Below is a short selection of what Teachers, Administrators, Program Directors, Wellness Coordinators and other educators have had to say about SPARK. If you've already experienced how SPARK can help you and your students and would like to submit your own testimonial, Click Here.
Click Hereto see a video of what PEP winners are saying about SPARK.
I want to convey to you that our district considers itself to be extremely fortunate to become associated with the SPARK organization. Our staff has fallen in love with the philosophy and instructional strategies of SPARK?This is my 31st year in public education and I have never seen a program become accepted and embraced with so much enthusiasm and support.
Rodney Green - Assistant Superintendent Everett Area School District - PA
I chose the SPARK Program for our organization because of their research base and years of field testing. My staff loves the SPARK curriculum because it's so easy to learn and use. I strongly recommend their program to any organization looking for excellent physical activity content, training, age-appropriate equipment, and consultation. SPARK does it all, and they do it very well.”
Mandee Polonsky - Enrichment Programs Manager Chicago Public School District - IL
I have been teaching over 30 years and this is by far the most valuable, engaging, Physical Education Program I have ever experienced.
Irma Balzen - Physical Educator Jason M. Dahl School - San Jose, CA
SPARK is still being used (training occurred more than 4 years ago) and is very popular with teachers. I even see them using some of the management and organizational techniques in the classroom. This was one of the best staff development decisions we have ever made. Thank you.
Kathleen Kahn - Principal Unavailable - Coalinga, CA
From where I sit, you couldn’t find a more appropriate name than SPARK for this impressive program. Since bringing it to my site four years ago, I have watched it “spark” energy and enthusiasm in a staff that used to dread the thought of teaching one more PE class… They have developed a sense of confidence in an area that used to scare many. That confidence has served to “spark” a love for PE, both for staff and students. I see it in the faces of children; I watch it in the efforts of my teachers.
Diane Cantelli - Assistant Superintendent Poway Unified - CA
The SPARK program is the best I've worked with in twenty years of teaching. The lessons are clear, easy to follow, and require very little prep time. Each skill is laid out step by step so they build on one another.
Kathy Dunlay - 4th grade teacher Turtleback Elementary School - San Diego, CA
" We have implemented SPARK in all of our 70 schools for the last five years now. The concepts of movement for all, no standing in line, small teams etc have made a huge impact on our students MVPA. The portfolios of activities are endless, easy to use and thorough. All administrators need to take a look at SPARK when considering new ideas for your physical education needs. "
Audrey Satterblom - Wellness Supervisor Indianapolis Public School District - IN
Your program is absolutely wonderful. We have had the best time. The kids and teachers are enjoying the classes, P.E. has become an important and joyful part of the schedule, and the parents love it. The training sessions were great team builders and we had a blast, and we want to keep all of it going. It has even spilled over and we now have parents who are doing a recess running club and we just had a Health and Nutrition Week with activities every day. It's delightful to focus on the child's total well-being - not just test scores. We're sure the impact of the program will support that as well. And again, everyone we have worked with at SPARK has been terrific. Thanks for everything.
Maureen Newell - Principal Tierra Bonita Elementary School - CA
I cannot tell you how exhilarated I was at the end of our staff development day May 24. In 28 years in NYC I have never had such a positive experience for staff development. I feel that I could sit with you for a week and still not have all the information you could teach me to teach children. I tried many of the activities you taught us that day with some of my groups. It was exciting for them and me! Thank you!!!!!!
Karen Hovey - Physical Education Teacher Alexander Macombs - Bronx, NY
We first began using the SPARK After School Program at our YMCA of South Palm Beach County in 2002. Our after school staff loved the binder full of great ideas and easy to use activities -- and the teambuilding and fun workshops SPARK conducted at our site. SPARK coordinates their lessons, teaching strategies, and equipment sets and their approach WORKS! I highly recommend SPARK for every Florida after school physical activity program!
Bev Johnson - Executive Director DeVos-Blum Family YMCA - Boynton Beach, FL
We loved SPARK at our school.....We learned a lot in those two years. We changed our program, which is a lot better and more active. They gave us super ideas that we have implemented in our classes. Because of SPARK, we are a better department. I am glad we had the opportunity of SPARK and we miss them!
Janet Jensen - Physical Education Teacher Bernardo Heights Middle School - San Diego, CA
The Duval County Public School System in Jacksonville, FL began working with The SPARK Program in 2004 when our PEP Grant submission was funded. After considering other approaches, we selected the research-based SPARK curriculum, teacher training, and equipment package to spark our middle school physical education programs and teachers. Working with the SPARK team was effortless and terrific. They arranged for conference calls to help with planning and management of a 3-year timeline. They were very flexible in editing our workscopes and budgets each year to meet our district’s needs and protocols. The curriculum is easy to learn and in line with todays approach to teaching physical education. Our teachers really enjoyed the active training sessions as noted on their workshop evaluation forms. Over time, SPARK continued to support our efforts, checking in just to see how things were going, and even conducted a free presentation to our middle school principals upon request. After spending 3 years working with a number of people on the SPARK team, I highly recommend their materials, services, staff and programs.
Judy Hitzing - District Physical Education Resource Teacher Duval County Public Schools - Jacksonville, FL
SPARK is a wonderful program. Its entire focus is to keep students active in a structured activity. The skills progression for each unit is perfect for the middle school. The trainings are always fun, because we get to play.........and very useful. I highly recommend the program!
Nona Collins - Not Provided Madison Middle School - Vista, CA
SPARK was a highly professional, well-administrated, quality program. It provides teachers with great ideas and makes one very sensitive to the need for constant motion in the physical fitness classroom.
John Morton - Not Provided Montgomery Middle School - El Cajon, CA
SPARK is such a wonderful program. It brings physical activity alive! The Title 1 Early Childhood staff and children enjoy their physical activity journey each and every day.
