Great Start Communications Bulletin (11.28.2016)


Great Start Orientation – Date Changed to January 12, 2017
Due to some ISD closures for the holidays, the second in person Orientation session for FY17 will be held on Thursday, January 12, in Lansing at the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Registration is only open until December 16 and you don’t want to miss this training opportunity! Networking and sign in will begin at 8:30 a.m., the training will start promptly at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Great Start Orientation sessions are available for new Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons, and offer a comprehensive overview of the Great Start Initiative, system building, the purpose of the Great Start Collaboratives and Coalitions, an introduction to important documents and requirements, key roles, objectives and partnerships, resources available through training and technical assistance, and time to interact with other Great Start staff and Consultants and meet Rachel Mellema from the Office of Great Start. 100% of past participants say they would recommend this training to others and that they were glad that they attended as a team. Whether you have been in your role for one day or one year or more, you are welcome to take advantage of this learning opportunity.

Action Learning Training – Materials Available
Thank you to those who participated in the Action Learning training held on November 17 and 18. Participants learned many strategies for making their Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition meetings more action oriented and tips for engaging members in the GSC/GSPC work. The training slides and materials that were shared at the training are now on the Great Start Network site under the Collaboratives/Coalitions tab – Documents/Action Learning Training Resources.


Question and Answer with the Office of Great Start
Q: Can a GSC Director oversee programming as part of their role as 0.75FTE?
A: No, a GSC Director’s minimum of 0.75 FTE can’t include the oversight of the early childhood programming that is connected to the GSC’s Strategic Plan.  If the GSC Director is .75 FTE for that Director role, and is overseeing a portion of the programming at another percentage of an FTE, then that portion of the role must be included in the EC Programming portion of the budget in addition to their GSC designated time.  Please refer to the memo from Deputy Superintendent Broman that was sent in September of 2015 which clarifies that the GSC Director position must be a minimum of 0.75 FTE focusing solely on the direction of the GSC.

Trusted Advisors Announcement
As was mentioned during the August Convening, the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant included funding to design and implement outreach and support for families and children in local communities, birth to age 5, with the greatest need. These “Trusted Advisors” grants are intended to improve local connections with families in order to engage them in early learning and development opportunities and related community supports which may include distributing culturally and linguistically appropriate materials and information about the importance of early childhood learning and development.

There are many service providers, organizations, or other entities that serve as “trusted advisors” for families in local communities. Trusted advisors can share information about the importance of early childhood learning and development, about services available to support families with young children, and where families can find high-quality childcare or preschool. That is why the Office of Great Start has identified the Great Start Parent Coalitions as core to identifying the subsets of parents in communities who need extra support, as well as the community entities who may already be working with these parents and are trusted by them, but may need extra support to carry forward the messages that will lead to children’s optimal development.

What or who is a trusted advisor? OGS reviewed the responses to a survey conducted in 2014 as part of the implementation of the Great Start, Great Investment, Great Futures report, and found that the identification of individuals and organizations varied – from teachers and early childhood providers, to medical community and human services providers, to family, friends and peers, the faith-based community, libraries and community centers, and home visitors and parent educators.  Getting pertinent information into the hands of Trusted Advisors in a timely manner will ensure that they are reaching parents most in need, and offer an authentic way to share the information in the context of what is occurring in that community.

OGS is working in partnership with ECIC, and are excited to announce that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has State Board of Education approval for these Great Start Parent Coalition Trusted Advisor Grants, with a total allocated amount not to exceed $3,610,000 for calendar year 2017. These competitive grants will be awarded to intermediate school districts that provide this outreach and support for families and their children. The awards will range from $5,000 to $60,000, dependent on the needs and design proposed.

An application process is still under development, with a target to have instructions and information disseminated in December. The process will include using the Hexagon Tool and the data that you have received from the Michigan League for Public Policy, along with any other data that you have about areas within your communities or subsets of families who have been hard to reach, and comparing that to any gaps you have in outreach, and an exploration of who/what organizations in are helping parents of young children of that community get connected and gain understanding of early learning and development.

Further information related to this opportunity, including a webinar followed by the application and instructions, will be made available in the near future. Questions regarding this grant opportunity should be directed to Desiree Hughes by email at or phone 517-373-9169.

FY16 Year-End Reporting – Due November 30
Fiscal year 2016 has come to an end, which means that it is time to complete the year-end report, which is due in MEGS+ on November 30, 2016. To assist you in completing the report, Rachel Mellema from the Office of Great Start and Holly Wingard from ECIC recorded a brief webinar that walks you through the process of creating and completing the report and gives information about the content that the Office of Great Start would like to see in the reporting. Please note: the year-end report needs to be completed in the “old” GSN site, which is where the FY16 application exists.  You can access the “old” site at: If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!


November 29: CMS FER for FY16 Federal Source fund. If CMS FER is not “Certified” by end of day on 11/29, CMS will file automatic $0 FER. This is an automated process and 32p staff are not able to override CMS.

November 30: State Aid FY16 FER and Year-End Report due in MEGS+.


Call for Presentation – 2017 Michigan Home Visiting Conference
The Michigan Home Visiting Conference Planning Committee is currently accepting proposals for concurrent sessions to be delivered at the 5th Annual Michigan Home Visiting Conference on August 2-3, 2017, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 2017 Michigan Home Visiting Conference is a conference for home visitors, administrators, supervisors, and parents in Michigan’s Home Visiting programs.The following areas are a priority for this year’s conference:

  • Continuous quality improvement
  • Supervision
  • Trauma (toxic stress, secondary)
  • Challenging issues (domestic violence, substance abuse and alcohol abuse, maternal depression)
  • Self-Care
  • Working alongside parents
  • Health and Infant Care (breastfeeding, nutrition, immunization)
  • Outreach and enrollment
  • Child development/screening and school readiness
  • Community referral and coordination

Submissions are due by close of business on Friday, January 13, 2017Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. The conference planning committee will review all submissions and presenters will be notified regarding the status of their submission by February 3, 2017. If you have trouble with this form, please contact Heather Woods at, or at 517-324-6091. To read more about how to submit or to access the on-line form, please click here to access the Call for Presentation directly.


