November 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,


I am in the process of writing a report to the

Administration for Children and Families

(the federal agency which administers our ARRA grant).

It is a gratifying experience to review (and brag about)

all the important work that all the Spark NH committees and task forces have accomplished since the launch of

this project. The fact that so many people are involved

and collaborating from private and public agencies and organizations, across the domains of early childhood education, family support and health, and at all levels

of the early childhood system is a great accomplishment. The wonderful energy that all participants bring to each meeting has remained constant from the start and continues into our second year. We've hired excellent consultants to guide our work and expect even greater accomplishment this year.


The Spark NH website has received very positive

feedback and has been a wonderful tool for Spark

NH committee and task force members. All meeting

dates, agendas and minutes are posted on the site

and available for you to download. We are amassing

a number of "likes" on our Facebook page and "follows"

on our Twitter account. I'm sure that as soon as I understand Google + we will have people join our

"circle" too. And yes, we have a YouTube page as well.

Our communications consultant, Lynn Davey, will help

me to create messages to post on all these sites that

are consistent with our other public awareness work.

This way we can maximize the use of social media

to promote the importance of early childhood. Please "like," "follow" and "join our circle" and encourage

others to do so to see the latest developments. Please

also advise me of organizations that we should connect with to be able to link their information to our sites.


              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 October 22, 2012)


Executive Committee - October 9, 2012

The Committee debriefed the last Council meeting and discussed the Market Rate Survey presentation. A brief update on Strategic Planning ensued. The idea of a large stakeholder meeting/annual celebration was endorsed. Money is budgeted for this and a planning task force will convene. There is hope to increase public participation at Council meetings. Constituents' knowledge of Spark NH might be evaluated.Officer elections were discussed and voting will take place in October. November's Council meeting is changed to November 29 and December's meeting is cancelled. Work plan was updated.


Communications and Public Awareness Committee- October 4, 2012

The committee will be working on promotional materials about Spark NH with Lynn Davey. The committee really has 3 charges: a) Helping Spark NH to communicate with its own constituents; b) Emphasizing the importance of early child development; and c) Crafting messages around "what is Spark NH?" The group worked on the policy for when and what information should be put on the website at the request of others. They decided to track the use of our "importance of early childhood" materials. Several members of the committee will be meeting with some NH leaders this month to ask them for guidance on messaging.


Data Committee- October 1, 2012

Community Health Institute (CHI), Spark NH's needs assessment consultant, used the priority statements previously chosen by the committee in the areas of "good health," family support," and "positive early learning," to organize existing early childhood data in New Hampshire and identify indicators from these. They then narrowed indicators based on whether the data was easy to access, was statewide, and was going to be available to use in future needs assessments. At the meeting, CHI led the group through a narrowing of indicators for each priority statement. Where CHI found few indicators they planned to gather qualitative data, e.g. focus groups, surveys.


SASID Task Force - October 3, 2012
The group discussed whether to include child care programs that accept scholarships in the pilot because requiring them to do data entry would be difficult to take to scale. A better model would be for data to come directly to DOE from New Heights and Bridges. This is currently impossible in the time Spark NH has ARRA funds to contribute because it requires rules and programming changes which would probably take years. Therefore, the group agreed to scale the pilot back to just Head Start programs. DOE offered to adjust the project plan, discuss possibilities and report back.


Evaluation Committee - October 5, 2012

The Evaluation Committee completed the Council Member Survey, which will be distributed during the week of October 8th.  They also provided feedback to the Quality Committee regarding a survey for professionals on access to and collaboration among early childhood programs and services. A second Quality Committee survey for parents/caregivers will be reviewed by individual members of the Evaluation Committee, who will provide feedback via email.


Family Partnership and Engagement Taskforce -  October 10, 2012

Members reviewed and accepted the Parent Letter to accompany the Parent Survey. We discussed about new website. Most of the feedback was good including feedback from other agencies. We discussed cutbacks to family support services and whether Spark NH was in a position to help families get linked to services through the website (it would be a reason for parent to go to the website), this would need additional resources. Charna Aversa offered to bring the website up at a Head Start Policy Council and ask for parent feedback on the website and Spark NH.


