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What We’re Learning About the Impact of Principal Turnover – And How to Reduce It4169GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​ <a href="https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full">The Impact of Principal Turnover</a> used statewide data from Missouri and Tennessee to measure the effects of principal transitions — including both promotions and demotions — on school performance and found that turnover lowered school achievement. Specifically, schools that changed principals saw lower achievement in math and reading and higher rates of teacher turnover. However, the effects varied by transition&#58; Schools with principals who exited saw larger negative effects, while schools with principals who were demoted saw no negative effects and in some cases, even positive effects. This variance is likely representative of the circumstances in the school leading up to the transition, the study notes; meaning, exits may have resulted from a declining school climate, while demotions may reflect district efforts to replace ineffective principals with higher-performing leaders. </p><p>The study’s authors, Brendan Bartanen from Texas A&amp;M University, Jason A. Grissom from Vanderbilt University, and Laura K. Rogers from the University of Utah, posit that, “While districts should seek to limit principal turnover in general…in some cases, the benefits of replacing a low-performing principal outweigh these costs.” Grissom is one of several researchers <a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/wallace-foundation-commissions-reports-to-synthesize-state-of-knowledge-key-aspects-school-leadership-.aspx">commissioned by The Wallace Foundation</a> to update a landmark analysis of the link between school leadership and student achievement. &#160;</p><p>These latest findings underscore the need for a holistic approach to both cultivating and retaining effective school leadership, a strategy that The Wallace Foundation has been exploring for nearly two decades. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">A recent study from the RAND Corporation</a> points to a way forward&#58; districtwide efforts to better prepare, support and evaluate school leaders—also known as principal pipelines—can lead to improved student achievement and principal retention, to the tune of eight fewer losses per every 100 principals in a district.</p><p>Jaime Whitfield-Coffen, a principal from Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools, one of six districts to implement a principal pipeline, shares her perspective on the approach in a recent episode of <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/episode-8-building-principal-pipelines-improves-principal-retention.aspx">The Principal Pipeline podcast</a></em>. “It’s good to just have someone to lean on,” Whitfield-Coffen explains. “I think that that’s one of the reasons why I have stayed in Prince George’s County, is just because I know that there’s a network of people who are there supporting me along this walk, along this journey of being a principal.” </p><p>Click here to read The Impact of Principal Turnover in full&#58; <a href="https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full">https&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/VNM6J3J8BIXRSXD9CEM3/full</a> </p><p>And, learn more about the link between pipelines and improved principal retention here&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">https&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx</a></p>Wallace editorial team792019-08-13T04:00:00ZPrincipal turnover isn’t only costly and disruptive for school districts—it may also have a negative effect on student achievement, according to a new study.8/15/2019 2:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What We’re Learning About the Impact of Principal Turnover – And How to Reduce It Principal turnover isn’t only costly and 81https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Means Opportunity…for Students and Cities4051GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Eighteen-year-old Michael Berthaud studies computer science at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he has a full scholarship. He plans to become a video game designer. Looking back on the path that brought him to where he is today, Michael reflects on one of the crucial stops along the way—the summer between middle- and high school, which he spent at a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics program offered by the nonprofit organization Sociedad Latina. </p><p>“I realized there is more to your summer than just staying at home,” Michael says. “In English, we read short stories, and the emphasis was on articulating yourself as a person through writing. I had never looked at school that way. I had a very closed-minded view of what school is supposed to offer you.”</p><p>Sociedad Latina’s summer program is part of 5th Quarter of Learning, a citywide initiative co-managed by Boston Public Schools and Boston After School &amp; Beyond (Boston Beyond), a public-private partnership. This summer, 5th Quarter of Learning is celebrating its 10th anniversary—and to get an idea of its impact, one need look no further than Michael, whose time in the program helped him set his course toward a career that combines technology and the arts. </p><p>“I started to yearn to express myself,” he says. “I like to write, I like to draw, things of that nature. That’s probably why the Sociedad program really stuck with me.”</p><p>There’s a lesson for all of us in Michael’s story&#58; Summer is a time of opportunity. For young people, it’s an opportunity to experience enriching activities and ways of learning they may not be exposed to during the school year. For school districts, it’s an opportunity to try out new approaches to instruction and help students gain or make up ground in core academic subjects. For cities, it’s an opportunity to unite the education, nonprofit, philanthropy and business worlds to work toward a common goal.</p><p>That’s where Boston Beyond comes in. Founded in 2005, Boston Beyond is an intermediary or “backbone” organization. Its job is to bring government agencies, funders, program providers, business leaders, colleges and universities, and other players to the table and coordinate their efforts to create new and better learning experiences for the city’s students. It also serves as a go-to source for research and policy proposals.</p><p>At first, the school district viewed Boston Beyond primarily as a conduit to the city’s hundreds of community-based programs, but the relationship has developed into a partnership of equals—a “strategic leadership initiative” jointly run by the school system and intermediary, in the words of Arianna Wilson, the district’s program manager for expanded learning time.&#160;“Together, we set goals, then divide and conquer the work based on our different focuses and strengths, and our programs see the benefits,” she says. <br> <br> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="CJS-headshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Summer-Means-Opportunity-for-Students-and-Cities/CJS-headshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Chris Smith, president and executive director of Boston Beyond, describes the organization’s role this way&#58; “We see ourselves as the conscience for collaboration and continuously thinking about how to do together what none of us could do alone.” </p><p>Collaboration requires courage because everyone involved will be called on to do things they’ve never done before, Smith says, whether it’s “taking a group of kids you wouldn’t normally serve or sending teachers to a place they wouldn’t normally teach.” It can take time to build trust, but Smith is convinced that trust comes from diving in and getting to work.</p><p>“I hate the idea of sitting around a conference table for two years and not getting off the dime to do something together,” he says. “I can name the people from the first two years [of 5th Quarter of Learning]. I can picture the smiles on their faces and the look in their eyes. They brought different perspectives from different situations, but they came to agreement on how our model would roll out.”</p><p>One of those people was Eric Arnold, executive director of Hale Reservation, a nonprofit that has been around for more than 100 years, offering camp experiences in a 1,000-plus-acre woodland preserve about 15 miles outside the city. As Arnold tells it, “I was involved in a separate work group that had to do with environmental education in Boston. I was at a meeting, and Chris came in and said, ‘By the way, we’re exploring how we look at summer learning,’ and I said, ‘I think I’d be interested. Tell me more.’ It speaks to Boston Beyond’s ability to put people together in the right place at the right time.”