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How Principals Can Improve Student Success237GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>The word “landmark,” used as a modifier rather than a noun, is not one you’ll hear a lot at Wallace. &#160;In fact, we reserve it pretty much for one thing&#58; a slim report with a nondescript cover published in 2004. <br> <br> At the time, we had no idea that <a href="http&#58;//wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Pages/How-Leadership-Influences-Student-Learning.aspx"> <em>How Leadership Influences Student Learning</em></a> would go on to become the closest thing that Wallace has to a best-seller—more than 550,000 downloads to date, almost twice the number of our second-most downloaded report.</p><p>What makes <em>How Leadership</em> a landmark, however, is more than its popularity. Written by a team of education researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Minnesota, the report helped bring to light the importance of an overlooked factor in education—the role of the school principal. In short, it found that leadership is, in the phrase we’ve used innumerable times since the report’s publication, “second only to teaching among school influences on student success.” Moreover, the researchers wrote that there were “virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful leader.”</p><p> Over the years, the report has served as the bedrock rationale for Wallace’s work in education. Since 2004, the foundation has invested in an array of initiatives aimed at providing excellent principals for public schools, especially those serving the least advantaged students. Wallace spending on those efforts amounted to roughly $290 million from 2006 to 2015.</p><p>In the wake of <em>How Leadership</em> are numerous other important Wallace-commissioned education studies, most recently a series documenting the implementation of our Principal Pipeline Initiative, in which six large school districts set out to introduce rigorous hiring, training, evaluation and other procedures to create a large corps of effective school leaders. The culminating report in that series, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Building-a-Stronger-Principalship.aspx"> <em>Building a Stronger Principalship</em></a>, published in 2016, suggested that it is indeed possible for districts to do this work—to shape the kind of school leadership, that is, which <em>How Leadership</em> tells us is so important to the education of our nation’s children.</p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZOur education leadership work offers a rationale and roadmap for supporting effective principals4/4/2018 4:40:39 PM481http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Building Arts Audiences: Act on Facts, Not on Hunches6960GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Arts audiences are declining, but arts organizations are proliferating. You don’t have to be an economist to see a system in distress. Arts communities convened in two Texas cities—Austin and Dallas—to address this central mismatch. </p><p>Sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, “Road on the Road&#58; Texas” offered local arts leaders an opportunity to learn about and discuss nine audience-building practices, analyzed and illuminated in Bob Harlow’s <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/The-Road-to-Results-Effective-Practices-for-Building-Arts-Audiences.aspx"> <em>The Road to Results&#58; Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences.</em></a> Harlow, an expert in market research, &#160;studied 10 Wallace-supported &#160;arts organizations that had achieved striking results in audience-building efforts, and this volume, commissioned by the foundation, was a look across what they did to get those results.* </p><p>“It doesn’t have to be an unsolved problem,” &#160;moderator Daniel Windham, Wallace’s director of arts, said of the difficulty that audience-building presents. “It’s not about money or size or even time. It’s about commitment.” He wondered aloud whether arts leaders were willing to make the tough programming and structural changes necessary to attract and retain desired audiences over the long haul. </p><p>Keynoter Harlow brought great enthusiasm and data-laced storytelling to his gentle admonition that hunches about audiences will take arts organizations down the wrong path.&#160; His message? You might think you know enough about audiences not coming or returning, but you’d be wrong and you’d make costly mistakes as a result. Instead, he advised organizations to develop a strategy, determine what motivates them, and make audience building, including audience research, a part of everything they do. </p><p>Engaging audiences starts with defining your &quot;mission-critical&quot; problem, Harlow said. He described this as the understanding that change is needed, creating a sense of urgency in the organization. </p><p>In Dallas, Neil Barkley, director and CEO of the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, asked the audience, “When you think of New Orleans, what comes to mind?” Out came shouts of&#58; jazz, Mardi Gras, Katrina.