July 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.
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
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,


Spark NH has developed a pledge asking signers to acknowledge their understanding of the vital importance of healthy early childhood development to our future prosperity.  Both organizations and individuals are encouraged to sign it.   When we give our "Children: the Bedrock of the Granite State" presentations we ask audience members to sign the pledge.  We now also have an online sign up for the pledge. Soon, as we gain numbers of those who've pledged, we'll post names of signers on our website to encourage others to join. Below is the pledge language.  Please consider signing up by clicking here: http://sparknh.com/pledge  


We believe children are the bedrock of the Granite State. We know that the future prosperity of New Hampshire depends on our ability to steward the next generation who will live, work, and lead in our state. We understand that effective public and private investments in young children and their families can ensure strong foundations for future growth.


We are committed to ensuring all New Hampshire children and their families are healthy, learning, and thriving now and in the future. We pledge to take action by connecting to Spark NH, taking a stand, spreading the word, and/or supporting innovation in our communities. 


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- June 2, 2014

Three new members joined the committee this month: Janine Lesser, Julie McConnell and Cherie Bammarito.  There was a thoughtful discussion about how best for Spark NH to pilot a meaningful partnership with a strong, regional entity.  The pilot will begin with the Cos Coalition for Young Children and Families.  An update on the Endowment for Health's Early Childhood Advisory Committee work was given.  Their final meeting will be June 20th.  At the request of the Quality Committee, Julie Sackett and Jackie Cowell attended their most recent committee meeting to ensure that our two committees are coordinating their policy work.  Discussions are continuing with Kieschnick Consulting and the Carsey Institute about the upcoming policy scan/recommendations work.


Data Committee- June 2, 2014

The Data committee reviewed the needs assessment, determined that all edits are complete, and started reviewing the recommendations that were pulled out of the report. The committee hired Peter Antal to write an executive summary of the needs assessment that should be completed in July. Finally, the group discussed the next steps for forming a Data Governance group at DHHS and thought about what Spark NH's role in this would be, and also discussed potential new members they would like to be on the committee. 

Family Partnership & Engagement Task Force- June 9, 2014

There was a lot of excitement at the meeting around the roadmap and feedback we received.  It is not only the answers that were given but the intent to  think about families while moving forward with the hard work we are all doing. We will be sharing the highlights on June 26.  We continue to work on a plan for the taskforce which includes  a parent survey and parent focus groups with the intent of bringing questions to the parents we serve and sharing the feedback with the Council.  


Executive Committee - June 10, 2014

The Executive Committee reviewed the YTD Budget and discussed project fund requests from the Data and Policy Committees. They were given an update on Project LAUNCH and ECCS and discussed the progress of the Council work plan. The committee finalized the agenda for the June Council meeting, picked the date for the Council retreat, and discussed strategies for building relationships with the Governor, Commissioners and Legislature. Finally, the committee discussed Spark NH's capacity to serve as an advisory group for Watch Me Grow, and eventually for other groups later down the road. 


Quality Committee- June 17, 2014

The Quality Committee spent the majority of the meeting reviewing Lynn Davey's comments on the description of the quality statement.  The agreed upon changes will be made and reviewed at the July meeting at which point next steps will be decided.


Upcoming Meetings 

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


Monday, July 7.........................
9-10:30 am
Policy Committee
(every 1st Monday)

Monday, July 7.........................
2-4 pm
Data Committee
(every 1st Monday)

Tuesday, July 8.........................
12-2 pm

Executive Committee
(every 2nd Tuesday)

Wednesday, July 9...................
10-11:30 am
Communications & Public Awareness Committee (usually the 1st Thursday of every other month)

Friday, July 11...........................
2-4 pm
Evaluation Committee
(usually the 1st Friday of every other month) 

Tuesday, July 15.......................
1-3 pm
Quality Committee
(every 3rd Tuesday)

Friday, July 25...........................
9-11 am
Workforce & Professional Development Committee (every 4th Friday) 

Monday, August 4......................
9-10:30 am
Policy Committee
(every 1st Monday)

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

Monday, August 11....................
9-10:30 am
Family Partnership & Engagement Task Force
(2nd Monday of every other month)

Tuesday, August 12...................
12-2 pm
Executive Committee
(every 2nd Tuesday)

Tuesday, August 19...................
1-3 pm 
Quality Committee
(every 3rd Tuesday)

Friday, August 22.......................
9-11 am
Workforce & 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! 


