July 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
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,


Spark NH's Committees and Task Forces are working hard and making significant progress toward their goals. The Needs Assessment Task Force of the Early Childhood Data System Committee recently distributed an RFP (attached in your packet) for a consultant to complete the Spark NH needs assessment and create a report. The needs assessment is intended to provide information on how young children and their families in New Hampshire are doing. The Policy Committee has begun its work on coordinating a comprehensive strategic plan for early childhood in New Hampshire. The first stage in this process is collecting all existing strategic plans in New Hampshire that relate to early childhood. Please let me know if there is a plan you think should be included. The Workforce and Professional Development Committee is continuing to explore the possibility of creating a web-based place for access for early childhood professionals to training and professional development opportunities. Their project proposal is attached in your packet. The Communications and Public Awareness Committee continues to work on materials and messages which promote the importance of early childhood. The Quality of Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee is advising the Child Development Bureau in their QRIS efforts and is working on evaluating access to early childhood programs and services in New Hampshire. The Family Partnership and Engagement Task Force has created a questionnaire (attached in your packet) to distribute to families to encourage their involvement in Spark NH. The Spark NH Sustainability Task Force, to recommend the sustainability of Spark NH's operations, will begin its planning process in late July.



Laura Milliken
Director, Spark NH

Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries 
(as of June 28th, 2012)

Communications and Public Awareness Committee - June 7

After review of the SPARK Positioning Statement, Master Frame Template, banners, and Ready Nation video clips from "The Bedrock of NH's Prosperity" the group talked about brainstorming with 6-10 NH business leaders about next steps, and that when we meet we need to be: concise, prepared and energetic. At our next meeting we plan to discuss the Fall Business Leaders Meeting, and review our work plan.


Evaluation Committee - June 1


The Evaluation Committee reviewed a form from the Family Engagement Committee. Recommendations were given to reduce the reading level.  The Evaluation Committee also discussed the presentation to the Council on the Membership Survey and what changes should be made to the next membership survey.  There was also a discussion on the best method to evaluate the Council memberships participation in Spark NH.  Survey and focus group together is one possibility.  Further discussion will take place next month on this topic.  

Executive Committee - May 24


The committee debriefed the last Council meeting and set the agenda for this month. The group discussed a grant opportunity in collaboration with MCH that could provide sustainability for Spark NH.   Elissa Margolin has been hired as a consultant for Spark NH's sustainability efforts. A diverse, core group that will be overseen by the Policy Committee will meet monthly to work on strategic planning. The Committee plans to have Patty Ewen present on the Common Core. The process for Council's involvement in Committee work was reviewed. Laura and Debra Armfield reported out about the NGA conference. The Committee re-convened via conference call. The Committee approved Spark NH's collaboration with Maternal and Child Health for the Project LAUNCH grant. The Committee also finalized the funding reimbursement process for Council members.


Family Engagement Task Force - Jun 13


At the June meeting the task force accepted the changes made to the parent questionnaire by the Evaluation Committee. The group discussed how it would like to disseminate the questionnaire. It agreed it was important to track where it was being sent. It looked at the list of parent groups again and noticed that mental/behavioral health and culturally diverse groups were not represented.   The task force will contact different groups that work with parents to help reach parents around the state.


Data Committee


The Data Committee did not meet in June.  There will be no July meeting, but the SASID Task Force will meet on July 31, from 1:00-3:00pm at Two Delta Drive.


Home Visiting Task Force


State-level leadership from home visiting programs in the Division of Public Health Services; the Division of Children, Youth, & Families; and the Division of Developmental Services met on June 6, 2012, facilitated by the NH Children's Trust, to continue planning for the future direction of the Spark Home Visiting Task Force. This leadership group is drafting a vision, mission, values and beliefs, charge, and structure of what we are envisioning will become the Home Visiting Coordinating Committee. Next steps include gathering input on these drafts from the members of the former Task Force, and planning to kick off the work of the Coordinating Committee.


Needs Assessment Task Force - June 6

The task force created a request for proposals (RFP) for a Consultant to further address all the priority statements that were chosen earlier this year, arrange, and analyze existing data in New Hampshire and create a comprehensive report of findings.  The task force set a timeline for the RFP to go out June 15 and proposals due July 18. The final product would be completed the end of January 2013. The task force is asking members to join a hiring workgroup to review proposals and interview candidates. There will be no July meeting of the task force.


Policy Committee - June 12


The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC), the consultants to lead the development of the statewide, comprehensive early childhood strategic plan for New Hampshire, presented a PowerPoint of their proposed planning process and timeline to the committee. The first task is for NECTAC and the Committee to review different strategic plans by uploading any strategic plans to the shared web platform "Base Camp." All stakeholders are encouraged to send relevant plans to Laura by July 1. The committee hopes to have time on an upcoming Spark NH Council meeting for NECTAC to present to the full Council.


Quality of EC Systems Committee - June 19

Christina MacDonald gave a very informative presentation on Department of Education data (data/reports available on the website or by request). All Council/committee members were invited to attend. By September 2012, 21st Century Schools will have the capacity to link inputs (school/program characteristics) to student outcomes. The Quality Committee debriefed the Community Café on access to services and ICC focus group on referrals. Summary of results will be shared with the Council. Kristin Booth presented on the QRIS Task Force meeting and invited committee feedback on definition, guiding principles, and elements. Quality Committee is drafting an online survey on access, referrals, and coordination/collaboration.