Yvonne Jones - Not Provided Title 1 Early Childhood Program Memphis City Schools - Memphis, TN
I first learned of SPARK at Nike, when I participated in a
workshop there. I was so impressed with their after school
program that I insisted we write it into our PEP Bill grant. Now, everyone in the Atlanta Boys and Girls Clubs knows how great the SPARK curriculum, training, and Sportime equipment is. Together, this is an unbeatable team and I highly recommendmthem to all PEP Bill winners.
Matt Ryan - Executive Director Atlanta Boys and Girls Club - Atlanta, CA
SPARK staff are the best! We did elementary workshops in our district and the teachers loved them. The SPARK group did so much of the organization and planning for me, saving
me so much time. SPARK is my good luck charm!
Pat Faire - Physical Education Coordinator Chicago Public Schools - Chicago, CA
Incredible...fun exciting, quick moving practical ideas for students, teachers plus staff.
Nancy Brown - Not Provided San Diego County of Ed. - Alpine, CA
The games are simple and fun. The presentation was perfectly paced and the content will be easy to use in my classroom.
Tracy Geisinger - Not Provided San Diego County of Ed. - Alpine, CA
This is the only program I've seen that can help students be successful with PE activities-everyone can enjoy it no matter what their level of coordination or bodily condition!
Jill Seaman - Not Provided San Diego County Office of Ed. - Campo, CA
After experiencing the program at another school as a parent I was excited to begin it at the school I work at. The kids love the activities.
Enaid Soriano - Not Provided Fresno County Office of Education - Fresno, CA
This program has an incredible variety of ideas that can utilized to provide a comprehensive physical education program to promote physical fitness.
Hannelore Rojas - Not Provided Hacienda La Puente USDNelson Elem. - La Puente, CA
I think we need more kinesthetic integration in our academic curriculum to enhance learning (even improving test scores). I have found this immensely helpful even for my SDC preschool.
Melony Paulson - Not Provided Hacienda La Puente USDNelson Elem. - La Puente, CA
SPARK is easily to implement and it is very beneficial to the student who is hesitant to be active.
Dave Galvin - Not Provided Hacienda La Puente USDNelson Elem. - La Puente, CA
It is wonderful new approach to physical activity for adults as well as kids! Some of our staff has done this before and they recommended it highly.
Sue Ellen Weber - Not Provided Kernville SD - Lake Isabella, CA
The Spark program provides many new activities that are enjoyable for the students and that are beneficial for their physical fitness.
Karina Molina - Los Angeles Youth Policy Institute - Los Angeles, CA
Spark is a great program to promote fitness and participation. I like the organization of the binder-how skills are broken down.
Jeannie Crawley - Not Provided Marysville Joint Unified School District - Marysville, CA
I would definitely recommend the workshop! It was fun and informative! Gives those who attend a lot of great games plus activities that they can take back to sites.
Erikka Fullon - Modesto Stanislaus County Office of Ed - Modesto, CA
So many great ideas for teachers to do more gross motor with students-the information is so well organized plus well presented-terrific materials!!!
Nicole Draskoczy - Not Provided City Council - New York, NY
It gives terrific guidance and ideas for movement activities for children, and it was fun. Easy to implement into curriculum in many different areas (writing, science, math etc.)
Caroline Ryburn - Not Provided City Council - New York, NY
It gives great ideas and expands a teachers knowledge of the importance of music and movement, physical activity and nutrition.
Kathrine Moran - Not Provided City Council - New York, NY
This is one of the best trainings I have attended. I love the program and especially the aspect of there being no losers-- everyone wins!
Nancy Zuellig - Not Provided Pasadena Unified School District - Pasadena, CA
This program, I think, would inspire even the most timid instructor to want to get the children out and moving
Joni Clark - Not Provided Pasadena Unified School District - Pasadena, CA
I brought this training to our after school program after attending a SPARK training Sacramento. I think everyone who works with kids should be trained in SPARK.
Marcy Rossi - Not Provided River Delta USD - Rio Vista, CA
I attended SPARK training this summer in San Diego and just wanted to let you know how it has impacted my teaching, even after 25 years... I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! My favorite thing that I use constantly is the "drinks of water" reward for kids that are doing what you want them to do. This is such a simple thing, but it has changed the dynamic in my classes so much! It is amazing how focusing on the positive things my kids do, and rewarding them with a drink of water can cause the others to want to work harder and be the one to get recognized...plus it is easy and FREE! I love it!!
Lisa Beam - PE teacher Guntersville Elementary - Guntersville, AL
I can't say enough about how much I have enjoyed using the SPARK curriculum in my PE classes. The kids love it and I love teaching it. The curriculum is very user friendly and is precise and to the point. Having enough equipment for the whole class is a great advantage too. You can't go wrong with SPARK.
Karen Cline - PE Teacher Everett Elementary - Everett, PA
I began the year with anticipation, excitement and yet some apprehension with the implementation of a new curriculum for our Middle School Physical Education classes. Although I love the curriculum and I have seen it work with our Elementary staff and students, I wasn't sure what to expect with our Middle Schools. After Wednesday's Curriculum Meeting, the uncertainty is gone. I would like to share some of the comments the middles school teachers made about the curriculum:
-"We no longer have students standing around. Students are actively engaged and actually tired when they leave my class."
-"Every kid participates and they don't even realize they are exercising."
-"We tried the golf curriculum and it really worked!"
-"The kids love the the warm-up activities and our activity time has increased."
-"The amount of equipment we received has helped to out a ball in every kids hands. They have more opportunities to learn and improve their skill."
Judy Vanderford - Health and Physical Education Teacher Kenosha School District - Kenosha, WI
First, let me say KEN IS FANTASTIC!!! I knew he was great but after my four days with him I am really impressed. The trainings were a COMPLETE success. The feedback we received was inspiring.Ken has all of the check-in/evaluations and they are extraordinary!!!!
I am so looking forward to working with both SPARK and Ken these next two years!!!! Thanks for making it happen! Our OUSD students are going to get SPARKED UP!!!!!!!!
