SPARK = Special Education Parents Accessing Resources and Knowledge

SPARK meetings are designed to give parents information to help them in their current and future steps of the journey of parenting children with unique needs. As parents, we guide and make decisions for our children and their development.

The task can be overwhelming and we want nothing more than to be as informed as we can be when we set the course we believe our child should take. The SPARK committee and District 15 are grateful to have you and desire to serve you such that your journey is successful!

At SPARK we realize the importance of providing:

  • Relevant programs and resources related to special education
  • Opportunities to network, receive support and help
  • Connections for parents with outside sources

The above are primarily accomplished at the district level through evening programs with outside speakers. We have SPARK representatives at each school who are a local contact and resource to the individual schools. We also have an online support group. If you would like to subscribe to this group:

Visit or send an email to

SPARK will be meeting monthly for the 2017-2018 school year.

This year we will be focusing not only on empowering and caring for your children, but also caring for yourself. Please see the reverse side of this flyer for the meeting dates and topics. Our meetings will take place in the District Board Room (unless noted otherwise) at:

Walter R. Sundling Junior High School
1100 N. Smith Street, Palatine, IL 60067
7:00–8:30 p.m.

If you would like to be contacted by or connected with SPARK, contact Sarah Winter at

SPARK is a Northwest Suburban Council of PTA/PTSA committee serving families of children with special needs in Community Consolidated School District 15 and beyond. SPARK is proud to be in partnership with PTA!

SPARK Program Calendar
2017-2018 School Year

Monday, September 18th: “Screenagers” in combination with NWSC PTA (in Sundling Theater)
Join us for a viewing of “Screenagers”, and award winning documentary revealing for tech time impacts kids development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance. A District 15 representative will be on-hand to facilitate conversation after the viewing.

Monday, October 16th: Special Education Advocacy – What parents need to know!!
Attorney Matt Cohen will join us once again for a session to guide parents in advocating for their children and discuss what they need to know to be an active, educated member of your child’s team. We will discuss what special education is, who it serves, what takes place in the IEP meetings and what all the acronyms discussed mean and what all parents and students are entitled to.

Monday, November 13th: Is it Behavioral or Sensory?
Do you ever wonder what the motivations are behind your child’s behavior in different situations from home to school to in public? Alice Belgrade of Belgrade Behavioral Counseling will be our guest to discuss ways to determine whether your child’s actions and reactions are based on sensory overload or are behaviors that need to be addressed and give tips on how to navigate through both scenarios.

Monday, January 22nd: Relaxation and Essential Oils – Taking care of your child and yourself
Cherlyn Coplon, an acupuncturist and yoga instructor at TriBalance Yoga in Schaumburg, will join us to teach ways to create a calm environment and calm mindset. We will learn about essential oils and how they can be used to increase focus and calm the minds of busy children and discuss breathing techniques and stretches that can be taught to your child, as well as simple poses and to be used by caregivers for some quick relief in times of stress.

Monday, February 26th: Improve Socialization Skills and Confidence in your Child
All parents want their children to be confident people and have positive interactions with their peers however at times this is difficult for all children, especially those with special needs. Greta Neilson, a Licensed Psychotherapist at Clinical Care Consultants in Inverness, will be our guest to discuss ways to increase your child’s confidence and enhance their socialization skills in order for them to be the best versions of themselves.

Monday, March 19th: Caring for YOU!
The best way to set a positive example and create an empowering environment is to take care of yourself! Amanda Hinman of Hinman Holistic Health Institute will once again join us to discuss ways to find yourself as a person again, as it sometimes gets lost in the role of parent and caregiver. We will also talk about how this looks to your child, and how you can work together to bring out the best in each other.

Monday, April 16th: Technology that’s Good for your Kids, and other ideas for the Summer!
As school is wrapping up, we will learn about various websites and apps that can keep your student’s mind working over the summer while still having fun, as well as apps that can help with various special needs, from ADHD to autism. We’ll also discuss things that can be done over the summer to help ensure that you and your child (and their IEP supports) are ready to go on the first day of school (which always comes too soon!!)