Spirited Practice And Renewed Courage

Application Deadline for 2019-21 Cohort: March 15, 2019

The Program & Application Process

The Friends Council's Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage (SPARC) program is a leadership development program based on principles from Parker Palmer's "Courage to Teach" work. Together, over a two-year cycle, the group explores personal and professional growth through critical reflection, dialogue, and feedback. Teachers from Friends schools are selected to take part in this learning community and use collaborative inquiry and reflective tools for self-directed professional development.

SPARC is in its seventh cycle, and the ripple effects of this spiritual leadership program are gaining strength. Over 170 Friends school educators have now experienced this unique program, with many schools sending teams of two or more faculty members to participate. Schools report experiencing a deeper engagement of the Quaker dimension in their schools and classrooms as SPARCers return to share reflective tools with their colleagues. SPARC participants emerge as confident faculty leaders contributing to collegial professional development in their schools through accreditation processes, sharing clearness protocols as a tool to connect with teenagers, co-leading a school's Quaker self-study process, and more.

The SPARC program is based on the principles of teacher formation from Parker Palmer's "Courage to Teach" work. A group of two-dozen teachers from Friends schools are selected to take part in this collaborative community, using reflective tools for self-directed professional development. Together, over a two-year cycle, the group explores the art and calling of teaching.

Criteria & Process

Selection Criteria:
  • We are seeking educators who:
  • Care deeply about the Quaker dimension of the school
  • Engage Quaker values in the classroom
  • Realize personal and professional growth through critical reflection, dialogue, and feedback
  • Contribute to collegial faculty development in the school.

Selection Process:

  • Interested participants will submit an application,
  • A short response describing how the applicant engages with Quaker values in her or his school and classroom.
  • A brief endorsement note from their division director or head of school. 
    NOTE: Heads of school have seen benefit from sending more than one teacher from one school. 
    An ad hoc committee selects each cohort from the nominations, seeking a balanced and diverse group.

Dates for 2017-19 Retreats:

  1. Monday-Wednesday, October 28-30, 2019
  2. Monday-Wednesday, April 27-29, 2019
  3. Monday-Wednesday, October 5-7, 2020
  4. Wednesday-Friday, April 28-30, 2021

Each retreat begins with settling in at 4 pm and ends at noon.

Participant Agreement:
Participants in the SPARC program commit to be part of a two-year cycle of deepening reflection and interconnection; all members are responsible to each other in this learning community. Our policy for this residential program is that we expect full attendance and full participation in each program retreat (two retreats each school year).

This residential expectation for each retreat serves to build community, deepen levels of communication and trust, and provide ample time for reflective work. Participants make the necessary arrangements to arrive on time and stay the entire length of the program. Participants and their school heads/division heads take responsibility to know the retreat dates, anticipate and resolve any conflicts between SPARC dates and school/personal responsibilities, and make every effort to fulfill the commitment to the program.

Fee 2019-21: $870 per person per year - for two full retreats, which is $435 per retreat, includes food and lodging 
(This fee is subsidized through a generous grant.)

Program Leadership
Shu Shu Costa
Shu Shu Costa
Deborra Sines Pancoe
Deborra Sines Pancoe
Retreat Dates for 2019-21 Cohort

October 28 - October 30, 2019
(Mon-Wed)
Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA

April 27 - April 29, 2019
(Mon-Wed)
Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA

October 5-7, 2020
(Mon-Wed)
The Chalfonte, Cape May, NJ

April 28 - April 30, 2021
(Wed-Fri)
Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA