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Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts26330GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​As the COVID-19 pandemic and national reckoning with racial justice continue, arts and culture organizations find themselves in an utterly transformed, and potentially decimating, landscape. To help organizations make their way through this unprecedented time—and even envision some silver linings—global strategic and business planning firm AEA Consulting has released a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-uncertain-times-a-scenario-planning-toolkit-for-arts-culture-sector.aspx">scenario-planning toolkit</a>. </p><p>Created specifically for the arts sector, the toolkit describes four possible scenarios for the pandemic’s course, and people’s behavior in the wake of it, over the next five years. A <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Arts-Organizations-Early-Response-to-COVID-19-Uncertainty-Insights-from-the-Field.aspx">companion report</a> looks at a recent survey of arts leaders and field experts, providing insights that arts organizations can draw on as they undertake their planning. </p><p>The Wallace Blog conducted an email dialogue about the report with <a href="https&#58;//aeaconsulting.com/about/people/daniel_payne">Daniel Payne</a>, a managing principal at AEA Consulting. The exchange has been edited for clarity and length. </p><p><strong>Given the extraordinary degree of uncertainty we are facing, scenario planning might seem counterintuitive. Why is it especially helpful in conditions of high uncertainty?</strong></p><p>COVID-19 shortened our planning horizons from years to weeks. Scenario planning presents an opportunity to think beyond near-term predictions and be more imaginative about multiple possible futures—exactly what is needed when the fog of uncertainty makes it hard to clearly determine likely outcomes. It encourages organizations to focus less on individual bets about direction and instead think about core principles (purpose, mission, and service to communities and audiences), consider potential impact in multiple possible outcomes and lay out different paths to achieve success.</p><p>In other words, there is no right future or wrong future in scenario planning. It is a process that helps an organization imagine itself in different future settings and craft a response, perhaps even uncovering previously hidden opportunities. It extends the planning horizon beyond the near-term—whether to reopening, the end of a financial crisis or otherwise—and ensures organizations can best position themselves for success in multiple possibilities in the long term.</p><p><strong>What is the difference between scenario planning and “strategic planning” exercises—what are the pros and cons of each, especially when uncertainty is so high?</strong></p><p>Scenario planning and strategic planning are related to one another in many ways. One way to think about scenario planning is as a form of long-range strategic planning that emphasizes an understanding of the wider environment that you are operating in. It also turns out that some of the weaknesses that we see in traditional strategic planning processes can be mitigated by scenario planning. So, rather than thinking of them as either-or, you can think of them as yes-and, and consider adding a scenario planning process to your next round of strategic planning. &#160;&#160; </p><p>One of the cons often said about strategic planning is the plan can be seen as a rigid direction toward a three-year or five-year horizon that may become irrelevant when the context shifts in six months or one year. Scenario planning offers a counter to that, both prompting people for more flexibility in their consideration of the future and providing a systematic way to find commonalities in those possibilities to create more solid footing for a plan. In contrast, one of the potential cons to scenario planning is that it becomes too abstract, and you end up without clear actionable outcomes. But a good strategic planning process would provide a framework to take the outputs from scenario planning and then develop action steps and implementation plans, track financial impacts and other resource needs, and create the tools to measure whether you are achieving the desired impact. Neither are a magic bullet, but in concert (and with continued attention and evaluation), they can help prepare organizations to advance their mission, no matter what may be next.</p><p><strong>Though each of the tool’s four scenarios presents a very different future, are there any commonalities among them that organizations might prepare for now?</strong></p><p>While we would say there are no absolute certainties, there are certainly a number of common themes that you can find if you were to sit in each of the four futures that we’ve identified in the toolkit. We highlighted a number of these in the overview document—often these are related to the impacts of longer-term trends in demographics or advances in science and technology. For example, one common theme we highlight is an increased focus on racial equity and social justice&#58; beyond the moral imperative itself, most future projections show the U.S. becoming a majority-minority country sometime in the 2040s. It’s going to become an increasingly critical issue simply so that arts organizations can engage the audience.</p><p>There are other commonalities that deal more with the likelihood of increasing uncertainty and volatility—for example, a need for the sector to better engage with and manage mental health impacts. There are also potential impacts of this in how the sector creates the physical spaces it uses—to increase flexibility to deal with the possibilities of continued distancing, but also to increase their openness to create a renewed sense of welcome. And we will need to rethink how all spaces can be managed to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. These are trends that already existed in many new cultural spaces, but they seem to become more urgent no matter the future scenario. </p><p><strong>In what ways can scenario planning go wrong—or at least fall into traps—and how can these potential pitfalls be avoided?</strong></p><p>One way that scenario planning can go wrong is embedded in the name itself—to spend too much time with the scenarios and not enough time thinking about their implications for an organization. We’ve tried to emphasize the need to make this work actionable through the materials, but for some, there’s a rabbit hole of spending so much time and energy crafting those different futures. We hope the toolkit can help that by providing these four future scenarios, so that the focus can move more quickly to their implications. However, we know there’s no one size fits all answer, and different organizations may have different contexts to emphasize or specific situations they want to address in the scenarios.</p><p>Another common challenge is spending too much time and energy on one preferred future—whether because that is the future seen as most likely or because there is some preferred outcome with in it. One way we suggest dealing with that is to make sure that you bring together a diverse group of participants for the process—diverse in backgrounds and experiences, but also bringing voices to the table that may be newer to an organization’s strategic process. It can be a great opportunity to bring in a board member who recently joined or a member of your community that you don’t get to speak with enough.</p><p><strong>What is an example of a perspective that doing scenario planning opened up for you?</strong><br> One thing this process has opened our eyes to—not entirely new at all, but certainly something this highlights in a significant way—is the array of skills an organization needs to be able to manage their future direction. We built this toolkit after talking to a wide range of arts leaders for the work discussed in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-organizations-early-response-to-covid-19-uncertainty-insights-from-the-field.aspx">Arts Organizations’ Early Response to COVID-19 Uncertainty&#58; Insights from the Field</a>. There was a wide range of skills these leaders discussed as critical to moving forward—from data analysis, digital expertise, business modeling and core leadership training to, yes, scenario planning resources—and that doesn’t even get into the skills needed to produce most organization’s core programs. It is going to take a diverse but coordinated set of people to achieve success.</p><p>And more directly related to the scenarios, one thing that constantly popped out to me in creating the scenarios and using them in workshops with several organizations is how significant the digital component of arts and culture is likely to be, and how far behind most of the arts and culture sector is there.</p><p><strong>What are alternative ways other than scenario planning to think systematically about the future?</strong></p><p>If you search for “future thinking” or “strategic foresight,” there are lots of lots of different methods that you will come across, ranging from relatively straightforward methods like prediction games and markets to the <a href="http&#58;//www.millennium-project.org/publications-2/futures-research-methodology-version-3-0/">highly idiosyncratic (and usually trademarked!)</a>. Others might suggest the Tarot, I Ching and spin-the-bottle as popular strategies! One thing that we do like about scenario planning is that it does seem to be readily linked to creative and imaginative outputs that may be familiar to arts and cultural organizations. You can take the futures identified in your scenarios and turn them into a sort of science fiction. We’ve seen organizations illustrate them graphically, imagine future situations as one-act plays or even turn them into choreography. It’s a great way to engage teams in an exercise that is outside their normal daily work, too.<br></p><p>For more on scenario planning and the future of the arts see<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Reimagining-the-Future-of-the-Arts-a-Webinar-Series-from-The-Wallace-Foundation-Session-3.aspx"> this panel discussion ​</a>featuring Payne and others, part of&#160;Wallace's <em>Reimaginging the Future of The Arts</em> series.&#160;<br></p> Wallace editorial team792020-11-20T05:00:00ZResearcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and culture organizations add scenario planning to their strategic toolbox11/20/2020 4:43:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts Researcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and 92https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times26305GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Last spring the role of the principal changed overnight and continues to evolve. As the pandemic took hold, principals almost immediately shifted from leading a school within a building to leading virtual schools. Principal supervisors had to pivot, too.</p><p>Strong <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">principal supervisors are high-touch with their principals,</a> working with them intensively one-on-one and in learning communities, often in school buildings.&#160;How are they adapting to the online environment? What seems promising? What new supports do they need to adapt successfully? </p><p>This summer, Meredith Honig, a professor and director of the District Leadership Design Lab at the University of Washington, and Nancy Gutiérrez, president and CEO of The Leadership Academy, a national nonprofit organization, <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GlfNdbmTuU&amp;feature=youtu.be">took on this question in a webinar</a> in the series <em>Education Leadership for a Digital World</em>. <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/webinars/education-leadership-for-a-digital-world/">The series</a> was hosted by Digital Promise, with support from Wallace. </p><p>After watching the replay of the webinar, I reached out to <span> <span>Gutiérrez</span></span> and Honig for a follow-up conversation aimed at learning what principal supervisors can do to support their principals as the pandemic continues. If you are anything like me, you will be blown away by the depth of knowledge&#160;they shared in response to my questions.&#160;An edited version of our conversation follows. </p><p> <strong>How can principal supervisors be most supportive of principals now?</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> It’s as important as ever for principals to be leading powerfully for high-quality, culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching and learning.&#160;The shift to remote learning means many longstanding inequities may grow worse. So now is the time for principals to double down on their equity-focused instructional leadership and for principal supervisors to support them in that essential work.</p><p>In more typical times, maintaining that focus can be tough. That focus is definitely tough now as remote learning continues and too many students still do not have internet and laptops. Families are dealing with food insecurity, lack of access to childcare and other basic supports they rely on schools for. </p><p>That’s what we and others are seeing&#58; That shifting to remote learning has upped the ante on districts to ensure principals are supported to lead powerfully for excellent equitable instruction. <em>And</em> that they are trying to do that in the middle of a national public health crisis that, especially without federal support, continues to have dire consequences for school communities. Many of those consequences fall on the doorsteps of school districts and create incredible operational challenges. It’s tempting for principal supervisors to want to step in and help with that operational work. Our research and experience are clear that principal supervisors should resist that temptation. Principal supervisors are uniquely positioned to help principals keep their focus on equitable teaching and learning, and now’s not the time to let up.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong> I agree, Meredith. We have to drop evaluative tones and focus on capacity building. Commit to leveraging effective adult learning practices to ensure good use of the time commitment. (Our leaders are juggling multiple commitments). Align learning what we know about effective adult learning.<br><br> We have some essential beliefs about adult learning<strong></strong> at <a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resource/district-leadership/">The Leadership Academy</a>. We structure our work to make sure principal supervisors learn from experience and reflection, have structured freedom, engage in learning as a social process, make meaning through stories and have support through the most uncomfortable parts of learning. We model what we would like to see them do with the principals they lead. </p><p> <strong>What does this kind of hands-on support for principals look like with remote learning?</strong>&#160;<br><br><strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong> One key skill principal supervisors have learned to do well since last March has been to build capacity remotely. Believe it or not, it is still possible to visit classrooms with the same frequency and create feedback sessions for principals about the work in real time—remote coaching is one way to do this and follows the exact <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/remote-learning-check-in-guide.pdf">same five-step process a principal supervisor uses in person.</a></p><p>We would argue that remote support is not different from what we did pre-COVID. It requires building and maintaining relationships, coaching principals to better their practice as culturally responsive leaders, bringing small learning communities together to learn from each other and being responsive to principals' many questions and challenges in real time. The key here is not only to problem-solve in real time but to check on the social and emotional well-being of the adults. Adults need love too!&#160;</p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools<br></p><p> <strong>Honig&#58;</strong> Our ongoing research supports all of what you just shared, Nancy. When principal supervisors help principals grow as instructional leaders, they don't actually supervise in the traditional sense of the word—that is, they do not mainly evaluate or direct principals.&#160;</p><p>Instead, they coach principals from a teaching-and-learning stance—helping principals lead their own learning and mentoring principals one-on-one and in learning communities. That’s still the right work and really, it’s especially the right work right now when principals need flexibility and support to navigate the challenges of ensuring equity with remote learning. </p><p>Much of that support can be provided remotely through video conferencing, for example. Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools and that they can now more easily observe principals working with teachers online.&#160;</p><p> <strong>How can other district leaders support their principals and their supervisors as they navigate the new digital world we’re all living in?&#160;</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> District support for principal supervisors is key to their success every day and especially today. In particular, supervisors of principal supervisors have important roles to play in principal supervisor support by reinforcing principal supervisors’ focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, protecting principal supervisors’ time for that work and mentoring them in taking a teaching-and-learning approach. In the webinar, I share examples of what that support looks like and the consequences of principal supervisors not receiving it.&#160; Supervisors of principal supervisors can find those examples as well as tools to help principal supervisors in our book, <a href="https&#58;//www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/supervising-principals-for-instructional-leadershi">S<em>upervising Principals for Instructional Leadership.</em></a></p><p>District leaders can also support principals and their supervisors by taking a hard look at their central offices. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for all of us to see some fundamental mismatches between what central offices have traditionally done and what supporting educational equity takes. We outline some of those mismatches in <a href="https&#58;//annenberg.brown.edu/sites/default/files/EdResearch_for_Recovery_Brief_10.pdf">a recent brief</a>. </p><p>As districts consider how to come out of the pandemic with a much stronger anti-racist equity focus, the principal supervisor-principal relationship can provide a kind of beacon. When principal supervisors try to do the right work and focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, when does the rest of the central office get in the way of that work? And how can we start to bring all of what we do into greater alignment?</p><p> <strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong>&#160;The way districts can best support our principal supervisors&#58; 1) build their capacity, too; 2) check on their social and emotional well-being; and 3) make this difficult work, and progress within it, tangible.</p><p>A great principal supervisor gives school leaders the support they need to make their school a culturally responsive, standards-aligned learning environment for every student. But they need help to do this. Virtual learning during the pandemic reinforces the need to defy individualism as a path to success—all of us, regardless of role or experience in the system, need to continue learning and growing.&#160;We need to know what is expected of us. </p><p>We define a culturally responsive leader as someone who recognizes the impact of institutionalized racism and embraces their role in mitigating, disrupting and dismantling systemic oppression. Leaders like this must first work on themselves by reflecting on their biases and beliefs. Only then can they move to publicly modeling belief systems grounded in equity; being responsive to, and inclusive of, student and staff cultural identities when making decisions; confronting and changing institutional biases that marginalize students; and finally, creating systems and structures that promote equity, particularly for traditionally marginalized students.</p><p>One great tool to help leaders guide principal supervisors to assess their own progress in being more culturally responsive is The Leadership Academy’s&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resources/culturally-responsive-leadership-a-framework-for-school-school-system-leaders/">Culturally Responsive Actions for Principal Supervisors</a> (specifically pages 51-64). The guide provides a set of tangible observable actions to do this important work, which is important to note because the work around equity is so big that it can be intangible. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/remote-support-of-principal-supervisors-not-different-from-pre-covid-times/Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" alt="Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;Source&#58; The Leadership Academy</p>Rochelle Herring362020-11-17T05:00:00ZAsk the experts: three questions about principal supervisors and how they can best support principals now11/17/2020 5:10:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times Ask the experts: three questions about 393https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Pandemic is Transforming The Arts—and It’s Not All Bad News23328GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​Last summer, with theaters across the country shuttered by the coronavirus, Kate Maguire set out to break through the pandemic fatigue. To succeed, the artistic director and CEO of the Berkshire Theater Group in Pittsfield, Mass., knew she would need to do something that had not been attempted since union performances closed down last March&#58; bring a group of actors together in front of a live audience. </p><p>Maguire convinced Actors’ Equity to allow <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/theater/godspell-berkshires-coronavirus.html">an outdoor production of <em>Godspell</em></a> and devised an acceptable safety plan. She worked with local and state authorities to ensure everyone would feel safe and be protected—the stage would be under a tent, everyone in masks, and the audience size would be capped at 50. Still, Maguire hoped the play with its theme of community and spiritual unity would resonate with an emotionally battered audience—and she saw that wish fulfilled. </p><p>“People were weeping because they were in the presence of music, of language and of this story,” she recalled. “All of a sudden we were in the midst of really understanding what the arts mean to peoples’ lives.” </p><p>Maguire recounted this story for the more than 600 participants gathered online for <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-session-one-what-audiences-want.aspx">the first of Wallace’s five-part “Reimagining the Future of the Arts”</a> conversation series. She went on to explain that she’s thinking about reducing the number of plays the company typically produces in a season and examining artistic choices in order to offer audiences the kind of emotional connections they experienced this summer. Even after the pandemic fades, she says, she expects to continue with these changes. </p><p>“I think what happened this summer was really monumental artistically, and that freshness changes your focus,” she said. “I’m not so sure I’m going to build the circus as I have in the past. I would like to be able to concentrate on intensity, not variety.” </p><p>She is not alone. The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with an energized racial justice movement, has sparked an urgency among many nonprofit arts leaders to rethink their how their organizations approach everything from audience interaction to inclusivity and equity. </p><p>“We will never go back,” <strong>Lisa Richards Toney</strong>, president and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, said on the same panel discussion. She and Maguire kicked off the series, along with <strong>Arthur Cohen, the founder and CEO </strong>of the LaPlaca Cohen, a strategy and arts marketing firm, <strong>Franklin Sirmans</strong>, president and CEO of the Pérez Art Museum in Miami; the panel was moderated by Wallace's communications director Lucas Held. While each of the panelists&#160;acknowledged the stresses pulling at an old system, they embraced this moment as an opportunity to come up with forward-looking ideas and determine how to carry them out. &#160; </p><p><strong>Audiences Are Changing</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Cohen kicked off the panel with a presentation based on the <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/">survey</a> his firm conducted with Slover Linett Research last spring. More than 124,000 people responded, most through 653 arts organizations. Not surprisingly, the attitude expressed by most respondents was, in a word, glum. They said they felt isolated, anxious, bored and disconnected. Asked what they most wanted from arts events in this dark time, most said they wanted to laugh and relax, seek an escape, find hope, feel connected and discover educational opportunities for children.