Wallace Blog

 

 

Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals 10375<p>​​In 2011, we launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative to test whether six large districts could put in place systems aimed at developing corps of effective school principals. Independent studies of the initiative’s implementation thus far have found that <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/perspective-building-principal-pipelines-update.aspx">building principal pipelines</a> proved both feasible and affordable in the six participating districts, and we’ll soon know more about how this work impacted student achievement. But when the initiative concluded&#58; the question of sustainability remained&#58; Would districts maintain these pipeline components—and if so, how? </p><p>Now a Policy Studies Associates team led by researchers <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx">Leslie Anderson​</a> and Brenda Turnbull has interviewed key decision makers and surveyed novice principals to understand to what extent they are still carrying out the four components of the pipeline, what changes they have made and if principals’ perspectives on their hiring and placement, evaluation and support are similar to previous findings. Their findings are published in a new study <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</a>. &#160;&#160; </p><p>We asked Anderson to elaborate on the report’s findings and what they mean for the sustainability of strong principal pipelines.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What are the most significant implications of these findings for districts that want to develop and operate principal pipelines?</strong></p><p> <em>It’s worthwhile&#58;</em> There is a real payoff that districts have seen from steady investment of time and thought in developing and refining several key ingredients for leader development&#58; standards; partnerships; succession planning; mentoring and coaching, and leader tracking systems. Moreover, principals’ survey responses indicate that newly placed principals see strengths in the preparation and support they have received. As of 2018, the principal pipeline shows staying power. </p><p> <em>It’s a process not a product&#58;</em> One district leader described their pipeline experience as a journey rather than a destination that one reaches through shortcuts. No one should think that one district is “the district to watch” and try to copy what that district does. Instead, building a pipeline is a developmental process that district leaders must grow into. </p><p> <em>It’s affordable&#58;</em> There is almost no cost associated with developing leadership standards. In addition, only moderate costs are associated with creating a standardized application for principal candidates. Yet this relatively low-cost upgrade to district hiring practices can quickly strengthen the pool of candidates qualified to fill school vacancies. Indeed, seven years after starting the Principal Pipeline Initiative, district leaders no longer report struggling to find highly qualified candidates to fill vacancies; they are impressed with the skills of the principals they are hiring. Moreover, over time, districts saw fewer principal vacancies, suggesting that principal turnover had declined and new principals were better prepared.<br> </p><p> <strong>What lessons does the study hold about how districts and universities can work together to improve preservice training for principals? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? </strong></p><p>PPI districts saw real benefits from investing staff time in the care and keeping of their university partners. Denver, for example, assigned a staff person to meet with district partners regularly, often monthly or more, to co-plan the programming. The result, according to another district administrator, has been that “they're producing candidates that are highly qualified [to lead our] schools.” Similarly, principal supervisors in Charlotte-Mecklenburg spent years on a university partner’s board and worked together closely to identify gaps between the district’s leadership standards and the university’s preparation program coursework. Ultimately, as one district leader explained, if done right, the benefits of the partnership are shared&#58; “There is that mutual beneficial relationship that enables the university to have outstanding graduates and for us to have outstanding leaders.”&#160; </p><p>By 2018, district investments in their university partnerships had yielded dividends. Higher percentages of principals who had started on the job in more recent years (after March 2012) compared with those who had started earlier (before March 2012) reported that their preservice preparation emphasized competencies related to school improvement, including instructional leadership.&#160; Moreover, more recently prepared principals reported having started on the job with higher levels of preparedness for leadership. </p><p> <strong>The report mentions that there are some areas of confusion or overlap in the various systems of support for principals that the pipeline developed. &#160;What are these areas and how can schools and districts remedy them? </strong></p><p>Districts strive to coordinate principal support in a way that addresses principal needs but mitigates the risk of delivering conflicting messages. While principal supervisors, mentors and coaches are all necessary principal support, they need to be managed appropriately to avoid contradictory or confusing advice. A Denver principal supervisor described a novice principal getting four sets of guidance from four different people on a daily basis, for example.&#160; </p><p>Creating more lines of communication between support streams is a good first step toward mitigating conflicting messaging.