Welcome Guest

Leadership Program

The one-year, all-inclusive Leadership STAR Community Program is designed to help communities baseline their current sustainability status by achieving STAR certification. The program brings together a diverse cohort of cities and counties to learn from and support each other over the course of a year. It begins with an in-person orientation on sustainability performance management, and then provides extensive technical assistance to help local leaders get organized and report data for certification.

While any community can pursue certification on their own timeline, Leadership communities report that the structured program, shared milestones, intensive orientation and training, and continued technical assistance throughout the year helped them to achieve certification on an accelerated timeline. The Leadership Program is the top way that communities achieve STAR certification.

The Fall 2017 Leadership Program will be the eighth iteration of the program. Over the past four years, 83 communities have participated in the Leadership Program. As of May 2017, 60 have achieved STAR certification, with ~10 more expected to certify by the end of the year.

Fall 2016 Leadership Communities at the orientation and training kick off in Kansas City, MO, September 2016

Program Details & Timeline

The Fall 2017 Leadership Program will commence on October 1, 2017 and conclude on September 30, 2018. It is expected that communities will apply for STAR certification by the end of the program year. Communities with high enough scores will receive a certified STAR Community Rating.

The Leadership Program will kick off with a two-day, in-person orientation and training for two representatives from each community in late October or early November 2017 (location and dates TBD). STAR staff will walk the new communities through the rating system framework and evaluation measures, and lead them through a number of hands-on exercises to calculate a preliminary score and develop an action plan for the year. Mentors from STAR-certified communities will share best practices and tips for managing data collection, working with partners, and implementation planning.

Members of the Fall 2015 Leadership Cohort in Washington, DC for their orientation.

After the training, communities will start to align their existing programs, policies, and plans with the rating system using project management tools and resources provided by STAR. Then they will gather data on the evaluation measures of their choice from the rating system and enter the data into STAR’s application tool. Because the rating system measures community-wide sustainability, data and information on programs will need to be provided by a variety of different governmental departments and agencies, as well as from community stakeholders and civic partners.

The Leadership cohort will meet regularly throughout the year to report progress and share best practices. Each Leadership Community will receive a dedicated STAR coordinator who will check-in monthly via conference call and help to resolve issues and provide feedback and support.

The community is responsible for gathering the data necessary for STAR certification. When the community has completed the application to their specification, they will submit for verification. STAR Communities’ Technical Team will perform a robust, third party review and then return an initial score and verification results. The community will have one month to amend or edit the application before submitting for a final score. STAR will provide basic PR support and resources to help announce and celebrate the community’s STAR Community Rating.

Fall 2017 Leadership Program Timeline

October 2017 Get organized, hold intro call with STAR coordinator, receive access to resources
October/November 2017 In-person orientation & kickoff training (location & date TBD)
December 2017 Complete crosswalk, obtain support from leadership
January-May 2018 Gather data and complete application for certification
June-July 2018 Perform QA/QC, submit finished application for verification
July-September 2018 Receive initial verification results, edit or amend application, submit final verification, achieve certification, celebrate!

Program Cost & Benefits

The cost of the one-year program is $7,500. This one-time program fee includes access to the full suite of STAR tools and resources, an in-person orientation and training event, extensive technical assistance throughout the year, and all fees associated with verification. Benefits include:

  • One year subscription to the STAR Full Access package;
  • A 2-day, in-person orientation workshop with other Leadership communities for 2 local government staff or community representatives;
  • Monthly check-in calls with a dedicated STAR coordinator;
  • Ongoing educational programs and networking opportunities with other communities;
  • A hard copy of the Technical Guide to the STAR Community Rating System;
  • Access to the full suite of STAR tools and resources, including data collection worksheets, GIS and mapping guidance, crosswalk spreadsheets, and the application tool;
  • Access to the Leading Indicators program for annual reporting;
  • Verification of the community’s submission to receive an official STAR certification;
  • Access to STAR’s on-call content experts and advisers;
  • Basic STAR PR media services to assist in local storytelling; and
  • Recognition as a national sustainability leader!

Learn more about program benefits by watching this recorded webinar that features STAR staff and Daniel Fazekas, former planner for Henderson, NV, a member of the Fall 2014 Leadership Program.

Application Dates & Details

Communities interested in the Leadership STAR Community Program must submit an application. Download the Fall 2017 Leadership Program application and info packet.

Applications should be submitted via email to info@starcommunities.org. You may include letters of support from elected officials or community partners if desired, but they are not required. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through August 4th, 2017. Selected communities will be notified on or before August 15, 2017. Payment arrangements must be made by September 29, 2017.

Program Eligibility

The STAR Community Rating System was designed for use by local (town, city, or county) governments. While partnerships are encouraged, the governmental entity must be the primary applicant for STAR certification.

Additionally, the Leadership Program is designed to support communities who have not previously achieved STAR Certification. Other community partners, organizations, universities, consultants, and federal agencies can become STAR Affiliates to support STAR Communities’ mission.

For More Information

STAR Communities encourages local governments that are considering applying for the Leadership Program to schedule an informal conversation to discuss eligibility for the program, assess staffing and resource needs, and answer any questions about the program.

Please email Lacey Shaver, Leadership Program Manager, at lacey@STARcommunities.org with questions or to set up a call.