Tina De La Rosa - Elementary PE Specialist PEP Grant Coordinator Oceanside School District - Oceanside, CA
The training was FANTASTIC!!!! I was worried that 3 days with the same trainer would be a little much, but he was great. I got so much out of those three days!!
All the other PE teachers were very positive about the training, and were very receptive to the SPARK curriculum. With the training and all the new equipment, I'm sure there will be some very positive changes to our PE program district wide. Very exciting stuff!!!
Pamela Lambert - Principal District Wellness Coordinator Williston Public School - Williston, ND
We have been working with the SPARK team for many years now. Their professionalism, the quality of their work and their guidance has been extremely important for the work that we have been doing in NYC daycares and we take great pride in our relationship with SPARK.
Spark’s trainers and staff are of the highest quality. And they have been wonderful collaborators when we needed adjustments in manuals or workshops. The SPARK content, as well as the caliber of their trainings, is of the highest quality and I recommend them highly.
From these positive experiences and others, I believe they will be a fine resource to Head Start centers. SPARK has my recommendation as an excellent organization to work with.
Cathy Nonas - Director, Physical Activity Nutrition Programs New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - New York, NY
The Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay has been implementing the SPARK After School Program for the past 3 years.
The SPARK program has been easy to implement since it comes with a large manual and the staff can just pick out the games and activities that they want to play with the kids and the sheet has all the information on it.
The SPARK Train the Trainer has been a huge benefit for us. We do about three trainings a year with our staff and still have the flexibility of doing one-on-one visits with the staff while they are running programs to give them some pointers or help with certain situations.
Another benefit to SPARK is that there are games that we can play in small areas that still get the kids the required Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity. The games/activities can be modified for smaller or larger areas which comes in handy most every place that we go.
All-in-all we are very pleased with the SPARK program and it works very well with our After School programs.
Kevin Konkol - Senior Director of Operations Boys Girls Club of Green Bay - Green Bay, WI
Hi, this is Chris Hill from Chocowinity NC. I attended your workshop in Currituck NC, on January, 20th. Both myself and my co-worker, Kellee Reichelt (who also attended the workshop) have been using ideas from SPARK. We both have used it with ALL of our classes. It truly has been a wonderful program. It still amazes me how the kids are being active and using muscles that they otherwise wouldn't be using, all while "having so much fun". The kids think I've flipped at times, because things are so much different than they were (before attended SPARK).
Chris Hill - HealthPE Teacher Chocowinity Middle School - Chocowinity, NC
Ken McFadden was our trainer and did an AMAZING job! He was very inspiring!
Josh Shindle - PE teacher Prince of Peace - Mechanicsburg, PA
I just finished previewing the new SPARKfamily.org website and I am very excited indeed. Your team did a remarkable job in assembling a first class professional development tool. Not only will this assist my teaching but I now it will positively impact children for years to come. This is probably the most useful website I have been to EVER!
Bravo to SPARK for taking it up a notch.....AGAIN!
Dwayne Sheehan - Professor Mount Royal University - Calgary, AB
we brought in SPARK as a part of my Active Fitness Grant from the PA dept of Health . Mr. Hichwa was very experienced, handled our group of teachers well, taught us new curriculum items and reviewed older lessons with a new twist.
Lauren Mallinger - healthPe teacher pittsburgh Montessori - Pittsburgh, PA
Spark is an excellent program for school age children. The kids have so much fun and dont really realize that they are making their hearts say thank you but, they are. I encourage more centers, schools, and groups to get into this program. It is a very easy curriculum to follow. The activities that you will be teaching will be in a child's memory for years to come. Our children actually request to play the spark activities over games that have a win as the ending.
Melissa Fuller - Site director YMCA of Greater Erie - Erie, PA
The training was wonderful! The hands-on activities and the teaching strategies were positive, fun and engaging! I have heard a lot of positive comments from the staff regarding how the program is designed and that it is very doable as a classroom teacher.
This program will encourage both teachers and students to enjoy movement and physical education. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and activity but will not pull classroom teachers away from their academic focus. It seems like it will be easy to teach and we can see how the students will love the activities, since we enjoyed them so much.
Lynda Lake - Principal Cielo Vista Charter School - Palm Springs, CA
“I came from a SD high school where I was the principal and the Carol M. White PEP Grant Director. We used SPARK Curriculum K-12 and loved it. We increased our minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Our kids found a new love for PE. We took out the competitiveness and it became cooperative. I especially loved the leadership and social skills components.”
Dr Barbara Leiseth - Principal Pinedale High School - Pinedale, WY
I just returned, drenched in sweat, from our PE back to school inservice, led by Mary Hirt.
What a great day!!! I would have loved to do more days with her.
I can honestly say I am ready to return to the gym and welcome my darling little rugrats with opened arms.
I purchased your K-2 SPARK manual a few years ago with intentions of attending one of your workshops in Tennessee; but due to personal family issues was unable to do that.
Lately I had tried to go with a coworker to SanDiego but you know how a teacher's summer goes....too fast, crammed with stuff.
ANYWAY, thank you for sending us Mary! You have a fantastic mouthpiece....and I still would love to come out and attend a K-2 workshop, maybe next summer.
Since I didn't get Mary's personal email I wanted to be sure to thank her through you....I'm ready for a new school year, thank you Mary!!!
Jo Lynn Lunger - Teacher Ben Franklin Elementary - Wichita Falls, TX
I am using the SPARK Fitness Lab with my classes. A 7th grade girl who is 200+ pounds got so excited because she went past her step goal in the walking program that she grabbed and hugged on and on. After class, she told me "PE is my favorite class!" Needless to say, my emotions overwhelmed me! Thanks for all the great information and ideas to help my "non-athletes"!!!!!!
Ellen Barnes - Teacher Northern Guilford Middle - Greensboro, NC
Mary Hirt is the most wonderful trainer anyone could ever ask for! Our teachers learned a lot and gathered many ideas that they can incorporate within their PE classes as soon as the next day. SPARK is a great program, but it is even better when someone like Mary teaches different aspects of the program while motivating others to become more physically active. She is AMAZING!!!!