&#160; He nodded and said, “Our mission-critical problem was, people coming through the door didn’t reflect the community we lived in.” </p><p>Austin's Prakash Mohandas, founder of Agni Dance, said the organizaton’s audience was “anyone interested in learning about dance inspired by Bollywood, or dancing or fitness with a Bollywood flavor to it.” He defined Agni Dance's mission-critical problem as enabling a community to come together, with a special interest in attracting more children, more diversity and, for survival, just more people. </p><p>Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, said that her company wants to build a following among people unfamiliar with the organization or the work it presents.&#160; She noted that people won’t get excited by what they don’t understand, so Ballet Austin needs to find ways to “make ourselves easy to get to know.”&#160; She added, “This process naturally takes years.&#160; Engagement is more than one-time attendance, but the good news is that it can be done.” </p><p>You can see some of the early results of Ballet Austin’s audience-building efforts <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Ballet-Austin-Building-Audiences-for-Sustainability.aspx">here</a>. </p><p>Harlow wrapped up his Austin and Dallas presentations by summarizing two essentials of the nine practices&#58; </p><ol><li>Successful initiatives made building relationships a sustained priority, so get to know your audiences and help them know you; and</li><li>Keep audience-building issues on the front burner, at the forefront of what you do.</li></ol><p>&#160;</p><p>*The organizations had all been participants in the foundation’s Wallace Excellence Awards initiative, which ended in &#160;2014 after having provided audience-building grants of up to $750,000 to 54 arts organizations in six cities.&#160; Across the 46 WEA recipients that provided reliable data, the results were promising. Over a period that averaged three years, the organizations seeking an increase in the size of their overall audience saw median gains of 27 percent, while those targeting growth of a specific segment, such as teens or families, saw median gains of 60 percent. </p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div>Jessica Schwartz482017-11-03T04:00:00ZA Report from Wallace’s “Road on the Road” Convening to Illuminate Effective Audience-Building Practices3/20/2018 6:40:51 PM462http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Speaking the Language of Social and Emotional Learning6828GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>What’s in a name? In the fields of education and youth development, the name we give an emerging idea can cause confusion or controversy and even make a difference in whether it is embraced or rejected.</p><p>Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way we talk about learning that does not fall into the category of traditional academics. Interest in helping young people manage their emotions, build positive relationships and navigate social situations has been growing in recent years. But the discourse surrounding this work is rife with vague and competing terminology—from the colloquial (“character,” “grit”) to the clinical (“non-cognitive skills,” “growth mindset”). </p><p>That’s why <a href="http&#58;//www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/08/14/542070550/social-and-emotional-skills-everybody-loves-them-but-still-cant-define-them">this <em>nprEd</em> article</a> by Anya Kamenetz is so valuable. As an education journalist, Kamenetz was bothered by the proliferation of jargon on this topic. So she created a glossary, updated in summer 2017, to help non-wonks sort through it all.</p><p>This caught our eye at Wallace because we had taken on a similar project. In 2016, in preparation for a new initiative, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/SEL-Feedback-and-Communications-Insights-from-the-Field.aspx">we commissioned Edge Research</a>, a Virginia-based market research firm, to look at more than 40 terms and report back on what they meant, how often they were used and how effective they were in motivating parents, educators and policymakers.</p><p>Edge conducted in-depth interviews with 45 leaders in education and afterschool, an online survey of another 1,600 professionals, and focus groups with parents. Like Kamenetz, they concluded there is no “silver bullet” term that works for everyone and in all contexts. They did, however, find that the term “social and emotional learning,” while not without its pitfalls, was familiar and clear to practitioners and policymakers in both K-12 and afterschool and accessible to parents once it was explained.</p><p>That is, in part, why we decided to name our new initiative <a href="/knowledge-center/Social-and-Emotional-Learning/Pages/default.aspx">Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning</a>. </p><p>Martin West of the Harvard Graduate School of Education tells Kamenetz that the “semantic debate” may already have been settled in favor of “social and emotional learning” and its variants, “but more from exhaustion than from progress toward consensus.” We at Wallace have found working with Edge on this knotty naming problem more invigorating than exhausting, and we hope the results will help researchers, philanthropic organizations, policymakers and practitioners.