2016 Winter News Letter

The SPARC Annual Newsletter is provided to the community in December of each year. Each newsletter highlights staff and family, director updates and previous years financial supporters along with upcoming news and events.

You can download the newsletter, or enjoy all of its contents below. 2016-winter-news-letter

Pat’s Post – A Message from the Executive Director

I write this year’s post feeling many, mixed emotions – proud of all SPARC accomplishments reached each year, grateful for a wonderful, talented staff, clearly passionate about their work, excited to see the progress each child achieves, fortunate to collaborate with many community partners to provide quality programs for all our young children, and visioning all the possibilities the future may bring.   At the same time, sad that this will be my final post as SPARC’s Executive Director. After 36 enriched years of being part of the SPARC family it is time for me to retire. This was a difficult decision, however, I am comforted knowing I leave the program in very competent hands, committed to the unwavering mission of providing high quality services to children and families. I am thankful and appreciative of the solid support the SPARC Board and Skagit Valley community has provided over the years; we could not continue to provide these much needed services without you. SPARC will always have a special place in my heart. I foresee my future efforts as an avid supporter and advocate for SPARC and its evolving programs. It is our plan to begin our search for a new director after the first of the year allowing for sufficient transition time prior the end of this school year. Once again, I thank you for your continued support and dedication to SPARC and our children and families.

 

Spotlight on SPARC Staff: Julie Henry

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Julie started at SPARC in the old portables on Britt road in 1991 as a preschool bus aide and teacher assistant; next two years as a Special Education Teacher until 1994. She left and returned to teach the Bridge Program at Little Mountain Elementary then at Madison from 1998-2000. Took time to be full-time mom to her two beautiful children then found her way back to SPARC in 2010 where she began teaching this time for the Birth-to-3 Program, as well as learning the fine art of being a Family Resource Coordinator. Early Intervention has since continued to be her heart’s call. She believes that SPARC’s mission and unique role in our community is invaluable and so very needed – one that helps change lives for the better and make a lasting difference for our youngest learners.

Julie has been an integral part of delivering our Birth-3 Special Education Teacher services in the inclusion Early Head Start classrooms. Here Julie effectively collaborates with the Early Head Start teacher’s to deliver classroom services and individual Special Education Services that adhere to the child’s active Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Julie serves and supports our children and families in many other ways. Julie delivers services in childcare settings, homes, and serves children on Individuated Education Plan (IEP’s) at INSPIRE Child Developmental Center. Julie is empathetic with the children and families and her passion and knowledge for the children and families shows in her interactions with the children and in her eloquently written updates on the progress and current development of each child she serves.

Julie is always thinking of new and different ways to engage children, bringing a variety of ideas into the classroom or home incorporating movement, song and thinking skills. She then joyfully shares anecdotes of their child’s engagement and progress from the classroom with each child’s family.  She works hard to help families connect with the resources they need in the community whether related to childcare, medical or social needs.

Julie quoted “What a great privilege and blessing it is to know and work with these beautiful “becomers”, their truly amazing families, and our outstanding dedicated staff.”

SPARC is thankful for all she has done and will continue to do.

 

Spotlight on a SPARC Child: Meet David Isaac

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David Isaac is a 5-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Autism in November 2014. After his birth all seemed normal but my son stopped responding at age of 8 months. He was referred to the SPARC program. In April 2013, we received a visit from Gabby Lopez working for the Center and from that day on, our experience has been very pleasant. There is much to be thankful for each and every one of the people that make possible this type of help.

Isaac began to receive occupational therapy with Shaun and then language therapy with Amy and continued therapy in the preschool classes at SPARC Center. I am grateful to each and every one of the teachers because my son has learned a lot.

When Isaac began to receive help, he lacked in several areas of development but primarily in his speech. For many days I longed to hear his words. One of the first words that we hope to hear as parents is to listen to them say papa or mama; but the continuous struggle to keep on receiving this help was worth it. Listening to him say “Hug me mommy” “Help please”, fills me with great joy and tenderness. I will never finish thanking all the effort, patience, dedication, delivery, attention and love with which I have witnessed each SPARC staff give and display with their job.

Now Isaac can jump, run and ride a bike. There are so many words he now says not only in English but also in Spanish now his dad says we have a bilingual child at home.

Isaac is a child who has always surprised us with something. He loves animals and likes to explore, and all this experience and education that he has received from SPARC has been worth it.

