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Data and Deliberation: A Dynamic Duo for Arts Organizations23735GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered performances, many performing arts organizations faced challenges. National statistics have shown stagnant or declining attendance across many art forms associated with the nonprofit performing arts (see <a href="https&#58;//www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/2012-sppa-jan2015-rev.pdf">2015</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/2017-sppapreviewREV-sept2018.pdf">2018</a> National Endowment reports, for example). While the problem is widely acknowledged, there is less consensus or confidence about how organizations can respond. </p><p>Can data and market research help? </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Data-and-Deliberation-A-Dynamic-Duo-for-Arts-Organizations/francie-headshot.jpg" alt="francie-headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;152px;height&#58;218px;" />The experiences of 25 performing arts organizations in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative offer helpful insights. Organizations in the multi-year initiative, which recently came to a close, received grants to try and enlarge and engage their audiences. While their specific projects differed, all the organizations made use of data collection and market research, generally through a mix of focus groups, ticketing database analyses and post-performance audience surveys. </p><p>The emphasis on data and market research was part of the initiative’s continuous learning approach, characterized by an iterative process of design, implementation, analysis and determination of changes needed for improvement. My team and I have been studying the experiences of the organizations in the initiative.&#160;Interim findings about this key part of the initiative are presented in a new report, <a name="_Hlk43134477"></a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/data-and-deliberation-how-some-arts-organizations-are-using-data-to-understand-their-audiences.aspx"> <em>Data and Deliberation&#58; How Some Arts Organizations Are Using Data to Understand their Audiences</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>The findings underscore that data is not a magic bullet. To the contrary, engaging with data is a complex and challenging undertaking. Despite the challenges, virtually everyone at the participating arts organizations found engaging with data helpful. Our findings, along with examples from participants’ experiences, are presented in full in the report. To briefly summarize here&#58;</p><ul><li> <strong>Engaging with data appeared most productive when embedded in a larger deliberative process.</strong> Here, data becomes an input into a broader process of reflection and assessment about whether organizational goals are being pursued. <br> <br></li><li> <strong>Data can yield useful insights beyond organizations’ immediate and planned purposes.</strong> We repeatedly found instances where engagement with data prompted organizations to become aware of unexamined assumptions they held about their intended audience. <br> <br></li><li> <strong>Productive data engagement can be complex and costly.</strong> While organizations expressed enthusiasm for taking a data-based approach, they also said that they rarely have adequate funds to do so.<br><br></li><li> <strong>Recognizing the rewards and challenges in advance can help organizations more effectively plan for data engagement.</strong> Key issues to consider are what type of data are most relevant and what resources will be needed to support data collection and analysis<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <strong>Effectively using data requires that </strong> <strong>organizational participants be able to frankly acknowledge what the data say about what is working and what is not working, in a fruitful rather than punitive fashion. </strong>Productive data engagement is not just about the data—but about how data are approached, the questions asked and a willingness to revise preconceptions.&#160; </li></ul><p>In a <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Audience-Building-Financial-Health-Nonprofit-Performing-Arts.pdf">review of the audience-building literature</a> we conducted earlier in our study, we found a dichotomy&#160; between those who value market research as a key tool and others who regard it as a somewhat manipulative sales effort rather than meaningful engagement.&#160;Our findings suggest a reconsideration of this dichotomy.&#160;<br></p><p>To a striking extent, we found that data, and an openness to what the data said, prompted the BAS organizations to confront their own insularity and recognize the extent to which they had not understood the perspective of external constituencies. Data is not engagement. Knowing about an audience is not the same as developing a relationship with that audience. But recognizing misconceptions, being prompted to ask about the audience rather than assuming that you understand audience members or that they think as you do can significantly contribute to relating differently and thus developing meaningful engagement. As expressed by one BAS participant while reflecting on her organization’s engagement with data&#58;&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">It’s changing the way that we interact. We have a thing we say here all the time. Like do we know it or do we really know it? And with audiences, you have to always ask yourself that…. We’ve gone from describing a couple of departments in this [organization] as outward-facing, and now we understand that we’re all outward-facing. </p><p>Data is not a magic bullet—but when the appropriate data are used with an openness to change and a willingness to question one’s preconceptions, data can provide a powerful tool indeed. ​<br><br></p>Francie Ostrower, Ph.D. 1092020-07-14T04:00:00ZNew report examines the challenges and rewards of a data-based