November 2015 Newsletter
In This Issue
Spark New Hampshire's website is
 Visit it today for up-to-date information about the great work Spark NH is doing to better coordinate early childhood programs and services in New Hampshire.
Get Involved!
If you are interested in being involved in Spark NH, please contact
Director Laura Milliken at
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,

Happy Birthday Spark NH!

Spark NH has just begun its 5th year of work!  Most of you know that we have a  23 member Governor-appointed Council and  7 Committees all working hard to strengthen New Hampshire's early childhood system and strive to realize our vision that all New Hampshire's children are healthy, learning and thriving, now and in the future.  For more information on committee work, please see the brief summaries below or visit our website to review committee meeting summaries.
To read about some of Spark NH's key accomplishments in the past year, and vision for the future, Read our October 1, 2015 Report to the Governor. 

The Raising of America and Raising NH: The Early Years

The Raising of America is a five part documentary series produced by California Newsreel exploring how we approach early childhood development in the United States. The series will be airing on New Hampshire Public Television beginning on November 5 and will be a great opportunity to draw attention to the importance of the early years.  Click here to watch the trailer and click here to view the NHPTV schedule.

Raising New Hampshire -- The Early Years
Raising New Hampshire -- The Early Years is the exciting co-production of NH Public Television and the Endowment for Health, which was created to offer a local lens on the issues addressed in The Raising of America.  The New Hampshire program examines systemic gaps in the state's system of early childhood supports and services, and innovative solutions that, if brought to scale statewide, show amazing promise for New Hampshire children and families.  Many Spark NH Council and committee members and others working to make Spark NH's vision a reality are featured in the video.  I encourage you to watch it on November 5 on NHPTV and to share it with others. Watch the trailer here.
Host a viewing!
Spark NH will be helping to coordinate viewing events for the Raising of America and Raising NH - the Early Years around New Hampshire. California Newsreel has discussion guides available to use with that documentary and The Endowment for Health has created a viewing guide for Raising NH - The Early Years. If you would like to organize an event please contact us at  We will be posting New Hampshire events on our website.
Transforming Tomorrow's Workforce Today: A First in the "Early Learning Nation" Event
On October 5 I had the great pleasure of attending the exciting event organized by Early Learning NH (Spark NH and many others served on the planning team).  Transforming Tomorrow's Workforce Today: A First in the "Early Learning Nation" event was a wonderful opportunity to consider the latest research about how brains develop, and to hear those from the policy, military and business worlds who all agree that investment in the early years is vital for our future.
Speakers included brain development experts such as Dr. Patricia Kuhl, Dr. Kathryn Hirsch-Pasek and Ellen Galinsky who all gave fascinating insights into why children learn best in an environment of stable, loving, serve and return relationships where they are protected from toxic stress. Former Lieutenant General William Tangney and former CEO of Proctor and Gamble John Pepper made riveting and inspiring speeches urging increased focus on the early years. 
Other highlights included a discussion moderated by Cokie Roberts and including Mark Shriver, President of Save the Children Action Network, and Kevin Madden, a well-respected Republican pundit, about why early learning is a bi-partisan issue and why we should all care about it.  Finally, though all the presidential candidates were invited, only Hillary Clinton was able to attend.  Secretary Clinton was interviewed by Cokie Roberts and spoke about how important effective early learning is to the future of our nation.
The 300 people who attended from all over the state left the event energized and inspired.  The PowerPoint presentations and videos used by speakers are now available on the Spark NH websiteFor those of you who could not attend (and for those who would like to see it again), the whole event was video-taped and will be available on the Spark NH website in the next few weeks.

