Targeted Services / STARS Academy

STARS Academy is a state-funded program that serves students in grades K-8 in extended day and summer programs that are designed to build skills in reading, math and writing, as well as help students develop better organizational and social skills.

School-year programs are held at a student’s assigned school of attendance. Days of the week, time of the day and length of the sessions will vary from school site to school site. Each school schedule is designed to best support the programming of the regular school day.

Curriculum focuses on enhancing reading, math and social skills. Instructors are licensed teachers and have received training in the curriculum used within the program. 

Tom Benson

651-403-7901 |


  • Builds collaboration between the ALC, school and community
  • Creates family connections
  • Programming helps students feel good about themselves
  • Attendance rates increase and truancy decreases
  • Fosters students' interest in school
  • Decreases behavioral instances
  • Provides a safe environment
  • Stimulates creativity among staff
  • Increases student performance/academic achievement
  • Reinforces and supplements the daytime curriculum
  • New and different educational opportunities address individual learning styles
  • Increases in academic performance will decrease the likelihood a student will drop out of school

Students are identified for STARS Academy through a three-tiered model of instructional support called Response to Intervention (RtI). All students placed in tiers 2 and 3 are targeted and encouraged to attend STARS Academy. Teacher input is also taken into consideration when identifying students. Parents/Guardians will be notified by the school if their child is a candidate for STARS Academy.


GEMS also offers a unique Targeted Services program for Spanish-speaking students called the Native Language Literacy Class. This program is held on Wednesday evenings in the community room at the Oakdale Terrace apartments (about 1 mile from Garlough). 

It is a parent-child class that is taught completely in Spanish with a focus on increasing family engagement. The curriculum consists of activities that reinforce the concepts and skills being in taught regular classes. 


  • Academic support in native language
  • Parents are a part of their child’s learning
  • Families have access to Spanish materials
  • Activities can be replicated and expanded upon at home
  • Parents are exposed to academic language used in the classroom
  • Helps support maintenance of Spanish as native language
  • Relaxed, comfortable environment
  • Native language literacy is a predictor of English language literacy
  • Builds connections between families
  • Curriculum aligned to state standards

Students are eligible to participate in the Native Language Literacy Class if they are a native Spanish-speaker and live in one of the four apartment complexes in the Oakdale Ave/Marie Ave area, or have transportation to get to the class. Families will be contacted and invited to participate if they are eligible.

Ms. Gina Nyhus
651-403-8164 |

Hi! My name is Gina Nyhus and I am an Americorps VISTA. During the 2013-­14 school year I will be working closely with the kindergarten and ESL teachers at Garlough to develop an after-­school program for kindergarten students and their parents. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in May of 2013 with a degree in Linguistics. When I am not working I enjoy riding my bike to the beach, doing arts and crafts, and cheering on the Boston Bruins! I am very excited to be a part of the Garlough team this year!