</p><p>“COVID-19, in every fundamental way, has disrupted our sense of what normal looks like,” Diane Jean-Mary, partner and chief strategy officer at LaPlaca Cohen, said in <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-we-need-from-arts-and-culture-right-now.aspx">an earlier conversation</a> on The Wallace Blog. “In a time of such great uncertainty, many are turning to creativity, perhaps as a way to regain a sense of agency, expression and enjoyment.” </p><p>The survey also provided powerful evidence that new patterns—meaning new opportunities—are emerging. Most striking, perhaps, is the diversity of new audiences. Digital events, many free of charge, are attracting people from lower income groups. Audiences are skewing younger and have different levels of education. Many of those enjoying digital arts offerings had not visited an arts institution in the previous year, meaning they were considered new audience members, now hungry for artistic stimulation. </p><p>There were other examples of this diversity. For example, those taking in digital orchestra performances who had not attended a live concert in the previous year were 15 times more likely to be Black, and three times more likely to be from Gen Z, ages 18 to 23 years old, than those who had attended a performance. Of the people viewing digital content from art museums, those who had not visited a museum in the previous year were almost twice as likely to have a high school education or less than those who had visited. [For more survey results, see <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Culture-and-Community-in-a-Time-of-Crisis-Slides.pdf">Cohen’s presentation from the event</a>.] </p><p>“This represents a really interesting opportunity to perhaps view the digital audience as a growth audience for us,” said Cohen. </p><p><strong>Digital Is Here to Stay</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>When the shutdown hit in March, Sirmans of the Perez Art Museum says he quickly pivoted to greater use of digital alternatives. “We went into it with abandon in the first few months of the pandemic without knowing exactly what we were doing, but we’re learning now,” he explained in a conversation following the webinar. Although it’s too soon to assess the full impact of these offerings on audiences, Sirmans said he expects that many of the changes will be permanent. </p><p>A new section of the organization’s website showcases its strong Caribbean art collection while a redesigned smartphone app creates a more robust mobile experience. “Digital is primary for us now,” Sirmans said. “Our community expects it and we know we have fans in the world, especially for our Latin American and Caribbean art. This is how we expand to them.”</p><p>Toney of APAP, a national service organization that supports and advances the performing arts presenting, booking and touring fields, carried the thought further, saying that by using online technologies, arts organizations could reach audiences globally, not solely the local audience members who can attend events in person. Moreover, the organizations can now expand time and run programming year-round, not just seasonally. This greater flexibility, she said, “should create an obligation to change” how the organizations conduct their activities. </p><p>Cohen agreed that the experimentation with online events in this new environment has transformed digital efforts from what had been decidedly secondary activities in the past to what are now a primary means of artistic expression and audience connections. They have taken on a new primary role, he said, side by side with the live event&#58; “These are new pathways to connection with people who wouldn’t have come in the door.”</p><p><strong>&#160;“Outdoors Is the New Indoors” </strong></p><p>The need to protect audiences from the virus has encouraged some organizations to seize opportunities to use and transform outdoor spaces. Maguire says the outdoor tent used for <em>Godspell </em>normally holds 400 people but because the organizers could allow only 50 people to view the show at a time, they had to improvise with the space. “We’re going to have to think more about how we do that so it’s a good experience,” she said.<strong></strong></p><p>The Perez museum is using its space differently, too, Sirmans said, and is trying to turn pandemic necessities into benefits. For a show on the African diaspora, for example, the museum doubled the indoor space that normally would have been allotted. This, he said, allowed for new types of juxtapositions and greater use of illustrative written and graphic materials. </p><p>In addition, the museum is repurposing its outdoor sculpture garden, which features an array of steel and stone works by artists such as Anthony Caro, Gonzalo Fonseca and Edgar Negret. The museum is holding lectures, a film program and collaborations with other arts institutions and educational programs outside. </p><p>“Outdoors is the new indoors,” Sirmans said. </p><p><strong>From Equity to Activism</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Arts organizations are grappling with much more than logistical improvisation. They are having serious conversations about what the national reckoning with racial injustice means for them. &#160;Some organizations are considering fundamental shifts in their structure and the composition of their leadership to respond to the calls for greater equity and inclusiveness, according to the panelists. </p><p>Cohen, for one, called for organizations to better incorporate community and audience perspectives into their endeavors. “For some, audiences have been the ones least present in the planning,” he said, adding that reaching out to and including community input could be critical to organizations struggling to grow their audiences and maintain their relevance. “That’s your greatest opportunity going forward.” </p><p>This is true also in programming. For instance, Toney noted that it has become traditional that organizations offer every February—Black History Month—a Black-themed event or something created by Black artists. But artists of color should be integral to the arts events throughout the year, she said, so that organizations move away from the “white-centric canon.” In a conversation after the webinar, she followed up on that theme. “I know and have heard people in these organizations say, ‘Our audience won’t come. I know them,’” she said. “Then you have to do something about your audience. This is not easy to do.”</p><p>Toney also suggested that arts organizations might reimagine themselves as engines of progressive change. They could do this, in part, she said, by joining forces and speaking collectively, particularly on policy issues, more than they have in the past. “Really, it’s about positioning ourselves as one ecosystem with more joint action,” she said. </p><p>How much nonprofit arts organizations might embrace that advocacy model is unclear. Sirmans said he’s proud that Miami’s Perez museum has a staff and board as diverse as the city itself and features many artists of color in its collections and shows. How much the museum might speak up as a social advocate is a question, he said, that remains unanswered. </p><p>“We want to be that kind of place,” he said. “But we’re trying to figure out how we fit into that conversation.” </p>James Sterngold 1122020-11-12T05:00:00ZDespite the many challenges they face, arts organizations have some reason for optimism, according to a recent panel discussion11/23/2020 4:59:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Pandemic is Transforming The Arts—and It’s Not All Bad News Despite the many challenges they face, arts organizations 23https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts29634GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​The financial fallout from the pandemic has left school districts facing several years of budget shortfalls and tough decisions. State and school leaders everywhere are learning how to do more with less and mitigate harm to their most vulnerable students. The Wallace Blog looked at some of the top priorities and challenges state leaders are facing, lessons learned from the Great Recession and how they are addressing budget shortfalls. </p><p>Revenue is down across the country because states are collecting less from taxes on sales and personal income. According to Daniel Thatcher, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are projecting an 11 to 12 percent decline in revenue, which informs their budget decisions for the upcoming fiscal year. </p><p>“Education is not escaping these cuts scot-free,” Thatcher says. </p><p>And while school districts across the board are facing cuts, some have more capacity to handle them than others. Even if all districts face the same state budget cuts, Thatcher says, property-wealthy districts could raise revenue on their own to make up for them. Districts that don’t have that capacity would be much more deeply affected by the cuts. </p><p>The consequences of these kinds of cuts are not entirely unknown. During the 2008 Great Recession, schools faced similar types of budget cuts, which significantly reduced student ELA and math achievement. These effects were <a href="https&#58;//cepa.stanford.edu/content/impact-great-recession-student-achievement-evidence-population-data">concentrated in school districts serving low income students and students of color</a>. Thatcher hopes states have learned from how cuts were handled during the Great Recession and that they will attempt to lessen negative effects on the most vulnerable students.</p><p>Robert Hull, president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, echoes these concerns, noting that while wealthier communities will see more damage in the next few years as property values shift, the poorest communities are being hit hardest now and need federal investment right away. </p><p>“The districts that really need the greatest resources, they’re going to see a greater dearth of resources right now because that money coming from the local level is drying up,” Hull says.</p><p>Besides the decrease in state revenue, districts are spending more because of the pandemic. Investment in technology, intensive school building cleaning, personal protective equipment, additional buses to allow for social distancing and professional development for teachers who are learning to teach online are driving up costs for schools, whether they start the year with a hybrid or online model. Additionally, Hull says, schools are continuing to provide meals to families in need, despite depleted nutrition funds. </p><p>There is also concern that some students are shifting from public schools to private schools or homeschooling, though it’s unclear how significant those numbers are right now. But fewer enrolled students would mean a decrease in funding for the next school year. Thatcher says it’s fair to say the parents with higher incomes are most likely to shift their children from public school to private schools or homeschooling.</p><p>“This is a concern for equity,” he says. “This is a concern for who is going to make it out of this pandemic in better shape than other students. It’s something that states need to be aware of.” </p><p>The more-equitable funding allocations that Thatcher would like to see would direct state dollars to low-wealth districts. However, he acknowledges, this is a politically difficult decision to make.