</p><p>Hale Reservation has been a 5th Quarter of Learning program provider ever since. Hale students take math and English classes in the great outdoors, challenge themselves with ropes courses in the trees, and discover the surrounding wildlife on a pontoon boat known as the “floating classroom.” Other programs chosen and overseen by Boston Beyond give students the chance to learn tennis or lacrosse, write for a teen newspaper, even sail from Boston Harbor to Ellis Island.</p><p>The students aren’t the only ones who are getting something invaluable from their 5th Quarter of Learning experience. Boston Beyond offers program providers professional development, rigorous research on the effectiveness of their work, and connections to potential partners, funders and families who could benefit from their services. Arnold says that being a part of the initiative has helped validate something Hale Reservation’s supporters knew intuitively—that its work was making a difference for kids. </p><p>“It put us on the map in a different way with families that participate and the greater Boston community,” he says. “You spend your summer working with Boston Public Schools, you build capital with the district, so then when you start to propose other things, it validates your work. And it’s done that for many other organizations, as well.”</p><p>Word of this win-win-win arrangement (for students and families, for program providers, and for the school system and city as a whole) has gotten around. In 2010, the initiative served 232 students at five sites. This year, it will serve 14,000 students at 160 sites. In 2018, the Massachusetts legislature passed a $500,000 line item in the state budget to expand 5th Quarter of Learning to 19 other communities across the state. In keeping with its role as a hub of information and ideas, Boston Beyond is sharing what it’s learned with these communities.</p><p>Chris Smith is focused less on Boston Beyond’s accomplishments, however, than on the road ahead—just like Michael Berthaud. He won’t be satisfied until every child in Boston (and beyond) has access to a high-quality, horizon-expanding summer experience. To Smith, keeping the eyes of an entire city turned toward a brighter future is just part of an intermediary’s job description. </p><p>“An intermediary can’t just manage the status quo,” he says.</p> Wallace editorial team792019-08-06T04:00:00ZLooking back on 10 years of summer learning with Boston After School & Beyond8/6/2019 12:00:41 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Means Opportunity…for Students and Cities Looking back on 10 years of summer learning with Boston After School 94https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
On-the-Job Support Helps New Principals Build Skills—and Confidence3624GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>A principal pipeline is an approach to school leader development that can have major benefits for school districts, as indicated in <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> we published recently. Pipelines have four parts—rigorous job standards, high-quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and aligned on-the-job support and evaluation. In an occasional series, we examine each of these components by talking to principals in districts that, with Wallace support, tested the pipeline idea. In the <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/effective-school-leaders-learn-how-to-solve-problems.aspx">first post</a>, we found out how <em>pre-service training had prepared a Georgia principal to improve the graduation rate at his high school. Today, we explore how on-the-job support helped a newcomer to the principalship in North Carolina gain the skills and confidence he needed to succeed.&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;</em></em></p><p>“We weren’t sure we wanted you here.” </p><p>“We didn’t think you would make it.” </p><p>Recalling these comments transports Mike Miliote back to 2010, when he was a novice principal at Matthews Elementary School in Matthews, N.C., about 12 miles from downtown Charlotte. With only 13 months under his belt as an assistant principal, Miliote had little administrative experience compared with other first-time principals—and his staff recognized it. In his first year on the job, Miliote avoided difficult conversations, he remembers. He also kept teachers out of the decision-making loop. </p><p>Even the best pre-service training can’t fully prepare new principals for the realities of their difficult and often lonely jobs. Yet in too many districts, novices are left to fend for themselves, an indication of “a longstanding ‘sink-or-swim’ mindset toward principals&#58; ‘You’re supposed to be a leader, so lead!,’” in the words of one <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-principal-mentoring-right.aspx">Wallace report</a>. </p><p>Fortunately, this was not the situation that Miliote encountered, as he found when he progressed through a multiyear induction program with other novice principals offered by his employer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The district started the program not only to help new principals sharpen their instructional leadership skills, but also to provide them with a network of peers they can lean on for support. “With a district approaching 180 schools, getting to know 10 to 20 other principals really well makes the district seem smaller and helps them feel more supported,” says Jevelyn Bonner-Reed, the district’s director of grant innovation.</p><p>For the first two years of the program, novice principals are paired with a high-performing veteran principal who mentors them during their transition into school leadership. In year three, principals study different leadership styles and how they apply to running a school at the Educational Leadership Institute at Queens University in Charlotte. They also take a time-management course to learn how to maximize their time spent on instructional leadership efforts.</p><p>The program culminates in the fourth year with a capstone project in which principals reflect on their leadership practice by interviewing their teachers and other staff members about what it’s like to work with them. The interviews “helped me gain an understanding of strengths and weaknesses from those I lead, regardless of how they perceived me,” Miliote says.&#160;His faculty members were candid, acknowledging their initial worries in comments like those above, but noted that he was now someone they wanted to stand behind.</p><p>Miliote credits the induction program for this transformation. As a principal, “you have to have confidence in yourself,” he says. “I don’t think I would have developed that without going through the program.” Miliote’s growth was reflected in the changes in how he carried out the job. He no longer ran away from conflict, instead encouraging staff members to tell him their concerns so they could find solutions together. He also started putting teachers in charge of school initiatives, something he would have never considered early on. </p><p>The students at Matthews turned out to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the collaborative working relationship between Miliote and his staff. The school’s academic achievement was just barely meeting growth expectations when he arrived. By the time he left in 2014, the school was exceeding it.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Miliote is now principal of Jay M. Robinson Middle School in Charlotte, which is also surpassing growth expectations under his leadership. In the future, he expects to take on an additional role&#58; Mentor to novice principals in the induction program. </p><p><em>Photo of Mike Miliote by Claire Holt</em></p>Jennifer Gill832019-07-23T04:00:00ZAn induction program guided a novice school leader through his early years on the job7/29/2019 5:58:10 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / On-the-Job Support Helps New Principals Build Skills—and Confidence An induction program guided a novice school leader 269https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them4255GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>R <em>ecent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">research</a> about Wallace’s <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">Principal Pipeline Initiative</a> found that when six large school districts carried out a systematic approach to cultivating effective school leadership, benefits for principal retention ensued. New York City was one of the pipeline districts, and in this guest column, Marina Cofield, senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York City Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what steps to take in response.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</em></p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="marina.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-If-Districts-Focused-Not-Just-on-Preparing-and-Hiring-Principals-But-Also-Retaining-Them/marina.