Respectfully submitted,
Laura Milliken, Esq.
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 Meeting - August 28, 2015
The Committee reviewed Blueprint Recommendation Process: Define Criteria for Prioritizing Projects, Clarify and Refine Recommendations, and Rate Recommendations by Criteria. It was suggested that we focus on Importance, Immediacy and Feasibility as we evaluate the recommendations.  We will examine our criteria to insure inclusion. The group continued through the remaining recommendations, making edits and clarifying terminology as needed.  It was requested that we spend time on more examination of some of the Financing suggestions. There will be no meeting in September. Committee members continue to vet draft Shared Professional Early Childhood Core Competencies with constituencies, collaborators and stakeholders.
Communications and Public Awareness Committee Meeting September 3, 2015
The 2-1-1 task force reported on their progress.  There was an update on the "Why We Care" & "Pledge" Videos.  Laura has spoken to WMUR about using the Spark videos as PSAs.  Filming for Raising New Hampshire has begun.  It will premiere on NHPTV on November 5 at 8:30 pm, immediately after The Raising of America.  The list of upcoming Bedrock and Ambassador trainings was reviewed.  The October 5 Early Learning Nation event was discussed.  The NH Dept. of Education has agreed to make this their annual summit.  The event will be taped by WMUR for future use.  The Race Matters discussion will happen at the next meeting.
Evaluation Committee Meeting - September 4, 2015
The Committee discussed the Levels of Collaboration Scale which was completed by most Council members at the August meeting.  Laura and Peter will follow up with the Council members who were not present.  The committee also discussed results of the committee member survey.  A presentation will be made to the Council-- likely in December.
Executive Committee MeetingSeptember 8, 2015
The committee debriefed the August Council meeting.  A discussion on Council membership continued.  The Governor's Office has denied the request to reconsider adding members to the Council.  If ECCS requires a representative from the health community to be added, we will open the discussion back up. The committee drafted the agenda for the October Council meeting which will be held at the Governor's Council Chambers.  A concept paper will be submitted to the NHCF in October.  Laura is working with Impact Monadnock on their strategic planning.  Nominations of officers were discussed.  The report to the Governor will be shared.     
Policy Committee Meeting - September 14, 2015
The committee reviewed and approved the final draft of the white paper of specific actions to accompany the "Framework for Action for New Hampshire's Young Children."  The white paper will now be sent for review and approval to the Office of the Governor.   Updates were given on Spark NH's regional partnerships and the CCDF taskforce.  Members were urged to attend the Oct 5 "Transforming Tomorrow's Workforce Today" event in Manchester.  There will be no October Policy Committee meeting.  The next meeting will be the regularly-scheduled time on Nov 2.  The meeting evaluations were positive.

Data Committee Meeting - September 9, 2015
The Data Committee reviewed the group's ratings for indicators to continue to identify the most appropriate SPARK indicators to consider for inclusion on the WISDOM dashboard.  The group continued to discuss the parameters that would be ideal for a data set to be considered. The specific language for some of the indicators was reviewed and edited.  The group received an update on the Project Launch database.  The group did put forth a recommendation for a request for funding to allow for continuing support on these efforts from Peter Antal.
Executive Committee Meeting October 13, 2015
The conversation about nominations of Council officers continued.  The Nomination Committee is looking to fill to position of Council Chair.  They will present the slate at the next meeting.  Agenda and details for the October Council meeting were finalized.  The Pledge campaign will also be launched at this meeting.  Peter joined to gather feedback on the data indicators that the Data Committee drafted.  Conversations about NH becoming a CSEFEL Pyramid state; Early Learning Nation; Poverty Competencies; and Vroom took place.  Deidre Dunn will attend the BUILD Initiative conference representing Spark.  The December Council meeting will take place on Thursday, December 10. 

Upcoming Meetings 

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

Monday, November 2nd, 9:00-10:30amPolicy Committee 
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Monday, November 2nd, 2:00-4:00Data Committee
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Thursday, November 5th, 10:00-11:30amCommunications and Public Awareness Committee
(First Thursday of Every Other Month)
Tuesday, November 10th, 12:00-2:00pmExecutive Committee  
(2nd Tuesday of Every Month) 
Friday, November 20th, 9:00-11:00amWorkforce and Professional Development Committee 
(Usually 4th Friday of Every Month)

Monday, December 7th, 9:00-10:30am  Policy Committee
(1st Monday of Every Month 
Monday, December 7th, 2:00-4:00pm
Data Committee 
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Thursday, December 10th, 8:30-11:00amSpark NH Council 
(Usually 4th Thursday of Every Other Month)
Tuesday, December 15th, 1:00-3:00pmQuality of Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee
(3rd Tuesday of Every Other Month)
Friday, December 18th, 9:00-11:00amWorkforce and Professional Development Committee 
(Usually 4th Friday of Every Month) 

Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars
Visit the PORTAL at to view upcoming events, workshops and webinars, and job postings available throughout the state!  
Links of Interest 

The Migration Policy Institute released research regarding the effects of discrimination in young children. The report shares the types of personal and structural discrimination that young children of immigrants may face in the school setting. Several recommendations are made including focused training for teachers and building relationships between schools and immigrant communities. 

