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.