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Starfish Early Alert

Starfish Early Alert


Welcome to the Starfish Early Alert program! Sandburg began using Starfish in the Fall 2013 semester to better communicate with students regarding their academic progress. The purpose of Starfish is to provide an easy way to communicate with students EARLY in the semester and to keep you informed of your progress in your class. The system is not intended to punish students for poor performance rather the purpose of Starfish is to help and promote success in the classroom.


Why do we use Starfish?

We want all Sandburg students to successfully complete their degrees or certificates. The Starfish software allows your faculty to easily communicate their concerns to you as well as the staff in your Success Network. This is a group of people here at Sandburg concerned with your success. This includes all of your current faculty members, your advisor and if you are an athlete, your coach.


Things you should know

  • Your instructor will send you a flag or a kudo through the Starfish program.
  • You need to check your Sandburg email routinely.
  • You can set up text alerts to go to your mobile phone notifying you when you receive a flag or kudo.


How do I access the system?

Log in to mySandburg and click on the Starfish retention solutions icon under the Student Apps tab.

How the system works

Within the system, your faculty can raise flags or kudos. You will receive the flag/kudo in the form of an email. A Flag is received when the instructor is concerned with your progress in the course. A Kudo is received when the instructor is happy with your hard work, improvement or outstanding performance in the course.


When you receive a flag or a kudo, an email template is sent from the system. For flags, the first part of the email will tell you what class the flag is for and some tips on how you can improve your performance in the class. If your instructor includes personal comments, those will be included at the bottom of the email.


Here’s an example of what a flag email will look like.

In Class Attendance Flag
Dear student,
Your instructor is concerned about your attendance in [CourseName]. Missing too many classes can have a negative impact on your final grade and may cause you to fail the course. It is not too late to change your attendance habits. Please attend the next class; if you are unable to make it, contact your instructor by phone or email and let them know you will be absent.
I believe that you can be successful at Sandburg and attending class is the first step in accomplishing your goals. If your instructor included individual comments, you will see those below.

Misty Lyon
Dean of Student Success


Instructor’s comments will appear here


Flag categories

Flag Name


Attendance concern

Raised when a student is not attending class regularly or when a student is late to class or leaves early.

Online Class Attendance concern

Raised when the student is not consistently logging in to their online class.

Classroom conduct concern

Raised when a student is not engaging in cooperative behavior following the established classroom policies.

Low Quiz/Test Scores

Raised this when a student receives a poor grade on a quiz or test.

Missing and/or poor performance on assignments

Raised when a student is missing one or several assignments and/or has low scores on one or several assignments. This could include low in-class participation such as not participating in classroom/online discussions if critical to their grade.

High Concern for Course Progress

Raised when an instructor has high concern about the student's performance for multiple reasons. It may be a combination of attendance, low scores and lack of turning in assigned work.

In Danger of Failing

Raised when a student is in danger of failing a course.


When a flag is raised, your advisor and your coach (if you are an athlete) may call you to discuss the flag. The purpose of their phone call is to make sure you have all the help and resources you need to be successful in the class.


Setting up your profile

You can set up your profile by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen after you log in to Starfish. You may also set up your text alerts on this screen. Click on the cell phone icon next to the Alternate Email box as shown below.

The following box will appear that explains the format you will use to enter your mobile phone number.