Wallace Blog



Research About the Arts and Kids: A Fertile Area for Inquiry11100<p>​When Diane Ruggiero, director of the Alexandria, Va., Office of the Arts, installed artworks on the sidewalks of the small city just south of Washington, D.C., she turned to her research director with a question&#58; How can we measure the art’s impact?</p><p>As she recounted at a recent symposium, finding the answer was important because the display was a new taxpayer-funded effort whose expense Ruggiero’s office would need to justify.&#160; In the end, though, city decision-makers decided on a metric that was easily measurable—the number of artworks on display—but failed to provide the information needed to answer her question. &#160;&#160;</p><p>In fact, there could have been ways to measure impact&#58; Did people notice the art? Had passersby &#160;stopped to look at it? Had they engaged in conversations about the display? Did residents’ pride in their city increase? But those indicators are more difficult to measure—and doing so requires more resources. </p><p>Ruggiero’s story illustrates some of the challenges facing arts research and was a familiar kind of tale to many attendees at the symposium, which examined research into arts education. Held at George Mason University last October, the conference was called Making Connections for Arts Education Research, Policy, and Practice. It was part of an effort by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to develop insights to support the goal “that every child will have access to arts education,” as Ayanna N. Hudson, the NEA’s director of arts education, put it. </p><p>At a time when equity is on the minds of many educators and policymakers, she noted, the children most deprived of a sound arts education are “primarily kids from underserved communities, primarily kids of color.” A major reason for this unlevel playing field is the sense that arts is an extra, said Steven John Holochwost, principal and director of research for youth &amp; families at the consulting firm WolfBrown.” The notion that arts education is different from education is a strange thing—but the fact is that this is where we are,” he said. This is especially troubling, he said later, because “the expansion of arts education to all children could help buffer the effects of poverty.”</p><p>At the symposium, many agreed that new and promising avenues of research are opening up that could build understanding of the value of arts education. A number of the studies have found links between hands-on arts learning experiences and a range of social and emotional skills.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature4.jpg" alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>For example, Kim Sheridan, associate professor of educational psychology, described an ongoing research project that has, so far, identified arts education as being particularly effective in building “agency.” This is a key social and emotional learning concept that encompasses the ability to define a problem, see an opportunity and create a solution, she said. &#160;Interestingly, though, agency is generally not studied in arts education. </p><p>Sheridan ran an experimental study centering on 36 fourth-grade children. Half were given a kit with step-by-step guidance; the other half worked in a museum “makerspace,” where children are encouraged to play and make something with circuits.</p><p>Both groups showed equal interest in the projects and an equal level of confidence in carrying out the projects, the study found. But when about half a dozen children were interviewed from each group, those in the makerspace were more likely to use two telling pieces of language&#58; first-person pronouns to describe their working process and verbs focused on what they did. “These findings suggest while children find both approaches to making enjoyable, activities allowing exploration and individual design choices seem more useful and promote a greater sense of individual agency in making,” Sheridan concludes in her paper. </p><p>In a separate project, researchers studying the Early Bridges program for pre-schoolers at the <a href="https&#58;//childrenstheatre.org/">Children’s Theatre Company</a> in Minneapolis have found positive results for the participants’ language <em>and</em> social-emotional development. The program “uses storytelling and creative drama to help young children transform into storytellers of their own lives,” in the words of the company. Teachers rated the participants more collaborative in their play than a comparison group of children, according to Amanda Grenell, a doctoral student at the Center for Early Child Development at the University of Minnesota. “We know that it is definitely due to the program, not due to the fact that the kids are in a good pre-school,” she said.</p><p>Yet another study, a major piece of experimental research, found that relative to a control group, students in a music education program scored higher on standardized tests, earned better grades in English language arts and experienced improved “executive function,” the ability to plan, pay attention,&#160; switch tasks and do things that promote goal-directed behavior. It’s important to note, said WolfBrown’s Holochwost, the study’s lead author, that the participating students had been in the program for two to three years, meaning they had had a chance to sharpen their skills, put on performances and feel pride in the hard work of building difficult skills. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature3.jpg" alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>The research is described in <em> <a href="https&#58;//www.researchgate.net/publication/317160011_Music_education_academic_achievement_and_executive_functions">Music Education, Academic Achievement, and Executive Functions</a></em>, published in 2017 in the journal <em>Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts</em>. “Our results suggest not only that the elimination of music from public education in the pursuit of higher academic test scores may be counterproductive, but that denying students music education may deprive them of an opportunity to build the basic cognitive and behavioral skills necessary for success in nearly every domain of school and life,” the report concludes.