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder streaking across the desert landscape. Our kids were able to discover how a Van de Graaff generator accumulates electricity and even recreate a scene from the bizarre alien cantina. Learning the laws of physics and motion allowed our campers to create and launch their own rockets, narrowly avoiding Star Destroyers that were hot on their tail.
Never falling to the Dark side, our campers discovered that like the Force, science is all around us. And though the alien guacamole they made wasn’t as scientific… it was delicious! Check out all the innovative science summer camps we’re offering at www.starcamps.org
This week on NPR there was an article about the difficulty that still persists for women making strides in scientific fields. You can read/listen to the article online HERE.
STAR Education has just completed its first week of our very first Roller Coaster Camp where we’re teaching 100 7th grade students math, science and physics through studying and designing roller coasters. On the final day, we will be taking a field trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain for an extra special behind-the-scenes tour led by roller coaster experts.
What’s even more special about this summer camp is that it is funded entirely through a Gear Up Grant and the generous support of individual donors to STAR Education. This camp is attended at no cost to these low-income students…many who have never had a summer camp experience before.
AND…over 50% of our Roller Coaster Campers are girls…54 to be exact.
With just two weeks to go, our IndieGogo campaign is over halfway to its mark. Any funds we raise over the $4,000 goal will be used to support additional scholarships for financially needy students in our math and science projects later this year.
You can help STAR do what we do every day: Give every student a chance to excel in life through learning that truly inspires them. Help support this camp that brings math and science to life…
Check out our IndieGogo Campaign HERE.
Chi-Town Finest Breakers, an internationally-recognized breakdancing crew of five siblings between the ages of 7 and 13, along with their father and leader, Henry Borjas (aka DJ Westside) paid a visit to the STAR Convention Center and put on a performance for STAR Prep Academy that students will not soon forget.
The young breakers popped, locked, rolled, twisted and spun – especially spun. Chi-Town Breaker Spinderella holds the Guiness World Record for longest head-spin – over 15 minutes! She took a few dozen spins on the Convention Center dance floor, and was able to write a message to STAR while upside down and whirling around and around.
The story of the Borjas family is particularly inspiring as just three years ago they were homeless, living in their car. Since they have started performing and teaching breakdancing they have appeared everywhere from Oprah to America’s Best Dancers and more.
Chi-Town Finest Breakers have taught over 2,000 Chicago schoolchildren how to breakdance, getting a healthy workout while having an amazing time. STAR and STAR Prep look forward to working with Chi-Town to bring their unique and eye-popping style to the classrooms and playgrounds of Southern California, helping to train the next generation of master breakdancers. Hit it!
Go green! Celebrate with us at the STAR Eco Station’s annual “Enchanted Green Hallow’s Eve”. As it does every year, the Eco Station will convert itself into a magical fairy tale palace filled with laughter and learning along with a healthy dose of excitement and adventure!
Two Adorable Creatures Pose With The Mario Brothers!
Visitors will discover buried treasures in the mysterious water of the Pirates of Oceania and learn the advantages of eco-friendly vehicles amidst the forest magic of Little Red Riding Hood. Even Cinderella will be on hand – at least until her hybrid turns into a pumpkin!
The Cat In The Hat Was In The House Last Year!
While STAR Enchanted Green Hallow’s Eve comes but once a year, we work day in and day out to see that all STAR students receive the highest-quality and most innovative education in the most cutting-edg developments in environmental science.
A Native American Warrior Princess Dances With A Snake!
The STAR Eco Station develops a deep and abiding interest in learning how to save the planet through the Eco Station’s mission of preservation through education. Come by the STAR Eco station any weekend of the year for an eye-opening visit with our rescued exotic wildlife and entertaining, interactive lessons in environmental science.
Where: STAR Eco Station, 10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, 90232
When: Sat. & Sun. Oct.29th & 30th – 12:00 – 6:00 PM
Price: One child free per paying adult, each additional child $6, Adults $8, Seniors $7
All proceeds go to the care and feeding of rescued exotic animals!
Walls that Crawl! Frightening Fangs! Furry Legs! These “Creepy Creatures” will make you cringe with glee and squeal with delight!
The STAR Eco Station in Culver City will celebrate its 12th annual Creepy Crawly Creature Feature on Saturday, September 24th from 11 A.M. – 3 P.M.! Buzzzzz your way to a bug-filled adventure at the STAR Eco Station – an environmental science museum and exotic wildlife rescue center. Kick off the Halloween season with this hair-raising bug fest! Come and witness:
Learn the buzz worthy facts about creepy critters from Hollywood bug expert and trainer Steven Kutcher (“Arachnophobia” and “Spider Man”).
Sample such spooky snacks from our Bug Bar as Chocolate-Covered Crickets, Princess Katiana’s Special Secret Mealworm Delight, and Bug-licious Cookies! Visit our rare Green Bottle Blue Tarantula and the latest addition to the Eco Station family – our Giant Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula - you won’t believe your eyes!
So come one, come all to this skin crawling affair and turn those creepy crawly bug fears into a fun-loving fascination. Buzz ya later!
WHAT? STAR Eco Station CREEPY CRAWLY CREATURE FEATURE
WHEN? Saturday, September 24th 2011, 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
WHERE? STAR Eco Station, 10101 W. Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
HOW MUCH? Cost for entry is $6.00 for kids, $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for STAR kids.
* Admission prices include a tour of the STAR Eco Station and any activities located inside the Eco Station.
* *Food will be available for purchase. Additional fees may be required for certain attractions.
The STAR Eco Station is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental science museum, exotic wildlife rescue center, and haven for endangered and illegally-trafficked exotic animals confiscated by the U.S. Interior Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, dedicated to the mission of “preservation through education.”
Students from STAR camps throughout Los Angeles experienced the thrill of a lifetime when they were given the privilege of attending an L.A. Sparks basketball game at the Staples Center as featured guests.
Joe Bucz, the Sparks executive who arranged for STAR to get the…STAR treatment, had this to say: “This all happens because of (cluster leader) Jay Fields. He helped forge a great friendship between the Sparks and STAR.”"
Nine girls from across the STAR spectrum were given the special honor of appearing with the Sparks at center court, and each received a personalized basketball from a member of the team.
“Everything STAR does is so important, so exciting,” Bucz continued. “Jay helped me understand the essential mission of STAR, and that’s why these nine young ladies will be enjoying this great honor today.”
Just moments before running to center court to meet her basketball idols. Kristen, a camper at Marquez squealed, “This is so exciting!”
Jada, a camper at Dixie Canyon, expressed just as much enthusiasm, but added, “Basketball is great but when I grow up I want to be a singer.”
All of these young women as well as all of the other STAR campers enjoyed a fabulous day that carried with it one of the most important lessons any of us can ever learn: no matter who you are, no matter what you are, you can become whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.
The young STAR fans put all their minds into cheering for the Sparks, though the home team did wind up losing to visiting Connecticut. Still, the day felt like a total victory.
Kenna, a camper from Overland, put it simply and put it best: “This was so much fun!”
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.