Inside Star Academy
Poised for a Bright Future
Victoria arrived at Star Academy in 6th grade anxious and quiet. Anxiety made it difficult for her to express herself, so she barely talked to anyone outside her family. Although she had a mostly positive experience at her small public elementary school, her learning differences made it increasingly difficult, and her parents knew they had to find an alternative to the large, local middle school.
Nine years later, Victoria is a happy and friendly young woman who is confident and fearless. Despite physical challenges, she enjoys playing basketball, at one time being the only girl on Star’s basketball team. She is a hard worker who never gives up. Victoria completed high school at Star and now participates in Star’s Post-High School Program. She takes classes at the College of Marin and, with the support of a Job Coach, is building skills and experience working part-time at a large doctor’s office helping with administrative tasks. At Star, she works with our younger students, reading, planning games and activities for them, and has talked about working with children as a career option.
Her mother credits Star’s individualized program, as well as the amazing and caring staff for Victoria’s success, “The teachers and specialists are able to focus on Victoria’ specific needs, and really believe in her. They taught her to recognize her own strengths and challenges and gave her the tools she needs to do her personal best. She also benefits from being in a school where everyone has challenges. The students truly understand and support each other.”
Her mother is grateful to Star for the doors that have been opened for her daughter, “Star has given her the resources, skills and self-confidence she needs to be successful as she moves forward.”
Because of your support, students like Victoria have access to highly trained teachers and specialists who provide each student with exactly what they need to be successful in school and beyond.
NEW Post-High School Program in 2019-20
A new opportunity is coming to Star Academy for students who have completed high school but would benefit from another year to prepare for transition to college or the workforce. The Post-High School Program will provide a supported college experience, support in social skills, independent living skills training and a supportive cohort of like-minded students walking the same path to adulthood. The part-time program will kick off in the Fall 2019 and will be available to both Star graduates and students from other high schools who meet Star’s admission criteria.
Based on the College of Marin campus, students will attend college classes, take part in community training activities, and participate in social skills groups. The program is designed to foster independence, prepare for meaningful employment, increase social integration and help students navigate the world of higher education. Students will also work and/or volunteer in their communities, practicing and honing the skills learned in the Post-High School Program.
“In conversation with parents and students there is a palpable sense of anxiety about what the post-secondary years will look like,” explains Sheila Reilly, “They wonder if they will have the support they need to access meaningful employment, higher education and independent living situations.”
“We’ve designed our program to support students in all these areas and help them function as independently as possible. Students with learning differences have exciting options that simply didn’t exist just a few years ago and we will help them access these options. The path to adulthood may look different for our students, but it doesn’t have to be a less exciting or inspiring journey.”
For the past two years, Star piloted a small post-high school program for Star graduates. Our staff used the experience to learn what is most needed by post-high school students, develop relationships with the College of Marin and other agencies, and develop a curriculum for a comprehensive program that will help students with learning differences launch into greater independence as young adults.
To learn more about our Post-High School Program, contact Sheila Reilly at or 415-456-8727. If you are interested in providing scholarship funds to help families who need financial assistance, contact Susan Todaro at or
415-456-8727 ext. 500.