</p><p>The new body of arts education research contrasts with an older “either-or” debate about whether the goal of arts education is to teach technical skills like painting or playing a musical instrument—or, to improve academics. The intense interest in social and emotional learning, a composite concept of ideas drawn from psychology, learning theory and development, provides an “opening” to broaden the discussion about the value of a high-quality arts education, said Kenneth Elpus, associate professor of music education at the University of Maryland.</p><p>This more expansive view was reflected in a Wallace-commissioned literature review, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">Review of Evidence&#58; Arts Education Through the Lens of ESSA</a></em>, which found studies showing benefits from arts education not just in arts skills and academics but also in areas including social and emotional learning, and “processes,” a word for critical thinking. What’s more, the effects were robust enough to put them at the 75th percentile of 70 studies encompassing reading, math and science. Put another way, nearly three quarters of activities examined in those non-arts areas had lower levels of positive effects than the disciplinary approaches to arts education that were the subject of studies. </p><p>Moreover, arts learning can drive future engagement in the arts, according to an evaluation, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx">Designing for Engagement&#58; The Experience of Tweens in the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</a></em>, which found high-quality arts programs created “sparks” that led to enrollment in more advanced classes.</p><p>Researchers are also widening their range of inquiry on arts education into realms including neuroscience, where new studies examining the impact of arts education on the developing brain are underway, Holochwost said.&#160; <br> Outcomes were not the only area that panelists pointed to as being ripe for further investigation.</p><p>Implementation research—that is, research on what makes for high-quality instruction—is crucial for improving arts teaching practices, said Elpus, noting that “the work of figuring out what good music education looks like is still in its infancy.” Laura Annunziata, who leads arts education programs at Wolf Trap, the Virginia-based performance venue within a national park, agreed, observing that many of those running arts programs are looking for guidance on how to structure the programs in ways that benefit children.</p><p>Mary Dell’Erba is senior project manager of the Arts Education Partnership, a national coalition of education, arts, government and other organizations dedicated to making high-quality arts education accessible to all U.S. students. She asked whether arts education should “seek to help improve practice, demonstrate outcomes, or both?”</p><p>Regardless of the answer, one area that could use more investigation is access to arts education; knowing more about it is essential to identifying needs and opportunities and making the case for improvements. “Good descriptive work is really important,” the NEA’s Hudson said. “What if we knew who had access in every single state and every single city in the country—just imagine what we could do on race, ethnicity, graduation rates.” Indeed, organizations like Big Thought, a nonprofit that promotes arts programming for young people in Dallas, have demonstrated that using data to map where arts education is—and is not—can be a powerful stimulus for action, as <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/revitalizing-arts-education.aspx">Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination</a> </em>recounts. </p><p>The NEA is currently working with the Education Commission of the States, which houses the Arts Education Partnership, to develop data guides and communication tools so that states and communities can extract data about arts education, according to Hudson. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature2.jpg" alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>The conference was a project of the multidisciplinary <a href="https&#58;//www2.gmu.edu/news/500841">Mason Arts Research Center</a>, which focuses on arts engagement, child development and education. It is part of the NEA’s Research Labs program, an effort by the NEA’s research division to establish regional labs to be a resource for the endowment. Sunil Iyengar, the NEA’s director of research, noted that one way out of the outcomes quandary was to distinguish between the kind of program assessments that seek to determine what benefits—or “value”—accrue from a specific approach to arts education, and more general research that lays the groundwork for how to <em>think</em> about value. </p><p>For Iyengar, the biggest takeaway from the conference was the importance of implementation research, given that the quality of arts education matters as much for creating benefits as access to it. The conference, he said after the meeting ended, suggested to him “that we need to employ the same level of rigor and attentiveness to understand program elements—what comprises a successful arts education, and for whom—as we bring to questions about outcomes and impacts for youth development, the 21st century workforce, or other domains.”</p><p> <em>Lucas Held, Wallace’s director of communications, took part in the conference as a member of the Policy and Practitioner panel. <br></em></p><p><em>Photos courtesy of George Mason University’s MasonARC website.</em></p> <em></em><p></p>Conference explores research about the availability, implementation and value of teaching children about the artsGP0|#13c6033c-e108-4f92-ac19-ca85041545d6;L0|#013c6033c-e108-4f92-ac19-ca85041545d6|arts research;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#91b78064-2e78-46f0-a504-d519fb4b02e9;L0|#091b78064-2e78-46f0-a504-d519fb4b02e9|Arts education;GP0|#a0621fd8-c890-4438-8543-2e7258154cd9;L0|#0a0621fd8-c890-4438-8543-2e7258154cd9|arts education for children;GP0|#eb32d646-c7b0-4281-b5ef-cfa64f04d343;L0|#0eb32d646-c7b0-4281-b5ef-cfa64f04d343|studies about artsGP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature1.png" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-01-14T05:00:00ZConference explores research about the availability, implementation and value of teaching children about the arts1/14/2020 8:57:51 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Research About the Arts and Kids: A Fertile Area for Inquiry Conference explores research about the availability 267https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Contemporary Jewish Museum Is Now (Also) a Family Destination10386<p><em>​​​This post is an update of a </em><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/converting-family-into-fans.aspx">2016 case study</a></em><em> of The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Wallace-funded efforts to attract larger numbers of families with young children. It is one of a series of bl​​og posts exploring how organizations' audience-development efforts fare once Wallace funds run out. It does not include a thorough analysis to determine whether the financial benefits of the efforts described are commensurate to their costs.