Introducing a new NPEA Conference offering: Spark Sessions!

This year, in addition to our traditional workshop sessions, we are seeking individuals interested in presenting an innovative idea, a unique challenge, or an inspiring story that speaks to this year’s theme of reaching out, rising up, and forging ahead for student success.

Every Spark Session will feature 3 presenters, with each session centered around a related theme. Individual presenters will speak for 7-10 minutes in turn, followed by 15-20 minutes of group discussion facilitated by a session monitor.

Presenters are encouraged to share an innovative idea, challenge, or question with the group that will inspire discussion. Interested presenters should submit a proposal for a 7-10 minute slot within a Spark Session (deadline: Friday, September 27).

An Innovative Idea: Some of the obstacles in the field of educational access have remained unchanged, and in many cases have heightened in the current climate. Spark Sessions are the perfect stage for showcasing solutions that you have found that break new ground or remove some of these obstacles.

A Unique Challenge: Not all problems have solutions – yet. What questions or ideas are you grappling with where you could use the perspective of others navigating this space? Spark Sessions allow conference attendees a platform to share some of the struggles they have encountered in their work and solicit ideas from others in the field.

An Inspiring Story: Sometimes, all it can take to start a great discussion is a great story. Is there a time where you or your organization were inspired by a student or a colleague? A Spark Session is a great place to share one of these stories, either to motivate others or prompt discussions about the field of educational access.

Spark Session presentations will be scripted, rehearsed 7-10 minute remarks that may or may not use accompanying visuals. With limited time, this presentation style is an opportunity to dive immediately into your remarks, foregoing context and background to get right to the heart of your idea, challenge, or story.


There is no need to seek partners for your Spark Session – NPEA will group presenters thematically based on the proposals received, at which point you will be assigned to the first, second, or third slot in your session. Presentations will be timed and cut off at 10 minutes, with a facilitated “sit and think” minute between each, and moderated discussion with guided questions will follow after all three presentations have taken place.