January 2014 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

Dear Friend of Spark NH,


Happy New Year!  What a wonderful year 2014 promises to be!  In November we rolled out New Hampshire's Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood.  In 2014 Spark NH will be leading the effort to begin to implement that plan, which spans the next three years.  Each Spark NH committee is creating its own detailed workplan based on the Plan to address all aspects of the early childhood system in New Hampshire.  Our committees are full of passionate and diligent members who are ready to dive in.


Enthusiasm for early childhood is growing in other quarters as well.   The New Hampshire Endowment for Health, as well as several other charitable organizations are now planning to focus on early childhood. 


Unfortunately, New Hampshire was not one of the states awarded the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund grant in 2013.  The states chosen were largely those who were already investing a lot of state resources on early childhood programs and services, which New Hampshire can't claim at this time.  We do have a history of getting a great deal accomplished with very little and very strong history of cross sector collaboration.  The process of writing the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund application underscored this strength.  New Hampshire's Departments of Education and Health and Human Services collaborated with Spark NH and the Governor's office to build on New Hampshire's Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood.  Though work would have proceeded faster with funding, the plan and the application will be critical in guiding the state and Spark NH's work on bettering the early childhood system in our state.


Spark NH will be continuing its efforts to focus attention on the importance of early childhood and working to help cross sector collaboration in the early childhood world.  Our committees are doing vital work in this regard and we are always seeking new members to get involved.   We look forward to working with stakeholders around the state as we pursue our mission to provide leadership that promotes a comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable early childhood system that achieves positive outcomes for young children and families, investing in a solid future for the Granite State.


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 - December 10, 2013

The Executive Committee debriefed the December Council meeting, discussed the ARRA Grant Close-Out, and was updated on Spark NH's sustainability plan for the next year. The committee reviewed their workplan and discussed how to engage the Council in this workplan. The group also brainstormed a list of organizations holding conferences in the next year that we can contact to promote the PORTAL. 


Policy Committee - December 10, 2013

The Policy Committee reviewed their committee workplan and the NH Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood (state plan), and debriefed the November 18 Early Childhood Summit. Each committee member received a copy of both the state plan and the executive summary. Moving forward, the committee will begin meeting on the first Monday of each month from 9-10:30 am.


Quality Committee - December 17, 2013

The Quality Committee is revised its work plan based on committee accomplishments, and goals and activities from the RTT-ELC grant and the NH Comprehensive Strategic Plan for EC.  Following the Council endorsement, the agreed upon definition of quality was disseminated to local programs.  The committee began work on a dissemination plan that will result in the definition being shared broadly with early childhood programs and incorporated into practice.  

Upcoming Meetings 

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




Monday, January 6, 9-10:30.. .........................Policy Committee 

                                                                         (every 1st Monday)


Monday, January 6, 11-1.................................Executive Committee

                                                                        (usually every 2nd Tuesday)


Monday, January 6, 2-4..................................Data Committee

                   (every 1st Monday) 


 Friday, January 10, 2-4...................................Evaluation Committee 

                                                                        (usually every 1st Friday) 

 Monday, January 13, 9-10:30........................Family Partnership and
                                                                        Engagement Task Force

                   (every 2nd Monday at NH Children's Trust)


Tuesday, January 21, 1-3................................Quality Committee

                                                                         (every 3rd Tuesday)


Friday, January 24, 9-11.................................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                          Committee (every 4th Friday)



Monday, February 3, 9-10:30.. .......................Policy Committee 

                                                                        (every 1st Monday) 


Monday, February 3, 2-4................................Data Committee

                                                                        (every 1st Monday) 


Friday, February 7, 2-4...................................Evaluation Committee 
                                                                        (every 1st Friday) 


Tuesday, February 11, 11:30-1:30..................Executive Committee

                                                                        (every 2nd Tuesday)


Monday, February 10, 9-10:30.......................Family Partnership and
                                                                        Engagement Task Force

                                                                        (every 2nd Monday at NH Children's Trust)


Tuesday, February 18, 1-3..............................Quality Committee

                                                                        (every 3rd Tuesday)


Thursday, February 27, 8:30-11.....................Bi-monthly Council Meeting

            (4th Thursday of every other month) 


Friday, February 28, 9-11................................Workforce and Professional Development                                                                           Committee (every 4th Friday)


Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


ECE Shared Resources Webinar

Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

For more information and to register, contact Sarah Howard at 226-7900. 