</em></p><p>San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents a continuously changing program of exhibitions about Jewish art and culture to a diverse audience, approximately half of which does not identify as Jewish. In 2008, it moved from a 2,500-square-foot, single-gallery exhibition space to a 63,000-square-foot facility with room for multiple exhibitions shown simultaneously. Leaders of The CJM believed the expansion opened up a promising opportunity&#58; to attract more parents visiting with children, who could fill the space with intergenerational conversations and vitality. To that end, the museum set out to engage this audience in large numbers. </p><p>That aspiration brought The CJM into largely unfamiliar territory. The museum had not previously targeted families, who made up about 10 percent of the museum’s 10,000 to 13,000 annual visitors in the two years preceding the move. What’s more, more than half of family visits occurred on just two free days each year during Christmas and Purim. As described in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/converting-family-into-fans.aspx">a 2016 case study</a>, a four-year Wallace Excellence Award helped change this picture. Between 2008 and 2011, the museum developed programs and partnerships that bring in more than 12,000, sometimes as many as 20,000, family visitors each year. </p><p>Eight years after that grant ended, the museum continues to draw large numbers of families. While The CJM no longer sees the runaway success of the early years, visitor response has been enthusiastic enough to build a stable base of family patrons, even as kids age out of the target audience each year.</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">The CJM Builds a Family Audience </h3><p> The original family initiative included several elements&#58;<u></u></p><ul><li>Exhibitions of work by well-known Jewish authors and illustrators, such as Maurice Sendak (<em>Where the Wild Things Are</em>), and Margret and H.A. Rey (<em>Curious George</em>), designed to appeal both to adults and children;<br><br></li><li>Year-round programs every Sunday, including (1) “Drop-In Artmaking” for parents and children every Sunday and (2) special family programming on the second Sunday of each month during the school year, consisting of a “Preschool Gallery Hour” in the mornings for preschoolers and their families and tours later in the day for families with older children; <br><br></li><li>“ArtPacks,” kits with activities connected to exhibitions on display and available to check out anytime, to help families explore on their own schedules;<br><br></li><li>Free admission to all visitors under age 18;<br><br></li><li>Several family days with special activities;<br><br></li><li>Partnerships with local libraries, including educator-led art-making in public libraries and a “Library Day” where library-card holders were allowed free admission; and <br><br></li><li>Partnerships with a small but diverse group of public schools, which included both classroom instruction and parent/child art-making, with 300 to 400 children and families taking part each year. </li></ul><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Marquee Exhibitions Bring in Large Audiences </h3><p> With the opening of the new building, total attendance grew more than tenfold, with considerable variation each year (largely driven by blockbuster exhibitions featuring work by household names such Maurice Sendak and the Reys). Family attendance increased as well, and at a faster clip. As shown in the table below, families visiting with children made up about 10 percent of the visitors in the years leading to the move. In the first years of the initiative, they made up between 13 and 19 percent of general admission visits. Additional programs outside general admission brought in between 1,000 and 3,000 more family visitors each year. </p><p>The exhibitions of well-known children’s book authors were the biggest draw. In the first six years in the new space, families made up a larger proportion of visitors (18 percent) when those exhibits were on view compared to times when they were not (8 percent). Family visitors also made up 15 percent of all attendees on Sundays throughout the year, with especially large numbers visiting on second Sundays. <br> <u> </u><u> </u></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-attendance-wallace-funded-years.jpg" alt="CJM-attendance-wallace-funded-years.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">New Gateways into the Museum</h3><p> Wallace funding ended at the close of 2011, but according to Fraidy Aber, who is Constance Wolf director of education and civic engagement, the museum remains committed to continuous innovation to build on its success. “Families have changing habits and needs,” she says. So The CJM’s staff continuously experiments with more efficient and effective ways to attract new families and create experiences that bring them back. </p><p>One opportunity came in 2013, when The CJM built on the popularity of an exhibition of the work of author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats by launching what would become an annual “Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition.” Children from public schools across the city design and write their own books in a competition juried by a panel of illustrators, curators, librarians and writers. The competition, now in its seventh year, is a less costly alternative to the museum’s previous school-outreach program, in which CJM educators traveled to area schools to lead artmaking sessions. &#160;Activities for the new program are now largely managed by the schools, which submit student-made books to the museum. More than 800 children from 19 public schools participate. The competition culminates with a showcase of the children's books, attended by more than 400 students and their families (visitor surveys show that 45 percent are first-timers). The museum has recently begun a separate program for Jewish