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Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis23637 <p>“W<em>hen I look back, it feels like a year ago,” says Jill Baker, deputy superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District, reflecting on the district’s response in the days following its March 13 decision to close its 85 schools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long Beach Unified is California’s third largest school district, serving nearly 72,000 children from diverse backgrounds. Baker began her career in the district as a teacher 28 years ago and is scheduled to take over as its superintendent on August 1, succeeding Christopher Steinhauser, who is retiring. Baker brings a unique perspective to the job, having directed the district’s participation in a Wallace Foundation initiative aimed at reshaping the principal supervisor job to focus less on administration and more on principal growth. Recently, Baker spoke about the district’s efforts to support principals during the closure, its summer plans for school leadership development and what school may look like in September. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.&#160; &#160;&#160;</em></p><p><strong>How has your district supported principals during the school closures? </strong></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/Jill-Baker-headshot.jpg" alt="Jill-Baker-headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;241px;" />We are very fortunate that over the last five years, we’ve built a strong coaching model for our <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-supervisors.aspx">principal supervision practices</a>. Why is that important now? Because the relationship between our principal supervisors and principals has a coaching foundation, it is easy for them to move into unknown territory when faced with a crisis. Our principal supervisors have been right on the frontlines with principals, coaching them, asking good questions, advocating for them and bringing the lived experience of principals back to central office. </p><p><strong>Can you describe that lived experience? </strong></p><p>Principals were immediately faced with a set of questions that they had never experienced before, just as we were at central office. They were faced with families asking for resources that they had not asked for before, their students had technology needs, Internet needs. [The school closures] tossed up into the air every system that a principal typically manages, from teacher evaluations to nutrition services in their building.</p><p>Because of how we’ve built our principal supervision practices, principals quickly looked to their supervisors for direction, for comfort, for answers. It was a huge pivot for a system that’s pretty directing, in terms of our expectations for schools, but also gives principals a lot of latitude to make specific decisions for their building. I would say that the lived experience for principals right away was&#58; We need you to lead us. We trust you as our supervisors to help us.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/LBUSD-Barton-39.jpg" alt="LBUSD-Barton-39.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Personally, I’ve never underestimated the whole idea of coaching and strengthening a trusting relationship between a principal and a supervisor, but I think the field may have. When you go through a crisis like this, it underscores why you have relationships. It is a foundational aspect of having to do really hard work. I hesitate to use the word “thrive” because this is such a sad time, but [the crisis] really has brought out the best in our school leaders. It has been a very rich opportunity for them to step up, try things they’ve never done before, be vulnerable and learn with others. </p><p><strong>What inequities have been brought to the forefront because of the crisis? Has the district been able to address them, and if so, how? </strong></p><p>On the afternoon that we closed schools, we gathered at central office and literally said, “What do we need to focus on first?” In the back of my mind was Maslow’s hierarchy. Our first decision was that, on Monday morning, we were going to offer food at every school in our district. We did that, and we continued doing so until we could look at the data after the first week to see where our highest-need areas were. Some areas were obvious, but frankly every school has children with a need to eat. Our response has continued in a way that is so respectful to our community. We’re providing breakfast, lunch and dinner in our highest-need areas. There are almost 30 locations, and the meals are accessible to anyone. There are no requirements, no applications. </p><p>We also faced the same connectivity problems that other districts faced. One of our first purchases, literally days after the closure, was for 5,000 six-month-term hotspots because we estimated that about 10 percent of our students, or about 7,000, were potentially not connected to the Internet. In addition to giving away 20,000 older-generation Chromebooks, we came up with a system to loan more than 10,000 [newer] Chromebooks to families within two weeks of the closure. </p><p>The other needs have been sadly not surprising. Students in low-income families lack supervision as their parents go out and work as essential workers. They may be living with multiple families in one residence and are facing COVID spread because of essential workers coming in and out. We’re offering counseling digitally and are partnering with faith-based and race-based community agencies, like the NAACP, to ensure they are able to put out really good information on behalf of the district. </p><p>We’re using all of our existing programs to continue to focus on issues of equity. For example, we run a Saturday education program for students from migrant families. During the crisis, a coordinator from that program has done outreach to families. High-school teachers who work with newcomers who are English language learners have continued to connect with families, too.</p><p><strong>Summer is a time when school districts hire and train principals. How will that be handled in Long Beach this year? </strong><br> <strong>&#160;</strong><br> Last year, we had 80 principal promotions or changes. This year it will be 20. Five of those are first-time principals, all of whom have gone through the district’s “pipeline” programs [which provide training for aspiring school leaders]. We’re only making changes that are of necessity, such as because of a retirement. Normally, we would move around many more principals because they’re ready to transition to another school, but we’ve paused that because we want to create as much stability as possible.</p><p>Literally the day after a person finds out that they’ve been appointed principal or that they’re transitioning to another school, we launch a transition process that involves a facilitated change-of-principal workshop. The workshop engages members of the school staff to establish what’s working and what they’d like to see improved. It’s really important, and we’ll do a version of it this summer, too. </p><p><strong>How has the district involved principals in the planning for when school resumes in September? </strong></p><p>Our principals have been an important part of our initial planning. I say initial because we’re really tracking on the health data. We’re trying to move fast enough but not too fast. Over the last month, our principal supervisors asked principals to explore all kinds of scenarios for the fall. Middle school principals, for example, considered 16 different models and in small groups worked through each one’s plusses and minuses. We went from a lot of brainstorming and testing of ideas, to now moving into a formalized planning process. We have task forces, and principals from every level are represented on them. </p><p><strong>What might school look like in the fall, based on your initial plans?