Julie Brown - Teacher Advisor Network for a Healthy CA - Hawthorne, CA
After learning more about SPARK I became committed to bringing their curriculum and teacher training to my PE specialists in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. After I did, I was amazed to see that when we implemented SPARK statistical analysis revealed that students were active 75 percent of their class time.
Additionally, the teachers raved about the SPARK training sessions and how much they learned – and are obviously applying.
Dr Jayne Greenberg - Executive Director of Physical Education Miami Dade Schools - Miami, FL
As an international educator I have used SPARK for almost 20 years at every school I have taught in from Saipan to Saudi Arabia, and from Guam to Pakistan. The curriculum is by far the best in the business.The staff love using it and the children love taking part in a SPARK class. We have seen immense results in our schools overall fitness levels which has paid dividends on our athletic teams over the last 2 years.
Scott Johnson - Head of PEAthletic Director Karachi American School - Karachi Pakistan, NA
The teachers in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District were thrilled with the full day of SPARK training they received recently. Teachers commented that they learned several ideas that they would be able to implement the next day. The training was literally hands-on, so teachers were able to do the activities--not just learn about them. Our trainers, Julie Green and Ken McFadden, were fabulous. I highly recommend them for their expertise and engaging presentation style.
Carolyn Seaton - Executive Director of Educational Services Manhattan Beach USD - Manhattan Beach, CA
SPARK is an extremely innovative curriculum that allows children to enjoy physical education an all ways! It allows all children to participate in in fun activities that in turn allow students to gain their minutes of physical activity.
The Community Students Learning Center in Lexington, Mississippi is very proud to have a partnership with the Holmes County School District.
Our program is known as STORY- Strategic Tactics of Obesity Reduction In Youth which is funded through the Carol M. White PEP Grant. The SPARK curriculum is in our elementary, middle, and high schools. Additionally we have the After School SPARK curriculum at the CSLC and our faith based organizations.
The teachers and students here in Holmes County benefit from the highly effective, fun, and educational ways that SPARK has enhanced the physical education programs and after school activities.
Data shows that the STORY/PEPprogram\\\'s implementation of the SPARK curriculum into our inclusive program has allowed students to stay physically active at least 95% of their class times. This is certainly an indicator that we are doing our part to fight childhood obesity!
Thanks SPARK for helping PE to soar to new heights!
Porche Frizell - STORYPEP Project Director Community Students Learning Center - Lexington, MS
I need to say THANK YOU! The SPARK PE Workshop was incredible! My whole 3rd grade team is now implementing it. It's become a highlight of our off-the-record planning time and how we're serving the needs of our students. The coolest thing is we, the teachers, realize how important it is that we prioritize PE for our kids. We've noticed how are kids are more attentive and excited about coming to school now.
Today, after a short session of "Mingle" activity, my students were so happy they were grinning ear to ear and giggling. They said, "I feel like I can fly." "I feel like my mind is free." "I feel so happy!" And much more. At the end of the day they were excited to do some more exercises at home. They are learning that moving is fun and worth the effort. We have so much fun and our learning time is much more focused after our SPARK PE time.
Thanks so much for making it happen. If I had not had the wonderful opportunity to attend the training I'd probably be too intimidated to take on the challenge of learning the program and teaching it.
Betsy Cantrall - Teacher Oceanside Unified School District - Oceanside, CA
SPARK has proven to About Our Kids, Inc., as well as our partner schools, that physical education can have easy, efficient and effective implementation, be fun and enjoyable and incorporate all classroom and after school students while maintaining and increasing motor development and positive behavior. SPARK is utilized in our after school program, school districts and community settings with positive results and feedback wherever implemented. About Our Kids, Inc. is proud to support SPARK and the positive benefits it is empowering our youth with
Jerod Morey - Executive Director About Our Kids, Inc. - Lamar, MO
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the SPARK training. I spent the entire first week back trying out some of the new activities and my students loved them. This past Friday we used the jigsaw method to teach the kickboxing and the girls were amazing. It was fun to see the leaders step up to the plate and take charge. I will continue to use the SPARK program and hope for my co-workers to attend the training next year. Thank you for your enthusiasm in presenting. As we all know… if we are excited our students will be also!!
Cindy Brister - Teacher Oslo Middle School - Vero Beach, FL
Courtney was exteremly motivating and brought many positive and new ideas to the teachers for their students who are at all levels of fitness and skill. Great presentation and active learning. This is a great program for schools who want their students to be active in and out of the classroom/PE class. Thank you.
Tawnya Dorn - Registered Dietitian QVMC - Napa, CA
I have been teaching the SPARK lessons in middle School and love them. Love the full participation of everyone immediately. I have 50 students in a class and need to set up equipment and take it down quickly for the next class. Having the students involved after the demonstration does two things, they know they have to listen because they are responsible for setting up and getting their group together for the activity and secondly, misbehavior is diminished because of immediate involvement. SPARK also empowers students to become leaders.
Karla Young - Atheletic Director PE Teacher Palm Beach Schools - Palm Beach, FL
As a new Physical Ed Teacher it was a great way to meet professionals in my field. This Institute was also an awesome way to get real hands on experience on the material that we will use in the field. The best part of the Institute was the staff. Not enough can be said to tell how awesome they are. Whenever there was a question they were on it to help out. The staff was there every step of the way to guide and give advice when we needed it. They were some of the most friendly and knowledgeable people in our profession.
Dave Russell - Physical Education teacher SDSU grad - Alpine, CA
I enjoyed one of the most rewarding workshops ever! This high school program completely turned my teaching strategies around. Since school began in September, I have used teaching strategies from the SPARK program. What a difference in the students! The ASAP warm ups are fantastic, and MVPA has increased! Kudos to the SPARK instructors, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Thank you so much!