schools, hoping to recreate the culminating showcase with the Jewish community. </p><p>The CJM has largely shifted away from presenting exhibitions of children’s book authors and illustrators to focus more on contemporary art, though it still schedules a show every fall with content designed to appeal to both children and adults (including, for example, a 2018 exhibition exploring the work of Rube Goldberg). </p><p>Even so, these exhibits do not bring in the large numbers of family visitors attracted by those earlier exhibitions of authors with household names, and the staff is using other programming to attract new family audiences. For example, in 2016 it broadened the audience for the second-Sunday programming beyond families with preschoolers. The museum invited older children and their accompanying adults to attend and added age-appropriate art-making, storytelling, and entertainment to the day’s programs. Visitor surveys in 2017 revealed that second Sundays had built an audience of repeat visitors; up to 95 percent of attendees on those days had visited previously. The strong repeat attendance signaled to the staff that it was satisfying those who came, and also had considerable potential to expand its audience. </p><p>With that potential in mind, The CJM introduced a bigger, more highly promoted event in 2018. The new “Sunday Family Artbash” offers five hours of art-making, story-telling, music, entertainment, tours and dance movement connected to the exhibitions. The museum boosted advertising and publicity for those days and offered free admission for up to two adults accompanied by a child. That larger scope has required a reduction in frequency—four times a year instead of eight—but early results suggest the strategy is delivering. Family attendance regularly reaches 400 visitors and beyond (compared to 100 to 200 for the original second-Sunday program), and surveys show that 40 percent are first-timers. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-photo.jpg" alt="CJM-photo.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="color&#58;#666666;font-size&#58;16px;text-align&#58;center;">Multiple generations p</span><span style="color&#58;#666666;font-size&#58;16px;text-align&#58;center;">articipate in Drop-in Artmaking at The CJM's Family Artbash; photo by Andria Lo​</span><br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">“Hands-On” Visits Create Positive Experiences<br></h3><p> In 2014, The CJM opened the Zim Zoom Family Room, an interactive, activity-filled space housing artist installations, artmaking facilities, a screening booth and more, accessible any time. Focus groups in 2016 showed that attendees enjoy visits more when they include hands-on activities involving parents with their children, so the museum continually refreshes the Zim Zoom Room with new installations and activities. A major section of the space is devoted to an interactive artist exhibit, which changes each year. Past installations included interactive digital projections, an infinity room of mirrors that changed as children added objects to it and a piano that added paint to a canvas whenever anyone pressed a key. Visitor research shows the typical family visits the galleries for half an hour, then goes to Zim Zoom to play for an hour and finishes with lunch in The CJM’s café. Aber believes the Zim Zoom Room and regular family Sundays are cementing The CJM’s reputation as a family-friendly art museum. Visitor data show the institution attracts a consistent family audience year-round, not just when certain exhibitions are on view. </p><p>The CJM’s research revealing the importance of hands-on activities has also reaffirmed the museum’s commitment to offering Drop-In Artmaking for families every Sunday in the education center. When that research also suggested that families appreciate having educators in the gallery near the art itself, The CJM introduced a mobile “Art PushCart” with activities suitable for galleries (i.e., without markers, glue or other wet materials used in Drop-In Artmaking). That immediacy allows educators to help families connect more directly with works on display. Artists featured in exhibitions have even donated in-progress pieces to the Art PushCart that children can explore in the galleries. Drop-In Artmaking still happens on the first and second Sundays of each month; the Art PushCart is offered in galleries on Sundays later in the month. </p><p>Space and material constraints limit Art PushCart activities, and families spend less time with that program than they do with Drop-in Artmaking. But staff observations suggest that the Art PushCart serves more people, because families don’t need to make a special trip to the education center. </p><p>The museum has settled into an annual family attendance of between 10,000 and 12,000 since the Wallace-funded learning period ended. Approaching its eleventh year targeting families, the staff is starting to see signs of a generational cycle of participation. “We’re now part of the lifetime of people’s connections,” says Aber. “We’re beginning to have museumgoers who came as young adults through our teen programs now attending with their own kids, continuing on that life journey.”<br></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-attendance-post-wallace-funded-years.jpg" alt="CJM-attendance-post-wallace-funded-years.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></p>New strategies and a new space have helped the museum welcome young visitors and sow the seeds for future growthGP0|#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|#44800786-66e9-4e66-8f29-d9d79cc403ae;L0|#044800786-66e9-4e66-8f29-d9d79cc403ae|museumsGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Bob Harlow82<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/cjm-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-01-07T05:00:00ZNew strategies and a new space have helped the museum welcome young visitors and sow the seeds for future growth1/7/2020 2:58:48 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Contemporary Jewish Museum Is Now (Also) a Family Destination New strategies and a new space have helped the museum 125https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What ‘Extraordinary Districts’ Do Differently3286​ <p>​​​​​​What do districts with extraordinary gains in achievement for low-income and minority students have in common?<br></p><p>“They lead with high-quality education rather than programs and interventions that situate the student as the problem,” observed Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, reflecting on the first season of the Education Trust’s podcast series, <em>ExtraOrdinary Districts</em>.