approach to understanding arts audiences7/14/2020 2:34:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Data and Deliberation: A Dynamic Duo for Arts Organizations New report examines the challenges and rewards of a data-based https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled23668GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​Every year, millions of kids—and, let’s face it, many adults too—look forward to the start of summer. But Summer 2020 is shaping up to be like no other. With summer vacations canceled, camps on hold and schools unsure about whether and how they will reopen, we’re facing a new set of questions, challenges and opportunities. </p><p>As we kick off Summer Learning Week, we had the chance to connect via email with Aaron Dworkin, CEO of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/">National Summer Learning Association</a> (NSLA), a nonprofit organization that has been solely focused on harnessing summer as a time of learning, to see how they are approaching this unprecedented summer. For more in depth information about NSLA and summer learning, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/summer-from-the-wild-west-to-a-center-of-success.aspx">see our interview with Dworkin</a> when he came onboard with the organization last year. </p><p><strong>Let’s start with the big question&#58; How will summer be different this year?</strong></p><p>The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen the already existing opportunity gap between children from rich and poor families. It has illuminated the nation’s inequities in our school systems and communities like never before, shining a spotlight on the significant digital divide, food insecurities, childcare issues and learning losses millions of underserved students and their families face every summer. And the combination of COVID-19-related learning loss combined with the usual summer slide may have a ripple effect for years to come. Nonprofit organization NWEA, which specializes in student assessments, predicts significant learning loss from COVID school closures, especially in math. Their findings project that “students may return in fall 2020 with roughly 70 percent of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, less than 50 percent of the learning gains in math, and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would observe in normal conditions.”</p><p>This means that summer learning programming will be more important than ever in 2020. Across the country, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports, exploring safe ways to reopen, developing virtual and at-home learning experiences that families can do together and securing funding and policy support to expand summer meal programs in communities experiencing an increase in food insecurity due to job losses and school closures.</p><p>Parents, educators, summer learning advocates, business leaders and policymakers each play a critical role to save and expand summer learning opportunities in communities across the country this summer.</p><p><strong>How might families think about summer during this pandemic?</strong><strong> </strong> </p><p>Families are learning how to be hyper-creative when thinking about this summer. They’re thinking about ways to take advantage of available resources in a safe way. While community libraries and museums may be closed to in-person visits, you can explore their summer library programs or museum tours virtually with your children from the comfort of home. Many library and museum websites across the country and around the world have information posted about free virtual learning opportunities. </p><p>Parents can also access other online resources, such as the new <a href="https&#58;//bealearninghero.org/summer-stride/quick-tips-resources/">Summer Stride</a> resource from Learning Heroes, which includes ways to help your child with math and reading at home this summer.</p><p><strong>It seems parents, guardians and others have a bigger role in summer learning this year, in addition to summer programs. In general, why are summer learning programs important?</strong></p><p>Research shows that high-quality summer programs can make a difference in stemming learning loss and closing the country’s educational and opportunity gaps, particularly for our most vulnerable students. Elementary school students with high attendance in summer learning programs boost their math and reading skills. These skills, along with social and emotional learning, help children not only in school but also in their careers and life.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>What is most important for policymakers to know about summer learning programs, especially this year?</strong></p><p>On the federal level, funding is critical. These dollars serve to launch new programs and allow existing programs to serve more students and improve quality. Recent studies have shown that 88 percent of teachers say summer learning programs are important to students’ success and 85 percent of families support public investment in summer programs. </p><p>The House and Senate continue to show strong support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Title IV Part A, and other key funding that supports summer programs in budget allocations. </p><p>On the state level, it is crucial for policymakers to allocate federal funding received toward more quality summer and afterschool opportunities, as well as increase regular state education funding to include financial support for summer and afterschool programs. We are also encouraging local leaders to take advantage of the specific allowable use of funds for summer learning cited in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">CARES ACT</a> [the federal relief act in response to COVID-19]&#160;and to continue to promote additional local funding for summer learning. State policymakers could support summer learning and close the opportunity gap for children in their state by adding or refining language about summer learning and afterschool learning in their state school finance formulas and in statues, describe key components of successful opportunities as principles for which the funding should be spent. </p><p><strong>Given the current context, is NSLA doing anything different for Summer Learning Week this year?