May 2013 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
Links of Interest
Spark New Hampshire's website is  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
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 New Hampshire, 


We had a very productive expanded Policy Committee meeting on April 9 to work on the comprehensive strategic plan for early childhood in New Hampshire.  The group incorporated the work done by all the Spark NH committees as well as the rich input from survey responses of 259 individuals from all counties in the state and across health, early education and family support.  The Policy group worked to fine tune the plan activities for each functional area and to put them into a visual depiction and timeline.  The Spark NH committees will now define the steps required to accomplish the identified activities and to describe successful outcomes for each level of the early childhood system.  At the same time, we have developed focus group questions for families and are gathering responses at parent groups around the state.  These will be incorporated in the plan as well.  


As I hope you know, on June 3 there will be a broad stakeholder meeting at the Grappone Center in Concord to review the formal draft of the plan.  We hope all interested early childhood stakeholders will be able to attend.


The beautiful, 6 foot tall by 3 feet wide, rainbow colored banners are here!  You can see what they look like on the Spark NH website in the Importance of Early Childhood, Public Awareness Toolkit section.  We now have three sets of large banners for display around the state. We also will have six sets of table top banners and brochures in the very near future.  We are developing talking points for use with the banners to ensure consistent delivery of the core story of early childhood development.  


For the Week of the Young Child, April 14-20, the large banners were displayed at the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.  They were also displayed prominently at the Celebration of Early Childhood and Afterschool 2013 on April 16 and at the NAEYC Conference on April 13.  In May they already are booked to travel around the state on a number of days.  If you'd like to use them at your event, please sign up on the Spark NH website, or contact my office and we'll add you to our calendar.


The Quality Committee recently conducted two surveys about access to early childhood programs and services; one for families of young children and the other for early childhood professionals.  We received a great response from both families (216) and professionals (199).  Preliminary data show a numbers of barriers to families accessing early childhood programs and services.  Most notable was that there were many early childhood programs and services that over 50% of professionals said families could not access because they were unaware of them.  We will be creating a detailed report of the results of the survey which the Quality Committee will make available and will use to guide its recommendations for bettering access to these programs and services for families with young children. 

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 


Executive Committee - April 9, 2013

A draft of the Strategic Plan will be ready in May.  Council will discuss the draft from the view of their constituencies at the May meeting.  Peter Antal will write a report of the survey by the Quality Committee.   Congratulations to Patty Ewen, who is Spark NH's new treasurer.   


Communications and Public Awareness Committee- April 4, 2013

 The Communication and Public Awareness Committee reviewed their Logic Model. The group also spent time working on the C & PA portion of the Strategic Plan. This included the descriptions for the activities in the Public Awareness function area, and the development of working titles. 


Data Committee - April 1, 2013

 A CHI representative attended the meeting and presented an update on the project.  They are currently writing the data report; they have also started identifying themes and begun developing recommendations.  The committee worked on the strategic planning activities worksheets; they condensed three of their activities into one activity and created titles and descriptions for their activities.  The committee discussed the upcoming meeting with the DHHS Data Integration & Transformation project team which included identifying important questions to get answered and the major desired meeting objectives. 


Evaluation Committee - April 5, 2013

The Evaluation Committee reviewed Evaluation Consultant, Peter Antal's draft of the Quality Committee's Professional and Parent Surveys. Initial review of the surveys provided additional direction for Peter's report.  Over the next 3 months, the Evaluation Committee will review the Professional Survey data results in more detail.  The annual Spark NH Committee Member Survey was postponed and will be conducted after May 2013 with 2 reminders sent out before the last day. The Committee also discussed the Spark NH Council Work Plan and Strategic Planning process. 

Policy Committee - April 9, 2013

The Policy Committee had a full-day retreat.  1) Participants looked broadly at the strategic planning work to date around the seven infrastructure function areas of Governance, Funding and Sustainability, Quality, Workforce and Professional Development, Policy and Planning, Communications and Public Awareness, and Data System; 2) reviewed the input from the Spark NH survey for stakeholders on the draft plan to date;  3) outlined actions and recommended outcomes for each function area; 4) discussed next steps for the committee and Council work and the June 3 stakeholder planning meeting; and 5) drafted a timeline for the 3-year plan.   The next step is for the relevant Spark NH committees to further drill down steps to accomplish the outcomes and make adjustments as needed to the draft timeline to prepare for the June 3 stakeholder planning meeting.   


Workforce and Professional Development Committee- March 22, 2013

The Committee reviewed the summary of strategic plans and the common themes related to professional development as well as the workforce infrastructure activities. The Committee wrote overarching goals, referencing the NAEYC definition of Professional Development as a context for the discussion. The Committee then worked on identifying specific activities for the Strategic Plan.  The Committee will meet with Billie Young of NAEYC at the extended committee meeting in April.  Committee members should read the NAEYC Policy Blueprint for State Early Childhood Professional Development Systems prior to the April 26 meeting, which is available at this link.

