SPARK-ing innovation: a model for elementary classrooms as COVID-19 unfolds

Jeanne M. Powers, Mary Brown, Lisa G. Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe SPARK, an innovative elementary school that highlights the possibilities for elementary education as COVID-19 continues to unfold. Design/methodology/approach: The authors’ analysis is based on a research synthesis of the main features of the SPARK model, as it was operating when schools in Arizona closed because of the coronavirus pandemic: project-based learning, a teaming model, heterogeneously grouped multi-age classes, blended learning, supporting students' development as self-directed learners, mindfulness and looping. Findings: This paper outlines the empirical grounding for the main features of the model and suggests how they might address elementary students' learning and social emotional needs when schools in Arizona reopen for in-person instruction either as full-service schools or on a staggered or hybrid schedule. Originality/value: Educators from other districts can use this model as a springboard for reimagining their own educational spaces and practices in this new and still uncertain period when schools and school districts consider how to move forward. While many of these practices are not novel, the authors’ research synthesis highlights how SPARK combines them in a way that is unique and particularly relevant for the present moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-320
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Professional Capital and Community
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020


  • Collegiality
  • Leadership
  • Mentoring
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication


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