Model Program

S.T.A.R. Academic Center (Students Taking Alternatives Routes)

Sunnyside Unified School District
2093 South Liberty Ave
Tucson, AZ 85706

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Contact Information:
Pamela Cornell
Director of Alternative Programs

Program Specification:






Limited Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

High School




Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


The dropout prevention grant at S.T.A.R. supplements its many ongoing activities and its purpose is twofold. The first is to provide research-based strategies for students in the S.T.A.R. Alternative High School to improve academic achievement and reduce dropout rates among young people with significant life challenges. These include high rates of homelessness, teen pregnancy and parenting, overage due to retention and school failure, behind in credits, family dysfunction, court involvement, and mental health issues. The second is to serve as a demonstration site to promote systemic change in the Sunnyside secondary schools by providing exemplars of what is most effective in combating dropout and low achievement. In addition to the high school program, S.T.A.R. offers an alternative to suspension program for selected middle school students.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy, Bullying/Violence, Computer Assisted Instruction, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Mentoring/Tutoring, Service Learning, Students with Disabilities, Substance Abuse, Virtual Learning, Life Skills Training

Strategies for Locating Students:

Starting Date: 2007
Students Served Per Year: 250-500
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: N/A
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Parenthood
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Low education level of parents
  • Not living with both natural parents

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:


Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts

Social Workers
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:


Pima County Attorney Office, StrengthBuilding Partners, Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona, Southwest Conservation Corp, El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, Pima County Juvenile Court, La Frontera, San Xavier Education Center

Evaluation Information:

In 2007-08, for students who participated in AIMS just one time Writing was the strength with 84.2% meeting or exceeding followed by Reading with 79.1 % meets and exceeds while math had only 58% meets and exceeds. Instructional interventions were successful for students as 63% increased in Reading, 59% increased in Writing and 49% increased in Math.

How evaluation data was collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level