Great Start Communications Bulletin (1.17.2017)


Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) Webinar and Resources
How familiar are you and your GSC/GSPC members about all of the benefits of the WIC Program (Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program) for pregnant or post-partum women, infants and children up to age five?  Stacey Laverty, Nutrition Analyst for WIC with DHHS recently recorded a webinar specifically for the Great Start network to share information about the program benefits and to partner in encouraging qualified women to use this awesome resource to keep themselves and their children healthy and thriving!  Stacy shared some great information that could support local work on Outcome 1 and 2, in addition to the following resources that can be shared on your websites, newsletters or on social media.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Stacey at or 517-335-9535.

Training and TA Offerings in 2017
Below is the listing of upcoming trainings for Great Start Collaborative and Great Start Parent Coalition staff in FY17. Please note that we now have a location for Adaptive Schools and will be sending out registration information for the four-day training in the next bulletin.

Offering Date Location
ABLe Change Training (for GSC’s participating in Strategic Planning) February 8-9, 2017 Harrison
New Staff Orientation April 12, 2017 ECIC – Lansing
Strengthening Families/Parent Café training (for PLs) April 25, 2017 Shepherd
ABLe Change Training May 10-11, 2017 Shephard
Adaptive Schools May 24-24, 2017 Flint
Parents Partnering for Change (for new PLs) June 27-28, 2017 Shepherd
New Staff Orientation July 12, 2017 ECIC – Lansing
Statewide Convening August 8, 2017 Mt. Pleasant
Adaptive Schools
(days 3-4)
August 22-23, 2017 Flint


Trusted Advisors Webinar 
If you were not able to participate in last week’s webinar about the Trusted Advisors Grant opportunity that is coming soon, the recording is availablehere and the PowerPoint is available on the GSN site. Thank you for all of the great questions and enthusiasm about this grant – please know that answers to the questions that were submitted which we were unable to answer during the webinar are coming shortly. Desiree Hughes, the Family Engagement Specialist at MDE-OGS and the primary contact for the Trusted Advisors grants, will also be hosting a webinar in a few weeks that will focus specifically on the grant application and the financial guidelines associated with this Race-to-the-Top grant – we will provide the link to register for that webinar as soon as it is available. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Desiree Hughes at or (517) 373-9169.

Home Visitation Specialist Position
The Department of Education has posted a Departmental Specialist 13 position (3103-17-005), Office of Great Start, Early Childhood Development and Family Education, on the State of Michigan posting site. This permanent full-time position is located in Lansing and is open to internal and external applicants. The Civil Service compensation is set at $24.28 – $36.23 hourly. To apply and/or view the position description, click here.

The position will provide leadership and direction in the development of policies and procedures as they relate to home visiting programs for parents prenatal to kindergarten entry. The position oversees and manages funds for home visitation programming associated with the Office of Great Start, including funding appropriated through Section 32p of the State School Aid Act, in context of broader home visiting initiatives. Please share this with others in your network who might be interested!

Get Involved
The Michigan Department of Education recently partnered with Intermediate School Districts throughout the state to host a series of ESSA Feedback Forums, where planning teams presented draft recommendations and invited stakeholder input around five strategic areas:

The public forums, entitled “Michigan’s Move to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” were designed to gather input from educators, advocates, parents, students, and the public regarding specific proposed components of the nation’s new federal education law (see ESSA Notes 10-27-16). That feedback opportunity is being extended to forum participants and others through a set of online surveys. The MDE is inviting all education stakeholders to offer feedback on those recommendations by choosing from several options on the MDE website.


Save the Date: 5th Annual Mchigan Home Visiting Conference
The 5th Annual Michigan Home Visiting Conference will be held on August 2-3, 2017 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids. For more information visit here.


Helping the Helpers: Tennessee’s 2gen Experience with Comprehensive Workforce Development and Pilot Site Implementation
The archive of Webinar 2: Building Blocks for Early Childhood: Integrating 2Gen Through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Early Care and Education held on December 8 is now available here.

Information about other webinars in this series is available here.


Strengthening Families through Early Childhood Education
Do you want to know more about the Big Ideas behind the Strengthening Families™ approach? Do you want concrete examples of the Five Protective Factors and what implementation support looks like at a teacher, program and systems level?