&#160; Because people are busy, it’s often hard to know which support provider is helping principals develop which capacity or competency. A leader in Gwinnett County maintained that it was incumbent upon district leaders and support providers to work together to provide a coherent support structure that ultimately helps principals succeed. She suggested that districts should start by calibrating support providers in defining or diagnosing the needs of the school. And she cautioned that coordination does not mean standardization and that the support delivered to principals should vary in response to school contexts and needs.</p><p>Finally, there is a danger of overwhelming principals with support.&#160; First-year principals often feel as if they are “drinking from a firehose,” as an administrator put it, and they cannot absorb all of the support they receive. Prince George’s County has tried to address this problem by creating what it calls “a central office school support network” to coordinate all of the offices that impact the building so that the principal “didn't have to have 13 different meetings with 13 different offices at the beginning of the school year.”</p><p> <strong>With the emergence of the principal supervisor role as a key element of the pipeline, how can districts ensure that supervisors are able to focus mainly on principal support and development? </strong></p><p> Districts used a variety of strategies to ensure that supervisors could focus on principal support. Several hired more supervisors, reducing their span of control and thereby increasing the time supervisors could devote to developing principals’ instructional leadership skills. One district removed any responsibility for operations management from principal supervisors’ span of control by creating a department of academic support and another department for school operations.<br></p><p>Another, less costly approach one district took was organizing supervisors into different buckets of responsibility. Leaders in this district recognized that their supervisors reflected an assortment of competencies, some uniquely qualified to guide principals’ growth in instructional leadership, and some not. They opted to divide the work of their eight supervisors so that five would be instructionally focused and three would be operationally focused.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What was surprising to you about these findings? </strong></p><p>That this initiative has real staying power. That is, seven years after the PPI began, districts still have their principal pipelines. Districts still use standards to shape their principal preparation, hiring, evaluation and support systems; hiring managers have well-stocked pools of vetted principal candidates as well as individual-level data for use in their succession planning. Mentors, coaches and supervisors continue to build principals’ skills on the job. All six districts continue working on strengthening and expanding the pipeline components in ways that further manage and support the career progressions of principals. For example, they continue to strengthen the principal supervisors’ skills in supporting principals. They also work on strengthening principals’ capacity to identify and develop the leadership talents of aspiring leaders, recognizing that sitting principals play a key role as mentors. </p><p>In summary, as we mention in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">sustainability report</a>, they are trying to build an ecosystem for talent development in which principals and principal supervisors regularly seek to identify and nurture the very best and brightest future leaders.&#160; </p><p><em>Leslie Anderson is&#160;a Managing Director at Policy Studies Associates (PSA).&#160;To read her full bio </em><a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx"><em>click here​</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Study finds Principal Pipelines are durable and have big payoffs for districts.GP0|#3fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607;L0|#03fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607|principals;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#3c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe;L0|#03c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe|principal pipeline;GP0|#947ca5a5-4e3e-4f35-a6cb-46c302abd4f2;L0|#0947ca5a5-4e3e-4f35-a6cb-46c302abd4f2|leadership;GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|researchGP0|#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/Leslie-Anderson-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-02-19T05:00:00ZStudy finds Principal Pipelines have staying power and big payoffs for districts.2/19/2019 2:55:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals Study finds Principal Pipelines are durable and have big payoffs https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Leading for Equity Can Look Like3330<p>​My question hung in the air at a conference for rural school and district leaders&#58; How many of you have heard common misconceptions about equity-related issues for students, like chronic absenteeism and access to diverse teachers? Slowly a principal raised his hand and shared that he, as a school leader, until recently believed that at-risk families (those living below the poverty line and/or facing significant financial or emotional hardships) value school less and therefore do not believe in the importance of regular attendance. I found his honesty remarkable, and it spurred a conversation about the importance of shifting to what’s been identified as an “equity mindset”—where we value the life experiences of all students and their families by identifying and removing misconceptions and barriers so we can provide differentiated supports and services to those most at-risk. </p><p>Shifting to an equity mindset on attendance, to use this example, means that we assume all of our families equally value the importance of their children’s education. Rather than accept the status quo, we therefore focus on understanding what might get in the way of their children’s attendance, and try to remove those barriers. And when we succeed, we can dramatically accelerate the trajectory of a student’s pathway towards postsecondary opportunities. For example, when low income elementary students attend school regularly, they can see outsized literacy gains, eight percent more growth in kindergarten and seven percent more growth in first grade than their higher income peers (Ready, 2010). By the time they hit sixth grade, students attending more than 90 percent of the time have significantly greater chances of graduating on time (Balfanz, Herzog, &amp; Maclver, 2007). The key is helping to make sure students at risk attend – something that begins with an equity mindset. