February 2013 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
Links of Interest
Spark New Hampshire's website is www.sparknh.org.  Visit it today for up-to-date information about the great work Spark NH is doing to improve early childhood in New Hampshire!
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,


I am thrilled to announce that we have welcomed five new Council members in the last two months.  In December, Governor Lynch issued an amendment to his original Executive Order creating Spark NH which added three additional members to the Council.  This change was made to accommodate the requirements of Project LAUNCH.  The new Members named in the order are 1. The Executive Director of New Futures: Linda Paquette; 2.Representative of NH DHHS Office of Medicaid Business and Policy: Jane Hybsch; and 3. Early Childhood Special Projects Coordinator for the Maternal and Child Health Section, DHHS: Deirdre Dunn.  We also will have two new members to replace members who had to leave the Council: Kate Lucas, Principal of the Rollinsford Grade School will be the new representative of the New Hampshire Association of School Principals and Kina Ferreira will be the new representative of the Head Start Parent Advisory Council.


Strategic Planning:

The process of coordinating the creation of a comprehensive strategic plan for early childhood in New Hampshire is well underway.  In the fall, our consultants gathered the existing strategic plans in New Hampshire related to early childhood.  They compiled these 20 plans into a matrix sorted by infrastructure function areas (Governance, Public Awareness, Planning, Data Systems, Quality Programs, Funding, and Workforce).  Phase 1 of the strategic planning process involved a meeting November 14 with nearly 60 individuals representing these plans and included a diverse set of key players that represent different levels and sectors of the early childhood system.  Major activities with respect to system infrastructure functions were recommended and prioritized. 


Phase 2 will involve further work on the plan as well as identifying key stakeholders and including their input.  We invite you to join a committee to participate in this work.  Phase 3 will be another day-long meeting for all interested stakeholders on June 4, 2013 to review the draft plan and we hope you will mark your calendar and join us.  Changes will be made over the summer (Phase 4) and a final plan will be presented in September 2013 (Phase 5).


Work on the plan will be taking up much of the time of the Council and committees for the next few months.  This work is daunting, but everyone understands the long term benefits of a statewide, governor-approved plan for early childhood in New Hampshire.  We are working to ensure that it will be a living document that will be revised and built upon in future years to continually better the lives of young children and their families.



 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 


Communications and Public Awareness Committee- December 6, 2012 and January 4, 2013  

The NH Leaders Meeting on October 26 was dynamic and engaging. A business and education round table is forming and will include to be at least one early childhood person at the table.  The group reviewed the draft PowerPoint about SPARK. It has come to light that navigating the referral system is not easy for physicians and families. We agree that SPARK can be the resource to make these connections as part of overall mission and purpose.  We discussed the Strategic Plan and how it relates to our work. The new  Early Learning Continuum/ Alignment Task Force will be looking at connecting 0-5 education with the K-12 system to ensure best transitions for children. A breakfast for legislators is being planned. The Center for Study of Social Policy has recognized our state for our good work on QRIS.


Data Committee- December 3, December 7, 2012 and January 7, 2013

Following CHI's presentation in December the committee decided to provide CHI with more guidance and no-cost extension was agreed upon. The project timeline was revised; now the data report will be written first and the data briefs will be created from that report. In January, the committee decided Laura, Liz and Becky will act as interim decision makers to keep the process moving; large decisions will go to the entire committee for approval. There was a discussion on forms of qualitative analysis for CHI to perform.

Policy Committee- January 8, 2013

The Policy Committee discussed and approved the next phases of the comprehensive strategic planning process and set the dates for the next big stakeholder meeting (June 4)and roll out of the strategic plan(September 12). The group reviewed the work to be done by committees in this process and the PowerPoint prepared for committee chairs to orient them to this. The group extended its meetings one hour for the next few months to 8:30-11 am. 


Quality Committee- January 15, 2013

The Quality Committee focused on three major areas: the parent and professional surveys, which will be finalized and disseminated; the implications of Louise Stoney's presentation at the Northern New England Early Childhood Network on our QRIS work, which will require further discussion and a paradigm shift in our thinking regarding programs versus services; and strategic planning. The Frank Porter Graham NECTAC consultants presented an overview of the process and timelines, after which the group completed the first task in this process: review of committee membership. 