</p><p>But states like Georgia have put in place systems to do just that. Georgia’s funding formula has a special carve-out of “equalization grants” for low-wealth and rural districts, which suffered the most during the Great Recession. These grants give more money to lower-wealth districts to bring them up to the same levels as the wealthier districts. In Colorado, state funding helps fill in gaps left by local funding from property taxes, to equalize funding across all districts. The recently passed Public School Finance Act created a way for the legislature to put more of the funding burden on local tax revenue, freeing up more state money for lower-income districts. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" id="div_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645"></div><div id="vid_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“One of the other important things that we see states looking at, and that we suggest that states consider looking at, are the supports that help vulnerable students the most,” Thatcher says. Those include afterschool programs, reading supports, coaching and more. </p><p>In Utah, the state board has not only avoided school funding cuts—they actually increased education funding. The state board of education and legislative staff put together a document that illustrated education cuts at 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent. At 10 percent, Thatcher says, they would be making cuts to things like social emotional learning supports and professional development for teachers. But in August, Utah <a href="https&#58;//www.npr.org/2020/08/03/895386579/utah-lawmakers-use-savings-to-limit-cuts-to-education-and-social-services">lawmakers decided to dip into a rainy-day fund</a> and increased funding for K-12 education by 1.3 percent. </p><p>Many states had buoyed these sorts of reserve funds after the Great Recession, Thatcher says, lessening the more painful cuts for now because they have more cash on hand than they would have in the past.</p><p>“The other policy choice states are looking at is around the funding that comes through their categorical programs and trying to loosen the reins on these,” he says. Giving principals and district leaders more latitude in how they use this money can help them best meet the needs of their communities and schools. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" id="div_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55"></div><div id="vid_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Hull and Thatcher noted the importance of school leaders as the key communicators and decision makers at the school level.</p><p>“Leadership matters. Communicate early and often, and be nimble as you’re making decisions,” Hull says of NASBE’s guidance for how to navigate these challenging times. He encourages leaders to be flexible and make changes as they know more, because we are learning more about the virus every day. </p><p>Thatcher agrees&#58; “At this time, school leadership is critical. They’re the key communicators to the community, to parents, and they are the ones who should make decisions based upon community input.” He urges parents to communicate with their principals and offer their support when and where they can. </p><p>Hull has also called for more research to help state boards of education and other education leaders make informed decisions. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" id="div_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f"></div><div id="vid_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Thatcher’s hope is that the public health and financial crises become an opportunity to shift school funding to more reliable revenue sources, as well as to sources that are more fair to taxpayers and to students. He says&#58; “I’m just hopeful that we can take some good out of all this bad and reform our systems in this unprecedented time.”</p> Wallace editorial team792020-10-20T04:00:00ZYour 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.10/20/2020 3:54:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts Some see hope as state and school leaders shift funding options 403https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
School Leaders Keep Eye on Equity as Unusual Year Begins29492GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Schools, has heard the same concern from parents across her district’s 161 schools since in-person instruction was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. No matter where they live, she says, parents throughout her high-poverty district are worried that their children are losing ground academically during this period. </p><p>They have reason to be concerned&#58; A McKinsey &amp; Company report estimates that if in-person instruction does not fully resume until January, black, Hispanic and low-income students could lose as much as nine to 12 months of learning because they are less likely to have received high-quality remote instruction last spring and now again this fall. </p><p>As Baltimore developed its re-opening plan, some voices in the district argued that schools should focus on students’ social and emotional needs and put academics on the back burner. Santelises refused. Schools must tend to their students’ mental health, she says, but short-changing instruction would only exacerbate learning loss and widen the achievement gap for the most vulnerable groups. Simply put, schools have to do it all. &#160;</p><p>“It is easier in this time period to resonate in a broken-child narrative, to almost let ourselves off the hook for choosing to do one or the other,” she says. “I would argue that…in this crucible, we actually are being charged for the first time to do both-and for children who are not used to having people address their needs both-and.” &#160;</p><p>Approaching the re-opening of schools with a ‘both-and’ mindset was the central theme of Santelises’s keynote address at last month’s convening of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Learning Community. The virtual event drew more than 270 participants, including 17 superintendents, from 80 districts across the U.S. that are testing a toolkit that guides how they hire, train and match principals to schools. The toolkit is based on lessons learned from the Principal Pipeline Initiative, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">which found a significant improvement in math and reading scores</a> across six districts that took a strategic approach to school leadership. The convening focused on principal pipeline activities in the midst of the pandemic and how districts like Baltimore are ensuring equity as schools re-open.&#160; </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-plc-post-core-principles-lg-feature.jpg" alt="blog-plc-post-core-principles-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Equity is one of five core principles—along with health and safety, high-quality student learning, stakeholder engagement and continuous improvement—guiding Baltimore’s re-opening plan . The district examines every policy and practice with an eye on equity, determining which students may be disparately affected and how to mitigate those effects. Baltimore students started the school year virtually, but if and when schools transition to a hybrid-learning model, struggling students such as English learners and those far behind in reading and math will return to the classroom first. The district is also digging into attendance data during remote learning to expose disparities “so that we can have a response that is not the same for all, but that names without fear or frankly, apology, that there are certain groups of students that actually require more attention,” Santelises says.</p><p>Students aren’t the only ones needing attention as the school year gets under way. The convening also featured a panel of central-office leaders from three districts who described their efforts to support principals as they adjust to ever-shifting policies and lead their school communities during such trying circumstances. Rudy Jimenez, assistant superintendent of North East Independent School District, which serves 64,000 students in San Antonio, Texas, discussed how his district revised its communications strategy with principals after realizing that some were misinterpreting information coming from the central office. District leaders added a second weekly meeting with principals to avoid overwhelming them with too much information at once and shared their talking points after each virtual gathering for principals to review. The pandemic has also amplified the critical role of the district’s four principal supervisors. “They’ve been able to take the pulse of what’s going on in their collective schools and act accordingly,” says Jimenez.</p><p>The first day of school started at 3 a.m. for panelist Sheila McCabe, assistant superintendent for educational services for Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, with calls from principals who were being evacuated from their homes due to fast-moving wildfires in their region 45 miles north of San Francisco. The district postponed re-opening for a few days and its 21,000 students are currently fully remote. Re-opening has brought heightened attention to principals’ social and emotional wellbeing, says McCabe. After it became apparent that principals were running themselves ragged as they prepared for distance learning, district leaders realized they had to do a better job giving principals the space—and permission—to unplug and take time for themselves. Supporting principals has also meant rethinking how fast to proceed with the district’s pipeline-building efforts. “The question becomes, how much do we push and how much do we back off in helping site leaders move forward with these initiatives while simultaneously recognizing their capacity based on everything that’s taking place?” McCabe says.</p><p>The good news is that the pandemic hasn’t derailed pipeline work in many districts. Plenary attendees described holding virtual boot camps for new principals over the summer, hiring coaches to support school leaders, and implementing leader tracking systems to better manage principals’ career development. Boston Public Schools completely revamped its recruiting website in the midst of the pandemic, adding details about required leadership competencies, profiles of principal mentors and photos of its two most recent cohorts of new principals, 75 percent of whom are minorities. The goal, explains Corey Harris, Boston’s chief of accountability, is to give applicants a sense of who they will work with and what they will experience if they’re hired. Boston’s hiring process had already begun when the pandemic struck, but the district quickly pivoted to an all-virtual experience. Applicants can even do a dry run on Zoom before their interview to check connectivity.&#160; </p><p>While their districts continue adjusting to the new normal, participants in the learning community agreed that collaboration with families, staff, community partners and others is essential to ensuring an equitable response to a school year that will be like no other. Parents, noted Santelises, are counting on them. “Our families have not relinquished their belief in the power of education to give their young people the kinds of agency that oftentimes underresourced communities have not been able to fully experience.”</p>Jennifer Gill832020-10-13T04:00:00ZRecent convening of leaders from 80 U.S. school districts addresses issues of equity and principal support as schools re-open.10/13/2020 1:02:49 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / School Leaders Keep Eye on Equity as Unusual Year Begins Recent convening of leaders from 80 U.S. school districts 321https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