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">In the struggle to create great schools for all students, equity often rides at the back of the bus. The Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook provides a powerful framework to change that dynamic. It is an especially thoughtful and actionable tool to bring equity to center stage in classrooms and schools. <br><em>—Dr. Joseph F. Murphy, Associate Dean, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University </em></p><p>Evidence-based equity shifts of this sort are part of the <a href="https&#58;//www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/reports/Tennessee-Leaders-for-Equity-Playbook.pdf"> <em>Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook</em></a>, a publication developed by the Tennessee ESSA Leadership Learning Community (ELLC) team as part of its participation in a collaborative effort of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the National Urban League and The Wallace Foundation, funded by Wallace. The initiative brings together teams from 10 participating states—each working on its own state’s priorities for and approaches to building the capacity of principals and other school leaders to support schools and students most in need of improvement—to help them develop their plans and to learn from each other’s work. Our playbook in Tennessee was developed by a statewide team of school, district, community, higher education and state leaders, with substantial feedback received from a comprehensive set of stakeholder groups. It features seven equity commitments, all selected for their strong research base that correlates with improved student outcomes, and corresponding actions for school, district, school board and community leaders&#58; </p><ul><li>Decrease chronic absenteeism</li><li>Reduce disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates</li><li>Increase early postsecondary opportunities</li><li>Provide equitable access to effective teachers</li><li>Recruit and retain a diverse teaching force</li><li>Embed cultural competence in school practices</li><li>Partner with community allies </li></ul><p>The use of the word <em>commitments</em> is intentional to signal the importance of taking deliberate and specific action to advance equity. Other sections of the playbook include an action plan framework to assist leaders in the selection, implementation and monitoring of the most relevant equity commitments for their community; an “equity shifts continuum” describing the common misconceptions that must be examined and discussed for each equity commitment before moving to an equity mindset; and a list of key terms defined, including “equity” and a “leader for equity.” </p><p>My interaction with the rural principals demonstrates the importance of viewing equity through two lenses&#58;<strong> improving outcomes for all students is not an exclusively urban problem </strong>and <strong>equity needs to be embedded into the DNA of school and district policies and practices</strong> if we want to successfully move our collective thinking about equity from an <em>initiative</em> to a necessary and enduring <em>systematic approach</em> for reaching every student. This shift requires us as leaders to grapple with the powerful notion that student outcomes will not improve until adult learning and behaviors change. </p><p>Since the release of the Playbook in the spring of 2018, I have been fortunate to see both rural and urban districts in Tennessee use it as a training and support tool to help shift adult learning and behaviors towards equity. For example, Bobby Cox, superintendent of rural Warren County, uses it as part of a comprehensive district approach for training all employees, from district leaders and principals to cafeteria workers and bus drivers on the importance of learning strategies—such as providing meditation and counseling for disciplinary infractions rather than relying exclusively on out-of-school suspensions. This approach helps increase the social and emotional well-being of students. And it’s paying big dividends so far with significant increases in student attendance; the chronic absenteeism rate is 3 percent this year compared with 14 percent last year, with decreases in out-of-school suspensions. </p><p>I am convinced the equity shifts and commitments we’ve articulated in the <em>Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook</em> can play a role in accelerating the urgency and summoning the collective courage we need to make educational equity no longer a dream deferred in our state. We hope it can help provide a guide for others across the country, as well. &#160;<br></p><p>Paul Fleming is the Assistant Commissioner for the Teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education. See his full bio <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Paul-Fleming.aspx">here​</a>. ​​ <br> </p><p> <em>Lead photo&#58; Principal James Nebel of Sweetwater Middle School; Gwinnett County, Georgia</em></p>Statewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.GP0|#3fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607;L0|#03fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607|principals;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#6461b6ad-6a49-4a2a-af3d-221d7c1e6636;L0|#06461b6ad-6a49-4a2a-af3d-221d7c1e6636|state policy;GP0|#0749b622-d2bc-4ff6-bf7d-ee28a6072887;L0|#00749b622-d2bc-4ff6-bf7d-ee28a6072887|district policy;GP0|#74382b82-b70e-4a4a-ac69-ac07f4786718;L0|#074382b82-b70e-4a4a-ac69-ac07f4786718|equityGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Paul Fleming94<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Paul-Flemming-lg-feature6.