September 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!
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Director Laura Milliken at
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,


 In late July I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for a one-day State Early Childhood Advisory Councils Conference.  It was an opportunity to share what we've been doing with other advisory councils around the country and hear what they've been doing.  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) had released an excellent report in April on the councils which was quite inspiring and gave me some sense of the kinds of work being done (here's the link). But this was an opportunity to hear in person about particular successes and issues and share our work.

Our public awareness materials and higher education inventory were very much admired, and many people wrote down our web address but what was really respected was the fabulous collaboration we are able to achieve in New Hampshire.  One of the ACF staff at the event commented that in New Hampshire, "you all really play well together."  And she couldn't be more right.   A number of states at the meeting reported that significant players in their early childhood system were not participating in their Council or its committees.  A Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge recipient state reported that many important players in early childhood had failed to participate in their Council before the award, and that, though they were now participating, she worried that they would stop when the money was gone.  In New Hampshire, we not only have broad participation in the Council and committees, we have many, many volunteer hours and much energy devoted by many, many state agencies, private advocacy groups and representatives of health, early education and family support to support early childhood systems building in our state.  It's easy to forget, as we struggle in the Granite state with revenue/ budget woes that our early childhood community's ability to collaborate to get things done is a rare and extremely valuable asset.


Update on the New Hampshire Strategic plan for Early Childhood and Early Childhood Summit 

The draft plan is being reviewed by the governor's office. With their guidance we will make any changes and will release the final plan at the Early Childhood Summit on November 18.  The summit will be a day-long meeting which will  include speakers and workshops on the plan, early childhood systems building and opportunities for cross sector collaboration and alignment.  Please save the date!


Public Awareness Toolkit on the website

We have updated the Spark NH website to make our Public Awareness Toolkit more accessible.  For those who wish to utilize the various public awareness materials that we have created, you will still find all of the same handouts and presentation tools if you click on the Public Awareness Toolkit tab on the main menu of our website. In this toolkit, you will also find a link to a new Google Calendar that has been created to show the availability of our Bedrock Banner sets. We have created this calendar with the hope that individuals and organizations will be able to easily find out where and when our banners are being displayed. If you wish to reserve one of our banner sets, you can do so by going to this Public Awareness Toolkit tab and submitting a request. 


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 - July 26, 2013 

Fran Kipnis of University of California-Berkeley Center for the Study of Child Care Employment presented the report for the higher education inventory for early childhood education and special education to the WPD Committee and faculty guests. There are issues and recommendations for the NH Higher Education Round table to take up and WPD to consider.  The Committee Chairs provided an update regarding the second higher education inventory for family support and health programs.  The PORTAL subcommittee provided an update regarding the PORTAL beta site.


Communications and Public Awareness Committee - August 1, 2013

Strategic Planning, for the most part, is complete for C&PA. November 18,

2013 will be the roll out date for the plan, at a Summit, which will be held at Grappone Center. The planning committee for the Summit has begun working on pieces of day, community outreach, and marketing and possible collaboration. At the last meeting the group reviewed the work plan. Laura talked about the Bedrock Messaging training that took place at the Coos Coalition-Family Resource Center, and with the NH Children's Trust. In September, the group will do some more sessions across the state with a mix of evening and daytime, around Bedrock messaging.


Data Committee - August 5, 2013

The Data Committee reviewed a presentation by a representative from ESP Solutions. ESP Solutions has been contracted to research and provide recommendations to Spark NH on how to best create an integrated early childhood data system and this presentation provided the committee with an overview of how ESP Solutions plans to create their report. The Committee also discussed the possibility of conducting an Early Childhood Data Pilot with the Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families in Coos County. Finally, the Committee discussed the next steps that will be taken in order to assist CHI in completing a final draft of the needs assessment. 

Policy Committee - August 13, 2013 

The Committee reviewed the latest draft of New Hampshire's Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood and had positive remarks.  Counsel was given regarding content, and suggestions were made to switch the order for easier readability.  Dr. Lynn Davey reviewed the ideas about how best to frame the plan.  Lynn had prepared a few terrific metaphors for review about a "system/infrastructure that works."  The committee was enthusiastic about the orchestra/conductor metaphor, which FrameWorks research found to be effective in improving understanding of systems.  Many ideas were generated using this metaphor.   Updates were given on the November 18 Plan release event and the Race to the Top grant opportunity.  Meeting evaluations were positive, and Adobe Connect will be used in the future to allow those participating remotely to view documents.


