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Success Through Academics, Resources and Research (STARR) Program

What is the STARR Program?

The Department of Hematology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital created the Success through Academics, Resources and Research (STARR) Program to partner with parents of children with sickle cell disease, to help make the most of their children's educational experience.

STARR Program Objectives:

  • Work closely with you and the school to develop an education plan (504 Plan or IEP)
  • Educate the staff at your child’s school about sickle cell disease
  • Help you monitor the academic progress of your child
  • Conduct research on possible cognitive impacts of sickle cell disease
  • Provide reading instruction for patients with a need for reading intervention

What is Section 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of l973 is a federal civil rights law that allows students with medical concerns to get modifications and accommodations to help them learn better. These modifications and accommodations are changes made within the classroom to increase your child's chances for learning success.

Possible 504 Plan Modifications and Accommodations

Changes that suit the child’s medical needs:

  • Frequent restroom and water breaks
  • Watched closer during physical activities
  • Easier access to school nurse or office staff for medical needs

Changes in classroom and teaching to help the child:

  • More time on class work, homework and tests
  • Preferred seating in the classroom
  • The chance to make up missed class work or homework

What is an Individual Education Program (IEP)?

An IEP is a legal document made possible through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA). By law you and a team of staff members from child's school can create an IEP to help your child learn better. The IEP is a plan for teaching your child and meeting your child's specific education needs.

Possible IEP Modifications and Related Services

  • Regular education or special education teaching
  • Changes that suit your child's medical needs
  • Speech/language testing and therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy

What are the benefits of an educational plan?

  • It highlights your child's medical and learning needs
  • It forms a team with you and the staff at your child's school
  • It provides specific rights for you and your child
  • It increases the chances of your child having academic success

How do I schedule a school meeting?

  • Call your child's school and speak with the school counselor, teacher, assistant principal or principal
  • Tell them that you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your child's medical condition and to develop or update a 504 Plan or IEP
  • Before the meeting, make a list of issues of concerns that you want to discuss