July 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
Find us on Google+
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

In the last two weeks I have received some wonderful positive feedback both on the New Hampshire strategic plan for early childhood and on the broader work of the Council.  We seem to have reached a point where people have begun to hear about Spark NH and what they've heard is great.  People have congratulated us on the work of the plan, the momentum Spark NH has gained and have suggested we should be proud of the work we've accomplished.  I couldn't agree more.   I wanted to pass that feedback on to you and to let you know what I've been saying in return:  The energy that Council, committee and task force members bring to Spark NH continues to inspire me.  It is clear that early childhood stakeholders just needed an infrastructure to act as a lightning rod for their amazing commitment and hard work.  


We are just emerging from Spark NH's early infancy and starting to really move.  The collaboration that we have built will continue to make us efficient and productive.  NH will soon have a Comprehensive Plan for  Early Childhood which will  further guide our work and our fabulous committees will continue to flesh out and build on the plan initiatives to bring us closer to our vision.

 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 


Workforce and Professional Development Committee - May 24, 2013

The WPD Committee reviewed the draft WPD section of the Strategic Plan and offered input.  We also reviewed and discussed the April 26 full-day Stakeholders Meeting on the NH Early Childhood Comprehensive Professional Development System Plan with Billie Young.  The work of the April 26 meeting will inform the activities and steps of the WPD component of the Strategic Plan.


Communications and Public Awareness Committee - June 6, 2013
Public Awareness and Communication Committee met and discussed next steps based on feedback from the Strategic Planning event. We discussed ways of telling stakeholders about the plan.  We had a discussion around clarifying "bedrock" as the positive term it was intended to be. Laura will discuss this with Lynn Davey. In August there will be a "Train the Trainer" session for the PA&C committee bedrock messaging.

Data Committee - June 10, 2013
The committee reviewed feedback from the June 3rd stakeholder event and changed the Data activities in the plan as necessary. The committee also reviewed and altered the timelines for each activity. The changes will be made and brought back for final review in July. Language in the scope of work for the data integration plan was altered to be made clearer. The blueprint will be able to be used for other projects such as RTT-ELC.


Policy Committee -June 11, 2013
The committee debriefed the June 3 Stakeholder event.  The consensus was that the event was very well planned and executed.  Participant feedback was reviewed.  Timeline changes were made to the Policy and Funding infrastructure function areas of the draft NH Early Childhood Comprehensive Strategic Plan (the Plan).  It was noted that the other committees would be finalizing timelines in the other infrastructure function areas.  It was recommended to hold the event to release the Plan in mid to end October.  The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Federal Plan Stakeholder Task Force has completed their work.  Dr. Ellen Wheatley will submit the plan this month.


Executive Committee -June 11, 2013
The committee debriefed the previous Council meeting. There was discussion about better ways to involve parents in the meetings. The committee also discussed feedback from the June 3rd event and made alterations to the Governance section of the plan. The group was given updates regarding sustainability, LAUNCH and Race to the Top. The group was also given the Director evaluation tool. The committee will fill out the tool and the results will be reviewed. There will also be discussion about a possible Council retreat at the next Executive committee meeting. The Administration for Children and Families asked the committee to identify priorities in case Congress is interested in funding again. The agenda for the July Council meeting was set .


Family Partnership and Engagement Taskforce -June 12, 2013
The committee reviewed the June 3rd event and its feedback. The group also discussed the upcoming Parent Cafes at the Wilson School in Manchester. It was suggested that these groups might be a good place to place questions about the system to be brought back to Spark NH. A Project LAUNCH update was given to the group. A work plan for the taskforce was suggested, including work to build more opportunities for feedback from family groups.


Quality Committee -June 18, 2013
The Quality Committee reviewed the recommendations from the strategic plan roll-out event and incorporated agreed upon changes into the Quality section of the plan. The group also refined the timelines for activities and discussed next steps.  Finally, the group provided input on the QRIS Task Force standards and agreed that the current definition of "quality early childhood programs and services" developed by the Task Force and endorsed by the Quality Committee adequately represents cross-sector programs and services.