Work Force and Professional Development Committee - June 22


The WPD Committee heard reports from members about possible alternatives to the PORTAL Project for coordinating and disseminating information about professional development opportunities.  The group concluded that the PORTAL Project as conceived in the project charter fits best with committee goals.  A sub-committee reported on conversations with web designers at 36 Creative about possibilities for the PORTAL site.  The group also discussed possible ways of funding the site.  The Committee completed a draft of the Project Charter, which will be submitted to the SPARK Council for feedback and reviewed again by WPD Committee members at the June meeting before signing.

Upcoming Meetings 

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




No Data Committee Meeting in July

No Needs Assessment Task Force Meeting in July

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, 9-10:30................................... Policy Committee (usually every second


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


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)

Friday, July 27, 1-3............................................ Committee and Task Force Chairs

Meeting (and every other month on the 4th Friday)

Tuesday, July 31, 1-3........................................ SASID (State Assigned Student ID) Task

Force (no regular meetings)




Wednesday, August 1....................................... Needs Assessment Task Force Meeting

(and every 1st Wednesday)

Thursday, August 2, 10-12 ............................... Communications Committee Meeting,

(and every 1st Thursday, 10-12)

Friday, August 3, 2-4......................................... Evaluation Committee Meeting (and

every 1st Friday)

Monday, August 6, 2-4...................................... Data Committee (and every first


Tuesday, August 14, 9-10:30 ........................... Policy Committee (and every second


Tuesday, August 14, 11:30-1:30....................... Executive Committee (and every second


Wednesday, August 15, 1-2:30......................... Family Partnership and Engagement

Task Force (and every 2d Wed.)

Tuesday, August 21, 1-3................................... Quality Committee (and every 3rd


Thursday, August 23, 8:30-11...........................Spark NH monthly Council meeting (and

every 4th Thursday)

Friday, August 24, 9-11..................................... Workforce and Professional

Development Committee meeting (and every 4th Friday)


November - Council Meeting changed to November 29, 8:30-11

Links of Interest 


The PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group is sponsoring a series of webinars this fall that may be of interest to early childhood professionals, on the topics of curricula, teacher effectiveness, and assessment.  Interested people can register at the link below, which is also the place to access archived webinars on similar topics. See Webinars Here.


Childhood Health: Trends and Consequences over the Life Course. See Here.


ZERO TO THREE's new report, Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health, highlights the scientific evidence for infant-early childhood mental health (I-ECMH) policies; examines issues faced by national, state, and local program directors and mental health practitioners in providing I-ECMH services; and proposes a set of recommendations for policy improvements at the federal level. Developed with the help of infant-early childhood mental health and policy experts from across the country, this paper provides a context for the issues and barriers states face when financing services for those most in need during a time of life when those services would have the highest rate of return.


Child Welfare Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties: In an effort to guide states through the process of self-evaluation and strategic planning, ZERO TO THREE worked in collaboration with six organizations-T he Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Trends, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, National Black Child Development Institute, National Council of La Raza, and Voices for America's Children-to develop a self-assessment tool entitled, A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties Administering Child Welfare Services. This tool stems from the collective vision of leading child welfare and early childhood development organizations. It is designed to help states and counties both prepare to meet the new federal requirements and conduct ongoing assessment and quality improvement efforts. A Word version can be requested from policycenter@zerotothree.org.


A new policy paper from ZERO TO THREE, Staffed Family Child Care Networks: A Strategy to Enhance Quality Care for Infants and Toddler, examines how staffed family child care (FCC) networks are uniquely positioned to improve the quality of care that infants and toddlers receive in FCC settings. It lists effective practices and shares examples of successful staffed FCC networks. This paper offers guidance for how states can maximize partnerships to integrate staffed FCC networks in early childhood systems. It concludes with action steps and state policy recommendations for implementing a staffed FCC network.


To help educate policymakers and advocates about what it's like to start life without a home, ZERO TO THREE has produced a short video with highlights from a recent Congressional briefing on supporting homeless infants and toddlers. Starting Life Without a Home calls attention to the negative effects of family homelessness upon the developmental needs of young children and presents examples of successful intervention programs.


Executive functioning skills help us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time and revise plans as necessary. Acquiring the early building blocks of these skills is an important and challenging task in early childhood. A new 5-minute video, Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning (2012), looks at how these skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life. The video provides an overview of Building the Brain's "Air Traffic Control" System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function (2011),  the joint Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is seeking input from the public on Frameworks for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Education: Description and Implications. This new paper is being developed collaboratively by NAEYC, the Division for Early Childhood, and the National Head Start Association. There are considerable controversies and misconceptions about the use of RTI in early childhood education and the associations' intent is for this paper to serve as a resource that will inform the conversations regarding RTI in ECE, addressing the controversies and misconceptions.


The Creative Curriculum® System for Preschool and Teaching Strategies GOLD®

A presentation by a Teaching Strategies representative,sponsored by the Office of Early Childhood at the DOE: An open look at these two tools and their impact on student learning & assessment in preschool. August 8, 2012, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Department of Education, Londergran Hall, Room 15, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord NH. RSVP to Ellie Riel at 271-0076 or e-mail her at Ellie.Riel@doe.nh.gov