Silver Bells & Silver Linings

Published: December 19th, 2018

As one could imagine, the task of ensuring school stability for students in foster care can be daunting!

The silver lining of this tumultuous journey is the amazing amount of teamwork, collaboration, and support found within the community of organizations that aim to see a successful future for students in foster care. There are many talented people, throughout our State, that are working to see that students in foster care receive the federally legislated provisions prescribed in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Local educational agencies (LEAs) & the child welfare agency bear the brunt of the burden of school stability for students in foster care, transportation to school of origin, and when in the best interest of the student, immediate enrollment to a new school. Many community organizations can assist in these efforts.



This blog post is a guest entry provided by the Director of the First Star ASU Academy, Gabriela Jimenez. First Star ASU Academy is an organization that is a long-term college preparatory program for high school youth in foster care to enhance college readiness in academics, life skills and personal development, while facilitating students’ self-discovery through monthly workshops and summer immersion programming at ASU.


First Star ASU Academy is now accepting applications! Click here to recommend a student & apply.

First Star ASU partners with the Department of Child Safety (DCS), attorneys and legal representatives, community agencies and foundations, schools, and social workers to create a comprehensive experience using a three-pronged approach.


First Star ASU keeps all participating youth on track for high school graduation and a successful transition to higher education through ACT & SAT prep, core academic instruction, and personalized success plans.


Life Skills

First Star ASU ensures participants learn how to balance physical and psychosocial health while developing skills in career preparation, leadership, and self-advocacy.


Caregiver Engagement

First Star ASU ensures caregivers understand the needs of foster youth and equips them with resources necessary to support their academic achievements.


Key elements of the program:

  • 3-week residential summer program for the participants
  • Year-round engagement with monthly academies and service projects
  • 4-year support Academics, life skills, college readiness, and caretaker engagement
  • Scholars are eligible to stay in the program even if placement status changes (An open case with DCS or Tribal social services at the time of application is required)
  • 100% free of charge to scholars and their families
  • Students can participate from any geographic area, no restrictions

We are reaching out to individuals with relationships to foster parents, caretakers, teachers, school counselors, caseworkers, and community organizations that might have contact with youth in foster care. We are looking to support 15-20 youth in-care that can benefit from the program. Our goal is to have as much time as possible with them to provide continued support during high school and their transition to higher education.

Here are some upcoming dates related to the program: 

First Star ASU Open House and Resource Fair

February 9, 2019. 1 pm to 3 pm, ASU Polytechnic (Cooley)

Residential summer program (ASU Polytechnic)

June 9 to June 29, 2019


Visit First Star ASU Academy for additional materials or to request an information session. You may contact the First Star ASU Academy Director Gaby Jimenez at (480)727-0677 or email [email protected].





As always, if you or someone from your organization, would like to highlight a success story from a student in foster care or promote a needed resource, please email [email protected].