</p><p> We also recognize that, when discussing the well-being of our young people, a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not the way to go. Each community has different needs and different sensitivities. References to “character” make some people cheer and others suspicious. Associating the word “emotional” with the word “learning” may provoke eye rolls in some places and applause in others. </p><p>It’s important to respect these differences. If we want our children to learn to relate to others in a positive and skillful way, it starts with us.</p>Wallace editorial team792017-11-15T05:00:00ZWhat’s in a name? In the fields of education and youth development, the name we give an emerging idea can cause confusion or controversy and even make a difference in whether it is embraced or rejected.12/4/2017 4:16:45 PM5259http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Just the Facts, Please184GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Evidence-free argument. Data-empty debate. Fact-less discussion. Has the need for hard information vanished at a time when the term “fake news” has entered the national lexicon?</p><p>Not if you ask the people who have been part of Wallace’s <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/Principal-Pipelines.aspx">Principal Pipeline Initiative</a>, a venture, launched in 2011, to help six large school districts develop a sizeable corps of effective school leaders. The initiative is now drawing to a close, and the participants in it were among those who gathered in New York City recently at a meeting focused on what it might take to sustain successful aspects of Wallace-sponsored education leadership initiatives once the foundation’s funding for them ends. </p><p> The big message was that the continued gathering, examining and sharing of solid information about the work is a must, a basis for everything from making smart decisions to maintaining trust with partners. </p><p>Evidence can make the difference between a case that’s persuasive to those who hold the purse strings and one that falls flat. That was a lesson from Tricia McManus, one of three Pipeline district panelists in a session that opened the meeting. McManus, assistant superintendent of Hillsborough County (Fla.) Public Schools, which encompasses the Tampa area, recalled the role evidence had played recently in helping to build a strong argument for preserving coaching for new principals in Hillsborough, which is facing budget constraints. Survey responses from new principals in the district indicated that these novice leaders deeply valued the coaching they’d received and considered it a key to having helped them adapt to their difficult jobs. Evidence like this, McManus said, aided in keeping the coaching effort afloat for the 2017-2018 school year. </p><p> Panelist Mikel Royal, director of school leader development and support for the Denver Public Schools, agreed that evidence pointing to what works can be powerful. “Data around impact—mak[e] sure that’s part of the narrative,” she said. “It helps to sustain and increase the priority of the work.” Data are also the fuel for enhancing efforts, helping to set off what Royal described as “an iterative process of reflecting, learning and improving the work.” </p><p>Glenn Pethel, assistant superintendent of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools, emphasized the importance of impartial data, collected by people with no stake in the findings. “They know the right questions to ask; they know the rocks to look under,” said Pethel, whose district, the largest in Georgia, is just outside of Atlanta. “All of us have a tendency to get so close to the work, it’s hard to see things that are obvious to others.” </p><p>Sharing this information in a spirit of candor is an essential to keeping partnerships well oiled, he said. “It’s a matter of credibility,” Pethel told the audience. “It gives more credence when you have external data or observations that you can bring to the table.” </p><p>And that’s a fact. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-11-29T05:00:00ZThree Education Leaders Discuss Role of Evidence in Helping Them to Sustain Their Work4/4/2018 4:20:16 PM243http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
NY Times’ David Brooks Gives a Nod to School Principals9248GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>I n a recent <em>New York Times</em> piece, columnist David Brooks highlights a key to school improvement— “a special emphasis on principals.” </p><p>His piece carries the headline <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/opinion/good-leaders-schools.html">Good Leaders Make Good Schools</a>, and, boy, did it ever resonate with us here at Wallace. School leadership is a field we’ve plowed for close to two decades, through numerous initiatives and related research. Some of that work found its way into Brooks’ column. He cites, among other sources, a major Wallace-commissioned research report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investigating-the-links-to-improved-student-learning.aspx"><em>Learning From Leadership</em></a>, whose authors write that “we have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership.” </p><p>Brooks puts a human face on research when he takes note of a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-school-principal-as-leader-guiding-schools-to-better-teaching-and-learning.aspx">Wallace account</a> (look for p. 12) of the efforts by Kentucky educator Dewey Hensley to turn around a low-performing Louisville elementary school in the mid-2000s. “In his first week,” Brooks writes of Hensley, “he drew a picture of a school on a poster board and asked the faculty members to annotate it together. ‘Let’s create a vision of a school that’s perfect. When we get there we’ll rest.’”