Jenna Doleh

Associate Editor

 

​​​​​Jenna Doleh began working for Wallace in 2018.

She is responsible for creating and scheduling social media posts for Wallace’s Facebook, Twitter and other channels and managing the foundation’s print and digital advertising program. Doleh also writes the foundation’s monthly newsletter and contributes numerous posts to Wallace’s blog. In addition, she supports the communications unit with a range of other communications and administrative duties.

Doleh came to the foundation from Sharp Communications, where she served as account executive for multiple clients, including ones in the nonprofit sector. She graduated with a journalism degree from Quinnipiac University and has a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University.​

 Blog Posts

 

 

Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the ArtsGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Introducing a recent panel on how to build audiences in the arts, Monique Martin, director of programming at New York’s Harlem Stage stressed the human aspects of arts performances. “I want to acknowledge the importance of community and the desire for our audiences to be part of a community,” she said. “We are in polarizing times and the arts are a refuge for many.” </p><p>But how can organizations help ensure that people seek out that refuge and continue to take advantage of it?</p><p>For the last four years, The Wallace Foundation has been working with 25 performing arts organizations on the <a href="/knowledge-center/the-arts/Pages/default.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS)</a> initiative to help stem declines in arts audiences. Using data, market research and other tools, BAS organizations take on a process of continuous learning to bring in new audiences, encourage repeat attendance, attract a particular demographic or address any other goal that serves their mission.</p><p>“Continuous learning begins with the premise: we are unlikely to get it right the first time,” Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s director of arts, told the crowd gathered at the panel at The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) annual conference. Martin was moderating the panel, which also included Jenny Reik, director of marketing and communications at Cal Performances, Maure Aronson, executive director at Global Arts Live and Andrew Jorgensen, general director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL). All shared stories of risk taking and resilience on the road to building their audiences.  </p><h3><strong>Opera, Food, Millennials…oh my!</strong></h3><p>Opera Theatre of Saint Louis had set out to <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/think-opera-is-not-for-you-opera-theatre-of-saint-louis-says-think-again.aspx">target millennials and Gen-Xers</a>, with a special emphasis on populations of color. The journey began with a period of research, after which the company launched a multifaceted campaign with the goal of expanding OTSL’s visibility throughout St. Louis. With expanded print advertising and digital billboards, the organization hoped that greater visibility would heighten awareness of OTSL and ultimately help sell tickets. Unfortunately, the campaign did not produce tangible results. </p><p>“The campaign taught us that we don’t have the resources necessary to blanket the entire St. Louis region with our brand message year-round,” Jorgensen explained. “More importantly, it underscored that visibility by itself, without meaningful context, is not enough to entice potential audiences to buy tickets and get them into the theater.” </p><p>In revisiting the company’s past experiences with hosting preperformance lawn picnics and other community events, Jorgensen noted that they learned the social component is a key part of the OTSL experience. So the organization implemented “Opera Tastings,” a series of concerts with a diverse group of singers performing a range of popular pieces from the history of opera at restaurants and other venues across the St. Louis region. Local chefs pair food and drink to the music, and tickets are $25. In the first year, nearly 50 percent of new attendees at Opera Tastings ended up buying a ticket to the company’s festival season.</p><p>Although they were successful, Jorgensen said, Opera Tastings were also expensive. “They did not produce enough revenue to support themselves without philanthropic backing,” he explained. When asked how the organization plans to move forward, he noted, “It’s a question we are struggling with. As passionate arts presenters, we have a desire to always be adding programming and reaching more people. Opera Tastings is only four years old, and it’s hard to imagine letting go of it.” </p><p>This spring OTSL will host a modified version of Opera Tastings with fewer events, larger audiences and a slightly higher price point, as they continue to learn how to better reflect the demographics of key audiences. For example, African Americans comprise the largest non-white group in St. Louis, so the organization will continue its commitment to present work that they’ve learned might appeal to African American audiences. “Representation matters” Jorgensen said. </p><h3><strong>A Music Festival Grows in Boston</strong></h3><p>Global Arts Live (formerly World Music/CRASHarts) learned a similar lesson about programming when it began its <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/world-music-crasharts-tests-new-format-new-name-to-draw-new-audiences.aspx">effort to expand audiences</a> with extensive market research. The research suggested that the organization's name was too hard to remember and its brand could be more clear and consistent. So the organization rebranded, revealing <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/new-name-new-look-to-draw-a-new-generation-of-fans.aspx">its new name, Global Arts Live</a>, in May 2019.</p><p>Research also suggested that the organization’s current audience was growing older. This led Aronson and his team to start programming events for a younger audience, specifically in the 21-40 age range. “We thought that changing our marketing and adding small, secondary events, such as meetups, classes and talks, would reengage the younger audience by creating a sense of community,” he said. “But we learned that experimenting with on-mission programming was far more effective.” </p><p>Global Arts Live started producing 10 to 15 targeted concerts per year in “millennial-friendly clubs,” which were incredibly successful. These target concerts attracted between 7,000 and 10,000 attendees, which was a big jump from the 500 attendees that the less-successful secondary events attracted. Aronson and his team also developed CRASHfest, a global festival offering a vibrant and social atmosphere. This idea stemmed from focus groups the company executed during its market research phase. The festival, targeted toward millennials, showcased different types of performances in the same place. “We found that expanding artistic programming worked in parallel with CRASHfest, not only as a reengagement tool, but also as an audience building tool,” Aronson said. “The two strategies worked together to create multiple points of frequency.”</p><p>The first CRASHfest event took place at the House of Blues in Boston in 2016. Fifteen-hundred people attended, meeting the organization’s goal and grossing $38,000. Sixty-one percent of the audience was new to the organization, and 56 percent of the new audience was under the age of 40. “It’s nice to see it being multigenerational--reaching new audiences but keeping our old audience happy as well,” Aronson said. “You’re still finding a fair amount of people over the age of 40 coming to these events, which is important because we’d be in trouble if we lost our old audience.” </p><p>One surprising finding, according to Aronson, was that millennials didn’t mind being in an intergenerational audience. The two other organizations on the panel agreed that they had also made presumptions about their target audience that proved untrue. </p><h3><strong>Students Take the Reins</strong></h3><p>Reik noted that through her team’s efforts at Cal Performances to reach a younger audience, they too learned that millennials had more things in common with their older audiences than they would have expected. “Many of us had preconceived ideas of what a millennial generation would need. Some of what we found was that younger audiences liked the same things that the older audiences did—they actually like our core programming,” Reik said. “The other really interesting thing is that the current audience actually liked the really edgy stuff.” </p><p>During the first year of the BAS initiative, Cal Performances tested multiple approaches to target the 18- to 22-year-old student demographic on the UC Berkeley campus. “One of our most illuminating failures came in that very first year, and it is important to start with because our successful programming evolved as a result of that,” Reik shared. </p><p>Cal Performances had implemented a program called Citizen Dance to give students access to the organization’s resources and stage. Staff saw this as an opportunity for the many student-led dance crews to create large-scale work in cooperation with emerging choreographers. But participation was much lower than expected. “We learned quickly that students wanted to be in charge of their own program delivery, and they saw Citizen Dance as competing for their time and attention. It wasn’t enhancing their own experience,” Reik explained.</p><p>The difficulties they experienced launching Citizen Dance led Cal Performances to significantly strengthen student ownership of events. The organization attracted a close-knit group of students who were involved in every decision regarding the genesis, production, artists, programming, marketing and more. The organization then launched Front Row, an event curated by the students themselves. “We taught students how to be presenters themselves—they received all of the credit,” Reik said. The results were quite different from Citizen Dance—more than 45,000 students attended Front Row, many for the first time. </p><p>While building this community of students, the staff at Cal Performances also learned that price matters greatly to this audience. As a result, the organization implemented Flex Pass, which offered students four tickets for $40 to Cal Performances’ main stage events. Reik said Flex Pass was a great success in its first two years. In year three of the programming, the organization increased the price of Flex Pass in an attempt to “move the needle upward” against the investment costs of making seats available at discounted prices. “We found that even a five dollar increase had a fairly significant impact on sales,” said Reik. </p><h3><strong>Risks and Rewards</strong></h3><p>The three leaders agreed that risk taking and experimenting with new strategies and tactics, such as those described, was vital to better connect with their audiences. While they may have tried different methods and experienced different challenges along the way, they agreed that all departments must be involved in the audience-building work from the beginning for it to succeed. “When different departments work together from the beginning—when the structure and whole concept is built from that foundation—you can move quicker to execution and success,” Reik explained. </p><p>“You have to be all in: the staff, the board, to succeed or to fail in this project,” Aronson added. “We see the future as optimistic. The work is continuous; it’s incremental, and you have to have a vision in the organization to implement your learnings.”  </p><p><em>Learn more about the arts organizations who were on the panel:</em><br> <a href="https://calperformances.org/">Cal Performances</a> is a performing arts presenting, commissioning and producing organization based at the University of California, Berkeley.  </p><p><a href="https://www.globalartslive.org/">Global Arts Live</a> brings international music, contemporary dance and jazz from around the world to stages across Greater Boston. </p><p><a href="https://www.opera-stl.org/">Opera Theatre of Saint Louis</a> is known for its short annual festival season in late May and June, and for its commitment to commissioning new operas and developing emerging talent. </p><p><a href="https://www.harlemstage.org/">Harlem Stage</a> provides opportunity and support for artists of color, makes performances easily accessible to all audiences and introduces children to the rich diversity and inspiration of the performing arts. </p><p>To learn more about Wallace’s building audiences work, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/the-arts/Pages/default.aspx">knowledge center</a>.</p>Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the Artshttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Experimentation-and-Refinement-a-Key-to-Audience-Building-in-the-Arts.aspx2020-02-11T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.