Links of Interest   

A New Vision for Child Care
As a part of the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative, led by CLASP in partnership with the Urban Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this policy brief was released to address the challenges faced by families with low-income struggling to access and maintain child care and other work support benefits, as well as the burdensome processes agencies face administering these programs. 

The Abbott Preschool Program: A 15-Year Progress Report  
CLASP shares this report by the Education Law Center that discusses the successes and challenges of implementing a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that mandated full-day preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds living in 31 of the state's poorest school districts. This successful program now serves as a national model for pre-kindergarten expansion. 

Early Stress Gets under the Skin: Promising Initiatives to Help Children Facing Chronic Adversity
This policy brief highlights how poverty, abuse and neglect, homelessness, and other conditions make children vulnerable to damage caused by toxic stress. The brief includes evidence on how chronic stress can alter young children's brains and biological systems, such as the immune response systems, and the negative impacts of these changes on a child's physical and mental health and well-being, and also provides strategies that can help combat the effects of chronic stress. (CLASP Early Childhood Education Update- June 2014). 

Children's Budget 2014

First Focus has published a detailed guide to over 180 distinct federal investments in children, including traditional children's initiatives, such as education and child abuse and neglect prevention, as well as other investments that benefit children, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 27, 2014). 


ACEs and Prevention Online Trainings

Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Quality Assist, has developed two online learning modules: 1) The ACE Study: Its Impact and Our Opportunity; and 2) A Child Abuse Prevention Response to ACEs. These are free online courses.


Shared Value Initiative Summit Recap
This recap of the May 2014 "Shared Value Leadership Summit: Investing in Prosperity," includes photos, videos, and presentations from the summit. The Shared Value Initiative is a global community of practice committed to driving adoption and implementation of shared value strategies among leading companies, civil society, and government organizations. 

Fiscal Analysis of a Child Welfare Financing Reform Proposal
What would it cost to change our child welfare system to improve foster care, and reduce the amount of time kids are in state, care, for example? Child Trends analyzed a child welfare financing reform proposal from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, providing estimates of the federal costs and savings resulting from each proposed major provision. (Child Trends E-News).

Infant, Toddler, and Early Childhood Mental Health Competencies: A Comparison of Systems
ZERO TO THREE and the Erikson Institute recently published this report by Jon Korfmacher that looks at how different state working groups have articulated the knowledge and skills needed by early childhood mental health providers, and how these competencies are being used. The report includes a comparison of early childhood mental health competency systems across six states- California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Vermont. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 6, 2014). 

National Center for Children in Poverty Early Childhood State Policy Profiles
These updated early childhood state policy profiles highlight state polices in the areas that affect the health and well-being of young children in families with low incomes. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 6, 2014). 

Observed Quality and Psychometric Properties of the CLASS-T in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey
This technical brief from the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) reports on the use of the Toddler Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS-T) in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES). The authors provide an overview of the Baby FACES study and a descriptive snapshot of quality in center-based settings based on observations in Early Head Start classrooms. They then document evidence from Baby FACES of the instrument's psychometric properties, including results of factor analyses, internal consistency reliability, and concurrent and predictive associations to child development outcomes and other key indicators of quality. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 6, 2014). 

Who Uses Student Data?
This infographic from the Data Quality Campaign show the who, what, and how of education data, which include information on attendance, course taking, and demographics. Most data stay at the school and district level to inform local decisions- how to support students in the classroom. Entities such as service providers and the federal government only have access to the limited set of information they need to provide services to students and ensure student achievement increases. You can also view a video of the same information (Data Quality Campaign). 

