Great Start Communications Bulletin (11.6.2017)


Request for GSC/GSPC Member Lists Coming Soon
In preparation for the evaluation survey that will be occurring in December and January, the evaluators will be requesting the member lists of Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions. The forms and directions for compiling and sending the lists are now being finalized and please look for an email within the next week. Thank you for your attention to this request when received!


Training Opportunities
Using a Systems Approach and Community Organizing to Strengthen the Early Childhood System
The TA staff is excited to announce that we will be offering two, one-day trainings designed to support GSC/GSPC staff in building the skills for understanding a systems change approach and strategies for engaging members in GSC/GSPC efforts. These trainings will be held on Dec 13, 2017 in Mount Pleasant and December 14, 2017 in Sault Ste. Marie.

This one-day training is for you if you’ve been hired to be a GSC Coordinator/Director or GSPC Parent Liaison within the last year or two, or if you have ever asked yourself these questions:

  • How do I explain the necessity of a systems approach to the GSC, GSPC and the larger community?  How might I help others see “what’s in it” for them and their own work?
  • What does a systems approach mean and how do I use the system characteristics (Foster-Fishman & Watson 2012) in my work with the GSC/GSPC?
  • How do the system characteristics, five early childhood component areas, and Michigan four early childhood outcomes align?
  • Who needs to be engaged with the GSC and GSPC and where do I find and effectively recruit key stakeholders?
  • How do I get key stakeholders to come to meetings and take part in the work of the GSC and GSPC?
  • How do I sustain engagement knowing turnover will occur?

Join us to answer these questions and more!! Register here to attend!

Other Upcoming Trainings – More Information to Come
The ECIC and Office of Great Start are finalizing the contract and budget for GSC/GSPC training and technical assistance in fiscal year 2018, however, we have finalized some of the training dates for the first two quarters. Please see these below and more information and registration will be sent in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please let us know!

  • Data Training  – ECIC in partnership with the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) will focus on increasing understanding, using, and confidently presenting information about quantitative and qualitative data. January 10-11, 2018 in Gaylord and January 22-23, 2018 in Lansing area (first day will be a half day, beginning at noon)
  • Strengthening Families 2-day Training  – open to any GSC Directors and Parent Liaisons who have not participate in a Strengthening Families training previously. February 7-8, 2018in Mt. Pleasant

Using Visuals to Show Priorities and Progress
We’ve had a request for examples from other GSCs/GSPCs of visuals being used to show progress and/or a picture of the overall work. This may be an infographic or another visual way you are depicting the priority goals, objectives, and strategies for your groups. We know that sometimes the amount of detail in the Action Agenda can be overwhelming and that using a summary-type document that is visually appealing can help members see the “big picture.” If you have something like this, please email it to Alissa Parks at We can also share these examples on the Great Start Network site for others to view. Thank you!


Trusted Advisors – Grant Applications Due This Week
As a reminder, the Trusted Advisor grant applications are due on Friday, November 10.  Please note that Friday, November 10 is Veteran’s Day, and is also a State of Michigan holiday, therefore the Office of Great Start strongly encourages applicants to submit applications prior to the final due date as there will not be staff available to assist if technical problems occur on November 10.

School Transparency Dashboard – Please Share Widely
The Michigan Department of Education is working with Public Policy Associates (PPA) to gather feedback on the state’s new “School Transparency Dashboard” designed especially for parents and caregivers.  They have already shared this request with school leaders and their state associations, including the MI PTA and other parent organizations, and are seeking your help to distribute the survey link even more broadly to parents, grandparents, and other caregivers in your networks

Click the link below (or type the survey URL into your web browser) to access the online survey:

Survey details:

  • The survey can be completed on any computer, tablet, or mobile device.
  • The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.
  • All answers will be confidential.
  • Survey must be completed by November 15, 2017.

In addition, click here for a flyer for posting near public computers or distributing to families.  Thank you for your assistance in sending this to your local network of families and caregivers.


Great Start to Quality Expands – Out of School Time
Over the last two years, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and the Michigan Department of Education-Office of Great Start, along with its partners, conducted three pilots with out-of-school time programs to expand Great Start to Quality to include out-of-school time only programs. These programs serve schoolagers, children from kindergarten entry to age 12 only, and were previously not eligible to participate.

Beginning on December 1st, 2017 that will change! Programs that are licensed and serving schoolagers only will be able to complete the rating process. To learn more about the rating process you can visit the Great Start to Quality website. By completing the rating process, programs rated at a 2, 3, 4 or 5 Star will be eligible to receive increased subsidy rates for families participating in Child Development and Care. Families who receive subsidy, and attend a 3, 4, or 5 Star program, will no longer have a family contribution to the program. Learn more on the Child Development and Care website.

Rethinking the Word Gap
In 1995, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley published a landmark study in their book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children that transformed our understanding of the disparity between the early verbal language encounters of low-income children and their high-income peers. Hart and Risley found that children in high-income homes heard about 1,500 more words per hour than children in homes that received welfare assistance. By the age of three, the “word gap” totaled more than 30 million words. The researchers argued that this “early catastrophe”-as they later called it-has lasting detrimental effects on the language development and the academic achievement of low-income children. Their findings became a rallying cry. Advocates, researchers, and policymakers eagerly took on the challenge, which seemed to have a simple solution: getting parents to talk to their kids.

Word gap initiatives like Too Small to Fail and others across the country have been widely embraced and publicized. But recently, some researchers have begun to question the benefits of word gap advocacy. This new line of critique suggests word gap efforts may reinforce damaging deficit perspectives about low-income families and linguistically diverse students. A study published in the most recent issue of the Harvard Education Review found that acceptance of the word gap drove deficit-based thinking among educators, which in turn had negative effects on the instruction offered to low-income Latinx immigrant children. Read more here.


Infant Safe Sleep Webinar Series
Topic: Infant Safe Sleep – Engaging Families through Innovative Approaches
Date: November 8, 2017, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST
Presenter: Bonita Agee, Education Coordinator, Strong Beginnings-Healthy Start
Description: In this webinar, you will hear of multiple educational offerings that creatively engage families in the infant safe sleep discussion to help prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Bonita Agee, Education Coordinator and trained safe sleep facilitator, will talk about innovative initiatives offered through Strong Beginnings-Healthy Start and its Community Action Network partnership that reinforce current American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep Recommendations to impact infant mortality.

To join AT&T Connect Conference click here.

  1. Dial one of the numbers listed below.
  2. When prompted, enter the meeting access code: 9192610#

* Caller-Paid number: 215-446-3649
* Toll-Free Number (in USA): 888-557-8511.

SAVE THE DATE: Infant Mortality Reduction Plan – Community of Practice Webinar
The Communities of Practice Webinars, sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, provide opportunities for collective learning and continuous improvement to improve birth outcomes. These webinars will provide a forum for discussion about best practices and community efforts for each goal in the Infant Mortality Reduction Plan.
Next Webinar:  November 17, 2017, from 1 – 2 p.m.
GOAL 9: Promote Behavioral Health Services and other Programs to Support Vulnerable Women and Infants
TOPIC:  Adverse Childhood Experiences and Impact on Women and Children

To join the AT&T Connect Conference:  Click here.

  1. Dial one of the numbers listed below
  2. When prompted, enter the meeting access code: 9192610#

* Caller-Paid number: 215-446-3649
* Toll-Free Number (in USA): 888-557-8511.


Addressing Poverty Using a Systemic Approach
Genesee County GSC will be co-sponsoring a Bridges Out of Poverty Summit on December 6th at the Genesee Career Institute, Flint.  The Summit will feature Aha!Process national speaker, Terie Dreussi-Smith.  Aha!Process is a Ruby Payne Company that promotes a comprehensive resource builder model to address poverty.  The Genesee Summit is designed to start the conversation with three specific target groups- Healthcare (8:30-10:30 AM), Executive and Administrative Leaders (11:30 AM-1:30 PM), and Cross-Sector Community Leaders and Professionals (2:30-4:30 PM).  The program is being provided in partnership with Community Connections, a certified Bridges training site in Harbor Beach, Michigan.  If you would like to learn more about the Bridges out of Poverty model attend one of the sessions.  If you would like to see how the day long summit is organized feel free to attend all day.  Access the flyer here and register for one or more sessions here.