Diversity and Equity in Early Childhood Systems
The United States is becoming more diverse, and children are leading the way. By 2020, there will be no “majority” group among the youngest members of our society. Recent census figures show that 45% of all young children from birth to age four (0-4) in the United States are children of color. And the diversity of young children will continue to grow. One in five young children today is learning both a home language and English simultaneously. Designing an early childhood system that is responsive to the needs of all children is key to both these children’s and the nation’s future.

The BUILD Initiative provides resources that describe these issues in depth and profile pioneering efforts within states to address these gaps. Resources on their website may be used to learn about the body of research and evidence that should undergird policies and practices and to assess current strategies for the extent to which they purposely support each child and family.


FEEDBACK FORUMS: Michigan’s Move to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
In November and December, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will partner with intermediate school districts across Michigan to gather input from educators, advocates, parents, students, and the public regarding specific proposed components of the nation’s new federal education law: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The feedback gathered at these forums and through online surveys will inform Michigan’s final ESSA plan, which will guide how Michigan leverages federal funding to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in the next 10 years. The final ESSA plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in early March 2017.  If you would like to register for one of the following feedback forums, click here, or visit the ESSA webpage for more information.

  • Wayne, Nov. 29, 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
  • Saginaw, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Sault Ste. Marie, December 1, 6-9 p.m.
  • Clare, December 2, 1-3 p.m.
  • Mason, December 15, 9 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Grand Rapids, December 16, 9-11 a.m.
  • Jackson, December 19, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

2016 Election Results and Early Care and Education
On November 8th millions of Americans cast their ballot in local, state and federal elections. As the country continues to process and plan for administration transitions across the government continuum, organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and families have underscored support for investments in early childhood programs and services, reducing child poverty, and ensuring that low-income children and children with the greatest needs are prioritized for service. Read statements from First Five Years Fund, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Women’s Law Center, ZERO TO THREE, Georgetown Center for Children and Families, National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Center for Children and Poverty and the Coalition on Human Needs.

Latino Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education
Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families suggest that investments in early care and education programs appear to be paying off: long-observed gaps in participation between low-income Hispanic children and their black and white peers may be closing. Early care and education — if it’s high-quality— can make a difference when it comes to kindergarten readiness and later academic success.  Learn more about the Hispanic Center.


Depression in Early Pregnancy Linked to Gestational Diabetes, NIH Study Finds
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered a two-way link between depression and gestational diabetes. Women who reported feeling depressing during the first two trimesters of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes, according to an analysis of pregnancy records. Conversely, a separate analysis found that women who developed gestation diabetes were more likely to report postpartum depression six weeks after giving birth, compared to a similar group of women who did not develop gestational diabetes. To learn more, click here.

Maternal Mental Health
In the recent Maternal and Child Health Journal researchers published a study looking at how mood disorders and the mental health of mothers with children under 3 years old participating in Early Intervention programs. The study found that 44% of mothers reported a past depressive episode and 43% experience recurrent episodes.


Keeping Up with Developmental, Behavioral, and Sensory Screening and Child Health Information 
As young children begin a new program year, staff as learning as much as they can about them. One way to do this is through screening. Staff may conduct developmental, behavioral, hearing, and vision screenings. Or, they may instead collect results from those screenings, as well as other health information, from the child’s primary health provider. Most state licensing agencies require programs to collect some medical information, like immunization records. According to the New Head Start Program Performance Standards, Head Start and Early Head Start center-based, home-based, and family child care program staff must gather screening information within 45 calendar days of a child’s first day or home visit.

It’s important to make sure staff use research-based, age-appropriate screening tools. Screening is a quick snapshot of a child’s health and developmental status. The results offer one piece of information to help determine if a child should be referred for further evaluation. For an overview and resources, read Screening: The First Step in Getting to Know a Child.

HUD Proposes New Rule to Help Children Exposed to Lead Paint Hazards
In an effort to immediately help young children with elevated blood levels living in federally assisted housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to lower the Department’s threshold of lead in the child’s blood to match the one used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HUD’s proposed new reference level for lead in a young child’s blood would be lowered from 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (ug/dL) to five, and continue to be aligned with CDC recommendations in the future. Read HUD’sproposed rule.

The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible. Even at low levels, lead exposure can have long-term effects on a young child’s ability to learn and lead a productive life. Please take a look at the following links for additional information:

Lead-Safe Homes, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit
Healthy Homes Basics


Children in Food Insecure Households 
Inadequate food intake is associated with serioushealth, behavior, and cognitive deficits. In more than 420,000 households in 2014, children went hungry, skipped meals, or went an entire day without eating. In far more families, parents are food insecure but are able to minimize disruptions to children’s food intake. Child Trends examined the data and compiled it in the report linked above.

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education released a “Joint Policy Statement on Meeting the Needs of Families with Young Children Experiencing and at Risk of Homelessness.” The statement offers recommendations for how early childhood and housing authorities at the local, and in some cases state, level can collaborate to offer young children and families who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness safe, stable and nurturing environments. Read more about the statement from Education Week.