High-Quality Art and Community Relevance Key to Healthy Arts Organizations29432GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>What are common strategies employed by leaders of sustainable arts organizations? How might arts and culture institutions achieve organizational health and financial sustainability? A recent report by SMU DataArts, in partnership with The Wallace Foundation addresses these questions and more. </p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-alchemy-of-high-performing-arts-organizations.aspx">The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations</a> studies two cohorts of organizations&#58; 10 with a long track record of high performance and 10 that engineered a “turnaround” from low to high performance. Through an analysis of similarities across the two groups, the report offers a blueprint of how they achieved organizational health, the cornerstone of which appears to lie between programmatic excellence and community relevance. Though the study was undertaken prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s being shared with the hope that the past experiences of 20 arts organizations may inform thinking about strategies for recovery.</p><p>We spoke with Zannie Voss, Ph.D., director of SMU DataArts, over email to explore pivotal insights from the report. </p><p><strong>What is the significance of examining arts organizations that engineered a “turnaround” from low to high performance, instead of focusing your research solely on arts organizations that have proven to sustain organizational health over a long period of time?&#160; </strong></p><p>The situation of the average organization is a need and desire to improve performance—how to get from their current Point A to Point B and beyond. Turnaround organizations have been in a similar position not long ago and can illuminate the path forward. Had we focused only on arts organizations that had proven to sustain organizational health over a long period, we might have missed the opportunity to better understand how to get the ball rolling towards high performance. </p><p>We learned that the high performing arts organizations in this study were once turnaround organizations.&#160; Their turnaround simply occurred prior to the timeframe captured in the data for this project. This finding reinforced the notion that turnarounds are not only possible, but their success can endure.</p><p><strong>You shared that both cohorts follow the mantra “success breeds success,” and assert that achieving “tactical wins” creates a positive feedback loop. For organizations currently struggling to obtain financial health, how might they identify their first “tactical win” to pursue? </strong></p><p>Initial tactical wins come in all shapes and forms, and typically result from some degree of risk-taking or innovation. We heard several examples such as&#58; 1) a first large gift that followed a big idea or strategy shift for the organization’s future; 2) the first time a shift in strategy or new programming successfully attracted the intended audience; 3) the first time another organization agreed to the idea of a partnership; 4) the first time board giving reached 100%; and, 5) the first time people were willing to pay for digital programming. </p><p>Each organization will have its own answer to the question&#58; “What will be our first, early win?”</p><p><strong>Recognizing that this data was gathered and synthesized prior to the onset of COVID-19, how can the findings still serve as a guide for other arts organizations?&#160;</strong></p><p>Coming out of the pandemic, many organizations will be looking for guidance on how to turnaround performance and become more stable. We contacted study participants two months into the COVID-19 crisis to ask whether their mental model for how success happens still held at this unique time. They unanimously confirmed that the underlying principles still hold, although some indicated that aspects, such as community orientation and adaptive capability have taken on even greater importance. Still, we acknowledge that the pandemic’s toll on human lives, the economy and public perceptions about the safety of gathering to share cultural experiences in closed spaces may impact aspects of this model in untold ways (e.g., introduction of new elements, the critical nature of some elements over others, timeframe required, etc.).</p><p><strong>What do you hope leaders of arts organizations will take away from the report’s findings and insights? </strong></p><p>Success is not accidental or haphazard. All interviewees possess a mental map—or playbook—for how success happens, created with involvement from staff and board. I hope arts leaders use the model as a framework for analyzing where their organization stands on the various elements. Does it heavily emphasize high standards of program excellence but underinvest in its community? Is the organization’s culture built on trust, transparency and a participatory management style? Is the organization’s energy in a place of passion, aggression or resignation? Are all decisions guided by mission alignment? Given what the organization has, what it does and where its expertise lies, where are there new opportunities to be seized? </p><p>Ultimately, success takes a slow, controlled burn. Grounded plans recognize multiple steps in the process rather than assuming a single action or miracle moment will provide transformation. </p>Wallace editorial team792020-10-06T04:00:00ZAuthor of new report finds that successful arts and culture institutions credit careful planning and dedicated work10/6/2020 1:51:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / High-Quality Art and Community Relevance Key to Healthy Arts Organizations Author of new report finds that successful arts 222https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping Kids Learning and Connected this Fall24471GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​In response to the coronavirus pandemic last March, schools across the country closed their doors and pivoted quickly to distance learning. School and district leaders scrambled to distribute paper packets, devices and mobile hotspots, as well as to get students connected to free or inexpensive broadband internet. Inequities became apparent almost immediately as many students faced challenges accessing online classes. </p><p>With many schools now starting the new year in a hybrid or fully digital model, we took a look at how school leaders are building on lessons learned from the spring, testing out innovative approaches to digital learning and ensuring that students, particularly those who are most vulnerable, have what they need to be successful. </p><p><strong>The digital divide is not a new phenomenon</strong> </p><p>The digital divide—also known as “the homework gap”—existed long before the pandemic. A 2019 Pew Research Center study found that a third of rural Americans said they did not have a broadband internet connection at home. Ownership of desktop or laptop computers among rural Americans has only risen slightly since 2008. A Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data showed that one in five school-aged children do not have high-speed internet in their home; that number increases to one in three when focused on children from low-income households. </p><p>Many district leaders, like Superintendent Robert Runcie in Broward County, Fla., had been working to eliminate this gap over the past several years and were therefore better positioned for the shift to distance learning last March. (Broward is one of six districts that participated in The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative.) The district had invested in infrastructure including a single sign-on system for teachers and staff; a learning management system called Canvas, which allowed for blended learning and sharing of ideas and curricula across the district; and a decreased ratio of students to computers, shifting from 6&#58;1 to 1&#58;1, effectively. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" id="div_993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>Making the call this fall</strong> </p><p>The unprecedented crisis and limited federal guidance meant that district leaders faced complex decisions about whether or how to open their buildings. <br> “And that was, in some cases, at the expense of time and energy focused on making virtual learning as good as it can be,” said Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at The Education Trust (one of Wallace’s communications partners) and co-author of a report on promising digital learning practices from districts across the country.<br></p><p>Runcie started planning at the end of last spring for the very real possibility school would still be virtual in the fall. His team worked to understand best practices and recommendations for re-opening from other school systems across the country and around the world. At the time, infection rates in Florida were increasing and he knew his district was nowhere near ready to re-open in person. Schools opened in August with 100 percent virtual learning. </p><p><strong>Lessons learned so far this fall </strong></p><p>In Broward, with devices distributed and access to internet supported by partnerships with Comcast and AT&amp;T, Runcie turned his attention toward teachers. <br> “We wanted to make sure that there was a consistent level of high-quality education experiences online this year,” he said. </p><p>His district spent the summer training teachers to be more confident and effective using the online platform and tools. They found that some teachers had already risen to “master expert” level when it came to using these tools, and tapped their newfound expertise to help build capacity of others.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905" id="div_cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905"></div><div id="vid_cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Despite the number of challenges school leaders face, Socol notes that school and district leaders have “really rise(n) to the occasion … and marshalled all of their resources and all of their people to meet the needs of students who are most struggling.” </p><p>A report Socol co-wrote in collaboration with Digital Promise, “<a href="https&#58;//s3-us-east-2.amazonaws.com/edtrustmain/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/06163247/10-Questions-for-Equity-Advocates-to-Ask-About-Distance-Learning-During-COVID-19-May-2020.pdf">With Schools Closed and Distance Learning the Norm, How is Your District Meeting the Needs of Its Students</a>?,” compiles innovative strategies and best practices districts are using to improve digital learning, particularly for their most vulnerable students. Some highlights include&#58;</p><ul><li>New Orleans distributed tens of thousands of Chromebooks, making students experiencing homelessness a priority</li><li>New York City Public Schools partnered with Apple and T-Mobile to provide LTE-enabled iPads to students</li><li>Rock Hill Public Schools in South Carolina provided curbside IT support outside of school buildings</li><li>Highline Public Schools in Washington state and Austin school districts sent wifi-equipped buses to apartment complexes and neighborhoods where students struggled with internet access</li><li>In Phoenix Union High School District, district leaders instituted a program in which an adult contacts every student every day to ensure they and their families have what they need </li><li>In New Orleans and San Francisco, free student support hubs involve adults besides classroom teachers in helping students with digital learning in small group settings</li></ul><p>Socol notes that sharing these ideas across state borders is an important role that state leaders can play. </p><p>“We would love to see state leaders think about how to collect information about what districts are doing, to track data on the success of these new initiatives…and then to help share those practices with other districts that are still trying to figure out how to help students learn in this moment,” she said.