Workforce and Professional Development Committee- November 30, 2012 

The Professional Opportunities, Resources, Training and Links (PORTAL) webpage is in development. The Committee reviewed the wireframe, a bare bones skeleton of the webpage, the web designers provided and refined the webpage requirements. The higher education inventory project will be launched in two phases. The first phase, the early childhood education/special education inventory, is ready to proceed. The Committee needs to revise the specifications for the second phase, the family support and health care inventory.


Upcoming Meetings 

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


February Meetings:


Friday, February 1, 2:00 - 4:00 pm.................................Evaluation Committee Meeting 

                                        (every first Friday)

Monday, February 4, 2:00 - 4:00 pm..............................Data Committee Meeting

 (every first Monday)

Thursday, February 7, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm...................Communications and Public 

  Awareness Committee Meeting 

  (every first Thursday)

Tuesday, February 12, 8:30 - 11:00 am...........................Policy Committee Meeting    

                                (every second Tuesday)

Tuesday, February 12, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm......................Executive Committee Meeting 

                                                              (every second Tuesday)

Wednesday, February 13, 1:00 - 2:30 pm.......................Family Partnership 

                      and Engagement Task Force 

  Meeting (every second 


Tuesday, February 19, 1:00 - 3:00 pm.............................Quality Committee Meeting 

                                                                                             (every third Tuesday)

Wednesday, February 20, 9:00 - 11:00 am......................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force 

             Meeting (every third 

             Wednesday in the Sauna 

             Conference Room, Thayer 

             Building, 97 Pleasant Street, 


Friday, February 22, 9:00 - 11:00 am...............................Workforce and Professional 

                                  Development Committee 

                       Meeting (every fourth Friday)

Thursday, February 28, 8:30 - 11:00 am...........................Monthly Council Meeting at 

                                           Granite State College, 25 Hall St.,    

                                 Concord (every fourth Thursday, 

                                                                                   usually at 2 Delta Drive)


March Meetings:


Friday, March 1, 2:00 - 4:00 pm........................................Evaluation Committee Meeting 

                        (every first Friday)

Monday, March 4, 2:00 - 4:00 pm.....................................Data Committee Meeting 

              (every first Monday)

Thursday, March 7, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm..........................Communications and Public 

              Awareness meeting at Child and 

    Family Services, 103 N. State St., 

    Concord (every first Thursday)

Tuesday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 am.................................Policy Committee Meeting 

                                                                 (every second Tuesday)

Tuesday, March 12, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm............................Executive Committee Meeting 

                                             (every second Tuesday)

Wednesday, March 13, 1:00 - 2:30 pm..............................Family Partnership and 

                                                       Engagement Task Force Meeting 

                                    (every second Wednesday)

Tuesday, March 19, 1:00 - 3:00 pm...................................Quality Committee Meeting 

                                              (every third Tuesday)

Wednesday March 20, 9:00 - 11:00 am..............................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force 

                          Meeting in the Sauna Conference 

                          room in the Thayer Building, 97 

                          Pleasant St., Concord

Friday, March 22, 9:00 - 11:00 am......................................Workforce and Professional 

                                                                  Development Committee (every 

       fourth Friday)

Thursday, March 28, 8:30 - 11:00 am................................. Monthly Council Meeting 

                                     (every fourth  Thursday)


Links of Interest 


Articles of Interest:


Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants- The Pew Children's Dental Campaign releases an annual report grading each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on children's dental health.  This year's report focuses on prevention and examines states' efforts to improve access to sealants for low income kids. 


Childhood Obesity: Have We Turned the Corner?- The HNH Foundation's January newsletter looks at progress that has been made in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic. 


Municipal Survey Report: Obesity Prevention in New Hampshire Communities - This new easy-to-read report from the Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) summarizes the findings of a study of New Hampshire city and town policies that support healthy eating and active living.  Access more data on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity on the OPP's data page


UMass Economist Links Early Education and Economic Development "It is highly desirable and valuable to society for state governments to support universal early childhood education. In doing so, governments will be putting in place an essential component of economic development, a component that will provide both a long-run foundation for their states' economic development and an immediate boost to their states' economic progress."


Obama Evaluating Early Childhood Education Push in Second Term - "Whereas Head Start emphasizes things like health, nutrition and emotional development, the new program would integrate preschool into the existing K-12 school system and focus more on academics. It would also expand access to early childhood education beyond lower-income families to eventually include the middle class. Depending on how the final proposal works, the push could be very controversial."


