September 2012 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
Links of Interest will be live in mid-September! 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
Spark NH 
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
Find us on Google+
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Dear Friend of Spark NH,


          Whenever I'm feeling the need for inspiration or to remember why Spark NH is so important or to procrastinate for 7 minutes, I go to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and re-watch the video entitled, "The Foundations of Lifelong Health."  In the video, Dr. Jack Shonkoff begins by saying, "The foundations of a successful society rest on the health and competence of its population. It's just common sense to conclude that what happens early in life sets the foundation for what follows." The video then talks about how most social policies have an impact on the health of children. It goes on to say that the the responsibility for the healthy development of our children rests not only with parents, but is a much broader community responsibility in which all of us play a role.

            Spark NH exists to help make sure that all the people and systems that touch children's lives, in health, family support and early education, are working together to ensure healthy developmental opportunities for all New Hampshire's children. The Council and all of our committees are working diligently toward this goal. With the help of our Strategic Planning Consultants from University of North Carolina, the Policy Committee will be building on the New Hampshire Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems work, synthesizing strategic plans that relate to early childhood in New Hampshire and soliciting stakeholder input to create a living, working plan for how to ensure the healthy development of New Hampshire's children and therefore a prosperous future for New Hampshire.

            The Data Committee is working with the Community Health Institute to measure how well New Hampshire children and their families are doing in the categories of good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences. The Quality Committee is working to assess the quality of access to early childhood programs and services. The Communications and Public Awareness Committee is working on a plan to get the word out about the importance of laying the foundations of a successful society by focusing attention and resources on early childhood. This will be furthered by the Spark NH website which I hope will be launched in the next month. The Workforce and Professional Development Committee is proposing a PORTAL system to provide information about and access to professional development opportunities for early childhood professionals. The Evaluation Committee is working to assure accountability of the entire project.   Representatives of each part of the early childhood system are at the table in the Council and Committees and are working together to better the lives of young children and their families, thereby providing a successful future for New Hampshire.


Respectfully submitted,


Laura Milliken,

Director, Spark NH


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller



Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries 

(as of August 2, 2012)


Workforce and Professional Development Committee - July 27


The Committee heard a presentation from Jessica Locke of the Child Development Bureau (CDB) about the Early Learning Guidelines revision process.  We also reviewed a proposal from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at Berkeley for the
Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory.  There was unanimous support for the  proposal.  Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing possible funding sources for the Inventory and the PORTAL Project.  Members will investigate these possibilities and report back in August.  We will also bring both projects to the Executive Committee to request that the projects be considered by the Spark Council for funding support.


Data Committee - August 13


The Data Committee met with representatives of Community Health Institute (CHI), whose proposal to conduct the Spark NH needs assessment was recently accepted. The committee reviewed the needs assessment work plan and CHI answered questions about the needs assessment process. The committee also reviewed its committee work plan and made changes and updates.


SASID Task Force -  July 31


The SASID task force met to create a project plan for the SASID pilot project. The project would extend the state assigned student identification number (currently assigned in the K-12 system) to selected early childhood programs with the goal of enabling longitudinal studies. The task force began to work through a number of the project details necessary to make the project a reality.


CCDF Task Force  - July 31


The CCDF Task Force discussed the Federal Office of Child Care priorities at length. The Task Force determined what information we needed to develop the 2014-2015 Federal Plan and from whom we need this information. We will create a survey for child care program staff including directors and teachers, and a second survey for parents. We brainstormed questions for both groups.


Sustainability Planning Task Force - July 24


The group participated in a sustainability and relevant mission quotes exercise. They also reviewed where Spark NH is today, and its committee and task force work.

An analysis of organizational entity options took place and resulted in a long list of options. The group then discussed each option carefully and assigned pros and cons to each.The next meeting will touch on funding options, staffing capacity and legal status as well as mission relevance and fiscal impact analysis.   


Executive Committee - July 26


The Committee debriefed the last Council meeting. Meeting attendance was discussed and a process for handling absences was established. Guidelines for member presentations were discussed and the next Member presenter was chosen. The group reviewed the work plan and assigned duplicative objectives to only one committee. Lynn Davey will present on the Master Frame at a future Council meeting. Ideas for what Patty Ewen should include in her Common Core presentation were shared. A task force may be convened to work on the alignment process around Kindergarten readiness that Head Start and DOE are collaborating on.


Executive Committee - August 14


The August agenda was set and includes a presentation on the Common Core. Funding for operating and special projects was discussed. Requests for funding committee projects were reviewed. This Committee proposes putting up to $25,000 of ARRA money towards the PORTAL Project.   Conservatively, there is about $130,000 of un-obligated money left in Spark NH's total budget and year three's budget will be revised soon. A final slate of officer nominees will be shared in September and the elections will take place in October. As the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Council is approaching, Council membership will be revisited.