</p><p><strong>Prioritizing historically underserved students </strong></p><p>Despite school leaders’ best efforts to equip students with the devices they need to participate in digital learning, there is more work to be done, particularly for students of color and those from low-income households. </p><p>“There are so many other challenges besides just having a computer or an iPad or the internet,” Socol points out. “Students need a quiet space in order to participate and engage in online instruction. They need access to support if their internet’s down…. Younger students may need an adult there to help them access the instruction online.” </p><p>Runcie is still focused on helping Broward students who are struggling with basic needs, who may be left at home alone at a young age or who may be facing abuse. Part of Broward’s distance learning planning includes ensuring that social services are maintained. Since June, Runcie reports that social workers have provided 160,000 interventions in response to over 36,000 referrals. </p><p>Socol encourages school and district leaders to focus their efforts and energies on thinking of those students most underserved by the public school system. Some districts, such as Arlington Public Schools in Virginia, are planning to phase in in-person learning, starting with students with disabilities, English-language learners and those from low-income families. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288" id="div_4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288"></div><div id="vid_4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>Advice for other school leaders </strong></p><p>Communication and transparency are at the top of Runcie’s priority list this fall, and he urges other district leaders to focus on the same.&#160;&#160;</p><p>“Communicate, communicate, communicate. Do it with integrity and be transparent, straight up with the community, what challenges you’re facing, what the approaches are and make sure you’re listening to them,” Runcie said. </p><p>His district conducted three major surveys of families. They held town halls and forums, partnering closely with the PTA, the special needs student advisory council and the school board. </p><p>Socol echoed the need to communicate regularly and honestly, adding a call for data collection. She hopes to see schools and districts conducting diagnostic assessments at the beginning of the school year to understand where students are and what they need to make up for lost instructional time. “And we need to see continued communication and transparency from school systems about how [distance learning] is going,” she added. </p><p>Finally, Runcie would like to see his fellow superintendents invest in technology, which includes both infrastructure and training for teachers and staff.&#160;</p><p>“Digital learning is something I believe is going to be here with us for the long run,” he said, noting that many children may have underlying health conditions or live in multigenerational households, factors that could keep them at home even if schools reopen their doors for in-person learning. “I think it’s something that you’ve got to commit to do, because I think it’s going to be part of our portfolio of offerings and the type of flexibility that we need to have in public education going forward.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-09-29T04:00:00ZAs the new school year kicks off—mostly virtually—how far have districts come since March in providing a strong online learning experience for students?9/29/2020 6:11:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping Kids Learning and Connected this Fall As the new school year kicks off—mostly virtually—how far have districts come 370https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Brings challenges (and Opportunities) for Arts Education28602GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​“My theme today is adaptation,” said Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s director of the arts, on a recent webinar hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA). “By that I mean a special kind of change. A change that makes a practice better suited to its environment.”</p><p>This environment, of course, is the one we are now six months into, where the COVID-19 pandemic, economic insecurity and uprisings for racial justice have transformed life in this country. For the students and teachers in arts learning programs, this has meant a total pivot, everything from transitioning to online learning and virtual convenings to teaching artists being laid off at extremely high rates. These changes and much more&#160;came up in the GIA webinar, where Ramos spoke along with Kimberly Olsen, executive director of NYC Arts in Education Roundtable and Alex Nock, principal of Penn Hill Group.<br> </p><p><strong>Adaptation at BGCA</strong></p><p>Back in 2014, Wallace and three Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in the Midwest embarked upon the Youth Arts Initiative to discover if <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/something-to-say-success-principles-for-afterschool-arts-programs.aspx">10 principles drawn from the nation’s best, specialty afterschool arts programs</a> could be applied within a general youth-serving organization better known for its sports programs. No one knew if it would work, but over the five years of the initiative, the clubs did <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx">manage to successfully implement high-quality art skill-development programs</a> as defined by the Ten Principles for Success. Additionally, the retention rates for young people in the initiative was <em>twice </em>that of young people who were not in the program.</p><p>YAI is now in its second wave in five cities, testing whether the Ten Principles can be adapted to a lower-cost model. Clubs designed several new strategies, such as hiring assistants for teaching artists and focusing on lower-cost art forms, and initial results were promising. </p><p>Then COVID-19 changed everything. </p><p>“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on arts and culture and the education system at large,” Kimberly Olsen said in her presentation.&#160;According to Olsen, drastic budget cuts due to the pandemic have fallen disproportionately on arts education, impacting cultural organizations, their ability to serve students and also trickling down to&#160;their&#160;teaching artists. </p><p><strong>The Impact on Teaching Artists</strong></p><p>“Before the pandemic we knew that teaching artists were at risk,” Olsen said. According to a <a href="https&#58;//dataarts.smu.edu/artsresearch2014/articles/blog-white-papers/covid-19-impact-nonprofit-arts-and-culture-new-york-city">recent DataArts survey</a>, teaching artists have been laid off at high rates, with a 78% decrease in artist staffing at NYC-based organizations as of May 8; of the 5,000 teaching artists who responded to the survey, 96% have experienced a loss of income.</p><p>Amazingly, Ramos said, four of the five BGCA clubs have managed to keep all of their teaching artist staff. “We continued our funding of teaching artists and programs in our clubs regardless of whether they were opened or closed,” she explained. This enabled BGCA to launch a new program called “Creates” with a special website and tips on maximizing limited budgets, arts projects and program assessment.</p><p>Sadly, not all organizations have been as lucky. According to the same survey by SMU DataArts referenced above, over 25% of organizations stated that they have laid off or furloughed their staff and artist workforce, and 11% of organizations indicated that they do not think they will survive the COVID-19 crisis.</p><p>“Our city announced a draft budget that saw tremendous cuts to arts education funding that would not only jeopardize the city’s recovery process, but limit both school and cultural organizations’ capacity to serve and engage young people while disproportionately impacting these nonprofit cultural organizations as well as students from low income communities,” Olsen explained.</p><p>As a result, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable launched an efficacy campaign called <a href="https&#58;//nycaieroundtable.org/arts-are-essential/">Arts Are Essential</a>, with the goal of preserving arts education funding and investing in the community. “With all of this in mind, it&#160;means that organizations must be flexible,” Olsen said. “Flexibility means survival.”</p><p>Early lessons are emerging from BGCA’s new program as well. “Some downsides are clear – going online caused attention spans to be shorter, hours had to be reduced, fewer youth are joining, and as with regular school, lack of technology is a problem for some,” Ramos explained. “But there are some unexpected upsides like new opportunities to engage with parents; older youth have come in providing leadership roles, and youth are reporting that they feel more emotionally safe doing work at home.”</p><p><strong>Heading Toward Recovery</strong></p><p>According to Olsen, the arts and culture sector and teaching artists are going to play a huge part in the recovery of schools and communities. So how can philanthropy support artists who have been hit the hardest? </p><p>Given the very real threats to teaching artists and to arts learning programs overall, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable encourages philanthropy to take the following action steps&#58;<br></p><ul><li>Include teaching artists in conversations and decision-making processes as the arts sector is redefined </li><li>Invest resources in emergency funding to grant immediate direct-to-individual support for teaching artists to offset the disproportional financial impact </li><li>Ensure that funding language and programs include teaching artists</li><li>Examine longstanding siloed funding priorities</li><li>Ensure arts organizations that are being funded compensate teaching artists with fair wages<br></li></ul><p>Penn Hill Group’s Alex Nock added another way for organizations to take advantage of potential funding&#58; The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act</a>. Its provisions include more than $30 billion for K-12 and higher education programs; more than $4 billion for early childhood education; and other supports such as forgivable loans to nonprofits, including many providers of afterschool or summer programs. It also expanded states’ ability to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, including for gig economy workers and individuals like artists, who would not ordinarily be eligible. </p><p>Nock spoke about other important pieces of COVID relief that affect artists and the art world in general. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided flexibility and additional funding for state unemployment insurance agencies to respond to COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provided $319 billion to replenish the program created under the CARES Act, in&#160;which loans to small businesses and nonprofits&#160;may be forgiven if businesses maintain their payroll.&#160; </p><p>Looking ahead to next year, Nock said that&#160;the House had passed the majority of its 2021 appropriations bills in two packages, which included moderate increases, but said we can expect&#160;the&#160;appropriations to&#160;be wrapped up after the November&#160;election. He is hopeful that the next package of COVID federal funding will include more money for education.</p><p>Whatever happens with the funding going forward, Olsen emphasized that collaboration, flexibility and adaptation will help the sector survive and thrive.&#160;“While it’s been a hard time for the arts in education community, the field is resilient,” she said. “They’re creative, and they are driven to support their students in whatever way they can. We’re seeing opportunities and potential growing each day.