June 2012 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
SparkNH.org will be live soon! In the meantime, meeting dates and times are posted on the NH Department of Education calendar and full meeting summaries are available on Early Learning NH's website.
Get Involved!
If you are interested in being involved in Spark NH, please contact
Director Laura Milliken at lmilliken@sparknh.org
Spark NH 
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
sparknh.org
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,

 

Spark NH's committees and task forces are doing exciting and important work. The Policy Committee has contracted with the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center to lead the process for the statewide strategic plan for early childhood in NH. Their work will begin this summer. The Needs Assessment Task Force has been given a great start on creating an accurate picture of young children and their families in New Hampshire by the work of the University of New Hampshire Master of Public Health students. They will be contracting with a consultant to finish the work and write a needs assessment report. The Communications Committee is continuing to make progress on its goal of building support for the importance of early childhood, working with Spark NH's communications consultant. The Quality Committee held its first focus group about access to early childhood programs and services directly following this month's Council meeting and plans to conduct surveys as well.   The Workforce and Professional Development Committee is exploring the possibility of creating an internet "home" for early childhood professional development opportunities. The Evaluation Committee presented the results of its survey of Council committees and task forces to the Council this month. The survey found that most members are satisfied with the work Spark NH is doing and many wish they could be more involved. Finally, the Council Sustainability Task Force hopes to launch a consultant-led sustainability planning process for Spark NH in the near future.

 

For those of you who have been wanting to get involved in a Spark NH committee or task force but have been concerned about travel time, I want to remind you that Spark NH has conference calling capability. If you'd like to participate by phone in any of the groups, please let me know and I will arrange it.

 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter and to talk about Spark NH in your travels. Our communications consultant has developed an "elevator speech" about Spark NH which is included below for your use. It uses vetted messaging to communicate Spark NH's mission and work.

 

Sincerely,


Laura Milliken
Director, Spark NH

 

"Elevator Speech"

 

30-second version:

 

When it comes to ensuring the health and well-being of our youngest citizens, right now New Hampshire faces a challenge: we don't have a system that is designed to address all aspects of a child's development in a coordinated fashion, but rather a bunch of separate parts - health care, early education, family supports - all working hard, but not unified in the most efficient and productive way possible.

 

Spark NH was created to promote a comprehensive system of early childhood programs and services to realize its vision that all New Hampshire children and their families are healthy, learning, and thriving now and in the future.

 

60-second version:

 

If we want New Hampshire's future to be in good hands, we need to develop a generation of strong, solid young people who can lead our communities and grow our economy.

 

Scientists say that the best way to do this is to provide kids with stable, interactive early childhood experiences--conditions that literally build the architecture of children's brains. That's why we need to ensure that our system of care and supports is working for the development of a healthy early structure, not against it.  

 

Just like any working system, it needs responsible management to ensure it's in good shape. Spark NH is there to provide that leadership and management - to ensure that all of New Hampshire's families have equal access to developmental opportunities for their children that build healthy brain architecture today and thriving communities tomorrow.

Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries 
(as of May 31, 2012)

 

 

Communications and Public Awareness Committee - May 3
 

At the May 3rd meeting of the Communications and Public Awareness Committee Lynn Davey led the group through an exercise to develop a positioning statement, and a master narrative which will be the foundation upon which all other types of communication are built. Other items discussed include: a plan to meet with business leaders in June or July, and the creation of Spark NH banners for use at public events.
 

Evaluation Committee - May 4

 

The Evaluation Committee reviewed the focus group questions submitted by the Quality Committee.  Recommendations were given to potentially divide participants up by theme such as early education, health, etc.  It was also recommended to provide a Facilitator's Guide to all facilitators and to not make any major decisions from the data collected. Use the focus group as a starting point for the larger discussion.  The Evaluation Committee also reviewed a PowerPoint presentation of the Spark NH Member Survey.  Themes were discussed as well as potential solutions. The presentation will have final edits and then be presented at the May Council meeting. 

 

Executive Committee - April 26

 

Executive Committee set agenda for the next Council meeting, with additional share time at the end. The committee debriefed its meeting with representatives of DHHS and discussed next steps. The revised Spark NH budget will go to ACF for approval. Use of Constant Contact, database management software, and conference calling/webinar ability will be extended. Moving forward, all Council documents will be archived on an external back up. The sustainability planning and strategic planning process are moving forward. The DOE will make a presentation about their data system at the next meeting of the Quality Committee.

 

Data Committee - May 7

 

The Spark NH Data Committee was pleased to receive a comprehensive report and recommendations from four University of New Hampshire MPH students that identified and cataloged data sources to describe young families and children in NH. The students chose indicators from the preliminary needs assessment work that had been done in January 2012, and focused in the areas of Good Health; Strong Families; and Positive Early Learning Experiences. The students generated potential survey questions for families in each of these domains for SPARK to consider in future assessments. The full report and slides are available to the full Council and will be very useful for future planning.