</strong></p><p>Our aim is to bring back as many students to a building as possible, especially at the elementary school level. That’s causing us to seek additional space in our city, through partnerships with local colleges and universities who will be providing distance learning/instruction. &#160;</p><p>We’re also talking about blending learning. A middle school student, for example, might not come to school every day. He might come Monday and Tuesday, then do distance learning Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Based on distancing requirements, we know that we can only have about 15 students in a classroom. That is about half the size of a traditional class and even less when you think about a class like chorus. Chorus might only exist in a distance environment because students can’t all be in one room at the same time. </p><p>We already have an independent study program in our high schools, which we will continue, and we’ll also be launching some new distance academies. How we’re going to do all of this—in-class learning, blending learning, distance academies—we’re still figuring out. But we imagine publishing the options and letting parents make a choice. If they don’t, we’ll likely default to expecting their student to come to a building. </p><p><strong>Like school districts everywhere, Long Beach Unified is facing a massive budget cut because of the pandemic. I’ve read that the reduction will be 10 percent, or about $70 million, this year. How do you stay focused on equity as you make cuts?</strong></p><p>We’re in a better position than other districts because of great fiscal management. Our superintendent and the district’s budget office built up a reserve over time, knowing the rainy day would come. The reserves won’t save us from future cuts, but it allows us time to make the best decisions given what’s coming from the state. We also have in our favor that we’ve worked really hard to build internal capacity. We don’t rely on a lot of consultants or outside companies. Because of our internal capacity, we can pivot quickly, change strategy and work together in a way that doesn’t happen in a lot of places.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/IMG_0660-2.jpg" alt="IMG_0660-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Our focus on equity is at a deep level. During this time, we’ve not stepped back from our equity agenda, but we’ve had some public outcry over things that have been perceived to be “taken away” from students as we navigated through the school closure and made decisions based on our equity philosophy. This meant that we were not privileging students who were not struggling during the school closure. When we closed schools, for example, we decided that grading for high-school classes would be credit/no credit, even if you’re a junior taking five Advanced Placement classes. There was a public outcry, and our school board had to entertain an item on its agenda to uphold the district’s stance on grading and not give an opt-in for parents who wanted their students to get an A. [These parents] had to accept that credit/no credit was good for <em>all </em>students, even if their student wasn’t going to get the extra bump they would have liked. When you really get down into the details of equity, it is not equitable to privilege a student when another student doesn’t have the opportunity for that same experience. However, we do have to pay attention to the voices that are coming out about grades. We don’t want families to walk away from our district and go to a private school because they are frustrated about grades at a time when we’re already facing huge cuts.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p> Jill Baker, incoming chief of a large California district, discusses education priorities—and why principal supervision matters nowGP0|#3fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607;L0|#03fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607|principals;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#d8c6884c-01d7-4a90-96c3-5e633b2e0470;L0|#0d8c6884c-01d7-4a90-96c3-5e633b2e0470|principal supervisor;GP0|#3ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7;L0|#03ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7|education;GP0|#d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50;L0|#0d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50|COVID-19;GP0|#133a8a53-7231-40f7-8394-9bda3be7be82;L0|#0133a8a53-7231-40f7-8394-9bda3be7be82|California;GP0|#c60847d8-3514-412d-b9b7-d837c1fbc834;L0|#0c60847d8-3514-412d-b9b7-d837c1fbc834|district practiceGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Jennifer Gill83<img alt="" src="/knowledge-center/PublishingImages/jill-baker-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-07-07T04:00:00ZJill Baker, incoming chief of a large California district, discusses education priorities—and why principal supervision matters now7/7/2020 7:00:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis Jill Baker, incoming chief of a large California district https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Learning to Navigate the Uncertainties of School Leadership11154<p> <em>This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort documenting the universities’ efforts is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p> <em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>There are many facets to a principal training program and many stakeholders the program must satisfy. Over the past few weeks, this blog series has profiled several of the players who have helped shape one such program, the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). Previous posts have described how UCAPP has attempted to engage such stakeholders, including <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">faculty members​</a> and <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">district partners</a>, in its efforts to improve its curriculum and practical experiences. </p><p>But what of the program’s students? With so many interests shaping its principal preparation program, how well is UCAPP addressing the needs of its students, who many consider UCAPP’s primary stakeholders? UCAPP connected&#160;the Wallace editorial team with four members of its class of 2021, the first class to train in the current iteration of the pr​ogram, so we could seek out their views about the new program. </p><p>It’s still early in their tenure—they started the program in the summer of 2019 and were beginning the third of six semesters when Wallace interviewed them—but many are already noticing benefits of the program, especially the program’s curriculum, its internships and its new assessments.</p><p> <strong>A more connected curriculum</strong></p><p>Sherry Farmer, a teacher of more than 20 years with a background in special education, was drawn to UCAPP in part because of the opportunities it offers to ensure equity in schools, especially for children with special needs. Her depth of experience with such children has given her a solid understanding of the ways in which teachers can ensure equity in individual classrooms. But teachers need larger, schoolwide systems to support that endeavor, and UCAPP is helping her figure out how to establish them.