Great Start Communications Bulletin (9/20)


Great Start Data Set Webinar – October 12
The annual Great Start data set, compiled by the Michigan League for Public Policy, in partnership with the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, and funded by the Office of Great Start, will be available by the end of September. As in years past, we are offering a webinar to help increase your understanding and use of the data in your local early childhood system efforts. The live webinar, featuring Alicia Guevara-Warren from the Michigan League for Public Policy, will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, October 12 and will be recorded and posted on Great Start Network. Please click here to register.

Great Start Orientation – October 25
The first Great Start Orientation for FY17 will be held on October 25 in Lansing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The agenda includes an overview of the Great Start Initiative, Early Childhood System Building, Purpose of Collaboratives and Coalitions, review of Key Documents, Clarify Roles, and how to access tools and technical assistance. We encourage you to attend as a team if at all possible (Director and Parent Liaison). To participate, please register here.

If you have any questions about orientation or need support as you begin your new role, please contact the TA Helpline at We look forward to seeing you there!

Training and Technical Assistance Offerings for FY17
At the beginning of September, the TA team recorded a webinar, sharing the scheduled TA opportunities that will be available during the 2017 fiscal year. If you were unable to participate live, the link is available here and on Great Start Network. We have also compiled a list of all of the training opportunities and meetings including the scheduled dates for you to be able to schedule accordingly. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions! We are looking forward to another great year working together.


Public Comment on the State Board of Education Draft Statement and Guidance for Prevention of Suspension and/or Expulsion of Children Birth through Age 8 in Early Education and Care Programs
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) requests public comment on the draft Statement and Guidance for Prevention of Suspension and/or Expulsion of Children Birth through Age 8 in Early Education and Care Programs, which will be presented to the State Board of Education (SBE) at the November 15, 2016, SBE meeting.


September 29: State and Federal Source FY16 FER will be live in MEGS+; Federal Source amounts must match what will be reported in CMS. The FY16 Federal source budget amendments must be at a status of “Grant Funds Available” before CMS FER is initiated.

September 30: Federal Source GSCs must draw down funds for all receipts in hand.

October 15: TANF-MOE report is due.

November 15: Federal Source FY16 FER is due in MEGS+ and all remaining funds must be drawn down via CMS.

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+.


Clinton County’s Parent-Led Strategy – Literacy Display Boards
In response to parents sharing that they are not sure how to support literacy in their home, the members of the Great Start Parent Coalition decided to take information to parents through Literacy Display Boards. Through this parent-led strategy, they partnered with public and private schools and child care to share literacy information directly with parents. Learn more about Clinton County’s efforts here.

Traverse Bay 5toONE Model Webinar
Join the Traverse Bay Great Start team on September 28 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. as they share their innovative 5toONE model. The 5toONE model is their locally driven approach for addressing persistent challenges facing young children birth to 5 by creating a sustainable 5-county system of resources that both provides support and inspiration to all families and addresses the acute needs of families most in need of help.

5toONE addresses the 5 early childhood system components, builds the 5 strengths identified in the Strengthening Families Framework in all families, and supports the four Office of Great Start outcomes. There are 3 project goals: (1) Reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect; (2) Increase families’ access to quality childcare; and (3) Improve children’s kindergarten readiness. Join this webinar and learn how, by using a design thinking process and extensive parent/family input, Traverse Bay is developing 5toONE neighborhood centers partnering with community entities across their five-county region.


Let’s Talk About STEM Video Series

Young children begin to learn about early science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through play and everyday routines, activities and interactions. With support from the The Boeing Company, ZERO TO THREE and Too Small to Fail have partnered to develop a new Let’s Talk About STEM Video Series highlighting the development of STEM skills in the first 5 years of life. Each video is available in both English and Spanish.

Additional resources on simple ways to incorporate STEM concepts and vocabulary into everyday routines and activities are available on the Let’s Talk, Read and Sing About STEM! website, developed by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services in partnership with Too Small to Fail.

New Head Start Standards Released
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced new standards to further improve and strengthen the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The new standards are the first comprehensive revision of the Head Start Program Performance Standards since they were originally published in 1975. The updates reflect best practices and the latest research on early childhood development and brain science and are designed to reduce the achievement gap by fostering healthy child development and school readiness for all children served by Head Start and Early Head Start.

AERA “Ed-Talk” Videos and Research Fact Sheets
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has released 31 “Ed-Talk” videos that feature diverse, leading education scholars discussing cutting-edge research on a range of important education and learning issues. For example, NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett discusses the impact quality preschool can have on achievement gaps and Barbara Rogoff discusses the learning strengths of young children with diverse backgrounds. The videos are accompanied by 32 research fact sheets with the underlying findings and cumulative research that frame the Ed-Talks. This is an absolute treasure trove for professional development providers!


PAM Conference Registration Open
PAM (Parenting Awareness Month) Conferences bring together professionals and volunteers who work with parents and families – across the lifespan. Participants will gain relevant information on issues facing today’s parents and families, and practical strength-based, evidence-based parenting education and resources. The keynote for this year’s conferences is our very own Maureen Hollocker from Charlevoix-Emmet GSC!

Go to the PAM website to find out information about the conferences happening on October 13 in Marquette and November 18 in East Lansing.


September is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Nearly every other day in Michigan a baby dies due to unsafe sleep. To raise awareness of these deaths and how to prevent them, Governor Snyder has declared September as Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Michigan. There are resources, including an updated communications toolkit, to assist you in promoting infant safe sleep practices in your community. Please visit their website for additional information.


More Absences Among Low-Income Students
Chronic truancy is a strong predictor of negative outcomes, such as school dropout and criminal activity. In 2015, students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were more likely to be chronically absent than other students. This was also true of 8th-graders who lived in cities and towns (not rural areas or suburbs). September is Attendance Awareness Month. Child Trends has published a report that shows between 1994 and 2015, the percentage of eighth-graders who missed three or more days of school in the past month decreased significantly for black and Hispanic students, but not for white students. Access the full report here.

From Boys to Men: The health and education of Hispanic boys and young men
This data-rich report, from The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, compares the health and education of Latino boys and young men to those of their black and white peers. Hispanic males face challenges, such as a lower rate of educational attainment, but they also have strengths, such as beginning life with a particularly healthy start. The Center is led by Child Trends and Abt Associates with university partners. Read the report here.

New Census Poverty Data Released
The U.S. Census Bureau has released the 2015 numbers on income, poverty and health, revealing some positive signs for babies. The new data shows that 21.2 percent of children under the age of 3 are living in families with incomes below the poverty line, a 2.5 percentage point drop in just one year. In their blog, ZERO to THREE states this is a heartening move in the right direction and suggests that recovery from the Great Recession is finally making its way to families with young children. However, they go on to say that the stark reality remains that 1 in 5 babies and toddlers in America live in poverty, growing up in circumstances that undermine their healthy brain development and future success. Read the full blog here.