In 2012, the All Points North Foundation made its first investment in Spark by funding apprenticeship programming for 20 students at National Teachers Academy (NTA), a Chicago public school. Since that time, the partnership has helped nearly100 students at NTA and more than 700 students throughout Chicago! All Points North Foundation’s support also enabled Spark to create a collaborative relationship with Chicago Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education department for the development and delivery of high school readiness programming and transition resources for students at the same school.
This year, continued funding from the All Points North Foundation will further elevate Spark’s mission and the national dialogue around support for middle grades students. “In the landscape of education, significant investments have been made in early education and in graduation or career and college readiness programs at the high school level,” said Jason Cascarino, Spark’s Chief Executive Officer. “We need a similar focus on programs that help seventh and eighth graders succeed. All Points North Foundation is really unique within the funding community with its dedication to middle grades specifically. In partnership with All Points North Foundation, Spark can help build momentum for middle grades initiatives and work to decrease the dropout rate by targeting younger students – keeping them engaged and preparing them to successfully navigate the crucial transition to high school.”
Funding from All Points North Foundation will help Spark and its partners focus the national education agenda on middle grades support at upcoming events including the Opportunity Summit and Expanded Learning Summit. “Spark has become a game changer in the lives of middle school youth in some of the most underserved neighborhoods across the country,” said Laura Staich, executive director of the All Points North Foundation. “We are proud to support an organization that is making a difference for students nationwide and propelling the national education conversation to bring a much-needed focus on the middle grades.”
Learn more about the All Points North Foundation and its work to advance opportunities for youth in the middle grades across the country!