Ladera STARS Academy Earns National Certificate for STEM Excellence - Campus Certification from National Institute for STEM Education
/ Categories: CVUSD, Elementary Education

Ladera STARS Academy Earns National Certificate for STEM Excellence - Campus Certification from National Institute for STEM Education

Ladera STARS Academy is the most recent school to earn the National Certificate for STEM Excellence (NCSE) - Campus Certification from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE). The NCSE recognizes individual school campuses for their commitment to and systematic support of teachers’ understanding and use of high-impact, evidence-based STEM instructional strategies.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, NISE was conceived by seasoned, practicing educators and is based on thousands of hours of research, professional development, curriculum design, and educational leadership. Using an online platform and supported by a dedicated NISE STEM leadership coach, educators and instructional leaders work together to refine school operations and instruction to further strengthen STEM practices and the campus’ overall STEM culture.

As part of earning the NCSE - Campus Certification, six educators also completed the National Certificate for STEM Teaching (NCST), further contributing to the school’s collective STEM expertise. Congratulations to STARS teachers Charity Britton, Livia Cummings, Jackie Luderer, Kristen Nordstrom, Lori Shargel, and Alyssa Peters, as well as appreciation for their hard work and dedication to STEM education! 

Lori Wall, principal of STARS Academy, shared that she is so proud of the school for this accomplishment! “The NISE certification process helped us shine a light on our STEM practices and make remarkable progress in our integration of science instruction across the curriculum," Principal Wall said. "We love to see how motivated and excited our scholars are through Project Based Learning and engaging daily science instruction.”


About Ladera STARS Academy

In fall of 2018, Ladera STARS Academy began their first year as a CVUSD STEAM magnet school.  The vision that unifies the school staff is to create a relevant, exciting learning environment characterized by, "Students inspired to reach for the STARS through explorations in Science, Technology, Arts, and Rigorous Scholarship."

The philosophy that drives the school’s decisions regarding instruction is summarized in their Mission Statement:

Ladera STARS Academy is dedicated to providing students with innovative, engaging academic experiences featuring STEAM elements (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).  They promote a community of cooperation and compassion that values every student and encourages students to take academic risks.  Students grow as confident scholars through rigorous integrated curriculum that builds on their natural curiosity and creativity. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and themes drive the authentic, collaborative practices that create problem solvers and motivate students.  STARS Academy believes in every student’s ability to succeed and are committed to making the school a challenging and inspiring place for student learning -- every day!

With a beautiful Outdoor Learning Laboratory (a.k.a. garden), an active Makerspace for technology and robotics explorations, and their Creation Rotations program building on visual and performing arts, Ladera STARS Academy offers their scholars a unique learning environment. 

  • 78 total campuses have earned the National Certificate for STEM Excellence (NCSE) across ten states and one international campus. 

  • 5 campuses in CA, including Ladera STARS, have earned the NCSE.

  • Ladera STARS is the first campus in Ventura County to earn the NCSE.

About the National Institute for STEM Education

NISE is a research-based support system for campuses and teachers seeking to strengthen STEM instruction and outcomes. Based on 15 STEM Teacher Actions that evolved from STEM professional development originally created at Rice University, NISE’s Campus and Teacher Certificates help school leaders and teachers understand and apply research and best practices in STEM, 21st-century learning, and professional development. For information, visit

Congratulations Ladera STARS Academy!

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