2019 seemed to zip by, but upon review, the year was full of action as well as reflection for me as a business owner. I would have to say that one of my biggest accomplishments was working with my lovely, insightful coach Erica. Through a nine-month process, I worked on creating and verbalizing a clear vision for the work we do at Sparkle Spot Learning.
Because I enjoy variety and like to say yes to people who ask for help, what we were doing at SSL felt like it was becoming a bit confusing to me as an educator and leader. People were calling, and I was doing my best to keep up. I needed more people to help me but did not know exactly how to find the right people and then how to lead those people to recreate my vision and unspoken way of doing things.
A big important piece of clarifying what Sparkle Spot Learning is about was creating a mission statement and vision. During this process, we also created what I call the SPARKS of Learning Success. This acronym captured the most important parts of what I strive to create for students and families at SSL.
S: Social-Emotional Learning
A: Academic Understanding
R: Research and Responsiveness
K: Kindness is our Culture
Essentially, these five SPARKS are the foundation of our work at SSL. We are working to create a place where the social and emotional needs of kids are recognized and addressed. We cannot begin to teach academic skills until children are willing to trust themselves, take risks, and participate in their own learning. We strive to not just teach a curriculum or meet benchmarks, but to build academic understanding that can be generalized to school and beyond. We want children to be able to bring what they don’t understand and be open to us helping them truly comprehend the concept. And, while we pride ourselves on being responsive to children and their learning profile, we also continue to learn, and use researched based practices with our students. As teachers who understand how brains learn, we know that it is important to be both systematic and data driven as well as responsive to the individual child. Finally, Sparkle Spot Learning has a culture of inclusion, empathy, and kindness. We want kids and families to feel warmth and a sense of community when they come to our space. Although our individual Learning Specialists have a variety of interests and skills, we share a desire and commitment to find the sparks of learning success in each child.