Mary Russell - Physical Educator El Capitan High School - Lakeside, CA
The training I received was phenomenal! You can be confident in the curriculum that is presented because it is research and standards based, and tested by physical educators in the field. No matter if you are a veteran teacher, or second-year teacher like myself, there is so much you can learn. I began implementing ideas and strategies on the first day of school!
Jessica Ullyott - Exercise Nutritional Science Teacher Samuel Gompers Preparatory Academy - San Diego, CA
I've been here at WVU for 2 years. Since being here and teaching the elementary methods courses and supervising the elementary PE field placements I have really seen how beneficial it is for these pre-service PE teachers to know and have the SPARK curriculum materials to take with them out into the first teaching positions. Recently we had a recent grad contact us indicating that he has gotten his school (possibly district) in Maryland to purchase the curriculum for K-6 and his administrator is looking to hire more PE teachers who have been trained in how to use/teach with SPARK!
Dr Emily Jones - Assistant Professor West Virginia University - San Diego, CA
The SPARKS training was a gift to us in so many ways...I was so excited about it I started right into it the first day back to teaching PE classes. The kids loved it, esp the way they came into the gym and started moving right away. There was more movement than ever before and the reluctant students and behavior challenged were with us completely. Afterwords I could hear the kids in the hallway telling other classes how much fun they had in PE today. I've been teaching for 31 years and this was the shot in the arm I needed at this point in my career. I can't say enough good about it but I will sum it all up by saying that this philosophy and these activities are easy to teach and logical and best of all FUN!
Mike Larsen - PE teacherActivities Coordinator Dillingham ElementaryMS - Dillingham, AK
Julie is an awesome trainer. Even saying awesome is an understatement. She is fantastic. She made the training fun and got our teachers be excited to teach SPARK in their classrooms. She get's the teacher engaged to think about other ways they can incorporate the different activities into their core subjects like math or using the same basic skill game to do many different skills from basketball to soccer to hockey.
She has a clear goal and that's to get the kids moving.
I will book her again for our next training!
Stephanie Fabia - Project Supervisor El Monte City School District - Los Angeles, CA
Teachers... have reported that their classes run more smoothly, students don’t feel isolated, and behavioral problems have already reduced because the students get active quickly and don’t have time to get “physical” with one another.
Nadim Kanafani - Assistant Professor Saint Louis University - St Louis, MO
The training was great! Our trainer, Jeff Mushkin, was so enthusiastic and really engaged the audience. Our evaluations sang his praises and that of the SPARK curriculum.
Kimberly Sherrill - Chair McCracken County Community Early Childhood Council - Paducah, KY
The training went great and Kathy did an excellent job! It was definitely even better than we had already expected. All the participants generally agreed it was one of the best trainings they have participated in because it was informative, active, and fun! I know we will be using several of the activities from the training at our sites this upcoming month and can’t wait till the next one.
Mark Parks - Project Coordinator San Jose Parks Rec - San Jose, CA
Our presenter did a fantastic job at training our teachers and aides. The students loved the program and didn't want to stop. Even the older students were having fun and learning at the same time. The built in behavior techniques and emphasis on movement vs. competition were helpful.
Kathleen Van Dusen - Special Ed. Teacher Newhalen School - Newhalen, AK
We at HELM want to thank you all for what you did to make the High School training successful. The binders arrived, the boxes arrived, two awesome trainers arrived…and the teachers arrived. The high school teachers were more enthusiastic than we thought they would be, inspired in large part by SPARK’s terrific activities, BJ’s and Julie’s upbeat, enthusiastic attitude, and excellent planning. That last item deserves special mention. Julie and BJ thoroughly planned the training before they arrived, they thoroughly revised after the first day, and they made thoughtful, effective, incremental adjustments along the way. The result was an extremely responsive, relevant program that really met our teachers where they are. I’ve attached a copy of a “thank you” letter I’ve mailed to Julie and BJ.
Gary Lichtenstein - HELM Project Director Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado - Carson, CO
I will be totally honest. I was very against “canned” curriculum and even resistant to SPARK thinking it was too juvenile for middle schoolers. But then I taught my basketball unit out of SPARK last semester. I was blown away!! ALL the kids were engaged and they LOVED it! The lessons went so smoothly. I combined a lot of them because we have 60 minute periods, and the entire unit lasted about 8 days including assessments. I was SOLD!! We are in the middle of football with PE 2 right now and Disc sports with PE 1 and both are going great! Planning time is faster and I feel way more prepared. SPARK even does the SHI and PECAT for you, they connect to the National Standards, and they are working on a doc connecting it to the Program Review!!
I sound like a commercial for their stuff but I am just very impressed and excited about trying the lessons this year!
Rick Carr - Physical Education Woodford Middle School - Versailles, KY
I am a PE GODDESS thanks to two summers now taking the institutes in San Diego. I am so enjoying my job way more than last year and I think a lot of it is due to what I have learned from you guys. I also very much appreciated the creative license that your instructors Aaron and Mary demonstrated. It is so fun to be able to take a lesson and spur of the moment be able to change it or add on to it to create something that suits the group a little better in that moment. I am looking forward (I hope) to being able to do the advanced institutes each summer!
Cindra Skotzko - PE specialist Lupin Hill Elementary K-5 - Calabasas, CA
Awesome!!! Thank- You! Finally something that we will actually implement.
Dan Sineway - Superstar Sports Camp Co-Director Elbridge Gale Elementary - Wellington, FL
We were very impressed with with the wisdom and guidance we received from our trainer. Vickie James did a phenomenal job working with our K-8 staff to help inspire and empower them to utilize the Healthy Kids Challenge nutrition curriculum. She did an excllent job presenting the case and need for nutrition education to be a part of our students school day, and offered many creative suggestions as to how and where it could be plugged in. The curriculum is comprehensive, easy to use and provides all the resources necessary to meet the HECAT nutrition standards.
Christine Sluke - PEP Grant Director Wautoma Area School District - Wautoma, WI
We have found the entire ‘SPARK package’ amazing! The newly improved after-school curriculum is incredibly easy to use - you have everything laid out for you in easy-to-understand instructions to start an engaging physical activity with youth. The simplicity of use is what makes this curriculum stand-out over others.
