Down to Earth Details from The Actors’ Fund



1. What exactly is the STARRRS Program? The STARRRS Program started in 2003.  It was a collaborative effort between the New York City Board of Education Region 2, the South Bronx and The Actors Fund.  AWP members, after receiving training and obtaining their OPD (Occasional Per Diem) license worked in elementary or middle schools as substitute teachers.

2. I don’t understand.  I thought the STARRRS Program is about the arts. That is correct.  Participants in the STARRRS program initially utilized drama to teach reading, writing and social studies.  In the training, participants are both given and develop lesson plans.

3. Does this mean if you are part of the STARRRS Program you never know when you will be working? No.  Each STARRR Cohort creates a regular schedule with his/her school.  STARRR Cohorts are expected to work at least two days a week.   Substitute teachers are usually needed every day; if for some reason there is no need for a substitute teacher on a scheduled day, the Cohort will work as a teaching artist.

4. Is the STARRR Program still only in the Bronx? No.  Beginning in September of 2008, STARRRS has expanded.  The program now includes schools in Brooklyn and Queens, along with the

5. Do you have to be an actor to be part of STARRRS? No.  STARRRS now includes all of the performing arts disciplines, i.e. drama, dance, music, scenic arts.

6. What are the requirements to become part of the program? All participants are members of AWP.  If you are not a member, Orientation is every Monday, except legal holidays from 12 to 2:30.  We are located at 729 7th Avenue, 11th floor, between 48 and 49 Streets.  Please arrive on time and plan to stay until
2:30.  All candidates must attend an Orientation for STARRRS and audition.

7. Audition, what do you mean? The audition is designed to evaluate candidates’ ability to relate to students.  Information is given at the Orientation.  Although candidates will need to prepare for the audition, it is not an arduous process!

8. So is that it—if you past the audition you get assigned to a school? No.  The STARRRS Program has a mandated training component.  Training is normally Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, for full days for four weeks.  All participants must attend all sessions. The training is lead by Howard Katzoff, the original Director of STARRRS.  Our commitment to the Department of Education and each school is that all STARRR Cohorts have received training.

9. You mentioned that the original STARRR program focused on reading, writing and social studies.  I would be interested in teaching another subject such as science or math is that possible? Yes!!!  The program really allows you to be all that you can be!

10. I am really interested, but I occasionally go out of town on gigs.  Is that possible? Yes.  That needs to be discussed with the Principal of the school.

11. I hear there is a freeze on getting substitute teacher license.  How do you work without a license? You don’t.  There is no freeze for STARRR Cohorts.

12. Then how do I get a license? Thanks to both the UFT (the NYC teacher’s union) and Sub- Central (The NYC Department of Education Substitute Teacher division) we have our own process.  Don’t worry!

13. But what do I need? All substitute teachers must have a Baccalaureate Degree or higher.  They also need to obtain three references.

14. Are there any costs? All applicants must be finger printed.  The cost is $115.  If you already have recent finger printed clearance from being a teaching artist, etc.  You do not have to be finger printed again.  The application fee has been waived.

15. Finger printed?  I once was arrested and convicted for a minor crime.  Does that mean I can’t be a substitute teacher? Not necessarily.  Each case is evaluated on its own merits.  It is important, however, to answer every question on the application truthfully.  No candidate can obtain a license if they lie on the application.

16. The bottom line question—what is the pay? As of this writing, substitute teacher make $154.97 a day.

17. Is it possible to make more? The pay rate is set.  However, since STARRR Cohorts have a license to teach, they can be hired for after school work.

18. Does the STARRR Program exist anywhere else in the country? Not at this time.