</p><p>To kick off the <a href="https&#58;//edtrust.org/extraordinary-districts-season-2/">second season</a>, host Karin Chenoweth visited Chicago to talk with Jackson about three areas that effective districts prioritize for improvement—school leadership, early literacy and equity. They were joined by University of Michigan professor and literacy expert Nell Duke and Harvard University lecturer, economist and equity expert Ronald Ferguson. The podcast was taped at the University of Illinois at Chicago at an event hosted by the university’s Ed.D. program and its Center for Urban Education Leadership. Here are a few key points from the discussion&#58;</p><p> <strong>Raise the bar for school leadership</strong><br> Ferguson said he listened to last season’s <em>ExtraOrdinary Districts</em> feature on Chicago, and what stuck with him most was that although local school councils selected principals, they were required to choose them from a pool of candidates the district had vetted and declared eligible. “There has to be evidence that you can lead adults,” he observed.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-Extraordinary-Districts-Do-Differently/DSC_5587.jpg" alt="DSC_5587.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;499px;height&#58;332px;" />Jackson explained some of the backstory to Chicago’s procedure. While “the state was churning out a lot of principal licensures,” she said, many holding that credential “were not at the level we thought they needed to be to lead our schools.” The district decided to adopt a set of principal competencies—such as being skilled at managing school change—that aspiring principals are trained in. &#160;Principal candidates are then screened for these competencies, and local school councils are trained to use them to select principals who best meet school needs. </p><p>How future principals are prepared is an important ingredient in their development as effective school leaders. The RAND Corporation released a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx?gclid=CjwKCAiA8K7uBRBBEiwACOm4d73ZIUFhnjDY99UCF7-_oSXJ3fwlfpGFcwBrtJXacsYBOIEFA7eo2BoCKAkQAvD_BwE&amp;ef_id=CjwKCAiA8K7uBRBBEiwACOm4d73ZIUFhnjDY99UCF7-_oSXJ3fwlfpGFcwBrtJXacsYBOIEFA7eo2BoCKAkQAvD_BwE%3aG%3as">report</a> last spring found that six large districts in a Wallace-supported initiative were able to outperform similar districts in student math and reading achievement by improving how they shaped their principals, including raising the quality of preservice training. &#160;“Between Chicago and the six districts Wallace funded, can we start to think about principal development as a serious lever for district improvement?” Chenoweth asked.</p><p>Ferguson observed that <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-long-and-winding-road-to-better-principal-preparation.aspx" target="_blank">Illinois had come to that realization</a>—it required reauthorization of all the state’s existing principal training programs after instituting more rigorous requirements for principal certification in 2010. “I’ve been so impressed that the state learned from Chicago [about] the qualities of leadership that matter so much,” he said.</p><p>“That was a huge deal,” Chenoweth agreed. “We know principal preparation programs are cash cows for universities—you take in the tuition money, you spend a little bit on adjuncts and you send the rest over to the engineering program.”</p><p>“That the state learned from Chicago,” said Ferguson, “is proof that systems can change to bring about more effective leadership.”</p><p> <strong>Put the strongest teachers in the early grades</strong><br> Chenoweth played a clip from a podcast episode that told the story of a superintendent, a former high school teacher, who believed that early childhood educators were essentially babysitters and that real learning started later. “That superintendent’s ‘aha!’ moment came,” she said, “when he went to a more successful district and realized that district was successful because it took early reading instruction really seriously.” Indeed, schools often put their weakest teachers in the early grades and place their best in grades with standardized testing, according to Duke, the literacy expert. </p><p>Having begun her own education at a Head Start program on Chicago’s South Side, Jackson described why early education is crucial. “Much of how you think about yourself as a learner happens in that early stage,” she said. “If we miss an opportunity to start with that strong foundation, we’re going to spend the next 15 years trying to make up time.” At the same time, she acknowledged that while Chicago principals have been urged to put their strongest teachers in the early grades, “I would be lying if I said that we’ve been successful in making that shift.”</p><p>But Chicago is taking early education seriously, she said&#58; The city is investing hundreds of millions in early childhood education, and by fall 2021, plans to offer free, full-day preschool to all four-year-olds in the city.</p><p> <strong>Set ‘non-negotiables’ for literacy instruction</strong><br> Chenoweth said that she has interviewed educators who pay attention to all the elements of reading instruction—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, building vocabulary and background knowledge. “That’s not work that is done in all districts,” she said. “I wonder why?”</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-Extraordinary-Districts-Do-Differently/DSC_5566-2.jpg" alt="DSC_5566-2.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;450px;height&#58;387px;" />During her years as a teacher and principal in Chicago, Jackson saw many reading initiatives come and go—including one with the components Chenoweth described—because they weren’t well-implemented. <br></p><p>The biggest problems with literacy instruction are basic, she believes. She recalled hearing about a study some years ago that found that students in Chicago Public Schools read, on average, less than a couple of pages a day and wrote less than a page each day of authentic text. “And CPS is not an outlier in that,” she said. “We can create these complicated and sophisticated programs and invest millions in teaching teachers how to do it, but it’s really as simple as how often we require students to read in our classes for a sustained period of time and to create authentic knowledge through writing.”