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-02-12T05:00:00ZStatewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.2/12/2019 7:22:37 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Leading for Equity Can Look Like Statewide collaboration and new “Leaders for Equity Playbook” are helping schools and 1369https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices16091<p>Educators have become increasingly interested in supporting students to cultivate inter- and intra-personal skills such as collaborative teamwork, self-management and responsible decision making – skills that are developed through the process of social and emotional learning (SEL). The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has created new opportunities for educators to incorporate evidence-based SEL interventions (such as curricula, programs, and practices) into their schools and classrooms. Educators across the country are not only expressing support for SEL but are adopting programs and practices to promote SEL. A new <a href="https&#58;//www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2739.html">guide</a> we developed with colleagues at the nonpartisan RAND Corporation is meant to help educators adopt evidenced-based interventions that fit the needs of their students and communities. </p><p>Identifying evidence-based interventions is one important step in reaping the benefits of SEL-related investments. Educators can use our 2017 <a href="https&#58;//www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2133.html">report</a> to learn more about SEL interventions that align with ESSA’s standards of evidence. Another <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Navigating-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-from-the-Inside-Out.pdf">guide</a> by Harvard University professor Stephanie Jones and colleagues synthesizes key information about SEL interventions, including the focus of the intervention, the ages or grade levels of students for whom the intervention was designed and the instructional approach utilized. </p><p>Another important step in maximizing the benefits of investments in SEL is matching these investments to the local context. Just as we would expect educators to select academic curricula based on their alignment with local education standards and the needs of students in their communities, the selection of SEL interventions should be based on similar criteria. </p><p>To support state and local education leaders in selecting evidence-based SEL interventions, our new <a href="https&#58;//www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2739.html">guide</a> shows how to conduct an assessment for SEL to identify the needs of their specific students and community. A needs assessment is a systematic approach to identifying strengths and areas that need improvement, as well as other contextual factors that might influence the adoption and implementation of new interventions. A needs assessment enables educators to be more confident that the SEL interventions they choose focus on areas of need and are therefore more likely to produce the desired improvements. An assessment is also required for certain ESSA funding streams.</p><p>Carrying out a needs assessment involves several steps&#58; (1) identifying a range of data sources that provide information about student performance, behaviors and attitudes and about classroom and school-level practices and resources; (2) analyzing and synthesizing these data; (3) and seeking input from stakeholder groups including educators, parents, students and community members. </p><p>Educators conducting a needs assessment to inform decisions about SEL may want to consider the following guidance&#58;</p><ul><li>Identify assessments that measure students’ social and emotional skills to understand where students are starting out and to monitor progress. <a href="https&#58;//www.rand.org/education-and-labor/projects/assessments.html">Online tools</a> can help provide information about these assessments and their features, but educators should interpret results from assessments cautiously and in the context of other information such as student academic achievement, school attendance and behavioral data.</li><li>Interpret student data with consideration for the broader context in which student learning takes place; the classroom environment, school policies and surrounding community conditions can all influence students’ social and emotional development.</li><li>Consider partnering with researchers and technical assistance organizations to analyze and make sense of data on SEL needs.</li><li>Where multiple needs are identified, focus on those needs most aligned with local goals and educational priorities.</li><li>Promote the goal of equitable opportunities across student groups by ensuring that the collection and analysis of data, and the decisions that result because of the data, are designed to meet the needs of all, rather than just some, students.</li></ul><p>It is important to remember that needs can change and will likely evolve as schools see students developing the skills that led educators and administrators to seek out evidence-based SEL interventions in the first place. Educators across the country are working to help their students develop the capabilities that will maximize their opportunities to achieve productive, engaged, and rewarding lives. Being attuned to student and community needs—and the ways these change over time—could also help dedicated educators focus their time and resources on the areas where they might have the greatest impact.