Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
StarShine Academy, a K-12 charter school, opened as a community outreach project in 2002 to fulfill the needs of children and families in one of the highest crime areas in Arizona. All of the high school students had previously dropped out of school and none of the kindergartners could speak English. None of their family members had ever graduated from high school. Since then, StarShine has graduated 121 students; only 3 had previous family graduates and they graduated from StarShine. StarShine has earned high accreditation nationally with NCA and internationally, with CITA and AdvancEd, and works with the United Nations.
StarShine has provided its Teachers as Leaders Training in London, Liberia, Africa, Shanghai and throughout the U.S. We have opened model schools for refugee children, established a second pilot in Glendale, Arizona and are opening this fall in Santa Fe, New Mexico. StarShine has created a replicable model for all students to excel–and for teachers to enjoy teaching–by providing support and research for best practices, technology and the whole child, brain-based learning for body, mind, spirit, health, wealth and happiness.
StarShine Academy is re-inspiring the American Dream and will one day be throughout the United States to help improve the education system for K-12, for all kids. StarShine Academy does not drop students to bring test scores up, as is standard at many schools; we work with each child as an individual learner, as long as it takes for them to achieve greatness. This philosophy has at times had an adverse effect on the scores the school attains, but it’s a price we’re willing to pay to make each child succeed.
Sunday, February 13th, 2011
Did you know that children of low-socioeconomic families have experienced approximately 300,000 interactions with others by the time they are five years old? Did you know that 80% of those interactions are negative?
Did you know that children of middle income or higher socioeconomic families have experienced approximately over 1,000,000 interactions by the time they are five years old? Did you know that 80% of those interactions are positive?
What does this mean to brain function and ability? The Limbic Brain, the one that controls flight or fight, high stress, is triggered to grow more dendrites when a person experiences fear or dread. Depending on how often a person must cope with fear, flight or fight, will depend on how much the Limbic Brain expands to cope with it. Fear creates emotion which secretes hormones that interfere with learning. You get the picture. We are all at risk of this at all times. We can do more for our quality of life and abilities, by staying away from things that make us fearful.
The good news is–the brain always changes, until our last breath. We can shrink the Limbic Brain’s fear hormones by growing dendrites away from it. By putting our children, and indeed ourselves into positive environments, we increase our ability to think straight and to be happy. We tell the kids to avoid “Energy sucks.” We are all better off because of it.
Can you believe a passionate guy from Google changed Egypt? Isn’t that amazingly cool? One person can make a difference. Don’t forget your reason for being here. Trish
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Everyone does their part to bring about change, and that’s what is needed on a national and international level. Change starts from within, and that’s what we at StarShine focus on. Working with families from the most difficult backgrounds in a community with the highest crime rate in the Phoenix Metropolitan area makes instilling a sense of self-confidence and personal accountability in the students’ lives essential to their success. Our students have confidence that they can overcome the obstacles of drugs, gangs, and hopelessness, and they understand that every decision has an effect on their ultimate life goal. StarShine has the ability to instill a future-oriented time perspective in each one of our students, making our school successful in bringing about change in every student who steps onto our campus. By changing the mindset of our StarShine students we create a domino effect where the students change how they interact with their parents who in turn change the way they’re involved with the community.
When I opened StarShine 8 years ago the park next to our school was vacant of children, and home to mostly homeless drug addicts. Now, our community has a park filled with families, a new public pool and a freshly built Starbucks on the corner. Everyday I’m reminded of how far we have come and it’s all because everyone does their part. It’s truly the individual: You, and I, our network, and our community are the true agents of change.
Change Yourself- Think Globally- Act Locally.
Friday, July 16th, 2010
Changing our next generation begins with the parents. Imagine a world filled with strong, functional, effective and loving families, who are led by committed, compassionate, knowledgeable and well-trained adults. Adults who know and love themselves; who know how to parent their children, taking their role as parent seriously and have learned how to match the joy and playfulness that their children bring into the world with the humor, perspective, tenderness, vision and wisdom that world class parents bring into the equation. Imagine the change that would resonate throughout the world, one parent- one family at a time.