</strong></p><p>Summer may look different this year, but it isn’t canceled. Even if we can’t all be together, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p>To that end, we are offering&#160;numerous new resources and launching our national Keep All Kids Healthy and Learning billboard advertising campaign. In addition, with the move to many more virtual programs and events during this pandemic, NSLA is celebrating the week with <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/theme-days-and-resources/">different theme days</a> and by lifting up inspiring program examples and resources with national webinars each day co-hosted with innovative summer learning partners and leaders. </p><p><em>To find out more about NSLA’s daily webinars and other&#160;resources for Summer Learning Week, visit the organization’s </em><a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/"><em>website</em></a><em>.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792020-07-08T04:00:00ZThis Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of Opportunities Still Available to Kids Across America7/8/2020 4:27:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled This Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of 93https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis23637GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>“W<em>hen I look back, it feels like a year ago,” says Jill Baker, deputy superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District, reflecting on the district’s response in the days following its March 13 decision to close its 85 schools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long Beach Unified is California’s third largest school district, serving nearly 72,000 children from diverse backgrounds. Baker began her career in the district as a teacher 28 years ago and is scheduled to take over as its superintendent on August 1, succeeding Christopher Steinhauser, who is retiring. Baker brings a unique perspective to the job, having directed the district’s participation in a Wallace Foundation initiative aimed at reshaping the principal supervisor job to focus less on administration and more on principal growth. Recently, Baker spoke about the district’s efforts to support principals during the closure, its summer plans for school leadership development and what school may look like in September. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.&#160; &#160;&#160;</em></p><p><strong>How has your district supported principals during the school closures? </strong></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/Jill-Baker-headshot.jpg" alt="Jill-Baker-headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;241px;" />We are very fortunate that over the last five years, we’ve built a strong coaching model for our <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-supervisors.aspx">principal supervision practices</a>. Why is that important now? Because the relationship between our principal supervisors and principals has a coaching foundation, it is easy for them to move into unknown territory when faced with a crisis. Our principal supervisors have been right on the frontlines with principals, coaching them, asking good questions, advocating for them and bringing the lived experience of principals back to central office. </p><p><strong>Can you describe that lived experience? </strong></p><p>Principals were immediately faced with a set of questions that they had never experienced before, just as we were at central office. They were faced with families asking for resources that they had not asked for before, their students had technology needs, Internet needs. [The school closures] tossed up into the air every system that a principal typically manages, from teacher evaluations to nutrition services in their building.</p><p>Because of how we’ve built our principal supervision practices, principals quickly looked to their supervisors for direction, for comfort, for answers. It was a huge pivot for a system that’s pretty directing, in terms of our expectations for schools, but also gives principals a lot of latitude to make specific decisions for their building. I would say that the lived experience for principals right away was&#58; We need you to lead us. We trust you as our supervisors to help us.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/LBUSD-Barton-39.jpg" alt="LBUSD-Barton-39.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Personally, I’ve never underestimated the whole idea of coaching and strengthening a trusting relationship between a principal and a supervisor, but I think the field may have. When you go through a crisis like this, it underscores why you have relationships. It is a foundational aspect of having to do really hard work. I hesitate to use the word “thrive” because this is such a sad time, but [the crisis] really has brought out the best in our school leaders. It has been a very rich opportunity for them to step up, try things they’ve never done before, be vulnerable and learn with others. </p><p><strong>What inequities have been brought to the forefront because of the crisis? Has the district been able to address them, and if so, how? </strong></p><p>On the afternoon that we closed schools, we gathered at central office and literally said, “What do we need to focus on first?” In the back of my mind was Maslow’s hierarchy. Our first decision was that, on Monday morning, we were going to offer food at every school in our district. We did that, and we continued doing so until we could look at the data after the first week to see where our highest-need areas were. Some areas were obvious, but frankly every school has children with a need to eat. Our response has