SPARC conference sessions are specifically designed to meet the professional needs of independent school summer and auxiliary program leaders. The two and a half day program blends 60 minute SPARC Sessions with keynote speakers, roundtable discussions, and facilitated planning opportunities. Our speakers are subject matter experts and experienced leaders in their field who are eager to share their talents and engage their colleagues in meaningful dialogue.
2018 SPARC Sessions
2019 speakers and sessions will be shared by September 1, 2019.
CREATING A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE IN AUXILIARY PROGRAMS
High quality auxiliary programs provide many opportunities to showcase the unique strengths of an independent school. But what are the hallmarks of a truly exceptional set of auxiliary programs? Join this session to identify the critical ingredients that contribute to a culture that embraces rather than ostracizes its auxiliary programs. Develop a set of goals that will elevate your programs to the highest standards in terms of vision, personnel, program, collaboration, branding, and customer service.
BUILD THE BRAND THAT MAKES YOUR SCHOOL A YEAR ROUND SUCCESS
Does your school need a clear, compelling story for its summer program? Do your communications director and education staff struggle to explain the unique value of your summer program? Do you need your CFO’s budget support to promote the unique offerings of your summer program? Get a playbook for convincing your CFO to say “yes” to the marketing budget required to increase enrollment and revenue. Learn best practices to transform your independent school into a year-round experience for student families.
MOVING FROM AUXILIARY TO CORE: A SCHOOL BECOMES A LEARNING CENTER
What happens when a School systemically supports auxiliary programming? When every part of the organization embraces and sees auxiliary programs as vital to the core of the mission? You find success. In this session you will learn about Breakwater School in Portland Maine and how it transformed into Breakwater Learning and what we learned along the way (and are still learning). Over the past decade Breakwater has transformed itself from being a School with enrichment programming to a Learning Center with a School.
Feeling like your school keeps adding more to your plate and you no longer can do it all? Desperate to expand your team? Join veteran Auxiliary Programs directors for an interactive session on Strategic Staffing. What are successful arguments to ask for more staff? What are ways to justify hiring more people? What strategies can work to make the case for a bigger team or more support? During the session, review specific tools and examples that can help you make your case. We will review various staffing models and will analyze case studies of different schools - including success and failures at expanding Auxiliary Programs teams.
CUPCAKES, COLOR WHEELS, AND CORONAS
Join two veteran directors and SPARC alums as they discuss how they have exponentially grown their Auxiliary Programs through program design, marketing, and brand management. Today, there are so many program choices and options during the summer for the families and those options seem to grow every year. In this session, we will also explore some real life examples from Fortune 500 companies that can be applied to our work in Independent Schools and specifically Auxiliary Departments everywhere. Join us for this follow-up to last year’s session on Co-Branding with your School and Camp Programs.
GRADES 9-12 SUMMER SCHOOL COURSES: CHALLENGES, BENEFITS, AND OPPORTUNITIES
Moving beyond the concept of summer school as a method of remediation, this session offers an exploration of the possibilities of for-credit and enrichment high school summer courses in an independent-school setting. How can summer school help to reduce student stress levels during the school year? How might taking for-credit courses over the summer allow students to advance within the curriculum, better their chances of college acceptance, or take a deep dive into an area about which they are passionate?
DESIGNING A STRATEGIC AUXILIARY PROGRAMS PLAN
Are you interested in elevating the performance of your school's auxiliary programs? Discover a framework to identify school assets, define strategic goals and develop a coherent auxiliary-programs plan that maximizes your school's potential. With a focused plan in place, you will be able to implement programs that positively influence admissions, create efficiencies in auxiliary services and increase non-tuition revenue to support your school's mission. Get the tools you need to turn your auxiliary programs into essential assets.
GET RID OF THE LIFEJACKETS AND BUILD A BRIDGE
One of the many challenges in Auxiliary Programming is the sharing of space, coordinating resources, and building relationships with the faculty so they are strong advocates of auxiliary initiatives. During this session we will discuss successful ways to build positive and sustainable relationships among the school community to support the growth of auxiliary programs including summer and rentals.