Policy Committee - October 9, 2012

The meeting centered on a discussion of the November 14th strategic planning meeting. Members agreed that representatives of each plan should be present. The invitation list was discussed and consensus was reached that we would limit to 75 people based on space requirements. There will be other stakeholder meetings and opportunities for broader input. The core planning team will ensure that all plan representatives review their section of the matrix prior to November 14th. The meeting will be held at 2 Delta.


Quality of Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee - October 16, 2012

The major agenda items addressed included a CDB QRIS update and reviewing comments from the Evaluation Committee on the parent and professional surveys. Evaluation Committee suggested revisions were discussed and a timeline developed for review by Quality committee members and Family Organizations/groups prior to dissemination on December 3, 2012.


Workforce and Professional Development Committee- October 1, 2012

Work on the Project Charter for the expanded higher education inventory was begun. This project will expand the higher education inventory beyond early childhood and early childhood special education to include health and family support.

Upcoming Meetings 

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


November Meetings:


Note: Spark NH Policy Committee and Family Engagement Task Force Meetings are cancelled this month


Thursday, November 1, 10:00-12:00.............Communications Commitee (and every first


Friday, November 2, 2:00-4:00...................... Evaluation Committee (and every first


Monday, November 5, 2:00-3:00....................SASID Task Force


Monday, November 5, 3:00-4:00....................Data Committe (usually every first Monday



Tuesday, November 13, 11:30-1:30...............Executive Committee (and every second



Wednesday, November 14, 1:00- 2:30..........Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early 

   Childhood Meeting


Tuesday, November 20, 1:00-3:00.................Quality Committee (and every third 



Wednesday, November 21, 9:00-11:00..........CCDF Federal Plan Task Force (and every

                    third Wednesday)


Thursday, November 29, 8:30-11:00...............Spark NH monthly Council Meeting 

                           (usually every fourth Thursday), at Granite

                           State College Monadnock Room, 25 Hall

            Street, Concord


Friday, November 30, 9:00 - 11:00.................Workforce and Professional Development

                           Committee (usually every fourth



December Meetings:

Note: There will not be a Spark NH Council meeting in December.



Monday, December 3, 2:00 - 4:00...................Data Committee (and every first Monday)


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

                            first Thursday)

Friday, December 7, 2:00 - 4:00......................Evaluation Committee (and every first


Tuesday, December 11, 9:00 - 10:30...............Policy Committee (and every second


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


Wednesday, December 12, 1:00 - 3:00............Family Partnership and Engagement Task

                     Force (and every second Wednesday)

Tuesday, December 18, 1:00 - 3:00.................Quality Committee (and every third


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

      third Wednesday) Room 468, Brown

      Building, State office Campus

Links of Interest 




Engaging Businesses on Home Visiting: Tuesday, November 13th at 2:00 pm

The discussion will feature speakers from the business community who bring a national, state, and local perspective to this topic, and highlight the advocacy efforts of business that lead to policy change in Michigan. Mick Fleming, president of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, will discuss why ACCE believes early childhood is a critical issue for their members and provide strategies and advice for engaging with state and local Chambers of Commerce. Andy Johnston, vice president for government affairs at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, will talk about how they built and used business support for the successful home visiting policy change in Michigan.


Upcoming Events:



Using the iPad for Communication Support:

Tuesday, November 13th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Hosted by the Early Education and Intervention Network (eein)

McConnell Center, 61 Locust St., Dover, NH

$15 for eein members, $20 for non-members

This presentation is for speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and educators who are interested in using the iPad as an assistive technology device, but are uncertain how to begin. The presenter will discuss a framework for matching appropriate assistive technology to the needs of the individual student, and how they can use the iPad as a tool to meet the students' various needs. Participants will find it useful to bring an iPad if they can. 

To register, download a registration form from the eein website.