continued in a way that is so respectful to our community. We’re providing breakfast, lunch and dinner in our highest-need areas. There are almost 30 locations, and the meals are accessible to anyone. There are no requirements, no applications. </p><p>We also faced the same connectivity problems that other districts faced. One of our first purchases, literally days after the closure, was for 5,000 six-month-term hotspots because we estimated that about 10 percent of our students, or about 7,000, were potentially not connected to the Internet. In addition to giving away 20,000 older-generation Chromebooks, we came up with a system to loan more than 10,000 [newer] Chromebooks to families within two weeks of the closure. </p><p>The other needs have been sadly not surprising. Students in low-income families lack supervision as their parents go out and work as essential workers. They may be living with multiple families in one residence and are facing COVID spread because of essential workers coming in and out. We’re offering counseling digitally and are partnering with faith-based and race-based community agencies, like the NAACP, to ensure they are able to put out really good information on behalf of the district. </p><p>We’re using all of our existing programs to continue to focus on issues of equity. For example, we run a Saturday education program for students from migrant families. During the crisis, a coordinator from that program has done outreach to families. High-school teachers who work with newcomers who are English language learners have continued to connect with families, too.</p><p><strong>Summer is a time when school districts hire and train principals. How will that be handled in Long Beach this year? </strong><br> <strong>&#160;</strong><br> Last year, we had 80 principal promotions or changes. This year it will be 20. Five of those are first-time principals, all of whom have gone through the district’s “pipeline” programs [which provide training for aspiring school leaders]. We’re only making changes that are of necessity, such as because of a retirement. Normally, we would move around many more principals because they’re ready to transition to another school, but we’ve paused that because we want to create as much stability as possible.</p><p>Literally the day after a person finds out that they’ve been appointed principal or that they’re transitioning to another school, we launch a transition process that involves a facilitated change-of-principal workshop. The workshop engages members of the school staff to establish what’s working and what they’d like to see improved. It’s really important, and we’ll do a version of it this summer, too. </p><p><strong>How has the district involved principals in the planning for when school resumes in September? </strong></p><p>Our principals have been an important part of our initial planning. I say initial because we’re really tracking on the health data. We’re trying to move fast enough but not too fast. Over the last month, our principal supervisors asked principals to explore all kinds of scenarios for the fall. Middle school principals, for example, considered 16 different models and in small groups worked through each one’s plusses and minuses. We went from a lot of brainstorming and testing of ideas, to now moving into a formalized planning process. We have task forces, and principals from every level are represented on them. </p><p><strong>What might school look like in the fall, based on your initial plans?</strong></p><p>Our aim is to bring back as many students to a building as possible, especially at the elementary school level. That’s causing us to seek additional space in our city, through partnerships with local colleges and universities who will be providing distance learning/instruction. &#160;</p><p>We’re also talking about blending learning. A middle school student, for example, might not come to school every day. He might come Monday and Tuesday, then do distance learning Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Based on distancing requirements, we know that we can only have about 15 students in a classroom. That is about half the size of a traditional class and even less when you think about a class like chorus. Chorus might only exist in a distance environment because students can’t all be in one room at the same time. </p><p>We already have an independent study program in our high schools, which we will continue, and we’ll also be launching some new distance academies. How we’re going to do all of this—in-class learning, blending learning, distance academies—we’re still figuring out. But we imagine publishing the options and letting parents make a choice. If they don’t, we’ll likely default to expecting their student to come to a building. </p><p><strong>Like school districts everywhere, Long Beach Unified is facing a massive budget cut because of the pandemic. I’ve read that the reduction will be 10 percent, or about $70 million, this year. How do you stay focused on equity as you make cuts?</strong></p><p>We’re in a better position than other districts because of great fiscal management. Our superintendent and the district’s budget office built up a reserve over time, knowing the rainy day would come. The reserves won’t save us from future cuts, but it allows us time to make the best decisions given what’s coming from the state. We also have in our favor that we’ve worked really hard to build internal capacity. We don’t rely on a lot of consultants or outside companies. Because of our internal capacity, we can pivot quickly, change strategy and work together in a way that doesn’t happen in a lot of places.