Starfish catalog connects students with important resources

The Starfish catalog on American River College’s website connects isolated students with important academic and personal resources as remote learning continues

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American River College’s Starfish software connects students with instructors, counselors, support staff, and other important student resources and services. (Photo via Starfish)

Ben Kynaston, Staff Writer

In this time characterized by change, instability and resource scarcity, many students are struggling with the transition into online learning for a number of reasons. American River College’s Starfish service catalog offers support for those students affected by current events by providing remote student services and resource programs.

The Starfish software is connected to HomeBase, a pathway program that connects students to counselors, peer mentors, coaches and faculty liaisons who can offer insight and support specific to a student’s educational and career ambitions. 

Starfish is also linked to a given student’s specific support programs including CalWorks, Veterans Services and Student-Athletes among others. Starfish’s Success Network services offer direct connections to instructors, tutors and their total network of support in a time where students may feel disconnected and isolated from their support systems by quarantine.

Kathleen O’Brien, the program’s faculty liaison, says that the program is designed to help faculty to offer important assistance.

“[Faculty can help students] by sending them kudos to motivate them to continue to perform well or to encourage them and praise their effort, to alert them if they are not currently passing and to explain what they need to do to pass,” O’Brien said in an email. “[It can also] connect students to campus resources to help them succeed.”


The ARC Technology for Remote Classes and ARC Remote Student Services links connect students to a longer list of resources available to students remotely, such as the Pride Center, the Computer Lab, which offers support for remote students struggling with Canvas, the Connect Center for educational plan support and the Accelerate College Education program which is designed to fast track students toward a bachelor’s degree.

Students struggling with physical and mental health due to quarantine can access the ARC Health and Wellness Centers for support, testing, non-emergency nurse assistance and referrals for physical and mental well-being services through the linked Los Rios Community College District Patient Portal, according to information posted on ARC’s Health and Safety page.

For those struggling with affording the essentials due to job loss or poverty generated and worsened by the pandemic, ARC’s Basic Needs Resources connects students with food, clothing, housing and technology to help repair some of the damage done and amplified by COVID-19, according to the service summary written in the catalog.

ARC CalWorks provides cash aid and services to families with at least one child in the home and offers academic, career and personal counseling, textbook assistance, priority enrollment, job placement both on and off-campus, and referrals to other support services.

“Using the referrals within Starfish to connect students to campus resources is the feature within this program I find the most useful,” O’Brien said. “Especially as we work remotely and can’t walk students over to buildings where those resources are contained.”

This program can be found under the student support services on the American River College website and is easy to navigate. 

“I think using Starfish will allow faculty to connect students to resources,” O’Brien said. “Whether it be to the food pantry, financial aid, tutoring programs, resource centers like EOPS, DSPS, Veterans, and mental health resources. As we work remotely, it is important to have an online tool to get students the help they need.”