SPARK at a Glance
Homeschool academy for middle-school for grades 6, 7, & 8 or ages 11.5 – 14
SPARK is an arts-integrated, child-centered approach to middle-grade education that joins teamwork among a small group of peers with the flexibility to focus on individual areas of interest. Inquiry, projects, self-directed work, games, and group lessons are some of the ways SPARK kids learn. Classes are small, allowing participants to forge lasting peer relationships while benefiting from plenty of educator attention.
Class is held Tues & Thurs 8:45 am – 2:30 pm.
Directed lessons and group projects:
- Daily Renaissance and music Hours, featuring expert guest artists
- Regular field trips including public bus riding builds practical life skills with tremendously fun educational experiences
- Building teamwork & civic/community involvement (activism, letter writing, community projects)
- Year-long commitment (Sept – June); with 3 themed quarters and a final group project
SPARK offers a very different experience from TDA’s Elementary Enrichment. Appropriate to the kids’ ages, this "upper academy" includes directed lessons, specific assignments, intermediate music and arts lessons, all within Three Dragons’ hybrid method of arts-integrated, child-development-minded education. However, this program also features full-group projects, daily writing, weekly or daily Renaissance Hours with special experts in their fields, more mature studies, and work in justice and social consciousness.
Each year follows a theme arc, blending academics and multiple fine arts, along with an aspect that develops communication, compassion, civics/community, or creativity: all to help our students better prepare for their future innovations, studies, and life.
SPARK gives students:
- Fun, challenging, and inspiring group projects
- Inquiry-led investigations and imagination fueled learning
- Inspire and empower ingenuity at a critical age
- Empowerment for creativity
- Growth and learning through collaboration
- Fun, imaginative themes and projects
- A warm, supportive classroom culture: compassion is cultivated by developing emotional intelligence, valuing kindness, and rewarding actions and thoughts which address problems, whether in the scale of our classroom or our world
SPARK acknowledges specific tween/teen learning tendencies by:
- Allowing these intermediate learners deeper focus on favorite areas of study
- Addressing EQ and the typical roller coaster of tween/teen emotional needs
- Employing holistic practices, cultivate divergent thinking, welcome empathetic approaches, and always seek to spark the free interchange of ideas
- Utilizeing more teamwork/small group work with classmates
- Creating/performing art with a message designed to inspire connection among people and ideas
- Focusing on culturally-aware projects that develop community respect as well as self-confidence
- Keeping class size small and ratios high, so participants may forge lasting peer relationships, as well as benefit from individualized instructor attention
Read more about our teaching philosophy.
2018 – 2019 Sessions
SPARK offers one two day per week session running through the academic year. We are currently finalizing details for our upcoming session. Please check back soon.
2018 – 2019 Fees
7700 annual tuition + 800 nonrefundable registration fee
Tuition is payable in full at the beginning of the year or in monthly payments of 770 (payable by the first of each month, September through June). Registration fee (800) and last month’s tuition deposit (770) are required at registration to secure your child’s enrollment space for the upcoming year.
Financial Aid: We do offer some limited, needs-based scholarships or partial tuition reductions. Alternatively, we can offer financial aid in the form of flexible payment schedules. We're happy to discuss these options if your family is in need.
Our admissions process is as follows:
- Fill out a SPARK application.
- Meet with us to ensure a good fit.
- If your application is accepted, complete the registration materials and pay your registration fee and tuition deposit.
Because our curriculum is based on teamwork, we build our classes carefully so each child can flourish. Our application process allows us and you to make sure that SPARK is the right fit for your family.
We recommend that applicants generally be 11.5 – 14 years old and have at least 3rd or 4th grade reading and writing skills. Age ranges are approximate. Please contact us if you have questions.
Space in our program is limited because we are committed to maintaining a small class size and a superb educator to child ratio (1:8). While we cannot guarantee you a space for the upcoming academic year, we do sometimes have openings. Please indicate if you would like your child added to our waitpool in the event that a space becomes available.
Please apply by June 1 for consideration for the upcoming academic year.
- Apply. Once we have reviewed your application, we will contact you about next steps.
- Meet with us. If your application is accepted and we have space available, we may invite you and your child to meet with us so we can all determine if SPARK is a good fit for your child.
- Register. If we agree that SPARK is a good fit for your child, we will send you a link to register and make your deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions
+ What do I need to know about homeschooling/unschooling?
Our part time schedule is ideal for homeschoolers and unschoolers, as well as online academy students (Columbia Virtual Academy, Khan Academy, and WAVA online public school, etc.). Mainstream public and private school students can also take advantage of part time student status to participate in enrichment programs like Three Dragons Academy. Many parents find the Home Based Instruction (HBI) handbook (the “Pinkbook”) helpful. The “Pinkbook” covers all Washington State laws related to education choice. Please be aware that parents of children age 8 and up might need to file the Washington State Declaration of Intent in order to comply with HBI laws. Read more about the Declaration of Intent here.
+ How many openings does SPARK have each year?
Because SPARK is a new program, it’s difficult for us to anticipate enrollment Please check back with us regularly and join our SPARK mailing list to be notified about enrollment changes.
+ When should I apply?
We accept applications year round. Please apply by June 1 for consideration in the upcoming academic year.
+ What is the class size?
We are committed to small classes and superb educator to participant ratios (1:8). Each session has a small class size that ensures individualized instruction.
+ What is your attendance policy
For vacations or sick days, we simply ask that you give us as much advance notice as possible. With advance notice we can adapt the individualized lesson plan around occasional schedule disruptions.
+ What is your sibling policy?
We balance our enrollment years in advance. While we strive to make sure there’s room for each participant’s younger siblings, we do assess sibling participation on a case by case basis. Once an enrollment space is given up, though, any priority for siblings is lost. If SPARK is full, applicants may join the waitpool.
+ Do you use technology in the classroom?
SPARK’s programming creates opportunities for more technology use than participants in the younger TDA program would normally experience, and will vary from quarter to quarter based largely on the requirements of each quarterly theme. (Three Dragons might also offer coding classes, gaming camps, or other tech-related options outside of our SPARK schedule.) Personal technology policy for SPARK students: we do not permit phones, tablet, web-based or other smart-device use during SPARK’s group lessons. Children may leave these tools in their backpacks during the 6 hours of the SPARK class day.
+ How do you handle allergies and food restrictions?
We are humble educators with fine arts degrees giving lessons in a shared, public community-center building as well as onsite at locations throughout the city. So, while we can respect food restrictions (if we were to offer a treat, for example) it is simply impossible for us to provide a true allergen-free environment.
+ Can you administer medications?
We cannot administer or monitor any medications.
+ Can parents be involved at SPARK?
Aside from our small teaching staff, no adults (including family) are permitted in SPARK spaces unless there’s a special reason approved by the participants in advance. We invite family or friends into the classroom only for special events like a Winter Showcase performance or a Family Game Night. New participant family tours and special guest artists are the rare exceptions, but even those are reviewed by the participants beforehand. We do not permit audio or video recording of the kids in their space except by staff.
KDTA SPARK Radio
In 2018–2019, our year two SPARK students spent the year learning about sound engineering, music, and drama. Using all those skills, they then worked to create their own radio station and program! Students chose a frequency, built a DJ booth, and wrote and performed all programming!
SPARK Art Installation
In 2017, our year one SPARK students created a public art Installation on the corner of 50th & the Ave! Students designed their own tessellation-based art and theatre and created a public art installation for everyone to enjoy!