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Bringing-Out-the-Best-in-Principals-During-the-COVID-19-Crisis/IMG_0660-2.jpg" alt="IMG_0660-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Our focus on equity is at a deep level. During this time, we’ve not stepped back from our equity agenda, but we’ve had some public outcry over things that have been perceived to be “taken away” from students as we navigated through the school closure and made decisions based on our equity philosophy. This meant that we were not privileging students who were not struggling during the school closure. When we closed schools, for example, we decided that grading for high-school classes would be credit/no credit, even if you’re a junior taking five Advanced Placement classes. There was a public outcry, and our school board had to entertain an item on its agenda to uphold the district’s stance on grading and not give an opt-in for parents who wanted their students to get an A. [These parents] had to accept that credit/no credit was good for <em>all </em>students, even if their student wasn’t going to get the extra bump they would have liked. When you really get down into the details of equity, it is not equitable to privilege a student when another student doesn’t have the opportunity for that same experience. However, we do have to pay attention to the voices that are coming out about grades. We don’t want families to walk away from our district and go to a private school because they are frustrated about grades at a time when we’re already facing huge cuts.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p> Jennifer Gill832020-07-07T04:00:00ZJill Baker, incoming chief of a large California district, discusses education priorities—and why principal supervision matters now7/7/2020 7:00:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis Jill Baker, incoming chief of a large California district 272https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Weaving Equity into the Fabric of Principal Training23659<p><em>​This post is the last in a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort documenting the universities’ efforts is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p><em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>The University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) grappled with many moving parts when redesigning its offerings to better address schools’ needs. Leaders worked to <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/changing-principal-preparation-to-help-meet-school-needs.aspx">build support for the change</a>, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/a-road-to-more-effective-principals-begins-in-one-universitys-classrooms.aspx">overhaul the curriculum</a>, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">engage faculty</a>, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/taking-principal-training-to-the-real-world.aspx">fine-tune internships</a> and <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">strengthen partnerships</a>, among other efforts. </p><p>Cutting across all this work is equity. Connecticut, like much of the country, is more diverse than it once was. To help ensure equal educational opportunity for all its students, UCAPP hopes to train principals to spot inequities and negotiate thorny social issues to help resolve them. It has therefore worked to infuse equity into its curriculum and create space for groups education systems often overlook. </p><p>Wallace’s editorial staff spoke to UCAPP director Richard Gonzales to find out about the program’s efforts to prepare leaders who can help ensure equity in education. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.</p><p> <strong>Why was equity so important for you in this redesign?</strong></p><p>Statistically, educators of color make up about nine percent of the teacher workforce in Connecticut. But that number drops when you look at administrators. There is some representation of people of color at the assistant principal level, but it goes down at the principal level, it goes down further among the central office leadership, and it’s miniscule when you get to superintendents, deputy superintendents and the state level. You can name all the people of color in Connecticut who are at that level. There are numerous social factors which explain this trend, but the opportunity for us in Connecticut is the understanding that <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">university-district partnerships</a>&#160;can positively influence the career trajectory and outcomes for all educators in the talent pipeline, including those historically underrepresented in executive leadership roles.</p><p>I felt that we have some ability and a responsibility to fix those sorts of things. And the Wallace initiative gave us the opportunity to try to do that.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read d975ecb1-4d3d-4793-b852-573b1109aa30" id="div_d975ecb1-4d3d-4793-b852-573b1109aa30"></div><div id="vid_d975ecb1-4d3d-4793-b852-573b1109aa30" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>How do you define the populations for whom you want to ensure equity?</strong></p><p>We are thinking about equity in terms of the people for whom the system is currently not working—inside the school, in the district or in our state—and what it will take to change that.</p><p>There is legal and regulatory guidance for some groups. We have federal laws for English language learners, and racial minorities are protected in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 speaks to medical conditions that may manifest in educational need. There are programs for talented and gifted students. Those are the groups of people we commonly talk about; there's regulatory guidance for those students. </p><p>But we also look at other special populations, even if they are not groups protected by regulation. That includes issues related to bullying, related to gender identity and the realities of what principals are going to be dealing with in schools. It's a lot more inclusive and it's a lot more culturally responsive.</p><p>It doesn't even have to be anything major. In magnet schools, for example, the magnet population often receives different services and opportunities than the local students. Sometimes they're not in the same classes. Sometimes they're divided physically within the building. The parents are engaged differently by the school. That's the kind of thing that we're talking about, as well.