Upcoming Meetings 

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


May Meetings

Thursday, May 2, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm........................Communications and Public 
       Awareness Committee (every first 
Friday, May 3, 2:00 - 4:00 pm.....................................Evaluation Committee (every first 
Monday, May 6, 2:00 - 4:00 pm...................................Data Committee at Child and Family 
                 Services, 132 North State Street, 
                  Concord (every first Monday, usually 
                 at 2 Delta Drive)
Wednesday, May 8, 1:00 - 2:30 pm.............................Family Partnership and Engagement 
                                                                                                            Task Force (every second Wednesday) 
Tuesday, May 14, 8:30 - 11:00 am...............................Policy Committee (every second 
Tuesday, May 14, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm.........................Executive Committee (every second 
Wednesday, May 15, 9:00 - 11:00 am..........................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force, 129 
                                                                    Pleasant Street, Room 211 (every 
                                      third Wednesday)
Tuesday, May 21, 1:00 - 3:00 pm................................Quality Committee (every third  
Thursday, May 23, 8:30 -11:00 am...............................Monthly Council Meeting
Friday, May 24, 9:00 - 11:00 am...................................Workforce and Professional 
                             Development Committee (every 
                            fourth Friday)

June Meetings
Monday, June 3, 830 am - 4:30 pm ...........................Comprehensive Strategic Plan for 
                        Early Childhood Stakeholder Event
To Be Announced........................................................Data Committee (usually every 
                 first Monday, 2:00 - 4:00 pm)
Thursday, June 6, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm......................Communications and Public 
                 Awareness Committee (every first 
Friday, June 7, 2:00 - 4:00 pm......................................Evaluation Committee (every first 
Tuesday, June 11, 9:00 - 11:00 am..............................Policy Committee (every second 
Tuesday, June 11, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm........................Executive Committee (every 
                  second Tuesday)
Wednesday, June 12, 1:00 - 2:30 pm...........................Family Partnership 
                  and Engagement Task Force 
                 (every second Wednesday)
Tuesday, June 18, 1:00 - 3:00 pm.................................Quality Committee (every third 
Thursday, June 27, 8:30 - 11:00 am.............................Monthly Spark NH Council 
                          Meeting (every fourth Thursday)
Friday, June 28, 9:00 - 11:00 am...................................Workforce and Professional 
            Development Committee (every 
    fourth Friday)

Upcoming Events and Webinars


A Global Look at Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Strategies for Success  In a free webcast by The Office of Adolescent Health, hear from Dr. Robert W. Blum, the William H. Gates Sr. Chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an expert in adolescent health and teen pregnancy, about how teen pregnancy outcomes in the United States compare globally, and what we can learn from teen pregnancy prevention efforts abroad. 

Thursday, May 2nd, 2:00 - 3:00pm EST  


Data Management: Developing Data Governance Structures  Provides an overview of the need for and benefits of building strong data governance and system-wide data management policies and practices, using the example of QRIS.

Monday, May 6th, 2:00 - 3:30pm EST


Data Management: Best Practices for Producing High-Quality Data  Presents an overview of best practices that promote data integrity and ensure that high-quality data are available for reporting, monitoring, and evaluation.

Thursday, May 16th, 2:00 - 3:30pm EST



30th Annual Brain Injury and Stroke Conference

Wednesday, May 15 2013 at 8am

Grappone Conference Center

Concord, NH

$150 fee

Contact 225-8400


A Place at the Table Screening

Wednesday, May 29 2013 Time TBD

Red River Theatre

Concord, NH


Annual Breastfeeding Conference: "Modern Women and Breastfeeding: Communication, 

Employment and Navigating our Fast Paced World" 

Monday, June 10 2013 7:15am-4:45pm 

NH Department of Health and Human Services  

Concord, NH 

$125 fee 

Contact Paula Oliveira 603-770-0089


19th Annual Infant Mental Health Conference

Thursday, September 26 2013 at 8am

Mountain Club on Loon

Lincoln, NH

Contact Ellyn Schreiber 225-4153 x278



Links of Interest 


Children's Alliance of New Hampshire 2012 Kids Count Report The Children's Alliance of New Hampshire has released their 2012 Kids Count Report. The Kids Count project documents the condition of children and families nationally and in the state of New Hampshire. 



As Child Care Costs Rise, Families Seek Other Alternatives  Although child care costs have increased, a new report by the Census Bureau suggests the number of families paying for child care services has decreased. 



How the IRS Hurts Mothers Mothers or lower-income spouses face the difficult decision of re-entering the workforce after having a child. Their decision often affects their taxes and take-home pay, which in turn affect the family's ability to pay for childcare. 



Tomorrow's Science, Engineering, Technology and Math Workforce Starts With Early Education ReadyNation's brief on the importance of beginning STEM education in early childhood. 



No Rich Child Left Behind  A study by Sean F. Reardon, professor of sociology at Stanford University, explores the differences between low and high-income families and the early education experiences of their children. 



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Autism Toolkit The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has created an autism toolkit for early childhood education providers. The toolkit includes videos, fact sheets and tips for working with children with developmental disorders as well as other resources. 



Shhh, the Kids Can Hear you Arguing (Even When They're Asleep) Infants brains continue to process sounds even during sleep. Research suggests that infants in high-conflict homes react differently to angry sounds than infants from homes with less conflict.  This reaction may negatively impact an infant's development.  


Client Voices: Youth, Parent, and Relative Perspectives on Family Finding Child Trend's fourth brief in their series discusses client perspectives on family support for foster children.


 Interview with Co-Editor of Applying Implementation Science in Early Childhood Programs and Systems Child Trend's blog interviews Tamara Halle, Ph.D about her new book Applying Implementation Science in Early Childhood Programs and Systems.


 Falling Response Rates to Social Surveys Dr. Kristin Anderson Moore discusses why response rates to social surveys matter and how they are important to early childhood development programs.


 Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Finding Some Common Ground  Elizabeth Wildsmith discusses the state of teen pregnancy in the United States on Child Trend's blog.