Join Cailin O’Connor and Anna Lovejoy from the Center for the Study of Social Policy for this overview of Strengthening Families™. Designed for any early childhood professional who is looking for new ways to engage and support families, this PDG TA Family Engagement Community of Practice webinar will be held on Thursday, February 16 from 3-4 p.m. ET. Join us as we take a deeper dive into Strengthening Families™.


New Website 
In case you haven’t had a chance to explore the new site we wanted to let you know that families can find Child Care and Preschool by clicking the Families dropdown in the top navigation bar. This page will give families more information on how to start their search. They can then click on the green “Find Childcare” link on the right hand side to login with their email address or as a guest to start their search.

Educators can click on Professional Development and Training on the “Educators” navigation bar. This page will allow them to select “Find a Training” or learn more about children and families experiencing homelessness.

Implicit Bias in Early Learning Settings
A recent article in the December 12, 2016, QRIS newsletter provided an overview of a study on addressing implicit bias in the early childhood system. Citing studies by Dr. Walter Gilliam and the federal government, Linda Smith and Shantel Meek examine how implicit bias disproportionately affects expulsion and suspension rates of young, black school children. The authors challenge the early childhood workforce to confront this inequity while sharing corrective strategies of their own. Click here to learn about those strategies and read the article.

Encouraging More Men in the Field of Early Chldhood Education
A recent article was written by the University of Michigan- Flint on the passion men bring to the field of early childhood education.  In our roles of supporting early childhood providers it is important to recognize that there is a need for more men to enter the field, especially individuals of color, and it is important for our workforce to reflect the children they are caring for each day to provide role models children can identify with in their settings. Take time to read this uplifting article.


2017 National Birth Defects Prevention Month Packet
The Michigan Birth Defects Education and Outreach Program is excited to share the 2017 National Birth Defects Prevention Month packet. This packet was developed in collaboration with many partners, including The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) Education and Outreach, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and Teratology Society (TS).

The theme for 2017 is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent infections for baby’s protection.” We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by reducing their risk of getting an infection during pregnancy. The goal for 2017 is to continue the momentum from previous years, increasing awareness that birth defects are “Common, Costly, and Critical” and offering actionable steps that professionals, community groups, and the public can take to prevent birth defects. Specially-designed materials to help you spread the word and engage your communities are available on the  Michigan Genetics Resource Center website and can be tailored to your specific agency’s mission, needs, and capacity. We hope you find these materials useful as you work to increase awareness of birth defects and highlight prevention activities during January and throughout the year.

If you should have questions about National Birth Defects Prevention Month, please contact Courtney Miller at


Create a Culture of Acceptance and Kindness in a Challenging World
In a time where there seems to be many negative messages in the media and beyond, those working in early childhood programs experience the effects on young children. In this webinar, on January 25 at 2 p.m. Early Childhood Education Consultant, Jacky Howell will share a variety of ideas and strategies to use in early childhood programs that embrace a culture of acceptance and kindness. The objectives of this webinar are to provide:

  • Descriptions and examples of a classroom that embraces a culture of acceptance and kindness.
  • Concrete strategies and ideas will be shared that participants can bring back to use in their settings.


Data Regarding Immigrant Families
Children in immigrant families comprise one-quarter of the U.S. population ages 0-8, and even larger shares of the young-child population in many states and localities. The vast majority of these children are U.S. born. Their future potential to contribute to the economic, civic, and social life of the United States is largely shaped by their early childhood experiences. Addressing their needs together with those of their parents, via two-generation programs, can help at-risk families move out of poverty and into family-sustaining jobs.

To help policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders better understand the needs of families with young children in the United States, the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy released a set of 30 fact sheets that provide analysis of key sociodemographic characteristics of native- and foreign-born parents of young children in states with the largest number of immigrant families.

In addition, the KIDS COUNT Data Center, has a number of state-level indicators by family nativity and the following data by county: children ages 5-17 who are foreign born, children ages 5-17 who live in households where English not spoken and children ages 5-17 who live in households where a language other than English is spoken at home and who speak English “less than very well”.