A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development found that the United States ranks 32 out of 39 countries in early childhood enrollment rates at age 3. The U.S. is also at the back of the pack on early childhood spending. The consequences of the lack of enrollment and funding are discussed.  

A new report from James Heckman analyzes the benefits of early childhood education. The report centers on using standardized tests to evaluate programs. In the essay, Heckman argues against this rising trend. Heckman explains that when you focus on just scores, dozens of other achievements and future outcomes are being overlooked. 

Recent data released from the American Community Survey shows that child poverty rates have decreased across all racial-ethnic groups. Despite this drop, race based gaps are still present in child poverty rates. The fact sheets include national data with additional fact sheets that paint a clearer picture of child poverty in New Hampshire. Policy recommendations are given. 

In her blog post, Jennifer Keys Adair shares her argument against labeling, especially in the early childhood setting. Adair shares her experiences as an early childhood professor. She explains that she has seen an increase of labeling children and that those labels are having a negative effect on those children and families. Adair introduces an argument against the "word gap" language label; explaining why the label is dangerous.
The Center for American Progress examines zero-tolerance discipline policies in the school setting and discusses the effects these policies have on children. The piece argues that suspensions and expulsions are used too often and contribute to the preschool-to-prison pipeline. Recommendations are made, including providing more resources to help teachers address behaviors in the classroom.  

John Kania and Mark Kramer published a follow up to their 2011 piece, "Collective Impact". Their new article focuses on implementing equity into collective impact work. Kania and Kramer lasting change cannot be made if equity is not infused within the five conditions of collective impact. Recommendations on how to do this such work are made. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognize that the role of the clinician has changed. In this article, the AAP provide recommendations, policies, and practices to put into place to ensure that they are addressing health disparities. These recommendations were developed to help clinicians ensure equity in their medical practices. 

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a joint policy statement regarding inclusion of children with disabilities in high quality early childhood programs. The report highlights the need for each child to have equal access high quality early childhood programs. 

The Parent Portal from ZERO TO THREE provides resources to parents and caregivers. Resources are provided in the following areas: Ages and Stages, Social-Emotional Development, School Readiness and Early Learning, Play, Challenging Behavior, Sleep, and Positive Parenting Approaches. 

While participating in a learning collaborative to delve into the topic of return on investment (ROI), Michigan discovered that their Maternal Infant Health Program provides a significant return on investment. The fact sheet provides their analysis, numbers, and description of services provided. 

The newest chapter from the BUILD Initiative e-book centers on data. States that have coordinated data systems are highlighted. The chapter specifically outlines how states have coordinated data systems to increase access to high quality learning and advance data collecting. 

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University designed a game that explains resiliency. The game shows players that by making certain choices, we can help children and communities become more resilient when facing serious challenges. 

The Early Learning Language and Literacy Series is a 14-part module launched by the Preschool Development Grant Technical Assistance Program. The module is designed for professionals who support the language and literacy development of young children birth - five. The two learning objectives for the modules are "to provide teachers with background information/research on early language and literacy" and "to provide evidence-based strategies to support the language and literacy development of young children". 

The National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, launched by HHS in October 2015, pairs mental health professionals with people who work with children and their families. This model builds capacity for early childhood teachers and parents. This intervention has been proven to increase children's social skills, reduce challenging behaviors, increase family-classroom collaboration, and much more. 

HomeVEE, Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness, released the results of their 2015 review. Four models have been added and and one model has been updated to the list of home visiting models that meet the evidence based early childhood home visiting service delivery model as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy Beginnings and Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) are two new models that meet the criteria. The executive summary provides more information about the 2015 Review.  

