Every star represents one student. Inside, there are four circles that are either white (w) or grey (g) to indicate the following demographic or program information about a student.
Outside, there are one to five rays for the star. At the 12 o’clock position is grade 3 and moving clockwise around to grade 7. Each ray of the star has a colour (orange, yellow, light blue, or dark blue) depending on the performance level on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in math for that grade level. Orange is the lowest level and dark blue is the highest.
Each ray is wrapped in a specific shade associated with a grade level teacher in a given school: Black Lake (blue), East Olympia (purple), Littlerock (Orange), Michael T. Simmons (Red), Peter G. Schmidt (Green), Tumwater Hill (Yellow), Bush Middle (Blue), Tumwater Middle (Red). Some stars have fewer rays because students did not attend our district that year. Other stars may have one or more empty rays because although the student did attend a Tumwater school, they did not have a score.
Stars are grouped into constellations based on similarities among students based on which teachers they had. The closer two stars are together, the more teachers and courses the students have in common. Constellations for each school are placed on a single board. There are two sets of three boards, representing the two feeder patterns in the school district. Bush Middle School is on the left, with students from East Olympia, Littlerock, and Peter G. Schmidt elementary schools. Tumwater Middle School is on the right, with students from Black Lake, Michael T. Simmons, and Tumwater Hill elementary schools.
The display represents 452 students and is made of more than 3200 pieces of paper held together by glue. Each student representation is attached to a fabric-covered cork board by at least one map pin. The full size display is 12 feet (3.6 m) x 2 feet (.6 m).