</p><p>Those simple tasks can be challenging to carry out, but there are ways to make it happen, she said. “I don’t think it’s a revolutionary program that we pull out of the sky that’s going to help our students.” </p><p>One high school that Ferguson worked with on literacy required every teacher in the building to give at least one serious writing assignment and grade it with a rubric. “And then teachers had to sit with their supervisor and get feedback on how well they used the rubrics,” he said.</p><p>Duke commented that both Ferguson and Jackson seemed to be saying that leaders needed to make a few things “instructional non-negotiables.” </p><p>And getting people to carry out those non-negotiables? Not an easy task, Chenoweth said, underscoring the need for strong school leadership. </p><p> <strong>Use data to root out inequities</strong><br> A clip from Chenoweth’s Season One podcast highlighted the types of inequities that are pervasive in school systems nationwide. In an interview, a school superintendent in Lexington, Mass., described his shock at finding that 49 percent of the district’s African-American high school students were in special education. The disparity “was a moral affront to him,” said Ferguson, who consulted with the superintendent.</p><p>The superintendent eventually found the root of the problem in early reading instruction, Chenoweth said. “If kids encountered any issue in learning how to read in kindergarten or first grade, there was really no help for them except for special education services.”</p><p>After persevering for years to change school practices, the district saw gains&#58; &#160;African-American 10th graders reached a proficiency rate of 96 percent in math and 100 percent in English on state exams, according to Ferguson. “It was about figuring out how to diagnose their students’ learning needs, organizing relentlessly to address those needs and making life uncomfortable for the adults who didn’t want to come along,” he said. </p><p>Chicago Public Schools found it had a similar problem with over-enrolling English learners in special education, according to Jackson. Digging into the issue, the district realized those students were being pushed out of bilingual programs too quickly. A revised policy lengthened the time students could spend in bilingual programs so that they had more time to learn English and hone skills in their home language, she said. Her takeaway? “Districts can learn a lot by looking at data and looking beyond the surface.”&#160; </p><p>Season 2 of the <em>ExtraOrdinary Districts</em> podcast is available online <a href="https&#58;//edtrust.org/extraordinary-districts-season-2/" target="_blank">here</a> and through most podcast hosting services. </p><p> <em>Lead photo (from left to right)&#58; Karin Chenoweth (podcast host), Janice Jackson (CEO of Chicago Public Schools), Ronald Ferguson (Harvard University lecturer in public policy), Nell Duke (University of Michigan education professor), Shelby Cosner (director of UIC's Center for Urban Education Leadership)​</em><br><em> Interior photo 1&#58; Ronald Ferguson, Nell Duke​ </em> <br> <em>​​Interior photo 2&#58; Karin Chenoweth, Janice Jackson, Ronald Ferguson​</em></p>Education Trust podcast points to principal leadership, equity and early literacy as levers for improvementElizabeth Duffrin97<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED-Trust-ExtraOrdinary-Districts-Panel-lg-feature3.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-12-17T05:00:00ZEducation Trust podcast points to principal leadership, equity and early literacy as levers for improvement12/17/2019 5:00:47 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What ‘Extraordinary Districts’ Do Differently Education Trust podcast points to principal leadership, equity and early 2474https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What It Takes to Make Summer a Time of Growth for All Young People 3627<p>​​The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” has become commonplace in our society. Ask a researcher, though, and she might put a twist on the adage, saying, “It takes a <em>system</em> to raise a child.” In other words, children and young people are either helped or held back by the social, economic and physical conditions in which they live, and those conditions depend on an interconnected array of institutions, including schools, parks, public transit, the police and the courts, not to mention the family. Take summer learning&#58; There may be an enriching summer program in your community, but if there’s no public transportation that goes there, the streets aren’t safe for your children to walk alone, and you work two jobs and can’t take time off to accompany them, then as far as your family is concerned, it may as well not be there at all.</p><p>Showing how different parts of the system influence the way children and young people experience summertime is just one of the achievements of a landmark report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. <em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-academy-of-sciences-report-on-summer-learning.aspx">Shaping Summertime Experiences</a></em>—funded by Wallace and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and authored by the Academies’ Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health and Safety—examines the state of the evidence on summer and children in America, with a focus on the availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summer learning experiences. The report, released this fall, also shines a light on the experiences of groups that are often left out of the conversation about summer learning, including LGBTQ youth, those living in rural areas and those involved in the juvenile justice system.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-It-Takes-to-Make-Summer-a-Time-of-Growth-for-All-Young-People/mccombs_jennifer_5_300.jpg" alt="mccombs_jennifer_5_300.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;238px;height&#58;298px;" />We talked to one of the report’s authors, Jennifer Sloan McCombs of the RAND Corporation, about how the publication came together and what it has to say to those who play a part in shaping the system.</p><p><strong>What is the unique contribution of this report to the discourse on summer learning?