Launching Learning STARs with STAR!
You may not know the Barbara C. Wilson (BCW) Preschool has been implementing the Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research (STAR) curriculum for over a decade. The STAR curriculum equips teachers with the best available resources to develop classroom routines that teach students critical skills building toward increased independence. Essentially, STAR guides school staff by demonstrating how and what to teach students for future success.
Tactics include visual supports like a picture schedule for students to point to and see what to do or where to go next. The BCW Preschool has an enrollment of 137 students in 19 classes. The classes are split into ratios, great for students who benefit from small groups.
STAR “Fidelity” requires continuous training as the needs of children with autism evolve. Each year, STAR consultants visit BCW for initial training, then return 5–6 times a year to work directly with teachers in the classroom.
Along with this, BCW provides their staff with year-round training and implements classroom management checklists to strengthen areas that can be improved.
“We have three staff developments every year. Before a new hire is incorporated in a classroom, they need two days of training including required training from New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), then they are mentored by the curriculum coordinator,” said Diane M. Condy, MS, SAS/SDA, Director, Barbara C. Wilson Preschool.
Training is ongoing as the goal of the STAR curriculum is to support teachers as they’re supporting students, with tried-and-true practices that lead to positive outcomes.