What Can We Learn About Nurturing SEL In and Out of School?GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>As we move into the new year, with the pandemic and all it has wrought still with us, there is a pressing need to address the social and emotional well-being of young people, many of whom are experiencing anxiety and loss of connection with peers and adults. In fact, from March through October of 2020, mental health-related hospital emergency department visits rose 24 percent for children ages five to eleven and 31 percent among adolescents ages 12 to 17 when compared to the same period in 2019, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6945a3.htm?s_cid=mm6945a3_w" target="_blank">according to the CDC.</a></p><p>Helping students build social and emotional skills might aid in addressing this problem, but how can communities work to nurture SEL? The most comprehensive study of social and emotional learning implementation to date, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/early-lessons-from-schools-and-out-of-school-time-programs-implementing-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><em>Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning</em></a>, offers insights. It examines Wallace’s multiyear Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, or PSELI, an effort exploring whether and how children can benefit from partnerships between schools and out-of-school-time  programs focused on building social and emotional skills—and what it takes to do the work. </p><p>We spoke with one of the authors of the report, Heather Schwartz, a RAND senior policy researcher, about the findings and what districts might learn from them. </p><p><strong>What are the main topics that this report covers?</strong></p><p>We summarize the on-the-ground lessons learned over the first two years of 38 partnerships between elementary schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs across six communities that are attempting to embed social and emotional learning throughout the school and afterschool day. To extract lessons from these activities, we draw on a trove of data that includes approximately 5,000 completed surveys, 850 interviews, and observations of more than 3,000 instructional and noninstructional activities in schools and OST programs. We organize the lessons into four themes: (1) system-level activities to launch and coordinate SEL work across multiple sites, (2) district-OSTI and school-OST partnerships, (3) the development of adults’ capacity to promote SEL, and (4) climate and delivering SEL instruction to students. </p><p>[<em>Note:</em> <em>The first two themes emerge in part from the “system” aspect of the initiative;  school districts in the six communities are working with citywide out-of-school-time coordinating organizations, known as intermediaries, or OSTIs, to promote SEL and oversee the partnerships between the individual schools and OST programs.]</em></p><p><strong>What are some challenges that partnerships between schools and afterschool/OST programs faced in implementing SEL? What were some strategies the communities used to overcome these challenges?</strong></p><p>We learned it took longer than expected to get the SEL work off the ground in each community. Thinking right now about the school district central office and the out-of-school-time intermediaries who were coordinating the work in each community, hiring a manager for the SEL work proved especially important. They were often the ones who organized and distilled the essentials of what the schools and OST programs were expected to do. </p><p>Another big challenge is that most communities experienced considerable flux even before COVID-19, and this churn slowed down their work. For example, there has been a high rate of staff turnover especially in school districts and among OST instructors, budget cuts, superintendent turnover, and teacher walk outs in several of the six communities. Some of the lessons we gleaned were to keep the goals and number of activities manageable in light of turnover, to document the work so that incoming hires can pick up where outgoing staff left off, to hire an SEL manager to oversee the work and to keep it simple for the sites considering the limited time the elementary school and out-of-school-time staff had to devote. </p><p><strong>All of the communities started out by focusing on building adult SEL knowledge and skills through professional development and coaching. Why was this critical?</strong></p><p>They started with the adults, reasoning that adults needed to understand and model the skills themselves before teaching them to their students. And positive, warm, caring adult relationships with students are critical for students’ social and emotional development. </p><p>The communities approached adult skill-building differently; some sites offered system-designed training and others developed their own approach. Regardless of the approach, staff wanted SEL professional development to include hands-on practice and, as their SEL work progressed, to focus on differentiation of SEL instruction.</p><p><strong>What insights and implications should district leaders take away from this report? What about school and OST leaders? Policymakers?</strong></p><p>My sense is that communities should think in terms of several years, not just one year, to ramp up to full adoption of SEL. That way they can layer on one or two discrete new instructional activities for students per year. Trying to introduce too much at once can leave unfinished, confused work. Schools especially already have a tremendous amount of instruction and services to provide, so it’s better to be realistic about how much bandwidth school and OST staff have to adopt new practices.</p><p>Another lesson that has emerged is that districts and OSTIs should be as concrete as possible about social and emotional learning. They can do this by envisioning the end goal—what actual observable behaviors and activities should a visitor see if she or he spent a whole day in a school and afterschool? And then work backward from there to sequence out what specific training and resources to provide to schools and OST programs. Communities struggled to define SEL and develop shared terminology, so it can help to get people on the same page to think through what you’re trying to see on the ground—i.e., the “look fors” and the “do knows”—to make SEL less abstract. </p><p><strong>What kinds of practices have emerged for adapting SEL curricula and programming for a racially and culturally diverse student body? </strong></p><p>This was an emerging area for PSELI communities, who are just now developing materials for adapting curricula. While most of the PSELI districts or schools modified the SEL curriculum they had selected, it was generally to shorten the lessons. But a few communities made modifications to the curricula to make it more widely adaptable. For example, one community started to make videos to replace the SEL curriculum videos and to make the lessons more reflective of students in that community. In two communities, teachers did their own translations to Spanish when needed. A third community offered trainings to school staff on equity to inform SEL work with deaf and hard-of-hearing populations. Coaches in one community also referenced teachers’ use of visual charts and nonverbal cues to support multiple types of learners. Finally, SEL coaches offered ways to teachers to differentiate SEL instruction. As one coach explained, “it can 100 percent be taught in a way that is culturally responsive and supportive to students with disabilities and students that are English learners; however, it takes a skilled teacher to be able to do that. So, without [instructional coaching] support, I would say it would be much more difficult.” </p><p><strong>How will these report findings inform PSELI going forward?</strong></p><p>We organized the report around categories of early lessons to help, among others, practitioners teaching and overseeing SEL. We hope that the schools and OST programs in the six PSELI communities, along with educators in other cities, use those lessons that resonate for their work.</p> What Can We Learn About Nurturing SEL In and Out of School?https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/What-Can-We-Learn-from-Embedding-SEL-In-and-Out-of-School.aspx2021-02-02T05:00:00ZWith interest in social and emotional learning outpacing empirical evidence on how to carry out SEL-related programs, a new study helps to narrow the gap
Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader DevelopmentGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​What does it take to build a large corps of high-quality principals who can improve schools and promote equitable education within them? Partnerships and a clear focus might be a good way to begin. That was a key message from a recent meeting of Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community, which brings together teams from 11 states working to see how federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding could be used to support evidence-based ways to develop effective school leadership. </p><p>“No amount of money, flexibility or investment is likely to make a difference for students if we just follow the familiar path,” said one of the participants in the virtual event, Hal Smith, a senior vice president at the National Urban League. “The work is complex, though the aim is clear. We can get there together.”</p><p>The Urban League, along with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, helps oversee the learning community, whose members generally include representatives from the education departments of the participating states, school districts within the states and Urban League affiliates that represent local community concerns.    <br> The convening featured presentations by four state teams—Nebraska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—to describe the work they’ve done for the learning community, share lessons learned and discuss what comes next. </p><p>The Pennsylvania team has focused on developing and supporting a diverse education pipeline for both teachers and leaders, with an emphasis on maximizing opportunities for all Pennsylvania students, especially those most in need.  “As educators we know that in order for students to do their very best, students need to learn in an environment that is safe and empowering to them,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “It’s critically important as educators that we take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen and expand that awareness.”</p><p>A central  goal of the team has been diversifying the educator workforce in the state. “There remain nearly 1,500 Pennsylvania schools and 184 entire school districts that employ zero teachers of color,” said Donna-Marie Cole-Malott,  a consultant to the Pennsylvania team. Only five percent of teachers in the state are of color, according to Cole-Malott. </p><p>Efforts by the team have included holding two convenings about the Black male educator workforce—one focused on recruitment and the other on developing, supporting and retaining Black male educators. The team has also engaged stakeholders to learn about how others doing similar work have been successful and how they can work together.</p><p>In Minnesota, meanwhile, the learning community team has worked to support the development of a Minnesota equity framework for schools and communities. The partners are the Minnesota Department of Education, the Urban League Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Public Schools.</p><p>Marquita Stephens, vice president of strategic engagement and chief strategy officer for the Urban League Twin Cities, launched her presentation with an expression used by Hal Smith of the National Urban League: “Schools are made for communities and not the other way around.”  She said the phrase “helped us center the reason for involving all of the partners together to make sure that the outcomes for children were exactly what we intended for them to be. All three partners were drawn back to this as a centering understanding of why we needed to work together. ”</p><p>The creation of the Minnesota Equity Framework is the result of all three partners being in the room together, constantly being in discussion and building relationships, said Marcarre Traynham, director of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center at the Minnesota Department of Education. </p><p>“Equity is really about consensus,” she said.  “It’s about having conversations, understanding where people are at, understanding what the point of view is, listening for understanding in order to make shifts in your own belief systems.”</p><p>The team was committed to creating shared understanding about equity, and helping people to think about what creating equity in their areas would mean, Traynham said. Discussion about this helped the team members build authentic relationships across the board, she added.