Understanding Your Child's Learning Style

The Parent Information Center is hosting this free workshop that will focus on the different ways children learn and the theory of multiple intelligences.

Thursday, January 9, 2014, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Sunapee Central Elementary School, 22 School St., Sunapee, NH 

For more information and to register, click here 


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

This free workshop, hosted by the Parent Information Center, will provide participants with an "advocacy toolbox" of information, resources and organizational tools and strategies, and answers to parents' most frequently asked special education questions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Community Partners, 25 Old Dover Rd., Rochester, NH (Back Entrance)

For more information and to register, click here 


Bringing Reggio Home

EEIN is hosting this workshop. Dr. Dottie Bauer will be presenting on The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

For more information and to register, contact Sarah Howard at 228-2040. 


The Education & Training Partnership Winter 2014 Courses

The Education and Training Partnership is pleased to offer continuing education courses in child welfare to licensed childcare providers. Classes are a mix of online and face to face classroom experiences. Tuition fees are very affordable. Click here for more information on each course, as well as a registration link.


Links of Interest    

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has published this report by Emily Workman that looks at the work states are doing to strengthen their early childhood systems. Using the results of a national scan of enacted policies from the 2013 legislative sessions, the report finds that state policymakers are increasingly recognizing the benefits of early learning and developmental services for young children. The report highlights ways in which they are strengthening their early childhood systems in areas such as governance, funding, program access, family engagement, teacher preparation/certification, assessment, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), Home Visiting and more. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has published this new article, in its multi-part series entitled, Tackling Toxic Stress. This final installment describes how a small but growing group of forward-thinking social service practitioners are using the expanding scientific evidence about the long-term, damaging effects of toxic stress to try innovative approaches that target its root causes and could lead to breakthroughs in the effectiveness of interventions- for both children and their caregivers. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

Driving Science-Based Innovation in Policy and Practices: A Logic Model
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has published this narrated interactive logic model showing how policies and programs that strengthen specific kinds of caregiver and community capacities can build the foundations of healthy development. These support beneficial biological adaptations in the brain and other organ systems, which lead to positive outcomes in health and development across the lifespan. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 
The US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education have partnered to launch a public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of universal developmental and behavioral screening and support within the context of normative child development. The campaign will be targeted at numerous sectors (e.g. early care and education, medical, primary health care, child welfare, mental health). Click here to see the package of materials that will be launched as part of the public awareness campaign in 2014. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 
Over half of children living in federally funded homeless shelters are five years old or younger and many more young children live in other homeless situations. This new brief suggests best practices to facilitate collaboration between schools, service provider agencies, and early childhood programs to increase the enrollment of and provision of services to families with young children experiencing homelessness. It was developed by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), in collaboration with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) as part of the McKinney-Vento Law Into Practice Brief Series. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 
Expanding Access to Quality Pre-K is Sound Public Policy 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has published this new working paper by W. Steven Barnett. The paper explores the evidence to address the following questions: What does all the evidence say about effective preschool education and long-term cognitive benefits?; What are the estimated effects of state and local pre-K programs in more recent years?; Is Head Start ineffective?; Can government improve the quality of public preschool education? and; If states expand pre-K with temporary federal matching funds, what happens to state education budgets when that federal money is not available? (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 


Promoting School Readiness for Dual Language Learners  
The Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has published a new report by Linda Espinosa. The report provides a profile of young Dual Language Learners (DLLs) in the U.S., reviews the research on early care and education approaches that have been shown to support the development and achievement of these children, identifies key elements of high-quality early childhood education programs, and shows how these features can be integrated into programs for DLLs. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes).  
The Virtual Birth to Three Institute (vBTT) is a five-week online professional development experience that took place from May 28-June 27, 2013. This archive includes videos, guides, and Q&A professional development tip sheets, and is available as continuing education credits for free.  
The Alliance for Early Success, in collaboration with Child Trends, released this paper that lays out the research basis for focusing on the first eight years of life as a core strategy for improving outcomes for children and families. The paper identifies a number of research-based policy choices that state leaders can make in the areas of health, family support, and learning. It further lays out choices state policymakers can make regarding standards (for both children and services), screening and assessment, and accountability systems to promote effective program implementation. As a whole, this publication can help inform a comprehensive state strategy to build a strong foundation for success as children progress from the early childhood to the early elementary years. (National Governor's Association for Best Practices). 