Early Childhood Education Publications and Resources - The Harvard Family Research Project has launched an early childhood section on their Web site devoted to parent, family, and community engagement (PFCE) in early childhood education. 

From Nectac E-notes:

Translating Evidence-based Developmental Screening into Pediatric Primary Care 
PolicyLab at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recently published data from the Translating Evidence-based Developmental Screening (TEDS) study, the largest study to date to confirm the feasibility and effectiveness of standardized developmental screening in urban primary care settings. 


Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain -The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard has released a new working paper, which explains why severe neglect can cause more harm to the development of young children than overt physical abuse, why neglect is so harmful in the earliest years of life, and why preventive efforts and effective interventions are crucial in helping to ensure better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. 


This report, recently released by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) looks at the effects of Head Start on a child's cognitive and academic, health, emotional and social development into elementary school. The findings suggest that although Head Start study participants who entered the program in the fall of 2002 showed greater skills than a control group after one year in the program, by third grade there was no significant difference between the two groups.


Estimated Participation and Hours in Early Care and Education by Type of Arrangement and Income at Ages 2 to 4 in 2010 -The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has released a new working paper which estimates participation in early childhood education programs by child's age, program setting, family income level, and child's household language. By combining data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), the National Household Education Survey (NHES), and information collected by NIEER for the State of Preschool Yearbook, these estimates provide a detailed look at primary and secondary care arrangements for children ages 2 to 4 in 2010. 
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently published this worksheet which can be used by states and communities setting up financing partnerships to expand access to comprehensive child care and early childhood education services. It is meant to help states begin mapping the need, available resources, and potential partnering strategies that will help them move forward. 


 The National Women's Law Center has developed a fact sheet that discusses child care assistance policies that can have a significant impact on parents' access to affordable, high-quality care and child care providers' ability to provide high-quality care. It provides information on what families must do to qualify for child care assistance, what they must do to remain eligible for assistance, and how child care providers are reimbursed for serving families receiving assistance. 
The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) has found in their research that the percentage of children in poverty has significantly increased in the past decade, from 15.6 percent in 2001 to 21.4 percent in 2011. Additionally, pre-K enrollment progress has stalled in the past decade and there have been declines in secure parental employment and median family income. 
 Are minority children disproportionately represented in early intervention and early childhood special education?-

Study findings recently published in the Educational Researcher examine whether children who are racial-ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in early intervention and/or early childhood special education (EI/ECSE). The researchers analyzed 7,950 48-month-olds participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative data set of children born in the United States in 2001. Findings indicated that by 48 months of age, minority children are disproportionately underrepresented in EI/ECSE. See the article abstract for a more complete summary of findings.


Improving Access to Early Childhood Care and Education for Children Experiencing Homelessness- 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently published a set of resources to help strengthen the ability of early care and education providers to serve young children experiencing homelessness. These include:

More 1.6 million children in the United States live on the streets or in homeless shelters and 42% of these children are under the age of six. 



Upcoming Events:

Volunteer Advocate Training Program
March 2013, Newport Area, 11-week 44-hour course
"This course is for parents and others who want to gain the knowledge and skills to support parents of children with disabilities in the special education process. This training is held twice a year at various locations around the state."  To learn more visit


"Allergies and Epilepsy 101: Supporting Students in Your Care"
Tuesday, March 5, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Nottingham
$15 eein members, $20 non-members. 
"Do you have questions about asthma and epilepsy? Are you concerned about having  a child in your care with a chronic illness? For children with asthma and epilepsy, managing health care needs is a part of daily life.  Supporting inclusion requires a team approach.  In this presentation, an overview of asthma and epilepsy, medical treatment options, and first aid interventions will be provided.  Educational materials and communication tools will be shared." To register visit 
"Foundations and Framing: Understanding the Tools and Materials for Building a Healthy Brain!"
Saturday, March 16, 9:00 - 11:00 am, Nashua
$15 eein members, $20 non-members
"The development of the brain begins in utero and continues throughout the life span, the most critical period of brain development occurs when children are very young. 

Come discover exciting and fun strategies that enhance brain development through movement, music and understanding of the effects of both positive and negative early experiences on brain development." To register visit www.eeinnh.org