SPARC – Special and Gifted Program
The Student Personalized Academic Resource Coordination (SPARC) program was developed in an effort to serve students with special and gifted needs. A commitment to differentiated instruction allows us to meet students’ needs as we recognize each individual student as an independent learner. SPARC provides an inclusive academic setting that enables students to reach their full potential.
SPARC will support students who have completed testing through an Educational Psychologist. Once a student with special needs has been identified and/or qualifies as highly capable, they will be considered for SPARC support. SPARC has three tiers:
- Tier 1: Student support is met within the class.
- Tier 2: Student support is met within the class and with the aid of the CHA Academic Specialist.
- Tier 3: Student support is met within the class and outside programs.
Through this program we support a broad spectrum of learners, from those who are in need of specialized support to those who would benefit from an accelerated structure. This is accomplished through the coordination and monitoring of an educational plan individualized for identified students. The SPARC program seeks to build on strengths while ensuring mastery of the grade-level curriculum and beyond.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: The Student Personalized Academic Resource Coordination (SPARC) program was developed to serve students with special and gifted needs. Students with current test results conducted by a licensed Educational Psychologists will be eligible for consultation with the SPARC program administrator to determine if interventions are appropriate.
Q: Will CHA screen the student body as a whole?
A: No. Testing is tailored to the needs of the individual student based on the judgment of an Educational Psychologist. Families who have recent test results or are considering testing would independently provide those results to the SPARC program.
Q: My child has been tested by a licensed Educational Psychologist. Where should I submit the results?
A: Test results and evaluation reports should be submitted to [email protected]
Q: Is there a list of CHA approved Educational Psychologist?
A: Currently, we are accepting test results from any licensed Educational Psychologist. This will provide families with the flexibility to choose the specialist that best fits their needs. If you need a recommendation, we can provide a list of Psychologists in our area.
Q: Is SPARC a pull-out program?
A: The goal of SPARC is to meet the needs of each student within the context of providing instruction in an inclusive classroom environment, and as such is not a pull-out program. To accomplish these goals, our teachers have access to several tools, including but not limited to differentiated curriculum both at and above grade-level, lesson extensions and enrichment opportunities, modification of intensity and rigor, and the modification of expectations. Pull-out programs are often designed to place the student in a small class setting, which already exists at CHA.
Q: What is the difference between the Tiers?
A: In Tier 1 students are those whose academic needs can be met by the teacher within the classroom. The student’s accommodations are based on the evaluation provided by the Educational Psychologist.
In Tier 2 students receive additional support beyond Tier 1, which may include in class accommodations as well as support from an Academic Specialist outside of the classroom.
In Tier 3 students will receive support like Tiers 1 and 2, however they may also be recommended or be receiving Occupational Therapy, Vision Therapy, Specialized Tutoring, or Gifted support. Many gifted students are supported within Tier 1 by leveling and curriculum modifications.
Q: Will my student be paired with other SPARC students during instruction?
A: Students at CHA are paired based on capability, work habits, and maturity, regardless of their SPARC status. As a result, some instructional peers may be part of SPARC, while others will not. This is to create an inclusive environment. Each classroom teacher endeavors to meet the needs of all students, so while some families have elected to not pursue testing, their child, based on demonstrated abilities, will be provided with instruction consistent with their aptitude and needs.
Q: What is the difference between a SPARC and a non-SPARC student?
A: SPARC students have undergone Psychoeducational Assessments to identify needs unique to that student. For students with learning differences, SPARC helps to create and implement a 504 Plan that helps identify and guide classroom accommodations to ensure academic and social success. For students with highly capable evaluations, the Cognitive Assessment and report will guide the instructional staff in developing accommodations to ensure that the student continues to be challenged academically.
Q: Do the tests expire? How often should we have our child retested?
A: To be eligible for SPARC participation, families should present current testing from an Educational Psychologist. Students who are participating in SPARC on an ongoing basis are recommended to update testing at 2-year intervals.
Q: What specific tests are required?
A: A neuropsychologist will design the battery of tests based on the specific concerns raised by the family, as well as on his or her medical evaluation. The specific subtests and individual evaluation can vary based on the age of the student and desired objectives for learning. Additionally, most Neuropsychologists provide examinations for neurocognitive mediators and a variety of other factors that can moderate abilities. Any tests conducted and recommended by a Neuropsychologist are considered relevant for SPARC evaluation.
Q: I submitted my child’s evaluation report and test results. What comes next?
A: A member of our SPARC program will reach out to schedule an Intake meeting. Upon completion of the Intake, a meeting will be arranged with your child’s teachers to form a plan of support. Ongoing meetings will occur throughout the year.
Q: Does SPARC offer a social-emotional component?
A: Students do not need to be part of the SPARC program to receive social-emotional support. All CHA students practice social-emotional skills throughout the day as part of our school’s mission to create an environment where children become educated global-leaders, problem solvers, and life-long learners. All CHA students begin building social-emotional skills in kindergarten with our Superhero Social Thinking and Second Step Curriculum.
Q: Can you share which students are part of the SPARC program so we can connect?
A: Your participation in SPARC and details about your student are considered confidential information and are shared internally with faculty and staff to the extent necessary to provide instruction and meet the needs of the student. If you are seeking resources to build relationships and community with families with similar interests and questions, CHA can share recommendations for online resources and peer groups matched to your family’s needs.
Q: What if the classroom teacher is not able to meet the needs of my child?
A: With access to a wealth of resources, it is uncommon for us to be unable to meet the academic and social needs of students within the classroom environment. However, if teacher input, assessments, or formal and informal observations indicate that a student’s needs cannot be met in the classroom, we will schedule a meeting to discuss alternative options. These include, but are not limited to, working with an instructional assistant, tutoring, or recommending an outside specialist for Occupational, Vision, Speech, or other therapy.