Our Mission

Our Mission
Skagit Preschool and Resource Center (SPARC) provides individualized services for families and their children with unique needs, from birth through age 5 in Skagit County, helping build the foundation for life long success.

Our Vision:
That children and families feel supported and our community is aware of the unique gifts of all children.

It all begins with a SPARC

Executive Director, Amanda Sloan, explains the origin of SPARC’s tagline.

Read our story!

Our History

HOW SPARC BEGAN

Skagit Preschool and Resource Center (SPARC) was founded in 1964 by a group of dedicated parents of children between the ages of five and eighteen with severe disabilities who did not have a school experience available to them.  The program initially began primarily as child care but gradually became a school experience when they hired teachers.   This community-based program was replicated in several other counties and still exists today.

 In 1974, the State of Washington became one of the first states in the nation to pass an education initiative, which mandated that all children, regardless of special needs, had the right to a “free and appropriate education”.  Armed with information regarding the importance of early intervention and support services for families with special needs children, the SPARC Board of Directors made the decision for SPARC to become a preschool and early intervention services program.

Evolution

Over the years, the SPARC program has grown and evolved many times to meet the needs of families with young children who have special needs and to make sure those children are best served. SPARC has been fortunate to have received the help and support of various community partners, including the local Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and the Mount Vernon School District, who helped provide housing for many of its programs.  SPARC once served children from all school districts in both Skagit and Island counties but eventually assisted Island County in establishing a program of its own.

Community Alliances

            

SPARC developed a close relationship with Skagit Valley College’s early learning program, known as Head Start, in an effort to expand their program and provide the students of SPARC an opportunity to learn alongside typically developing peers. This relationship continues today.  

SPARC has always tried to focus on meeting the needs of an expanding community and has taken an active role in community-oriented projects.  SPARC is an active member of the Children’s Council of Skagit County which consists of approximately forty agencies and family members working together to support families with young children in our community.  Through this group, we have been connected with numerous community resources and programs that assist families.  

These programs/resources include, but are not limited to, Best Self, Bright Beginnings, Connection Conference, Cuddle Bright, Family Palooza, Vroom, WA Stem, Welcome Baby, and Skagit County Autism Partnership.  SPARC also takes great pride in offering the Skagit Parent to Parent Program.  This program offers families educational and emotional support by pairing families up with other parents/caregivers who have a similar experience of raising a child with a special need.

SERVING FAMILIES

Serving special needs children and their families is a need in our community which must be addressed and fulfilled, but it is also SPARC’s passion and commitment.  The SPARC staff cares deeply about the children and families they serve and truly want to see these children achieve milestones and be successful. 

SPARC has the unique ability to offer a dynamic program so that when new needs are discovered SPARC is able to help fill them.  For example, when there was a need to assist children with hearing impairments, SPARC answered the call until local schools were able to assume this task as a cooperative program.

When childcare for older kids with disabilities was needed, SPARC stepped into the role by offering this service and then slowly transitioned to coaching other childcare providers who added this service to their businesses.

SPARC TODAY

Currently, SPARC is a member of the School Medical Autism Review Team (SMART) through the University of Washington.  Through this partnership, we are able to participate and help prepare our professional community to better meet the needs of families who are seeking an autism evaluation for their child.  Not only do we want to support the children and families we serve, but SPARC wants to help build a community that also supports those children and families. 

SPARC places focus on all children and families, and creates a supportive environment that recognizes the value and gifts, as well as the needs, of all.  We believe all children are our future and we are committed to creating the best future possible by building the foundation for life-long success.  The early intervention services and family support offered by SPARC are the best you can find and they make a difference in the lives of all involved.

SPARC LEADERSHIP TEAM

SPARC Board of Directors

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