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;249px;" />Six years ago, I stepped into my current role heading the office responsible for ensuring that the school system has a strong pipeline of educational leaders—professionals well-prepared to fill all of our principal vacancies and lead our schools successfully. In a system of our size, with more than 1,600 schools serving 1.1 million children, this meant having well-qualified candidates for roughly 175 to 190 positions each year. As I thought about what the work entailed—developing stronger principal preparation programs and more strategic approaches to principal hiring—I reminded myself that our goal was to do more than fill empty slots. It was ultimately to provide every school in the system with a strong leader. </p><p>Perhaps, I thought, we should focus not only on increasing the number of well-trained educators ready to enter the principalship, but also on reducing the number of people who leave it.</p><p>Boosting principal retention made sense to me because of what we know about improving schools.&#160; In short, <a href="https&#58;//hbr.org/2017/09/research-how-the-best-school-leaders-create-enduring-change">research</a> has shown that meaningful, enduring school improvement doesn’t happen overnight, but rather takes at least three, and often more than five, years of strategic, sustained effort. Moreover, as a key driver of the change, school leaders must stay on the job more than just a few years in order to see their efforts all the way through—from visioning and strategic planning to piloting, school-wide scaling, monitoring and making adjustments over time.&#160; </p><p>We believe that we have landed on a way to help our principals not only survive but stay fully engaged in their roles over the long term. In the unique design of our New Principal Support program, we have found a strategy to increase retention for both early-career and more experienced principals.</p><p>Drawing on what we know about professional development generally, we decided the best approach was to provide individualized, job-embedded coaching for every new principal in the system. Our twist was who serves as the coach. We believe the people best positioned for this work are those who have very recently been successful principals in our system. These leaders understand the challenges and expectations of the position as they exist today, an especially important factor in a profession that is changing so rapidly. </p><p>We offered some of our best veteran principals three different ways to join our program team&#58; </p><ul><li>They could continue to lead their school and take on the responsibility of coaching just three new principals and receive a stipend; <br><br> </li><li>They could agree to leave their school for a year to participate in a full-time “coaching fellowship,” with the right to return to their principal position at the end of the year; or <br><br> </li><li>They could leave their school altogether and become a permanent member of our coaching staff.</li></ul><p>Recognizing that even the best principals don’t necessarily have highly developed coaching skills, we also trained the coaches in a robust professional learning program that is aligned to International Coach Federation standards and incorporates a focus on coaching for racial equity.&#160; </p><p>Our New Principal Support (NPS) program has yielded significant results, some intended and some a welcome surprise. In the intended department&#58; New principals who receive coaching through our program are staying on the job through their first two years at higher rates than those who did not receive our coaching. They also report overwhelmingly that the coaching is a valuable support and helps alleviate feelings of isolation in their job. </p><p>What we did not expect is that the program also has a positive impact on retention of the principal-coaches. Successful principals who have been in their positions for five years or more are looking for opportunities to grow professionally, to be part of a learning community and to broaden their impact. Being able to join our team of coaches (all of whom are exceptional principals), to participate in our professional learning series and to aid colleagues new to the profession checks all those boxes. As a result, our coaches report feeling energized and excited to continue leading their schools. </p><p>As one veteran high school principal who serves as a coach told us, “Teaching an old dog like me new tricks is no easy task, but the professional learning around coaching skills and racial equity I engaged in with NPS to prepare me for my work the past two years coaching new principals really sharpened my own principal and leadership skills and also specifically motivated me to tackle long-standing racial equity issues that had been festering in my school over the recent past.”</p><p>Keeping principals like this one on the job will pay dividends for his whole school community. It’s well worth our investment.&#160; </p><p><em>Top photo&#58; Jolon Shields, assistant principal at Origins High School, Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Claire Holt.</em></p> <p></p>Marina Cofield982019-07-09T04:00:00ZYour 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.7/9/2019 3:52:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them New York City was one of the 1105https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making Sure Every Student Succeeds…In the Summertime4150GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Summer has long been thought of as a break from the rigors of school. Increasingly, though, summer is becoming a time for programs&#58; academic programs, sports and arts programs, programs that enable young people to explore their interests or build new skills. Policymakers, educators and others see summer programs as an opportunity to move the needle on academic and other outcomes and to help close the gaps in opportunity and achievement between students from low-income families and their more affluent peers. But with so many different types of programs out there, they may find themselves wondering which are worth investing in.</p><p>A new Wallace-commissioned report from the RAND Corporation has answers for anyone who needs help navigating the world of summer programs. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx"><em>Investing in Successful Summer Programs​​​</em></a><em> </em>looks at the available research and offers detailed descriptions of 43 programs—some commercially available, some locally developed—that meet the top three of four levels&#160; of credible evidence of effectiveness described by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The rigor of the research behind these programs makes them eligible for certain significant sources of ESSA funding.&#160;</p><p>We talked by email with the lead authors of the report, Catherine Augustine and Jennifer Sloan McCombs, about how the evidence on summer learning stacks up and how providers and funders alike can put it to use.*</p><p><strong>What is the need that this report is intended to fill?</strong></p><p>Policymakers and practitioners all want to select evidence-based programs and approaches in order to maximize benefits for children and youth. Further, federal and state grant opportunities increasingly require practitioners to demonstrate that their proposed programs are evidence-based.&#160;Now, practitioners can use this report to demonstrate that their programs are evidence-based or to add evidence-based features to their programs, which should improve them. Funders can also use this report to get a better understanding of the types of summer programs that are evidence-based. This guide doesn’t just focus on academic summer programs—it contains information about programs promoting social and emotional well-being and career-related outcomes, as well.</p><p><strong>Why does summer programming matter?&#160;</strong></p><p>First, summer is an opportune time to provide programming that supports positive developmental outcomes or meets particular needs of certain children and youth, such as mental health needs. Second, summer programming may be particularly important to mitigate the opportunity and achievement gaps that exist between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers. We know from other research that lower-income children and youth are less likely to engage in sports, join clubs, or take private lessons. They are also more likely to stay indoors, and they have reduced access to healthy meals during the summer. We want all children to have access to enrichment during the summer for its own sake but also because participating in sports, clubs, lessons and the like leads to outcomes we care about such as identifying skills and interests that can be pursued throughout one’s life. Summer programming also matters because children and youth from lower-income families fall behind their wealthier peers academically over the summer. Finally, we want children and youth to have safe places to be during the summer, with healthy meals.&#160;</p><p><strong>​What are the headlines from your review of the evidence on the effectiveness of summer programs?&#160;What have you learned about what benefits summer programs can generate for children?