Improving Parent Engagement Opportunities for Refugee and Immigrant Families in Early Childhood Programs

CLASP shares this report from the Migration Policy Institute that highlights the significant obstacles immigrant and refugee populations face as they try to engage in their children's education. One issue identified in the report is the lack of dedicated federal funding to support immigrant families and their unique needs. 


Five Things to Know about Children and Sleep

Sleep -- too little? too much? -- seems to be a perennial concern for parents, teachers, and others who care about children's well-being. Child Trends shares 5 important things that you should know about children and sleep. 


Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture, and Systems Knowledge

This report, also from the Migration Policy Institute, identifies the challenges immigrant and refugee families face as they try to engage in their young children's education, particularly those with low literacy or limited English proficiency. The report also highlights strategies that can be used to address these challenges. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 13, 2014). 


Child Trends Hispanic Institute 

Today, one in four U.S. children is of Hispanic descent, and by 2050, the population of Latino children will represent almost 36% of kids-nearly as high as the percentage of white children. Yet there has not been sufficient research on the diverse communities of Latino children and youth to guide programs and services, policy decisions, and public investments. The Child Trends Hispanic Institute has been launched to help address this gap. (Child Trends E-News: Announcing the Child Trends Hispanic Institute). 


Child Trends' Evaluation of the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors Program

This brief from the Child Trends Hispanic Institute discusses the results of an evaluation of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, one of the largest programs in the U.S. working with low-income Latino parents of preschool-aged children. Since it began in 2007, Abriendo Puertas has served over 30,000 parents/families in 34 states. The brief shows that the program results in enhanced parenting practices that promote preschool children's learning and preparation for school, such as reading with children at home and knowing what to look for in quality child care. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 13, 2014). 


American Academy of Pediatrics Early Brain and Child Development Training and Education Modules

The Early Brain and Child Development initiative, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics has produced five training modules for primary care health providers that focus on early brain development, toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, supporting parents, cultivating community relationships, and advocacy. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 13, 2014). 


Brain Hero

The Center on the Developing Child released this video that was created in collaboration with the Interactive Media Division of the School Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. This video tests new ways of communicating the science of early childhood development. The video is also available in Spanish, Super Cerebro.


Governors' Principles for Federal Early Childhood Education Legislation 

The National Governors Association has released guiding principles that focus on the role of states in developing high-quality early education systems. The principles include governors taking the lead role in a state-federal early education partnership, the federal government providing states maximum flexibility in implementing programs, the recognition of existing state investment in early childhood education by the federal government and support for states to pursue innovation and build a high-quality early education infrastructure. (NGA News Release: Governors Release Early Education Principles). 


Coming to America: Immigrant Parents' Jobs Don't Allow for Investments in Children

This report from CLASP highlights a new study that suggests that immigrant families struggle to secure jobs that will allow them to invest in their children, and that significant policy changes, including two-generation strategies that target both parents and children, are required to address growing inequities.


National Summer Learning Association 

For children living with a low income, summer learning matters. According to research cited by the National Summer Learning Association, "more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher- income youth[s] can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities" (Alexander et al., 2007). A new, large-scale national study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, School of Education indicates that consistent attendance in after school and summer programs can lead to improvements in math and academic achievement, reductions in school absences, and improvements in behavioral outcomes when students participate in after school activities. (Administration for Children and Families, Early Childhood Development Outreach).


Summer Food Participation Grows Across Nation

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released its annual report,

Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacationthat shows the number of children with a low-income eating summer meals has increased, and there has been progress in reaching a higher proportion of children in need.  FRAC President Jim Weill writes that "Summer meals are moving in a positive direction, but we need to accelerate progress. Summer meals are only reaching one in seven low-income children. States and cities should continue to build on their successes so we can keep reducing the summer hunger gap." (Food Research and Action Center). 