</p><p><strong>You’ve tried to adjust your curriculum so it can better train aspiring principals to ensure equity in their schools. What have you changed there?</strong></p><p>We’ve added a lot of material throughout the program. In the very first course, we show an hourlong video called <em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnybJZRWipg">So You Want to Talk about Race?</a>&#160;</em>In the second, we have <a href="http&#58;//libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/1057">an article focused on social justice​</a>. There’s a <a href="https&#58;//www.academia.edu/3745626/What_every_principal_needs_to_know_to_create_equitable_and_excellent_schools_Teachers_College_Press_">book we added</a> that’s all about equity in schools, <a href="https&#58;//us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/improving-schools-through-community-engagement/book225711">one about community engagement</a>, a guide to help <a href="http&#58;//www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Leading-an-Inclusive-School.aspx">meet federal requirements for access to special populations</a>. Those are just a few examples.<strong></strong></p><p>A great example of a programming change is what we used to call the Special Education Institute. It was a separate course that met during both summers of the program and covered issues traditionally considered to be part of ‘special education.’ That was focused on that one population. It has now become Leadership for Special Populations. It’s not just about that one group anymore, it’s about equity for all students. </p><p>It's a more inclusive idea of leadership—making the school work for all constituencies, regardless of whether they have protected status by statute or regulation. In the very first fall semester course, we begin talking about effective <a href="http&#58;//www.rtinetwork.org/essential/tieredinstruction/tiered-instruction-and-intervention-rti-model">Tier 1 instruction for all</a>, because that is where schools fail most special populations. Principals can set the tone and provide the support for kids to succeed in the general setting. Of course, certain needs require specialized intervention, but we can and should do better at meeting all kids’ needs in the general classroom setting.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 9a8a4e03-df16-467e-9859-83120cfb8dd6" id="div_9a8a4e03-df16-467e-9859-83120cfb8dd6" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_9a8a4e03-df16-467e-9859-83120cfb8dd6" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>You spoke earlier about ensuring representation for minorities among school leadership. A program like UCAPP is, of course, a major source of school leaders in Connecticut. What are you doing to ensure UCAPP students are more representative of educators in the state?</strong></p><p>We became a lot more proactive and aggressive in recruitment. Firstly, we know demographically where certain populations are concentrated. So we turned our attention to those areas.</p><p>Secondly, we became more proactive about engaging with individuals early and consistently. For example, we do our best to get to know teacher leaders—not necessarily to rush them or pressure them to apply to UConn, but just to get to know them so there's a familiar face when and if they start thinking about moving into leadership.</p><p>Our networks help with this work. We have meetings with superintendents and assistant superintendents in our partner districts where we’ll say to them, ‘We'd appreciate you inviting us to any events where you know you are celebrating teacher leadership, just in general. It doesn't have to be specifically around individuals color.’ And there we’ll meet people there who might be coming into the leadership pipeline.</p><p>Third, some of us in the faculty will volunteer to be professional mentors. We ask our partners if there are educators of color who are rising stars in their districts. It’s not to recruit for our program. We’re just offering ourselves, as people who've gone before them, to be mentors to them. We're fine if they choose another program that fits their needs better. </p><p>We have been doing this mentoring work informally for about six years now. But with the redesign, we started talking more about it and the conversation became public. A lot more faculty members learned about things that some of us do, and many of them started expressing interest. We want to make sure people coming into leadership pipelines know where the opportunities are so we can connect them with a network of support and help them make the best of those opportunities. </p><p>We have not yet tracked our mentoring efforts, but we will begin recording the numbers of mentors and mentees as we build out our educator preparation analytics system over the coming months.</p><p><strong>How about the faculty? Are there any efforts to bring more diversity to the faculty?</strong></p><p>Increasing the diversity of the faculty remains a priority. That's not easy though, because our policy is to hire practitioners, superintendents, deputy superintendents or chief academic officers. As I said before, there's only a handful of people of color in those positions, so it's harder to diversify the faculty than it is the students. I realize I could change our policy of hiring only executive-level district leaders, but that’s not the best solution. </p><p>But we do seek out people of color and hire them when we can. Then over time, they establish seniority and start taking leadership roles in the program. We used to have just one gentleman of color in the faculty, who worked his way up to our faculty leadership group. We’ve recently added three other individuals of color to the faculty. In due time I’m sure they’ll do well and earn the opportunity to be in that group. And once you’re in that faculty leadership group, you're involved with the governance and then you have a voice. </p><p><strong>And once you have who you think are the right people in your program, are there any formal structures in place to make sure voices of underrepresented groups are heard?