</p><p>“Doing the equity work and living the equity work are intertwined,” said Kandace Logan, who served as executive director of equity and integration for Minneapolis Public Schools. “This work is hard and it must be done with authentic partnership and relationships.”</p><p>Forging strong partnerships has proved crucial for Nebraska’s team members, too.  Kim Snyder, statewide teacher and principal support director at the state’s education department,  said that participation in the learning community “taught us a lot about making sure we’re all at the table together.”</p><p>A big part of Nebraska’s work has focused on developing nontraditional rubrics for teachers and principals that align with the Nebraska teacher and principal performance standards, according to Snyder. </p><p>“They’re nontraditional in the sense that they’re designed to be a lever for growth versus the traditional rubrics that are used maybe once or twice a year for an evaluation process,” she said. “The rubrics are meant to strengthen the educator effectiveness lens through which districts can really create a portrait of the whole teacher and whole principal in their buildings.”</p><p>But how can stakeholders ensure that these standards have impact? </p><p>Through a grant from Wallace and work with The Leadership Academy, an organization that promotes principal effectiveness, the Nebraska team created an equity task force to support, among other things, their ability to work toward equity-driven leadership development.</p><p>The team supports the notion of fully integrating equity considerations into efforts to develop  effective principals and other school leaders. “We’re trying to embed an equity lens into the leadership support that already exists,” said Ryan Ricenbaw, Nebraska Leadership & Learning Network Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. “We’re able to learn from one another, work with one another and make sure that communication is consistent and ongoing.”</p><p>Wisconsin team members agreed that powerful partnerships and a common goal can help advance the work. </p><p>The Wisconsin team was focused “from the get-go” on using  federal ESSA dollars to support the development of principals statewide in order to “ensure they had the skills and capabilities to really address the inequities they saw every day in their schools,” said Mary-Dean Barringer, a facilitator for the Wisconsin team. </p><p>With a grant from the state’s  Department of Public Instruction, the team was able to help the five largest districts in Wisconsin work with consultants to identify and begin to address the unmet needs of the schools.</p><p>“The project was so exciting—that we have a strong partnership from the Department of Public Instruction to make this a sustainable model that would also leverage community connection to help empower schools and bring solutions forward by using the connections and networks that already existed in our community,” said Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison.<strong></strong></p><p>Barringer also stressed the importance of sustaining the work.</p><p>“As we look ahead, we would like to harness the power of this partnership and its action orientation to address other critical challenges in addition to supporting equity-centered school leaders,” she said. </p><p>The ESSA Leadership Learning Community, established in 2016, has been extended  through December 2022, so the participating teams can use the partnerships they developed during the past five years to address today’s challenges.<br></p>Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Developmenthttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Powerful-Partnerships-and-Clear-Focus-Two-Keys-to-Equity-Centered-Leader-Development.aspx2021-11-11T05:00:00ZFour states share best practices and lessons learned after five years of working to build a corps of effective school principals.
Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for YouthGP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the summer of 2021 begins, many students and families are struggling to recover from the isolation, disruption and instructional loss of the pandemic. Summer programs could help. But according to a recent study that looks in-depth at summer learning in 2019 and 2020, student participation in programs remains low, despite some recent growth and soaring parent satisfaction. For every child in a summer learning program in 2019, another was waiting to get in, according to a recently released report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-time-for-a-game-changing-summer-with-opportunity-and-growth-for-all-of-americas-youth.aspx">Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth</a><u>.</u></p><p>Commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, the study is based on responses from more than 29,500 U.S. families and builds on household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. It also includes national findings from smaller surveys of parents and program providers conducted in summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, and offers a snapshot of how children and youth spent their summers before and during the pandemic.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" alt="NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin:5px;width:183px;height:222px;" />The Wallace Blog caught up Nikki Yamashiro, vice president of research at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implic​ations of the survey and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world. </p><p><strong>In the summer of 2019, participation in summer programming was at the highest level ever recorded by </strong><strong>America After 3PM, but the demand is far from being met. Can you talk more about this? </strong></p><p>This is a great place to start—these are two of the key findings from our report. It’s true, <a href="http://afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-Time-for-a-Game-Changing-Summer-2021-Executive-Summary.pdf">we found that between 2008 and 2019, participation in summer programs was on the rise</a>, but despite this increase, for every child in a summer program in 2019, there was another who would have been enrolled if a program were available. Similar to what we found regarding unmet demand for afterschool programs in our America After 3PM report, “<a href="http://afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-National-Report.pdf">Demand Grows, Opportunity Shrinks</a>,” the number of children who are missing out on the opportunities that summer programs offer is immense. Overall, 13.9 million children, nearly 1 in 3 not in a program during the 2019 summer, would have been enrolled in one. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" alt="AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" style="color:#555555;font-size:14px;margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>What this tells us is that not only is there a tremendous demand for summer programs in the U.S., there is an overwhelming need for increased access to affordable summer programming in the U.S. When we take a look at who’s participating in programs, we found that higher income children are nearly three times more likely to participate in a structured summer experience than children from lower income families.</p><p><strong>Why are kids from families with low incomes missing out on summer programs? What barriers are they facing and what kind of support/funding can help?</strong><br></p><p>To sum it up in one word, cost. The cost of summer programs is by far the largest hurdle for families with low incomes. Our study found that more than two in five parents with low incomes who didn’t have a child in a summer program (44 percent) report that cost was an important reason why they chose not to enroll their child, nearly 10 percentage points above that of higher income households (35 percent). Transportation and not knowing what programs were available are also notable barriers, with more than one in five parents with low incomes reporting these as a factors keeping their child out of a summer program. </p><p>Unfortunately, this disparity of who can and who can’t afford programs isn’t exclusive to the summer—we found that families in the highest income bracket spend more than five times as much on out-of-school-time activities for one child annually than families in the lowest income bracket.</p><p>A bright spot is the infusion of funding through the American Rescue Plan to state and local education agencies that is being used to support summer enrichment, comprehensive afterschool and learning recovery programs. Through this investment in summer, as well as in afterschool programs, our hope is that more children and families will be able to connect to programs in their community. </p><p><strong>How have parents’ priorities when it comes to summer programs changed since COVID-19? What is the impact of the pandemic on future demand?</strong></p><p>This most likely isn’t a surprise to parents who are reading this, but for families who wanted a structured summer experience for their children, we didn’t find a significant shift in the leading factors parents said were most important to them in 2019 and what was most important to them in 2020. Outside of safety and cleaning precautions against COVID-19, which were new priorities for parents in 2020, the key drivers behind parents choosing their child’s summer activity, both before and during the pandemic, were a safe environment, knowledgeable and caring staff, and opportunities to build social skills.       </p><p>A <a href="https://mercuryllc.app.box.com/s/wse3fs55ll635j7oi92gsv3a0uyw6uwz/file/817680950770">recent survey of parents</a> asking about plans for this summer found that most families are prioritizing outdoor, physical, social, and/or non-traditional enrichment programs (62 percent). </p><p><strong>According to the survey, 79</strong><strong> percent</strong><strong> of summer programs plan to offer in-person and/or virtual activities for kids this year. What are some of the new challenges the providers face this summer due to COVID-19?</strong></p><p>That’s an excellent question. We have a survey in the field right now to ask summer program providers exactly that. The purpose of the survey is to gain an understanding of the supports and services they’re providing this summer and the challenges they’re encountering in this second summer of the pandemic. Based on anecdotal stories from the field about plans for this summer and what we found in <a href="http://afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-2-Brief.pdf">last year’s summer provider survey</a> and a <a href="https://afterschoolalliance.org/covid/Ongoing-Look-at-Afterschool-in-the-Time-of-COVID-19.cfm">recent spring 2021 provider survey</a>, we anticipate that staffing issues will continue to be a challenge, specifically hiring enough staff for in-person programming and the programs’ capacity to provide in-person services to every young person who would like to attend. Together with the recent survey of parents mentioned earlier, where more than 3 in 5 parents report that they feel comfortable sending their child to in-person summer experiences (63 percent), signs point to an increased demand for summer programs compared to the summer of 2020, but only time will tell. We’re looking forward to reporting back what we uncover. </p><p><strong>What would you like policymakers to take away from this survey?</strong></p><p>It’s my view that the findings from the survey all boil down to one fundamental premise—to meet the need for summer programming among families, in particular families with low incomes, greater investment in summer learning is critical. We found that parents value the time during the summers for their children to discover new interests, build connections, and be active and outdoors. Parents have increasingly wanted more structured summer opportunities for their children. And, during the pandemic, families counted on summer programs for supports ranging from helping their child stay connected to their peers to connecting families with community resources. Yet for many children and families, summer programs are out of reach. Taken together, these findings paint a picture of the importance of more opportunities for summer learning. With nearly 14 million children who would be enrolled in a summer program if one were available to them, the need for additional investment in summer programs to make certain that all children are able to access quality, affordable summer learning opportunities is undeniable.</p>Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for Youthhttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth.aspx2021-06-23T04:00:00ZDespite high demand, especially with the pandemic, summer programs are still out of reach for too many children.