</strong></p><p>This review affirms that many types of summer programs can benefit children and youth. We found evidence of effectiveness for academic learning, learning at home, social and emotional well-being, and employment and career summer programs.&#160;Also, we found programs can be developed that benefit youth at all grade levels.</p><p><strong>How can program providers use the report to guide their decision-making?</strong></p><p>First, they can see if any of the 43 programs we highlighted as evidence-based contain the same features as their programs. If so, they can use the guide to argue that their program is evidence-based if they are applying for state or federal funding. Second, if their programs do not look like any of the programs in this guide, they can consider augmenting their programs to more closely resemble the ones we have identified as evidence-based. Third, if they do not want to change their program, but would like to have it rigorously evaluated, they can use this report to design an evaluation that could meet the highest three evidence tiers of ESSA, providing them with greater grant writing opportunities in the future. In addition, providers can use it to consider the range of programs that are available to meet particular needs of children and youth.&#160;</p><p><strong>What advice do you have for a provider who may be seeking federal funding for a program that isn’t in the report and which doesn’t already have established evidence of effectiveness?</strong></p><p>The provider should first check to determine if their program contains the same design features as any of the evidence-based programs we found to be effective. If that is not the case, providers should check to see if the funding stream they’re pursuing allows evidence at the Tier IV level. The programs described in this report meet the highest three evidence tiers defined in ESSA, but there is a fourth tier.&#160;Tier IV allows program providers to argue that their program is evidence-based if there is rigorous research underscoring at least part of the program’s logic model or theory of action. Tier IV also stipulates that the program (or one just like it) is currently being evaluated. If the provider can demonstrate that at least part of the program’s logic model is supported by rigorous research and that the program is currently being evaluated, the provider could apply for federal funding streams that allow Tier IV evidence.&#160;</p><p><strong>What lessons does your review of the evidence have for state and federal policymakers?&#160;What can they do to promote effective summer programs?</strong></p><p>State policymakers can share this review with practitioners in their state to raise awareness of the types of summer programs that have been found to be evidence based. They could encourage practitioners to design or amend programs to be similar to those described in the review. They can use this review to determine if programs proposed for state funding are indeed evidence-based. Federal policymakers can do the same when reviewing proposals. Finally, if they are allocating research funding, they can use the information to target research funding towards under-studied programs or populations.&#160;Most of the rigorously studied programs are academic learning programs offered in schools, focused on reading, and targeting elementary students. There were far fewer rigorous studies conducted for other types of programs or outcomes.</p><p><em>​*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p>​<br>Wallace editorial team792019-07-01T04:00:00ZRAND researchers on using evidence to build, and secure funding for, summer learning programs7/1/2019 7:16:19 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making Sure Every Student Succeeds…In the Summertime RAND researchers on using evidence to build, and secure funding for 364https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Theater Can Do Best3559GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Two years ago, we embarked on our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) Stories Series, which has chronicled early accounts from the BAS initiative. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/denver-center-for-the-performing-arts-is-cracking-the-millennial-code.aspx">One of the organizations featured</a> was Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), focusing on Off-Center—an experimental branch of DCPA’s Theatre Company. Off-Center is helmed and curated by Charlie Miller, who also serves as the&#160;Associate Artistic Director of&#160;Denver Center&#160;Theatre Company. </p><p> To see how the work has been progressing, Corinna Schulenburg, Director of Communications at Theatre Communications Group, sat down with Miller to discuss Off-Center’s work to date, what they’ve learned and recommendations for other organizations seeking to expand their work in audience building. <br> <br> This following is an excerpted and edited version of the exchange.</p><p> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; Can you provide a brief overview of the Denver Center and your work with the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative?</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit theater based in Denver, and it's a unique organization because it houses both the Broadway presenting house and the regional theater that we call the Theatre Company. Inside the Theatre Company, there's a line of programming that I lead called Off-Center, which was created in 2010 to be a theatrical testing center, a place where we could experiment with new ideas and new forms and new ways of engaging a new and younger audience. <br> <br> This really came out of the challenge we were facing a decade ago—subscriptions were declining and audiences were aging. There was more competition for entertainment dollars, so we had to find a new way to engage an audience who wasn’t necessarily predisposed to theater the way that their parents and grandparents were. We were determined to create a new kind of programming geared toward that audience and that’s where Off-Center came from. </p><p>Around the same time, I became really fascinated with immersive theater and the way that it put the audience at the center of the experience. I also felt like it was a great thing for Denver because people who come to Colorado enjoy experiences. They like being active, and immersive theater allows an audience to be active inside of a story. So we set out to build the DCPA’s capacity to produce large scale immersive work through Off-Center.</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"><br><img alt="miller-schulenburg.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-Theater-Can-Do-Best/miller-schulenburg.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> &#160;&#160;Corinna Schulenburg, director of communications, Theatre Communications Group and Charlie Miller, associate artistic director, Denver Center Theatre Company. </p><p><strong>Schulenburg&#58; Can you say a little bit more about the aesthetic and the audience experience of immersive theater?</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; For me what immersive means—and I also often use the word “experiential” interchangeably—is that it puts the audience at the center. They have some kind of role in the experience or in the story. It doesn't mean that the audience is playing a part like the actor, but instead that there is no fourth wall. It also needs to engage your senses and often involves not being seated the whole time, sometimes moving through multiple spaces, sometimes moving through the real world, but within a story that serves as a lens through which you’re viewing the world.<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <br> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; I know that an initial impulse was around engaging millennial audiences, particularly because you are a millennial yourself. Do you feel that millennial audience members&#160;have a particular relationship to this kind of work?</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; On average we’ve seen 35 percent of the audience is made up of millennials for these experiential productions, which is a departure from the Theatre Company, which is closer to 16 percent. We've also noticed that there is a halo effect, where you create programming that you think will speak to one generation and it becomes compelling to other generations. The common denominator is not your age, it’s how adventurous you are and what you’re looking for in your cultural experience. <br> <br> What’s exciting to us is that the work we’re doing is engaging a significantly newer and younger audience but it’s also engaging a diverse audience and people of all ages who are interested in engaging with their art in a different way. <br> <br> Also through the work we’ve been doing, I've continued to feel a tension in artistic programming between listening to what the audience wants and just doing interesting work that people will be excited about that they didn't know they want. There’s the famous Henry Ford quote that I love, something like, “If I listened to what people wanted I would have just given them a faster horse.” <br> <br> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; I remember in some of your past work you’ve uncovered that there’s a gap in what they think they want and what you actually found they wanted through market research.