News and Announcements
Signing Time! Blog
We are proud that our STAR School 3-to-3rd Project is featured in the Signing Time! Blog and in their widely distributed newsletter.
The STAR School 3-to-3rd Project infuses both American Sign and Navajo Languages throughout the daily curriculum. Featured is the short film, part 1 in a 2 part series, which looks at the benefits of using American Sign Language with children age 3 to grade 3.
2012 Festival of Da'nest'aah
STAR School 2012 Festival of Da'nest'aah (Harvest): Honor the Farmer
This event was made possible by a grant from The First Nations Development Institute to the STAR School. This short was filmed by STAR Middle School Students and Alumna Kira Butler, photography by Kate Sorensen and Louva Montour, edited by Rachel Tso. Music is "Memories of the Fall" by Skychasers.
Parent and Child Magazine
STAR School is Currently Featured in Scholastic's Parent and Child Magazine as one of "The Coolest Schools in America."
Green All Over THE STAR SCHOOL K–8 | FLAGSTAFF
This charter near the Navajo Nation is the ﬁrst public school to be off the electric grid. Hundreds of solar panels and ﬁve wind turbines generate all the necessary power to run its multiple buildings (including one housing a state-of-the-art media program) as well as an electric well that waters the property's orchards. Soon, a network of monitors will allow students to help maintain and learn from the system by tracking and graphing production and consumption. Named for the acronym "Service to All Relations," the school's philosophy is based on the
Navajo principles of K'e (all things are inextricably linked) and peacemaking, which promote respect for others and the land.
STAR students win notice in Venice
By Levi J. Long
Special to the Times
LEUPP, Ariz., Sept. 22, 2011
At STAR School, a group of creative youngsters are showcasing their talents and voices on a worldwide cinematic stage.
"I like to put a lot of heart into my films," said freshman Kira Butler, 14, whose film work at STAR School has already taken her across the U.S. and to Italy. "Through filmmaking I understand who I am in the world community."
Located 15 miles northwest of Leupp, STAR School serves mostly Navajo students from preschool to 8th grade.
Nestled among rolling hills with vistas of the San Francisco Peaks, the rural school is the first off-the-grid campus in the country powered by wind and solar energy.
Now STAR School is gaining another reputation for its 3-year-old media arts program that connects Native American youth with their culture, community and themselves.
"When it comes to mainstream media, indigenous youth are often seen in the negative or are portrayed as historical or cultural subjects in the past," said Rachel Tso, the media arts educator who developed the film curriculum. "It's important for students to represent themselves using their own voice, not someone else's."
Students from fifth to eighth grade can learn the nuts and bolts of film making: script writing, researching topics, interview techniques, capturing video and sound, editing, acting and public speaking.
The main focus is on what Tso terms "place-based media arts."
"It describes what we're doing with our students through film," she said. "It reconnects kids with their community, reconnects their place in the community and reconnects them with their family, including their elders."
After wrapping an on-camera interview, Nole Yazzie, 13, an 8th-grader, wants to remind people of tribal history. His student group is working on a documentary about the Navajo's Long Walk with interviews of local elders.
"My hope is it brings back those stories. It's been over 100 years, it's important to talk about and not forget," he said.
Films subjects have ranged from heritage foods, sustainable living, traditional Navajo peacemaking and making artificial snow from reclaimed wastewater for a ski area on the San Francisco Peaks.