</p><p><em>Stephani Wrabel is an associate policy researcher and Laura Hamilton is distinguished chair in learning and assessment and a senior behavioral scientist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Both are members of the faculty of the Pardee RAND Graduate School.</em></p> New guide helps educators adopt interventions that fit needs of students and communities.GP0|#b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc;L0|#0b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc|SEL;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166;L0|#0061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166|ESSA;GP0|#d73feafd-7541-41e4-bf76-32a850c6bae7;L0|#0d73feafd-7541-41e4-bf76-32a850c6bae7|students;GP0|#d478cfe2-46c8-4da0-9454-dd1af3b33af4;L0|#0d478cfe2-46c8-4da0-9454-dd1af3b33af4|practice;GP0|#735eedb1-19a0-4941-8b19-dbe32cab2ef4;L0|#0735eedb1-19a0-4941-8b19-dbe32cab2ef4|communityGP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Stephani Wrabel and Laura Hamilton93<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ESSA-SEL-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-02-05T05:00:00ZNew guide helps educators adopt interventions that fit needs of students and communities.2/5/2019 3:00:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices New guide helps educators adopt interventions that 990https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Addressing the "Uncertainty Gap" and Other Audience-Building Strategies16085<p><em>Two years ago, we kicked off our BAS (Building Audiences for Sustainability) Stories Project with a written and video account of Ballet Austin’s effort </em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/ballet-austin-building-audiences-for-sustainability.aspx"><em>to expand audiences for unfamiliar works</em></a><em>. To see how the work has been progressing, we asked the company’s executive director Cookie Ruiz to jot down some thoughts. The following is an edited version of our email exchange. </em></p><p><strong>In the original story, the author notes that Ballet Austin was “not considering altering programming to meet audience tastes, but they hoped to understand how audiences were viewing and responding to what the ballet company produced.” Why is it so important to you not to change who you are for the sake of growing your audience, and how do you strike a balance between what audiences expect and what Ballet Austin wants to deliver. </strong></p><p>While we value and respect the restaging of wonderful works that reflect the history of ballet and great classic stories, we cherish the process of bringing new works to the stage. There is simply nothing like it. Today’s artists have much to say and we believe that art is an effective way to share different perspectives. </p><p>So we wonder…why are people so reluctant to try something new when it comes to their entertainment? What is the source of the reluctance? Knowing now that there is an “uncertainty gap,” what does it take to close that gap and trigger a sale for work with which people are less familiar? </p><p>If all we needed to do was change the programming, we would never have needed to ask this question, and we would have missed out on the most fascinating three years of learning. </p><p><strong>Based on market research findings, Ballet Austin adjusted many activities surrounding the performances to help audiences feel more comfortable about attending the ballet. Have you continued growing these programs, and do you have any new findings to share?&#160;</strong></p><p>One of the most valuable disciplines coming from BAS is the importance of the “not to do” list. Many arts organizations offer a veritable plethora of audience engagement opportunities. We all do them because, let’s face it, people keep coming and it’s probably not hurting anything. </p><p>No more.&#160; Even the safe “legacy” strategies we’ve all been doing for years–such as the pre-curtain lecture and the post-performance talk-back–take time and planning that could be used elsewhere, if these strategies are deemed to be ineffective. </p><p>In Round One of BAS we learned that our audience seeks two major connections through the work&#58;&#160; 1) a social connection and/or 2) an emotional/intellectual connection.&#160; We used this information to design an array of pre-sale to post-performance experience paths. </p><p>Last season we had the opportunity to sit down with six groups of audience members; one of those groups was comprised of adult dance students selected from the 35% of our audience that self-reports that they are currently taking dance classes.</p><p>When showed sample digital video content that was used to promote ticket sales to a recent “less familiar work,” this one group skewed dramatically away from the other five groups in their response to the content. What emerged from this research engagement was the realization that we have a third connection…a<strong> </strong>“kinesthetic connection.” These audience members experience the work through their own bodies, with a focus on the choreography itself. Through data mining we learned the happy news that those taking a dance class prior to purchasing their first ticket are more than twice as likely to buy a ticket. </p><p><strong>How does Ballet Austin make decisions on what to continue and what to abandon?</strong> <strong>Can you give an example of something you stopped doing, because the research told you the costs outweighed the benefits?</strong></p><p>When we design a prototype, it has a clearly articulated goal and specific measureable expectations. The Wallace method requires routine evaluation of the prototype. During this process we discuss if there is a variable we might change, followed by a retest. When we realize that the prototype completely failed to meet its goals, then it is out and the prototype is retired.