Great Start Communications Bulletin (May 16)



August Statewide Convening – Share your Great Work!

Summer is coming and so is our next statewide gathering!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone on August 16th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lansing Community College West. We are in the process of finalizing the agenda, but expect the morning will include the Office of Great Start sharing information about the Section 32p grant application and responding to questions. The afternoon will consist of 3-4 breakout sessions featuring several examples from Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions across the state. It promises to be a great day of learning!

As part of the lunch period, in response to many requests, we’d like to support peer learning by having several examples from GSCs and GSPCs at tables/booths. We have room for up to 30 GSCs/GSPCs to share one of their activities from FY16 that might be an idea that others would like to learn about and/or replicate. This is not intended to be labor intensive for those sharing, it will be more of a fun way to share ideas between GSC/GSPC peers. GSCs/GSPCs could bring items to hand out or show in person (e.g. visuals, etc.) that would fit on 3 feet of a rectangular table. During a light lunch, participants will be able to mingle to the different tables and engage in conversation about the strategy/activity. We are hoping to get a good mix of examples from both GSCs and GSPCs and will need at least 20 GSCs/GSPCs willing to share in order hold this lunch session. Please respond to this brief survey by June 30 if you would like to share! Also, if you have any questions about these booths or the overall event, please contact the Great Start Helpline. Registration for the August gathering will begin in June.

Parents Partnering for Change Training – Registration is Now Open!

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 at 4 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). This training is funded as part of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s contract with the Office of Great Start to build successful Parent Coalitions.

Registration is now open to new Parent Liaisons, please register as soon as possible as we expect this popular training to fill up quickly. Please contact Michele Chenier with any questions or

Network Happenings: Upcoming Webinar Opportunity

Please join ECIC and Midland County Great Start Collaborative (GSC) for a webinar on May 26, 2016 from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. GSC Director Micki Gibbs will provide an overview of their very successful preschool scholarship project. Midland GSC is in its fifth year of providing scholarships and Micki will be sharing the following information:

  • A brief history of the project and how the project has evolved over time.
  • The current structure of the project with partners and outreach to families, including partnerships with Head Start, GSRP, and community providers.
  • How the project is funded through diverse sources.
  • How they are coordinating and aligning the project with other community early childhood funding opportunities.
  • How they are tracking outcomes and data as children enter school.

Please register for the webinar here. The webinar will also be recorded and uploaded to the Great Start Network.

Tips and Reminders about Great Start Network

Have you forgotten your username and password to Great Start Network?  Do you want to use a document in the resources folder but don’t know how to download it? Would you like to update your profile page?

To support your use of the site, we have created a document that provides step-by-step directions to logging in, setting alerts, download documents, updating your profile and sharing your Strategic Plans and Action agendas with your peers across the state.  If you need further support, please contact the TA Helpline at – we would be happy to help you!


MEGS+ Update

The following email was sent from the Office of Great Start late last week. In case you did not received it:

As some of you have realized, there is now a different issue with the Carryover not pulling into the FY16 Section 32p Grants Application in MEGS+.  While technology is a great advancement that we all enjoy, it can present its challenges as well.  Because of this, we have decided to proceed in a little bit different manner for the remainder of FY16 in terms of MEGS+ reporting which we feel will be the most efficient and will reduce further frustration and complications.  Please see the following steps for how we would like everyone to proceed:

  1. Any GSCs with outstanding issues with the FY15 FER have until close of business on Friday, May 13, 2016, to resolve those issues.  This includes submitting variance explanations, changes to function codes, etc.
  2. If you have already initiated an amendment to pull in the carryover, please go into MEGS+ and submit that amendment so that the status of the FY16 Section 32p Grants Application can be changed back to “State Funds Available.”
  3. Once the FY16 Section 32p Grants Application has been returned to a status of “State Funds Available” then please go in and initiate the FY16 State Aid IER. The FY16 State Aid IER will be available in MEGS+ starting Monday May 16, 2016.
  4. Complete and submit the FY16 Section 32p Grants IER for funds expended between October 1, 2015-March 31, 2016, along with the GSC Mid-Year Report as an attachment within MEGS+, no later than 11:59 p.m .on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.  

The change for this year will be that you will not be reporting on the status of your FY15 Carryover funds in the IER or the FER. Instead the FY15 Carryover funds will ONLY be reported on in the FY15 Carryover FER which will be released July 1, 2016 and due August 30, 2016. Please remember that you are to be spending the FY15 Carryover funds first, before expending the FY16 funds.

Again, my apologies for the issues with MEGS+. I truly appreciate your continued patience as we determined the next best steps for everyone taking into consideration all of our workloads and upcoming deadlines, both in your local communities and at the state level, for the remainder of the grant year.

Home Visiting Needs Assessment Webinar – May 17

MPHI will be providing information and training on completing STEPS 3 and 4 of the Exploration and Planning Tool. Please join us on May 17th, 2016 from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.. Follow the link below to join the webinar at the scheduled time:

Join WebEx meeting

Meeting number: 805 326 666 / Meeting password: mVswUsM2
Join by phone: 1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada) / Access code: 805 326 666
If you are unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded. A copy of the slides and a link to the recorded webinar will be sent out after the conclusion of the webinar.