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" id="div_e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“[UCAPP has] been very meticulous in helping us understand, piece by piece, how important it is to set up the systems within your school,” she said. “To build capacity and build leadership within your school and to allow people to take on roles that you can't take on.”&#160; </p><p>Several courses had to work together to help Farmer appreciate the complexities of that task. An instructional leadership course taught her how she can use data to spot inequities and help teachers address them. An organizational leadership course taught her how to engage parents and communities to establish the expectation of equity throughout the school. And a talent management course, which follows that organizational leadership course, taught her how to ensure that her staff meets such expectations.</p><p>“It's starting to make sense to me how they put the program in place for us,” she said. “I feel like they're building the capacity we need from one area so that we're ready to get to the next area.”</p><p>But a principal’s job is complex. There is much UCAPP must teach its students, from ensuring quality instruction to balancing budgets to managing school politics. Its agenda is packed; every semester, students must complete two six-week courses, each meeting once a week for three and a half hours, and a daylong workshop. </p><p>It’s a busy schedule, says Winallan Columbano, a high-school health and physical education teacher who taught in New York City for 10 years before enrolling in UCAPP. He appreciates the pace on some levels; he says it provides a thorough introduction to Connecticut school systems and familiarizes him with pre-high school instruction. But, he says, the schedule can sometimes feel a bit rushed. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" id="div_29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“It’s a little bit short I would say, the six-class sessions,” he said. “By the time you get going with the professor, it’s almost over. So, in that sense, I wish I had a little more time.”</p><p>But another element of UCAPP helps make up for that hectic pace, Columbano says&#58; internships.</p><p> <strong>From theory to practice</strong></p><p>UCAPP internships place each student in an area school with a veteran principal for all six semesters of the program. The student visits that school regularly over two years and helps its principal with leadership responsibilities. The principal, which UCAPP calls a mentor, guides the student through a series of leadership tasks. Meanwhile, a leadership coach, generally a retired principal or a school-district leader, works closely with both student and mentor, advises the student and helps draw connections to concepts covered in class.</p><p>These internships, Columbano says, are helping him apply concepts he may only peripherally encounter in his coursework. “We’re able to apply what we’re learning,” he said. “The work that’s covered in the courses, you’re actually doing that in schools.”</p><p>Kimberly Monroe, who has taught math for 18 years and currently serves as a teacher leader, is relying heavily on that practical experience to prepare herself for the principalship. While her teaching experience is deep, she is in her first year in a leadership role and feels she has much to learn about managing the politics of the principalship. “There may be times when I'll have to balance what the priorities are,” she said, “based on someone else telling me what needs to happen versus what I see as being the most important.”</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779" id="div_04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779"></div><div id="vid_04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>UCAPP’s organizational leadership course in the fall of 2019 helped lay the theoretical foundation to help manage such priorities, she said. Observing principals, both in the school in which she teaches and the one in which she is interning, is showing her how that foundation plays out in schools. “I see how they interact with people,” she said. “Listening and getting the full picture and hearing from both sides and looking at best practices, to then make a decision about what they'll ultimately do.”</p><p>“I've already learned several things from my internship principal,” she added, “and I think there's even more that I'll continue to learn.”</p><p>Leadership coaches, a new addition to the program, also help. Monroe said that her work with her coach is helping her build confidence, not just in her internship, but also in her role as a teacher leader. That role requires Monroe to observe and evaluate teachers, a responsibility she approached cautiously, wary of overstepping her bounds. “I want to be invited into your room,” she said of the teachers she has to observe. “I don't want to feel pushy and push my way into your room.”</p><p>Monroe therefore left it up to teachers to schedule time for her observations. Few did, so her UCAPP leadership coach urged her to be more proactive and propose times herself. “That has worked much better,” Monroe said, “It helped me to be a little more forthright with trying to encourage them to meet with me.” &#160;</p><p>Coaches also help ensure students use time wisely. Farmer says her coach has helped steer her away from the details of her current job and focus on what she must learn to become a principal. “I don’t want you doing lunch duty,” Farmer’s coach told her. “I want you to go in. I want you to have an agenda. I want you to have what it is you want to talk about with [your mentor principal].”</p><p>Coaches will not solve students’ problems, however. They will only help students think through them. “Very rarely, if at all in this program, have I felt like they’ve given us the answer,” Columbano said, “That’s nice, but it’s also a little frustrating. UConn has made it pretty clear that they would rather we face our problems now, maybe struggle with them, fight through them and figure it out.”</p><p>Both he and Farmer say that that focus on independent thought, with the support of instructors and leadership coaches, helps prepare them for the jobs ahead. “Nobody's going to give you the answer; it's going to be up to you to figure out the answer,” Farmer said. “And I’m getting more and more comfortable with not having the answer than I was just a few months ago.”</p><p> <strong>Tracking progress</strong></p><p>To nudge its students towards such confidence, and to help ensure that they meet state requirements for principals, UCAPP introduced the “core assessment,” a series of projects designed to measure students’ progress in key areas of leadership. Students complete projects every semester, either in their own schools or those in which they’re interning, and work with their coaches every month to reflect on their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and plan for future improvement. “That's really been important and helpful to me,” Farmer said. “To sit back and look at, what did I feel went well? What did I feel I would change?”</p><p>Teresa Maturino Rodriguez, a teacher of 20 years, also sees benefits in the core assessments, saying that they help students acclimate themselves to the twists and turns of the principalship. However, she said, they take a lot of time and she is not yet clear about the value of every required component. All students must complete the same projects, she added, even if they have years of experience with the practices those projects are meant to demonstrate. Some of these tasks can become rather onerous for students who are juggling classes, internships, families and day jobs.