CHA students enjoying Popsicles at Field Day

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 receive 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.   

Marsha Setting, SPARC Coordinator, was born and raised in Southern California. She relocated to the Pacific Northwest in early 2006.  Later that year, Marsha joined our team, and since that time has served in several educational roles at Chestnut Hill Academy. With her extensive and varied background in K-5 education, Marsha brings a broad and unique perspective on elementary education. In her role as Director of Student Services, Marsha leads the SPARC program, where she is singularly focused on developing opportunities to support learners across a spectrum of academic abilities. Marsha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from California State University, a Master’s in Teaching degree, and serves as the faculty representative on the CHAPTER Board of Directors.  


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: 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: 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.