Perspectives on Teaching and Learning in Pre-K-3rd Grade

New America’s Early and Elementary Education Policy Program just released a series of briefs titled, Principal’s Corner: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning in PreK-3rd Grade, which explores the role of elementary school principals as early education leaders. This series is based on focus groups of elementary school principals conducted in five U.S. cities by the FDR Group.  The six briefs take a closer look at principals’ perceptions of what should take place in pre-K and early grade classrooms, while offering recommendations for states and school districts in regard to building principals’ expertise in this area.

Free Collection of Resources for Supporting Young Dual Language Learners and their Families

As part of their Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant, Vermont has made a commitment to providing early childhood personnel with professional development that will prepare them to better support young dual language learners (DLLs) and their families. One example of this commitment is an online toolbox of free, high-quality, evidence-based resources called Resources to Support the Full Participation of Young Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and Their Families. Interested in free evidence sources, print materials, audiovisual materials, and online resources?  Access the toolkit  here! The toolkit also includes other content sections (e.g., engaging and supporting families, supporting young dual language learners of diverse abilities) and resources that are state-specific.

Michigan Professional Development Institute Information and Call for Proposals 

Michigan will hold the second annual Professional Development Institute in Dearborn August 2-3, 2016. This institute is designed for established professionals and emergent leaders in the early childhood community including:

  • Coaches and mentors
  • Early Childhood Contacts
  • Early Childhood Specialists
  • Great Start to Quality Staff
  • Higher Education Faculty
  • Professional Development Providers
  • Program Administrators
  • Resource and Referral Staff
  • Trainers
  • Anyone that supports and/or trains early care and education professionals

The planning committee is seeking proposals to present at the institute, which are due by May 20, 2016.   Please mark your calendar and feel free to share this information with your contacts.


Michigan’s Infant Mortality Reduction Plan

All babies should be born healthy, thrive in supportive communities, and have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. In 2012, the State of Michigan released the 2012-2015 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan in response to persistently high infant mortality rates and significant disparities in birth outcomes.

Recently, Michigan pledged its continued commitment to improving birth outcomes with the release of this 2016-2019 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. This document, also referred to as the Plan, provides background information about the planning process, building on the 2012-2015 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, and incorporating success and lessons learned from its implementation over the past three years. The Executive Summary of the Plan is available here and the full report is here.


Intergenerational Mobility Project: Building Adult Capabilities for Family Success

The Center on the Developing Child recently highlighted their Intergenerational Mobility Project which uses a coaching framework to strengthen families’ ability to plan, set, and achieve goals together that will alleviate the stresses of low-income life and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. By harnessing the power of families’ desire to help each other and parents’ willingness to make changes to help their children, the project aims to build skills-such as managing time and other resources-in both parents and kids.


Support Foster Parents to Improve Children’s Lives

Children thrive in stable homes, where they can build relationships with caring adults and have structured routines. For children in foster care, supporting their foster parents is one way to encourage stability; and some child welfare agencies are focusing on providing this support. One agency in Nevada, for example, hires foster parents to provide information and emotional support to other foster families. Read more in this recent post from Child Trends.


Working toward Well-Being: Community Approaches to Toxic Stress

In recent years, significant attention has been paid to the concept of toxic stress and the impact of adverse experiences in childhood on lifelong health and development. As scientific understanding continues to grow, community leaders are searching for ways to prevent and respond to toxic stress in the lives of young children and their families as part of their broader efforts to achieve healthy development and well-being for all children.

Leaders from six communities worked together in 2015 with the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) through the Early Childhood-LINC Learning Lab on Community Approaches to Toxic Stress to learn from each other’s experiences, discuss the challenges and opportunities they face and generate ideas to improve the response to toxic stress in their own communities and in others. This brief distills the experiences and recommendations of leaders from these six communities and from CSSP. It provides:

  • A definition of toxic stress from a community perspective
  • A framework for a comprehensive community approach to toxic stress, nested within the broader context of working toward healthy development and wellbeing
  • Practical examples of how member communities of the Early Childhood-LINC network are taking action
  • Recommendations for next steps to promote and further develop comprehensive approaches to toxic stress in communities across the country


What’s Happening in the Network: Focus on Genesee County

Great Start Genesee has been working hard the last several months in response to the Flint water crisis. When a major crisis strikes within your county, it takes a lot of energy, determination, and passion to be responsive as well as thoughtful. The staff and partners of Great Start Genesee are balancing the work of crisis response along with supporting the ongoing needs of the county. This month, we’re sharing two projects that Great Start Genesee has made progress on this fiscal year that were responsive to the needs identified by key stakeholders in the community.

Great work, Genesee! All of the materials from these featured highlights are posted on Great Start Network in the “Resources” link. 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.


Participation Bonus Update

As of Monday, May 2, 2016, 729 applications have been received and processed since the January 25 state-wide re-launch. These applications have resulted in the award of 599 Participation Bonuses and 130 denials.  Programs or providers who have received a denial letter and believe they qualify should be advised to complete the appeal form. Appeal forms can be submitted electronically to or via US mail to the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.

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