Submission #14650

Spark NH
Laura Milliken
Director, Spark NH
Early Childhood Advisory Council
Spark NH Early Childhood Advisory Council is focused on comprehensive health, family leadership and support, and early learning and development for expectant parents as well as children from birth through grade three and their families.
1. Expectant mothers 2. Post-partum mothers 3. Children/youth with special healthcare needs 4. Infant (< one year) 5. Toddler (>1 yr to 3 yrs) 6. Preschoolers (>3yrs to 6 yrs) 7. Elementary age children (>6 to 10 years)
List of 20 Governor Appointed Council members at Council members linked to NH PIP include NH Kids Count, Kim Firth, Trish Tilley. Liz Collins Co-Chairs the Early Childhood Data System Committee.
Spark NH is the governor-appointed early childhood advisory council created to promote a comprehensive system of early childhood programs and services in New Hampshire. Our Focus is on expectant parents as well as children from birth through grade 3 and their families. Spark's committees include: 5) Communication and Public Awareness: Create and maintain a strong information loop between the Council and its state and local constituents/stakeholders and build public awareness of and commitment to early childhood.

6) Early Childhood Data System Committee Early Childhood Data System Committee charge - facilitates the development and implementation of an integrated, cross-sector data system that connects early childhood data to the New Hampshire Department of Education's longitudinal data system. Coordinates a New Hampshire early childhood needs assessment.

7) Evaluation: Work with the evaluation consultant to design and implement an evaluation plan that documents Council processes and outcomes relative to Federal requirements and other mandates and activities.

8) Quality of Early Childhood Programs and Services: advises lead agencies on issues relative to Federal and State program standards, reviews and revises as feasible quality standards for early childhood programs, and ensures access to and coordination and collaboration among programs.

9) The Workforce and Professional Development: develops recommendations and implementation plans to enhance New Hampshire's capacity for the recruitment, retention, advancement, and support of qualified professionals across early childhood programs via education, training, and credentialing.
Community setting
A unique, one-stop website about the importance of early childhood and the work of Spark NH was developed for early childhood professionals, parents of young children and the public (
• An online PORTAL (Professional development Opportunities, Resources, Trainings And Links) was created to provide unique access to early childhood professional development and employment opportunities.
• Bold, attractive, research-based communications and public awareness materials on the importance of early childhood were produced and broadly disseminated/ displayed, including banners, brochures and a PowerPoint presentation. Additionally, since May 2012, the Council has produced and broadly disseminated a monthly newsletter on the work of the Council, its committees and task forces.
• A blueprint for early childhood data integration in New Hampshire was produced, which the Council's Early Childhood Data Systems Committee will now seek to implement.
• The New Hampshire Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Early Childhood was created, with participation by all Council committees and broad stakeholder input. The plan was approved by the Governor's office and released publicly during an Early Childhood Summit on November 18, 2013. Committees are now working on implementation of many parts of the plan.
• The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at Berkeley created an inventory of early childhood education programs in higher education on behalf of the Council, and a local consultant completed an inventory of early childhood health and family support programs in higher education.
• The Council worked closely with the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Task Force on the redesign of New Hampshire's system, as well as on a shared definition of "quality early childhood programs," which was embraced by the vast majority of stakeholders who participated in a survey on the draft definition.
• The Council was a key partner and leader in preparing New Hampshire's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant application, participating on the core writing team and providing substantial assistance in gathering public input and support. Though the grant was not awarded, Spark NH's policy committee will be working on recommendations to implement the grant goals.
• As a result of Spark NH's public engagement and communications efforts, several of the state's private foundations and the BIA (Business and Industry Association) have adopted early childhood as a priority for the coming years.