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.
2019 SPARC Sessions
This is a partial list of sessions for the 2019 program.
PRACTICAL TOOLS TO ASSESS AND GROW YOUR AUXILIARY PROGRAMS
Join us for a hands-on, practical session that will empower attendees to improve and grow their school’s auxiliary programs. This session will introduce and explore the use of several tools that can be implemented to strategically assess current programs and determine best directions to build future programs. Areas of focus will include strategic goals, asset inventory, capacity analysis, and the concept of a program “scorecard.” Attendees will leave with customizable resources and a clear strategy to envision a new future for their auxiliary programs.
WON’T YOU BE MY CAMPER? MARKETING LESSONS FROM MR. FRED ROGERS
Fred Rogers was not only an educational genius, he was a marketing genius. He understood to teach people you must first reach people. There were specific principles he followed build his brand, multi-generational loyal following, and enduring legacy. As fellow educators and developers of the human spirit, we will examine and apply these principles in our approach to summer auxiliary families.
RISK MANAGEMENT: NOT MY PAY GRADE
When developing auxiliary programs, how often do we consider and conduct risk assessments after the fact? When should risk assessments be conducted? Who is responsible for risk management? What are the pitfalls of failing to conduct the risk assessment to the auxiliary program and entire organization? When leaders and others in an organization can effectively assess, practice, communicate and integrate risk management strategies, they increase the standing and sustainability of the organization.
THE NEXT LEVEL - TAKE YOUR PROGRAMS FROM GOOD TO GREAT WITH AN EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Parents and campers have lots of options and school programs face stiff competition. How can you stand out among the crowd? Weaving customer service case studies from the independent school program perspective along with marketing and other experiences, we will touch upon successes and failures. Adapting marketing tools like the sales funnel and flywheel, join us as we think about marketing and customer service in innovative ways. Brainstorm on how to address friction in our programs. In this fun 4.0 marketing session that expands upon past ideas be prepared to move beyond cupcakes, coronas, color wheels as we take it to the Next Level!
RISK MANAGEMENT: IMPACTS TO AUXILIARY PROGRAMS
Explore the changing landscape of campus safety, security, and risk management related to Auxiliary Programs. Topics include emergency and crisis preparedness planning, training, professional development, technology, and campus solutions. Be more prepared and learn how you can help your school create a safer campus and manage risk not just during the school day but after hours, weekends, and during the summer.
MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING
Many summer programs are relatively small and have a similarly small marketing budget. This session will explore the different factors to consider when creating a marketing program with a small budget, including how to craft your message, determine your audience, and create your materials. Traditional marketing materials as well as digital marketing techniques will be considered. Special emphasis on ideas that are free or very low cost.
PUBLIC MEETS PRIVATE
Public school students attending independent school after school programs can be a beneficial source of revenue and expand a school's mission. Why do so few independent schools do it? We will explore the questions, challenges, and opportunities of making such a change at your school. How would it impact finances, brand, school culture, parent reaction, etc.
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE THEORY IN CAMP PROGRAMMING
Multiple Intelligence Theory is a model of cognitive psychology that suggests individuals have strengths that traditional IQ tests do not measure. During this session, participants will learn about the different "intelligences" (through play!) and how to incorporate a wide array of programming into their camps and after school programs. We will examine a strategic growth model of building a portfolio of programs that grow enrollment and introduce a more diverse group of participants to your program.
BEYOND BABYSITTING: EARLY CHILDHOOD ENRICHMENT AFTER SCHOOL
After school care for early childhood can be erroneously viewed as “babysitting” when, in reality, it is a ripe opportunity for learning. Early childhood after school educators meet the fundamental needs of children while providing them with experiences that support and enhance development. Learn how an enrichment model is valuable to children under six years old, their caregivers, and their schools.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL: HOW IDYLLWILD ARTS MANAGED AN EMERGENCY EVACUATION
A case study of a real fire evacuation, outlining a chronology of events, tactics and tools adapted and deployed in the moment, and planning for your own emergency. Learn about our communications strategies and how we used online tools to keep families informed and confident that their kids were safe. Bring your questions – and answers -- as we share issues and solutions that might not be on your radar. Learn from our experiences managing a major evacuation.
BUILDING AN INTENTIONAL CULTURE
How do we encourage staff to continue returning year after year? What do they need most? We'll explore how to build an intentional culture among our teachers, counselors and staff. There are multiple layers involved in supporting staff in feeling respected, connected, and known. Most of our programs have shifted or are shifting to a more collaborative and supportive work environment. In this workshop, you'll hear about what we do to achieve such a high retention rate. Come ready to engage, learn and share about what is already working for you in creating an intentional culture, as well as gain some insight as to some new strategies you may bring back to your own program.