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" id="div_1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“I feel like there's this other component hanging out there,” she said, expressing some discomfort with the addition to the workload. But she’s willing to give the assessments time to play themselves out. “I'm going to trust this is part of the learning process they're trying to create for us,” she added.</p><p>The benefits are more obvious to Columbano. The first step of the core assessment—an “organizational diagnosis” that asks students to investigate reasons behind an achievement gap of their choice at their internship school—helped him look beyond his previous focus on high-school phys-ed.</p><p>“Instead of looking at things strictly within your classroom,” he said, “it made me ask myself, ‘How do I fix this on a school level?’”</p><p>It’s helping him make an essential change to the way he sees education. “I’m always looking at things through a different lens now,” he said.</p><p>“I’m looking at it from a principal’s lens, not a teacher’s.”</p><p> <strong>Embracing change</strong></p><p>It takes a lot of planning and adjustment to create a program that can stimulate such a change in perspective. Administrators say they are always learning from their experiences and tweaking the program to respond to feedback from students, faculty and community partners. That willingness to change, however, can complicate things for students. </p><p>Farmer, for example, was hoping to get summer schedules ready for her internship when we spoke to her in January. But her class schedule was still unclear, making it hard to plan ahead. “We find that they're still tweaking things up to the last minute,” she said. “For people like us, who want to know things way in advance, that's been a little bit frustrating,”</p><p>That frustration, however, may also be part of learning to be a principal. Columbano says that his time in UCAPP so far is beginning to make him more comfortable with the uncertainties of the principalship. “Will I know everything?” he said. “No. But I know that if I work at it, I can get to the right answers.”</p><p></p><p>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal</a>.</p>Four aspiring principals at the University of Connecticut get a glimpse of the work that lies ahead GP0|#3c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe;L0|#03c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe|principal pipeline;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#3fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607;L0|#03fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607|principals;GP0|#5c8741a8-5f81-440f-b89e-72db998344f4;L0|#05c8741a8-5f81-440f-b89e-72db998344f4|principal training;GP0|#7986ee98-34d0-4fde-adc1-c9037cafca80;L0|#07986ee98-34d0-4fde-adc1-c9037cafca80|principal preparationGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/knowledge-center/PublishingImages/blog-uconn-principal-prep-students-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-06-23T04:00:00ZFour aspiring principals at the University of Connecticut get a glimpse of the work that lies ahead6/24/2020 3:29:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Learning to Navigate the Uncertainties of School Leadership Four aspiring principals at the University of Connecticut get a 262https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis3631<p>It may seem like a truism that, in a time of crisis, the various players and institutions in a community should set aside their individual agendas and pull together for a common cause. But there’s a lot that goes into a true collaboration—one that involves government, schools, businesses, universities, foundations and nonprofits. Collaborators must build trust, develop and state a shared vision, and establish roles. And that’s just for starters.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-Sector-Collaboration-May-Be-Invaluable-in-the-Current-Crisis/Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" alt="Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;138px;height&#58;207px;" />Carolyn Riehl knows this well. A professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Riehl, along with a team of colleagues, conducted a Wallace-sponsored study of cross-sector collaborations to improve education. The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-impact-a-closer-look-at-local-cross-sector-collaborations-for-education.aspx">final report</a> from this landmark study was published just a few months before COVID-19 changed everything, not only in the realm of education but society as a whole. Riehl says that, as the pandemic exacerbates inequities and the need for services, cross-sector collaborations—sometimes known as “collective impact” initiatives—may become more important than ever, even as their work goes underfunded and unnoticed. We asked Riehl about where the cross-sector collaboration movement stands now and what the future may hold.<br> <em> </em></p><p><strong>What do you see as the contribution of this report to the conversation about cross-sector collaboration? Who are the intended readers of the report and what can they expect to take away from it?</strong><br><em> </em><br> <span><span><strong></strong></span></span>There are many potential audiences for the report, and we tried to provide information relevant to all of them. Leaders of, and participants in, cross-sector collaborations may find it valuable to learn about other programs’ governance structures, service networks and communication strategies. Philanthropies and government agencies who provide financial support for collaborations may be encouraged to learn how others have been generous but patient as these complex enterprises take the necessary time to build towards long-term success. Readers who are considering starting a collaborative initiative will, we hope, be inspired by the efforts and accomplishments of the programs we studied, while also getting a reality check about the challenges and potential pitfalls. We hope citizens and stakeholders in the cities we studied will be proud that their stories can help lead the way, but also that they will use our report to inform their efforts to improve.</p><p><span><strong></strong></span><strong>How do you think the pandemic will affect cross-sector collaboration—both the collaborations you studied and the movement in general?</strong></p><p><span><span><span><span><strong></strong></span></span></span></span>The needs that cross-sector collaborations were established to address—better access to quality early childhood education and afterschool programs, social-emotional learning opportunities, targeted support for boys and young men of color, wraparound health and social services for students—are likely to become even more acute for more children and youth. And school districts and other service providers may be hard pressed to respond, given reduced budgets and increased demand. So collaborations are likely to become more useful than ever, even if it’s hard for them to garner direct attention and funding. We’re learning in the pandemic to appreciate all sorts of people and enterprises that operate mostly out of public view but are clearly essential to keeping things going, and cross-sector collaborations might prove to be another vital background operation.