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Sparks FAQ

Around here at SPARKS HQ, we receive a great deal of communication that generally has the same theme. This section of our website will try to answer some of those questions.

Why does SPARKS offer certain classes some years and not others?
The courses that SPARKS offers varies with what teachers can come in and teach. In some cases we have a highly specialized class that can only be taught by certain people. Not every SPARKS teacher is available to teach every summer.

How do you choose which classes to offer each summer?
We try to create a balance of academic and interest based courses. We try to offer a rich mix of courses for our age ranges that allow our students to have a rich experience. Often times if we are not sure whether or not to offer a course, we go ahead and offer it to see if the course fills up. If it does not fill, we simply cancel it and collaborate with the affected families to find a new course.

Why does the location keep changing?
It would be wonderful if SPARKS had a permanent home, but due to the yearly cycle of school maintenance and construction, we must move around from time to time. Not every Jeffco school is available every summer. Since SPARKS is a whole district program, we try to choose a building that:
   -Is centrally located
   -Is large enough to serve our instructional needs
   -Has a pleasant place for outdoor play

Why is the air conditioning sometimes not on?
For the record, SPARKS staff will never intentionally turn off the air conditioning. It is hot inside and outside, and nobody likes a sweaty educator. If the air conditioning is not working, it is because it is malfunctioning -- and rest assured, SPARKS staff is working with building and central maintenance staff to get it turned back on.

Why do we do a half-day Share Fair?
As a best practice, we regard a public demonstration of learning as an extremely effective target of instruction. Over the years we have played with a lot of different formats for that day, and have found the format of the half day share fair the best balance of time and energy. The half day gives families a concrete time to come and see their students learning and it gives staff the opportunity to clean the building and return it to the site based admin.

Who is eligible to participate in SPARKS?
SPARKS was originally designed as an enrichment camp for GT & high ability students. Over the years we have expanded our scope to allow in others who may want to participate.
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