Great Start Communications Bulletin (10.9.2017)


Group Concept Mapping Rating is Open!
The following message is from Corey Smith to all GSC Directors and GSPC Parent Liaisons. Corey also sent this message via email.

Dear GSC Director or GSPC Parent Liaison,

You may now begin the sorting and rating phase about success to inform the statewide evaluation of Collaboratives and Coalitions! This phase of the project is to be completed ONLY by GSC Directors and GSPC Parent Liaisons.

The sorting and rating site will be open between Monday, September 25 and midnight on Wednesday, October 11. During this time, you may log in and out of the site at your convenience. Please note that the total time taken to complete the sorting and rating might last up to two hours, depending on your pace. Go with your first instinct on sorting and rating, do not overthink it.

When you log in to the sorting and rating site, you will see a set of tasks and their status. You can click on each of them to begin or continue work on each. The sorting and rating process is what generates the data to inform the concept maps.

You have three key tasks to complete:

  1. Sort the ideas into piles of like ideas and name each pile. This means that you are looking for thematic similarities between different ideas.
  2. Rate the ideas on Importance.
  3. Rate the ideas on Feasibility. 

Your participation in this process is critically important. Your contributions will help the evaluation team frame this evaluation in a way that reflects the experiences of you and your members.

Attached are detailed instructions to guide you through the sorting and rating activity. You may download these and print these out for future reference if you feel they may be useful. We have also created a short how-to webinar to orient you to the system. You can find that here.

Please note that once you start the webinar, click on the arrows at the bottom right of the webinar screen to expand it so that you can more easily see the website.

If you have any questions you may contact Corey Smith at (269) 547-0341 or at


FY18 Strategic Plan and 32p Application Submissions
Congratulations to all GSCs and GSPCs for submitting their 32p Applications and updated Strategic Plans. A special shout out goes to the 23 GSCs/GSPCs who completed their year-long strategic planning process! Great job everyone!

Great Start Data Form is Now Available!
The new Great Start Data Form for 2017 is now available! Compiled through contract with the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), the Data Form contains many early childhood indicators of interest to the Great Start Collaboratives (GSCs) and Great Start Parent Coalitions (GSPCs). This quantitative data, along with qualitative data collected by the GSC/GSPC, supports its members to understand the needs and strengths of the county(ies), plan more impactful strategies, and understand root causes to community issues.

Please note that MLPP is still working on collecting the data for the following indicators:

  • Child care subsidies;
  • Preventable hospitalizations; and
  • Lead testing and poisoning.

As soon as the data is collected and finalized for these indicators, the revised data form will be shared.

Annually, ECIC and MLPP hold a webinar to provide the opportunity to learn more about the indicators, sources of data, and to respond to questions. This year’s webinar will be on October 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. (EST). You may register for the webinar through this link.

Staff Changes
Have you recently had a change in your local GSC/GSPC staffing? If so, please complete and email this form to the Helpline to officially inform us of these changes. Submitting this form will allow new staff to not only be invited to the next in-person Orientation training, but also be granted access to the Great Start Network site and begin to receive the Communications Bulletin and other resources and communications from the Office of Great Start.  Please note that the ECIC TA staff generates a current staff listing of all GSC Directors and Parent Liaisons monthly which MDE-OGS uses to communicate with you, so it is very important that you help us keep the list up to date!

Local GSC Page on Great Start Network
Has your phone number or office extension changed, or do you need to update any of your contact information?  Do you have a picture to share?  Please inform ECIC of these changes and send us your profile picture.  Keeping your information current helps ECIC and your peers to connect with you.  Your peers and ECIC would love to see your picture next to your name on your local page!

Orientation Training
Our first in-person GSC/GSPC Orientation training for this fiscal year will be held on Wednesday, November 8, in Lansing and registration is open.

Please note our new start time, networking and sign in will begin at 8 a.m., the training will start promptly at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.

Great Start Orientation sessions are available for new Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons, and offer a comprehensive overview of the Great Start Initiative, system building, the purpose of the Great Start Collaboratives and Coalitions, an introduction to important documents and requirements, key roles, objectives and partnerships, resources available through training and technical assistance, and time to interact with other Great Start staff and Consultants and meet Rachel Pritchard from the Office of Great Start. 100% of past participants say they would recommend this training to others and that they were glad that they attended as a team.