&#160; </p><p>To be capable of improving schools, Brooks says, the job of principal has to change from a focus on administrative tasks such as budgeting and scheduling. Effective principals today, he says, are busy “greeting parents and students outside the front door in the morning” and then “constantly circulating through the building, offering feedback, setting standards, applying social glue.” </p><p>You can find out the details of this changing role and what it takes to bring it about by checking out the <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">school leadership section</a> of our website. Search through our 100+ reports, videos, and other resources, including—newly!—<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-principal-pipeline.aspx">a podcast series on principal pipelines</a>. </p><p>And here’s a note for the research-minded. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investigating-the-links-to-improved-student-learning.aspx"><em>Learning From Leadership</em></a> is an extensive follow-up to the landmark Wallace-supported study, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.aspx"><em>How Leadership Influences Student Learning</em></a><em>.</em> Published in 2004, this literature review found that leadership is second only to teaching among school-related influences on student success. It’s our most downloaded report. </p> <br>Wallace editorial team792018-03-13T04:00:00ZNY Times’ David Brooks Gives a Nod to School Principals3/14/2018 2:54:17 PM920http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Emergence of The Wallace Foundation7036GP0|#6b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384;L0|#06b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>As 2017 comes to a close, we are celebrating an anniversary this month. Fifteen years ago today, on December 11, 2002, The Wallace Foundation was launched through the merger of two separate foundations that originated with the philanthropy of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace. </p><p>Founders of the quintessential American family magazine, Reader’s Digest, the Wallaces began their charitable endeavors with a small, expanding collection of family foundations. After the Wallaces died the mid-1980s, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund were formed. By the time of the 2002 merger authorized unanimously by the Funds’ boards, the two organizations had supported more than 100 different program initiatives, ranging from teacher recruitment to adult literacy. </p><p>“The merger of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund united the two passions that motivated our founders—DeWitt's interest in youth development and education, and Lila's in the arts,” says Lucas Held, Wallace’s director of communications. Held, along with senior research and evaluation officer Ann Stone and under the leadership of then-president M. Christine DeVita, helped forge the effort to develop Wallace into a unified brand. “The combining of the two into a single entity known as The Wallace Foundation acknowledged what was already the case at the time of the merger&#58; that both entities were employing a common strategy to achieve philanthropic benefits—working with a small number of grantees to find better ways to solve public problems, and then benefiting other organizations through the power of credible knowledge,” Held says.&#160; </p><p>Leading up to the merger, Wallace had already developed multi-disciplinary staff teams, enabling us to better work with our partners to foster innovation and share knowledge gleaned with the field—a&#160; process that defines our work to this day.</p><p>At the time, we focused the combined weight of the newly formed foundation on three issues&#58;</p><ol><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/default.aspx">Education Leadership</a>&#58; The initiative launched in 2000 to strengthen the ability of principals and superintendents to improve student learning.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/Pages/default.aspx">After-School Systems</a>&#58; Support for and research into effective after-school programs.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/Pages/default.aspx">The Arts</a>&#58; To inform the policies and practices of cultural institutions and funders interested in building public participation in the arts.