&#160; </p><p><strong>In the report, you and your colleagues say, “While it is still early in the game, we think there are enough indicators of good things happening that the waning of the movement would represent a loss.” What are some of those indicators?&#160;And have any of them taken on new significance in the current crisis?</strong><br><em> </em><br> One positive aspect of cross-sector collaboration for education is an increase in the shared, public recognition that children and young adults often face complicated obstacles keeping them from educational and career success. In the current health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, inequities appear in even more stark relief, and we fear they will reverberate for a long time. Removing obstacles and erasing disparities will require a concerted effort by many organizations and agencies, not just schools. Collaborations have already set the stage for that. Another good thing is that despite some early promises of quick success, many collaborations are taking the time to understand what their local needs are and to craft appropriate responses. This thoughtfulness and care will be even more important as the full impact of the pandemic comes into view. Finally, just the fact that collaborations have established structures and processes for people to work together and trust one another—that’s going to be a huge help, I think. <br> <br> <strong>What are some of the common challenges communities face in launching and sustaining cross-sector collaborations? Does the pandemic present any new challenges? For example, can the hard work of building trust and working relationships still take place when conversations and meetings are all happening online?</strong></p><p>Our report describes in detail the ways communities built collaborations from the ground up. Most depended heavily on relationships and a nascent sense of shared purpose as they got going, and the need for personal connections didn’t disappear over time. In our new reality, it can be hard to get to know new colleagues, to make eye contact and read the subtle signals in a conversation, or to find serendipitous opportunities for sharing and brainstorming in an online Zoom meeting. But I’ve talked with numerous school leaders recently who are astounded that more people are attending school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and professional development sessions online than they did in person. This is an opportunity collaborations can take advantage of. It may be possible to communicate more widely and build even larger constituencies for their work and to enable more people to participate across time and distance in work groups and governance bodies. But it will be crucial to ensure that the community members who are often isolated and marginalized are not prevented from participating in new forms of online engagement.</p><p><strong>What does the future of cross-sector collaboration look like and how has that picture changed in light of the pandemic? Is the movement in a healthy place or is the fate of these efforts more precarious? What factors will be important in the evolution and endurance of the current wave of cross-sector collaborations?</strong><br><em> </em><br>&#160;It’s hard to predict what will happen to cross-sector collaborations for education, whether they will become permanent or end up as yet another promising but short-lived innovation. Several months ago, my colleagues and I might have opined that their future depended most of all on their ability to develop stable, sufficient revenue streams and to demonstrate to their stakeholders at least some success in achieving goals they set for themselves. We saw reasonably strong signs that this was happening in many places. <br> <br> But the coronavirus pandemic has been a major disruption. On the one hand, it’s possible that because of it, education funding will be so dramatically reduced, and philanthropic dollars so thinly stretched, that there simply won’t be enough resources to sustain collaborations. Participating local governments, social agencies, and school systems themselves may have to scale back their expectations for accomplishing anything more than the very basic services they are charged to provide; there may be little reserve energy for the ambitious goals of collaborative enterprises.&#160;</p><p> On the other hand, the pandemic may reveal cross-sector collaborations to be absolutely indispensable. When a community’s needs become comprehensive and intense, the presence of a collaboration that is already accustomed to coordinating efforts and devising innovative solutions could be invaluable. We’ve already seen anecdotal evidence of cross-sector collaborations convening with philanthropies to decide how best to direct funding to meet extraordinary needs, and we’ve heard how at least one collaboration marshalled efforts to help its community adjust when schools were closed and students needed everything from meal deliveries to laptops and iPads for online learning. Cross-sector collaborations were designed to do things that existing systems hadn’t been able to do. If they are able to adapt to the new realities they face, their future may be secure.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p>Carolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective impact” can play during pandemicGP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#a494c0bb-aee6-4c93-9e3a-c4141e38023f;L0|#0a494c0bb-aee6-4c93-9e3a-c4141e38023f|afterschool;GP0|#4ae90ef0-c436-4d09-9d4b-9ac02fe7c632;L0|#04ae90ef0-c436-4d09-9d4b-9ac02fe7c632|cross-sector collaborationGP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-carolyn-riehl-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-06-18T04:00:00ZCarolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective impact” can play during pandemic6/19/2020 3:34:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis Carolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective 163https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal11043<p><em>​This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort to determine the effects of the work is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p><em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>Ask Mark Benigni, superintendent of schools in Meriden, Conn., about the importance of partnerships in education, and he might tell you about Daniel Crispino. Crispino started his career as a first-grade teacher in Meriden Public Schools. His success in that role led the district to tap him for a leadership position and eventually nominate him for a spot in the University of Connecticut’s Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). After a one-year program at UCAPP, Crispino returned to the district as an assistant principal. In 2016, he became principal of John Barry Elementary School, which at the time had a “failing” designation from the state. By 2019, Crispino had helped transform the school; it received a <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/daniel-crispino-principal-john-barry-elementary-school-meriden-connecticut/">National Blue Ribbon Award</a> that year, and Crispino became one of ten principals to receive the <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/2019-terrel-h-bell-awardees-honored-for-outstanding-school-leadership/">Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership</a>. He is now the district’s director of school leadership, where he is helping other principals improve their schools.