Executive Committee - August 13, 2013

The Executive Committee made small revisions to the Strategic Plan and discussed the feedback from the Policy Committee. Once all of these changes have been made, a draft will be sent to the Governor, Commissioner and Council. Committee members discussed the progress being made with Project LAUNCH, the 3 year ECCS Grant that Spark NH has been awarded, and Race to the Top. The Committee discussed which positions on the Council need to be filled and the upcoming annual elections for Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer. Finally, Committee members provided positive feedback on their trips to D.C. for the STAM, SAC and QRIS Conferences. 


Quality Committee - August 20, 2013

The Quality Committee reviewed the feedback form that will be used for groups to evaluate the definition of "quality programs."  Small revisions were made and the final draft of this form will be created on Survey Monkey. The committee is hoping to get feedback on the definition from a wide range of early childhood programs by September 13. The Committee also reviewed more sections of the Professional and Parent Survey and discussed some of the open ended responses. 


Upcoming Meetings 

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


September Meetings


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

                                                                           (every 1st Friday)


Tuesday, September 10, time TBA....................Executive Committee

                                                                           (every 2nd Tuesday)

New time will be posted on website


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


Friday, September 13, 2-4.................................Data Committee

                      Plymouth State University
                      2 Pillsbury St., 5th Floor, Concord NH 


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)



October Meetings

Thursday, October 3, 10-12.............................Communications Committee

                     (every 1st Thursday)


Friday, October 4, 2-4......................................Evaluation Committee 
                                                                         (every 1st Friday) 


Monday, October 7, 2-4...................................Data Committee  

                                                                         (every 1st Monday)


Tuesday, October 8, 8:30-10 ..........................Policy Committee 

                                                                         (every 2nd Tuesday)


Tuesday, October 8, 11:30-1:30 .....................Executive Committee

                                                                         (every 2nd Tuesday)


Wednesday, October 9, 1-2:30.......................Family Partnership and Engagement                                                                                   Task Force (every 2nd Wednesday)


Tuesday, October 15, 1-3...............................Quality Committee

                                                                        (every 3rd Tuesday)


Thursday, October 24, 8:30-11.......................Monthly Council Meeting

                                                                        (every 4th Thursday)


Friday, October 25, 9-11................................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                           Committee, (every 4th Friday)


Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children Webinar

September 11, 2013, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm 

For more information and to register, click here 


Common Education Data Standards Webinar on new early learning data elements 

September 11, 2013, 2:00 pm 

Click here to register 


Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development- a workshop for those working with young children and their families 

September 19, 2013, 9:30 am-11:30 am 

Family Resource Center of Central NH

719 Main Street

Laconia, NH

Pre-registration is required for this free workshop, register here


Bringing the Protective Factors to Life

September 19, 2013

Click here for more information

Contact Maria Doyle,, for more information on how to register 


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, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Keene State College

229 Main Street

Keene, NH

Register for Conference here


Early Learning NH's Early Childhood Conference 

October 26, 2013

Southern NH University

2500 North River Road

Manchester, NH

Register for Conference here


Links of Interest 


Seeking Feedback on the Proposed Shared Definition of "Quality Early Childhood Program"

One of the goals of Spark NH is to have a statewide shared definition of quality early childhood programs. By early childhood programs, we mean any program that provides services to expectant families and children birth through grade three. If you are either a professional that works for or with early childhood program(s) or a family who uses services provided by early childhood programs, please take 5-10 minutes complete this very brief survey.


5 Things to Know about School Readiness 

As the 2013-2014 school year begins, kindergartners across the United States are preparing for their first year of school. Based on its work with policymakers, practitioners, researchers and the existing literature on school readiness, Child Trends has created a list of 5 things people should know about school readiness.  


Savings Now, Savings Later

This ReadyNation brief explains the importance of investing in early childhood, where researchers have found that quality programs can create savings now, and in the future. The brief discusses three kinds of programs, home visiting/ parent mentoring, pre-kindergarten and health, that have both short-term and long-term benefits for everybody. 


State Baby Facts: New Hampshire  

ZERO TO THREE has created this State Baby Fact sheet to inform the public of how New Hampshire's infants and toddlers are doing in general, and compared to the U.S. average. 


School Readiness Interactive Birth to 3 

This is a ZERO TO THREE Web exclusive that focuses on school readiness for young children. It is an interactive learning tool that provides parents and caregivers with information on how children develop school readiness skills and how they can help support these skills. This tool also includes a variety of video clips, activities and frequently asked questions that will help parents prepare their children for school. 


Autism Awareness and Acceptance in Early Childhood Education 

The CDC reports that roughly 1 in 88 children are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Office for Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children & Families has put together a page that explains the role of early care and education providers who work with young children with ASD. 