</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; &#160;As we were starting our Wallace-funded work we did a lot of market research, both qualitative and quantitative, to look at millennials in Denver and to understand if they would be interested in immersive theater. And when we asked them what type of experience, what attributes they wanted in an experience, they wanted “entertaining,” “lighthearted and fun,” “casual and relaxed.” They did not want “exclusive,” “serious” or “high end.” </p><p> <em>Sweet &amp; Lucky</em>, which was the first big project we produced, was serious and emotional and contemplative and people loved it, but it was the opposite of what they said they wanted. And it turns out that some of the subsequent work we've done that has been categorized as “entertaining, lighthearted and fun” has not been as popular among audiences. So even though they said they thought they knew what they wanted, it turns out they didn't. <br> <br> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; Since Wallace released the Building Audiences for Sustainability Story on your work, what has changed since then? What have you been up to?</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; The production that is running right now is called <em> <a href="https&#58;//www.denvercenter.org/tickets-events/between-us/">Between Us</a></em>, and it is a trio of one-on-one experiences between one actor and one audience member. This was inspired, in part, by an observation from <em>Sweet &amp; Lucky</em>&#58; during that production, every audience member received a brief one-on-one with an actor, and we saw how impactful that was for audience members. </p><p>Through all our projects this spring I've been fascinated with how much agency we can give the audience. How do we create a situation where the audience can show up as themselves, not have to play a part, but can have a meaningful and authentic impact on the direction and possibly even the outcome of the story? And how do we do that in a way that still guarantees that there's satisfying narrative arc? We're really experimenting with that in all of these pieces. We've had to rethink how we do things and learn along the way. <br> <br> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; Do you have any advice for smaller organizations looking to begin the work of audience building?</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; &#160;I think it's really important to get feedback from your audience. You don’t have to have a big budget to collect information and to use that to inform some of your decisions. It’s a skill set and a muscle that you can develop, and there are free tools out there to help. I believe that audience members have more buy-in with an organization if they feel like they’re able to share their opinion, so I’m a big proponent of continuous learning—as Wallace calls it—and using data to support strategy. <br> <br> Another thing we've learned is that experimental and nonlinear work has been least successful, as determined by audience response. We’ve heard that loud and clear on three different projects now. I always have to remind myself that at the core you have to provide a good story and that’s what brings people in. Theater is an art of storytelling.</p><p>Finally, I’m a huge proponent of prototyping and taking small, incremental steps to improve based on what you learn. The analogy I like to give is climbing up two feet and trying out your parachute and then climbing up another two feet, rather than just jumping off a cliff and hoping that the parachute opens. The more you can iterate, prototype and experiment, that can be really valuable. It’s a way to take calculated risks.</p><p> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; We’ve been talking a lot about the role human contact plays in the work you do at Off-Center, so I wanted to end by mentioning the New York Times article, &quot;</strong><strong><a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2019/03/23/sunday-review/human-contact-luxury-screens.html">Human Contact Is Now A Luxury Good</a></strong><strong>&quot; – have you seen it?</strong></p><p>Miller&#58; Oh yes, I did see this piece. <br> <br> <strong>Schulenburg&#58; The research suggests that it used to be that people who had resources and money had access to screens. Now, it's reversed—folks who are economically distressed have screens around them all the time and human contact has become a luxury good for the wealthy. What’s so interesting to me about the work that you are doing, it feels like it's connected to that, that you are hitting on the significance of direct human contact. It seems to me like you're tapping into a real wellspring of hunger.</strong> <br> <br> Miller&#58; I think you're right there. This relates to why I think millennials are drawn to immersive work. Our lives are mediated through screens, and theater like this forces you to put your screen down and to just be real, present and embodied. <br> <br> Spending an hour with a stranger and just getting to know them is a unique experience; you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the world from a different point of view. My hope is that this can wake us up from the monotony of our everyday routine and give us a new perspective on our own lives and on the world. That’s what we’re really trying to do at the end of the day. That’s what theater can do best. </p>Wallace editorial team792019-06-25T04:00:00ZChecking in with Denver Center’s Theater Company on what they’ve learned about their audiences from championing immersive theater6/27/2019 3:57:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Theater Can Do Best Checking in with Denver Center’s Theater Company on what they’ve learned about their audiences 737https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Name, New Look to Draw a New Generation of Fans3997GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>In 2015, World Music/CRASHarts set out to build name recognition and draw new, younger audiences to its music and dance performances. It commissioned extensive audience research and developed a multipronged engagement strategy centered on an annual global-music festival called CRASHfest. <br></p><p>That strategy <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/world-music-crasharts-tests-new-format-new-name-to-draw-new-audiences.aspx">is showing promising results</a>. But the related market research suggested that the organization's name was too hard to remember and its brand could be clearer, more consistent and more inspirational. So the organization set out on a rebranding process, the results of which it revealed last month.</p><p> <a href="https&#58;//www.globalartslive.org/content/worldmusiccrasharts-is-now-globalartslive">World Music/CRASHarts is now Global Arts Live</a>. With the new name come a new logo, a new color palette, detailed design guidelines and new templates for posters, brochures, stage backdrops and other marketing materials. </p><p>The organization, along with branding and design firm Minelli, Inc., chose a name that describes its work more clearly and succinctly than the somewhat wordy &quot;World Music/CRASHarts.&quot;</p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="global-arts-before-after.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/New-Name-New-Look-to-Draw-a-New-Generation-of-Fans/global-arts-before-after.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <p>To give the descriptive name some emotional resonance, Minelli proposed a dynamic tagline, &quot;Performance that shapes our world.&quot; It also offered alternatives so Global Arts Live could adapt the tagline to fit the wide variety of performances it offers. The organization's announcement of the change demonstrates the use of the tagline better than we can explain it here&#58;</p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/embed/91i3so4sVEw" frameborder="0"></iframe> <br><p>&quot;We present many different artists from all over the world—performing dance, world music, jazz—in different venues across the city,&quot; said associate director Susan Weiler in an email. &quot;The tagline, messaging and other brand assets give us a road map to adjust the brand to each artist, discipline and venue.&quot;</p><p>Accompanying the name and tagline are visual and verbal cues to communicate the creativity, diversity and vibrancy of the performances the organization presents. These cues are designed to create a clear, more consistent identity that audiences and supporters can recognize wherever they encounter it.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/New-Name-New-Look-to-Draw-a-New-Generation-of-Fans/global-arts-before-after3.jpg" alt="global-arts-before-after3.