</p><p>Benigni may not be able to retain leaders such as Crispino, he says, without his district’s long-standing relationship with the University of Connecticut. The promise of career advancement through training at UCAPP helps keep talent in the district, despite its limited salaries. “As a small urban district, we can’t pay as well as some suburban communities,” he said. “What we can offer is a really enriching experience working with a college partner.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>That partner is now working to strengthen such ties so it can enhance those experiences and help improve leadership in districts such as Meriden. In 2016, UCAPP joined The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which supports the redesign of six university programs so they can better train future principals. The initiative calls, in part, for closer partnerships with states, school districts and other community organizations so universities can tailor training to the needs of schools. UCAPP has embarked on a systematic effort to reinforce such ties, with a close, collaborative assessment of needs, establishment of regular communication channels and joint monitoring of results.</p><p>“We had had a concerted effort to work with more urban districts in the state,” said Casey Cobb, professor of educational policy at the University of Connecticut, who helped reorient UCAPP’s approach to district partnerships. “But we never had formal partnerships beyond one with the Hartford School District. The Wallace initiative gave us the opportunity to reach out to districts to support their leadership development pathways.” </p><p>UCAPP chose to work with three urban districts—Hartford, Meriden and New Haven—with which it has had close and long-standing relationships. “We wanted districts who had both the need and also the capacity to be part of this redesign,” said Jennifer McGarry, the university’s department head in education leadership who also helped manage work in the Wallace initiative. “We wanted people that we knew had a commitment to change and continual improvement.”</p><p><strong>Laying out the foundation</strong></p><p>The work began with the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx">Quality Measures self-assessment tool</a>, which requires programs to work with school districts to determine whether they are preparing principals to lead teaching and learning in those districts. Based on the results of that assessment, UCAPP developed a general agreement with each district outlining the areas of focus and priorities for their work together. </p><p>These agreements are informal and sketch out broad frameworks for the work, such as guidelines for admissions processes, placement of UCAPP students for internships in district schools and protocols for communications among the partners. They were once enshrined in formal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that UCAPP leaders assumed would help resolve disagreements or miscommunications. UCAPP has learned, however, that their utility can often fall short of the legal and administrative work they require. </p><p>UCAPP’s MOU with one district, for example, unraveled with the arrival of a new superintendent whose priorities differed significantly from those of her predecessor. UCAPP had spent three years cultivating the relationship that led to this MOU, working closely with leaders and lawyers to ensure it met all parties’ rules and regulations. Yet, with the arrival of a new district leader, all that work came to naught.</p><p>“It became a fragile agreement,” said UCAPP director Richard Gonzales. “Even with the MOU, we couldn't ensure that things were going to go according to those terms.”<br> UCAPP is therefore bypassing the formalities and focusing more on the spirit than the letter of its agreements. It still uses a self-assessment to determine the broad contours of its work with the districts, but it now relies more on personal ties than on official documents. “Now it’s much less about the written agreement and much more about the relationships,” Gonzales said. “You have to maintain and nurture those relationships. It’s more time-intensive.” </p><p><strong>Staying in touch and strengthening ties</strong></p><p>UCAPP relies on regular contacts, both formal and informal, to maintain these relationships. It convenes leaders from all partner districts roughly once every fortnight to share information and solve problems. All partners also come together at regular meetings of a professional learning community of participants in the Wallace initiative.</p><p>The most obvious benefit of this frequent contact is that it allows UCAPP to adapt and improve its program based on actual needs in schools. One district, for example, said early-career principals were struggling to create leadership teams. UCAPP therefore added to its curriculum to beef up support in that area. Another district was having trouble with teacher turnover. So UCAPP created a three-year program to help high-performing teachers become instructional leaders and help improve classroom performance throughout the district. Chronic absenteeism seemed to be a problem throughout the state. UCAPP responded by incorporating readings, discussions and assignments about absenteeism into its curriculum.</p><p>Beyond immediate improvements in UCAPP’s offerings, the frequency of contact is also creating bonds that transcend formal MOUs. Benigni, for example, had been looking for ways to better support his district’s eight elementary-school principals. At a meeting of the Wallace-convened professional learning community, he got the idea to restructure his central office and create a position dedicated to those principals. He saw an opportunity to do so when Miguel Cardona, an assistant superintendent in his district, left to become Connecticut’s education commissioner. With a top spot open, Benigni could shuffle resources and job responsibilities to get his elementary-school principals the support they needed. To help make sure he did it right, he called Richard Gonzales.&#160; </p><p>Gonzales helped Benigni determine the most efficient ways to restructure the central office and create a new position dedicated to elementary-school principals. He even used his knowledge of philanthropies such as The Wallace Foundation to help Benigni work out how to pay for that position. Benigni introduced the new position to the district in the 2019-2020 school year. It is currently filled by UCAPP graduate Dan Crispino.</p><p>“The added partnership puts us more in touch with each other so it’s easier to throw those ideas off each other,” Benigni said. “You become partners, but you become strategic thinkers together as well.”</p><p>Such relationships can’t ensure complete agreement among parties. Complications do arise, and UCAPP must work closely with districts to resolve them. For example, Cobb said, a district may place a UCAPP intern in a school that needs more support, not in one that would help that intern become a more effective leader. “It can be a little tricky,” he said of such situations, “but we try to face it head on.” UCAPP advocates for students in such situations. “We know they’re in a tough position,” Cobb added. “They can’t be complaining, they can’t put down other administrators. That’s when we will have a side conversation with the district.”</p><p><strong>Tracking outcomes<br></strong></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><strong></strong></p><p>Such sensitive conversations can be easier when they’re based on data. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, for example, said that the district was once unable to communicate its needs to UCAPP because it lacked the data to understand those needs itself. “We needed stronger data systems to be able to see how our principals are doing and progressing,” she said. “It felt challenging to us to identify goals for the partnership when our data systems weren’t as strong.”