Upcoming Meetings 

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



 July Meetings 

Tuesday, July 9, 8:30-11..................................   Policy Committee (and every 2nd 



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



Wednesday, July 10, 1-3...................................  Family Partnership and Engagement 

Task Force (and every 2nd Wednesday)


Tuesday, July 16, 1-3.........................................Quality Committee (and every 3rd 



Thursday, July 25, 9-11.................................... Monthly Council Meeting (and every 4th 



Friday, July 26, 9-11..........................................Workforce and Professional                                                                                                Development Committee (and every 4th                                                                              Friday)


 August Meetings


Thursday, August 1, 10-12..............................Communications Committee (and every                                                                              1st Thursday)


Friday, August 2, 2-4.......................................Evaluations Committee (every 1st                                                                                       Friday)


Monday, August 5, 2-4....................................Data Committee (every 1st                                                                                                 Monday)


Tuesday, August 13, 8:30-10:30.....................Executive Committee (and every 2nd                                                                                  Tuesday)


Wednesday, August 14, 1-3...........................Family Partnership and Engagement Task                                                                          Force (and every 2nd Wednesday)


Tuesday, August 20, 1-3.................................Quality Committee (and every 3rd                                                                                      Tuesday)


Thursday, August 22, 9-11.............................Monthly Council Meeting (and every 4th                                                                            Thursday)


Friday, August 23, 9-11..................................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                          Committee (and every 4th Friday)




Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


ZERO TO THREE'S Rally4Babies: Learning Happens Right From the Start

July 8, 2013 2pm-2:30pm

Streamed Live via Youtube



The 3 R's-Your Role, Rights & Responsibilities in the Special Ed Process

July 9, 2013 10am-12pm

Parent Information Center Office

151A Manchester, St

Concord, NH

To register call 603-224-7005 


How to Be an Effective IEP Team Member

July 9, 2013 6pm-8pm
Parent Information Center Office

151A Manchester, St

Concord, NH

To register call 603-224-7005 


Child Care and Early Education Research Connections: A Demonstration for Technical Assistance Providers

July 10, 2013

Register for Webinar Here


Around the NH Special Education World in 1 Day 

July 13, 2013 9:15am-3:30pm
Nashua Boys & Girls Club
47 Grand Ave
Nashua, NH

To register call 603-224-7005 


NH Children's Behavioral Health Plan Webinar

July 18th, 2013 2pm-3:30pm

Register for Webinar Here


Improving the Health of Communities through the National Prevention Strategy Webinar

July 18th, 2013 4pm-5:30pm

Register for Webinar Here


Steps in the NH Special Education Process

August 22, 2013 9:30am-12pm
Parent Information Center Office

151A Manchester, St

Concord, NH

To register call 603-224-7005 

Basic Rights in the Special Education Process

August 22, 2013 6pm-8pm

Parent Information Center Office 

151A Manchester, St

Concord, NH

To register call 603-224-7005 


NH Association for Infant Mental Health 19th Annual Conference

Trauma in Early Childhood: Intervention and Supporting Families

September 26th and 27th, 2013

The Mountain Club on Loon

Lincoln, NH

$130 for NHAIMH members, $150 for non-members

Contact Ellyn Schreiber eschreiber@communitybridgesnh.org



Links of Interest 

The President's Early Childhood Initiative

The President has called for three proposals to support our youngest Americans: Preschool for All, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and an expansion of the Home Visiting program. Children who participate in high-quality early education programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don't.  And research has shown that taxpayers receive a high average return on investments such programs, with savings in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime. The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services have teamed up to release a new web video that provides an easy to understand explanation of the plan.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released their 2013 Kids Count Data Book. The book includes national and state-by-state data on the well-being of children. The Data Book ranks states in four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.


New Video to Improve Early Recognition of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Very Young Children

The Kennedy Krieger Institute and Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have published a free online video to improve the recognition of the early signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) among pediatricians, parents and early intervention providers. Bringing the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders Into Focus (2013, runtime 9:03 minutes) consists of six video clips that compare toddlers with no signs of ASD to toddlers with early signs of ASD and includes an explanation of how the specific behaviors exhibited by each child are either suggestive of ASD or typical child development.


