August 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
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Spark NH continues to build coordination and collaboration in the early childhood system.  To this end, in addition to the work on the functional aspects of the early childhood system being done in the Spark NH committees, we are working on some new collaborative efforts to strengthen  this system:


Race to the Top

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will soon be releasing an application for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant.  The grant is intended to focus attention on improving early learning and development for young children.  New Hampshire is eligible to apply for $37.5 million in funds to:

  • Increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged young children in high quality early learning and development programs,
  • Design and implement an integrated system of high quality early learning and development programs and services directly resulting in more children, especially those with high needs, entering kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life; and
  • Ensure that any use of assessment conforms to the recommendations of the National Research Council reports on early childhood.

If the state applies and the grant is awarded, it would enable our state to achieve most of the goals in the New Hampshire Comprehensive Plan for Early Childhood in four years and would go a very long way toward realizing Spark NH's vision that all New Hampshire children and their families are healthy, learning and thriving now and in the future.


A number of key stakeholders have begun to meet to discuss possibilities for an application.  At a meeting Spark NH recently helped to convene there were stakeholders from across the state who were excited at being able to collaborate on this effort.  Members gave wonderful input on what should be included in the grant, including engaging and empowering families, high quality early education for all young children, bettering access to prenatal care, health care, home visiting, family support, services for children with delays and disabilities, bettering public awareness of the importance of early childhood, working better with immigrant and refugee families, building early childhood systems that work well together, and many other exciting ideas.  All are already goals of Spark NH and it was incredibly exciting to see the level of commitment and collaboration in New Hampshire.  

Susan Hibbard, from the BUILD Initiative and her colleagues will be supporting New Hampshire (as well as other states) in writing the application.  At the meeting she reminded us that even in states where they did not receive grant funds, the process of collaborating and jointly writing an application had significantly moved the needle forward for the early childhood system.  


Early Childhood Summit - November 18

The roll out event for the New Hampshire Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood will be on Monday, November 18 - please mark your calendars.  We will be collaborating with the New Hampshire Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on including the Strategic Plan in a day-long early childhood summit for the state.  We hope that early childhood stakeholders will attend from health, family support, early education: birth through grade three, and people who work with expectant parents.  We plan to have a number of exciting speakers and breakout sessions about the importance of early childhood, opportunities for alignment and collaboration and other early childhood related topics.  


Spark NH on Legislative Task Force on Work and Family

Legislation enacted by the 2013 General Court repealed and re-enacted the Task Force on Work and Family, naming Spark NH to its membership.  It's exciting that Spark NH is now well known enough to be invited to join this effort.


Enjoy your summer!

 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 



Policy Committee -July 9, 2013 

The Committee reviewed the draft timeline of the Strategic Plan.  Counsel was given regarding its achievability and readability.  The timeline will not be on the executive summary, but in the full document to be available online.    The Committee will review the Plan Introduction draft narrative at the August meeting.  The Committee heard ideas from the Spark NH Council on "How Best to Frame the Plan."  It was agreed to use a metaphor about a "system/infrastructure that works."  Ideas were discussed and new ideas generated.   Dr. Lynn Davey will present suggestions in August.  The Plan release event will be November 18, co-hosted by the Office of the Governor, Dept. of Education and Dept. of Health & Human Services.  Plans to apply for the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant opportunity were discussed.  New Hampshire is eligible to apply for $37.5M.



Executive Committee -July 9, 2013 

The Committee will meet before the next Council meeting to propose a revised budget.  Next steps in the strategic plan process are: creating a timeline, visual depiction and introduction which the Policy Committee will review.  A draft will be ready for the governor and commissioners to review in August and the Council will review the final plan at its August meeting.  The roll out event will be in November and will be part of a day long early childhood summit planned with the Department of Education.  Spark NH has been named to the legislative task force on work and family.