Models and ideas that have been evaluated in communities and programs across the United States have been posted on the "Learn the Signs. Act Early" webpage. These models and ideas were created and carried out to extend the reach of the Learn the Signs. Act Early program. Learn the Signs. Act Early is a program to help caregivers learn about early childhood development and the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disabilities. 

In early October, Assistant Secretary for Special Education Michael Yudin brought together national experts for an online discussion about the use of suspension and expulsion in the early childhood setting. The panel discussed efforts that are underway to end the use of those disciplinary actions in the early childhood setting.

In a recent webinar, the National Center for Homeless Education announced a 3-part brief series regarding homeless children and youth with disabilities. The PowerPoint presentation along with the handouts are available for download. 

As part of their Best Practices in Homeless Education Brief Series, The National Center for Homeless Education released a brief outlining how the McKinney-Vento Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can coordinate to best serve homeless children wtih disabilities. The brief provides homeless education liaisons and special education program administrators with strategies on how to best work together to design a coordinated system to serve homeless children and youth with disabilities. Short case study scenarios are included to demonstrate how to but these strategies to use. 

A brief out of the National Center for Homeless Education provides information for parents of families facing homelessness. The piece defines homelessness, explains laws that help homeless children and youth with disabilities, and provides numerous frequently asked questions regarding education of homeless children and youth with disabilities. 

The National Center for Homeless Education published a brief that shares the requirements of both the McKinney-Vento Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The brief is intended to help educators and administrators understand both laws in order to create a system that allows for improved educational access and success for homeless students with disabilities.  

It is known that child poverty rates increased during the Great Depression, but new data out of the U.S. Census Bureau shows that those rates have only slightly decreased in the five years since the recession. The Child Trends research found that more than 1 in 5 children live in poverty. Their research methods, statistical graphs, and the effects of poverty are provided. 

Child Trends' What Works/LINKS (Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully) Database has a library of over 700 program interventions that have at least one randomized, intent-to-treat evaluation. The database can be searched by keyword or by selecting specific criteria options. The database has interventions for children, youth, and adolescents, birth through college. 

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families released a brief stating that early childhood education has a positive impact on Latino children with low-incomes. The research found that Latino children with low-incomes who attended publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs entered kindergarten ready to learn and that success carried through third grade. It is important to note that this research did not include the population of children who participated in Head Start or family childcare.  

Nurturing healthy social and emotional development in children is crucial for their school, work, and relationship success. Child Trends has several research projects and publications that highlight the importance of social and emotional development. The featured publications provide research and resources for practitioners. 

In an August 2015 report, Child Trends examines "mean" behavior in the early childhood setting. Seven hypotheses regarding the roots of bullying behavior are shared and research backing the theories are provided. Evidence-based early childhood interventions that can prevent and address bullying behavior are outlined. 

A new report re-imagines TANF and explores the benefits it could have if the program was reformed. CLASP outlines concrete steps to make this reform a reality. Positive reform and changes could be made to TANF to make the program a strong two-generational approach for families with a low-income.  

The FrameWorks Institute has compiled a series of reports and videos that seek to understand the challenges of building public sector support for the creation of programs that prevent child maltreatment. Research topics include early childhood education, the roots of addiction, and early childhood mental health, among others. Videos include metaphor visualizations for resilience, "Redirecting the River", and "Calibrating the Reward Dial". The multi-media report pulls testimony from experts and the public regarding their views of child maltreatment. 

The Economic Policy Institute found that high quality childcare is out of reach for most working families. Their research shows that in some areas, child care costs rival the cost of in-state tuition of public universities. The report highlights key findings, breaks down the cost of living in each state, and compares the cost of childcare among states. 

Child Care Aware of America's yearly report analyzing child care in all fifty states has been released. An introduction, the full report for each state, and a social media toolkit are available. The reports use CCR&R state data and federal data in order to asses the following characteristics in each state: "family characteristics related to the need for childcare, use of childcare, supply of childcare, cost of childcare, childcare workforce, and the services provided by CCR&R". 

The final draft of the new NH Early Learning Standards serve as a guide for childcare professionals. The standards cover how children learn, cognitive development, cultural influences on development, and how to use the standards as a resource.