</strong></p><p>We don’t have formal structures or affinity groups. If folks wanted to do that, we would support it. But it hasn’t come up</p><p>What we’re doing is that we’re weaving equity into the fabric of our work. All those efforts we just discussed—the outreach efforts, the connecting, the networking—It's not just me doing it. It’s more comprehensive. It's faculty members, it's our district partners, it’s the dean, it’s the superintendents, all of us constantly thinking about how we develop pipelines to ensure diversity. While there are no formal structures, we're weaving a fabric that's becoming a lot more real. It's a lot more real today than it was three years ago, certainly, more than it was six years ago. </p><p>The representation of students of color is changing so they have a critical mass. <em>[According to UCAPP, the proportion of students of color has risen from 13 percent in the class of 2017 to 30 percent in the class of 2021.]</em></p><p>I think because there's now a critical mass, they are more comfortable speaking up. Two things have stood out from their comments. One, the over-representation of white educators among our faculty and guest speakers, and two, equity isn't ‘neatly packaged’ in the program.&#160;&#160;</p><p>Going strictly by the numbers, the first observation is fair. But as I said, there aren't more than a few educators of color who are superintendents or assistant superintendents available to hire, and we are doing better on that front than we were five years ago.</p><p>On the second, I get that students want a tight definition of how to &quot;do&quot; leadership for equity. But it doesn't work that way. Equity, like a lot about leadership, is something one must make sense of for him or herself. Unlike with teacher evaluation, there isn't a set of practices that is a best fit for all or most occasions. </p><p>We ask students to look, listen, talk, try, adjust, reflect and repeat in order to find their leader identity and espoused leadership theory of action. This applies to equity, too. They will understand this better upon completion of the program or years down the road as practitioners. For example, we recently received a request from our student advisory group for an optional session to further unpack equity as a concept. I think this is a sign of maturity; it signals that they aren't looking for a magic bullet answer anymore.</p><p>I don't think it's a coincidence that these issues of equity never came up when there were no faculty of color and basically one person of color in each graduating class. It’s not a coincidence that now, over the last two or three years, when there's a growing number of people of color and growing number of faculty of color, that these issues are surfacing.</p><p><strong>How do you measure progress on these issues? </strong></p><p>A very simplistic but significant indicator is what aspirant leaders talk about, look for and spend their time working on. If you have to prompt folks to look for gaps—in achievement, opportunity, participation, etc.—then they don't have an equity mindset. </p><p>A developmental next step is a systems orientation for inclusivity.&#160; For example, we saw in some assignments that students were thinking about how to use certain structures to help multiple special populations, not just one. That's inclusive and cohesive.</p><p>Another level still is responsiveness and proactiveness. If they are thinking preventatively for how things might not work for some teachers, students or families, then they are also thinking about which adjustments might be necessary and getting ready to respond accordingly.</p><p>One measure we’re looking at is student performance on their core assessment tasks, which are tasks that demonstrate their learning and translation of knowledge and skills into practice. Equity is evaluated in each task. </p><p>We recently got the preliminary scoring of the very first task ever to be submitted. The average scores were healthy. But it was promising to see that the highest mean was in the area of equity. [The mean score on equity was 3.13 on a four-point scale; the mean score in the other five areas the assessment measures was 2.95.]</p><p>Some of that might have been because of our own scoring, though we don't think we gave too much credit where it wasn't due. But we thought of it as a message received by the students and the faculty.</p><p><strong>Have you encountered any resistance to this work?</strong></p><p>Oh, we’ve encountered it from all sides. We have an annual Educational Leadership Forum in the fall; part of its purpose is to feature alumni who are doing really good work and making a difference. Some of us talked about adding more diversity to it. And a colleague, an esteemed professional in the field, said, ‘What does all this social justice and equity and race stuff have to do with leadership?’ <strong></strong></p><p>Another thing we’ve heard is, ‘So I guess you had to change the admission standards in order to get the folks that you're trying to get in.’ We’ve heard a couple of versions of that. We definitely did not change our admission standard. Instead, we got better at recruiting a more diverse candidate pool.</p><p>And I personally have also gotten it from the other side. Students have expressed frustration that I, as director, have not pushed harder to effect change. So we’ve dealt with it from both sides. That is to be expected and a sign of good organizational health, in my opinion.</p><p><strong>So how do you deal with that?