April 2014 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars, and 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.
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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
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,


Several years ago I had the opportunity to read the evidence about how the human brain develops.  I watched some of the videos from the Harvard Center for the Developing Child (now available on our website). I learned that in children's earliest years the experiences they have literally shape their brain architecture, establishing a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all the learning, health, and behavior that follows.  I was floored by the knowledge that if we invest in early experiences that maximize positive interactions and reduce toxic stress, we can create the kind of system that makes sure all of New Hampshire's children and their families are healthy, learning and thriving, now and in the future. I was struck, not just by the strength of the evidence, but that I hadn't known it before.


In his recent article in Business NH Magazine, Matt Mowry shared his own experience with discovering how critical the early years are.  If you have not had the opportunity to read his article, I recommend it highly.  In an introduction, he writes about the foster sons he and his wife are in the process of adopting and how they've helped him to understand the need for a well-coordinated early childhood system that supports all children. The article itself explores why businesses should care about early childhood. It is available for you to read through the generosity of the Endowment for Health. Click here to view the article, or visit the Endowment for Health's website and find the link entitled Why Babies Matter to Business.

Spark NH is striving to ensure that everybody views the evidence about early childhood and joins us in our vision. Matt Mowry has brought us many steps closer to achieving that goal and we thank him sincerely. 


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- February 28, 2014

The Workforce and Professional Development Committee engaged in a comprehensive discussion of the optimal use of $25,000 in funding to support the projects of the Committee.  The Committee decided to share the funding between two projects: the development of a set of shared, cross-sector core competencies for professionals working with children birth through age 8 and their families; and the first steps of the creation of a comprehensive, integrated, cross-sector professional development system using the NAEYC Workforce Designs Policy Blueprint as a framework.


Policy Committee- March 3, 2014

The Spark NH Policy Committee was informed that their request was approved by the Data Committee that the upcoming Needs Assessment would not include policy recommendations.  As the NH EC Plan charges the Policy Committee with releasing policy recommendations in 2014, it is advisable that both efforts be coordinated rather than separate.  The committee had a robust discussion answering the family engagement roadmap questions.  One outcome is to put family engagement as a regular item on meeting agendas.    $15,000 was approved by the Spark NH Council to hire an expert to conduct the policy scan.  The co-chairs will meet to discuss the hiring process. 


Data Committee- March 3, 2014

The Data Committee briefly discussed the Needs Assessment and what final steps need to be taken to complete both the report and data integration issue brief. The committee work plan, based off of the NH EC Plan, charges the committee to conduct a data policy audit so the group brainstormed ideas of what this would look like. Finally, the group filled out the Family Engagement Roadmap to reflect and think about how they can get families more involved in their work.  


Communications and Public Awareness Committee- March 6, 2014

The committee reviewed its work plan and discussed the new goal to assure parent engagement and involvement in the work of the committee. We completed the Family Engagement Roadmap which will be shared with the Family Engagement Task Force. The group also talked about new electronic forms and a video. We reviewed the recent Bedrock presentations and talked through lessons learned. There are several more presentations and trainings scheduled. We brainstormed the development of a Bedrock webinar that will be shared with board members of NH Philanthropy. The concept, purpose and presenters were discussed and a small group will continue to work on this. 


Evaluation Committee- March 7, 2014

The Evaluation Committee reviewed the Family Engagement Roadmap and discussed how they can better engage families in Spark NH's work. The committee also discussed the Granite State Poll and what types of questions they would want to include in the poll. They are hoping to have questions ready to go out in October. Finally, the group discussed the NH Listens series that take place throughout the state and thought that this would be a great opportunity for Spark NH to present its Bedrock Messaging presentation. 


Executive Committee - March 11, 2014

The Executive Committee debriefed the February Council meeting and felt that it was great to see such a large turnout for members of the public and committee members. The committee discussed the budget, the Council policy on outside speakers presenting at Council meetings, the Council work plan, and drafted the April Council meeting agenda. 


Quality Committee- March 18, 2014

The Quality Committee continued to discuss sections of the Family and Provider Survey to identify recommendations to the early childhood community in terms of access to services.  These recommendations will be sent to the Policy Committee when they are completed.  Discussion regarding ways to promote the shared definition of quality will be continued at the 4/15 meeting.


