Gov. Jack Markell

Governor Markell supports SPARC!

Delaware students have something to look forward to next year.  With the state’s focus shifting to preparing students for the workforce, it’s no surprise that Governor Markell announced nearly $500,000 in grants to 15 high schools as part of his Pathways to Prosperity initiative. The governor said, “Students across our state can benefit from workplace learning and high-quality training in growth industries and all of us will benefit from having our students ready for college and a career in the new economy.”

These grants will help fund programs for students in bio-medical science, computer science, engineering and culinary arts & hospitality management for the 2015-2016 school year.  These programs will expand the following school year to include financial services and healthcare.

Each of the four pathways for next school year outlines a plan to partner schools with key business leaders and higher education institutions in that field.  That means even more opportunities for SPARC students to benefit from work-based learning activities organized between high schools and the businesses and higher education institutions that offer these programs. Partnership is at the heart of this new initiative.

“As a community – business, higher education and K-12 – we are defining expectations and creating opportunities for all schools to access rich instructional models,” said Luke Rhine, Director CTE and STEM office at Delaware Department of Education. “We are ensuring that every child has the opportunity to complete a high-quality CTE program, and we are enlisting our employer community as a support to ensure that all students are successful.”

Schools on the SPARC platform can request a work-based learning activity, whether it is a job shadow or guest speaker, and SPARC will connect those schools with the right businesses. Work-based learning activities can also be organized through the specific businesses as well.  Out of the 15 grant recipients, two schools—Appoquinimink High School and McKean High School–are already signed up through SPARC.