</li></ol><p>These issues resonate in our work as it has evolved over the past 15 years. Our efforts in afterschool, for example, helped pave the way for an initiative launched in 2016 to promote children’s social and emotional learning. All of our work is emblematic of our longer journey from a philanthropy that was structured to create direct benefits by funding good organizations to a national foundation equally committed to helping catalyze social benefits beyond the reach of our limited dollars. As DeVita said at the time&#58; “In everything we do, we strive to be a resource dedicated to helping create, support and share ideas and insights, tools and effective practices. Through that we aim to have a transformative effect on major public systems and, ultimately, on people's lives.”</p>Wallace editorial team792017-12-11T05:00:00Z2017: 15th Anniversary of Merger That Led to The Wallace Foundation12/11/2017 8:45:27 PM487http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Advice on State Policy and Ed Leadership9096GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Poet Robert Burns instructs us that even the best laid plans can go awry. Political scientist Paul Manna tells us one reason that’s so. The people writing the plans, he says, too often fail to think through what they are asking of the people doing the work. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="manna_pix3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Advice-on-State-Policy-and-Ed-Leadership/manna_pix3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Manna, the <a href="http&#58;//pmanna.people.wm.edu/">Hyman Professor of Government&#160;at William &amp; Mary</a> and author of a Wallace-commissioned <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/developing-excellent-school-principals.aspx">report examining levers states can pull to bolster principal effectiveness</a>, explored this disconnect recently. The occasion was a meeting of Wallace grantees working to expand the circle of highly effective school principals.</p><p>The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was a central topic of interest in Manna’s two keynote speeches. Passed in late 2015 as the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESSA is a leading source of federal dollars for public school education that departs from the past in at least two important ways—giving more authority to states on how to use their federal dollars and, of particular significance to the meeting attendees, offering new possibilities for funding efforts to boost school leadership. </p><p>Clearly, states are exploring how to use ESSA funding to enable principals to function as effectively as possible, whether through upgraded pre-service training or other means.&#160; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/state-efforts-to-strengthen-school-leadership.aspx">One recent survey of representatives from 25 states</a> taking part in a school leadership effort offered by the Council of Chief State School Officers found, for example, that fully 91 percent consider incorporation of principal-focused work into ESSA school improvement plans a priority. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Capture--mannalist.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Advice-on-State-Policy-and-Ed-Leadership/Capture--mannalist.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />But how best to do this incorporation? Manna advised his audience to avoid devising plans that overlook something basic—the “implied critical tasks” that need to get accomplished if the plans are to unfold as intended. Do​​able plans, he suggested, emerge from an understanding of what they require of the do​ers—state education agency officials, school district managers, principals—“when they wake up and go to work.” </p><p>Too often, planners falter on this point. &#160;“People who make policy don’t always think about—or know about—how the work will be done on the ground,” Manna said in a conversation after his addresses. “So there’s a typical kind of top-down view, which is why so many things don’t get carried out well.”</p><p>Planners would also do well to understand whether their hoped-for policies will heap additional helpings of work on principals’ already heavily laden plates. In his report, Manna cites survey findings suggesting that principals believe they are being called on to do more than ever, “exercising more and more power over matters such as evaluating teachers and setting school performance standards…[while] remain[ing] equally responsible for traditional activities, such as setting school discipline policies and managing budgets and school spending.”</p><p>Manna suggests a possible solution to this. Look at the last chapter of his report, which counsels state policymakers to “catalogue principals’ tasks, in theory and in practice” and to compare what principals actually do with what policies aspire to have them do. The exercise is likely to be an eye-opener for those charged with shaping state policy and might just aid them in using ESSA to its fullest advantage in bolstering principals.