We will always be grateful for their support from the bottom of our heart. We will never forget this great experience that we lived with Gabby, Shaun, Amy, Marinna, Susie, Kelly, Rachel, Emy, Gloria, Carly, Pat, Liz, Galina and Alma, God bless you
David Isaac es un niño de 5 años que fue Diagnosticado con Autismo en noviembre de 2014. Después de su nacimiento todo parecía normal pero mi hijo dejo de responder a la edad de 8 meses. Por lo cual fue referido al programa de SPARC. En abril de 2013 recibimos la visita de Gabby Lopez trabajadora del Centro y a partir de ese día nuestra experiencia ha sido muy grata, hay mucho que agradecer a todos y cada una de las personas que hacen posible todo este tipo de ayuda.

Isaac empezó a recibir terapia física con la señora Shaun y luego terapia de lenguaje con Amy y continua en las clases preescolares del mismo centro SPARC. Por lo cual estoy muy agradecida también con todas y cada una de las maestras porque también allí mi hijo ha aprendido mucho.

Cuando Isaac empezó a recibir ayuda carecía de varias cosas la mayor de todas era el habla. Por mucho días extrañe oír sus palabras, una de las primeras palabras que más anhelamos como padres es escucharlos decir papa o mama; pero la lucha continua de seguir adelante recibiendo esta ayuda ha valido la pena. Pues el escucharlo decir “Abrázame mami” “Ayuda please”. Me llena de una gran alegría y ternura. Que nunca terminaría de agradecer todo el esfuerzo, la paciencia, la dedicación, la entrega, la atención y aquel amor con que me tocaba mirar como cada una hace su trabajo.

Ahora Isaac puede saltar, correr y andar en bici. Son tantas las palabras que ahora dice no solo en Ingles sino también en español que hasta su papá dice que ya tenemos un bilingüe en casa.

Isaac es un niño que siempre nos sorprende con algo. El ama mucho los animales y le gusta mucho explorar, y toda esta experiencia y enseñanza que ha recibido de parte de SPARC vale la pena.

Siempre estaremos agradecidos por su apoyo de lo más profundo de nuestro corazón, nunca olvidaremos esta gran experiencia que vivimos con Gabby, Shaun, Amy, Marinna, Susie, Kelly, Rachel, Emy, Gloria, Carly, Pat, Liz, Galina y Alma, que Dios los bendiga.

 

We       heart        Books

Why do we love books?   In addition to being amazing resources for fun and creativity, books are important in establishing skills for learning that will be important for years to come.

Did you know….Early reading for toddlers is linked to better language approaching school age. Students exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in formal education, as reading comprehension is linked to improved self-discipline, attention span, and memory.

Though many of our SPARC families share our love for books, they can sometimes seem inaccessible, either because of the expense, or due to feelings of uncertainty of what to do with books….especially with kids who do not necessarily sit and listen to a long story. With this realization, the SPARC SLPs launched “Project Read” in 2015, with the goal of providing books as well as parent-friendly ideas of ways to incorporate reading and literacy into daily routines.   Through this project, SPARC provided more than 400 books to local children and families throughout the 2015-2016 school year. This year we are expanding our project with the goal to distribute 1,000 books.

Want a book? Stop by our Rosewood or PacPlace sites and pick a book and some free information on building preschool literacy skills.

Want to help? We are accepting donations of new and gently used children’s books to share with local children and families!  

 

Skagit County Autism Partnership

SPARC is participating in a University of Washington study that is focused on improving early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and increasing access to specialized services when needed. As part of the study staff and providers in the county will be trained on tools and curriculum to help identify and treat young children with an autism diagnosis.

In addition, over the past three years, SPARC has worked closely with community partners (school districts, local pediatricians, health department, and private therapy clinics) to establish the Skagit County Autism Partnership (SCAP). Through this partnership we have established a process in our county that enables us to diagnosis young children who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The process is designed to coordinate information sharing between providers who serve the child. The coordination, when appropriate can lead to an evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder through the Center of Excellence. SPARC’s medical director, Dr. Seema Afridi is designated as a Center of Excellence with the ability to diagnosis children with autism. At the present time one child has completed the process and another is in route. The focus is on children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old.