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-09-22T04:00:00ZRecent webinar discusses how teaching artists and cultural institutions are responding to COVID-19 and beyond9/22/2020 6:03:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Brings challenges (and Opportunities) for Arts Education Recent webinar discusses how teaching artists and 442https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Today's Focus on Principal Effectiveness Breaks Sharply with the Past24364GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#02d6f4ae-88a2-4236-b1a9-1f37b2599002;L0|#002d6f4ae-88a2-4236-b1a9-1f37b2599002|District Policy and Practice;GPP|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;GP0|#8cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba;L0|#08cf34914-7bff-4dc4-95c0-d6e59a295cba|Effective Principal Leadership<p>If you want to know about school principals, consider getting a data dump from Susan Gates. As a senior researcher at the RAND Corp., Gates has been key to numerous studies exploring the principalship, many commissioned by Wallace. The most recent, published in June, is a first-of-its-kind look at the prevalence in large and medium-sized school districts of comprehensive, systemic efforts—known as principal pipelines—to develop a large corps of effective school principals. &#160;</p><p>In a way, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/taking-stock-of-principal-pipelines.aspx"> <em>Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines&#58; What Public School Districts Report Doing and What They Want to Do to Improve School Leadership</em></a> brings Gates full circle. Close to two decades ago, she was the lead researcher on another Wallace-commissioned report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/overview-of-school-administrators-and-their-careers.aspx"> <em>Who is Leading Our Schools&#58; An Overview of School Administrators and Their Careers</em></a>. Published in 2003, that study helped overturn the then-common view that the nation was facing a shortage of people certified to become principals. The report influenced Wallace’s decision to devote the foundation’s education leadership efforts to helping more principals work in a way that could improve schools, a move that eventually led to Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. With that came a <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">groundbreaking 2019 report </a>by Gates and her team finding that pipelines can have significant benefits for student achievement and principal retention. &#160;</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Todays-Focus-on-Principal-Effectiveness-Breaks-Sharply-With-the-Concerns-of-20-Years-Ago/gates_9114-(002).jpg" alt="gates_9114-(002).jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;159px;height&#58;201px;" />We recently caught up with Gates to ask her to reflect on the “then” and “now” in the principal landscape, including what the COVID-19 crisis has meant for school leadership. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Since 2003, what changes have you seen in the discussions about school leadership? Are we at a different place from where we were 17 years ago—pandemic notwithstanding?</strong></p><p>I’ve seen a tremendous shift in the public discourse around school leadership in the last two decades.&#160; Twenty years ago, attention was focused on a pending wave of retirements and questions about whether there would be enough people to replace the retirees. Policymakers were also worried about high principal turnover rates—especially in more challenging high-needs schools. But the focus was really on whether there were sufficient numbers of people to fill vacancies. </p><p>Concerns about turnover and filling vacancies remain today, but the discussion is now focused on whether schools have effective principals. It’s not enough to simply put more people through principal preparation programs. There is growing recognition that the principal’s job is exceedingly complex and unpredictable. We’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years about how to prepare people for this important role. Research has identified features of good principal preparation. But we’ve also learned that prep programs can’t do it all. Twenty years ago, there was this notion that a person with two to three years of teaching experience could attend a good preparation program and at the end of it be ready to serve as principal in any environment with minimal support. Today, we understand that school leadership is itself a career with expectations for growth and development. This implies that good school leadership must be a shared responsibility of preparation programs and the school districts that hire and support principals. </p><p>The search for strategies to improve principal quality now focuses on improving preparation programs and the activities of districts. Are they hiring the right candidate for the job? Are they providing that person with the supports they need to be effective? Are they helping them identify their growth areas and supporting them in their professional development? And are they working in partnership with preparation programs to improve preparation?</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/taking-stock-of-principal-pipelines.aspx"><strong><em>Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines</em></strong></a><strong> is the first systematic look at the status of principal pipelines in large and medium size districts across the nation. Should readers be surprised by how much activity in pipelines is under way now—or be surprised about the gaps? How do you and your team see the findings? </strong></p><p>Pipeline activities are those related to the preparation, hiring, evaluation and support of principals. Districts employ principals and so it is natural to expect that all districts would be doing some if not most of these pipeline activities. And that is what we found. Districts of all sizes reported that they are devoting effort to the preparation, hiring, evaluation and support of principals. Not only that, the leaders in nearly all districts reported prioritizing school leadership as a lever for school improvement. There’s a pervasive understanding across the country that school principals matter. At the same time, less than half of districts reported moderate or high satisfaction with their pool of principal candidates. This suggests that districts see pipelines as an area for improvement.</p><p> <strong>What does the study tell us about differences in pipeline activities between large districts, medium districts and smaller districts?</strong></p><p>Districts of all size reported engaging in pipeline activities and there was substantial interest across districts of all sizes in doing more in each area. Medium districts reported engaging in fewer pipeline activities. &#160;They were less likely to have principal standards and a process to encourage or “tap” individuals to become school leaders. They were also less likely to use performance-based hiring metrics and standards-aligned evaluation and to have a position dedicated to school leadership.&#160; </p><p>These differences between medium and large districts were not terribly surprising. It takes some up-front effort to set up some of these activities—you have to develop standards, hiring processes, evaluation metrics. Smaller districts tend to have fewer schools and hence fewer principals. So the payoff to them from such up-front efforts may be smaller.&#160; </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Todays-Focus-on-Principal-Effectiveness-Breaks-Sharply-With-the-Concerns-of-20-Years-Ago/Percentage-of-10K-Districts-Reporting-Prevalence-of-Principal-Pipeline-chart.jpg" alt="Percentage-of-10K-Districts-Reporting-Prevalence-of-Principal-Pipeline-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;600px;height&#58;568px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>The current study found that large numbers of the district officials you interviewed want to upgrade their pipeline activities, everything from pre-service principal preparation to on-the-job support. What do your study and other research suggest will be the easiest and most difficult areas to strengthen?</strong></p><p>Research on the principal pipeline districts suggests that efforts to strengthen principal preparation can be challenging because there is a long lag time before such efforts will result in improvements in principal quality. In contrast, efforts to improve hiring and professional development for current principals can have more immediate impact. Although nearly all districts in our study reported doing something with regard to on the job support, this is also an area where most districts also wanted to do more. What struck me as an important growth area was the use of performance-based hiring approaches. This is a pipeline activity with relatively low prevalence nationwide.&#160; </p><p> <strong>The COVID-19 crisis has placed huge demands on public school education. What role are school leaders playing in keeping education going during this time, and how should districts be thinking now about their principal pipelines? </strong></p><p>Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis there was a recognition that the principal’s job is exceedingly complex and unpredictable. National school leadership standards outline 10 areas that principals need to master&#58;&#160; mission, ethics, curriculum and instruction, student support, professional capacity of school personnel, professional community of school staff, community engagement, management and school improvement. It’s as if all principals need to have the same toolbox, along with the ability to figure out which tool to use at which time. When a principal first takes over a school, they have to spend time figuring out what prioritize and how. In other words, which tools to use and how best to use them. Then they make adjustments over time. </p><p>The COVID-19 crisis disrupted the landscape for all schools. All principals had to re-think how they were approaching each area. Some may have had to dig deeply into their toolbox to find tools that they hadn’t had to use in a while. </p><p>School principals tend to be highly dedicated to the communities and students they serve, and according to a recent <a href="https&#58;//www.pewresearch.org/politics/2019/09/19/why-americans-dont-fully-trust-many-who-hold-positions-of-power-and-responsibility/" target="_blank">Pew survey</a>, they are among the most trusted category of public officials, along with police officers and members of the military. Families and communities are stretched in so many ways, and they are turning to these trusted school principals for help. So while principals are still expected to be the instructional leader of the school (now with a focus on supporting virtual learning options), they are also&#160; in charge of providing meals to families, making connections to social services, developing contract tracing and virus testing plans, and developing options for classroom set-up and bathroom breaks that honor social distancing requirements. And the list goes on. No principal preparation program could have fully prepared a principal for all aspects of this crisis so district support will be critical. Even highly effective veteran principals may need guidance, support or respite in these challenging times. By providing such support this school year, districts might be able to limit burnout and turnover.</p> <p> <em>Lead photo by Claire Holt</em></p>Wallace editorial team792020-09-15T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/15/2020 4:44:31 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Today's Focus on Principal Effectiveness Breaks Sharply with the Past RAND’s Susan Gates reflects on the changed discourse 486https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What We Need from The Arts Right Now24124GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​As arts organizations around the country plan to reopen, strategists and researchers at LaPlaca Cohen and Slover Linett have teamed up on a research initiative to help arts leaders understand what audiences want and expect from organizations during the pandemic—and how organizations can address the hopes, fears and needs of people as they consider returning. The new study, <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/">Culture Track&#58; Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis</a>, based on responses from more than 120,000 survey respondents, sheds light on the current cultural landscape.<u> </u></p><p>We caught up with Jen Benoit-Bryan, vice president &amp; co-director of research at Slover Linett Audience Research and Diane Jean-Mary, partner and chief strategy officer at LaPlaca Cohen, over email to learn more about the implications of the study and how people might look to it for guidance.</p><p> <strong>We know you have been sharing these findings with arts leaders around the country. What has resonated with the field? How are organizations applying this data? </strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Djm headshot_color.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-We-Need-from-Arts-and-Culture-Right-Now/Djm%20headshot_color.