 

Home Visiting Task Force

 

As reported last month, the state leads for home visiting programs from the Division of Public Health Services; the Division of Children, Youth, & Families; and the Division of Developmental Services met in April to discuss the future direction of the Spark Home Visiting Task Force.  We are scheduled to meet again on May 18, 2012 to continue the discussion.  We are envisioning the Task Force shifting into a Stakeholder Group, or Coalition, that would continue to work on coordination of home visiting services across programs, identifying and taking advantage of opportunities for collaboration, and home visiting systems building.

 

Needs Assessment Task Force - May 2
 
The Needs Assessment committee is preparing a scope of services for a consultant to write a Needs Assessment report, building on the work of the UNH students. The task force will hear the students' presentation and then determine ways to measure access to early childhood services. The Quality Committee asked the group for input on the questions for its first focus group and its e-mail survey to families and providers regarding access. Two tools were discussed as options for measuring relationships among all early learning organizations. There is some uncertainty over next steps. Follow-up with the data committee is needed.  

 

Policy Committee - May 8

 

The Committee had a very productive meeting.  After reviewing proposals and hearing final presentations from two solid candidates, the committee unanimously selected the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) to be the consultant to lead the development of the statewide, comprehensive early childhood strategic plan for New Hampshire.  Among the reasons NECTAC was selected was their firm grasp of Spark NH's mission, vision and accomplishments to date, their effective systems building approach, and their past, successful work in New Hampshire.

 

Quality of EC Systems Committee - May 15
 

The focus group on access to early childhood programs will be structured as a modified "community café," in which participants break into groups that move between three stations, each station with a different question. The Evaluation Committee and Needs Assessment Task Force vetted the focus group questions. The ICC will hold a focus group on 6/1/2012 to assist the Part C program to identify issues that affect access to the Family Centered Early Supports and Services Program. Questions recommended by the Evaluation Committee will be included. This will be a Part C activity rather than a Spark event, but is expected to inform the work of the Quality Committee. Kristin Booth provided an update on the work of the Child Development Bureau's QRIS taskforce. The committee engaged in discussion regarding recommendations for NH's QRIS, which will continue over time. The June meeting will include a one-hour DOE data presentation (open to all committees and others), after which the Quality Committee will meet.

 

Work Force and Professional Development Committee - April 27

 

The WPD Committee heard a presentation from CDB Intern Tamara Feldman on the role of professional development in a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).  We continued to refine and plan the PORTAL project (the internet "home" for early childhood professional development opportunities) using the Project Charter tool and identified additional information we need in order to complete the planning process at the May meeting.  A small group of WPD members will meet with the SPARK NH website designers before the May 25 meeting to discuss possibilities and potential costs for PORTAL.

 

 
Upcoming Meetings 

Meetings are held at 2 Delta Drive in Concord NH unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Friday, June 1, 2-4............................................ Evaluation Committee Meeting (and

every 1st Friday)

Wednesday, June 6, 1:30-3:30.......................... Needs Assessment Task Force Meeting

(and every 1st Wednesday)

Thursday, June 7, 10-12 ................................... Communications Committee Meeting,

(and every 1st Thursday, 10-12)

Tuesday June 12, 9-11...................................... Policy Committee (usually every second

Tuesday 9-10:30)

Wednesday, June 13, 1-2:30............................. Family Partnership and Engagement

Task Force (and every 2d Wed.)

Tuesday, June 19, 1-3....................................... Quality Committee (and every 3rd

Tuesday)

Friday, June 22, 9-11......................................... Workforce and Professional

Development Committee meeting (and every 4th Friday)

Thursday, June 28, 8:30-11............................... Spark NH monthly Council meeting (and

every 4th Thursday)

Thursday, June 28, 11:30-1:30.......................... Executive Committee meeting (and

every 4th Thursday)

 

Thursday, July 5, 10-12 .................................... Communications Committee Meeting,

(and every 1st Thursday, 10-12)

Friday, July 6, 2-4.............................................. Evaluation Committee Meeting (and

every 1st Friday)

Tuesday July 10, 9-11........................................ Policy Committee (usually every second

Tuesday 9-10:30)

Wednesday, July 11, 1-2:30.............................. Family Partnership and Engagement

Task Force (and every 2d Wed.)

Tuesday, July 17, 1-3........................................ Quality Committee (and every 3rd

Tuesday)

Thursday, July 26, 8:30-11................................ Spark NH monthly Council meeting (and

every 4th Thursday)

Thursday, July 26, 11:30-1:30.......................... Executive Committee meeting (and

every 4th Thursday)

Friday, July 27, 9-11......................................... Workforce and Professional

Development Committee meeting (and every 4th Friday)