Great Start Communications Bulletin (June 13)



August 16 Statewide Convening Registration is Open
We are looking forward to seeing everyone on August 16 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lansing Community College West for our next statewide gathering. Registration is now open, and we strongly encourage all Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons to attend. In the morning, Rachel Mellema will share information about the Section 32p application process and expectations for FY17, and in the afternoon, there will be four workshop sessions offered featuring Collaboratives and Coalitions from throughout the state. In order to prepare for room set-up we are asking participants to pre-register for the session they will attend. Brief session descriptions are included in the registration link.

Please also remember to register to share one of your activities or resource materials at a table during the lunch session. The TA team is often asked for examples of local orientation materials, operating guidelines, website designs, Strengthening Families materials, central intake forms etc., and this is a great opportunity to share and see materials that have been created. Please respond to this brief survey by June 30 if you have materials and ideas to share!<

Network Happenings: Upcoming Webinar Opportunity
Please join Shiawassee County GSC on July 20 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and learn about their successful centralized intake and data project. Over the last 5 years, Shiawassee County early childhood agencies have increased coordination by streamlining the intake process for several programs such as the Maternal Infant Health Program, CACS Head Start, Prevention Services through the Department of Health and Human Services, Early On, and Infant Mental Health. The Shiawassee Great Start Central Intake is a central point of access to an integrated system of care provided to children ages birth to five. The Shiawassee Great Start Central Intake and Great Start Database allows families and providers to make one call to connect them to all services the family may need and allows inter-agency data sharing to increase collaboration and coordination for service delivery to families in Shiawassee County. Please register for this webinar today!

Parents Partnering for Change Training – Register Today Only Three Spaces Left!
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in partnership with the Parent Leadership in State Government Initiative is pleased to offer the Parents Partnering for Change Leadership Training, offered specifically for Great Start Parent Liaisons.

This training supports the Investment Corporation’s efforts to increase the ability of Parent Liaisons to engage and support parents as they bring a customer perspective to the Great Start Collaboratives’ work, resulting in more impactful and informed decision making. Topics covered during this training include: increasing leadership skills, effective meeting strategies, how to successfully handle conflict, explore diversity and cultural assumptions, understanding and respecting the values of others, building rapport, and working with different communication styles.

This training is a two day commitment, July 13 -14, 2016, and will be held in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Day one begins at 1 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m. and day two begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at4 p.m. You will be compensated for your time with an honorarium ($100 per day), child care (up to $50 per day) and mileage reimbursement, hotel accommodations (if you live outside of 60 miles from the training location) and all meals during the trainings. Because of the honorarium, Parent Liaisons cannot also be paid from their local GSC funds to attend this training (it must be one or the other).

Registration is now open to new Parent Liaisons and Great Start Collaborative Parent Members. Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. Please contact Michele Chenier with any questions or concerns

Great Start Orientation – August 3
The final Great Start Orientation for FY16 will be held on August 3rd  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!


Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants
The Office of Great Start held a webinar on June 2, 2016 regarding the Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants Application. If you missed the webinar it is available here and applicants have access within their Google folder.

Applications must be submitted to the applicants Google folder no later than 3 p.m. on June 16, 2016, and include all required items in order to be reviewed.

Q&A for Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants
What is intended with the requirement for participation in a learning community and CQI?  Is this local or something that is budgeted for a statewide meeting?  What is required to budget for Training and TA?  Do you mean what is required for the model we choose?

The Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants funding will create programs that are part of the Michigan Home Visiting Initiative, and as such, staff should be prepared to work with the Michigan Public Health Institute to understand and implement CQI projects by participating in training that is conducted at a central location, as well as connecting via whatever means is offered (webinar or teleconference) to participate in learning with other sites that have selected a similar focus for improvement. Local teams may require some funds to do this work. In addition, funds should be set aside for attendance at the annual conference, this year being held in August at Detroit Renaissance Center. The total cost of these training and technical assistance activities will vary by site due to the amount that will need to be invested for travel supports. In addition, it is reasonable to also expect to have approximately $7,000, plus staff costs to participate, available for the various training events. This is in addition to any Training and TA that is required by the national office of the selected model. Any training, certification and/or other TA are needed to implement and/or expand the selected model you will need to budget appropriately for those items in addition to the other items mentioned previously.