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;175px;height&#58;175px;" />DJM</strong>&#58; Presenting the findings amidst our placeless, Zoom-fueled, reality has provided space for a truly national conversation surrounding the role of arts and culture in our society. Previously, our Culture Track road shows were highly localized, bringing in audiences from a particular city or region to discuss the latest findings. This year, we were able to have far greater dialogue at the national level as participants tune into our presentations from all around the country. This feels particularly vital in a year when we are all navigating the same global issues of health, a hurting economy, and the fight for racial justice. It’s been pretty incredible to see institutions around the country not just take meaningful insights from the study but also from each other. </p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Jen6.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-We-Need-from-Arts-and-Culture-Right-Now/Jen6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;175px;height&#58;117px;" />JBB</strong>&#58; One of the most surprising and meaningful insights from the data has been the high level of arts and culture digital participation among the general public during COVID-19, and crucially, the finding that digital offerings seem to be expanding and diversifying participation. It has been fascinating to see that for many segments of the arts and culture sector, a lot of the people using digital content from organizations hadn’t attended that type of organization in person in the previous year—for example, 51 percent of people using digital content from science museums during COVID-19 hadn’t been to a science museum in person in 2019. </p><p>Perhaps even more importantly, those using digital content who hadn’t been in-person were much more likely to be diverse along demographics that we know are underrepresented in arts and cultural organizations, such as people with low incomes, low education levels and Black or African Americans. We have heard from many organizations who are already using these findings to explain why resources for digital engagement are critical now and in the future.</p><p> <strong>You’ve both been doing research on audiences for many years. What is different about these findings? What do audiences continue to value during a pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> &#160;A central assumption we held when designing this work was the need to understand what communities require and want from cultural organizations during COVID-19. Therefore, it was critical that we hear from a range of audiences and attenders to culture—defined quite broadly—as well as the public with their varied types and degrees of connection to culture. That’s unique. Most studies focus on a single organization’s audiences or perhaps a portion of the cultural landscape like orchestras, but this study goes way beyond those frames of reference. The sheer scale of participation in the study—over 120,000 respondents—allowed us to slice and compare segments of the data in a more granular way, which is extremely powerful for understanding portions of the whole like users of digital arts and culture activities.</p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; COVID-19, in every fundamental way, has disrupted our sense of what normal looks like, and we’re seeing that bear out in the research. In a time of such great uncertainty, many are turning to creativity, perhaps as a way to regain a sense of agency, expression and enjoyment. It was great to see how many people are leaning into their inner artist and maker&#58; singing, crafting, baking, painting and more. There are also facets of culture that are just as vital now as they were before the pandemic, particularly in the ways that people perceive the value of the arts&#58; a force for connecting us to each other, for understanding the vastness of human experience, and for emotional and intellectual escape.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Was there anything that surprised you about these findings?</strong> </p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> I was surprised by the proportion of the public—96 percent—that sees a role for arts and culture organizations during a crisis like COVID-19. When we wrote this question, we thought many people might tell us that arts and culture should just “get out of the way” during a crisis, but people are looking to arts and culture for four main kinds of help&#58; support staying connected with others and educating kids; emotional support; practical support and opportunities for distraction and escape.<br><br><strong>What is one key finding you hope organizations will take away from the study?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; The single most revealing finding was just how big the racial inclusion problem is in our sector. Anecdotally, the field understands that it has failed to welcome and serve communities of color and has made strides to confront diversity, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve equity and inclusion, and this is reflected in the data. Our survey reached 122,000 respondents, largely pulled from lists provided by over 650 cultural organizations around the nation. The overwhelming majority of those audiences are white, 85 percent of the audiences surveyed through their lists to be exact. Of those surveyed through cultural organizations’ lists, just three percent are Black, five percent are Hispanix/Latinx and four percent are Asian/Pacific Islander. Less than one percent is Native American. Every organization should reflect on this data, unpacking the barriers that have signaled to BIPOC audiences that we do not belong. </p><p>For the future relevance of the arts, cultural organizations will have to change alongside our society. And that change cannot be limited to the visitor-facing channels at their disposal. Audiences can see through the optics of superficial inclusion, they can feel when diversity is a mere checkbox. Cultural organizations should instead focus on building trust, relevance and connection with their audiences of color.&#160; </p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> &#160; The research also provides some clear evidence about the changes that would make arts and culture organizations better for Black or African American respondents and Hispanic or Latinx respondents. Almost three-quarters of Black or African American respondents, two-thirds of Hispanic or Latinx respondents and about half of the public want arts and culture organizations to become more centered on their communities and the people in them. This includes changes such as greater diversity; a focus on local artists, nonprofits and community; deepening engagement with young people; treating employees fairly; and being friendlier to all kinds of people. There’s more to unpack and explore here, particularly through the upcoming qualitative research coming next. </p><p> <strong>Did the data give any clues as to the future of organizations using digital content going forward?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; With increasing financial pressure placed on cultural organizations to recoup revenue lost to COVID-19 closures, many institutions are assessing how best to monetize their virtual content. It is important as they examine all the options on the table, not to regard digital as a substitute for prior onsite revenues. The data suggests that the audience’s appetite for paid digital content is quite low. Instead, digital offerings present an opportunity for broadening audiences beyond the typical visitor. We’re seeing greater engagement particularly amongst people of color and lower income families.&#160;Digital is a great tool that institutions should deploy in service to bettering the lives of their communities, rather than as a driver of revenue.</p><p> <strong>What is the level of confidence on these findings? Do you feel they are broadly applicable?</strong></p><p> <strong>JBB&#58; </strong>As we designed the study, we made a few decisions with the goal of creating a broadly applicable and useful dataset. First, we defined “arts and culture” quite widely and worked to recruit participating organizations across the sector. We also worked with NORC [National Opinion Research Center] at the University of Chicago to draw an extremely rigorous and representative sample of the public with a margin of error of 2.88 percentage points. In survey design, we made the strategic decision not to ask any questions that were focused just on the organization distributing the survey—although we considered it—because we wanted these findings to be broadly useful to the arts and culture sector.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Given the findings, what kind of an arts experience would people be responsive to over the next six to 12 months?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; Based on what we’re seeing from the data and hearing from the field, the most successful arts experiences of the future will be designed around what audiences are so desperately missing in their lives—connection, novelty and adventure. We’re in the wild west of creativity and invention, and people seem more willing to experiment with activities that help them reconnect with the parts of life we’ve lost. We are all craving connection with our loved ones and that will only grow in intensity as we move from one year in quarantine to the next. I bet that any arts organization that provides a way for friends and families to connect through shared, novel experiences will be a major hit with audiences. This is especially true if the experience embraces a participatory approach that invites the audience to be the engineers of the adventure, fun and sense of togetherness. Bonus points for experiences that get us off Zoom and into the world (safely, of course), and also for experiences that help parents and caregivers educate children in a fun and interactive way.&#160; </p><p> <em> <span> <span> <strong> </strong></span></span>Diane Jean-Mary is a global strategy consultant with expertise in organizational change and transformation for the field of arts and entertainment. As Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at LaPlaca Cohen, Diane oversees a dynamic range of projects, nationally and internationally, on cultural entrepreneurship, mission and purpose development, brand strategy, strategic visioning, and audience development across non-profit and corporate creative institutions. She also leads the firm's ongoing Culture Track study, an insights and innovation platform dedicated to addressing the most pressing challenges in the cultural sector. <br></em></p><p> <em><span><span><strong></strong></span></span>Jen Benoit-Bryan is the Vice President &amp; Co-director of Research at Slover Linett, a firm that uses the tools of research and evaluation to help the cultural sector understand its participants and communities, experiment with new strategies for engagement, and connect more deeply to more people. Jen has overseen a portfolio of over sixty complex client engagements over the past six years at Slover Linett, using the tools of research and evaluation to help organizations meet their goals. Since coming to Slover Linett in 2014, she has worked on wide-ranging, often multi-year projects with the National Academy of Sciences, Central Park Conservancy, the Kennedy Center, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera, Ballet Austin, the High Line, Dallas Zoo, and SFMOMA, among many other arts, culture, and informal learning organizations. Jen serves as the Principal Investigator &amp; Slover Linett Team Director for the Culture &amp; Community in a Time of Crisis (CCTC) study conducted in 2020 in partnership with LaPlaca Cohen. Jen earned her Ph.D. in public administration &amp; research methodology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. </em></p><em> </em>Wallace editorial team792020-09-09T04:00:00ZNew large-scale survey on cultural sector in the pandemic finds audiences crave meaningful digital experiences, more racial inclusion and connection with others9/11/2020 3:26:35 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What We Need from The Arts Right Now New large-scale survey on cultural sector in the pandemic finds audiences crave more 443https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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