Education has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Educators have been tasked with pivoting from in-person to remote learning more than once in many districts across the country. mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit dedicated to empowering educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, reported today it has seen a dramatic increase in educators seeking professional development (PD) and resources to upskill them in challenging times. Since March 2020, MindSpark has impacted more than 10,000 educators across 1,800 schools and districts around the world. This is a 207% increase in the total number of educators to participate in MindSpark PD offerings.
In response to COVID-19, the MindSpark team jumped into action to develop additional resources that address contingency planning, the sudden shift to remote learning, and provide additional networking and support opportunities through its Online Toolkit and reSOLVE series. While the session volume increased due to these new pandemic-related offerings, so did the average number of participants per session, which rose 133%.
mindSpark Learning prides itself on being accessible without creating a cost burden on educators. Thanks to generous support from community and industry partners, educators saved upwards of $396,150 on PD costs by choosing mindSpark Learning. Between March and November, 45% of participants experienced professional learning from MindSpark for the first time, while 55% trusted the organization enough to return for support and PD needs. Additionally, 43% of educators relying on MindSpark thus far come from rural or remote environments.
In surveying its participants, mindSpark Learning identified three key factors that led educators, schools and districts to choose the organization’s PD, including:
- Collaboration Opportunities: The largest impact MindSpark’s programs bring to educators is strong connections to peers and industry partners. Collaboration is the main contributor to the success of participants.
One educator said, “I’m now collaborating with educators in my state and around the globe since we all have the goal of engaging more students in social emotional learning. I’m also piloting a 6-week program with an elementary leadership club using the tools I’ve learned from mindSpark Learning.”
- Sustainable, Individual Transformation: MindSpark’s PD is designed to enable participants to make both personal and classroom transformations. In fact, 100% of participants reported mindSpark added value to their profession and 99% agreed or strongly agreed that they’ve already applied their learning into practice.
- Systematic Impact: 93% of those that participated in MindSpark’s PD agree or strongly agree that they’ve already made a positive change to the culture and climate of their organization.
Interestingly, nearly 72% of MinSpark participants were educators in schools that ranked within the bottom 50% of all schools in their state based on combined math and reading proficiency test data. These educators have impacted roughly 13,982 English language learners (ELLs).
A recent educator with 26 years of experience in the field credits mindSpark Learning for providing her with the tools to better engage students online, while also enhancing their critical learning skills. After reflecting on lessons learned from participating in a PD, she stated, “I have greater self confidence in the area of technology in my school and pursued community partnership with other educational institutions.”
“The educational landscape has shifted in a major way in the last year. Both our education and industry partners indicated the desire to build stronger connections to rise to the challenges COVID-19 is posing on our students and communities,” said MindSpark CEO Kellie Lauth “Our team is willing to do whatever it takes to support educators in making the necessary adjustments to their pedagogy, while also supporting their well-being. We couldn’t achieve these milestones without the support of our community and industry partners.”
For those interested in supporting our mission to upskill and empower educators to make a transformational change in the classroom, please consider donating to mindSpark Learning on Giving Tuesday and Colorado Gives Day at
About mindSpark Learning
mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit founded as Share Fair Nation in 2007 and rebranded in 2017, is the catalyst and intermediary between education and industry. It empowers educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, resulting in more students prepared for the modern workforce. It does so by leading programs and services designed to help schools understand workforce development, participate in work-based learning experiences, foster career literacy and directly connect students to mentors and authentic opportunities at a young age. Its core areas of focus are critical to today’s education landscape and include problem-based learning (PBL) STEM, EdTech, Social-emotional learning (SEL) and Equity-centered Design Thinking. These lay the foundation for skills that are inherently necessary for career success.
mindSpark Learning is re-engineering education by incorporating the voice of community leaders in a variety of fields – from education, to industry, to government. To date, mindSpark Learning has impacted more than 31,168 educators and 976,226 students in 3,472 schools across 49 states, Washington D.C and 59 countries. For more information, please visit www.mymindsparklearning.org.
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