</strong><br> <br> The report investigates the effect that summer has on school-aged children and youth across four domains of well-being&#58; academic learning, social and emotional development, physical and mental health, and safety. We approached this charge from a “systems perspective,” examining the way people associated with various sectors—including education, city government, public safety, summer camp and families—contribute to the risks and rewards of summertime for children and youth. The recommendations are targeted to policymakers at the city, state and federal level, but we believe the report can be useful to practitioners, nongovernmental funders and scholars, too. <br> <br> <strong>What was the process of putting the report together? What types of information did the committee consider? What types of people and organizations did it seek out?</strong><br> <br> The National Academies of Sciences formed a multidisciplinary committee with expertise that included pediatric medicine, youth development, summer and out-of-school programming, safety and justice, city systems building, and private employment. It was an amazing group of dedicated scholars and practitioners. I learned a lot from each of them. We met periodically over a year to discuss issues, listen to invited experts in public information sessions and develop recommendations. We specifically sought out data that would address the key aspects of our charge&#58; the effects of summer on the developmental trajectories of young people, access to summer programs and the effectiveness of summer programs.&#160;Where we lacked data or needed additional context to help our understanding, we reached out to individuals and organizations who could help fill those gaps. For instance, during public information-gathering sessions, we heard from those with expertise in rural programs and policies, American Indian programs, and private employer interests and activities related to summer programs.&#160; <br> <br> While members of the committee drafted the report chapters, the committee chair and NAS staff did a significant amount of work in the final production of the report, including editing, summarizing, fleshing out recommendations and weaving the report together. <br> <br> <strong>One of the focuses of the report is inequity in access to summer learning and in outcomes for a variety of groups—not just black and Latino students and those from low-income families but also Native Americans, LGBTQ students, students living in rural areas, differently abled students, among others. How can providers, policymakers and funders begin to think about issues of equity pertaining to summer learning?</strong><br> <br> Based on the evidence, three things were clear to the committee&#58;&#160;1) Summer is a time of risks and opportunities for children and youth; however, those risks and opportunities are not equitably spread across populations.&#160;Children and youth who are less advantaged face greater risks in terms of safety, health, and nutrition and have reduced access to quality summer experiences. 2) To be effective, programs need to be aligned to community context and needs. 3) Certain populations of children and youth appear to be underserved and are definitely understudied, such as those who are American Indian, LGBTQ, migrant and refugee, or involved in the juvenile justice system.<br> <br> To create more equitable experiences during the summer, we recommend that local governments conduct a needs assessment—one that gathers input from families and youth—in order to fully understand what the community needs and what barriers stand in the way. They should also do a systematic inventory of the programming available in the community and compare it to the needs assessment so they can identify gaps that need to be filled and priorities for public and private funding.&#160; &#160;<br> <br> Individual program directors can also take action by looking at the population of children and youth they currently serve, identifying and addressing barriers to participation that certain groups may face, and engaging families and youth in the development of program content to ensure that it meets their needs and builds on their cultural strengths, including language, life experiences and culturally specific skills and values. <br> <br> <strong>How do basic needs like safety and adequate nutrition affect the way children and young people experience summertime? What is the role of summer learning programs in addressing these needs?</strong><br> <br> Safety and nutrition are basic developmental needs that must be met year-round to ensure the health and cognitive development of children and youth. Unfortunately, during the summer months, children and youth from low-income families are more likely to experience food insecurity and lack appropriate supervision. Organized summer programs can help address these basic needs and more by providing meals and engaging activities overseen by trained and caring adults. <br> <br> <strong>One of the report's conclusions is that families and communities have existing resources that can be used to provide young people with positive summer experiences. What are some examples of these resources, and how can those involved in creating, running and funding summer learning programs work with families and communities to make positive summer experiences more available and accessible?</strong><br> <br> The report describes how family structure, parental education and employment, the built environment, public safety and contact with law enforcement dynamically influence the summertime experience for children and youth. While children and youth from disadvantaged families and neighborhoods face greater challenges and risks during the summer, their families and communities also have a set of assets that can be leveraged. For instance, families are in the best position to identify the needs of their children and youth, the community context that has to be addressed to make positive summer experiences more available and accessible, and how community culture can be embedded into programming to make it more relevant to participants. </p><p><em>Vist our&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">Knowledge Center</a>&#160;to find more research on summer learning, along with downloadable, evidence-based tools to help create effective summer programs.