A survey of 800 voters in the United States, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research, has found that early childhood education is a top priority for American voters. 86% of those surveyed believe that "ensuring children get a strong start" is an important national priority, ranking second only to increasing jobs and economic growth. 


The Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory, administered by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley, assists policymakers and other stakeholders to develop a more coordinated and comprehensive professional preparation and development system for the early care and education workforce. The report details the characteristics of NH's early childhood higher education programs (e.g., location, the home department, degrees and certificates offered, student population), the programs' content (e.g., age group focus, connections to state learning and accreditation standards, clinical experiences, student supports offered), and the faculty characteristics (e.g., teaching experience, areas of expertise, past experience in early childhood).


Common Education Data Standards  

The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is preparing to release definitions and standards for new data elements, including those related to early learning programs. The new elements will be released on the CEDS website on September 3 and comments can be submitted through September 20th. CEDS will also be holding a webinar on September 11th to go over the new early learning data elements.  


PreK-3rd: Challenging Common Myths About Dual Language Learners 

The Foundation for Child Development has released an updated report of common myths about young dual language learners (DLLs). The report provides summaries of research that points to the benefits of learning multiple languages in the early years, the differences in language development between DLLs and monolingual children, the effectiveness of multilingual instruction, the unique assets that DLLs bring to the learning environment, and the importance of assessing children's language development in their home language as well as in English.  


Considering a Multi-state Approach to Early Learning Standards 

Thus far, states have typically developed and revised their early learning standards independently. As states continue to improve these standards and align them with the Common Core State Standards, there may be advantages to a more collaborative approach. Recently, the Ounce of Prevention Fund released a brief that lays out the potential benefits and challenges to a multi-state collaboration on developing early learning standards. The brief also outlines some considerations for designing a process for support such cross-state work.


States' quality improvement initiatives in early care and education often rely on technical assistance (TA) professionals (e.g., coaches, mentors, consultants). Policymakers have an important role to play in increasing early learning programs' access to these professionals as well as the quality of the technical assistance. Based on an analysis of current state efforts in supporting technical assistance systems, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has articulated some key lessons for states, including what entities can serve as effective leaders for this work; what competencies, training, and supports TA providers need; how states are tracking data about these professionals;, and how TA is funded

State-by-State NAEYC Policy Database  

NAEYC has developed a state-by-state database that provides an overview of each state's policies that support a high-quality early childhood TA system. For more resources, state leaders should visit the QRIS National Learning Network website, which includes materials from a series of webinars and in-person meetings about different aspects of creating an effective TA infrastructure.


Partners for Success: Case Studies of Collaboration Between Head Start and Pre-K

Promoting partnerships among the major early learning programs (e.g., Head Start, child care, state pre-k) is a common strategy to support program improvement. The National Head Start Association produced a report that describes models of collaboration between Head Start and state pre-k systems that expand access, expand or improve services, and/or provide more parental choice. The report includes actual partnerships to illustrate each model, lessons learned from these examples, and recommendations for how to create similar collaborations.


Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies  

CLASP has released this report that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies. It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care-one that shows significant room for improvement. 


Office of Child Care Technical Assistance Network

The Office of Child Care (OCC) recently launched its new Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN) Web site, which includes all materials from the CCTAN National Centers and features resources created by OCC's technical assistance (TA) network on a variety of topics related to the administration of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program. 

Researchers Identify Key Classroom Predictors of Child Outcomes  

This study from the FPG Child Development Institute, the University of Virginia, and Northwestern University examines the extent to which various features of pre-k program quality included in each of nine different states' Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) predicts children's readiness for kindergarten at the end of their year in pre-k. The researchers used a data set that included nearly 3,000 children in 703 state-funded pre-kindergarten classrooms from nine states, representing a variety of pre-kindergarten models in use across the U.S. Findings showed that the quality of teacher-child interaction consistently is the strongest predictor of children's learning, followed by the learning environment.


The Affordable Care Act: What It Means for Children, Families, and Early Childhood Programs 

The Office for Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children & Families has created this new webpage that will help early learning providers navigate the ACA Marketplace. 


Tips for Promoting Health Insurance Coverage Through Children's Public Benefits Programs 

This link provides information specific to schools, Head Start, SNAP, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs on how they can help inform families about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. 


Early Childhood Program Participation, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 

This report, released from the Institute of Education Sciences' National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), includes findings from the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012. Some findings included in this report include information from parents about the main reason for choosing care, what factors were important to parents when choosing a care arrangement, and parents' participation in various learning activities with their children


NNEDV: Privacy & Safety on Facebook  

The National Network to End Domestic Violence has created this guide for Facebook users to be more aware of their privacy and security settings.