</p><p>UCAPP is therefore working with all its partner districts to develop data systems to track the performance and career trajectories of its graduates. These systems will collect key points of data, such as graduates’ areas of strength while they were in UCAPP, the number of UCAPP graduates hired as administrators, the amount of time they spend in those positions and key performance indicators of the schools in which they serve. UCAPP plans to use such systems to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its graduates as they play out in schools. These systems could also help match UCAPP interns and graduates; if data suggest that a certain school needs support in a certain area, UCAPP could help direct graduates with expertise in that area to that school.</p><p>&quot;​I don’t need a zillion candidates to fill a principal job, I just need the one right person,” Benigni said. “If we can come up with a firm understanding of what makes a leader most effective, and if we can then track the development of those skills, then I’ll know when I’ve got a strong person ready for that job.”</p><p>Such systems cannot be bought off the shelf, however. Each district’s systems are different, and to bring them all together, UCAPP would have to sort through several technical and legal complications, such as the nature of the data collected, how they are stored, who owns and maintains them, how they are shared and how all parties can ensure privacy and security.</p><p>UCAPP quickly realized that the effort necessary to create a single system across all districts outweighed its potential benefits. Instead, the program forged agreements whereby each district develops its own system but gives UCAPP a standard data report every year. Such an arrangement gives districts the flexibility to collect the data that matter most to them, while allowing UCAPP to aggregate the data it needs to identify broader trends in principal performance and areas in which it may need to adapt. </p><p>It also highlights the importance of another partnership&#58; that with the Connecticut State Department of Education.</p><p><strong>Support from and for the state</strong></p><p>UCAPP can’t gain a full understanding of school needs using data from just three districts. Principals may move from district to district, and UCAPP must track its graduates’ records across districts to fully understand how well it trained them. Instead of negotiating complex data agreements with each of Connecticut’s nearly 200 districts, UCAPP is working with the state department of education to help meet its data needs. The department of education will help UCAPP track the basic essentials throughout the state, and UCAPP will incorporate the more nuanced data it receives from its three partners every year.</p><p>UCAPP has forged a close but informal relationship with the state, as it has with its partner districts, beyond such data systems. Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona says this relationship helps ensure principals are trained to lead schools that principal preparation programs often ignore. “We have students who are dealing with many different things in their life, whether it's through poverty or other issues,” he said. “Historically, the students that graduate from some of the traditional principal preparation programs have had very little experience learning about leadership in communities dealing with these needs.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>State representatives participate in meetings UCAPP convenes with districts and communicate these needs, Cardona said. They also use these conversations to flag important shifts in state policy. Cardona pointed to the example of a recent change from a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior to a focus on restorative practices, which seek to improve students’ relationships with each other and the community. State staffers signaled that change to UCAPP, and UCAPP tweaked its curriculum accordingly. “Now, pre-service principals are hearing different perspectives and different approaches towards restorative practices being considered in districts,” Cardona said. “So when they go into districts, these approaches are not new. New principals don't hear about them for the first time when they're employed.”</p><p>The state also gives UCAPP important context for its efforts. “The state is the best source of historical information for us,” Jennifer McGarry said. The department of education keeps information about interventions in years past, which she says is useful as UCAPP considers new approaches. “We can ask, ‘why did it work? Why did it not work? Is it something we want to revisit, or is it something that’s been done and wasn’t successful?”</p><p><strong>Results thus far</strong></p><p>Productive partnerships don’t come easy. All parties must stay open to feedback and change. They must balance different viewpoints and sometimes competing needs. And they must secure the resources they need to follow through on commitments. “It's not just one conversation, and then you go back to business as usual,” Cardona said. “It's a constant reflection of what's working, what's not working, what needs attention.”</p><p>But that effort may be yielding some early benefits for schools. Benigni, for example, said that more careful consideration of the skills his principals need and his greater familiarity with principal training has helped him ask better questions when he interviews principal candidates. “We’re putting less emphasis on the feel of the interview and more emphasis on the substance of the person,” he said. “There’s a likability factor that comes out in an interview. Sometimes that’s valuable, because being well liked helps you lead. But if you can’t help your teachers get better, that’s going to wear off very quickly.”</p><p>Cardona said closer communication with UCAPP and its partner districts is leading the state to reconsider certification policies. “The certification department may be under the assumption that a policy is a really good one,” he said. “But partners will tell us what they’re experiencing, and we might find that it is unintentionally hurting our ability to attract quality candidates. It gives us the opportunity to revisit that policy, see why it is in place and whether or not it's needed.”</p><p>Cobb, meanwhile, suggested that UCAPP’s initial self-assessment and its partnership with the state may even prod other programs to improve. “The state convened competing programs to talk about the quality of their own programs through the Quality Measures protocol,” he said. “I thought that was pretty neat.”</p><p>Challenges remain, however. One is staff capacity. Changes in personnel can disrupt efforts and partnerships with UCAPP can stretch districts’ financial and human resources. Another is the amount of time it takes to meet partnership commitments. Districts have requests UCAPP has not yet been able to address, and it can take a while for UCAPP to determine how best to squeeze these requests into a packed curriculum. </p><p>But the work so far has forced the parties closer together, built trust and, some hope, paved a path for continuous improvement in days ahead. “I define success by creating a culture of interdependence between the University of Connecticut, the districts and the department of education,” Cardona said. “So if this Wallace initiative wraps up, the partnership and the ongoing dialogue are still there.”