Michele Gregory - Community Health Promotion Programs Manager Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation - Arlington, VA
I will be using the SPARK High School Curriculum in my K-12 Methods of Teaching course for the second time this fall, and have used the SPARKFit manual previously in that same class. We have two school districts we send student teachers to who use the materials, and they were very interested that I was using them to help prepare our teacher candidates. And, now with Common Core, 21st Century Learners and Mass Customization, all of which I have to make sure our teacher candidates can work with, the SPARK materials seem to be the best purchase of a “textbook” that will get the best use when these folks go out into the classroom.
Patty Hacker - Professor Health Nutritional Sciences South Dakota State University - Brookings, SD
I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the wonderful 3-day training.The spark curriculum has been a wonderful tool and asset for me as an Elementary Physical Education teacher. It has also been a great tool for helping train student teachers.
Kelly Knutson - Teacher Beresford Elementary School - Beresford, SD
SPARK exemplifies a high quality physical education program. It focuses on what we should be focusing on, students moving and learning for life! The curriculum is good, it\'s as good as any that I have come across in 20+ years, the training is phenomenal. You can buy the curriculum and if you implement the curriculum you will see improvement BUT the training is phenomenal. The training changes practice. Teachers who have burned out have been re-energized by participating in the SPARK trainings we have offered.
If you want to see a change in your physical education program, choose SPARK.
Brett Fuller - Curriculum Specialist MPS - Milwaukee, WI
Our district began training teachers to implement SPARK in 2005 when we were awarded our first PEP grant. The training, skills and knowledge the teachers gained have provided our students with excellent physical education experiences and the continued support provide through the SPARK website and materials have given our PE program a strong foundation. With our second PEP grant we have been able to bring in SPARK training for our after-school programs as well and provide support for those other agencies to continue to enhance the physical activity experiences of our youth. We are very happy with SPARK and the trainers that have inspired and enthused our teachers and after-school staff.
Nancy Maxson - Coordinator, Health Prevention Programs Ventura Unified School District - Ventura, CA
As a Supervisor of a K-12 Physical Education Program, it's important to me not to give teachers any new resource without the training to support instruction. Providing meaningful, relevant professional development is the most important thing I do. Recently, my middle school teachers participated in the SPARK training and found it incredibly rewarding. Right away, teachers are encouraged that they can make changes in the classroom that will make significant differences for kids. To move our profession forward, we need to reach one physical educator at a time, with every opportunity we can get. This training was significant in that regard. Thank you SPARK, for bringing solid activities and easy to use assessments to my teachers. SPARK is now both my elementary and middle school curriculum of choice.
Judy Lobianco - Supervisor of HPE South Orange-Maplewood - Maplewood, NJ
SPARK makes a difference! The School District of Beloit went all in on SPARK hoping to move from good to great. And that we did! SPARK goes beyond solid curriculum, it gets to the heart of what teachers need in their tool boxes to teach like champions. The two day/booster trainings supplied empowering strategies and were role modeled by energized facilitators. Staff performance definitely stepped it up a notch following the training. Staff reported that student activity time increased and actual skill levels improved upon implementation of SPARK. SPARKfamily.org has also been embraced because of how much it has to offer and how easy it is to use. The support staff at SPARK has been easy to work with and pays attention to detail. (Katie Fenton Rocks!)
Shawn Fredricks - PEP Grant Director School District of Beloit - Beloit, WI
SPARK is EVERYTHING a Physical Educator needs to teach. The lessons are sequenced perfectly with activities that keep the students engaged and excited about each unit. The lessons already have all the things we are being asked of for common core: reading, writing assignments, links to science and math. It is all there and developmentally appropriate. Our district is using SPARK at every site. The teachers were all trained this summer and started the year with a focus and renewed energy for teaching their students. Most importantly our students are moving more and learning more.
Dana Chambers - Physcial Education Teacher and PEP Grant Manager Newcastle Public Schools - Newcastle, OK
Working with the SPARK PE Curriculum has really opened new doors in our PE program. Our k-12 kids are effectively learning WHY it is important to become life long movers instead of just playing games. The lessons and materials are very well thought out using a PE mentality.
Judd Eastman - 4-12 PE North Crawford - Soldiers Grove, WI
I have been working with Donna Boyd and Nicholas Radonich for nearly 2 years. They are often my \\\"go to\\\" when I am in a pinch with equipment or supplies needs. In regards to SPARK it is an excellent tool and resource for a trained Physical Education Teacher. For the untrained teacher SPARK offers a plethora of knowledge to begin a successful program. I am very happy to continue working with Donna and Nick to build our program.
Marc Vachon - PEP Grant Manager Mohonasen CSD - Schenectady, NY
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's Health Foundation has been proud to partner with SPARK to provide the quality curriculm, training and equipment to schools across the state of Tennessee. Our children are excited about physical education again and are moving more! SPARK is a fun program that teachers are able to easily incorporate into their classes and gets children (of all athletic ability) participating - making the most of their class time. SPARK has been a valuable resource for the schools in Tennessee and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is proud to sponsor the partnership.
Chelsea Johnson - Project Analyst, Community Relations BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee - Chattanooga, TN
Here at Whitesville Central we purchased the SPARK program through our PEP Grant in 2010. I have worked at implementing the SPARK program since, and I think it is the best PE program out there. After spending many years of my career looking all over for lesson ideas, creating my own assessments, and handouts. It is such a great time saver, with wonderful pre-written lessons that are similar to my philosophy with movement concepts taught in lower elementary, graduated to introducing games and competition at upper elementary, exposing them to finer skill development and sampling a variety of activities at the MS, and moving to focusing on lifelong fitness and creating a fitness plan at the HS level. This curriculum allows you to just pull out the lesson plan, and any materials needed out the SPARKfolio, and go teach! The tips and skills that you gather during the trainings are so helpful in implementing the material it makes for easy classroom management, and lots of time for instruction and activity. The assessments, including rubrics are all made, it just a matter of making copies! There are many activities that include ties to the Common Core, and help collect the data needed for APPR, so it is a win, win for teachers in today’s era of education. But most importantly the students love them!! I love SPARK PE!