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the ArtsGP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog  explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the ​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy & programs, at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​ and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https://www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year found that arts education can positively affect​ student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The effort will involve work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.  </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan: Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal  funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.  </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that  sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https://time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed: What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention, considering that the item is in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Artshttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/What-Wallaces-Top-10-Blog-Stories-Say-about-Trends-in-Education-and-the-Arts.aspx2021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color
Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening SchoolsGP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​“While last year was the most difficult year we’ve probably had as educators, this upcoming year is the most important year,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an opening statement during the U.S. Department of Education’s final <a href="https://compcenternetwork.org/national-center/6827/summer-learning-enrichment-collaborative-events" target="_blank">Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative Virtual Session</a> last month.</p><p>Earlier conversations in the seven-part series focused on such topics as forming state-level coalitions, using evidence to inform summer programs, tapping ​federal funds to promote equity through summer enrichment opportunities. This last session, however, addressed perhaps the country’s most important stakeholders: students. </p><p>“We know students have a voice, and they have a lot to say. We have to make sure we’re designed to listen,” Cardona said.</p><p>Cardona kicked off the convening in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgICxaHfdIw" target="_blank">conversation</a> with a panel of students from around the country, who discussed what they’d gained from their various summer programs. </p><p>“We had different things for everybody, and I really enjoyed how inclusive and how much of a family my summer program is,” said Noah Shaw of his experience at the Miller Boys and Girls Club in Murray, Utah. </p><p>Mkayla Rowell, a freshman at Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at the John Hay Campus who participated in the Cleveland Metro School District Summer Learning Experience as a teacher, said the aspect she liked most about the program was being able to help kids who are younger than she is. ​​​<br></p><p>“I really enjoyed just connecting with a younger generation and teaching them things that would’ve helped me when I was their age growing up in the city,” she said. </p><p>The students and young educators also offered their advice to education leaders for how to reimagine, redesign and rebuild engaging learning and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. </p><p>“Because most of us are transitioning from a school year that was mainly virtual, it’s going to be difficult for students to go back to in-person school,” said Kwynsky Miguel, a Lehigh University freshman, who worked over the summer at a program he attended in the past, the Aim High Summer Program in San Francisco. “I recommend teachers be very patient with their students rather than rushing them, because everyone will have a different pace going back into school. I really think being patient will help your students see that you want them to succeed and you really care about their mental well-being.”  </p><p>In fact, a common theme throughout the conversation was the importance of creating a safe space, not just physically but mentally as well.</p><p>“I think the best advice I can give is just to be persistent with students,” Noah Shaw said. “Because I know some students have stuff going on at home, and that makes them want to give up and be antisocial, and their grades can fail. A great thing is to be persistent in making sure they’re okay...make sure you stick with them, never give up.”</p><p>Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also participated in the meetings that followed the roundtable with the youth leaders to provide updates on guidance and resources for a healthy and safe return to school. Their recommendations for schools included promoting vaccines to those who are eligible, wearing masks indoors, maintaining three feet of distance between others, washing hands, improving ventilation systems and staying home when sick.  </p><p>“Transitioning in times of physical distancing, masks and extra stress is extra hard,” said Lara Robinson, a behavioral scientist with the Child Development Studies Team at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Teachers, parents and programs can help children by planning the transition, making strong connections and establishing new routines. With the right support, children can adjust to their new program, make new friends, learn new things and strive.”</p><p>Attendees of the virtual meeting also had the opportunity to join tabletop discussions. One of them, <em>Engaging Educators, Families, Students in Planning Summer and the Return to School,</em> examined innovations employed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and district partners for a “whole child, whole community” recovery from the pandemic. </p><p>Representatives from the district showed how they developed a vision for post-pandemic learning that includes competency-based education, anytime/anywhere and whole human learning, along with personalized learner pathways. This summer, Cleveland had the opportunity to implement some of these principles during their Summer Learning Experience. Teachers submitted creative ideas for projects to implement during two separate four-week summer sessions, which more than 8,000 students participated in. </p><p>“We saw our kids do amazing work,” said Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union. “Our educators came away invigorated with the different things they had done; our students were excited to share what they learned. And now the task for us is to build upon what we have been doing over the summer and start bringing this to scale during the course of the normal school year with a larger number of our students and educators.” </p><p>Schools in Cleveland will return to in-person instruction in the fall, with a new remote school option. The district is working diligently to create an experience that aimed at making students want to be in school. Educators and administrators are implementing a more inclusive dress code and offering expanded enrichment and extracurricular activities such as band, choir, fitness and pottery classes, along with the supports to make them accessible for students.   </p><p>In addition, this fall, on October 28, the <a href="http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm" target="_blank">22nd annual Lights On Afterschool</a> will take place. In a typical year, more than 8,000 afterschool programs around the country hold events to showcase their programs. According to Tiyana Glenn, a project associate at the Afterschool Alliance, this event is a chance for afterschool programs to celebrate and showcase exactly what they do everyday, as well as make their case to their community, to parents, to policymakers and to the media that afterschool programs are essential for students and their families. </p><p>Kwynsky Miguel, the teacher-assistant at Aim High Summer Program, made the case for summer and out of school time programs and how they can both help students and adults adapt to new situations that might come up in the school year.</p><p>“I knew this was a safe space for me to be who I am as well as to learn from others,” she said. “The whole experience of meeting new people and learning about their story was such a surreal moment that I really appreciate Aim High for—for showing me that it’s okay to be new to a whole new environment as well as knowing when it’s right to let yourself be comfortable with new people.”  </p><p>In his roundtable with the students, Cardona also stressed that schools and afterschool programs can help provide a much-needed sense of community for kids this fall. </p> “Schools, school communities, and good summer programs are like second families,” he said. “There’s a sense of community there that, I think, sometimes we overlook. We don’t talk about that as educators as much. Schools are communities for our students."<p></p>Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schoolshttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Students-Around-Country-Offer-Advice-Re-Opening-Schools.aspx2021-09-16T04:00:00ZStudents, educators and others at U.S. Department of Education convening encourage patience, safe spaces, increased support as students return this fall.