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Children Served

During our 2015-2016 school year

Birth To Three

65 children age birth to three were provided services
13 children reached age three and services continued
4 children no longer needed services at age three
2 children no longer needed services before age three
37 additional children evaluated during this year were found to not need services

Preschool

108 children age three to six were provided services
10 additional children evaluated during this year were found to not need services

 

SPARC Financial Report

Revenue:           

School Districts                          750,500
State Contract Services              224,108
Medicaid and Insurance                44,956
Grants and Donations                  97,564
Fundraising                                 71,975
Other Income                               2,618

Expenses:

Salaries/taxes/benefits               953,067
Contract/Professional                   40,053
Fundraising Expenses                   17,884
Program Expenses                       53,998
Occupancy Expense                     43,824
Depreciation                                 3,746

 

Fred Meyer Community Rewards

Just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card you can help SPARC earn donations. Link your card to SPARC by name or number at www.fredmeyer.com/communityrewards.

You will still earn your Rewards Points and Rebates, just as you do now.

 

Amazon Smile

SPARC is a participant in AmazonSmile!

When shopping through AmazonSmile .5% of your qualifying purchases will be donated to SPARC.

For more information on AmazonSmile or to sign up today visit www.amazonsmile.com

 

Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SPARC will host our 15th Annual

“SPARC Your Engines”

fundraiser Auction

The evening will be full of wonderful food, great silent and live auction items.

 

Supporters of SPARC

The Children of SPARC are supported by the community through special gifts and programs.
Thank you to the following donors and grantors who were among SPARC’s supporters last year

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Download the Newsletter: 2016-winter-news-letter

 

 


Rosewood School Slide

We would like to thank our generous donors, The Janson Foundation, The Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, The BNSF Railway Foundation, and The Stillaguamish Tribe.

These amazing organizations made our new hillside slide at our Rosewood School possible.img_2496img_2498


2015 ANNUAL SPARC NEWSLETTER

The SPARC Annual Newsletter is provided to the community in December of each year. Each newsletter highlights staff and family, director updates and previous years financial supporters along with upcoming news and events.

A Message from Pat – The Director

This is the season for reflecting on who and what we are thankful for. My SPARC thankful board would be full of the many wonderful things that happen every year. For starters it would be filled with the talented and caring staff I work with everyday. They have a passion for what they do and it shows in the growth our children make each day and the support they give every family. Next it would be, the SPARC Board, the commitment they make to support SPARC and the countless hours they donate to make our annual auction a great success. Then, our community partners and the hard work we collectively do to improve services for all young children in Skagit county. Of course, it would not be complete without all the support we receive from the Skagit County community. You can see from our list supporters, it includes service groups, businesses, foundations and many individuals. Without the combined effort of all, we would not be able to provide the quality program and needed services of our children and families. I have been blessed to be part of this wonderful organization for over 35 years and cannot express enough my appreciation to all.

 

Meet Ryder

Ryder began services in the SPARC birth to 3 program last April and now attends our Preschool classroom 4 days per week. His mother Stephanie had these words to say: Our adventure into Autism with Ryder began in April 2015. It also started a beautiful partnership with SPARC. With the swirling, scary thoughts of the many facets of Autism becoming a reality for me, I felt so sad and full of anguish and powerless; I had never felt so much grief before. At first, fears of Ryder’s future, Ryder’s physical/mental/emotional safety, fears in all shapes like being stared at and scrutinized in public etc. These were things I was thinking about. It was the fear of the unknown. My first appointment with Vanessa from SPARC changed EVERYTHING, she shared her personal experience and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. Vanessa has an extraordinary ability to look into your eyes and with her empathy and understanding as she listens to your struggles she lets you know what you are going through is all normal human responses. I never felt alone or sad again. From there the sky was the limit for Ryder. Vanessa suggested some tips on our first appointment which I will never forget. Simplify things: word statements, directions etc. Amazingly, he responded wonderfully and successfully beyond what I thought possible just from 1 simple suggestion. From that first day SPARC and more specifically Vanessa had earned my trust in her knowledge and experience. My second exposure to SPARC came from Ryder’s 1st speech therapy appointment with Megan. Her kind, soft and loving nature radiates onto you from the start and more importantly onto Ryder. Megan makes therapy fun and contagious. She offered so much to us with her creative ideas that made developing the skill set Ryder needs to be successful within reach, such as, picking up on social cues, R.I.T.(Reciprocal Imitation Therapy), turn taking & more. From that day on, I have implemented Megan and Vanessa’s creative, supportive ideas in my home and beyond. Ryder’s gone from 4 words up to 20 words and more, picture cues reduced his meltdowns, no more self biting/head banging on floors now that he is learning to express himself in more productive ways. SPARC has built a village of safety for families like mine hosting community functions, support groups, lending you books, toys, sensory items and DVD’s, and are always willing to listen without judgment. I can’t say life is going to be easy with this adventure in autism, but with the right support I feel Ryder can conquer anything .

