Advising | BCTC




Starfish is a retention software solution in use across KCTCS. Bluegrass uses Starfish to keep academic advising assignments, allow students to schedule appointments with advisors and instructors, and to raise concerns about student academic progress. 


Access Starfish through either Blackboard or PeopleSoft:

  • Blackboard, Click the Starfish link under Tools.
  • PeopleSoft (Student Self Service), Click the My Starfish link under Menu.

Tutorials and Training

Training Manuals

Raising Flags and Making Referrals

At any time, instructors and advisors may raise flags to identify students who are encountering problems that are endangering their academic success and refer students to college support professionals. *Important* The message contained in a flag or referral is delivered to the student and copied to the student s academic advisor and college support staff. When raising a flag or making a referral, be sure to

  • Provide comments explaining the problems the students is having.
  • Word your response so that both your student and the student s advisor can understand the cause of the problem.
  • Raise only one flag per student. It is not necessary to flag a student for a missing assignment and then add a second flag for attendance problems. Raise a single flag and address both concerns.
  • Lower the flags if the problem has been resolved.
  • Take care when raising a flag for "Non-Academic" Reasons. Some of these are quite serious and may require immediate attention from your Academic Dean or supervisor. Be sure to follow these guidelines when making such a referral:
    • Alert your Assistance Dean or supervisor of the flag you intend to raise,
    • Set up a confidential meeting with the student, and
    • Tell the student you are going to refer student to counseling based on the concern.

Progress Surveys

Three times during the semester, instructors will receive Progress Surveys that invite instructors to raise flags on students encountering academic difficulty.

These Progress Surveys that are distributed via KCTCS email:

Responding to Flags

During academic advising sessions, advisors should check Starfish to see if students have any active flags; active flags provides the advisor and student an opportunity to troubleshoot strategies for addressing the problem. Advisors may also choose to have their advisee flags routed to their KCTCS email.

Appointment Scheduling

Starfish allows students to schedule appointments with their academic advisors and their instructors. Appointments may be scheduled for multiple locations and may be restricted to specific student roles, e.g. advising appointments may be kept separate from instructional appointments.

Attendance Tracker

Starfish can also be used to track student attendance.

Starfish Data

Starfish is also a repository of much student data including flags and referrals as well as student grades. All this data is protected by FERPA and should not be shared; furthermore, students grades are pulled from limited fields in the Blackboard Gradebook and may not accurately reflect student performance.