Spark Update Spring/Summer

In our Spark newsletters this year, we have been sharing the details of the revision process. The goal of the Spark revision process is to “know better” and then “do better.” Information gathered from providers and partners during the field test taught us a great deal.

We discovered that some aspects of Spark are working well in supporting high-quality programs for children and families and others need fine-tuning. Specifically, Spark needs to be more inclusive and better reflect the practices related to diverse cultures, languages, program types, and age groups. Spark also needs to be more accessible and have a process that feels less “overwhelming” and difficult to navigate, particularly for programs working with children furthest from opportunity. Currently, the revision work is focused on streamlining and improving the Spark standards.

Why revise the standards?

The standards play a big role in simplifying the revised Spark system and making it more inclusive and accessible. Much of the feedback we received from programs, partners, portfolio reviewers, and Quality Improvement Specialists focused on challenges related to the standards. We learned a great deal about the standards from the field test. Specific feedback included these:

· The number of standards felt overwhelming.

· Some standards did not reflect practices relevant to diverse cultures and program types or were not inclusive of all age groups.

Some standards were difficult to understand, document, and review.

Some standards were good program practices but did not directly relate to children and families.

What was the process used to revise the standards?

We began with the goal of simplifying the standards by determining which have the greatest impact on children.

Debby ReedComment