Of the four million American children who start school each year, as many as one-third are unprepared to learn. Many never catch up. The reasons are complex, but clearly the multitude of systems that should be supporting young children too often fail in that mission – from family to schools to government.
In reaction, W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK), an initiative designed to unite communities so that all children can be successful before and after they enter school. SPARK fosters partnerships of selected communities, schools, state agencies and families to ensure that they work together effectively for the early learning of children. With the initiative serving as a catalyst or "spark," the goal is to ensure that vulnerable children are ready for school and that schools are ready for children.