Press Release

Yarmouth native, local teacher launches company to help families with summer learning

Yarmouth, MAINE (June 18, 2014) — Most teachers celebrate the first day of summer vacation by relaxing — sleeping in or doing yoga, perhaps going for a leisurely walk. But, not local teacher Kate Parkin Douglas, who announced on her first day of summer vacation that she was launching a tutoring business called Sparking Minds.

“I sent home my students’ report cards and realized what a tall order parents have each summer. Continuing learning over the summer is super important for kids, but even the most well-intentioned parents don’t have the time to ensure that happens,” said Parkin in unveiling her company. “Yes, I’m a teacher, but I’m also a mom. I realize how hard it can be for parents to keep all the balls in the air. I think I can help relieve the pressure by engaging kids in a fun summer learning routine.”

Parkin, who grew up in Yarmouth and now teaches fourth grade at Yarmouth Elementary School, founded Sparking Minds to help parents and kids ward off what she calls “the summer slide.” Parkin says studies show that students return to school in the fall having lost computational and reading skills. “Parents have the best intentions of ensuring that their kids read and practice math over the summer, but all too often it becomes a battle, or shifts to the back burner in favor of summer routines that leave little time for learning,” she concluded.

“Kate engages kids in very creative ways. The lessons are so fun that the kids enjoy the learning process and retain the information better than if reading it from a textbook,” said Yarmouth resident Alison Flowerdew after learning about Sparking Minds’ launch. “She gets to know children very quickly and adapts her teaching style to their learning style. My son had a wonderful fourth grade year with Kate and I highly recommend her as a teacher.”

Carolyn Lane, another local parent, echoed the sentiment. “Kate has a unique ability to connect with a student and intrinsically motivate,” she said. “[Kate] cultivates the optimal learning relationship creatively weaving together strategies that incorporate strengths in areas of interest with goal setting in areas of development to help a student reach his or her potential.”

With three tutoring packages designed to meet the needs of most learners entering grades three through 10, Parkin will provide the structure and motivation needed to ensure children complete summer reading, make progress in reading, writing, or math, and/or further explore an interest through guided learning. “I will design a curriculum that is perfect for your son or daughter, check in frequently, and take the pressure off so you can focus on other things, like your own job, the upcoming family vacation, or making dinner,” she said.

Packages start at $350 for eight weeks of instruction, with discounts available. Topics include summer reading, enrichment, and individualized instruction. All sessions take place at a mutually agreeable location within 10 miles of Yarmouth.

Eventually Parkin would like Sparking Minds to grow, at which time she would hand-select some of the area’s best educators to work with students. For this summer, though, Parkin is her company’s only employee — and she will provide all the tutoring.

Learn more about Parkin, her new company, and the tutoring packages at