SPARK Ohio is a family-centered kindergarten readiness program supported by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton. The program that began in Stark County has grown to include seven additional counties.
Last year, an Ohio Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant enabled the program to expand into three high-need, rural Ohio communities: Logan Elm (Pickaway County), Mississinawa and Franklin Monroe (Darke County), and Sandy Valley (Stark County).
A recent implementation and fidelity evaluation
 by Stark Education Partnership found significant challenges in some of these districts: "Our school doesn't have sufficient electric service to upgrade computers even if we had the funds to do so!"
Even with differences in income levels and need - including lack of access to free library resources and travel budget obstacles - concern for students and families prompted the three districts to apply for the grant.
Despite these challenges, during their first full year, the three rural SPARK pilot sites have shown fidelity to the SPARK model by adopting the required core elements for replication programs - Evaluation, Four-Year Old Program, Parent Partners' Professional Development, Education, Continuity: Supporting Schools, Oversight and Monitoring, and External Communications.