By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
For more than 30 years, STAR has been a leader in education in more than 60 school districts and has transitioned from working on campuses to working in various types of locations across Los Angeles and virtually.
“We’re making it happen overnight,” shared Katya Bozzi, executive director of STAR Education, “because parents need us desperately.”
Locations in LA include a synagogue, storefront/office and former preschool. Additional locations in the Palisades are being scouted.
“We are elated to continue supporting families, schools and school districts during these challenging times,” Director of Innovation at STAR Education Sir Robinson wrote to the Palisadian-Post. “We are proud to present a catalog of care and enrichment options for children nationwide.”
In addition to virtual programs, more locations are starting up at the beginning of September, including a preschool in Pacific Palisades.
STAR Education options include in-home learning groups, in-person learning groups at locations like the STAR Eco Station, virtual Zoom homework, assistant and assignment completion, a myriad of virtual enrichment, and a new kid-focused interactive streaming service.
“We have something for everyone,” Robinson shared.
The classes in the Palisades are the same as the greater Los Angeles County program.
“We’re excited to do our classes that had been in-person—such as you can do robotics and piano lessons—online,” said Palisades Cluster Leader Deann Wilken, who has worked with the school for almost three decades.
“We are also opening up our streaming service, which I’m really, really excited about,” Robinson added. “Our virtual classes are fantastic.”
Children can tune in and learn from a variety of teachers.
“[The program is] going to be for homework completion and enrichment activities,” Wilken, a resident of Marquez Knolls, shared.
STAR is starting up again soon after Labor Day weekend at Palisades Lutheran Church, one of the locations it operated before the start of the pandemic.
The location includes two classrooms, two hallways, a large, multi-use gym, outdoor playground areas, NOVA classes, STAR Eco Station Class, S.T.E.A.M., community connections and hands-on lessons, according to the Palisades Lutheran Church website.
The Palisades preschool offers two age groups: Super Stars (3 to 4.5 years old) and Little Dippers (4.5-6 years old).
“STAR preschool is founded on the premise that children learn through the process of hands on experiences and play,” the website continues. “With an environment designed to be exploratory and inquiry based, STAR’s innovative curriculum includes lots of messy fun, active games and skill building. We feel that children that are immersed in exciting experiences will be inspired to use their imagination and develop a life-long love of learning.”
When it comes to childcare, Wilken explained that STAR has always been ready to go, as programming has remained open as an essential service, but since locations at Canyon, Palisades and Marquez charter elementary schools are on LAUSD sites and LAUSD would not allow them to operate on the campuses, STAR has found alternate ways to help families and working parents through the pandemic.
“We are inviting everyone to come visit our preschool in the Palisades,” Robinson said of the Palisades Lutheran Church site, and, when LAUSD allows licensed childcare to reopen, at the charter school locations.
Robinson touched on what it takes “to keep youngsters safe in these crazy times,” as STAR Education was one of the only companies operating safe camps since early April in Sacramento for three school districts throughout COVID-19 for first responders and all summer at two locations.
“We follow all the CDC guidelines and surpass them if we can, for example, adding MERV-13 filters at our locations (hospital-grade filters to filter the air as much as possible),” Robinson explained about the safety precautions STAR Education has implemented.
“We had a parent consultant, who is a microbiologist, give us some tips, which is one of the reasons, we are so safe,” Robinson added.
STAR locations open for in-person programming include Westwood, Westchester, Culver City, Mar Vista, Windsor Hills, Hermosa and the preschool in the Palisades.
For more information, visit starinc.org.
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