Maplewood Comprehensive High School’s Distinquished Service Award

We are THRILLED to recognize Monika Pugh, our STARS Specialist at Maplewood Comprehensive High School, for being presented with the Distinquished Service Award by Principal, Mr. Ron Woodard.

Monika was honored during a recent in-service for the Maplewood staff  for her contributions to the overall climate of their school.  Her ability to build relationships within the building amoung staff, teachers, students, families and administrators over the past three years has made a true difference for the Maplewood community.

Ms. Pugh is an 8-year veteran of STARS who has been working at Maplewood Comprehensive High School for the past three years.


Honoring Child Abuse Prevention Month with Ft. Campbell!

For the past four years, our Kids on the Block team has been invited onto Ft. Campbell Post to present to their now six elementary schools.  This all began with funding from the Nashville Predators Foundation when they funded our Coping With Crisis program and corresponding puppet, Salima.  This program addresses the fears, concerns, hopes and struggles that face families dealing with the deployment of a loved one.  The impact this presentation has had on the young children living on Post is humbling. 
Here are two emails we receieved from teachers who participated in our presentation:

“Amazing! My students couldn’t take their eyes off of the characters. There were so into the show. Very kid friendly. Loved it!!!”

“I love any program that teaches our kids about how to discuss deployment and that what they are feeling is normal.”

Although we have not been able to secure the funding needed to return to Ft. Campbell, we go anyway.  Reaching these brave military families, providing their children with the tools and skills they deserve to start talking about their feelings is of critical importance.

Deep gratitude is owed to these families.  We are mindful of your sacrifices and humbled by your committment.

Thank you.  From all of us at STARS and the families we reach.  Thank you.

From a School Counselor…

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month and to honor this our Kids on the Block team has been presenting to all six (yes, 6!!) elementary schools at Ft. Campbell this week.  We have been presenting our Child Abuse Prevention program to all their third graders and our Coping With Crisis program to all second graders.  We will have some photos and stories to share about these experiences later on. 

In the meantime, here is a letter we received from a school counselor:

Dear Kids on the Block,

           Thank you for coming to [our school] today.  You are doing great work to keep our children safe.  It is heart-breaking to know as you spoke to the children today that as they were all laughing, it was probably hitting home with several of them.  I hope that this message will resonate with each of them.  That they will know that it is not their fault.  That they will know they can trust their teacher if they should choose to ask for help.  That they will know that it is not “okay” for anyone to hurt them.  I will send the papers home with them as well. I hope this will begin a dialogue with their parents and much good will come of it.

        Each performer was excelllent.  Their puppet voices were so good.  May you be blessed for all the great work you are doing.


We are truly honored to work with these students, their schools and communities.  Thanks so much.

Addressing Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing Through Effective Policy and Practice

Tennessee Department of Education 

Office of Safe and Supportive Schools

in Partnership with STARS Nashville…

A civil and respectful learning environment is an essential foundation for teaching and learning.  Public Chapter 153 as enacted by the 2009 General Assembly mandates specific actions on the part of schools relative to bullying, harassment and intimidation.  This seminar will provide an overview of these and other related requirements with a particular focus upon insuring that policy is reflected in effective practice.

Who Should Attend?

Districts Should send a small team (2-3 persons) of educators responsible for providing leadership and direction to the district in the areas identified above.


Christ Ballard

General Counsel at the Tennessee Department of Education and is responsible for investigating complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Rodger Dinwiddie

is the CEO of STARS Nashville, is a Olweus Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and currently serves as a school climate and safety consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education.


Dates and Locations For the Spring of 2015 TBD 

Register by emailing

Anna Nichols





National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Kids On The Block Making A Difference

Did you know that a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds?  Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult and 30% more likely to commit violent crime?

STARS and Kids On The Block recognizes and supports National Child Abuse Prevention month in April. Kids On The Block offers a Child Abuse Prevention presentation for third graders. This personal safety program educates students to identify child abuse and neglect, empowering them to say “NO!” and encourages them to talk to a trusted adult. Although the topic is sensitive in nature, the program is presented in a kid-friendly and non-threatening way through our Kids On The Block program using puppetry and other teaching tools.

Over the past three year after seeing this Kids On The Block presentation, more than 60 children have had the courage, the strength and the information they needed to disclose being victims of abuse.  In each circumstance, a report was made to the Department of Children Services beginning the process of appropriate intervention.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Prevention  indicates prevention is the best hope for reducing child abuse and neglect and improving the lives of children and families. Strengthening families and preventing child abuse requires a shared commitment of individuals and organizations in every community.

For more information, on the Kids On The Block Child Abuse Prevention Presentation, contact us at 615-279-0058.