</p><p>An example of this came in year one when we piloted a livestream studio rehearsal, “Ballet Austin Live.” Our team became quite adept at delivering a series of well-produced episodes, but the livestream did not meet its key benchmarks. In fact, during a series of focus groups we learned that we were actually confusing some members of the audience who had no understanding of where the livestream was taking place, or why the dancers weren’t in costume. We made the assumption that viewers would understand the rehearsal process. &#160;</p><p>Ultimately by freeing up the time and considerable dollars, we learned that these “social connectors” preferred for us to send them a “movie trailer” style video with all the pertinent information, helping them to quickly forward to their friends as a suggestion to join them.</p><p><strong>What advice can you offer to organizations who seek to learn from Ballet Austin’s experiences?</strong></p><ul><li>Listen to your audience. We often assume we know what our audiences want, without ever actually asking. At Ballet Austin, we implemented a “Listening Tour” where we conducted calls and in-person sessions to listen to our customers. We found this information essential to help us understand where to focus our efforts.</li><li>You don’t need expensive tools to gather information. The phone calls and in-person sessions were a low-cost way to receive feedback, and Survey Monkey is an easy tool, available to anyone.</li><li>When developing new strategies, articulate and write down a specific goal so that you’re able to accurately measure the outcome.&#160; This is important because it reminds you to end a prototype if it is not successful. This also helps prevent “legacy strategies” that remain year after year, without being able to point to the specific outputs that justify the time and budget support. </li></ul><p><strong>In the 2017 video you said, “We’re asking ourselves what we know and what do we need to know?” What do you know now that you didn’t know two years ago? </strong></p><p>We thought we were dealing with an issue of familiarity, a lack of information. If that had been true we could have solved this by simply providing information. We now know we are dealing with something far more nuanced, an “uncertainty gap” that must be closed in order to trigger a sale. We also found that from time to time we were actually inadvertently “widening” the gap rather than closing it. </p><p>Titles matter, too.<strong> </strong>If the title of the work does not resonate,<strong> </strong>we can lose potential audience members, and we don’t get them back. Related, we’ve retired the term “non-narrative<strong>.”&#160; </strong>The attraction and need for a narrative arc is strong among most audience members, but there is room to differentiate between story, plot and inspiration. Audiences are not homogeneous. If we fail to approach our audience members in a highly-segmented way, they simply won’t hear us. </p><p>Young does not necessarily equal open-minded.&#160; Our research shows us that while 70 percent of our audience is under the age of 51, and while our city is filled with young technology-focused professionals, younger audience members tend to select the most familiar work. The audience for less familiar/new work currently relates to educational attainment (the average educational attainment of these audience members is a Master’s degree) and life experience. Also, nearly 60% of our audience members were involved in our art form (dance) as a child; 34% of our audience is taking dance today and 35% of their children are currently taking dance. </p><p>Finally, the magic of number three&#58; we’ve learned that once an audience member attends their third performance, they are more likely to repurchase, becoming our repeat customer with whom we can develop a long relationship.</p>Ballet Austin continues to gather information, listen to its audiences and develop new strategies.GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GP0|#a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1;L0|#0a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1|market research;GP0|#e5472d76-dfb0-4c7c-b46b-f3bd05017dc8;L0|#0e5472d76-dfb0-4c7c-b46b-f3bd05017dc8|continuous improvementGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Cookie-Ruiz-blog-post-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-01-29T05:00:00ZBallet Austin continues to gather information, listen to its audiences and develop new strategies.1/29/2019 3:00:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Addressing the "Uncertainty Gap" and Other Audience-Building Strategies Ballet Austin continues to gather information 438https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?16092 <p>The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 makes considerable funding available to state and local education agencies for a variety of activities, including arts education. To make use of this funding, however, agencies must show evidence that the activities they propose make—or could reasonably make—a difference in student outcomes. </p><p>Researchers from the American Institutes for Research recently released<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Review-of-Evidence-Arts-Education-Research-ESSA.aspx"> a detailed Wallace-commissioned report </a>that points to 88 studies of arts education approaches that meet ESSA's standards of evidence. Their report also includes a broader estimate, based on available evidence, of the results policymakers might see when undertaking certain types of arts education activities.</p><p>Wallace's editorial team talked to the authors of the report—Yinmei Wan, Meredith Ludwig and Andrea Boyle—to discuss the funding programs in ESSA, the activities and approaches that qualify for these programs, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators could use their report to improve arts education in their schools.</p><p>The report identifies 12 ESSA funding programs that agencies could use for arts education. &quot;Some funding programs are particular to specific activities,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;For example, if you want to open an arts-focused magnet school, there is a program specifically for that.