The Hidden Sparks External Coach Program (ECP) is Hidden Sparks’ most comprehensive model for professional development and student success. This program is operating in eight Jewish day schools/yeshivas in the tri-state New York area, and through partnerships with Shemesh, Reach, and Society for the Advancement of Education, in an additional 12 schools in Baltimore, Chicago and Israel. This 5-year program is geared to educators in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Through this program, a senior Hidden Sparks “external coach” spends a day a week working with teams of Judaic and general studies teachers, conducts classroom based student observations, provides mentoring for teachers, and facilitates monthly collaborative Hidden Sparks meetings to review learning profiles and teaching strategies for struggling learners.
Throughout the year, teachers learn about neurodevelopment, temperament and ecology in order to deepen their understanding of students. Specifically, they explore topics such as attention, memory, language, sequencing, social cognition, higher order thinking, and temperament as well as strategies for working with students whose challenges are impacting their learning.
The coach also mentors faculty in training to serve as Hidden Sparks “Internal Coaches” and prepares teacher teams with the skills to manage their own meetings so that they can continue to productively discuss students even when the Hidden Spark coach moves on to work with other grades.
Schools contribute to the cost of the program and are expected to select faculty members for training to be coaches.