CHOICE AND FLEXIBILITY: GIVING PARENTS WHAT THEY REALLY WANT FOR SUMMER PROGRAMMING
Inflexible camp schedules and inadequate program offerings have made summer vacation the source of dread for many working parents. In this session, we will explore how schools can maximize the amount of choice and flexibility they offer in their summer programs, to make life easier for working families while also increasing revenue for their institution.
THE CURRENT STATE OF AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMING AT INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES, CREATIVE IDEAS, AND DATA FROM THE NATIONAL SURVEY
Using information gathered from more than 200 responses to the 2018 Survey of After School Programming at Independent Schools as well as ideas gathered from on-site visits to over two-dozen independent schools, this session offers insights into the current state of after school programming as well as innovative strategies for designing programming that will excite children, delight parents, and align with your school’s mission. Come learn what other schools are doing to make their after school programs truly exceptional!
CONNECTING WITH THE MODERN PARENT
In Connecting with the Modern Parent, we will explore how technology has changed our expectations for how we live, shop, connect and learn. From Uber to Amazon, the Modern Parent expects an end-to-end experience for products and services – and that includes the programs they choose for their children. We’ll discuss how this culture shift impacts educational providers and how implementing best practices from the e-commerce world can help you win.
BUSINESS 101 - DEEPER DIVE
Take a deeper dive into the “Business” of Auxiliary/Summer programs. Have you thought about adding a pool or a challenge course or a turf field? If so, you will need to be well prepared before the Head of School/CFO would give the go ahead. This workshop will discuss and highlight some of the tools and reports you will need to justify your proposal and gain the support of the administration. We will use an Executive Summary, along with some basic financial reports that will help guide us through the process.
CULTURAL COMPETENCY: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
Diversity and cultural competency are two important subject matters that are being discussed in society. An understanding of cultural competency and diversity in auxiliary programs as schools begin to embrace individuals from a variety of backgrounds is a necessity. Diversity is a topic of discussion for people in all areas of business and education. It is necessary for programs to create environments that foster a feeling of understanding and inclusiveness.
HOW TO ALIGN EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL WITH YOUR SCHOOL'S MISSION AND BRAND
Educational travel changes people. We want your group travel experiences to stretch students and educators both personally and academically. This session on educational travel is focused on how to personalize student group travel to align with your school’s mission and brand. We will discuss how to define customized goals for school trips and outline ways to identify expertise when looking for group travel providers. These tips will help ensure safety, value, and quality for your student travelers and their families.
HOW CONGRESSIONAL CAMP INTRODUCED MARKETING AUTOMATION
Learn how one camp made a dramatic move this year by migrating it's email (and a bunch of other services) over to Hubspot. This involved new forms, landing pages, gated content, popups, automation, and a variety of other tools to help improve enrollment. In addition to targeting new campers, they also developed automations targeting returning campers and an 8%+ bump in retention rate. In this session, we'll discuss how Congressional Camp migrated over to Hubspot, what worked (what didn't), and what you can expect if you choose to take the leap.
WANT ADULT PROGRAMMING? LESSONS LEARNED FROM A 45 YEAR OLD PROGRAM
Want to add adult learning programs at your school? Curious about what they are? Wonder what to do first? In this informative session, learn how adult learning programs can generate additional revenue, support a mission of lifelong learning for the community, and attract new school donors. Also hear recommended do’s and don’ts through this director’s first-hand experiences. You will leave the session with tips and potential ideas you can begin at your school.
HOW DO YOU SPELL "SUMMER" WITHOUT TREES, A LAKE, OR A POOL? URBAN ELEMENTARY SUMMER PROGRAMS
Without a lake, pool or many trees, you can still have a fun summery camp program for elementary age children. We will look at how to use your Physical Space, Special Programs & Staff, Local Resources and Community Service activities as a unique summer experience parents will want for their children. This session will be part presentation and also leave time for sharing and discussion.
MARKETING CAMP WHILE SCHOOL IS IN SESSION
Operating camp and summer programs at an independent school has many advantages and certainly some challenges. During this session, we'll review several strategies employed by Nobles Day Camp to showcase its unique campus during the off-season while differentiating and highlighting itself from more traditional day camps. Additionally, we'll walk through the process they used to determine what marketing should be done in-house (verses outsourced), how they got their hands around Google Analytics, tips to communicate with the school's communications department, and advantages and challenges to owning their own website.