Family Partnership and Engagement Task Force -July 10, 2013 

The Family Engagement Task Force is struggling.  The group discussed needing more direction from the Council.  How can "Family Engagement" become part of the culture of Spark NH?  We would like the council to define:

  • Are we a Task Force or Committee?
  • What is the purpose of the Task Force?
  • What are the goals for the Task Force?

We believe that by clarifying our purpose, we will be able to retain members and create goals and protocols for best practices in "Family Engagement".



Evaluation Committee - July 11, 2013 

The Evaluation Committee reviewed a draft report summarizing results from the Family and Professional surveys conducted in March 2013 and discussed key themes and provided feedback. Group agreed that brief summary of results should be developed for distribution to federal funder and other audiences. Group agreed that findings pointed to the need for increasing awareness of services for early childhood and this is an area that might be more easily addressed than others. Committee members also discussed role of the committee post-ARRA funding. The current SPARK structure does not have an entity responsible for evaluation/monitoring of the entire early childhood system. Committee members felt this could be a role for the Committee.



Quality Committee -July 16, 2013 

The Quality Committee reviewed the findings of the Professional and Parent Survey and felt that it will be important to review comments from the survey before drawing conclusions about the meaning of the results. The Committee also discussed the progress being made by the QRIS Task Force and in the effort to meet Strategic Plan Goal Q1, the group will share the QRIS definition with their constituencies and the Spark Council, asking for appropriate feedback. All feedback concerning the definition will be brought to the QRIS Task Force for any necessary reevaluation. 







Upcoming Meetings 

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



August Meetings

Thursday, August 1, 10-12....................Communications Committee

                 Child and Family Services

                 103 North State Street, Concord NH

                 (every 1st Thursday)


Monday, August 5, 2-4..........................Data Committee 
                                                              Child and Family Services

                                                              103 North State Street, Concord NH 

                                                              (every 1st Monday)


Tuesday, August 13, 9-11 ....................Policy Committee
                                                              Child and Family Services

                                                              103 North State Street, Concord NH 

                                                              (every 2nd Tuesday)


Tuesday, August 13, 11:30-1:30 ..........Executive Committee

                                                              (every 2nd Tuesday)


Wednesday, August 14, 1-2:30.............Family Partnership and Engagement                                                                                    Task Force (every 2nd Wednesday)


Tuesday, August 20, 1-3.......................Quality Committee

                                                              (every 3rd Tuesday)


Thursday, August 22, 8:30-11...............Monthly Council Meeting

                                                              (every 4th Thursday)


Friday, August 23, 9-11.........................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                           Committee, Child and Family Services

                                                              103 North State Street, Concord NH 

                                                              (every 4th Friday)




September Meetings


Monday, September 2, 2-4.................................Data Committee

                                                                            (every 1st Monday)


Thursday, September 5, 10-12...........................Communications Committee 

                                                                            (every 1st Thursday)


Friday, September 6, 2-4....................................Evaluations Committee

                                                                           (every 1st Friday)


Tuesday, September 10, 9-11............................Policy Committee

                                                                           (every 2nd Tuesday) 


Tuesday, September 10, 11:30-1:30..................Executive Committee

                                                                           (every 2nd Tuesday)


Wednesday, September 11, 1-2:30...................Family Partnership and Engagement                                                                                   Task Force (every 2nd Wednesday)


Tuesday, September 17, 1-3........................ ....Quality Committee

                                                                          (every 3rd Tuesday)


Thursday, September 26, 8:30-11....................Monthly Council Meeting 

                                                                          (every 4th Thursday)


Friday, September 27, 9-11..............................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                           Committee (every 4th Friday)




Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


ReadyNation Webinar: Start Early with STEM 

August 5, 2013 3pm-4pm 

Click here to register 


The BUILD Initiative Webinar: Families Know Best: Integrating Parent Knowledge into Young Child Assessment Systems 

August 21, 2013 2pm-3:30pm 

Click here to register 


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 


Early Learning NH Webinar on ECE Shared Resources

August 29, 2013 1pm-2pm

RSVP at 603-226-7900 or 


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


Good Mirror, Great Teacher: Using Reflective Technique to Promote Connection and Empathy

October 13, 2013 8am-1pm

Keene State College

229 Main St

Keene, NH

Register for Conference Here


Links of Interest 


Markers that Matter: Success Indicators in Early Learning and Education  

This report was developed by FSG, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and provides a set of 48 early childhood indicators that reflect healthy development of young children. The report also highlights 10 emerging themes, areas that are not sufficiently addressed by existing indicators and where further inquiry is needed.


