“Too often education decisions are from the top down. This model not only encourages student feedback, it challenges you to review preconceived notions in light of what the student thinks. Students wanted to be active participants in the process and had thought provoking suggestions for parts of the solution.”
—Olimpia Bahena, Principal of Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy


The focus of Spark is to validate a core problem area that, if solved, would transformationally improve student outcomes. We work with educators through a discovery process; questioning assumptions and gathering insight from students, parents, colleagues, and community members.  In this phase, we learn to use empathy as inspiration for redesign and shift from problems to opportunities. At the conclusion of Spark, school teams have a clear, validated problem definition.



During Spark, educators develop fundamental knowledge, practices, and mindsets for education innovation:


  • Imagine new possibilities
  • Empathy-focused design
  • Uncover root-causes


  • Shift problems to possibilities
  • Build empathy
  • Define opportunities


  • Demonstrate deep empathy with students and community
  • Shift from problems to solutions and seize opportunities for change
  • Collaborate, create, and problem-solve as a team and community


Learn more about our second program phase