GSRP Slot Allocations for FY17
Several Great Start Collaboratives have expressed that they have been experiencing some significant challenges locally, due to the timing of the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) slot allocation notification and pre-school registration. Thankfully, this issue has been addressed by the Office of Great Start, and Intermediate School Districts have been notified that they will have the same amount of funding for GSRP that they had this current year (FY16), next year (FY17).

If you have questions about this issue, or others related to GSRP, please contact your regional GSRP Consultant. If you are unsure about how to contact your Consultant, please click here.


STEM Workforce Skills
As we know, a growing body of research suggests that developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) proficiency starts much earlier than high school, middle school or even elementary school. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Evidence is mounting about the importance of teaching math in preschool and kindergarten…if children don’t have good instruction and effective teachers in early grades, they are more likely to struggle later when they face more complicated concepts.”

Mission Readiness and Ready Nation recently released a report that focuses on support from the business community and the military on why they think a preschool investment strategy is good for helping communities address the STEM workforce gap. This report was done for Pennsylvania but the information certainly applies to all states/communities.

The Path for Math: The Learning Trajectories Perspective
What are the mathematical and educational building blocks of early mathematics? What role should these building blocks play in a developmentally appropriate setting? Join two of the most preeminent early math experts in the country, Dr. Douglas Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama, on June 15 at 2 p.m. for a webinar where they will describe research-based learning trajectories as the core of all aspects of the educational enterprise. These learning trajectories include three components: the mathematical goals, developmental progressions of children’s learning, and educational activities and teaching strategies (based on finding the mathematics in, and developing mathematics from, children’s everyday activity).


MDHHS Invites Public Comment on Title V Block Grant Application 
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) invites the public to comment on the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant application. Title V of the Social Security Act of 1935, as amended, provides funding to states to improve the health of mothers and children.

Per federal requirements, a five-year needs assessment was completed in 2015 and a summary is included in the application. Based on the assessment, the seven priorities for the State of Michigan for fiscal year (FY) 2016-2020 aimed at improving the health of mothers and children are:

  • Reduce barriers, improve access, and increase the availability of health services for all populations;
  • Support coordination and linkage across the perinatal to pediatric continuum of care;
  • Invest in prevention and early intervention strategies, such as screening;
  • Increase family and provider support and education for children with special health care needs;
  • Increase access to and utilization of evidence-based oral health practices and services;
  • Foster safer homes, schools, and environments with a focus on prevention, and;
  • Promote social and emotional well-being through the provision of behavioral health services.

These priorities are linked to eight national performance measures across six population domains: women/maternal health, perinatal/ infant health, child health, adolescent health, children with special health care needs, and cross-cutting/life course. In 2016, Michigan also set five additional state performance measures, which are discussed in the application.

Michigan’s Title V application is for services from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, and includes a report on services provided in FY 2015.

To view the Title V draft application, visit the MDHHS webpage.  MDHHS welcomes comments on the application, which must be received by June 20, 2016, and can be submitted to

Data-Driven Summer Safety Tips
It’s that time again – time for the release of everyone’s summer safety tips, and  Child Trends, compiled a unique list, based on data!  What they have found is that first, your suspicion is correct: June, July and August are more dangerous for children than other month, at least if you look at deadly unintentional injuries as the measure. Nearly one-third of all fatal child injuries occur during these three months.

Second, despite media coverage, some things are not worth the same amount of worry. Deaths resulting from contact with bees, hornets, and wasps (1 fatality in 2014, the most recent year available), powered lawnmowers (1), fireworks (0), sharks (0) or dogs (10) are so few they barely register statistically. And keep in mind that children have a lot more exposure to dogs than to the other animals. Deaths caused by falling down stairs (5) and being struck by lightning (3) are similarly unlikely.  Take a look to see what you should statistically be paying attention to this summer!

Sun and Water Safety Tips from the American Academy of PediatricsArticle Body

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also compiled several important tips that can help keep children safe this summer, while they are having fun in the sun and in or around water.  The topics include:  Protection from the Sun, Heat Stress, Pool Safety, Boating Safety and Open Water Safety.  These tips are also available in Spanish.


ZERO TO THREE National Survey of Parents
ZERO TO THREE, in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, conducted a comprehensive national survey of parents, revealing insights on some of today’s most heated conversations about raising young children.  They undertook this large-scale research effort to gain a clear and in-depth understanding about the challenges that parents face, the help they seek, and how satisfied they are with the support and information they receive. Results show parents across the board experience similar challenges and joys of parenthood.