Sara Voss - PE Health Teacher Whitesville Central School - Whitesville, NY
SPARK is a great supplement to our PE curriculum. The warm-ups and the dance lessons have been a big hit with our PE staff.
Dawn Delisle - PEP Grant Manager South Glens Falls School - South Glens Falls, NY
SPARK is definitely the curriculum to go to. Not only do you get great resources, but you get great training to supplement the resources. The trainers are wonderful; they are energetic, they are knowledgeable in their content areas and their enthusiasm is contagious and you want to go back do to the activities right away.
Nick Klein - PEP Coordinator YMCA of Cortland - Cortland, NY
I would like to send a big THANK YOU to you Joan for another AMAZING training. You made some of our more reluctant teachers TRUE BELIEVERS in the power of teaching the SPARK program. You kept us active and engaged all day - some teachers even stayed afterschool to plan their SPARK lesson....that speaks volumes!! THANK YOU for being patient and so encouraging...if we only had half of your energy!!
Emilia Gutierrez - Fourth Grade Teacher Felton Elementary School - Inglewood, CA
The SPARK PE Curriculum has become an essential piece of Northside ISD's elementary physical education programs. The research-based SPARK concepts and lessons have proven to be an invaluable resource in our quest to revamp our K-2 and 3-6 Scope and Sequence. In addition, access to SPARKfamiy.org has empowered our teachers to become better educators.
Our district recently received a full day of training from SPARK. It was absolutely fabulous!! Deidre Monarres expertly shared rich activities and useful information that inspired our teachers. Best training ever! Thank you SPARK and thank you Deidre!
Laura Binczak - District Specialist Oakland Unified School District - Oakland, CA
It has been a great experience to work in my community with SPARK. Our program, Our Choice/Nuestra Opcion has been utilizing SPARK to help enhance the physical activity time in Child Care Centers, Parks and Recreation settings, Family Workshops, and Schools during and after school. Both children and adults enjoy the activities and provide positive feedback about their experience. I work mainly in schools, where I provide teachers with role modeled SPARK activities to later do with their students. The teachers enjoy the incorporation of music and how SPARK is very easy to follow. Administrators like to see how the activities not only are enjoyable for students, but also reduce the free-play time during PE and increases moderate to vigorous physical activity with more structured activities. Students love it! I get thank you cards and many positive feedback from students who enjoy their PE time when we use SPARK. Students can\'t stop repeating how much fun they are having and asking me to please come back every day to do SPARK. I\'m not a SPARK expert, but people think I am because they feel that my lessons look natural and energetic. My secret is simply using the SPARK lesson script and having fun experimenting with each activity. This just shows how anyone can be a SPARK champion. SPARK has made my work fun and it is gratifying to know that the children and adults that I work with will receive physical activity to be healthy and will also be practicing social skills through each activity, that can be useful in daily life.
Blanca G Tellez Aponte - Imperial County Community Coordinator Our Choice Nuestra Opcion - El Centro, CA
SPARK has been wonderful for Hawaii afterschool programs. We started implementing SPARK in 2003 in only 7 sites. Now, SPARK is part of the afterschool program in more than 175 afterschool sites, reaching more than 18,000 children.
SPARK is fantastic! The curriculum-matched equipment and ready-to-use binder has all the activities to implement a successful physical activity session.
And lets not forget its philosophy that is in every activity where every single child is included no matter her/his skill level-everybody participates.
Every single detail is planned, tested, and every activity is fun and safe.
The support from SPARK staff is supreme. Any question, comment and situation that you have, they are there to listen and to help you. The resources that they offer throughout their website, newsletter and other types of communication are invaluable.
In summary, I have only positive things to say about SPARK.
Paula Adams - Program Director Kahoomiki - Honolulu, HI
We do SPARK in many of our programs and we love it! SPARK gets all kids involved and active, sometimes without even realizing it because they are having so much fun. Personally, it is one of my favorite trainings I have ever been to. That one training led me to a great professional growth period because I never used to run gym games and now it is one of my strengths!
Jen Gossert - Director of School Age Services CHAMBERSBURG MEMORIAL YMCA - Chambersburg, PA
We are delighted with the results we are seeing from implementing SPARKabc activities throughout our school day. During days (mornings) when we have our entire student body participating in total movement before entering the school building (facilitated by parents), I have noticed happier students and fewer students in the office due to behavioral issues. The implementation of SPARK is preparing our students for a productive school day and is helping provide an opportunity for our school and community to partner!
Walter Reap - Principal Germantown Elementary SchoolAACPS - MD
The SPARK program has spread all over the nation and it has changed much of the thinking regarding the best methods for encouraging physical activity in youth. It has also helped to make physical education a time to teach social skills and influence self-efficacy.
Claudio Nigg - Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences University of Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
I appreciate the support from Sportime (and now SPARK too) for the Teacher of the Year program. Through the years they have not only helped me provide quality equipment for my students but provided quality equipment for workshops that I participated in.
Sportime stands behind their equipment, which I also value. I look forward to the catalog each year to see what types of new equipment has been created. Often times it is just what I need to teach my students with special needs a specific skill.
Thank you for all you do for children!
Renee Colleran - Northwest District Teacher of the Year Woodmoor Elementary - Bothell, WA
Our K-8 district just completed two highly successful days of SPARK training. The trainer was exceptional - as talented as she was energetic. The Workshop Evaluations reflected 100% 5's - that's impressive! Comments consistently used the words "worthwhile, interactive, engaging, relevant, fun."
Our new K-6 P.E. program is poised for success, and our middle school P.E. teachers feel more supported and prepared as a result of this superior training.