Reaching Children at Risk with a New Look at State Data

A new blog post from Child Trends  on what states are doing regarding risk and reach assessments for early childhood. A risk and reach assessment looks at the needs of young children and their families in a given region in relation to resources available to them.  


Implementation in Early Childhood Interventions

The Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation has released a series of reports aimed at supporting expert consultation, assessment and analysis in child care and early education policy and research. Produced under a contract with Child Trends, these reports provide guidance on measuring the quality and quantity of implementation of early childhood interventions.  


Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP) is an open-access, peer-reviewed, multilingual online-only journal published biannually by the Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The spring issue includes a special section on parents' perspectives related to early care, education, and intervention.


A summary of research results from a study finding that preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who receive high-quality early intervention make significant positive gains during the school year regardless of the comprehensive treatment model used. The results may shift the field's thinking about treatment models for young children with ASD and may have important implications for special-education programs and school classrooms across the country. 

The University of New Hampshire Department of Education has announced the Early Childhood Special Education Assistive Technology (EC-SEAT) Project.  EC-SEAT provides students with a generous educational award ($20,000) for graduate study at UNH and teacher certification in early childhood special education. Please share this information with students, faculty, staff, and interested contacts. 


America's Children 2013  

This report, released by The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics is a compendium of 41 key indicators highlighting the latest data and recent trends on children and their families. This year's report, the 16th in an ongoing series, contains a special feature entitled The Kindergarten Year: Children's Early Academic and Social Skills. Developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), this feature highlights data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 (ECLS-K:2011). For additional information, visit


Five Numbers to Remember about Early Child Development 

This interactive online tool, released by The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, highlights five numbers that illustrate the importance of early childhood to learning, behavior, and health later in life. 


Preparing Children of Immigrants for Early Academic Success 

The Migration Policy Institute has released a new report by Robert Crosnoe which looks at factors that have the biggest impacts on the school readiness and early achievement of children from immigrant families. It describes three types of educational and health policy interventions that may reduce disparities between the children of U.S.-born parents and their immigrant counterparts, including:

    • Expanded access to early childhood education
    • Policies that promote young children's physical health
    • Efforts to forge family-school partnerships

States looking to develop a common vision for family engagement across the early childhood system may want to learn more about the Strengthening Families model. It outlines 5 research-based "protective factors" for supporting families that can be embedded into early childhood policies, standards, and practices. (From the National Governor's Association). 


Resources for Social Impact Bonds  

These resources have been compiled by ReadyNation. The concept of social impact bonds (SIBs) has been attracting attention from the early childhood field. This financing strategy involves private investors or philanthropies effectively providing loans for typically publicly-funded programs, which the government will pay back only if certain metrics for success are met. 


A Framework for Choosing a State-Level Early Childhood Governance System  

Many states have developed different governance structures for administering early childhood programs. The BUILD Initiative recently released a brief that discusses the major functions that governance structures fulfill, the different models that states have developed thus far, and the issues and questions that state leaders should consider when attempting to improve early childhood governance. (From the National Governor's Association). 

Key Elements of a QRIS Validation Plan  

This guide goes through 7 elements that contribute to an effective QRIS validation plan. These steps apply to 4 validation purposes that were described in an earlier brief:

Examining the validity of the quality components, examining the soundness of the measurement strategy and instruments, examining the results of the rating process, and examining how ratings are related to child outcomes. (From the National Governor's Association).