One of the biggest influencing factors for us choosing Star Academy was its small size of student body. Logan's reading and writing difficulties had fallen through the cracks in the public school system because he was one of 33 kids in one class. And that was only Grade 1! When we got here, he had 2 teachers who were equally qualified and had only 7 kids in his class. Similar numbers and structures exist for all grades, ensuring all eyes on the kids and adequate help. The other students at Star are all what I call 'learning refugees' from the public school. All of the parents I meet are ones who had to take action and find a proper environment for their children because they couldn't thrive or even survive in some cases, in the existing public school system. We were no different. We love the other students and parents at Star and often have playdates with them. It's like an extended family.
While small – under 100 students from K to Grade 8 – the student body at Star is diverse, both racially and ethnically and in disability and ability. Because relationships, from the top down, are characterized by openness, trust, respect, and appreciation, there is an acceptance and openness towards differences as well as tremendous sense of empathy towards others. Because Star naturally weaves learning supports into its classrooms, it attracts a higher proportion of students who benefit from these resources, strategies and practices – ADHD, autism, anxiety. An unexpected outcome for our family was not only increased academic and social confidence in a very short time, but greater empathy for less abled kids. I regularly hear from my children or their teachers how they have: demonstrated fair and generous treatment towards others (passing the ball to, or teaming up with a physically challenged child), extended greater patience towards others (use their words multiple times, give a hard message with a smile), accepted individual limitations more readily (I really like X, but he finds big groups hard). In combination with its strong academics, we appreciate the development of these social skills as a key element in preparing our children to be well-rounded, responsible citizens as they move forward in life.