StarShine was founded on the idea that we can turn children into peaceful and productive citizens through our holistic curriculum addressing the entire individual- mind, body, spirit, health, wealth and happiness. We proved that children from any socioeconomic background could transform their lives because our curriculum wasn’t primarily education oriented, but was community and family based as well. We reach out to their parents indirectly by involving them in our community events such as the StarShine Farmers Market and our annual holiday festivals. Before our school opened up 8 years ago, the neighborhood had the highest drive by shooting rate in all of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Today, the community is ranked as one of the safest, with a newly opened StarBucks on the corner solidifying the amount of change our school has had on the community.
Through our teachers and administrators’ efforts we proved that any parent has the ability to relate to and connect with their children. It’s possible for anyone to raise independent, responsible young adults well and without unnecessary worry and hassle. Having the right mindset is the key; clear strategies, and relevant and effective tools- and that’s truer now than ever before. If you’re a parent, parent-to-be, parent surrogates or a grandparent, you are very aware that you are in a real competition for the hearts and minds of your kids and teens. You may feel you are ill prepared to compete effectively in part because you yourself feel uncertain and exhausted. If that’s the case, your focus should be on changing yourself. Your children will in turn, follow suite.
Over the course of 8 years StarShine has had a profound change on children, parents, families, communities, and businesses. We are fortunate to be honored by the United Nations, the Episcopal and Catholic Church, and also with large corporations such as Toshiba and Macy’s. To date, we have conducted training seminars in Liberia for 700 teachers and to many school leaders and parents in the United Kingdom. As we open up thousands of additional schools in the coming 3 years, we are in need of administrators and teachers to be a part of StarShine.
If you are a parent, soon-to-be parent, prospective StarShine teacher or administrator, or even an individual who seeks a profound change in your life, then I highly encourage you attend our seminar events. If you have the desire to make a positive change in your life and in others please visit us at www.SQI.US.com for upcoming sessions.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
I was living solely on my own and I realized that living solely for my own entertainment wasn’t so entertaining anymore, that it wasn’t particularly satisfying anymore, that I didn’t seem to be making much of a ripple in the world, I started to change my tune. I realized that by refusing to apply myself, there was nothing I could point to that I was proud of that would last. Now, you come of an age in a popular culture that actually reinforces this approach to life. You watch TV, and basically what it says is you can be rich and successful without much effort; you just have to become a celebrity. If you can achieve some reality TV notoriety, that’s better than lasting achievement. We live in a culture that tells you there’s a quick fix for every problem and a justification for every selfish desire. And all of you were raised with cell phones and iPods, and texting and emails, and you’re able to call up a fact, or a song, or a friend with the click of a button. So you’re used to instant gratification.
But meaningful achievement, lasting success — it doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s not about luck, it’s not about a sudden stroke of genius. It’s not usually about talent. It’s usually about daily effort, the large choices and the small choices that you make that add up over time. It’s about the skills you build, and the knowledge you accumulate, and the energy you invest in every task, no matter how trivial or menial it may seem at the time.
- President Barack Obama,
June 7, 2010 Commencement Speech at Kalamazoo High School.
It seems that people from generations before us have always talked about the need for change, and the majority of our country voted for just that in this past election. However, after we had cast our ballots in November we went back to our daily routine expecting that one man to change our lives and bring peace throughout the world instantaneously.
People expected immediate change in the economy, in foreign relations, and a change in Washington.
The lack of “change” that has happened a year ago isn’t a self-reflection on President Obama, but as we as a people. We expect instantaneous change, by one man- “instant gratification.” The truth is that change requires everyone to be proactively involved in a common movement that everyone agrees upon no matter the religious or political affiliation or sexual orientation.
There’s a reason for (StarShine’s) Kalamazoo Central High School’s national recognition. Superintendents, teachers, parents, students, and the entire community all work together to create an education that’s about the betterment of the kids. Everyone does their part to bring about change, and that’s what is needed on a national and international level.
