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Learner Agency

Learners will experience a choice of pathways and maintain a strong voice in program design.

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All learners will have access to pathways, including those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and those historically underrepresented in technology.

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Learners will grapple with complex, industry-relevant, real-world challenges, through problem-based learning.

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Learners will receive guidance and support from knowledgeable, caring adults, and comprehensive, up-to-date tools to navigate pathways.

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Learners will inform state and district leaders on how to redesign systems and create policies that respond to industry needs, support interdistrict collaboration, and enable competency-based learning.

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SparkNC Design Principles

SparkNC’s five design principles guide our work and shape our decisions about goals, projects, strategies, and partnerships.

What is SparkNC?

Too few learners know about high-tech jobs that will dominate the future job market. Even fewer see pathways for themselves into those jobs.


SparkNC is a revolutionary effort to help our learners engage with high-tech fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning, software development, computer systems engineering, and cybersecurity. Through our interdistrict network, learners will have opportunities to explore these fields and collaboratively prepare for modern work. SparkNC is a completely new way to do school: learner-centered, industry-relevant, and competency-based.



Help learners new to high-tech fields see pathways as possible and accessible, with a focus on increasing engagement among women and students of color; extend exploration of pathways through activities like interacting with professionals in high-tech jobs, engaging in survey courses, and participating in tech-focused design challenges


Provide opportunities for deeper learning through direct work on high-tech issues, with peers and experts in the field, addressing real world challenges; develop modular experiences for learners to engage with relevant content and progress toward mastery

Career Navigation

Support learners in choosing among opportunities leading to diplomas, college credit, badges, micro- credentials, certificates, or other industry-relevant credentials; build relationships with high-tech employers to strengthen learners’ preparation and accelerate their progress into successful high-tech careers

Our Learning


SparkNC will accelerate learners’ progress along this continuum and prepare them for future opportunities in high-tech fields.

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