S.T.A.R.Quest Academy Regional Safe School (RSSP) serves expulsion-eligible and suspension- eligible students in grades 6-12. The statewide program began serving Illinois students in FY97 as established by 105 ILCS 5/13A of the Illinois School Code providing a system of alternative education programs for disruptive students. Because of the actions of a small number of disruptive students, local school districts face increasing problems in maintaining a safe environment for all students. Expelling or suspending disruptive students puts them on the street, which may increase safety and advance the learning environment inside the school premises but does not serve the educational needs of the expelled or suspended students or the community’s need for public safety.
The purpose of RSSP is twofold:
- to increase safety and promote the learning environment in schools and
- to meet the particular educational needs of disruptive students more appropriately and individually in an alternative educational environment.
The program is designed to meet the educational and personal growth needs of students who have been disruptive to the learning environment or have the potential to be harmful and may pose as a threat to themselves or their peers within the school setting. The program is available to any student residing in Franklin, Johnson, Massac, and Williamson Counties. To participate in the S.T.A.R.Quest program, a student must be officially enrolled in his/her Home School District and be referred by the administration of their Home School.
Students who will benefit from the educational structure and environment of the S.T.A.R.Quest program may exhibit some but not all of the following characteristics:
- The student has been suspended at least twice for a period of 3-10 days for gross misconduct.
- The student has been arrested by police and/or remanded to juvenile or criminal courts for acts related to school activities.
- The student has been involved in repetitive incidents of misconduct considered to be of a serious nature.
- The student has been expelled from their Home School District for the violation of a school policy.
Behavior modification training and other counseling, life skills training, community service, and work-based learning experiences are aspects of RSSP. Computerized learning systems may supplement the primary academic instruction or may be used as the primary method of instruction.
STARQuest Academy is a Trauma Sensitive School with trained staff and a focus on the whole child:
- A trauma-informed school promotes a safe and welcoming climate;
- Seeks to create a structured and predictable learning environment that minimizes unnecessary trauma and loss reminders:
- Focuses on building positive and attuned relationships between teachers and students, and among school staff
- Has anti-bullying and suicide prevention programs; and
- Uses a balanced restorative justice (a.k.a. restorative practices) approach to conflict and conflict mediation with appropriate disciplinary action.
Home Schools are responsible for recommending students who exhibit characteristics that lead them to believe the student may benefit by enrolling in the S.T.A.R.Quest program. It is the goal of S.T.A.R.Quest to do what is best for the individual student in cooperation with the student’s Home School. The Principal will work with the Home Schools when a student’s success in the S.T.A.R.Quest Program may be questionable.
The RSSP has a set of guidelines, based upon best practices for alternative programs. Each student will have an Individual Optional Education Plan (IOEP) to guide their educational and behavior goals that include positive outcomes including reduction in disruptive behavior, regular attendance, coursework completion and credit received advancement in grade level, return to home school, grammar or high school graduation.
Process for Enrollment
To enroll in STARQuest Regional Safe School a student must first be enrolled in a public school district within Franklin, Johnson, Massac, or Williamson Counties. The home school will complete a referral form and be in contact with STARQuest administration regarding the reason for transfer and goals for the student. Once STARQuest receives the referral, we will be in contact to set up a registration appointment. Students accompanied by their parent/guardian and a member of the home school team will be required to attend an enrollment conference with STARQuest administration. All students enrolled in STARQuest will have an Individualized Optional Education Plan (IOEP) that will identify student goals and guide their education plans.