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></p> <p>&quot;The new identity is full of energy and movement,&quot; Weiler said. &quot;We have a single clarified name, one contemporary logo, dynamic tag line, updated messaging and complete style guide—all things we didn’t have before.&quot;</p><p>The organization is now working with digital consultants to reclaim the search-engine rankings the name-change compromised and to analyze web users' behavior in preparation for a full site redesign. This fall, it will launch an advertising and awareness campaign to promote the new brand to new audiences. </p><p>It's an extensive undertaking that has so far cost Global Arts Live about $300,000. But the organization is confident it will help boost its public profile and solidify its reputation for high-quality performances. &quot;Creating a new brand requires deep resources in staff time, staff capacity and financial investment,&quot; Weiler said. &quot;But operating with an ineffective brand can ultimately cost an organization more.&quot;</p>Wallace editorial team792019-06-20T04:00:00ZYour 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.6/21/2019 5:35:22 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Name, New Look to Draw a New Generation of Fans World Music/CRASHarts changes name to Global Arts Live, gets a facelift 233https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges3441GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning<p>Complex social issues must be solved with a comprehensive approach. That’s the idea driving a recent surge in cross-sector collaborations anchored in communities and aimed at improving local educational outcomes, especially for low-income students. In one study, researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx">found 182 such place-based collaborations nationwide</a> working to improve students’ readiness for and success in early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education. </p><p>A forthcoming companion study (also from Teachers College), <em>Building Impact&#58; A Closer Look at Local Cross-Sector Collaboration for Education, </em>will be published this fall and examine eight collaborations, which often include philanthropies, school districts, businesses, higher education and social service agencies. Carolyn Riehl, an associate professor at Teachers College, presented some of the new study’s findings at a recent Collective Impact Convening in Chicago. She was joined by Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation, and Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, one of the collaborations featured in the study. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-sector-Collaborations-for-Education-Show-Promise-Face-Challenges/Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" style="margin&#58;170px 5px;width&#58;442px;" />While cross-sector collaborations were often overly optimistic about their initial goals, there’s reason for “cautious optimism” about their future, Riehl told a crowd gathered at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. They will likely take “more time than the usual window of opportunity social programs are given for making an impact,” she said, but they are bringing together partners who have rarely cooperated before, soothing local political tensions and making steady progress. </p><p>Here we highlight some key questions posed by the panel and preview findings from the upcoming report, which Miller called, “one of the most in-depth studies of the cross-sector collaboration approach.”</p><p> <strong>Can local collaborations mount comprehensive change?</strong></p><p>Several of the eight collaborations studied set out to provide supports from early childhood through post-secondary education, but only one—Say Yes Buffalo—has come close to meeting that promise so far, the study found. That group convinced the city to provide “a broad menu of wraparound support services” for students, Riehl said. “The ‘carrot’ that enticed the city to commit was that Say Yes promised college scholarships for all eligible public school graduates in the city. The stick was that if the city reneged on the support services, there would be no more scholarships.”</p><p>Other collaborations studied had expanded services on a more gradual and limited scale and not yet met their goals. Obstacles included getting participants to agree on strategies and a shortage of funding and organizational capacity. Still, the vision to provide comprehensive services “seems to give people a sense of purpose and significance, a horizon to reach for,” she noted. </p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address education?</strong><strong><br></strong><br> “The politics and pragmatics of collaborations working closely with school districts turned out to be much more complicated than we might imagine,” Riehl said to appreciative laughter. The initiatives studied often supported instructional improvement by launching afterschool programs or by backing a district’s strategic plan, but appropriately refrained from trying to drive instructional reforms.&#160;&#160;</p><p>But districts also were often hesitant to work closely with cross-sector collaborations, the study found. One reason, Riehl said, seemed to be a desire to avoid expensive, complicated and politically challenging work. Pressure to focus on immediate testing and accountability concerns may have played a role. Districts also commonly want to be viewed as the “source and motivator” of their own improvement, she noted, and working with an external collaboration might imply that the district couldn’t manage improvement on its own.</p><p>Collaborations did make one significant contribution to core education reform, the study found&#58; they calmed entrenched interests and tensions that often surround urban school systems. They reduced “the sense of frustration and urgency,” Riehl said, and created “an environment more conducive to school system stability and productivity. This may not be the kind of ambitious change implied in the rhetoric of collective impact, but it did count for something in local contexts.”</p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address equity in their systems?</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Most collaborations were motivated by the desire to end disparities in academic performance for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. Yet at their start, they refrained from naming the problem directly or addressing other inequities that affect education, such as housing, employment, community safety and services. But over time, collaborations have become more explicit and intentional about equity, the study found. Researchers attributed that in part to the influence of national networks supporting collaboratives and growing national attention to class and race disparities, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign. &#160;<br><br> Still, collaborations generally continued to be made up of community leaders, “often without involving the people most impacted by inequity and poor education,” she observed. The original idea was to involve “powerful decision-makers in systemwide change” but that approach, she said, might ultimately fail to galvanize widespread support, including from those they intend to serve. </p><p> <strong>What can influence sustainability in a collaboration? </strong></p><p>“Goodwill and enthusiasm for the idea of collective impact gave these initiatives their start and seem to be boosting them along,” Riehl reported. Other factors aiding sustainability include effective “backbone” organizations to manage the collaboration, leaders with strong interpersonal skills, and national networks providing technical assistance, networking, strategies, funding and other supports. &#160;<br> Davis of Milwaukee Succeeds, which belongs to the national StriveTogether network, said that her collaborative has sustained itself since 2011 despite launching amid local education politics “that had been toxic for 25 years.” The city’s education landscape included a high-poverty school system struggling to raise student achievement, a large number of independent charter schools and private (mostly religious) schools enrolling students with vouchers. &#160;</p><p>Keeping all three education systems working together through the collaborative, she said, “is no small feat.”</p><p>She attributes their commitment to a shared desire to benefit children, a refusal to allow the collaborative’s forum “to be hijacked for political reasons,” such as elections, and insistence among the five major foundations funding the work that the three education systems show evidence of partnership. “That sends the message that you want to stay in the tent,” she said.</p><p>Early on, the collaboration also realized that it would get more traction if it placed school system priorities at the forefront, she added.