S.P.A.R.K. Award

    Our Vision & Mission

    We envision a time when all public schools welcome and successfully educate all students, regardless of their abilities or background. In order to achieve this goal, we empower NYC charter schools to develop high quality inclusive educational environments by providing professional development opportunities, resources, school-based guidance and access to local and national best practices and renowned special populations’ experts.


    The Jeannine King S.P.A.R.K. (Special Populations Advocate, Relationship-builder, and Knowledge-Sharer) Award was established in honor of our beloved colleague, Jeannine King, who passed away in April 2023. Jeannine served as an Inclusive Education Specialist at the Collaborative and, prior to that, as a member of the Bronx Community Charter School community for 13 years, holding various positions in special education and leadership. She was a dedicated and passionate advocate for equitable and inclusive education for all children, generously shared her knowledge and experience with peers, and always encouraged thoughtful consideration of student perspectives and genuine relationship-building.

    Jeannine began each training she facilitated by sharing a quote from Dr. Chris Emdin: “True teaching is only effective when it triggers something that lasts forever or SPARKS a desire in the student to discover more beyond the classroom.”

    Through the S.P.A.R.K. award, we aim to honor Jeannine’s legacy by recognizing educators who embody the same traits and values of educational excellence and inclusion to which Jeannine dedicated herself with authenticity, generosity, and constancy. The nominations for this year’s S.P.A.R.K. awards are open. Please submit your educator nominations by Thursday, March 28th, 2024.

    By the Numbers


    More than 89% of the sector, or 298 charter campuses, are members of The Collaborative for Inclusive Education.


    The Collaborative offers over 140 professional development workshops, trainings, conferences and webinars annually.


    More than 2,200 educators, leaders and coaches attend the Collaborative’s programs each year.


    The Collaborative team spends approximately 450 hours in schools each year, conducting classroom observations and providing one-on-one consultations.


    The Collaborative has certified over 900 educators in crisis prevention.


    The five Collaborative team members have a combined 49 years of experience in teaching special populations and leading school-based support programs.

    Our Evolution


    NYC Special Education Collaborative founded to support schools’ compliance-related needs.


    Developed differentiated supports through tiered levels of membership. Offered approximately 30 workshops a year.


    Team grew to enable school-based observations and consultations. Programs shift to supporting instruction and school-wide culture.


    Mission revised to focus on inclusive education. Brought small group of NYC charterss to visit inclusive schools across the country (LA and Boston).


    Advocacy resulted in $7.5M in support of Committees on Special Education for charters. Offered nearly 80 workshops a year, including new in-school workshops for teaching staff. Hired an ELL Specialist to offered compliance guidance.


    Collaborative expands programming to include ELL supports and social emotional workshops. Established communities of practice for high schools and counseling staff. Launched a Leadership Coalition for Special Populations.


    Focus shifts to include equity and culturally responsive teaching. Doubled the offerings and fully integrated ELL programming into the Collaborative schedule with over 100 PD opportunities.


    Name officially changes to the Collaborative for Inclusive Education. Programming includes opportunities for educators to unpack racism, ableism, language discrimination, and identity discrimination and to reflect on how anti-bias education intersects with inclusive education.


    We shifted along with our schools to online supports, hosting dozens of sessions on educating during a global pandemic.


    We expanded the number of membership levels we offer to respond to the diverse array of school needs.


    We offered over a hundred trainings and workshops in a hybrid format in response to the evolving post-COVID adult learning landscape.


    We created our annual S.P.A.R.K. award to honor the legacy of our late colleague Jeannine King.

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