CAMPUS SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT
As campuses become the hub of year-round activity for many families, schools need to consider how to provide a safe and secure space for students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors. Most schools place an emphasis on this during the school year, but don't devote the same resources to this during summer and after hours programming. Explore how one school has made this a priority for all campus activities.
PARTNERSHIPS - A STRATEGIC WAY TO LEVERAGE RESOURCES AND INCREASE PROGRAMMING
Partnerships are a fantastic way for independent schools to leverage resources, enhance program offerings, outreach to new members in your community, and tackle some important social issues. To start our discussion, three independent schools and one business organization will present case studies on how they developed partnerships with local schools, universities, businesses, and non-profits. We will discuss the goals and outcomes of these partnerships, challenges faced, as well help you brainstorm ways to create your own partnerships.
EXPLORE, EXCEL, ENRICH: SPORTS SPECIFIC CAMPS AND PROGRAMMING
This session takes a detailed look at one school's two year journey through beginning a new auxiliary programs department, Excel, in a highly competitive area. Learn about the strategies, challenges, and lessons learned when focusing solely on building programming that complements the ever changing youth sports market.
FRESH IDEAS AND NOVEL INSIGHTS ON AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMING: A PANEL DISCUSSION
Join four seasoned after school professionals for a lively discussion covering such important topics as managing a team, running a successful Middle School Program, offering effective professional development, attracting and retaining talented staff, working with senior administrators, communicating with parents, faculty, and the board of trustees, managing your brand, and implementing effective safety protocols.
FINDING A MODEL OF DISRUPTIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP THAT WORKS
Are you asked to be cutting edge, exploratory, and transformative within a largely static framework? Auxiliary Program Directors are expected to create, develop, and launch new programs, and to grow existing ones without sacrificing revenue, market share, or compromising a school’s reputation. Yet, inherent in any new venture is the risk of each of these. How do we successfully navigate the challenges and obstacles while embracing disruptive innovation? In this session we will examine our own status quo, identify the problems we seek to solve and the opportunities those problems present; and then brainstorm creative and innovative ways to solve them within the independent school framework.
HOW DO YOU GET THERE FROM HERE? BASIC TOOLS FOR BUSINESS PROBLEM SOLVING
Tasked with building a new program or project with few or no additional resources? Jeet Singh, Founder and CEO at Redstar Ventures, explores creative ways to analyze your assets and needs and figure out where you can go with what you have. With over 30 years of experience starting companies in education, e-commerce, and health-tech, Singh has a unique perspective on how to overcome financial, organizational, and market obstacles.
THE FIRST 100 DAYS: STARTING STRONG IN A NEW AUXILIARY PROGRAMS LEADERSHIP ROLE
Utilizing a panel format, join three Directors of Auxiliary and Summer Programs who are within their first year on the job at schools that have just created or redefined the role. Ryan Ball of The Lawrenceville School, Brian DeGroat of Westtown School, and Chris Landosky of Berkshire School will share their specific strategies, lessons learned, and reflections on getting their programs off to a strong start while establishing their leadership within the existing school organizational structure.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE ACA CRISIS HOTLINE
Each year ACA supports camps across the country by staffing a Crisis Hotline. Through these calls ACA learns valuable insight into trends across the country. We will discuss the data from the 2018 crisis hotline calls. This information serves as a great tool to help camps of all types to understand trends that are happening across the country.
CREATING CREDITED CLASSES FOR SUMMER PROGRAMS
How can you create multi-faceted, experiential, and focused classes that fit the mission of your school and curriculum? This session will focus on the offering For-Credit summer classes that will allow students to complete a variety of required credits for graduation and will open their schedules in the school year for additional AP classes and non-elective classes.
CASE STUDIES: WEARING MULTIPLE HATS, DEVELOPING STRATEGIES, AND SOLVING PROBLEMS
This session is designed to include all participants as we take multiple case studies from each attendee who is willing to share a specific auxiliary program challenge. Using a collaborative process, the group will provide ideas and potential solutions.