</p><p>While Milwaukee Succeeds had to scale back on its ambition to tackle the whole “cradle to career spectrum” at once, it has had some wins, Davis said. After a technology manufacturing company promised the county 13,000 jobs, the collaborative helped to convene 18 local two- and four-year colleges and universities to come up with a workforce development plan that included raising college enrollment and completion. &#160;</p><p>“That was a huge deal,” she said. “I don’t know how many of you have worked with higher ed—it’s worse than the Titanic in terms of turning it around. And they are moving with great speed.”</p><p>In another win, they convinced state legislators to fund a statewide expansion of a tutoring program for early readers that the collaborative had brought to Milwaukee. Business partners in the collaborative made the request, backed by data, she said, and philanthropic partners promised funding for a quarter of the cost.</p><p> <strong>What does the immediate future look like for collaborations?</strong></p><p>Davis said she regrets that the collaborative neglected grassroots involvement at the start and so is not well-known in the wider community. Eight years in, they are working to forge those relationships. An important step, she said, will be finding ways to support grassroots agendas. To build community buy-in, she advised “don’t bring them to your table, go to their table.” &#160;</p><p>Miller added that in his own personal experience, he’s found that a cross-sector collaboration needs support both from elites to bring resources to the table and from grassroots participation to give the effort legitimacy. Some collaborations he’s participated in, he said, owed their success in large part to “a lengthy, exhaustive process” for identifying where the interests of each overlapped. &#160;</p><p>Riehl and Davis agreed that sustaining cross-sector collaboration long-term will depend on the skill of “backbone” organizations like Milwaukee Succeeds to forge and manage diverse relationships and become more representative of the communities they serve. </p><p>“This process takes a long time,” Riehl said. “People get bored and stop coming, they argue, there’s conflict, factions develop, so it really takes a steady hand to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”<br><br> But, she said, “we’ve seen lovely instances where partner agencies have changed their strategies because they want to be part of the action.”</p><p><em>To learn more about the Teachers College study of cross-sector collaborations in education,</em> see <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/putting-collective-impact-into-context.aspx">Putting Collective Impact Into Context</a> <em>and</em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx?_ga=2.17155889.962354234.1561754504-1014093728.1520357385">Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education</a>. </p>Photo&#58; ​Will Miller, president, The Wallace Foundation; Danae Davis, executive director, Milwaukee Succeeds; Carolyn Riehl, associate professor, Teachers College<br>Elizabeth Duffrin972019-06-18T04:00:00ZYour 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.6/28/2019 8:49:02 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges Upcoming report examines collaborations and their 630https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
For Steppenwolf Theatre the Connection’s the Thing3710GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A little more than 10 years ago, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company shifted its relationship with its patrons by offering them face-to-face conversation with the company’s performers and artistic staff. The new approach came about after Steppenwolf used an Excellence Award from The Wallace Foundation to develop a series of online and in-person programs that supported a vision of the company as “a public square”—a forum where audience members could participate in discussions with artists and one another about the meaning of a work they experienced.&#160;</p><p>The goal for Steppenwolf, which produces plays for more than 200,000 audience members every year, was to promote ongoing dialogue that would strengthen audience members’ connection to the company—and even encourage them to attend performances more often. This three-year effort (from 2007 to 2009) helped move the company towards its objective as described in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-building-deeper-relationships.aspx">a 2011 case study</a>. </p><p>We recently revisited Steppenwolf to see where the programs stand today and found the company not only continuing to engage audiences through lively discussions but also expanding opportunities for more of them. </p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">2007–2009&#58; The Public Square Launches, and Expands</h2><p> Steppenwolf began creating its public square through three engagement tactics&#58; </p><ul><li>Post-show discussions after every performance during which members of the artistic staff posed questions to the audience (not the other way around) and everyone shared reactions as a group. Over the first three years, 52,000 audience members, or approximately 14 percent of the audience, stayed to take part in these conversations.<br><br></li><li>A free-event series called “Explore” that introduced visitors to settings, playwright histories and themes related to Steppenwolf plays. Held in a social environment featuring immersive live entertainment, food and beverages, these events were separate from play performances—in Steppenwolf’s smaller theaters and rehearsal spaces—and each hosted between 50 and 230 attendees.<br><br></li><li>An extensive collection of printed and online content in which ensemble members and artistic staff shared conversations they were having with one another about work as it was being produced. Video and transcripts of those conversations included dialogue about Steppenwolf artists’ own questions regarding meaning and artistic intent—questions that sometimes remained unresolved. Over the three-year grant period, the videos and podcasts were accessed more than 750,000 and 175,000 times, respectively.</li></ul><p> ​While the public square forums attracted large numbers of audience members, they may have&#160;also encouraged repeat attendance during the grant period. In fact, the number of nonsubscribers who purchased tickets to more than one performance per season grew by more than 61 percent from&#160;September 1, 2007, to&#160;August 31, 2009. Subscription rates, which were already above industry trends, rose as well. </p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Continuing the Public Square </h2><p> Since that time, the theater has found many programs worth extending. Post-show discussions still follow every performance, and between 10 and 25 percent of audience members (14 percent on average) stay to take part. A 2016 survey revealed that more than 80 percent of participants say the conversations help them better appreciate the work they have seen, and what they enjoy most is the opportunity to reflect on the play immediately after seeing it. </p><p>The company also still produces a wide range of videos, including ensemble and staff reflections on artistic intent and meaning. Increasingly in recent years, the staff has also tapped audience members’ post-performance reactions to a work. One tack is to approach attendees in the lobby after the show and ask them to share their observations on video. Those clips are then edited and posted on the company website or included in production-related e-mails. The reactions are not of the “I love it, go see it” variety used strictly for promotion; instead, they are more personal reflections about specific elements that an audience member finds moving.</p><p>In a similar vein, Steppenwolf has also begun asking attendees to share personal experiences at the theater through social media, which was in its infancy when the original case study was published in 2011. For example, some audience members at a recent performance of <em>A Doll’s House, Part 2 </em>had seats at the back of the stage and they were prompted to post selfies once they took their places. That strategy of encouraging user-generated content may be one reason Steppenwolf has one of the most popular Instagram accounts among not-for-profit theater companies, with nearly 16,000 followers. &#160;​<br>​​<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/For-Steppenwolf-Theatre-the-Connection’s-the-Thing/IG3.png" alt="IG3.png" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p> <p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption">To promote interaction among its audiences, Steppenwolf Theatre encourages visitors to post images on social media, such as this post on Instagram.​ </p>​ <p>As for the Explore events, former Marketing Director John Zinn notes that a new performance series and a recently added in-house café (both described below) provide opportunities to continue dialogue in a more flexible and ongoing way. As a result, the company has​ discontinued the Explore programming. </p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Creating More Conversations and Opportunities to Have Them </h2><p> Even as its leadership has changed, Steppenwolf's commitment to discourse remains a defining feature of how it engages audiences. In 2015, ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro took over as artistic director from David Schmitz, who moved into the role of executive director. Under both, the company expanded audience opportunities to participate in conversations at Steppenwolf that suit the lifestyles and circumstances of different groups.