Leading for Early Success: Building School Principals' Capacity to Lead High-Quality Early Education

According to a new paper by the National Governors Association (NGA), effective school leadership and access to high-quality early education are two of the most important determinants of educational outcomes. Leading for Early Success: Building School Principals' Capacity to Lead High-Quality Early Education (2013) makes the case for why governors should build elementary school principals' capacity to promote high-quality early education and outlines specific state policy strategies to accomplish this goal. It includes a case study highlighting how Illinois is including early learning content in the principal preparation process.


Three New "Backpack Connection" Resources for Teachers and Families to Help Young Children Develop Social Emotional Skills

The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) recently added several new items to its Backpack Connection Series. The first two are in the "Addressing Behaviors" section of the series and the third one is in the "Routines and Schedules section. The Backpack Connection Series provides a way for teachers and parents/caregivers to work together to help young children develop social emotional skills and reduce challenging behavior. Teachers can send a handout home in each child's backpack when a new strategy or skill is introduced to the class. Each handout provides information to help parents stay informed about what their child is learning at school and specific ideas on how to use the strategy or skill at home. 


Strategies and Recommendations for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (I-ECMH) Policy and Services

ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) recently released the paper Nurturing Change: State Strategies for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, which offers an in-depth look at a few states' approaches to addressing I-ECMH access, delivery, financing, evidence base, and system-level issues. This paper is a follow-up to their 2012 paper, Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health, which examined the scientific evidence supporting I-ECHM policies and offered recommendations for policy improvement at the national level.

Number of States With Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) Climbs to 38

The QRIS National Learning Network recently released an updated list of state contacts and a map detailing the status of QRIS in states and territories.  Both the list and map have been verified and should be used as the official status report on states and territories that have QRIS.


High Cost of Child Care Make Subsidies Critical for Low-Income Families

The Carsey Institute has released a policy brief analyzing the rising cost of child care between 2005 and 2011 and quantifying how much low-income families pay for child care. The brief compares the shares of income spent on child care in 2005 and 2011 among families with children under 6 and mothers who are employed and had child care expenses. The data come from the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). 

Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Makes Childhood Poverty Top Concern

The Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Task Force on Childhood Poverty recently issued a Strategic Road Map for addressing childhood poverty as a public health issue. The APA, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Pediatric Policy Council (PPC) have all advocated for individual issues like Medicaid, CHIP, and food assistance, but prior to the APA's Task Force there had been no sustained focus on childhood poverty. The APA Task Force is working to raise the voice of pediatricians to build public support for policies that will both reduce childhood poverty and address the negative effects of poverty on children's physical and mental health and development.

New Edition of Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children Released

The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) recently released the third edition of Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children. This publication provides national health and safety performance standards, as well as guidelines, for early care and education programs. The third edition of Stepping Stones (SS3) outlines 138 essential standards intended to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality in child care and early education settings.


2012 Head Start Program Fact Sheet

The Office of Head Start recently published Head Start Program Facts: Fiscal Year 2012. The fact sheet provides key data on Head Start programs, appropriations, staff qualifications, the characteristics of children and families enrolled in Head Start and the services they received in FY 2012. Throughout the fact sheet, unless otherwise specified, the term "Head Start" refers to the Head Start program as a whole, including: Head Start services to preschool children; Early Head Start services to infants, toddlers, and pregnant women; services to families by American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) programs; and services to families by Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs.

The State of the World's Children 2013: Children with Disabilities

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has released its latest annual report examining key issues affecting children around the world. This year's report focuses on children with disabilities, finding that these children are often the most marginalized individuals in the world. The State of the World's Children 2013: Children with Disabilities (May 2013) examines the barriers that deprive children with disabilities of their rights and prevent them from participating fully their communities. The report also discusses key elements of inclusive societies that enable children with disabilities to flourish and make their contribution to the world. 

Research Briefs on Applying Implementation Science to Early Care and Education Research and Evaluation

On June 6, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) posted the following three research briefs on their Web site. The briefs are meant to help facilitate the use of implementation science frameworks, methodologies, and analysis in early care and education research and program evaluation.