A Parent’s Guide to Participation Using the Strengthening Families Approach
A Parent’s Guide to Participation Using the Strengthening Families Approach is a resource developed through a collaboration between the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Fund’s Early Childhood Initiative and Parents Know, Kids Grow, Tennessee. This resource is designed to support engagement in the Strengthening Families framework and offers an approach to talking about each of the five Protective Factors that is relatable to the experiences of families. The guide also provides suggested activities and resources that align with each Protective Factor, as well as information about community cafés.  This helpful resource can be used when introducing the Protective Factors to families or in supporting families in talking about the Strengthening Families approach in their communities.


FY17 32p Year End Report Webinar
Now that the FY18 application process is done…. the FY17 32p year-end report is now available to complete.  Rachel Pritchard and Holly Wingard have recorded a webinar that walks you through how to access and complete the report and what the requirements are from MDE-OGS. Please remember that this report is due in MEGS+ no later than November 30, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rachel at the Office of Great Start or the TA staff via the Great Start Helpline!

Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Mid-Year Highlights
The exciting work of Race to the Top continues to ramp up throughout the State of Michigan! Here you will find the 2017 Mid-Year Highlights. This Mid-Year Highlight is also available on the Michigan Department of Education Website. Please feel free to communicate this with community partners!


MeL Back to School Letter and Video for Parents, Teachers, and Students
As everyone heads back to school, please keep in mind that the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) offers many quality and vetted online resources to aid with class assignments. And best of all – they are FREE for all Michigan residents!

To help remind all parents, teachers, and students that MeL is an important go-to tool for school, the MeL staff have created a Back to School Letter and video that can be shared with everyone in Michigan. School Administrators can share with their staff. Teachers can email it to parents and students, or include the link in a newsletter or on their webpage. Copies of the letter can be given out during Curriculum/Back to School nights.

Please help Michigan students succeed this year by sharing the MeL Back to School letter and video widely.

Center for the Developing Child New Spanish and Portuguese Translations
The Center has recently expanded its online library of resources translated into Spanish and Portuguese. Recent additions include Spanish translations of the Center’s InBriefs and Portuguese translations of From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts as well as their activities guide for building executive function skills. Find the new translations through these links – View Spanish Resources or View Portuguese Resources.


Project Re:form Update
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) touches nearly every Michigan resident through its programs and services. In Michigan, there are over 2.6 million residents that seek Healthcare, Food Assistance, Cash Assistance, Child Care, and State Emergency Relief each year. These programs are administered by MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) through 4 separate applications (DHS-1171, DHS-1426, DHS-1514, and DHS-4583) which provide access to Michigan’s key safety net services for men, women and children of all ages and ethnicities.

The current public benefits applications in Michigan create a significant barrier to services. Combined, they represent 40 pages, over 1000 questions, and more than 18,000 words – one of the longest applications of its kind in the US. The length and complexity of these applications makes the eligibility process disruptive to the lives of applicants and cumbersome for field staff to manage.

In Fall 2015, MDHHS and Civilla, a design studio based in Detroit, partnered with a shared interest in identifying ways to streamline and improve access to public benefits in Michigan. The team leveraged human-centered design, a problem solving methodology used by some of the most successful organizations across the public and private sectors, as a way of rooting their collective efforts in the needs and perspectives of the field. The team spent hundreds of hours conducting interviews and observations in order to understand the experiences of clients and field staff. This fieldwork was strengthened by academic research that lifted up best practices from similar systems in the US and abroad.

The result of this process is a new, streamlined application scheduled for statewide rollout beginning in January 2018. In order to bring this project into the next phase of implementation, MDHHS is beginning to work through a process that will deliver the necessary federal, state, and internal approvals and create readiness within the organization. The statewide launch will be the culmination of 27 months of integrative work across 5 major programs. For the complete update about Project Re:form click here.

New Practitioner Tool: Building the Skills Adults Need for LifeWe all need a set of core life skills or adult capabilities to manage work, family, and relationships successfully. No one is born with these skills, but we can all learn them over time. Designed specifically for practitioners, this four-page guide explains the science behind our core life skills, what affects their development, and how practitioners can help. Download the tool here.


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: October 18, 2017, from 1 – 2 p.m.
GOAL 8: Reducing Unintended Pregnancies
TOPIC: Incorporating Zika Virus Awareness into Practice

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