Upcoming Meetings 

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



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

                                                       (every 1st Monday) 


Friday, April 11, 12-2......................Executive Committee

                                                       (usually every 2nd Tuesday)


Monday, April 14, 9-10:30.............Family Partnership and Engagement Task                                                                            Force (2nd Monday of every other month) 


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

                                                       (every 3rd Tuesday)


Thursday, April 24, 9-11.................Bi-Monthly Council Meeting

                                                        (4th Thursday of every other month)


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



Thursday, May 1, 10-11:30............Communications and Public Awareness
                                                       Committee (1st Thursday of every other month)


Friday, May 2, 2-4..........................Evaluation Committee

                                                       (1st Friday of every other month) 


Monday, May 5, 9-10:30................Policy Committee

                                                       (every 1st Monday) 


Monday, May 5, 2-4.......................Data Committee

                                                       (every 1st Monday) 


Tuesday, May 13, 12-2..................Executive Committee

                                                       (every 2nd Tuesday) 


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

                                                       (every 3rd Tuesday)


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

Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


Visit the PORTAL at  www.sparknh.org/portal to view upcoming events, workshops and webinars, and job postings available throughout the state! 


The Forgotten, Children of Incarcerated Parents

1 in 28 children in the United States has an incarcerated parent. That means that over 9,800 children in New Hampshire have one or both parents in jail. Click here to learn more about the summer camp program called "Children of Incarcerated Parents Camp" and how you can help. 


Webinar on The Business Case for Early Childhood Development

April 4, 2014 from 11-12

Hosted by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, the Global Business Coalition for Education, and ReadyNation/America's Edge, this webinar will discuss the benefits of business engagement in early childhood development, and will also share examples of success. 

Click here to register. 

Grant Reviewer Opportunity 
The Early Head Start- Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership is a new competitive federal grant opportunity to expand access to high-quality, comprehensive services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families. Click here for more information on how to apply to be an expert reviewer for these EHS-CC Partnership grants! Deadline is August 11, 2014. 


Links of Interest   

GEMSS offers vetted information on a number of genetic conditions to help with potential issues in the classroom. It is a product of the New England Genetics Collaborative Education and Outreach work group, and all content is written/reviewed by a geneticist (Dr. Burke), genetic counselor, inclusion specialist/OT, and parents. View the new Cystic Fibrosis page here!

CLASP has released this report on new data from the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. With regard to racial and ethnic disparities in access to quality education and fair treatment of students, data reveal that students of color are in a position of extreme disadvantage in our country's public schools. For example, they are more likely to be retained in grade, to miss school time because of excessive suspensions and expulsions, and less likely to be prepared for college because they have fewer courses offered and less experienced teachers in their classrooms. 


CLASP released the 2012 Head Start State Profiles and a new interactive map that provides state-by-state data on all Head Start Programs in the State. All information is based on the 2012 Program Information Report data, which all Head Start programs are required to complete on an annual basis. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

This resource provides a collection of 232 nationally recognized health and safety standards applicable to infants and toddlers in early care and education settings. They are a subset of Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd ed. (2013). This resource is a result of a joint collaborative project of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

The National Association for Regulatory Administration has released this report that provides detailed data on child care licensing regulations and monitoring in all 50 states. Findings are presented according to child care setting type and topics covered include background checks, compliant investigations, monitoring, inspector training, the licensing process, child health, discipline, emergency preparedness, nutrition, child care staff requirements and training, and child supervision. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

This report, released in January, by the Build Initiative is a summary on the efforts of a number of states to develop statewide community-based approaches to building comprehensive early childhood systems. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

Untreated maternal depression is damaging to children, particularly young children, placing their safety and cognitive and behavioral development at risk. This issue brief by CLASP summarizes why early childhood and anti-poverty advocates should seize the moment to address the problem and create pathways out of poverty for both generations. 

CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden is a strong advocate for low-income children and families who has delivered results as a leader in federal, state, and local government and in senior positions in the research, nonprofit, and academic worlds. This is the first issue of a new commentary series by Golden that will periodically provide long-form analysis and insight into poverty and opportunity.  

Melissa Bright, research coordinator for the University of Florida Institute of Child Health Policy shares that "when children experience three or more stressful events, they are six times more likely to suffer from a mental, physical or learning disorder than children who didn't face these traumatic experiences." 