Upcoming Meetings 

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


September Meetings


Thursday, September 6, 10:00-12:00 ....................Communications Committee (and

                   every 1st Thursday)

Friday, September 7, 2:00-4:00..............................Evaluation Committee (and every 1st


Monday, September 10, 2:00-4:00.........................Data Committee (usually every 1st


Tuesday, September 11, 9:00-10:30.......................Policy Committee (and every 2nd


Tuesday, September 11, 11:30-1:30.......................Executive Committee (and every 2nd


Wednesday, September 12, 10:00-11:30...............Website Design Task Force


Wednesday, September 12, 1:00-2:30....................Family Partnership and Engagement

     Task Force (and every 2nd


Thursday, September 13, 10:00-12:00....................SASID Task Force


Tuesday, September 18, 1:00-3:00.........................Quality Committee (and every 3rd


Wednesday, September 19, 9:00-11:00...................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force (and

                                            every 3rd Wednesday)

Thursday, September 27, 8:30-11:00........................Spark NH monthly Council (and

every 4th Thursday)


 October Meetings


Monday, October 1, 9:00-11:00.............................. Workforce and Professional

              Development Committee (usually

       every 4th Friday, 9-11)

Monday, October 1, 2:00-4:00.................................Data Committee (and every 1st 

              Monday, 2-4)

Thursday, October 4, 10:00-12:00 ..........................Communications Committee (and

                     every 1st Thursday, 10-12)

Friday, October 5, 2:00-4:00.....................................Evaluation Committee (and every

              1st Friday, 2-3)

Tuesday, October 9, 9:00-10:30...............................Policy Committee (and every 2nd

                      Tuesday, 9-10:30)

Tuesday, October 9, 11:30-1:30...............................Executive Committee (and every 2nd

                      Tuesday, 11:30-1:30)

Wednesday, October 10, 1:00-2:30..........................Family Partnership and Engagement

                                     Task Force (and every 2nd

                      Wednesday, 1-2:30)

Tuesday, October 16, 1:00-3:00................................Quality Committee (and every 3rd

       Tuesday, 1-3)

Wednesday, October 17, 9:00-11:00.........................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force (and

                              every 3rd Wednesday, 9-11)

Thursday, October 25, 8:30-11:00.............................Spark NH monthly Council (and

                       every 4th Thursday, 8:30-11)

Friday, October 26, 9:00-11:00..................................Workforce and Professional

                       Development Committee (and 

every 4th Friday, 9-11)



November - Council Meeting changed to November 29, 8:30-11:00












Links of Interest:



Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education, Sept. 6 | Webinar from 2 - 3 pm ET. This webinar will discuss CLASP's new publication, Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education, which details how states can look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Learn about the different federal funding streams, hear examples of what other states and communities have done to finance comprehensive services, and ask questions. 


Tour of the Prek-3rd Data Resource Center Website

Source: PreK-3rd Data Resource Center - August 31, 2012

On August 20, 2012, the PreK-3rd Data Resource Center at the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) held a webinar to introduce users to their website, which provides access to eight longitudinal datasets and user guides selected for their potential to inform preK-3rd policy and practice. The most recently added dataset is the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS), which follows the achievement of children with disabilities (physical, mental, emotional) in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and elementary school and the factors associated with achievement. View the webinar for additional information. 


Report from CED on Investment in Child Care and Early Education's Critical Role in Business and America's Future
 The Committee, which is made up of business leaders and University Presidents from around the country, makes recommendations for how and why businesses should invest in early childhood education and work to affect early childhood policy.  There are lots of examples of what leaders have done in other states and even other countries. 


Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early EducationCLASP's new publication,  which details how states can look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. 


 From the National Head Start Association:


First Findings From the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS) of First-Time Kindergarteners in 2010-2011 


Analysis of 2011 Federal Expenditures on Children Shows Decreased Spending


Federal Agencies Collaborate to Release Annual Report on Children's Well-Being


New Brief Provides an Overview of Validation for Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)



Stresses of Poverty May Impair Learning Ability in Young Children

Source: National Institutes of Health - August 28, 2012. The stresses of poverty - such as crowded conditions, financial worry, and lack of adequate child care - lead to impaired learning ability in children from impoverished backgrounds, according to a theory based on several studies by a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The studies matched stress hormone levels to behavioral and school readiness test results in young children from impoverished backgrounds. High levels of stress hormones influence the developing circuitry of children's brains, inhibiting higher cognitive functions such as planning, impulse and emotional control, and attention. Known collectively as executive functions, these mental abilities are important for academic success. See the NIH press release (August 28, 2012)  for more information. 

From the National Governor's Association:
The Harvard Family Research Project
now has a
on its website devoted to early childhood education. Visitors will be able to find resources and publications on a number of topics, including transition practices, engaging families as teachers, home visiting, and professional development.



NH Annual Summit on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Friday September 14, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Holiday Inn, Concord, NH. First annual summit on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders!  Join some of the nation's leading experts in FASD around discussions on brain development, screening, diagnosis and treatment as well as resources for families. Presenters include Dr. Mary DeJoseph D.O., Steven Youngentob, Ph.D., Dr. Nina Sand-Loud, MD, Dr. Ashley Brunelle, MD, Susan Adubato, Ph.D, and a panel discussion of individuals living with FASD and their families. 


18th Annual Infant Mental Health ConferenceThursday September 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM to Friday September 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM, at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, Route 16 North, North Conway, NH 03860. Featuring Bernie Dorsey, founder of the Conscious Fathering Program and Dr.Carla Stover, Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist at Yale University Child Study Center. 


2012 Step Up for Kids Event, hosted by Every Child Matters in NH. 

Saturday, September 22nd, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 107 Beech Hill Road, Hopkinton NH 03229 (Beech Hill Farm) 

 Planned Activities: 
*Free ice cream for the kids* *Petting Zoo*
*Musician Marcus Gale and Friends*
*Arts and Crafts Activities* *Drum Circle*
*Community Resource Information Tables*
*Voter Information* *Special Guests*
 For more information please visit