The Progress of Education Reform: Science in the Early Years 

On June 17, 2014, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) published this report that focuses on the benefits associated with science education in early learning and provides recommendations for policymakers. It complements an earlier ECS report, Math in the Early Years (October 2013). (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 20, 2014). 


EPSDT- A Guide for States: Coverage in the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents

The U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) published this guide that is intended to help states, health care providers and others to understand the scope of services that are covered under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit to ensure that children and adolescents receive appropriate preventive, dental, mental health, and developmental, and specialty services through their Medicaid programs. It compiles EPSDT policy guidance that CMS has issued over the years into a single document. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 20, 2014). 


Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers in Early Head Start

The Early Head Start National Resource Center has published two new technical assistance papers on Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers in Early Head Start. Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers, Part 1 and Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers, Part 2. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 20, 2014). 


FIND: Using Science to Coach Caregivers

Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child has shared this video created by the Children's Home Society of Washington, the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Social Learning Center, that shows clips of parents interacting with their young children to help the parents identify their own strengths and learn which interactions best promote healthy development. 


Better Data Toolkit

The Collective Impact Forum suggests this Better Data Toolkit from the Forum for Youth Investment's Ready by 21 initiative that enables partners to share data among themselves and create a permanent system of shared measurements to consistently track results and make adjustments based on those results. The tool guides partners through a process of identifying data needs, filling data gaps, and using data to influence real-time decision making, and includes a number of tools, readings, and other resources. (News from the Collective Impact Forum- June 2014). 


A Stoplight for Student Data Use

The Data Quality Campaign put together this resource that summarizes some of the main provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related regulations. This guide provides answers to some key privacy questions such as: who can share data; what information can they share; with whom can they share it; and when do they need parental consent. 


It's Time for a New Way to Measure Effectiveness of Early and K-12 Education

Paul Nyhan of Thrive by Five Washington poses the question of how do we know if statewide reforms in early learning are working? A report by The Ounce, A Framework for Rethinking State Education Accountability and Support from Birth through High School suggests that we need a clearer picture of schools- in particular, a new way of measuring statewide early and K-12 education. 


Child Indicator Spring 2014

This newsletter shares major developments and new resources in the field of child and youth indicators. It includes indicators about public assistance (for example, most supplemental nutrition assistance recipients are in families where at least one person is working), items recommended for inclusion in electronic health records (social connections, health literacy, etc.), new data on adopted and stepchildren (28 percent of adopted children in 2009-11 had adoptive parents of a different race), and more. (E-News: News in Child Indicators). 


Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) recently published a formal policy statement recommending that pediatric providers promote early literacy development for children beginning in infancy and continuing at least until the age of kindergarten. This report discusses five recommendations related to: 1) encouraging all parents to read with young children; 2) counseling all parents about developmentally appropriate shared-reading activities; 3) providing developmentally appropriate books at health supervision visits for all high-risk, low-income young children; 4) using a robust spectrum of options to support and promote these efforts; and 5) partnering with other child advocates to influence national messaging and policies that support and promote key early shared-reading experiences. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 27, 2014). 


Child Care in America Today

Close to 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care every week. On average, the children of working mothers spend 36 hours a week in such care. On June 23, 2014, Child Care Aware of America announced the release of the annual Child Care State Fact Sheets. These fact sheets provide data on the cost, use, and supply of child care in individual states, as well as family characteristics related to the need of child care, services provided by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, and the child care workforce. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 27, 2014).


The Active Implementation Hub

Th Active Implementation Hub has a new page that introduces practitioners, educators, coaches and trainers to the wealth of free learning content available on the site. The page includes 4 short orientation videos to view and share with others. The Active Implementation Hub is a free, online learning environment for use by anyone engaged in actively implementing or scaling up programs and innovations. It is a project of the State Implementation and Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices Center and the National Implementation Research Network. (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center eNotes- June 27, 2014).