&quot;</p><p>Others such as the Title I program, which offers funds to help improve certain schools, can be used to support a range of activities, Boyle added. &quot;But they might focus on specific populations, such as English learners or students of low income backgrounds, or on certain types of settings, such as extended days or afterschool programs,&quot; she said. &quot;If you focus on those student groups or activities, then that might be the sort of program you would want to pursue.&quot;</p><p>Approaches that meet the evidence requirements for these funding programs cover a range of art forms, including dance, drama, and media arts. Most, however, focus on music and visual arts. “There is a lot more research literature about music and visual arts”, said Meredith Ludwig, &quot;because those are the dominant programs available to students in schools.&quot;</p><p>ESSA splits evidence into four tiers. Tiers I, II and III require positive, statistically significant results for an arts education intervention to qualify for ESSA. Most of the eligible approaches mentioned in the report fall under Tier IV, which requires a theoretical or research-based rationale suggesting that an intervention islikely todeliver a positive result. </p><p>&quot;The Tier IV evidence category allows for opportunities to innovate with new interventions or new approaches that don't quite have a research base yet,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;It requires an intervention to have a rationale or logic model explaining how the intervention is expected to work, paired with efforts to evaluate what effects the intervention actually has once it is put into practice. To come up with a logic model, you can look at interventions that <em>do</em> have evidence behind them, what their logic model might be, and develop a rationale informed by that.&quot; </p><p>A previous ESSA study could help inform such efforts, Ludwig said. &quot;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-interventions-under-essa-evidence-review.aspx">The RAND report on social and emotional learning</a> did a good job describing how Tier IV is a good jumping off point for further research,&quot; she said. &quot;It's important to explore what you know about a Tier IV intervention, whether you need to make changes to it and how you might bring the level of evidence up.&quot;</p><p>Different ESSA funding programs have different requirements, however. When matching a desired activity to a potential funding program, educators must ensure that the activity meets the evidence standards for that program. &quot;Read the fine print of the specific funding program you're going after,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;And make sure that the evidence aligns with those requirements.&quot;</p><p>Ultimately, the authors suggest, educators must ensure that the interventions they choose fit their broader goals for their schools. &quot;Think about where an arts program would stand in relation to other things the school might be doing,&quot; Boyle said. &quot;Look at the other types of funding available, what your priorities might be and how arts education might fit into those priorities.&quot; </p><p>The report's authors also explored the potential efficacy of arts education efforts beyond ESSA's evidence requirements. The final chapter of the report is a meta-analysis of all empirical studies the researchers found, regardless of whether they found the positive results that would make activities eligible for ESSA. </p><p>“We examined all of the effects produced from well-designed and well-implemented studies, regardless of whether they provide positive or negative findings, or whether the findings are statistically significant or not,” said Yinmei Wan, lead author of the report. “We think it can provide more important information for policymakers that takes account of the magnitude and direction of the effects in all the studies.”</p><p>The meta-analysis found that arts education produces a moderate, statistically significant, positive effect on student outcomes. But Wan urges caution when interpreting its results, largely because of the dearth of empirical research about arts education.“For some art types and outcome domains, there is only one single study,” she said. </p><p>She also points to the difficulties inherent in measuring the entirety of the arts experience. “Researchers are trying to find ways to better measure features of the arts experience,&quot; she said. </p><p>Still, there are many studies that could help point educators in the right direction. &quot;Our review has limited scope,&quot; Wan said. &quot;We don't review international studies or studies about afterschool programs. But there are other resources available like the <a href="https&#58;//ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/">What Works Clearinghouse</a> or <a href="https&#58;//www.artsedsearch.org/">artsedsearch.org</a> that have more information about interventions that are not covered in the report.&quot;</p>Authors of a new report discuss ways in which schools could get federal support for arts education and the results they could expect from it.GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166;L0|#0061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166|ESSA;GP0|#a1a3d2cb-0304-4e6b-8cdc-7b5ba5a4609d;L0|#0a1a3d2cb-0304-4e6b-8cdc-7b5ba5a4609d|federal funding;GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|researchGP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Arts-ESSA-Author-Interview-lg-feature2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-01-23T05:00:00ZAuthors of a new report discuss ways in which schools could get federal support for arts education and the results they could expect from it.1/23/2019 2:51:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School Authors of a new report discuss ways in which schools 1049https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​​​​​​​