Change starts from within, and that’s what we at StarShine focus on. Working with families from the most difficult backgrounds in a community with the highest crime rate in the Phoenix Metropolitan area makes instilling a sense of self-confidence and personal accountability in the students’ lives essential to the success of their lives. Our students have the confidence that they can overcome the obstacles of drugs, gangs, and hopelessness and they understand that every decision has an effect on their ultimate life goal. StarShine has the ability to instill a future oriented time perspective in each one of our students, making our school successful in bringing about change in every student that steps foot on to our campus. By changing the mindset of our StarShine student’s we create a domino effect where the students change how they interact with their parents who in turn change the way they’re involved within a community.
When I opened up StarShine 8 years ago the park next to our school was vacant of children, and home to mostly homeless drug addicts. Now, our community has a park filled with families, a new public pool and a freshly built Starbucks on the corner. Everyday I’m reminded of how far we have come and its all because everyone does their part. It’s truly the individual: You, and I, our network, our community are the true agents of change.
Change Yourself- Think Globally- Act Locally.
Congratulations again to (StarShine 2010 Graduates) Kalamazoo Central High School for bringing about change one child, parent, teacher, and community at a time.
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
For eight years StarShine has been researching, testing and collecting data on how to best educate all children, from all socioeconomic status, to create the most efficient and effective educational facilities.
Our first school was in the worse crime-ridden neighborhood in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Our students had gang members as brothers and drug addicts as mothers. The hope for a better future was scarce. The hope for a peaceful and happy life was out of sight. I knew that in order for them to overcome these hardships our curriculum must revolve around instilling happiness into each and every one of them, which also means keeping your back straight- confident in your own skin, and having a positive perspective on life and what direction you want to head in your life.
Forward thinking was the key to overcoming these hardships. I didn’t have enough time in a day to talk about how their brother was shot in a drive by or why their mother is hardly ever home at night. I wanted to change the way these kids perceived their future. Positive influence, guidance, and encouragement is something these children never had, and that’s all they need! It’s so simple, and yet it’s being overlooked by our entire education system.
There are 6.2 million students that will drop out of high school every year because of the lack of education in our teachers. 87% of our teachers are misinformed on how to interact with students. Our entire country is caught up in a paradigm of how a teacher should “teach” and how the student is there to “learn.” The preconceived notion that students are inferior to teachers creates a command and control dynamic in the classroom where students “fear” the teachers, and the teachers use fear based techniques to “control” the students. Changing the mindset of the students is accomplished through changing the mindset of how the teachers, for lack of a better word, interact and perceive the students. That’s why we need help to train teachers as fast as possible to be able to work in schools of all types- rich, poor, public, private, charter, etc.
Our StarShine schools are structured in a very particular way:
Our schools must reflect the needs of the community for body, mind, spirit, health, wealth and happiness. This means that the entire community gets involved including politicians, business leaders, corporate sponsors, parents and elders volunteering as mentors.
Our schools must also be k-12 and serve no more than 500 students in one school, so the children become normalized to change and diversity.
Our StarShine schools develop leaders of tomorrow by developing speaking skills, protocol, negotiation, empathy, environmental engagement, animal training to teach parenting skills, peace making, civic engagement, financial and business skills, and international travel and understanding, both for the teachers as well as the students.
StarShine focuses on providing rich Socratic learning emersion so the students learn to embrace change and solve their own issues by collaborating with and learning from others. We develop compassion, understanding, self-motivation, self-empowerment and accountability by allowing no shame, blame or victim behavior. We don’t want “normal”; we expect extraordinary for each child to find and develop their unique way to give back to the world. Teachers must learn how best to work in this environment and how to develop and encourage their own unique, outstanding abilities.
It is hard to believe that these models exist in this day of so many things being such a mess…but they do and they are providing hope and data that will turn the world around. We chose to do this project under the radar until we were sure that it would thrive under scrutiny and duress. It was too important of a project to succumb to too much money too soon or leadership without the heart.
We are ready now and we need help in every category in order to replicate this fast, far and wide…This project will help to shape other schools to follow the light that StarShine creates. And we will continue our journey to change the world literally one child at a time, to help each child to save themselves as fast as we can.