DYNAMIC STAFF TRAINING
Through play and discussions, we will process how to build and deliver a successful staff training/meeting. We will discuss strategies, activities, and educational sessions that will help you communicate messages and information more effectively- to create results that will be beneficial and impactful for your staff. We will highlight trainings for both Summer Camp and After School staff/programs.
CULTURAL COMPETENCY: IS THIS A BLINDSPOT IN MY PROGRAM?
Diversity and cultural competency are two important subject matters that are being discussed in society. An understanding of cultural competency, diversity, and blindspots in auxiliary programs as schools begin to embrace individuals from a variety of backgrounds is a necessity. In conjunction with understanding cultural diversity and cultural competency, having tools and resources to help identify blindspots within an existing program are vital.
RETHINKING CHALLENGING KIDS AND STAFF
Young adults on our staff and our students/campers alike are arriving with more anxiety, more behavioral challenges and more complex socio-emotional profiles. Experience the dramatic mindset shift of Collaborative Problem Solving (R) that has transformed entire teams and schools. Learn the basics of this skill building model that has shown to have a profound effect in developing a more empathetic and functional team/community culture.
HOW TO IN-HOUSE YOUR SEO
There’s a lot of confusing misinformation floating around the Internet when it comes to search engine optimization. Do keywords still matter? What’s a rich snippet? Why set up Google Webmaster Tools? Should I trust this nice prince from Nigeria looking to help me generate backlinks? We’ve all read the same blog articles and attended the standard search engine optimization seminar. This is something different. We’re going to debunk the myths and give you actual strategies that you can put to work immediately.
BRINGING IT IN: INCREASING REVENUE BY SHIFTING FROM OUTSOURCING TO IN-HOUSE PROGRAMS
Near North Montessori (NNM) runs over 200 specialty programs each year; 95% are taught by NNM faculty. By bringing it in, NNM utilizes teachers to provide quality programs and increase revenue. Join the NNM programs team to learn how they successfully empower teachers to create afterschool programs that thrive and meet the needs of families. If you are looking to increase your profit margins and provide a smoother transition from school day to extended day, this session is for you!
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HR AND AUXILIARY PROGRAMS: KEYS TO HIRING PART-TIME AND SEASONAL EMPLOYEES
Hiring part-time and seasonal employees carries its own challenges. In this session, we'll discuss the benefits and challenges of employing non-regular staff and some of the considerations program directors should consider in advance. We’ll start by looking at the national employment landscape and explore recruitment and hiring challenges. We’ll also navigate specific considerations when on-boarding non-regular staff, including the shifting benefits landscape and the unique challenges of employees who may serve multiple roles within the school. We’ll finish the session by exploring risks related to hiring these individuals and considerations for terminations. Hear from seasoned HR professionals and the Auxiliary Programs Directors at their schools and gain some tools to take back to your school's HR Team!
ENGAGING CHINESE STUDENTS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
For independent schools in general and summer programs in particular, the allure of the Chinese student market has become increasingly apparent over the past decade. While this burgeoning market holds all kinds of promise for enlarging and enhancing a school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and for generating new revenue streams, a school needs to implement an initiative of this sort, grasping the nature of the commitment and the challenges – as there are many. Given our intimate knowledge of this market, direct experience with Chinese parents, the ability to navigate in a fully bi-lingual and bi-cultural fashion, and privileged access to premium Chinese families as well as leadership in China’s ministry of education and beyond, we will explore and discuss a wide range of topics related the integration of Chinese students into your auxiliary programs.
THE NEED AND OPPORTUNITY FOR SUMMER RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS AT AMERICAN BOARDING SCHOOLS WITH A DECLINING DOMESTIC MARKET
Domestic student interest in boarding school is declining annually. Boarding schools can reduce the effect of the national trend by incorporating summer residential programs that intentionally attract middle schoolers and their parents to the boarding environment. Research suggests that benefits of summer camp have ties to attracting prospective boarding school students. A survey and interviews of boarding school leaders also provide supporting evidence. Learn about the potential, opportunity, and future benefit of incorporating a residential summer program at your boarding school that can overcome the national trend and increase domestic enrollment.
WHY MAKE YOUR VENDORS YOUR CREATIVE PARTNERS
Vendors come to your summer camp contracted to do a specific job, usually to provide specialized programming. However, have you ever thought to use your vendors as partners to come up with new ideas, staffing solutions and new processes? In this session, hear from four seasoned Auxiliary Directors who partner with their vendors to come up with creative solutions to their summer program challenges.