#CultivateLove #CreateBuildIndependence #ItTakesAVillageToRaiseAChild #TeamSPARC

 

Spotlight on SPARC Staff

Megan Nash began working for SPARC as a speech language pathologist intern and then as an employee in 2009. She has been an incredible hire and each day we are grateful for her presence. Megan has pursued a variety of interests and focused on many projects through SPARC. Amongst these projects has been the sharing of her knowledge through in-services to both SPARC employees and Head Start staff of all things speech and language. She has suggested and implemented technology into the classroom through different assistive devices as well as dynamically using the iPad with students. She seeks out continuing education to address interests and provide evidence based practice. On top of these pursuits, Megan is a busy and focused speech and language pathologist. On any given day, she is doing therapy in family’s home followed by seeing a child at Head Start, then meeting with a teacher to plan specific vocabulary use with a student, in addition to making phone calls, planning therapy and doing necessary paperwork. Megan does this all with a happy demeanor and a cheerful, “How are you?” SPARC and our children and families are so thankful that she is part of our team.

 

Annual Kids Charity Fundraiser

   

Each summer two special people, Buster Brewer and Les Birchet honor the children of SPARC by helping organize two great fundraising events. One is a guitar raffle at the “Mount Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival” and the other is a celebration with good music and food. We appreciate their continued support.

 

Amazon Smile

SPARC is now a participant in AmazonSmile! When you shop at AmazonSmile it’s like shopping at the Amazon you know and love. The difference is, when shopping through AmazonSmile you can chose SPARC as the charity you wish to support. When you do this .5% of your qualifying purchases will be donated to SPARC. For more information on AmazonSmile or to sign up today visit www.amazonsmile.com

Thank you.

 

Children Served

During our 2014-2015 school year :
Birth To Three
71 children age birth to three were provided services
19 children reached age three and services continued
3 children no longer needed services at age three
2 children no longer needed services before age three
35 additional children evaluated during this year were
found to not need services
Preschool
122 children age three to six were provided services
19 were children that rolled up from Birth to Three

 

SPARC Financial Report

Revenue:
School Districts                 731,917
State Contract Services     216,695
Medicaid and Insurance      23,047
Grants and Donations         79,825
Fundraising                       74,686
Other Income                      7,537
Expenses:
Salaries/taxes/benefits      933,562
Contract/Professional          47,801
Fundraising Expenses          16,902
Program Expenses              59,507
Occupancy Expense            33,034
Depreciation                        2,284


Amazon Smile

 

AmazonSmile is a program where Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organizations selected by customers. SPARC is now on the list of eligible charities that you may select when shopping at AmzonSmile (search for Skagit Pre-School Association and Resource Center or SPARC). AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know and love, same products and same service.

 smile.amazon.com

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2014 Annual SPARC Newsletter

The SPARC Annual Newsletter is provided to the community in December of each year. Each newsletter highlights staff and family, director updates and previous years financial supporters along with upcoming news and events.

A Message from Pat – The Director

Over the 30+ years at SPARC, the community collaboration that happens in Skagit County has been amazing. The agencies in our county serving young children work together to provide quality services to families. SPARC collaborates closely with Skagit/Islands Head Start to provide special education services in general education classrooms. We provide staff to support our children in the classroom and our children and fami-lies benefit from the services Head Start provides. It is a win/win set up for all children involved.

The importance of Early Childhood education has been all over the news recently. The first five years in a child’s life are most impor-tant. Supporting parents and caregiv-ers to enhance interactions and en-gagement with their children ulti-mately improves outcomes for these children in school.
An important part of SPARC’s mission has always been working with the parents to help them understand and enhance their child’s early development. Support we receive from the community allows us to provide these services.