&#160;</em><br></p> <br>Co-author discusses landmark National Academies of Sciences report on summer and children GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#88b77bae-56d6-47d9-922f-54af703d57b5;L0|#088b77bae-56d6-47d9-922f-54af703d57b5|learning;GP0|#91bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac;L0|#091bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac|enrichment;GP0|#727f837e-da88-41cd-8e2b-519b38340410;L0|#0727f837e-da88-41cd-8e2b-519b38340410|summer learning;GP0|#061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166;L0|#0061b3ed1-b2fd-4948-ac9b-c4fde6290166|ESSAGP0|#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/summer-systems-graphic-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2019-12-10T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.1/3/2020 5:59:42 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What It Takes to Make Summer a Time of Growth for All Young People Co-author discusses landmark National Academies of 1454https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership326<p>​​​​I​f we can glean any trends from our list of most popular posts published on the Wallace Blog this year, it might be&#58; Everything is connected. From arts education programs focused on urban tweens to performing arts organizations with varied audiences, the question seems to be how to get people in the door. Then once there, how to keep them…just as school districts are struggling to retain principals and might find support in RAND’s groundbreaking principal pipeline research. And speaking of school leaders, their growing concern for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) is more evident than ever.&#160;<br></p><p>We’ve got all that and more in our Top 10 list this year, so go ahead and get connected&#58;&#160;<br></p><p> 10)&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-benefits-of-arts-education-for-urban-tweens.aspx">The Benefits of Arts Education for Urban Tweens</a></strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Does high-quality arts programming benefit urban tweens? What does it take to recruit young people to these programs—and keep them coming back? Read highlights from this webinar hosted by The National Guild for Community Arts Education and drawn from research and practice in our Youth Arts Initiative. <br><br> 9<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/principal-retention-findings-from-ppi-report.aspx"><strong>Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> Principal turnover disrupts schools, teachers and students, and the cost to replace a principal is about $75,000. This blog post investigates the principal retention finding of &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">RAND’s groundbreaking report</a> on building principal pipelines. <br><br> 8<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-if-districts-focused-not-just-on-preparing-and-hiring-principals-but-also-retaining-them.aspx"><strong>What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> For more on principal retention, Marina Cofield, then the senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what the district did about it.<br><br> 7<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/could-federal-funding-help-pay-for-arts-ed-in-your-school.aspx">Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?</a></strong> The authors of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">a report exploring research on approaches to arts education</a> under the Every Student Succeeds Act discuss the types of activities and approaches that qualify for funding, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators might use their report to improve arts education in their schools.<br><br> 6<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-organizations-five-different-strategies-to-build-arts-audiences.aspx">Five Organizations, Five Different Strategies to Build Arts Audiences</a></strong><strong>&#58;&#160; </strong>Organizations&#160;from our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative share early results from their efforts to tap new audiences while continuing to engage current attendees. As detailed in accounts from our BAS Stories Project, the work of the five varies&#160;widely;&#160;some strategies show&#160;success, some falter&#160;and many fall somewhere in between.<br><br> 5<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/implementation-gets-the-job-done-benefiting-kids-by-strengthening-practices.aspx"><strong>Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefitting Kids by Strengthening Practices</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>Wallace’s recently retired director of research, Ed Pauly, shares insights from his decades-long career into why implementation studies matter, highlighting examples from recent Wallace work.<br><br> 4<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/looking-toward-a-nation-at-hope.aspx">Looking Toward a Nation at Hope&#58;</a></strong><strong> </strong>Rooted in findings that academic learning and social and emotional learning are intertwined, <a href="http&#58;//nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/">a report released earlier this year by The Aspen Institute</a> shares recommendations and next steps for supporting a more holistic learning approach.<br><br> 3<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/choosing-the-right-social-and-emotional-learning-programs-and-practices.aspx">Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>More from the SEL front&#58; RAND researchers discuss the importance of social and emotional learning and their new guide meant to help educators adopt evidence-based programs that fit needs of students and communities.<br><br> 2<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span>&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-leading-for-equity-can-look-like-paul-fleming.aspx">What Leading for Equity Can Look Like</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Paul Fleming, assistant commissioner for the teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, discusses the importance of equity and how a publication on the subject by a statewide team seeks to help schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.<br><br> 1<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong>​ </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-principals-support-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>It’s no surprise that our top post of 2019 falls at the crossroads of school leadership and SEL&#58; Here, guest author Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, tells of his conversations with educators around the country and the guide for SEL implementation that came out of them. </p> <br>Read the most popular stories we published this year and the research that inspired them. 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