</p><p>&#160;The recognition that not everyone wants to have a conversation inside the theater itself was one motivating factor behind the 2016 opening of the Front Bar. A hybrid bar and coffee shop connected to the Steppenwolf lobby, it was designed as a gathering place post-performance or throughout the day, with the hope it would be a space where patrons could mingle with one another and with the artists. Marketing Director Kara Henry notes that within three years the cafe has exceeded all expectations, becoming a place where ensemble members and visiting artists mingle with patrons after a performance and during rehearsals. At other times it serves as an impromptu workspace for theater artists from communities and companies across the city, many of them performing in or drawn to programming in Steppenwolf’s more intimate<u> </u>black-box theater.</p><p>Encouraged by the success of the Front Bar, the company plans to create other kinds of gathering spaces as it expands its campus into a new building now under construction. In that same spirit of reducing distance between audience and artists, Steppenwolf is designing the theater within the new space to be more intimate by bringing patrons closer to the stage.</p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Telling More Stories </h2><p> The artistic staff at Steppenwolf believes its mission, first and foremost, is to tell narratives that are relevant to Chicago. It is now expanding what that duty means as well. Increasingly, the company is looking beyond audiences who are already coming to the theater and is focusing on new ones, what Henry calls “a&#160;commitment to creating more stories for more of Chicago.” She adds, “Our invitation to theater patrons must be wide, with programming that reflects Chicago’s diversity. As we see the composition of Chicago change, we have an obligation to have our work reflect that.” </p><p>With that in mind, the company has featured a more diverse array of voices on the main stage. In 2016, it launched LookOut, amulti-genre performance series in its black-box theater, which provides an intimate cabaret-like setting. LookOu<em>t</em> programming draws from a wide range of Chicago-based artists, and its smaller scale allows for a greater diversity of shows to be presented within any one season. On select occasions the company has featured work that complements main-stage productions in order to build on conversations happening there. To date, LookOu<em>t</em> has featured 1,190 visiting artists, who have presented 146 shows in 422 performances to an audience of 29,005. That audience skews younger than the traditional Steppenwolf visitor&#58; 46 percent are Millennials, according to the theater's ticketing database,&#160;and another 20 percent are Gen X. </p><p>Ultimately the company hopes that giving audience members multiple means to connect with its work and artists will create stronger, more personal bonds and include broader segments of Chicagoans. Henry sees the engagement strategy as supporting Artistic Director Shapiro’s intent to “make connections that transcend ideas onstage, with experiences that seek to enhance the lives of every person who walks through our doors.”</p>​<br>Bob Harlow822019-06-11T04:00:00ZIn the past decade, the Chicago theater company has grown its audiences by cultivating a “public square” and connecting with patrons.6/11/2019 2:00:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / For Steppenwolf Theatre the Connection’s the Thing In the past decade, the Chicago theater company has grown its audiences 183https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems3645GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​​​​​If you keep up with goings-on at Wallace, you know that we recently published a RAND </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>research report</em></a><em> with a groundbreaking finding&#58; A systematic approach to developing school principals can have a notably positive impact on student achievement and principal retention. RAND researchers examined what happened after six large school districts adopted this approach—known as building a principal pipeline.</em></p><p> <em>Principal pipelines consist of four components&#58; rigorous principal job standards, high-quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and aligned on-the-job support and evaluation. In occasional blog posts, we single out a different pipeline component and explore it through the eyes of one of the pipeline districts’ principals. Today, find out how pre-service preparation helped a high school principal in Georgia tackle a difficult problem. &#160;</em><br></p><p align="center">​*****<br></p><p>When Al Taylor became principal of Berkmar High School in 2013, one in three freshmen at the school in Lilburn, Ga., about 35 miles from Atlanta, was being held back. Taylor knew the research about ninth grade. Studies out of the University of Chicago have shown that performance in ninth grade is more predictive of a student’s odds of graduating than all other factors, including race and socioeconomic status, combined. If Taylor hoped to move the needle on Berkmar’s graduation rate—then 55 percent—the work needed to start in ninth grade.</p><p>To begin to solve the problem, though, Taylor had to first step back and draw on a lesson he had learned years before as a participant in the principal training program run by his employer, the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools. That program, which was set up in 2007, seeks to ensure that the district has a steady supply of high-caliber professionals ready to take on the top job. The instruction is based on the district’s job standards for principals and gives aspiring leaders an opportunity to sharpen the critical skills they’ll need to make a positive impact in schools.</p><p>The lesson that came back to Taylor in his first year at Berkmar? An effective school leader empowers other to lead. </p><p>It was something Taylor learned by seeing it firsthand. As part of his yearlong training, Taylor had spent a month shadowing an experienced principal to observe leadership in action. Going into the training program, Taylor had thought a principal should be all knowing, all doing. Yet the principal he observed gave significant autonomy to his assistant principals. He was always available to guide them, but he let them make key decisions. As important, he didn’t berate them if their decisions didn’t pan out. His leadership style cultivated a spirit of trust and collective ownership of the school. </p><p>Remembering that experience as a trainee, Taylor concluded that improving ninth grade performance was not a task he should undertake alone. “I didn’t come in to save the day,” he recalls. “I came in to bring individuals together so that we could save the day.” </p><p>Taylor organized a committee of teachers and other staff members to study the ninth grade experience at Berkmar. The group reviewed data on achievement, attendance and other indicators. “They saw how their input could shape what Berkmar was to become,” Taylor recalls. He, meanwhile, worked on convincing the school’s strongest teachers that being asked to teach ninth graders instead of twelfth graders wasn’t a demotion but a recognition of their talents and importance at Berkmar. </p><p>In 2015, Berkmar implemented a redesigned ninth grade academy and introduced career-themed academies for upperclassmen. The changes apparently have been effective. Last year, Berkmar’s ninth-grade promotion rate was 78 percent, up from 67 percent in 2013. The graduation rate, meanwhile, reached 71 percent. Some of the biggest gains were among students with disabilities, whose graduation rate rose from 19 percent in 2014 to 41 percent last year. Taylor, now in his ninth year as a principal and his sixth at Berkmar, no longer qualifies as a novice, but he still looks for ways to improve his practice. “I thought I’d walk out of the training program with a how-to manual, but it doesn’t exist,” he says. “Every day, there’s a new challenge, a new opportunity.”</p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Effective-School-Leaders-Learn-How-to-Solve-Problems/190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final%20for%20ppt.jpg" alt="190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final for ppt.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> <div> <br> <br> </div><p> <br> </p> <br>Jennifer Gill832019-06-04T04:00:00ZSee how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase graduation rates.6/4/2019 3:19:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems See how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase 454https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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