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Students are faced daily with new challenges, opportunities and choices.  SPARC has worked to address "cutting edge" topics through The SPARC Signature Speaker Series for educators, ancillary personnel, healthcare workers, parents and any individuals who work with students.  The results have been spectacular programs focused upon:

  • Infectious Disease:  Influenza A & B

  • Animal Care:  Cat and Dog Safety, Health, Spay/Neuter

  • Infectious Disease:  Covid-19

  • Rainbow Fentanyl

  • E-cigarettes:  Myth and Reality

  • Sexual and Physical Abuse

  • Trauma in Youth

  • Health and Safety

  • Asthma in Youth

Faculty from afterschool programs and traditional classrooms have benefited greatly from the information presented and the conversations generated between the attendees.  In the tradition of our OG Intersections program, we build bridges between those in afterschool and the classroom bringing students and families: 360 degree learning, stronger support systems, greater parental engagement and a stronger working knowledge of students.

We offer The SPARC Signature Speaker Series quarterly at minimum.

About the Institute

The ELITE (Excellent Literacy Instruction to Empower) Institute is a summer program designed for students, classroom faculty and out of school time faculty from Tarrant County's highest acuity of need zip code and the state of Texas' 3rd highest,  76105. We developed this program to run in the summer of 2018 and 2019.  We delivered out of school time and classroom teachers to our standout Texas Wesleyan University Professors, Dr. Lisa Dryden and Dr. Elsa Anderson. The institute built by these professors at SPARC's request was intentionally designed to enrich the lives of our highest need youth, especially English Language Learners.  The coursework enriched teachers’ current knowledge of best practice of reading and writing in a vibrant learning environment. Teachers thrived through hands-on application, collaboration with each other, and self-reflection regarding their philosophy of teaching and learning. Students worked with individual teachers and engaged in specific and targeted literacy strategies learned through ELITE.  These strategies decreased students’ literacy summer slide.


  • Teachers spent part of their day on the beautiful college campus of Texas Wesleyan University, surrounded by other professionals passionate about literacy.

  • Teachers built stronger delivery of reading and writing processes.

  • Teachers learned and applied new strategies for teaching reading and writing.

  • Teachers participated in strategies for instructing culturally and linguistically diverse students

  • Teachers were immersed in exciting children’s literature and mentor texts for writing.


Bonus! If an ELITE teacher chose to enroll in an M.Ed. program at Texas Wesleyan, their application fee was waived.


The ELITE Institute is a partnership between Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth ISD, and Fort Worth Sparc.  The program is on hiatus for the summer of 2020 as we have created the virtual CAMP SPARC Academy for the summer.

RESULTS:  Each summer session, our students posted nearly 100% attendance. Their reading progress year one:  80.4% improved or held off "summer slide" and in year two:  90.3% improved or held off "summer slide"!

REWARDS:  Each student departed with 5 - 10 books of their choice from the Waldorf Books "Book Fair", received Pepperidge Farm snacks daily and toured the Texas Wesleyan Campus as 100% of our students are first time attendees on the campus.  

An ELITE INSTITUTE faculty attendee was awarded a free ride (tuition, books and fees) to Texas A&M University - Commerce for a doctoral degree!

AT SPARC, we strive to deliver opportunity into the hands of those who are clearly delivering instruction to our highest need students and to the actual students!  #livenlovefwyouth

Students and teachers studied  with Dr. Anderson, Dr. Dryden, and local teachers this summer at Texas Wesleyan University in a summer reading clinic. The objectives for students included;


  • Participating in a reading & writing workshop

  • Reading high-interest, quality literature

  • Developing an appreciation for reading and writing through engaging activities

  • Writing for various purposes and audiences

  • Received t-shirts, books from Barbara Terry Media/Waldorf Books

Ram Readers
Asthma 211

The Asthma 411 program was designed to decrease 911 calls on campuses, increase children’s ability to detect asthma attacks and ask for treatment early.  Asthma 411 demonstrated: decreased absences by treating asthma on campus early and often. The initial studies demonstrated a 51% decrease in absences associated with asthma.  Extrapolated to the entire Fort Worth ISD, Asthma 411, could reduce absenteeisms and increase total district revenue by $500,000. Asthma 211 is the program to manage asthma in the OST arena, in schools proficient in the Asthma 411 program.

Steps Taken:

  1. Asthma 211 was written in 2016

  2. The program was funded in Spring 2017 with a grant from University of North Texas Health Science Center's (UNTHSC) Incedo

  3. Fort Worth ISD Health Services supported 10 elementary campuses to pilot Asthma 211

  4. Students must be enrolled in Asthma 411 to participate in Asthma 211

  5. All OST faculty are trained by the school nurse on the utilization of a nebulizer for treatment of exacerbations of asthma requiring treatment

  6. We have found that FWISD nurses called 911 on 21 instances for respiratory distress over the 2017-18 school year.  There were no calls for respiratory distress on the Asthma 211 campuses during the spring of 2018.

  7. We have observed students asking for treatment earlier in the course of their asthma and thus requiring less intensive interventions.  In other words, students are managing their disease successfully.

  8. In the end, we all know, a student who successfully manages their asthma has stronger attendance and academic performance.

  9. Currently, FWISD has 20 sites managed by Verby Nash, RN and 2 sites in process. 


Increasing Youth Supports During


After School

INTERSECTIONS was created by SPARC for Fort Worth youth and is the sole program of its nature in the United States. The original work was fully sponsored by The North Texas Community Foundation Toolbox Grant with $15,000. The initial agreement provided funding for one semester, however, the compelling results produced during the Spring 2017 pilot at D. McRae Elementary allowed us to expand our campus trials to T.A. Sims Elementary, Western Hills Elementary and Western Hills Primary for the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018.  

The full semester results Fall 2017 Intersections Academic Comparative impressed our faculty and administrators to engage the program throughout the 2017-18 academic year on all three campuses.  


Outcome measures for students are:

  1. On Time Attendance

  2. Academic Classroom Grades

  3. Behavior


Outcomes measures for faculty are:   

  1. Increased Communication with (+) communication with parents, students and colleagues 

  2. Increased communication between ISD faculty and out of school time faculty regarding students 

  3. Our students within the Intersections protocol were also interviewed on their expectations and experiences in the out of school time classroom.

Intersections was developed to build continuity of care on a campus between the faculty who teach each student daily and their out of school time faculty.  These faculty are simply on parallel paths and rarely interated or spoke due to scheduling, time constraints and other factors. With the advent of Intersections, this relationship has blossomed. Faculty members are handing off students to their out of school time counterparts, and have possibly already text messaged, phoned or emailed them about specific directions for assisting their student during homework time in the after school environment.  

The results are astounding:  

  1. Students enjoy faculty speaking about them with each other.  Students notice the conversations are in a manner directed for assistance and success vs in a punitive manner

  2. Faculty enjoy the success of the coordinated efforts, as students are returning to class well prepped.  Faculty during the day are reviewing the prior day’s assignments, instead of completely reteaching.  This lends itself to total classroom progress through the Curriculum.

  3. Numbers of students participating in out of school time increased, thanks to the Intersections program.  Good news travels fast and parents enrolled their children, after hearing the positive share of voice regarding Clayton Youth Enrichment and Intersections.

  4. Campus administrators and faculty have noticed that student behavior in out of school time has improved, and this has carried over into the classroom during the day.

  5. The program costs nothing to administer, can be replicated on any campus, utilized as a component of the campus turnaround plan and has proven itself in four schools with serious challenges*.  

Those challenges are: mobility, behavior, overage/undercredit and high ACE* scores in students.  *Adverse Childhood Experiences

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