 

Meet Jacob

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As parents of a young boy with special needs, we are so grateful for the services SPARC provides. Our son Jacob James “JJ” Poolman is a bright, funny, and loving three year old with cerebral palsy. The spasticity in his legs prevents him from walking on his own and the world presents many barriers to his inclusion in the normal activities of childhood. SPARC has removed many of those barriers. SPARC has been a godsend in so many ways. JJ began receiving occupational therapy from Shaun Wesen and physical therapy from Nancy a year ago. Their therapeutic skills were matched by their warm and friendly personalities and JJ formed a close trusting connection with them almost immediately.

From the moment JJ saw SPARC preschool last June he wanted to go there and he talked about it all summer. The morning we woke him up and told him he was going to school he said “Oh boy!” At the end of the day he said preschool was “Awesome.” Every day he says school is “Great” and “Awesome.” JJ has the most amazing team of teachers, therapists, bus drivers and helpers to work with him through the SPARC
program.

We want to acknowledge our wonderful case manager Vanessa Hagerty and thank Teacher’s Rae and Sandra , his Therapists Shaun, Nancy and Kathy, as well as his one-on-one aide Patrick. The above team has allowed JJ to blossom and thrive. They have recognized and nurtured his many strengths. He is proud of his “School” and loves his many friends there.

Our positive experience with SPARC will also be of great comfort and support in planning for spinal surgery that JJ will be having at Seattle Children’s Hospital in January. The surgery will eliminate some the tightness in his leg muscles and allow him eventually to walk with time and therapy. After the surgery and lengthy hospital stay the physical and occupational therapy provided by SPARC will be a key component in his recovery and progress.

 

Spotlight on SPARC Staff

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Rachel Harris is a certified Special Education Teacher who has worked for SPARC since 2010. When Rachel first started with SPARC she worked as a B-3 Special Education Assistant. As the B-3 assistant Rachel would attend the Early Head Start/SPARC Inclusion classroom and support the teaching team in regards to children who were on an Individualized Family Service Plan. Rachel’s love for kids was obvious in how she worked with them. She was caring, the kids enjoyed having her in class, and the staff liked the support she offered. Rachel was then offered a full-time teaching position in a pre-school classroom working mainly with children on the Autism Spectrum. Rachel embraced this challenge with open arms. Rachel has now taught this model for the past 4 years and has really made it a warm and welcoming classroom where all kids are taught on an individual basis. Rachel was given the opportunity in 2012 to work with Portland State University on learning how to implement a curriculum called CAPSTAR. This curriculum is a comprehensive behavioral program designed to use one-to-one instruction that uses logical sequencing to build on previously learned skills. Rachel has taken this head on and uses this curriculum everyday with each student. Rachel also collaborates with our inclusion classroom located at the Child and   Family Learning Center. Here, Rachel attends the pre-school classroom 2 days per week and works with children placed in those classrooms who are on an Individual Education Plan. She works closely with the teaching staff to implement   necessary modification and support the kids in   meeting their goals. Rachel is a wife and mother to a little 8 month old boy. She juggles teaching full-time, being a “mommy” and recently went back to school for her Master’s Degree at the University of Washington. SPARC wanted to highlight Rachel so teachers, staff, and parents could see one of our amazing Special Education Teacher’s that work at our SPARC Rosewood   Preschool Center.

 

Welcome to Rosewood

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This summer the SPARC preschool classrooms moved from portables at LaVenture Middle School to the Rosewood School. The staff has spent many hours making it our new home. We are     excited to all be under one roof in a building meant for preschoolers. We are in the process of raising funds to complete our playground and make improvements to the building to meet our needs.

 

Fred Meyer Community Rewards

Just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card you can help SPARC earn donations. Link your card to SPARC by name or number (88913) at www.fredmeyer.com/communityrewards. You will still earn your Rewards Points and Rebates, just as you do now.

Thank you.

 

Children Served

During our 2013-2014 school year :
Birth To Three
70 children age birth to three were provided services
17 children reached age three and services continued
3 children no longer needed services at age three
4 children no longer needed services before age three
39 additional children evaluated during this year were
found to not need services
Preschool
109 children age three to six were provided services
2 children were exited from program because they no
longer needed services

 

SPARC Financial Report

Revenue:
School Districts                 637,392
State Contract Services     219,784
Medicaid and Insurance      33,028
Grants and Donations         80,338
Fundraising                       69,856
Other Income                      5,861
Expenses:
Salaries/taxes/benefits      826,326
Contract/Professional          31,933
Fundraising Expenses          15,621
Program Expenses              47,220
Occupancy Expense            29,210
Depreciation                        8,184

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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