</p><p>“People are saying this is a moment where we can rethink what we’ve learned over the last decade or more, where we can rethink roles and responsibilities,” Manna told the audience. “And states themselves are supposed to be leading this charge.” </p> <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/N8n1MhuFwyo">A video with excerpts from Manna’s talks</a> to the December 2017 gathering of participants in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative is available at our Knowledge Center. Wallace editorial team792018-01-11T05:00:00ZGood ESSA Plans Recognize What’s Needed to Get the Education Job Done3/20/2018 3:31:47 PM128http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Afterschool Systems Find a Home9125GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning <p>Afterschool providers, schools, government agencies, private funders…they all want to give young people opportunities for growth, learning and fun. But they all have different roles and ways of working, so knitting their efforts together into coordinated systems is no easy task. Cities that set out to build, manage and sustain afterschool systems can use a little guidance along the way.</p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="sharon_deich1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/sharon_deich1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;319px;" />That’s where the consulting firm FourPoint Education Partners, formerly Cross &amp; Joftus, comes in. From 2012 to 2017, FourPoint provided technical assistance (TA) to the nine cities participating in Wallace’s “next-generation” afterschool system-building initiative, helping them solidify systems that were already in place. (An earlier Wallace initiative had supported five cities starting systems from scratch.) FourPoint drew on that work for a new paper, <em><a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Governance-Structures-for-City-Afterschool-Systems-Three-Models.aspx">Governance Structures for City Afterschool Systems&#58; Three Models</a></em>, describing three different models for setting up and running an afterschool system.</p><p>We caught up with Sharon Deich, a FourPoint partner, to discuss her role in the initiative and get her perspective on the past, present and future of afterschool system building. </p><p><strong>Describe the work you did as a TA provider for the initiative. </strong></p><p>First, we helped the cities think about how they were going to support their infrastructure when their Wallace money went away. Hand in hand with the finance work was the governance work. How do you create anchor points in the community for the work to deepen and grow, even if one of your key champions—like a mayor, a superintendent or a project lead—were to leave? The third piece was partnerships. Who else do you need to have at the table and then how do you plug them into your governance structure? The last piece was strategy. We worked closely with Wallace, thinking about where the initiative was going and what the needs and opportunities were.</p><p><strong>What is the most important thing you learned over the course of the initiative?</strong></p><p>We came in with the notion that you build a system and then, “Here it is.” But the [actual systems] were very dynamic. More than half the cities changed the home of their system or the organizational structure. In Denver, they started out with an initiative in the mayor’s office and ended up with a networked approach where the mayor’s office, the Boys &amp; Girls Club and the school district were jointly managing the work.</p><p><strong><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Governance_v1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/Governance_v1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />How do cities go about finding the right governance structure for their system?</strong></p><p>One consideration is, what’s the primary work of the system? Some systems focus on [program] quality, some on data, some on creating partnerships. They all touch that elephant in different places. If you’re building [new] programs, you might need a different home than if you’re trying to boost the quality of the work. Another factor is, who are your champions? If your mayor is a big champion it may be more logical to be in the mayor’s office or one of the city agencies. </p><p><strong>What do you still not know about system building that you still hope to learn?</strong></p><p>One of the hardest things about system building is communicating what you mean by “system building.” When I work in mainstream education, I often say, “It’s not about what one school is doing. It’s about how the district is supporting all the schools.” I don’t think there’s an equivalent in this mushy space where afterschool lives. Then how do you convince people that investment in system pieces is as important as dollars for programming? </p><p><strong>What does the future of afterschool system building look like to you? </strong></p><p>In this current environment, I can’t see afterschool growing and getting a lot of attention. I worry about the money for 21st Century [Community Learning Centers, a source of federal funding for afterschool]. So, it’s really important that afterschool be part of a broader package of supports and services that school districts and communities want for their kids. Whether it’s social and emotional learning, enrichment, homework help, meals—afterschool can be a delivery vehicle.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For more information about afterschool systems, check out <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/growing-together-learning-together.aspx">Growing Together, Learning Together</a>.</p><p>&#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-01-18T05:00:00ZA paper describes three models for setting up and running an afterschool system.4/4/2018 3:47:42 PM786http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