"Lanterns of Light: The Magic of Storytelling with Young Children in Early Childhood and School-age Settings"

Monday, November 19th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Hosted by the Early Education and Intervention Network (eein)

Marrion Garrish Community Center, 39 West Broadway, Derry, NH

$15 for eein members, $20 for non-members

As educators, we are consistently embarking on a journey of reflection, meaning, purpose and fun with the children in our care. During this engaging workshop you will discover the power of storytelling with children in your programs to guide that journey. Learn strategies to foster interest in reading in your program, help children to make positive connection with adults through literacy and increase their success in literacy and reading in the classroom environment.

To register, download a registration form from the eein website.


Fall/Winter Early Childhood Development and Literacy Workshops:

UNH Institute on Disability

Professional Development Center, 56 Old Suncook Road, Concord, NH

$65.00 registration fee per workshop.

Sponsored by the National Center on Inclusive Education, three different workshops on Literacy and Social Emotional Development, Literacy Interventions and Child Development are offered at various dates and times.  For more information, call (603) 228-2084.  To register, go to




Articles of Interest:


 "Cuddle Your Kid!":  In this New York Times Op-Ed Column, Nick Kristof explores the possibility that the most effective anti-poverty programs may be early childhood education and parenting programs


CLASP: "Home Visiting Investments Create Opportunities for Family, Friend and Neighbor Partnerships": Public investments in home visiting, such as the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant and the U.S. Department of Education's Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program, which recently awarded a $3 million grant to Parents As Teachers (PAT), expand important services and resources to young children and their families. This Department of Education grant to Parents As Teachers will provide 2,000 families with literacy, developmental and parenting supports.      


"Early Childhood Programs Have Real Economic Benefits": This article, written by Christopher Gergen and Stephen Martin asks, "Are we under-investing in our state's youngest children? A convincing stream of research suggests we might be."


"Let's Put the Child Back Together-- The Social, Emotional, Physical and Cognitive Child" by Ellen Galinsky.  "When I conducted the research that led to Mind in the Making, I asked every researcher I interviewed to comment on the relationship of social-emotional learning to cognitive or intellectual learning. Again and again, the researchers saw them as inextricably connected."


Young Children at Risk: National and State Prevalence of Risk Factors:

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) has published a new factsheet which highlights important facts about young children affected by one or more risk factors associated with academic failure and poor health. Chief among them is family economic hardship, which is consistently linked to negative outcomes in these two domains.


Literacy Challenges for the Twenty-First Century: The Fall 2012 issue of The Future of Children explores current levels of literacy in the U.S., their determinants, and a variety of strategies to improve literacy.


The Role of Out-of-School Factors in the Literacy Problem, by Jane Waldfogel, notes that literacy gaps vary widely in children entering school according to their socio-economic status, race and ethnicity, and immigrant status. The author discusses the importance of strong preschool programs, especially for children from low-income and non-English speaking families, and finds that addressing early literacy gaps requires tailoring responses depending on which group of children is being targeted.


Testimony of Kim Jasmin at the New York Education Reform Commission Public Hearing: Kim Jasmin, Exeutive at JPMogan & Chase Co. provided testimony for the New York Education Reform Commission Public Hearing, "At the very beginning of a family's journey is the need for access to high quality early care and education options. There is a rich body of evidence that not only shows the correlation between high quality early learning and better life outcomes, but we also know that despite socio-economic status, if children are engaged in effective prek learning environments they will be on a path of readiness for kindergarten."


Public Radio Highlights Importance of Preschool:On October 19, NPR's Planet Money ran a broadcast, "Why Preschool Can Save The World," which went into detail of the large benefits seen from high-quality early education programs. The story features interviews by businessman George Kaiser and Nobel Laureate James Heckman. On the same day, This American Life broadcast a story on how Oklahoma developed the first preschool program that was publicly funded, and ended up a leader on early education. Be sure to listen to "Getting Away With It (Act Four)."


"Where Does the Workforce Pipeline Begin?": Smart Beginnings has released a new video, that highlights the importance for high-quality early childhood programs for the economic well being of Virginia. This short, two minute video describes the benefit these programs provide in terms of higher educational attainment, reduced criminal activity, and a better prepared workforce.