Program Fellow – Chicago

Candidate Profile & Core Values

Spark Chicago seeks a Program Fellow for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Reporting directly to the Program Manager (PM) or Program Lead (PL), the Program Fellow will implement Spark’s middle grades programming for four Chicago Public Schools. Fellows should expect to spend 80% of their time directly on-site at their respective partner schools.

As a Program Fellow, you will be critical to Spark’s success as you are the face of Spark within schools and the primary relationship manager for our students and their families.

Candidates will embody Spark’s Core Values: being a student and a mentor, working with passion and compassion, committing to collaboration and diversity, aiming high and true, and trusting/respecting each relationship.

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  • Belief in Spark’s mission
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience; Expected and recent college or university graduates are welcome to apply
  • Experience providing direct service or volunteering with youth, preferably middle school students
  • Ability to build and leverage relationships across multiple stakeholders such as school leaders, families, and students
    • Ability to plan and execute initiatives to meet agreed upon goals and targets
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage student and classroom behavior and set appropriate boundaries with youth; be prepared to facilitate for groups of up to 40 students
  • Comfortability travelling via public transportation to school and corporate sites
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, GSuite, and email or phone communications
  • Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided 

In addition, to be successful as a member of the Spark team in this role, you will:

  • Be an independent, results-focused, highly-organized self-starter;
  • Thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment, operating with a results-orientation and exceptional attention to detail;
  • Have a proactive personality; no work is ‘beneath’ you and you are eager to serve others, rolling up your sleeves when necessary;
  • Be comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback

Core Responsibilities

Program Implementation (50%)

Lead Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention

  • Serve as primary Spark staff liaison for students
  • Work with your manager and school partners to set targets at each of your schools
  • Execute student recruitment process to meet agreed upon goals
  • Design and implement strategies to keep students engaged in the program throughout the school year

Student Coaching & Behavior Management

  • Work with manager to develop system for regular check-ins with each Spark cohort (30 – 40 students)
  • Work with school partners to develop and implement appropriate behavior incentives and consequences for students
  • Provide students with project and mentor relationship-building coaching
  • Observe and support on-site mentorships
  • Facilitate Spark Lab and High School Pathways sessions for Spark students and adult volunteers (up to 60 participants)

Build Spark Culture Within Schools

  • Support Spark’s position as a cornerstone partner in each of our schools by building relationships with students, families, and staff; providing support for school’s goals through Spark programming
    • Identify and use school’s methods of communication and systems to effectively communicate Spark updates and resources with students, family, and staff
  • Spend one full day a week at each of your schools
  • Attend applicable non-Spark events (Report Card Pickup, conferences, field trips, showcases, etc) at each of your partner schools

Program Logistics (30%)

Lead Student Transportation

  • Serve as primary Spark staff chaperone on trips to and from the school to downtown with your cohort; expect to travel 4 days a week

Support Programmatic Events

  • Help staff and schools prepare for Spark’s mentorship kick-off and culminating events, as well as support in any fundraising or community-building events
  • Lead student and family participation in any Spark events

Family Communication (10%)

  • Use the Remind App to communicate weekly program reminders and updates
  • Conduct monthly phone calls home to families for every student in your cohort
  • Communicate and coordinate with families on an ongoing basis to address any student concerns, such as attendance, participation, or behavior

Data Collection & Entry (10%)

  • Administer, collect, and enter informal and formal student surveys and evaluations

Compensation & Benefits


Salary: Commensurate with experience.

Health Benefits: Full health coverage is provided, including medical, dental and vision no more 30 days after an employee’s first day. Spark covers up to 100 percent of monthly premiums for employees, and a portion of the monthly premiums for dependents. Employee-funded flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care are offered. A life insurance policy providing $50,000 of coverage is also included. 

Learning Benefits: Spark highly values staff’s personal learning pursuits. Priority is placed on opportunities to pursue your choice of professional training opportunities, including workshops, conferences, and more.

Retirement Benefits: Spark offers a 401K plan for employees to make retirement planning investments. Spark will match 100% of the first 4% of employee contributions.

Paid Time Off: Fellows receive 10 Paid Time Off days during the 10-month Fellowship.

Non-Monetary Compensation: The opportunity to be an integral member of an energetic, innovative, hard-working and rapidly growing team, within an organization that has the potential to significantly change the trajectory of middle-school education nationwide. 

Apply For Position

Spark Fellowship Application

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Thank you for your interest in our 2020 - 2021 fellowship!


Please note that unless otherwise noted on the job description, Spark requires employees to be located in one of our operating regions and does not provide relocation assistance.

Please note if you were referred to this position by a Spark employee, board member, volunteer, or partner.

Instead of a cover letter, please tell us a bit more about yourself and your interest in this position by answering the questions below. Please note responses have a 200 word limit. 

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