• Resources for Starfish

    The Student Success Network (brand name Starfish CONNECT™) enhances communication between students and their instructors, advisors, and support services. Our goal is to improve student support and services by having more integrated and efficient ways to track academic progress, flag concerns, and connect students with services they may need.

    Here are some things you can do with it

    • Post your appointment times, including preferences regarding appointment lengths, drop-in hours, etc. This will make it easier for your students to consult with you. You can also record meeting notes, milestones, and progress reports for individual students.
    • Record attendance and have a flag automatically raised if a student's attendance becomes a matter of concern.
    • Connect and coordinate with academic advisors and university support services and efficiently refer individual students for advising, tutoring, health or counseling services, etc., and track their follow-up.
    • Flag individual students for issues other than attendance that may require attention.
    • Complete mid-semester evaluations digitally.

    The usefulness of this tool depends to a large extent on the faculty members, advisors, and students who use it. Log in through the button to the right. Getting up to speed requires a minimal investment of time and will save you time in the long run. We would like to know your opinions about this tool. Please email your questions, comments and suggestions to studentsuccess@newschool.edu.

    Starfish Faculty FAQs

  • What is Starfish, and why do we have it?

    Starfish is an early warning and student tracking system that takes a holistic approach to student success, making it easier for The New School to coordinate and communicate among stakeholders, monitor student progress, and help students make wise choices. We rely on the campus community to utilize Starfish to help us identify students who need additional support.


    How do I access Starfish?

    Log into MyNewSchool then Click on the "Apps Locker" (three bar icon) located to the right of your profile picture. Select Starfish from the list of Apps.

    Alternately, you may access Starfish via Canvas under the left-hand navigation panel.

    How can I let my students know I am using Starfish?

    You can let students know you are utilizing the Starfish system but including the following section in your syllabus.

    This class will utilize the Starfish Success Network. The system is designed to promote student success through coordination and communication among students, instructors, advisors, and campus support service departments. If I observe that you are experiencing difficulties in the course (attendance concerns, little or poor participation, risk of low or failing grade, etc.), I will create a note in Starfish which will email to your New School email account. My message will tell you about my concerns and if you should meet with me or an academic advisor. Your advisor will work with you to create strategies that address any difficulties you are having in the course. In addition, if I observe that you are doing well in my course, you will also receive a kudos from me acknowledging your efforts.

    Starfish may involve taking advantage of various campus support services, such as tutoring or advising. If I recommend that you use campus support services, you will be directed to that support service department, as they will be better prepared to assist you. Since the “Early Alert” program provides essential notices by email, a course requirement is that you check your New School email account frequently and respond quickly if you receive an email through the Starfish system. You will be contacted directly by the appropriate department, if you do not respond to any such request.

    Why should I take attendance in Starfish?

    Taking attendance in Starfish serves four important goals:

    1. Starfish helps faculty document and track attendance for their course(s). Starfish includes the Student ID photo so you can easily identify each student. Taking attendance in Starfish is quick as it defaults attendance to “present,” you only need to indicate the students who are absent or tardy. If everyone was present, open the attendance screen and press submit - attendance will be recorded for that date. Faculty can also download an attendance excel report, and filter students by their attendance status in Starfish
    2. Students and academic advisors are sent automatic notices if students have been marked as missing two or more classes. This does not require action from the faculty beyond entering attendance in the first place. Research consistently shows that class attendance in college correlates with both class grades and with overall GPA (Crede, Roch, Kieszczynka, 2010), so we want to identify attendance issues quickly and provide guidance to students as early as possible.
    3. Students can see the exact dates they have been marked as absent or tardy for your course in their Starfish account, making their attendance standing clear and transparent and helping them take greater responsibility for their own performance in your course.
    4. The Department of Education (DOE) requires The New School to accurately report on students' last date of attendance for federal aid recipients in a timely manner in order to determine student's federal aid refunds. We can access student’s last date of attendance in a timely manner via Starfish.

    What is a Flag in Starfish?

    Flags are raised by faculty to communicate a concern about a student. All Academic flags generate an email to the student with supportive language directing them to resources as well as recommended actions for them to resolve the concern. The email includes faculty comments, if made. In the case of Behavioral, Health, or Personal/ Social Concerns Flags, students are NOT notified.

    Why is there an Attendance Concern flag if I’m already taking attendance?

    The Attendance Concern flag is helpful if you wish to document or emphasize specific attendance-related behavior. For example: Meghan has missed three consecutive classes and has not responded to my emails. I am not clear if it is her intention to drop the class, or remain in the course.

    As noted above, if you are regularly taking attendance in Starfish, the Starfish system will generate an Auto-Attendance flag if a student is marked as missing two or more classes.

    What is a referral in Starfish?

    A referral is a way to tell to tell a student to go to a specific office or access a specific resource.

    Referrals are more supportive than just telling a student they should visit a particular office because they generate an email that tells the student how to connect with that office (where to go, who to contact, etc...) The system also lets the relevant office know you sent someone their way along with context for the referral.

    Who can see flags?

    Each flag has different viewing privileges and we limit viewing privileges to only roles who can actively work towards supporting the student for the particular item.

    For example, the Director for Student Health Services has viewing privileges for the Health Concerns flag. In general, the student’s Academic Advisor will be able to view any flag for students assigned to their caseload so they have a holistic understanding of their students.

    What am I supposed to do with flags after I have raised them?

    In short, if the behavior changes or the issue is no longer a concern, you may clear the flag.

    For example, if you raise a Missing or Late Assignments flag, and the student has since turned in their missing assignments, it would be appropriate to clear the flag.

    What happens when I raise a flag or make a referral for a student?

    In addition to the email that is sent to the student for academic flags, advisors and various support staff are also notified of your concern.

    Some flags indicate more serious concerns than others, so depending on the nature of the flag and/or your comments, an academic advisor or staff member will follow-up and will “Close the Loop”, or will add a comment to the flag to share relevant information regarding the issue.

    I raised a flag but nothing happened!

    Not all flags require advisors to actively follow-up on the individual flag. That said, advisors are expected to note trends or patterns in student behavior; a student on academic probation flagged with an Attendance Concern flag in multiple classes will generate a different level of outreach than a high performing student who receives one Attendance Concern flag in one class. One of the great benefits of a system like Starfish is rather than having to search through an inbox looking for messages about a student, advisors are able to see a more comprehensive view of a student's progress throughout their studies in Starfish, which will help the advisor have more informed conversations with their students.

    Even if you don't receive notification from Starfish or directly from an advisor, know that advisors and staff are making appropriate outreach to students, including phone calls, as necessary.  Ultimately, the student has to accept advice, use the support services the advisor suggests, and attend classes and complete their work. Academic Advising will continue to work towards providing feedback to faculty via Starfish.

    Can I get more one on one training?

    Yes! If you have questions or would like more assistance, Haley Baron, who manages the system, is always happy to meet individually with faculty. She may be reached at starfish@newschool.edu or at 212-229-5150 x4764

  • We welcome your feedback! Please email us if you have questions or general comments.