"Our Diverse STARRS" Group Completes Its First Year


We would like to highlight a staff-created initiative within our STARRS program!

ICAN’s Striving Toward Academics, Respect, Responsibility, and Safety (STARRS) program operates within Madison Oneida BOCES. For this program, ICAN’s goal has been to provide a proactive approach to behavior management within the school setting, ultimately transitioning the students to a less restrictive academic environment and increasing their individual successes.

MO BOCES is located in a rural area. In an effort to help students work productively with BIPOC staff and social workers from ICAN coming into the school environment, an idea was pitched by Kayla (Hajdasz) Cha, LMSW to start a diversity group within the program.

The group began in October 2021 and was named “Our Diverse STARRS”. Kayla and Lauren Mastrangelo, LCSW introduced activities, crafts and foods which taught students about a different culture/race each month.

Many groups were celebrated including Italian American, Native American, People with Disabilities, Jewish American Month, Arab American Heritage Month, Asian and Pacific Islander Month.

The last month celebrated at the end of the school year was Caribbean American Month. Artwork from the previous months were displayed, food was catered and each student could invite one parent or guardian, allowing the adults to learn more about different cultures as well!

Thank you to all of the teachers who supported this inaugural program and we hope it is something that can continue into the future, helping bridge cultures and spark curiosity, appreciation and understanding for everyone!