Three Districts, One Principal PipelineGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>R​​ecent research has shown that <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/How-Principals-Affect-Students-and-Schools-A-Systematic-Synthesis-of-Two-Decades-of-Research.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">strong principal leadership is key to improved student achievement</a> and provided evidence of how building <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">principal pipelines can work</a> to better support school leaders working in large urban districts. But how can smaller, rural districts achieve this kind of success as well?<br></p><p>Three districts in central Nebraska–Grand Island Public Schools, Hastings Public Schools and Kearney Public Schools–are hoping to address this question by pooling their talent and resources to implement systemic improvements to the preparation, hiring, support and management of principals. Working together they have developed a model for an intensive internship and contextually-driven experience for teacher-leaders who are interested in becoming principals, called the Tri-City ASCEND Academy. Combined, Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney serve more than 19,000 students. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Tawana_Grover.jpg" alt="Tawana_Grover.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin:5px;width:150px;height:210px;" />“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?” said Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools. </p><p>The ASCEND Academy is a shared leadership program that offers teachers who are ready to take on administrative roles the opportunity to get hands-on experience. It is aligned with leading national <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">research</a> on the elements necessary to building and maintaining a pipeline of high-quality school leaders, including leader standards that guide all aspects of principal development and support; rigorous preservice preparation for aspiring principals; selective hiring and placement of these professionals; and on-the-job induction, evaluation and support. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?” <span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"><em>—</em></span><em>​ Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Toni_Palmer.jpg" alt="Toni_Palmer.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin:5px;width:154px;height:192px;" />“When we think about leadership standards—the competencies that our leaders need to have in order to influence people to move the continuous improvement process forward—building [the participants’] level of understanding of the knowledge and scope of that leadership capacity has to be in place in order to make that happen,” said Toni Palmer, chief of leadership and learning at Grand Island Public Schools. “We were really focused on equity-driven leadership and how we can build their level of knowledge and understanding of how to lead through that lens.” </p><p>The effort emerged in part from Nebraska's involvement in a Wallace-sponsored community of 11 states seeking to bolster the principalship. ASCEND participants ​were assigned and able to learn from their own home districts, and they were also given the opportunity to intern in the other two districts within one semester. After graduating, they can be hired in any of the Tri-City districts. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.” <span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"><em>—</em></span><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"> </span><em>​Jessica Schroeder,  academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools</em>​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" alt="Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:250px;" />Jessica Schroeder, currently an academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools, was one of the first three graduates of the program, which was launched in fall 2021. She had the opportunity to intern as a principal in Kearney and Hastings as well. </p><p>“Seeing all the hats a principal wears was so valuable,” Schroeder said. “When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.”</p><p>Leaders in all three of the districts hypothesized that program participants would benefit by interning in different spots, although they realized that the logistics of arranging for this variety of placements would be complex.  ​​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Kent_Edwards.jpg" alt="Kent_Edwards.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin:5px;width:148px;height:222px;" />“We knew our overall goal and objectives, but bringing structure to it took an investment of thought and time,'' said Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools. “Involving three separate school districts and three separate school boards brought forward the importance of communication and coordination between all of our districts.”</p><p>The districts’ boards approved the use of funds, and with a highly selective process, they chose their first three candidates. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/JeffSchneider.JPG" alt="JeffSchneider.JPG" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin:5px;width:150px;height:226px;" />“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,” said Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools. “We also wanted them to learn the best practices of the district they were interning in and share these best practices with their home district.”</p><p>The three participants who were chosen kept weekly journals of their experiences to track progress and also met regularly with other educators from the districts they were interning with to work on professional development. “Each intern was exposed to three different leaders, three different structures, and three different practices and protocols to accomplish the mission of education,” said Edwards. “Each of the interns also were able to inventory and apply their own respective styles and ideas. Practically, a far better experience than any coursework could provide.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,”<em style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">—</em> <em>Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p>Schroeder, along with the other two participants, met with the district supervisors and learned about local principal performance standards, as well as how to process the problems of practice that one might experience as a first-year principal. </p><p>“There are many situations that you discuss in your college classes, but to experience them and have someone else to process through was very beneficial,” she said. “You were also able to see how the principal prioritized different situations that came up during the school day. Deciding what needed immediate attention versus something that could wait was a valuable lesson. I was also able to develop relationships with the principals I worked with. I feel because of this internship, I have two exceptional principals I can reach out to if I need advice or support.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems.<em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">” </span>​—</em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em>​​</em><br></p><p></p><p> Representatives from all three districts said the communication and partnership among them became essential for the work to succeed. “The relationship between the superintendents included trust and respect,” said Grover. “We found ourselves relying on each other, asking each other ‘what are you doing, how are you going to handle this?’ Our bond became so strong at that point, and I think it allowed us to be very candid about what our needs are as an individual district, and how we're going to work on that together.” ​</p><p>The three districts had something key in common: the circumstances of being relatively small and located in a rural community. <br></p><p>“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems,” Grover said. “The bigger challenge for us compared to some of the larger systems is that we’re not surrounded by all that support. We don’t want these students to think for one minute that they don’t deserve what a larger school district may have to offer. We may have to think differently about how we do it, but the goal of having that highly effective principal should be at the forefront, for us as leaders.”​</p><p>Working together and sharing resources and ideas across all three districts was a way to overcome this challenge. And it could be possible for similar smaller, rural districts to replicate this partnership in their own areas. <br></p><p>“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.” said Grover. “And I think what we've demonstrated is there is power in collaboration. We've demonstrated that we were not going to let location or size be an excuse for us. We’re going to pull our resources together to provide these rich experiences so that we can have high-quality principals available for all of our students.”</p><p>Grover’s advice for districts that want to take on similar work is to look for opportunities for collaboration, which proved beneficial to the Tri-City effort in a number of ways. Among other things, the three districts were able to split costs of the program, and they were able to have extra support, with multiple staff members from each district dedicated to the work.  </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.” <em style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">—</em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"></span><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">​​</em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"></span><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">” </span><br></p><p>In the first year of the academy, all participants were elementary-school placements. For the 2022-2023 school year, the participants will remain in elementary schools, and the districts are considering expanding to the secondary level. Another change is likely to be the number of schools where the participants serve; the districts learned from the candidates’ feedback that sending the interns to two different buildings in the same semester was a difficult task. </p><p>“While we liked the exposure to two different leaders, it was also very challenging for them to build relationships with two different sets of staff,” Schneider said. “So this year, they will just intern at one of the other districts as opposed to both.”</p><p>According to Edwards, the districts hoped to develop a stronger leader pipeline to meet the needs of the respective districts. The districts were able to ascertain if the participants ultimately would  have the skills and traits of the kind of leadership they needed for their schools. And even if a match ends up not working, districts stand to gain from the endeavor. “Should they [the participants] elect not to pursue a formal leadership position, however, the district would still benefit, informally, from their decision to remain in their current position,” he said. “They would have a completely different perspective.”</p><p>Schroeder offered up some advice for future participants in the program, noting that her experience as one of its first three participants was both challenging and rewarding.<br></p><p>“The best advice I have is to ask questions,” she said. “I asked lots of questions to understand what the principal's thought process was for the decisions they made. My other piece of advice is to enjoy this experience. It was definitely an experience that challenged me. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable to learn and to grow through this experience truly helped me develop more confidence in myself as an instructional leader.”  </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact.” <em style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">—</em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"></span><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">​​</em><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;"></span><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">” </span>​​<br></p><p>As the Tri-City ASCEND Academy prepares for its second year, educators in smaller districts and rural areas elsewhere might take notice. ​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact,” Grover said. “Kids all across the country can benefit from the seeds that are sown right here in the heartland.”<br></p><p> <em>Lead photo above: ​Educators involved in the first year of the Tri-City ASCEND Academy included (from left to right): Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools and Shannon Blaschko, selected as an intern from that district; Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, and Jessica Schroeder, selected as a Grand Island intern; and Tamisha Osgood, an intern selected from Hastings Public schools and Superintendent Jeff Schneider.</em></p>Three Districts, One Principal Pipelinehttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline.aspx2022-04-26T04:00:00ZAn inside look at how three rural districts worked together to train, develop and support principals