Eric Forseth - Associate Superintendent Fallbrook Elementary District - Fallbrook, CA
This training was fun, thorough and definitely will benefit our students in our PE program! Our students will learn that PE can be FUN not just the same old, same old routine, day in and day out! Making moving fun will make them more apt to continue MOVING in their home lives instead of just participating during PE class at their school. Thank you for providing a program that can really make a difference in our students lives.
Nancy Hindle-garibay - SPED Assistant La Paloma Elementary FUESD - Fallbrook, CA
SPARK is a motivating curriculum for both students and teachers. Thank you SPARK!
Sally Baker-Opp - Adapted Physical Education Specialist Fallbrook Union Elementary School District - Fallbrook, CA
Our After School SPARK training was fantastic! Ken was a great presenter, offering lots of real-life tips and providing a fun, engaging way to learn the curriculum. I think his energy and enthusiasm did a lot to motivate the participants. We are so excited to start delivering this curriculum to our students!
Claire Ninde - Healthy Living Program Manager San Juan Basin Health Department - Durango, CO
The SPARK training was the best professional development our PE department has had. Finally professional development specifically for PE! The training benefited every teacher there. The teacher with 25 years of experience to the teacher with one year of experience all walked away with new ideas. In one day, we learned new games, assessments, units, classroom management strategies and other ideas that could be implemented into our class right away. The website and curriculum are great resources and very user friendly. The instructor was awesome and a current PE teacher. She kept the training engaging and fun. Other classroom teachers peaked in and even sat in on part of the training because it looked fun. I would highly recommend SPARK to any school or district looking for quality professional development for their PE teachers.
Joanne Maki - Physical Education Teacher Ron Russell Middle School, David Douglas School District - Portland, OR
Our SPARK training was OUTSTANDING! This is definitely what our district PE teachers needed. I stand on tip toe anticipation waiting on the Spring Training. Our teachers are revived, enthused and excited. There is now a SPARK in their eyes for creative, dynamic and fun ways to their PE students.
Laura Matney deserves a standing ovation. Her professionalism, effectiveness, her efficiency and creative ways of teaching was just inspiring and amazing. Our teachers loved her. They didn't want the trainings to end. Some teachers were asking for her to come back next week! Laura has a gift and a special spirit in reaching and teaching others. Her materials were relevant, her style was with passion, her understanding of others was genius and her heart gave nothing but love. It was truly a blessing to have met her and an honor to have been taught by one of SPARK's BEST! All of the trainings, materials and supplies were costly but what our PE teachers learned from Laura and what they will give to their students is PRICELESS. Thank you!
Barry Malloyd - PEP Grant Coordinator East St. Louis School District - East St Louis, IL
The SOFIT/SOPLAY training in Longmont on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 11 & 12) for the PE grant coordinators was awesome! Julie did an amazing job presenting the information in a concise and logical order. I think participants really understand SOFIT. Thank you!
Sue Brittenham - Ed.D. Athletic Excellence, LLC - Denver, CO
As the lead PE Teacher for Frisco ISD, we have been thrilled to incorporate the SPARK resources into our physical education curriculum. The energy created by the on-site trainers has provided us great opportunities to see the program put into motion! SPARK is a great tool whether you need a new way to teach a skill or a different approach for game management.
Misty Stevens - Frisco ISD Physical Education Coordinator Frisco Independent School District - Plano, TX
I am a first year PE teacher and your website is a lifesaver. I read your site every chance I get for ideas and tips. I've joined 2 webinars and they were extremely helpful. Hopefully, I will be able to come to one of your seminars in the near future. Thank you for all that you do.
Dametria Brooks - PE Teacher New Hope Christian Academy - Memphis, TN
The SPARK program has helped because it is an activity-based curriculum. Through the grants we received, we implemented the SPARK program from early childhood through 12thgrade. Last year, the Health Disparities Grant Program in Colorado allowed us to conduct workshops for high school teachers and implement the SPARK curriculum for high school students. The continuum has been completed for all of our students. The SPARK program is set up with lessons that emphasize movement. For example, if it is a soccer unit, every-body starts out with a soccer ball with individual drills and then progresses to 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills. It is set up so students get more touches of the ball, so they are more involved. Its small-group games instead of large-group games.
My advice - if you are going to set up the program, you should also include the SPARK folio. That gives you resource materials and assessments. A lot of the materials can be posted and put on traffic cones in both English and Spanish. I would suggest that if you are going to purchase the SPARK manuals, you should also purchase the folios.
Eric Larson - Physical Education Coordinator Denver Public Schools - Denver, CO
The K-2 and 3-6 SPARK Curriculum Sets are an outstanding addition to any elementary schools Physical Education program. Beginning teachers can follow the curriculum from start to finish during a school year to ensure their students learn the standards at each grade level with quality lessons. Veteran teachers can find researched based supplements that will enhance their students learning experiences in an established program. The option to order a digital copy or boxed set enables teachers to work with the resources at their own comfort level. Access to SPARKfamily.org guarantees that a teacher will get continued updates and resources beyond the initial curriculum purchase. Incorporating the SPARK curriculum into your Physical Education program shows that you are at the forefront of our profession!
Brian Devore - 2014 Southern District Elementary PE Teacher of the Year Mountain View Elementary School - Marietta, GA
I am not a P.E. person by any means. I have stepped in for my P.E. teacher and had to substitute in his class. After 10 minutes I was out exercises and activities to do and I still had 30 minutes to go. Very humbling experience.
I am, however, a curriculum person. Systematic, sequential, data driven is what I look for in a quality program. Your successful reading and math programs have these elements. You have these elements in the SPARK program as well. From the very first minute, you have engaged students, following a plan that builds on skills intended to help students reach their "healthy zone."
Teachers having gone through SPARK training and that follow the SPARK curriculum appreciate the ease they have setting up and following their lesson plans. One after school teacher even said she was thinking of going back to school to get a PE degree just so she could teach SPARK.
Hector Baeza - Assistant Director 21st Century Program Community Education Gadsden City Schools - Gadsden, AL