‘Logic Models’ Prompt Hard Thinking About How to Achieve Results in Education9163GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>If you were planning a trip to a far-flung spot, you’d likely map the route, figuring out how to get from Starting Point A to Destination Point D and identifying what combination of planes, trains, and automobiles would take you through Points B and C. </p><p>Well, maybe for vacation travelers. But not always, it seems, for voyagers of a different sort&#58; organizations that embark on an effort to solve a thorny civic or social problem in the hope that this can lead to good outcomes for those affected. Too often, the would-be problem-solvers fail to clearly define the issue that concerns them—their departure Point A, you might say—and then plot out the path that will take them to intermediate progress—Points B and C—and, finally, a solution and the benefits it reaps, Point D. &#160;</p><p>That’s where a “logic model” comes in. No, the term refers neither to a brainiac runway star nor a paragon of rationality. Rather, a logic model is a kind-of map, says Wallace’s director of research and evaluation Ed Pauly, showing “why, logically, you’d expect to get the result you are aiming for.”</p><p>Logic models are on the minds of people at Wallace these days because of a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/logic-models-evidence-based-school-leadership-interventions.aspx">RAND Corp. guide</a> we published recently to assist states and school districts planning for funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a major source of federal support for public education. The guide focuses on initiatives to expand the supply of effective principals, especially for high-needs schools. It describes how logic models can show the guardians of ESSA dollars that six types of school leadership “interventions” have a solid rationale, even though they are not yet backed by rigorous research. </p><p>Take, for example, one of the six interventions&#58; better&#160; practices for hiring school principals. The logic model begins with a problem—high-needs schools find it difficult to attract and retain high-quality principals—and ends with the hoped-for outcome of solving this problem&#58; “improved principal competencies→ improved schools→ improved student achievement,” as RAND puts it. In between are the activities thought to lead to the end, such as the introduction of new techniques for recruiting and hiring effective principals, as well as the short-term results they logically point to, such as the development of a larger pool of high-quality school leader candidates.</p><p>Helpful as they may be for persuading the feds to fund a worthy idea, logic models may have an even more important purpose&#58; testing the assumptions behind a large and expensive undertaking before it gets under way. The roots of this notion, Pauly says, go back to 1990s and the community of researchers tasked with evaluating the effects of large, complex human services programs.&#160; </p><p>As Pauly explains it, researchers were feeling frustration on two fronts—that programs they’d investigated as whole appeared to have had little impact <em>and</em> that the reasons for the lackluster showing were elusive. “It was a big puzzle,” Pauly says. “People were trying innovations, and they were puzzled by not being able to understand where they worked and where they didn’t.”</p><p>Into this fray, he says, entered Carol Hirschon Weiss, a Harvard expert in the evaluation of social programs. In an influential 1995 <a href="https&#58;//www.scribd.com/document/150652416/Nothing-as-Practical-as-a-Good-Theory-Exploring-Theory-Based-Evaluation-for-Comprehensive-Community-Initiatives-for-Children-and-Families">essay</a>, Weiss asserted that any social program is based on “theories of change,” implied or stated ideas about how an effort will work and why. Given that, she urged evaluators to shift from a strict focus on measuring a program’s outcomes to identifying the program operators’ basic ideas and their consequences as the program unfolded.&#160; </p><p>“The aim is to examine the extent to which program theories hold,” she wrote. “The evaluation should show which of the assumptions underlying the program break down, where they break down, and which of the several theories underlying the program are best supported by the evidence.”&#160; She also urged researchers to look at the series of “micro-steps” that compose program implementation and examine the assumptions behind these, too.