MONEY VS. MISSION: STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE BOTH
Join the Extension Department from Oregon Episcopal School for a conversation about strategies we use to align our programs to the school’s mission and to continue a revenue stream. This session valuable for both after school and summer directors. Over the past four years, our team has aligned our programs to the school’s mission and increased our revenue stream. Join us for a conversation about the strategies that we used to accomplish this, grow our programs, and have a great time doing it.
Join us for a conversation between the director of a small summer program on a strict budget, and the video marketer with whom she worked to create high quality, targeted marketing tools. We will explore the process and the pitfalls: the options available when both sides work together to generate content, the importance of director involvement, and the chance to elevate your program in the marketplace in line with programmatic values. Attendees will leave with a list of concrete action steps that they can apply right now.
DECODING FACEBOOK: HOW TO MAKE FACEBOOK WORK FOR YOU
Where are all the results? What’s a pixel? Custom audiences? Did I get any leads or ROI? Despite investing an inordinate amount of time into social media, most company’s return on investment is bleak. Can you honestly say Facebook was a successful digital marketing tool driving leads and purchases? Facebook sure makes it easy to spend money but if you are feeling frustrated with how to leverage Facebook as a digital marketing tool, we’ll discuss various strategies from Organic to Paid. We’ll even take a sneak peak into the backend of successful Facebook campaigns and discuss their approach.
THE POWER OF INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
In an increasingly competitive market, the most successful auxiliary programs continually innovate, invest, and intentionally improve both programs and operations. Forward-thinking schools embrace a growth mindset, empowering their auxiliary leaders to develop and implement new ideas within a culture of improvement. Join this panel session to gain three different perspectives on the power of innovation and entrepreneurship and leave with strategies to launch successful new ideas at your school.
DATA-INFORMED AUXILIARY PROGRAMS - WHAT’S OUT THERE AND WHY IT MATTERS
When your head of school or CFO comes to you and asks how your programs are doing in relation to the school down the road or across the state, do you have the data you need to respond? In this session, we'll look at various sources of national data that can be used to benchmark your program's performance and to build a case for future program development.
PROGRAMMING √ STAFF √ WHERE ARE THE CAMPERS?
This information packed session will dive into one camp’s digital marketing strategy that has led to successful year over year enrollment growth…What they did…what worked…and lessons learned along the way. Join us for a discussion on how you can add some of these strategies to your camp today.
MANAGING AND MOTIVATING MILLENNIALS
Millennials are an extremely important and vital component to our workforce. Supervisors to Summer Camp Volunteers, this generation may represent the majority of your team. For better or worse, its a marriage that needs to work in harmony to get the most out of your Auxiliary Programs. If you have their back, they'll have yours!
FLEXIBLE BUSINESS AND FLEXIBLE BUDGETS
Effective fiscal management means not only prioritizing your spending and maximizing your revenue, but also having great "flight controls" to constantly evaluate and benchmark your goals and progress. This session dives into the essential questions of how to staff smarter, plan better, and benchmark more accurately so that you have a great handle on your numbers at any given time.
PROGRAMMING FOR DIVERSITY AFTER SCHOOL: MAKING ROOM FOR EVERYONE TO CELEBRATE WHO THEY ARE
A number of our students find themselves in schools and after school programs that are in some way foreign to them every day. They may look different than most members of the school community, speak a different language in their home, or practice a religion that is at best misunderstood. This session is intended to provide practical ideas and resources for bridging the gap between the majority and everyone else, embracing diversity, and celebrating a community of inclusion through programming.
BEST OF THE BEST: SHARE YOUR TOP PERFORMING SUMMER SESSION
Come prepared to share all the details of your most valued, highest netting, and exciting camps with fellow SPARC attendees. In this session you will move around discussing and hearing about the best sports, academic, and enrichment camps offered all over the country. Come prepared to speak about your own programs and learn about others you never thought about.
TOP 10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED
Are you early in your auxiliary leadership career? Are you continually surprised by your daily reality being different than your initial expectations? Join a group of experienced directors who will highlight important lessons learned on the job, sharing examples related to job descriptions, personnel management, integration within the school, and much more. This session will be discussion oriented, allowing for attendee questions and collaborative problem-solving.
STICKY SITUATIONS: ARE YOU READY?
This interactive workshop will help you prepare for all the potential “what ifs” that we as Auxiliary/Camp leaders must be prepared for. You will leave this workshop ready to tackle all the potential sticky situations you may face during the summer/school year. We will role play scenarios that could potentially happen at camp (and other auxiliary programs) and we will talk about policies, procedures, training and other factors that will add to the success of handling these situations. We will also discuss how certain people in our communities may react to these situations and how a proactive approach may influence these outcomes.