Assessment for Learning and Development in K-3 

The National Governor's Association for Best Practices has shared this report from the K-3 North Carolina Assessment Think Tank. North Carolina is planning major reforms in K-3 assessments, calling for an assessment system that examines children's development more comprehensively than the typical assessments on reading and math. The report proposes a system that assesses and supports children's development in language and communication, cognitive development, approaches to learning, social-emotional development, and health and physical development. It also proposes a series of steps to design such a system, get input from stakeholders, pilot the assessments, provide training and technical support for implementation, and build in a continuous improvement process.


State Child Care Assistance Policies 2013

The National Women's Law Center created this report that captures changes in state policies since early 2012 on a number of areas, including funding, income eligibility, waiting lists, co-payments, and reimbursement rates. Overall, they found that families in about half the states are fairing worse than last year under one of these policies, while families in the other half are fairing better. (National Governor's Association for Best Practices).


Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report

Child Care Aware released its 2013 update of their cost of child care report, which includes state-by-state data on average child care costs for infants, 4-year-olds, and school-age children in both center-based and home-based settings. Child care continues to be one of the highest budget items for families, rivaling college costs in some cases. (National Governor's Association for Best Practices).


California's Best Practices for Young Dual Language Learners

The Governor's State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care in California put together a series of papers to inform how early care and education programs can effectively serve young dual language learners (DLLs). The papers cover topics about DLLs' brain development, family engagement, assessment, and early intervention for young DLLs with special needs. The information can help other states improve their policies and strategies for serving a fast-growing population. (National Governor's Association for Best Practices).  


Promoting Two-Generation Strategies: A Getting-Started Guide for State and Local Policy Makers

The idea of coupling early care and education with a robust family support initiative to create a "two-generation" strategy appears to be gaining traction. The Foundation for Child Development, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs teamed up to produce a guide to such an approach for local and state policymakers, focusing on the potential of pairing early learning with workforce development. After describing several local examples, the paper offers a number of "facilitating factors" that can support a 2-generation strategy, including more systemic policy coordination between ECE and workforce development, buy-in from critical policy leaders, administrative capacity to increase coordination and collaboration, integrated and flexible funding streams, and a data-driven and evidence-oriented culture. The publication concludes with a 6-step process that policymakers can use to design and implement a pilot. (For another discussion of the rationale and framework for a two-generation strategy, read this earlier report from Ascend at the Aspen Institute.


Conceptualizing and Measuring Collaboration in the Context of Early Childhood Care and Education 

 With an increasing emphasis on coordination and collaboration across early care and education sectors to provide consistent, high-quality services for families with young children, this new research brief identifies key components of collaboration. It also encourages the development and use of measures of collaboration in the early childhood field, and includes recommendations for future research. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes).  


National Program Standards Crosswalk Tool

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child Care has shared this resource that allows users to review and compare the content of various program standards available in the field. The early care and education field has multiple sets of program standards and the content of those standards varies widely. This Tool was developed through a public-private partnership to help states that are developing and aligning early childhood program standards across sectors. It allows users to review and compare the content of various program standards available in the field. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 


Head Start Approach to School Readiness

The Head Start Approach to School Readiness encompasses three major frameworks that promote an understanding of school readiness for parents and families, infants/toddlers, and preschoolers. The Office of Head Start recently published a new 19 minute video describing one of the three frameworks, the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. This framework identifies 11 key domains of learning and development for children ages 3 to 5 years old, including dual language learners and children with disabilities. All of the domains are illustrated in the video by children and teachers from Head Start programs across the country. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 


The Child Well-Being Index (CWI), released by the Foundation for Child Development, highlights trends from 1975-2012 across 28 key indicators of child well-being grouped into 7 domains: Family Economic Well-Being, Safe/Risky Behavior, Social Relationships, Emotional/Spiritual Well-Being, Community Engagement, Educational Attainment, and Health. Although gains have been made in some areas, such as higher pre-kindergarten enrollment rates and lower teenage birth rates; overall, the CWI shows little improvement compared with the base year, 1975. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 


The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has released this report that addresses two important challenges faced by low-income families eligible for child care assistance: burdensome administrative processes that make it difficult to get and keep child care benefits; and the cumulative challenges clients face when they try to access other benefits for which they are eligible, such as SNAP and Medicaid. These difficulties undercut the fundamental goals of the Child Care and Development Fund to support children's development and parental work. This report is an in-depth guide on the steps states can take to simplify child care subsidy programs-both better to serve families and to align with other work supports. It provides concrete policy ideas and examples from states across the country. (Urban Institute/ CLASP Report).