</p><p>Weiss identified a number of reasons that evaluators might want to adopt this approach; among other things, confirming or disproving social program theories could foster better public policy, she said. But Weiss also made strikingly persuasive arguments about why partners in a complex social-change endeavor would want to think long and hard together before a program launch—including that reflection could unearth differences in views about a program’s purpose and rationale. That, in turn, could lead to the forging of a new consensus among program partners, to say nothing of refined practices and “greater focus and concentration of program energies,” she wrote.</p><p>There could be a lesson in this for the complex array of people involved in efforts to create a larger corps of effective principals—school district administrators, university preparation program leaders and principals themselves, to name just few. They may give themselves a better chance of achieving beneficial change if they first achieve a common understanding of what they seek to accomplish. &#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>In other words, it helps when everyone on the journey is using the same map. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991-160px.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Logic-Models-Prompt-Hard-Thinking-About-How-to-Achieve-Results-in-Education-/ED_5991-160px.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p><table width="100%" class="wf-Table-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr></tr></tbody></table> <p>Ed Pauly,&#160; director of <br>research and evaluation,<br> The Wallace Foundation&#160;</p><table width="100%" class="wf-Table-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="wf-Table-default" style="width&#58;100%;">​</td></tr></tbody></table><p>*The title of Weiss’s essay is <em>Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory&#58; Exploring Theory-Based Evaluation for Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Children and Families</em>.</p>Pamela Mendels462018-01-30T05:00:00Z‘Logic Models’ Prompt Hard Thinking About How to Achieve Results in Education4/4/2018 3:37:36 PM339http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
10 Principles to Create a Promising Youth Arts Program230GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>What makes a youth arts program effective? There are hundreds of arts programs in the U.S. Some engage young people in ways that lead to a lifetime commitment to the arts. Others fall rather flat, failing to inspire much more than fleeting curiosity.<br><br> Is there a way to tell the former from the latter?&#160;How can&#160;parents, practitioners and policymakers distinguish a promising program from a dud?<br><br>&#160;Researchers Denise Montgomery, Peter Rogovin and Neromanie Persaud combed through literature, interviewed experts, studied exemplary arts organizations, talked to hundreds of young people and their parents and&#160;out of that have&#160;suggested&#160;10 principles the best arts programs appear to share. According to their report, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Something-to-Say-Success-Principles-for-Afterschool-Arts-Programs.aspx"> <em>Something to Say&#58; Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts</em></a>, the best youth arts programs have&#58;</p><ol><li>Professional, practicing artists as teachers</li><li>Executive directors that have a deep, public commitment to the arts</li><li>Dedicated, inspiring and welcoming spaces in which young people can practice their arts</li><li>A culture of high expectations for youth</li><li>Prominent public events that showcase the art participants create</li><li>Positive relationships among the youth and adults involved in the program</li><li>Meaningful leadership roles for young people</li><li>Hands-on experiences for youth with current equipment and technology</li><li>Strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the community</li><li>A space that is physically and emotionally safe so young people can learn, experiment and thrive</li></ol><p>The researchers derived these principles partly by observing small, specialized programs. Would it be possible, we wondered, for a large, national organization to combine these principles with its countrywide infrastructure to provide high-quality arts education to much larger numbers of urban youth?<br><br> We have been working since 2014 with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in our <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/Pages/Arts-Education-Initiative.aspx">Youth Arts Initiative</a> to find out. Six BGCA clubhouses in the Midwest have so far shown that it is in fact possible for a large, generalist organization to adopt the 10 principles, according to a report about the first phase of the initiative. In the next phase, six additional clubhouses will introduce similar programs, but will share resources to reduce costs and increase efficiency. <br> <br> We’ll be studying their efforts through 2020 and reporting back frequently here. Stay tuned to see how they fare.</p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZA study of literature, expert opinion, successful programs and youth preferences point to elements that help arts programs succeed4/4/2018 4:48:23 PM844http://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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