Covering Education in a CrisisGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​Education has been at the center of the news over the past couple of years as the nation continues to wrestle with the pandemic and the havoc it has wreaked on schools. Education writers, too, have at times found themselves having to stretch to cover more areas of public policy, health issues and basic concerns like food and housing.<br></p><p>In early 2020, just before the first cases of Covid began to surface in the U.S., the Education Writers Association commissioned the EdWeek Research Center to conduct a study of education journalism. Released the following year, the <a href="https://www.ewa.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/ewa_ed_beat_report_2021_1.25.21_0.pdf?1616011351" target="_blank">State of the Beat report</a> surveyed 419 education journalists, following up with 24 phone conversations, to tell the story of the people who are covering education today.  According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents said education journalism is a career path they’re committed to pursuing, and 98 percent said their w​​​ork has had a positive impact on the community. Despite these positive perceptions, education journalists surveyed indicated that they face serious challenges–from outright harassment and hostility to diminishing resources, financial difficulties and the public’s distrust in the news media.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“​School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home.​” — Linda Jacobson<br></p><p>The Wallace blog spoke with two education writers to discuss some of the obstacles and bright spots they’ve encountered and how the pandemic has affected the education beat in general. Linda Jacobson, senior writer at The 74 Million, has been covering education for over a decade, and Dahlia Bazzaz, education reporter at The Seattle Times, has been covering education for about four years. Her first two years at the publication were spent as an engagement editor for the <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab-about/" target="_blank">Education Lab</a>, a project that started in 2013 that spotlights promising approaches to some of the most persistent challenges in public education. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation: Linda, as a veteran in education writing, can you talk about how the education beat has changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>Linda Jacobson: </strong>For me, the access to and growing awareness of families’ and educators’ lives outside of school has been a noticeable departure from how I, and probably many other reporters, routinely interacted with sources prior to the pandemic. School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home. Did they have reliable internet? Were students sharing a study space with siblings? Did they have to go to work with their parents? I know I also had to develop knowledge in some areas that were outside the typical boundaries of education policy. COVID testing, vaccines, supply chain issues and broadband access are a few examples. </p><p> <strong>WF: Dahlia, You were a member of EWA’s New to the Beat rookie class in 2018. What was it like being newer to the education beat in the middle of a pandemic? Can you talk about some of the challenges?  </strong></p><p> <strong>Dahlia Bazzaz:</strong> By the time the pandemic began, I had been a full-time reporter for about two years, and an engagement editor for the education team for two years prior to that. For some context, I covered the closure of Bothell High School in the Seattle area, the first school in the United States to shutter in the pandemic. I remember pairing up with our health reporter at the time for that first story, and believing it would blow over. A few months prior, a Seattle school had closed because of a norovirus outbreak, so this type of story wasn’t unusual to me. Two days later, on February 29, when a King County man’s death was announced as the first known in the U.S. from the coronavirus, I realized I had helped write some of the earliest pages of our pandemic history. One of our stories, about the order closing all schools in King County, actually “broke” the analytics tracker that the Seattle Times uses and set a pageview record. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"><span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">“</span>To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020.<span style="color:#2b92be;font-size:24px;">”</span> — Dahlia Bazzaz​<br></p><p>The pressure and responsibility we felt, and still feel, was immense. Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. Almost every day early on, someone would cry during an interview. Then I would cry afterward as I processed their worries about their future and my own. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback and attention on our reporting from around the world.  </p><p>It was a huge test of everything I’d learned about the education system and government until that point. To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020. I also found myself truly living in every single beat—one day a health reporter, researching the best air filtration systems for schools, another day out at protests against institutional racism and police brutality. The definition of education beat reporter has really expanded. </p><p>A lot of things helped me keep going. I am fortunate to live and work in a community where there are many kids and adults willing to spend time speaking with a reporter in the midst of chaos and trauma in their lives. I am forever thankful to them for their trust. My experienced colleagues came up with the questions I never thought to ask because my reporting or life hadn’t taken me there yet. The Education Lab team has also kept a steady lens on racism and inequity in schools, which meant our first questions and stories centered on how the pandemic would affect kids of color, kids receiving special education services and kids living in low-income communities. I’m a better education reporter now, almost four years into the game, than I was two years ago. But part of that improvement is realizing how much I didn’t know and how much I still need to learn. The pandemic made me see that. <br></p><p> <strong>WF: According to the State of the Beat report, access has been a challenge for education journalists. What kind of access do you have to school leaders and how has that changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ: </strong>Because I cover education from a national perspective and don’t concentrate on a specific district, it’s rare that I get to visit and meet with leaders in person. It might only happen if I’m reporting on something in the Los Angeles area, where I live, or traveling for a story. But I’m constantly developing connections with superintendent and principal organizations at both the national and state levels. On deadline, they’ve been quick to refer me to principals or district leaders, and I’ve found that throughout the pandemic, many have been especially candid about their experiences.<br><br> Perhaps it’s because whether they were in rural Georgia or the Pacific Northwest, they’ve all experienced the same dilemmas—burned out teachers, annoyed parents and disengaged students. Instead of being reticent, many leaders I’ve interviewed over the past two years have talked as if they were almost waiting for someone to ask how they were coping. Our retrospective on <a href="https://www.the74million.org/article/700-days-since-school-lockdown-covid-ed-lessons/" target="_blank">700 days</a> of the pandemic, in particular, was a platform for some of these leaders to share their personal and professional reflections. </p><p> <strong>DB: </strong>Because Western Washington schools opened later compared to the rest of the country, there was a good solid year where our coverage took place outside. We managed to get inside a few schools in between, but they were outside of the Seattle area, where policies on visitors inside schools were less restrictive. Since schools reopened full-time this past fall, the access has been really dependent on the district. Some are much more open and friendly to reporters than others. Or the access appears predicated on the type of story we’re pursuing. </p><p> <strong>WF: The survey also shows that journalists are split on whether or not K-12 schools were going in the right direction—roughly half say they are going in the right direction and the other half say they’re not. Do you think these numbers would look different now, given everything that has changed in the education field over the past 2 years? Why or why not?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ: </strong>My coverage largely focuses on this exact question, so I don’t think it’s my place to share any personal perspectives here or speculate on what journalists would say. It’s important for me to keep the lines of communication open with sources that fully believe in traditional public schools as well as those working outside of the system to offer new options to children and families. Besides, there’s never an easy answer to that question. For students and families, these aren’t simple, either-or choices. There are challenges and marks of success with all schools and educational models.</p><p> <strong>DB:</strong> This is a hard question because I personally don’t feel we have a uniform experience of education in the United States. It is vast, it is inequitable and it is largely dependent on zip code. I think we’ve seen how heavily state and local policies drive what happens in schools, especially when it comes to funding and the efforts in places to suppress teaching about racism and social issues. </p><p>Here in Washington State, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a lot of things that make me hopeful at the local level. Our job at Education Lab is to find promising, research-backed solutions to longstanding problems in education. For example, I’ve been able to read and report about ways schools and nonprofits are successfully improving kids’ reading skills or finding alternatives to suspending and expelling students. But for a variety of reasons, promising practices can take a long time before they float up to state policy, if they even do at all. School districts still rake in more money if their community has high home values and is amenable to passing levies. So, even within a state, there can be a multitude of different experiences and outcomes for kids. I don’t believe the pandemic has changed this. <br></p><p> <strong>WF: How do you cover such hot-button issues while retaining your journalistic point of view?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ: </strong>I’ve worked hard over the past two years to understand the arguments on all sides of the more contentious issues we’ve covered—reopening schools, mask mandates, vaccine requirements, discussions of race and gender. I always try to represent the multiple positions in my articles, and again, for families and teachers, these issues can be more complicated than the public debate suggests. We try to capture that when we can. I think we’ve also strived to give readers realistic expectations about where things are headed and the relevant legal and policy options. If a lawsuit or piece of legislation has no chance of advancing, we try to make that clear.</p><p> <strong>DB: </strong>I think the key to covering hot-button issues is not losing sight of who the issue will affect the most. Because that is often not the person who will be the most accessible to the press or the loudest person in the room. In education reporting, we need to remind ourselves that it’s about the kids. They are the recipients of this system. It matters the most what happens to them as a result of any policy or change.</p><p> <strong>WF: What are some of the big issues we should be watching in 2022? Where might we see some “bright spots”?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ:</strong> We ran an article in the fall of 2020 with the headline, “Right Now, All Students are Mobile,” quoting a source with expertise on the issue of student mobility. There are students who have spent each year of the pandemic in a different schooling situation—traditional, homeschooled, a virtual charter. Recent research is showing that the correlation between multiple school changes and declining academic performance is even stronger than previously thought. It’s another aspect of the long-term effects of the pandemic’s disruption that I know I want to better understand.<br><br> With our recent coverage of <a href="https://www.the74million.org/article/covid-school-enrollment-students-move-away-from-urban-districts-virtual/" target="_blank">enrollment trends</a>, I think it’s important to keep following the departure of students from urban districts and the tough decisions leaders will make regarding school consolidations and closures. And we need to understand where families are going, what districts and new models they’re choosing and how those decisions are working for students.<br><br> Data is emerging not just on how districts plan to spend federal relief money, but actually how they’ve spent it. There are endless opportunities there to track where it goes and what difference it makes for students.​<br></p><p> Certainly, we’ll be watching the midterm elections. President Biden already hasn’t been able to accomplish all he set out to do in the early phases of his presidency—including his plan for child care, universal pre-K, and teacher and administrator preparation. And if Republicans gain control of the House—or the House and Senate—that could bring his agenda to a standstill.<br><br> As for bright spots, I would expect that districts have learned a lot from the past two summers and that there would be even more ambitious and creative examples of summer learning programs to watch this year.</p><p> <strong>DB:</strong> I’m interested in watching how schools spend their unprecedented amount in federal aid due to the pandemic. The last of those funds expire in a couple of years from now, so we’ll need to keep our eyes on those dollars for a while. These funds can be used to start helpful beneficial programs for kids most affected by the past two years, and we need to be shining a light on where and if that happens—and whether people in power will invest to prolong their lifespan. We should also be holding leaders accountable for the promises they made to improve the education system for Black and brown students in 2020.<br></p>Covering Education in a Crisishttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/covering-education-in-a-crisis.aspx2022-05-24T04:00:00ZTwo journalists discuss the challenges and rewards of working the education beat and how COVID-19 has changed things for them
Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool? GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For the past few years, participation in afterschool programs has dropped precipitously. ​Families of 24.6 million children—<a href="http://afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-National-Report.pdf">an ​​increase of 60 percent since 2004</a>—are una​​ble to access a program and many report cost as a barrier, according to a new survey from the Afterschool Alliance.</p><p>The study, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/America-After-3PM-Demand-Grows-Opportunity-Shrinks.aspx"> <em>America After 3pm: Demand Grows, Opportunity Shrinks</em></a><em>, </em>identifies trends in afterschool program offerings and shares overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. With responses from more than 30,000 U.S. families, this survey builds on the household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. While it offers a pre-pandemic snapshot of how children and youth spend their afternoons, it also includes findings from a separate survey of parents conducted in fall 2020, to capture the pandemic’s impact on afterschool. </p><p>The Wallace Blog caught up with Jennifer Rinehart, Senior VP, Strategy & Programs at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the survey and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world. </p><p> <strong>This is the fourt​​h edition of <em>America After 3PM</em>. Why did you start collecting these data and what is the value in continuing to do so?</strong></p><p> <em>America After 3PM</em> was the first research undertaking at the Afterschool Alliance and continues to be a pillar of our work. In the early 2000​s, we realized very quickly that there wasn’t a data source that provided a comprehensive view of how kids in America spend their afterschool hours, and we set out to remedy that. As a field building, policy and advocacy organization, we recognized that having good research and data would be critical to our success in helping all young people access quality afterschool and summer programs. And we knew it wasn’t enough to have just a national snapshot. We’d need families from every state, families at all income levels and all races and ethnicities, to really tell the story of who has access to afterschool and summer programs, who is missing out, and why. Through the fourth edition of America After 3PM, we surveyed more than 31,000 families to capture this in-depth and detailed portrait of the afterschool hours across the U.S.</p><p> <strong>Unmet demand for afterschool programs continues to be a major issue, but access and availability of programs is still a concern. Can you talk more about this?</strong></p><p> <em>America After 3PM</em> paints a picture of the huge unmet demand for afterschool programs, with the heaviest burdens falling on low-income families and families of color. The families of nearly 25 million children are unable to access a program. That’s more than ever before; for every child in an afterschool program in America, three more are waiting to get in.</p><p>More families report that cost and transportation, as well as overall lack of programs, are barriers today than in 2014, and that is especially the case for families with low-income and families of color.</p><p> <strong>Despite this demand, your recent survey found that participation in afterschool programs has actually decreased for the first time since Afterschool Alliance started doing the survey. Do you have any thoughts on why?</strong></p><p>That’s right. We found that about 8 million children and youth are enrolled in afterschool programs today. That’s down from just over 10 million in 2014.  We know from parent responses that cost and access are the biggest barriers to participation.   </p><p>Even more troubling than the decline in participation are the inequities in terms of which students can access programs. The number of children from low-income households participating in afterschool fell from 4.6 million in 2014 to 2.7 million in 2020. The number of higher-income children in afterschool fell by just under 450,000 over the same period. </p><p>Publicly funded afterschool and summer programs like the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) and state-funded programs have been a backbone of support for many young people from low-income households. However, these investments are not keeping up with the demand for programs, and a significant number of low-income young people are being denied the opportunity to participate in afterschool programs. We are very concerned that low-income families who in the past could manage to pay for programs can no longer do so.</p><p> <strong>We know that children in low-income families have more limited learning and enrichment opportunities outside of school compared to their higher income peers. How does having afterschool opportunities help to close this opportunity gap?</strong></p><p>The opportunity gap and the achievement gap are clearly connected. If we can begin to close the gap in terms of who has access to afterschool and summer learning and enrichment, we can also begin to close the achievement gap.  </p><p>Quality afterschool programs have a long history of expanding opportunity for young people by supporting academics and learning, but also by supporting the whole child and helping struggling families. Afterschool programs help children with schoolwork; provide opportunities to explore subjects like science, technology, engineering and math; give them time to be social and active; help them develop life skills and more. The research base is clear that kids who regularly participate in afterschool programs can improve their work habits and grades, attend school more often, get excited about learning and have higher graduation rates.<br></p><p>The opportunity gap goes beyond access to afterschool and summer programs. In <em>America After 3PM</em>, we also ask about other types of enrichment in the after school and summer hours—things like sports, music and art lessons, and more—and how much families spend on those out-of-school-time opportunities. </p><p>Similar to other research on the opportunity gap, we found that higher income families report greater access to afterschool, summer and other out-of-school activities, and higher-income families spend more than five times as much on those opportunities than families in the lowest income bracket [roughly $3,600 vs. $700 per year]. </p><p> <strong>According to the report, more than 8 in 10 parents surveyed said that afterschool helps working parents keep their jobs. What other feedback did you hear from parents? </strong></p><p>Parents recognize a wide array of benefits associated with participation in afterschool programs.  Parents agree that afterschool programs provide time for kids to engage with their peers and reduce unproductive screen time (85 percent), get kids more excited about learning and interested in school (74 percent) and reduce the likelihood that youth will use drugs or engage in other risky behaviors (75 percent).<br></p><p>And, the benefits of participation extend to parents as well. When asked about supports they receive from programs, 78 percent of parents with a child enrolled in afterschool report that programs help them keep their jobs, and 71 percent say that programs allow them to build their skills through classes or workshops offered. </p><p>Given that wide range of benefits, it’s no surprise that parents give afterschool programs very high marks. Ninety-four percent of parents are satisfied with their child’s program. This is the highest level of satisfaction in the history of <em>America After 3PM</em> and is an indication that programs are providing high-quality programming that meets the needs of kids and families.</p><p> <strong>How have parent perceptions about afterschool and its value changed since COVID-19? What is the impact of the pandemic on future demand?</strong></p><p>While most of the data for <em>America After 3PM</em> were collected pre-pandemic (January through early March of 2020), we also fielded <em>America After 3PM</em> oversample surveys in a handful of localities from April through June, which provide a glimpse into how parents’ thinking about afterschool did or didn’t change in the midst of the pandemic. </p><p>While these data are from a smaller sample of households, we found that at the household level, parents without a child in an afterschool program in the aggregate oversample were just as likely to say that they would likely enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available as parents surveyed at the start of the year (59 percent vs. 59 percent). </p><p>In a nationally representative follow up survey conducted in October 2020, parents also reported similar barriers to participation in the midst of COVID. While the biggest barriers were COVID-related, beyond those COVID concerns, we saw the same top barriers related to cost and access.  </p><p>These data suggest that as we move towards recovery and focus on what children need to thrive and what parents need to get and keep jobs, we can expect to return to previous levels of demand for programs, and we will need to provide supports for afterschool programs to increase the capacity of existing programs and make sure more of them are available to meet the needs of all kids and families.</p><p> <strong>How can we use the findings of this study to help provide children with affordable, quality afterschool programs and what kind of support and/or funding is needed?</strong></p><p>While there have been modest increases to federal funding for afterschool since 2014, the increases have not been enough to keep up with the costs of providing a high-quality afterschool program. In fact, when adjusted for inflation, the investment in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is actually $10 million less today than it was in 2014. Several states have increased their funding for afterschool and those investments are critical in helping keep low-income young people in afterschool programs in those states. California is a notable example with higher than average participation levels in afterschool due in part to its state investment.  </p><p>We need to use these data to convince governments at all levels, businesses, philanthropies and others to prioritize funding for afterschool programs. </p><p> <strong>What would you like policymakers to take away from this survey?</strong></p><p>Afterschool and summer programs were a key support for young people and families prior to the pandemic and have been rising to the moment during the pandemic to meet the needs of children and families. All our children and youth need access to the enrichment opportunities and resources afterschool programs provide and it’s clear from <em>America After 3PM</em> that too many were missing out prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the disparities in access. </p><p>As we move forward, we need to be smart and invest in our future. There’s no question that afterschool is a smart investment for kids, families, our workforce, our economy and our country.​ Supporting afterschool is essential to help children succeed in school and in life and to help us emerge from the pandemic strong.<br></p>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool? https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/More-Kids-Than-Ever-Are-Missing-out-on-Afterschool-Programs.aspx2021-03-03T05:00:00ZSurvey finds satisfaction with afterschool programs are growing, but cost and access are preventing participation.
Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays OffGP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​A few years ago, a middle school student came to the United States without knowing any English. Joining a chorus through her school in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) district helped change that. By translating the songs on her phone, she was able to get a swift grasp of the language, something that otherwise might have taken years.   <br></p><p>Anthony Beatrice, BPS’s director for the arts, share​​d this and other stories with us in a recent Zoom conversation spurred by a new study that documents the unexpected benefits and power of the arts in schools. Published by Edvestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston, <a href="https://www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf"> <em>The Art​s Advantage: Impacts of Arts Education on Bos​ton Students</em></a> found consistent positive effects on student attendance as a result of students taking arts courses, and these effects are notably stronger for students who have a history of chronic absenteeism and students on Individualized Education Plans. In addition, parent and student school engagement were higher when more students in a school were enrolled in arts courses. Teachers were more likely to report that students put more effort into their work and parents were more active at the school. The study was based on more than 600,000 K-12 student-level observations across every Boston Public School over 11 school years from 2008-09 through 2018-19.</p><p>The benefits for students documented by the research come on top of the intrinsic benefits of the arts as a discipline, a point alluded to by Marinell Rousmaniere, president and CEO of EdVestors.  </p><p>“We're an education organization,” she said. “We're not an arts organization, and our underlying belief about the arts is that all students deserve access to arts education as part of a well-rounded education.”<br></p><p>The study used data collected through EdVestors’ BPS Arts Expansion program, launched in 2009. A public-private partnership led by EdVestors and the Visual and Performing Arts Department at BPS, which Wallace ​<a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/boston-receives-4-million-grant-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-public-schools.aspx">helped fund in 2012</a> through a four-year grant,  the multiyear initiative brought together local foundations, the school district, arts organizations, higher education institutions and the mayor’s office to focus on creating a coherent, sustainable approach to high-quality arts education for all of the district’s students.<br><br>“Boston is a large urban district, and a very diverse district,” said ­­­ Carol Johnson, who served as superintendent at BPS from 2007 to 2013. “Almost half of students in Boston come from households where English is not the first language. That diversity, coupled with a number of equity issues and equity access issues, were important factors in how we began to approach this work.”</p><p>In the early days of the initiative, according to Johnson, the district had to deal with challenges such as financial constraints, budget cuts and competing interests from some principals. However, she and the school committee were dedicated to not allowing these barriers push them away from their main goal—equitable access to the arts for all students.</p><p>“Even though there were doubters about the strategy from some principals, once they began to expand opportunities for students, they began to see that this had possibility,” she noted.</p><p>Early planning of the initiative was extremely important, according to Johnson: “We had to be very strategic, thoughtful and purposeful and set up our methods of collecting data to see where we are, then map out a long-term strategy.”</p><p>The longstanding partnerships between the district, EdVestors, local and national funders, arts organizations and other community members were key to the district’s success in boosting arts education.</p><p>“We are truly fortunate to have such a cohesive arts community in Boston,” said Beatrice, the BPS arts director “Simply put, we have more impact when we work together. The vision of the BPS Arts Expansion from 11 years ago has worked. A majority of our schools that were able to be granted funds for arts partners have now also added certified arts educators, nearly doubling the amount of certified arts teachers from around 164 in 2009 to over 300 today.”</p><p>Indeed, the study supports the value of increased access to arts learning, specifically stating, “when students have more opportunities to participate in arts learning experiences, their engagement in school overall increases, as measured by reductions in absenteeism; increases in student and parent school engagement; and modest effects on student achievement, particularly English Language Arts for middle school students.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"> “Simply put, when we talk about the social-emotional well-being of our students, the arts are a huge part of that."</p>​Arts can be powerful for young people in other ways, too, Beatrice said.  “The arts provide an opportunity for students to not only showcase their artistic skills but also give an opportunity to reflect about their process and their learning,” he said. “Simply put, when we talk about the social-emotional well-being of our students, the arts are a huge part of that."<p><br>​Brian Kisida, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs who co-led the study, said its findings about arts learning and the link to student engagement might help schools as they begin to respond to the disruptions to in-person learning caused by COVID-19.</p><p>“Arts education should absolutely be a focus of getting students re-engaged in school as we return to some sense of normalcy after the pandemic,” he said. “I think there are some fears that schools may try to prioritize tested subjects at the expense of the arts, and I think that that would be a mistake. We know that students didn't just suffer from learning loss, but the last year has done serious harm to students’ social and emotional health—they lost the connections with their friends, they've lost the connections with their teachers.”<br><br>Rousmaniere also agreed that the findings are important as schools try to return to normalcy after the pandemic.​</p><p>​“People are focused on learning loss, but I think we need to be focused on learning readiness,” she said. “Arts is like a swiss army knife​—it feeds many different needs that schools have and will reach certain populations of students that maybe other things would not.” <br></p><p>Kisida pointed out that often the arts teacher is the only teacher, especially in an elementary school, who knows every student in the building and knows them for multiple years. “That's a real connection point for re-engaging in school that needs to be given serious consideration,” he said.<br></p><p>In preparation for the 2021-2022 school year, BPS has formed a working group of arts educators to create arts lessons connected with the core competencies of social and emotional learning to accompany the curriculum materials provided by the district’s social and emotional learning office. Beatrice sees this as a continuation of Boston’s unique system-wide approach to arts education. </p><p>“Over time I have learned that there are so many people who have our students’ interest at the heart of what they do,” he said. “Having a systems approach to ensuring students have access to quality arts education ensures that everyone is working in tangent with each other. Each program and organization have a sense of autonomy while understanding their role in the bigger piece of the arts education pie.”<br></p>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Offhttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx2021-08-10T04:00:00ZStudy finds arts education increases student attendance and student and parent engagement
A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog PostsGP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​A deadly global health crisis. Its economic fallout on school districts, arts organizations, nonprofits, and communities of color in particular. An energized racial justice movement across America and beyond. </p><p>It’s no surprise that both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com at the time of this writing have both chosen<em> pandemic</em> as their word of the year. Indeed, the most widely read posts on The Wallace Blog in this tumultuous year reflect concerns across the many communities we work with.  From the first lockdowns in March, our editorial team, with the assistance of so many partners, quickly shifted gears to help people navigate the fog of 2020—everything from an <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx">interview with a financial management expert</a> on weathering the financial crisis to a <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-arts-getting-us-through-a-pandemic.aspx">list of the nonprofit arts organizations</a> that provided comfort, stimulation and plain-old entertainment when we needed them most.</p><p>Our Top 10 stories this year might someday become a time capsule of Wallace’s work during the pandemic. We present them here by popularity, which for this purpose is defined by total number of views, from lowest (1,030) to highest (more than 20,000!), with an average viewing time of three minutes and 12 seconds. </p><p> <strong>10) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-museums-navigate-through-the-covid-19-fog.aspx"> <strong>Helping Museums Navigate Through the COVID-19 Fog</strong></a> Much like the rest of the country, museums have been grasping for ways to endure the disruption COVID-19 has brought on. Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight at the American Alliance of Museums, ​offers ways that museums and other organizations could create plans for possible post-pandemic scenarios in their communities. </p><p> <strong>9) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/engaging-audiences-in-the-age-of-social-distancing.aspx"> <strong>Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing</strong></a> This post describes how some of the arts organizations that participated in our now-concluded Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative ramped up their digital offerings and continued to connect with their audiences online.</p><p> <strong>8) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/bringing-out-the-best-in-principals-during-the-covid-19-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis</strong></a> Back in early summer, we caught up with Jill Baker, superintendent of the Long Beach (Calif.) Unified School District, about the district’s efforts to support principals during school closures, as well as its summer plans for school leadership development.</p><p> <strong>7) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/changing-principal-preparation-to-help-meet-school-needs.aspx"> <strong>Changing Principal Preparation to Help Meet School Needs</strong></a> In the first post of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program, the university’s director gives a behind-the-scenes look at the changes the program made to better prepare future leaders. (Reporting for this story took place in the few pre-COVID months of 2020.)</p><p> <strong>6) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/research-about-the-arts-and-kids-a-fertile-area-for-inquiry.aspx"> <strong>Research About the Arts and Kids: A Fertile Area for Inquiry</strong></a> Wallace’s director of communications Lucas Held recaps a conference held at George Mason University, part of an effort by the National Endowment for the Arts to help ensure “that every child will have access to arts education.”<br></p><p> <strong>5) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/keeping-young-people-creative-and-connected-in-quarantine.aspx"> <strong>Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine</strong></a> At the height of classroom shutdowns, we chatted with Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, to discuss how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in this era of social distancing and isolation.<br></p><p> <strong>4) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/literacy-expert-on-why-kids-must-keep-reading-during-this-unprecedented-moment.aspx"> <strong>Literacy Expert on Why Kids Must Keep Reading During This ‘Unprecedented Moment’</strong></a><strong> </strong>Jimmy Kim, the person behind <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reads-helping-children-become-summer-bookworms.aspx">READS for Summer Learning</a>, offers guidance and tools for parents and caregivers on encouraging at-home reading for children amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic.</p><p> <strong>3) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-the-pandemic-means-for-summer-learning-and-how-policymakers-can-help.aspx"> <strong>What the Pandemic Means for Summer Learning-And How Policymakers Can Help</strong></a> Government policies can both help and limit summer learning efforts. In this post, RAND’s Catherine Augustine discusses a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-support-for-summer-learning-policies-affect-summer-learning-programs.aspx">report on the summer learning policy landscape</a> and what could lie ahead for summer programs in the pandemic and beyond.</p><p> <strong>2) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Managing Nonprofit Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis</strong></a> It might come as little surprise that our second most popular post of 2020 is about the financial bottom line. Nonprofit financial management expert Hilda Polanco discusses how nonprofits can best assess and work to maintain their financial health throughout the pandemic. While you’re at it, take a look at the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-covid-19-for-nonprofits-from-financial-triage-to-scenario-planning.aspx">webinar</a> on this topic, attended by more than 1,000 people.</p><p> <strong>1) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-cares-act.aspx"> <strong>The CARES Act: Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a> EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, dug into the federal CARES Act and summarized its major education provisions shortly after the relief legislation was passed last spring. The post was followed up by a webinar on the topic, which you can view <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">here</a>, and the team is ready to look at any future federal legislation as the pandemic continues into 2021. </p>A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog Postshttps://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Pandemic-Resources-for-School-Leaders-and-Arts-Organizations-Mark-2020s-Top-Blog-Posts.aspx2020-12-15T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting principals during COVID-19 to keeping kids connected during quarantine.