Some key findings:

  • When it comes to attitudes, aspirations and parenting challenges, there is more that unites than divides parents.
  • Parents believe that parenting can be learned and want help to be the best parents they can be.
  • Dads are more than babysitters. They love being involved fathers, and want – and deserve – more credit. Moms agree that dads don’t get enough credit.
  • Almost all parents feel judged, almost all the time.
  • Half of parents are not getting the support they need when they feel overwhelmed or stressed – the time when help is most important.

ZERO TO THREE will use findings from the Parent Survey to ensure that programs and resources provide parents the information they want in relatable and engaging ways, and will also use the new research to elevate parents’ voices in the national conversation about parenting young children and create opportunities for parents to share common experiences with each other.

Babysitting May Prime Brains for Parenting
The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the results of a study conducted by Michigan State University that suggests that babysitting is a good trial run for teenagers to pick up some parenting skills. No surprises there, but this study suggests that babysitting may also effect changes in the brain that make humans better parents.


What’s Happening in the Network: Focus onMacomb County
Making Macomb Transitions
Building a Community Wide Kindergarten Transition System
Many Great Start Collaboratives have prioritized transitions to Kindergarten as part of their strategic plan goals. One example that has shown success comes from Macomb County Intermediate School District and is called Making Macomb Transitions. Their objective is to build a community wide kindergarten transition system creating a seamless, educational pathway, capable of preparing their youngest students for success in school and in life. For a more detailed description about Making Macomb Transitions, click here. Thanks for sharing your success and resources Macomb!

If you have projects and strategies that you would like to share, please contact Alissa Parks at – we would love to share your great work.

Congratulations to Riley Alley – Named to the Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board
Last week, Governor Snyder named Lt. Governor Calley to chair the new Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board along with 11 other members, including Riley Alley, Great Start Collaborative Director in St. Clair County. The board will develop a statewide strategy to help prevent childhood lead exposure.

In addition to Riley Alley, the directors of the departments of Environmental Quality, Health and Human Services, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, or their designees, will sit on the board.

“I am looking forward to working with my fellow board members to further understand and address this statewide threat,” Mr. Calley said in a statement. “Preventing childhood lead exposure will be a significant step in helping young Michiganders have a healthier future. The governor has appointed a top-notch group that is truly focused on getting this done and I’m anxious to get started with them.”<


Reducing Disparities in School Readiness
A high proportion of Hispanic children are entering school without the school readiness skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Compared to children of other races and ethnicities, Hispanic children at age four have the lowest vocabulary, literacy, and math skills, which are linked to deficits in later school achievement.

Though recent research has documented positive outcomes for those Hispanic children who enroll in center-based early care or pre-K, a recent report from CLASP identified racial disparities in the use of three programs meant to provide affordable early care and education to low-income families: Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care subsidies. A new blog post from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families sheds light on possible explanations for these findings, and solutions.


Why Michigan Businesses are Investing in Early Childhood Development
Last week at the Mackinac Policy Conference, a panel discussion co-hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation discussed the role of business in early childhood education and development and the role of policy in improving conditions for children and families in Detroit and across Michigan.  The conversation has been recorded and is available here.

Early Childhood Data Reports Now Available
As part of Michigan’s RTT-ELC efforts, the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) has created two Early Childhood reports, “Early Childhood Count of Children Receiving Early Childhood Programs and Services” and “Count of Kindergarten Students receiving Early Childhood Programs and Services in the Prior Year”.  These reports were released on Early Childhood page of the MI School Data website earlier this year.

  • Child Count-Shows the number of Michigan children enrolled in Early Childhood Programs by programs or demographic report category.
  • Participation in Kindergarten-Shows how many kindergarteners attended early childhood programs by location, school year, program type and demographic information.

It is important to note that the data captured in these reports is only reflective of children participating in publically-funded early childhood programs, such as Early On, Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), and Head Start/GSRP blended classrooms.

Quick Links
Great Start Network Staff Information Change Notice

Great Start Network

Kids Count
Kids Count 2015 Data Book

Release Materials Updated 1/10/14

Tool Kits & Resources
CHAP Toolkit

Hiring Toolkit

Great Start Data Set

Right Start in Michigan

Publications and Resources
Quality in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Settings

Review of Quality in Home-Based Child Care