The STARS Approach to Learning


The STARS Approach to Learning is an active process designed to effectively engage all students in valuable academic and meaningful enrichment experiences. Based on the seminal research and best practices of Dr. Betty Garner (, the STARS Approach offers well planned, consistent, and effective programming as delivered by a diverse cohort of facilitators, coaches, and educators.

Overtime, we strive to adapt and deliver all academic and enrichment program curriculum using the STARS Approach to Learning. Each activity will describe: desired student learning outcomes, alignment to relevant learning standards, supplies required, along with key vocabulary, concepts, skills, and creative ways to demonstrate real life evidence of learning. In addition, each step of the STARS instructional flow will be articulated for all students to benefit. 

Eventually, we aspire to map STARS Life Skills Program Curriculum, grades 2-12, as to afford each STARS student the opportunity to develop the capacity to master key concepts and skills required to go to the next level. The ultimate goal is for all STARS students to graduate from high school prepared to activate their personal career- and/or college-ready plan of action. 

The Learning Process in Action

High school students today are hungry and ready to learn. Upon graduation, young adults are often expected to direct their life without requisite knowledge and skills. 

During this creative working session, a group of high school students from the Waukegan Alternative/Optional Educational Center joined the IDSA Midwest conference in Chicago with the aim of exploring and designing career directions. 

The purpose of the workshop was to empower students with design thinking and 21st century learning skills.