From the Migration Policy Institute, this report examines levels of school readiness among young children by race/ethnicity and nativity using a nationally representative U.S. birth-cohort study. The authors identify the contextual factors- such as family circumstances, parenting practices, and enrollment in center-based child care- that encourage early school success.

The Migration Policy Institute put together this report that profiles the populations of Dual Language Learner children in the U.S. who represent nearly one-third of all U.S. children under age 6, outlining school readiness and patterns of achievement. It evaluates the research on early care and education approaches that have been shown to support higher levels of language and literacy development for this population. 

This report from the Migration Policy Institute examines three types of educational and health policy interventions that may reduce disparities between the children of U.S.-born parents and their immigrant counterparts during the crucial transition between prekindergarten and elementary school. 

Children of immigrants represent nearly one-fourth of all children in the U.S. under the age of 18. The Migration Policy Institute summarized data on the health of these children and found that those with Mexican immigrant parents in particular tend to experience greater childhood health risks than most of their peers. 

Based on a review of existing research that increasingly points to negative developmental consequences of parental unauthorized status across all stages of childhood, this report examines how a parent's status affects child development. The authors explore possible options for policies and programs that could mitigate these risks, and propose ways to achieve this goal within the framework of proposed comprehensive immigration reform. (Migration Policy Institute). 

The Departments of Health and Human Services and Education have launched a new collaborative initiative that will help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and thrive alongside their peers. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes).

The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute reports that children who received high-quality early care and education in the Abecedarian Project from birth until age 5 enjoyed better physical health in their mid-30s than peers who did not attend the child care-based program. Significant measures also indicate that better health lies ahead for these individuals. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

Early learning governance structures in many Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge states are in transition as states work to build their early learning systems. This new document provides a graphic representation of the governance structures in Round 1 and Round 2 grantee states. It is not meant to show a relative hierarchy of agencies across states, but rather the placement of programs within specific agencies. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

This brief from CLASP examines the difficulties many low-income parents face as they try to deal with unpredictable job schedules and child care simultaneously. A growing number of workers have minimal control over their hours and these workers are disproportionately earning lower wages. At the same time, child care providers find it difficult to accommodate parents with volatile schedules. As a result, parents are left to piece together a patchwork of care arrangements, resulting in instability for their children. This brief provides a list of potential action steps, highlights important existing research, and identifies the need for more research and data collection. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

Children of immigrants can benefit from attending prekindergarten, though they enroll less, on average, than children with U.S.-born parents. The Urban Institute recently published these fact sheets on supporting immigrant families' access to prekindergarten. Click to view fact sheets on Enrollment Strategies and Building Relationships. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes). 

This research brief from Child Trends estimates the proportion of children reported by parents to be in "very good" or "excellent" health. It examines trends in health status for children ages birth through 17, nationally and across states, and across family income-levels. 

The Early Childhood Data Collaborative supports the development and use of coordinated state early childhood data systems to improve program effectiveness, inform decisions, and help policymakers answer key questions. The collaborative has released this report that summarizes findings from a July 2013 survey that assessed data systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

This Innovation in Action interview from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child is the first in a series of portraits planned by the Center that will highlight the innovative, collaborative work occurring in the Frontiers of Innovation community. 

Harvard Center on the Developing Child shares this TEDxBeaconStreet video of Elisabeth Babcock, president and CEO of Crittenton Women's Union (CWU) in Boston. Babcock presents on the science-informed approach to build executive functioning- the skill set in the brain that includes multi-tasking, self-control and setting goals. She shares the success of CWU coaching models that allow low-income clients to strengthen their vital self-regulatory skills and embark on a course to self-sufficiency.

Child Trends' Blog features this article on big data and social science research. Leading tech companies have used big data techniques, which extract knowledge and insights from large, complex collections of digital data, for commercial purposes and have pioneered advances in the field of big data. This article discusses how these techniques can be used in social science research. 

On March 13, 2014, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, with support from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, released a set of Standards for Systems of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and a companion background white paper. The standards address the core components of the structure and process of an effective system of care for children with special health care needs. They were derived from a comprehensive review of the literature, guidance from more than 30 key informants, case studies of standards currently in sue within selected sites, and input and guidance from a national work group of relevant stakeholders. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes).