Great Start Communications Bulletin (4.10.2017)


Webinar: Engaging Families in Guiding and Leading Systems Change Efforts
Families hold unique perspectives on the community Early Childhood system, its problems, and possible solutions. Effective change efforts continuously engage families in understanding local community system issues, designing powerful strategies, carrying out actions, and learning for continuous improvement. Effective efforts also engage stakeholders in multiple ways, not only by gathering their input and engaging them in decision-making, but also by supporting them in becoming empowered change agents within the community. This webinar will participants learn more about how to:

  • identify families across diverse populations to engage in your systems change efforts
  • create opportunities for families to support all phases of your systems change effort
  • provide multiple roles for families to support your change efforts using the ABLe Change Engagement Continuum

This webinar will be held on April 13 from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Please register through this link.

Webinar: Using MeL Resources to Promote Early Literacy
Did you know that the Michigan eLibrary offers a multitude of subscription resources available to all Michigan residents for FREE?  Please join Christine Schneider from the Library of Michigan for a webinar on April 19th at 10 a.m. to earn how to easily access resources, which databases help support early literacy, and how to use them. Specifically she will explore Scholastic BookFLIX, Early World of Learning, Learning Zone, and NoveList K-8+. This is definitely a webinar you won’t want to miss if you work with young children!  As always, we will record this live webinar in case you are not able to participate live.  Please register here to participate in this live webinar.

Kids Count Webinar Recording and Materials
On March 30, the Michigan League for Public Policy hosted a webinar to share the new Kids Count Data Book. The data is under embargo until its official release on April 18, but community partners received a preview along with ideas for promoting the data with policymakers, media, and local partners. The webinar recording can be found on the Collaborative/ Coalition home page on Great Start Network. Please contact Alicia S. Guevara Warren at if you have questions or would like access to the embargoed materials. If you’d like support on using the data for local planning and implementation, please contact the Great Start Helpline.

August Statewide Gathering
On August 8 in Mt Pleasant, there will be an all-day statewide gathering for Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition staff. It will be held at Courtyard Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University.  Rooms can be booked here at the discounted rate of $105. This rate is good until July 13.

As in previous years, this meeting will provide opportunity to learn and connect with peers as well as dialogue with staff from the Office of Great Start and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation about the fiscal year 2018 32p application and training and technical assistance. At this point in planning, we anticipate offering two rounds of workshops in the morning, with statewide information being discussed in the afternoon. Registration for the meeting will be open starting May 8.

We are seeking proposals for workshops for the morning peer-to-peer workshop sessions. There are many great things happening across the state and we hope to feature as many as possible within the six, 1.5 hour, workshop slots. We strongly encourage your team to submit a proposal for one of these slots and collaborative proposals across GSCs/GSPCs are welcomed! Once proposals are received, we may also link GSCs/GSPCs together based on common topic areas. Workshop proposals are due no later than May 19. Please find the proposal form and suggested topics here and contact us with questions!

Register for the Parent Liaison Strengthening Families/Parent Cafe Training
All Parent Liaisons who will be conducting the Strengthening Families Assessment during FY18 are invited to participate in this interactive, all day event that will teach Liaisons how to introduce Strengthening Families to their GSPC members and effectively facilitate parent cafés. This training will provide participants with step by step directions, training materials, an opportunity to practice, and the knowledge and confidence to conduct a training.  Please note that this training will assume that participants have a basic understanding of the Strengthening Families framework and the Protective Factors.  If you did not participate in the Strengthening Families training held in November (or at another time), we ask that you complete at least the overview module of the on-line training, available here.

This training will take place on April 25 in Shepherd, MI. Please register today – registration will be closing on April 12.

Adaptive Schools Registration is Open!
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is pleased to again offer the four-day Adaptive Schools Foundation Training for building strong and effective groups. The training will be held on May 24-25 and August 22-23 at the Genesee Career Institute, G5081 Torrey Rd, in Flint. This four-day Foundation Seminar will train participants in techniques to build strong and effective groups, resulting in dynamic and energized meetings.  Participants will increase their effectiveness as staff and facilitators of Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions, and Great Start to Quality Resource Centers as well as learn practical tools for engaging members and partners.

Training Outcomes Include:

  • Increased flexibility and confidence as a group facilitator.
  • New meeting structures that promote successful decision making.
  • Tools to help enhance group productivity, increasing group member satisfaction & member engagement.
  • Ways of talking that increase shared understanding and meaning among group members.
  • Ways to value and use dissention, argument and conflict.
  • Strategies for keeping group members on track, on topic, energized and resourceful.
  • Techniques and insights for ensuring the group are welcoming to diverse perspectives.

There are only a few spots left so please register for the training here. Priority will be given to new Collaborative and Coalition staff, as well as GSQ staff who have not yet taken this training. The registration deadline is April 21.

Parents Partnering for Change
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 is a two-day commitment, June 27-28, 2017, and will be held in Shepherd, Michigan. The schedule for day one is from 1 p.m. until
8 p.m. and day two begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m.

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.

Because we have a maximum of 25 participants, registration for this training is offered first to newly hired Parent Liaisons and they have already been emailed and invited. As a reminder, the deadline for Liaisons to register is April 14. Register using the link here.

After April 14, we will be able to first open this registration to GSC parents, then GSPC parent leaders, and we will communicate how many openings are available. If you currently have eligible parents who are interested in coming to this training, please have them “save the date”. Please contact Michele Chenier with any questions.


32p Mid-Year Report
It’s that time of year again. Mid-Year Reports for 32p are due April 30, 2017. A recorded webinar to assist in the completion of the report is available here. More information on how to submit the Mid-Year Report, how to complete the Interim Expenditure Report (IER), and due dates will be communicated from the Office of Great Start via email on Friday March 31, 2017. Please contact the Great Start Helpline or Rachel Mellema at the Office of Great Start if you have questions.

Trusted Advisors Application
The Trusted Advisors Grant Application was released on March 30 to all Great Start Parent Coalitions. The Office of Great Start also shared a recorded webinar to provide an overview of the application and grant review process. Applications are due May 5 and must be submitted via MEGS+. If you have any questions as you prepare your application, please contact Desiree Hughes or the ECIC TA staff.

To assist you in completing the grant application, Desiree Hughes will be holding three “Trusted Advisors Grant Office Hours’ call-in sessions to answer questions, allow you to share ideas, and offer support throughout this process.  It is not expected that everyone participates in all 3 calls, and notes will be taken to compile a FAQ document that will be sent out following each call.  Please feel free to send Desiree any questions that you might have prior to the calls at:

The call times are:

  • Tuesday, April 11  – 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 12  – 2 p.m.
  • Monday, April 1710 a.m.

Conference Number- 877-820-7831
Pin Number- 823197

GSC/GSPC Evaluation
On February 3, the Office of Great Start sent a memo to GSC and GSPC staff along with Intermediate School District leaders announcing plans to seek a contractor for an evaluation of Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions. The Request for Proposal was released March 1 and can be found here. ECIC is the lead entity coordinating the project on behalf of the Office of Great Start. Proposals are due April 28and we hope to have a contract in place by June 1. As part of the process, bidders will be proposing ideas for an evaluation design so we do not yet know how the evaluation will be structured. If you have any questions about the evaluation process at this point, please contact Alissa Parks


Call for “Readiness” Materials
Many of you are working on or have created materials about Kindergarten Readiness to increase awareness and knowledge across parents and providers. We would like to collect these from GSCs/GSPCs and post them on the Great Start Network site to promote sharing across counties. If you have these materials, please email them to Alissa Parks at Thank you!


New Research Shows Significantly More Neural Connections Formed During Early Years Than Previously Thought
Last week the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child released new research showing that significantly more neural connections are made in the brain during the early years of life than previously thought. The Center’s Dr. Jack Shonkoff and his team had previously found that the brain makes 700-1000 new neural connections per second in the first few years of life. However, the Center’s new research has now found the number to be over 1 million connections per second. Learn more about early brain architecture and the importance of early childhood development and learning here.

Potential of Impact Bonds
The Stanford Social Innovation Review writes on the potential of impact bonds to support early childhood development by improving services and building data sharing systems.


New Early Childhood Research

  • Improving school readiness of high-risk preschoolers: Combining high quality instructional strategies with responsive training for teachers and parents
    This study evaluated whether the combination of two proven interventions, one in Head Start classrooms (The Early Education Model, TEEM) and one in the home (Play and Learning Strategies, PALS) resulted in enhanced effects on at-risk 3- to 5-year-old children’s school readiness skills when compared to either of these interventions alone. Teachers and parents were trained to use a responsive style and strategies that supported children’s school readiness skills with the goal of providing children consistency in responsive practices across the school and home environments.
  • Childcare Providers’ Use of Practices to Promote Young Children’s Social Emotional Competence
    Findings are presented regarding childcare providers’ use of evidence-based strategies to promote preschoolers’ social-emotional competence in 38 urban childcare classrooms. Descriptive results from classroom observations and childcare teachers’ interviews indicated that in the absence of training, childcare teaching staff implemented few of these strategies. Teachers also reported a lack of infrastructure elements such as professional development, a leadership team, data-based tools for decision making, and monetary resources that are associated with the adoption and sustained use of strategies. Findings are described and recommendations are presented to support implementation of practices associated with young children’s social-emotional competence in childcare settings.
  • Child Care Subsidies
    A new study in Early Childhood Research Quarterly looks at child care subsidies and the stability and quality of child care arrangements. The researchers find that subsidies produced no difference in the stability of child care arrangements and that families typically have multiple child care arrangements regardless of whether or not they receive a subsidy. In addition, the study finds that those receiving subsidies also experienced on average a higher quality of care.
  • Kindergarten Readiness
    A new study, Kids Today: The Rise in Children’s Academic Skills at Kindergarten Entry, uses national data sets to look at the school readiness of children entering kindergarten in 2010 compared with 1998. The researchers find that students in the 2010 cohort entered kindergarten with stronger math and literacy skills, but showed mixed outcomes on behavior. Improvements in academic skill readiness were particularly pronounced for Black children.
  • Early Math Education 
    MDRC released a brief “Counting on Early Math Skills,” looking at the outcomes of early math education programs and children who received the Making Pre-k Count curriculum in preschool, High 5s curriculum in Kindergarten, or both. The authors find that that the programs generally had a positive impact on children’s development outcomes.

Michigan AfterSchool Association (MAA) Regional Workshops
The Michigan AfterSchool Association supports statewide regional workshops for out of school time professionals per year. These workshops meet in different regions throughout the state of Michigan. Specific topics will vary from workshop to workshop, but they will be facilitated with a common goal of providing quality professional development training and resource sharing to members of the out of school time field. Starting in 2017, MAA aims to provide monthly regional workshops. If you are interested in MAA bringing a regional workshop to your community or have a topic idea, please contact Jennifer Bonner at

Upcoming Workshops:

  • April 17 – Spring Workshop – Grand Rapids
  • April 28 – Regional Workshop Series – Flint


Webinar: Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children 0-8
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a report informing a national framework for strengthening the capacity of parents of young children birth to age 8 intended to provide a road map for parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in the US.  Three members of the study committee that authored this report will discuss the report’s conclusions and recommendations during a webinar on April 26 at 12 p.m.

25th Anniversary Parenting Awareness Michigan Conference
Prevention Network is pleased to share information about the 25th anniversary Parenting Awareness Michigan Conference being held on November 13 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Participants will learn about parenting issues, programs, and resources. The conference provides quality professional development for anyone who works with parents and families-educators, service providers, school personnel, parent network and coalition members, and parent leaders and volunteers.

They are seeking proposals on relevant information for programs, and resources related to parents and families. The one-day conference includes a: keynote presentation; workshops; exhibits showcasing parenting programs, resources, and opportunities to earn continuing education.

To learn more about the conference or to submit a proposal go to their website.


STRENGTHENING FAMILIES ON THE GROUND – “Protective Factors, Part 1”: Podcast Features Strengthening Families
There is a new way to access Strengthening Families content. A recent podcast from the Child Welfare Information Gateway features CSSP’s Cailin O’Connor, along with Tabitha Kelly from the Division of Child and Family Services in Arlington County, Virginia. The first in a two-part series, the podcast covers what protective factors are, why they matter and how child welfare workers and other community programs can use the Strengthening Families approach.

Supporting Young Children in Immigrant Families: What Early Childhood Stakeholders Need to Know About the New Immigration Orders
Join CLASP for a webinar discussing recent immigration executive orders and their implications for young children in immigrant families. The webinar will provide an overview of current early childhood policies and eligibility rules as well as recent immigration enforcement policy changes that directly impact children living in mixed-status immigrant families. Speakers will also share strategies and new resources to help child care and early education providers support children and families at risk of immigration enforcement, including how to keep their programs safe from enforcement actions and help families cope and prepare for possible deportation.

The webinar will be held on Wednesday April 19, 2017 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT.  Register for the webinar here.

Presenters will include:

  • Wendy Cervantes, Senior Policy Analyst for Immigration and Immigrant Families, CLASP;
  • Hannah Matthews, Director of Child Care and Early Education, CLASP;
  • Emily Butera, Senior Program Officer, Women’s Refugee Commission; and
  • Elisa Ortiz, Director of Network Coordination, Appleseed.


Home Visiting Reauthorization Underway
The US House of Representatives began the reauthorization process for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) with a hearing in front of the  House Ways and Means Committee. Committee members heard testimonies on the importance and efficacy of home visiting programs, including from Ounce of Prevention Fund President Diana Rauner. Watch highlights from the hearing.

The national Home Visiting Coalition kicked off its campaign with the intention of ensuring that the “successful, evidence-based program is not just continued but also expanded so that even more at-risk families in all 50 states can benefit from home visiting.”