</p><p>Benigni suggests that partnerships may be on their way to accomplishing just that. “We were partners before,” he said. “But now I feel like we may be influencing their work and they may be influencing ours.”</p><span>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; </span><a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">Embracing the Unknown in New Approaches to Principal Preparation</a>.<span></span><p><span></span><br></p>Close partnerships with school districts and the state help the University of Connecticut strengthen principal training.GP0|#3c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe;L0|#03c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe|principal pipeline;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#43d4f362-cf83-42c8-bb22-1263916f3168;L0|#043d4f362-cf83-42c8-bb22-1263916f3168|principal;GP0|#7986ee98-34d0-4fde-adc1-c9037cafca80;L0|#07986ee98-34d0-4fde-adc1-c9037cafca80|principal preparation;GP0|#5c8741a8-5f81-440f-b89e-72db998344f4;L0|#05c8741a8-5f81-440f-b89e-72db998344f4|principal trainingGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-uconn-principal-prep-partnerships-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-06-16T04:00:00ZClose partnerships with school districts and the state help the University of Connecticut strengthen principal training.6/17/2020 1:18:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal Close partnerships with school districts and the state help the 207https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer11027​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summer has always been an important time to keep young people learning and developing in healthy ways. But now that the public health crisis has forced schools across the nation to close for weeks, says the National Summer Learning Association, making the best possible use of the summer months should be at the top of the education agenda.<br></p><p>The association hosted an online event, <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/HEXvbBKJ5Vk" target="_blank">“When Schools Close&#58; Harnessing the Power of Summer for America’s Young People,”</a> to draw attention to research about the importance of summer and to provide innovative examples of state and local efforts to keep kids learning, moving and creating this summer.</p><p>“We hope that this will lead to partnerships and people picking up the phone and emailing and reaching out to one another,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, the chief executive officer of NSLA. “How can I work with you, how can I bring that resource and experience to the families and the kids I serve?”<br></p><p>Karl Alexander, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the report <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-academy-of-sciences-report-on-summer-learning.aspx">Shaping Summer Experiences</a>, said the “elevated risk” of food insecurity, learning loss and lack of enrichment activities for students who live in low-income neighborhoods is even more pronounced now. </p><p>“Three months away from school have stretched to six, with practically no time to plan,” Alexander said. “The pandemic has made the issues taken up by our report even more urgent and more challenging.” (The fall 2019 report was supported by The Wallace Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)</p><p>Over the 90-minute event, which drew more than 900 registrants, panels of experts discussed the importance of summer and how everyone from policymakers to parents should think creatively to try to make the most of the time. </p><p>“One thing we know is when the story of this particular summer is told, and this school year is told, it will be a story of inequities,” said Tanji Reed Marshall, the director of P-12 practice at the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group. “The naturally occurring disparities among groups will exacerbate.” </p><p>Marshall called for states and districts to spend money from the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress in late March to address the economic impact of COVID-19, for summer and extended learning.</p><p>Jillian Balow, the Wyoming state schools superintendent and the president of the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers, noted that while every state is different, “Our job is to look at summer learning opportunities and figure out how to leverage them. Removing barriers and being that influencer and broker and connector is a role all state chiefs play.”</p><p>Other panelists noted that summer programming has always been “fragmented” among various actors, all of which are now facing serious budget problems. </p><p>Erik Peterson, senior vice president for policy at the Afterschool Alliance, discussed the CARES Act and other funding sources that can be used to provide summer programming. Noting that the primary source of education funding is from states and localities, which face budget shortfalls, Peterson added that community-based organizations, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and nonprofit and fee-based programs are also struggling. </p><p>“There are a tremendous amount of challenges,” he said, “but the opportunity is there as well and it’s often in these kinds of challenges where everyone will come together to braid and blend resources in a way that hopefully provides quality summer learning for children.”</p><p>Engaging Curious Minds, a nonprofit in Charleston, S.C., that works with about 11,000 students in grades K-8 in six school districts, has already adapted its summer programming, said Executive Director Robin Berlinsky. The program’s focus is to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through the arts. </p><p>This summer, rather than visit school facilities, students will receive “create kits” every week (some hidden by teachers in a scavenger hunt) with arts materials. Campers will do both online and in-person activities. For instance, the group plans to work with partner organizations such as running clubs and cheer teams to have socially distant parades where students receive math challenges and “story starters” to write about, Berlinsky said.</p><p>That’s the type of innovation that’s needed to make summer 2020 work for students, said Dworkin. </p><p>“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said, “and it’s going to take partnerships between parents, programs, policymakers, the business community, nonprofits, the government sector, everyone trying to be as coordinated as possible and as seamless as possible to give kids the experiences they deserve.”</p>Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for studentsGP0|#507166ce-121b-4ec6-97dc-339d45606921;L0|#0507166ce-121b-4ec6-97dc-339d45606921|summer;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#b9334c26-a923-4388-bc0a-e17897e654f7;L0|#0b9334c26-a923-4388-bc0a-e17897e654f7|schools;GP0|#91bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac;L0|#091bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac|enrichment;GP0|#3ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7;L0|#03ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7|educationGP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/NSLA-Panel-Recap-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-06-11T04:00:00ZExperts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for students6/12/2020 4:13:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem 490https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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