</strong></p><p>The thing that probably served us well is to make it all about data and standards. The Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, the current set of standards, are infused with equity, and I used them to make my case. It helped me keep the argument as objective as possible, where it's less about me and my preferences and it's more about the work. </p><p>I also had to connect those things to the mission and vision of UCAPP. Our mission is to prepare high-quality and capable leaders for the state of Connecticut. That's why we exist. Our vision is that our graduates will be committed to excellence. That's our vision and that's our reputation. </p><p>All I did was focus on standards, the data, the mission and the vision and just kept talking about that. Equity helps us achieve our mission.</p><p>It’s not just about me and my vision.</p><p><strong>Do recent events, such as the mass protests against police violence, the surge in public support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on D.A.C.A, affect the work at all?</strong></p><p>First and foremost, they validate our decision to prioritize equity as an essential component of school leadership. They also compel us to do more. Preparation is an important but single domain in the leadership pipeline. We also have to think about how we help our graduates ensure equity once they’re out in communities leading schools. We must be thoughtful and intentional about advocacy and support to ensure the entire education system, from pre-K to universities, operates fairly and yields equitable outcomes. </p><p>School leaders are community leaders. More than ever, we need principals and superintendents who effectively serve <em>all</em><strong> </strong>constituencies in the communities they are entrusted to lead, and who confront and alter institutional biases. They need to act with cultural competence and responsiveness in their interactions, decision making and practice. </p><p>These are all difficult things to do. But we hope that if we’re careful, welcoming of different perspectives and receptive to feedback, we can help future principals do them and play our small role in addressing the inequities that have long plagued this nation.</p><p>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/learning-to-navigate-the-uncertainties-of-school-leadership.aspx">Learning to Navigate the Uncertainties of School Leadership</a> </p> Wallace editorial team792020-06-30T04:00:00ZIn its redesigned principal prep program, UConn is working to prepare leaders who will help ensure equity in education.7/8/2020 2:31:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Weaving Equity into the Fabric of Principal Training In its redesigned principal prep program, UConn is working to prepare 189https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Learning to Navigate the Uncertainties of School Leadership11154GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort documenting the universities’ efforts is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p> <em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>There are many facets to a principal training program and many stakeholders the program must satisfy. Over the past few weeks, this blog series has profiled several of the players who have helped shape one such program, the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). Previous posts have described how UCAPP has attempted to engage such stakeholders, including <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">faculty members​</a> and <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">district partners</a>, in its efforts to improve its curriculum and practical experiences. </p><p>But what of the program’s students? With so many interests shaping its principal preparation program, how well is UCAPP addressing the needs of its students, who many consider UCAPP’s primary stakeholders? UCAPP connected&#160;the Wallace editorial team with four members of its class of 2021, the first class to train in the current iteration of the pr​ogram, so we could seek out their views about the new program. </p><p>It’s still early in their tenure—they started the program in the summer of 2019 and were beginning the third of six semesters when Wallace interviewed them—but many are already noticing benefits of the program, especially the program’s curriculum, its internships and its new assessments.</p><p> <strong>A more connected curriculum</strong></p><p>Sherry Farmer, a teacher of more than 20 years with a background in special education, was drawn to UCAPP in part because of the opportunities it offers to ensure equity in schools, especially for children with special needs. Her depth of experience with such children has given her a solid understanding of the ways in which teachers can ensure equity in individual classrooms. But teachers need larger, schoolwide systems to support that endeavor, and UCAPP is helping her figure out how to establish them.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" id="div_e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_e61e5486-de8f-4735-a2d3-da67e21ba4c8" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“[UCAPP has] been very meticulous in helping us understand, piece by piece, how important it is to set up the systems within your school,” she said. “To build capacity and build leadership within your school and to allow people to take on roles that you can't take on.”&#160; </p><p>Several courses had to work together to help Farmer appreciate the complexities of that task. An instructional leadership course taught her how she can use data to spot inequities and help teachers address them. An organizational leadership course taught her how to engage parents and communities to establish the expectation of equity throughout the school. And a talent management course, which follows that organizational leadership course, taught her how to ensure that her staff meets such expectations.</p><p>“It's starting to make sense to me how they put the program in place for us,” she said. “I feel like they're building the capacity we need from one area so that we're ready to get to the next area.”</p><p>But a principal’s job is complex. There is much UCAPP must teach its students, from ensuring quality instruction to balancing budgets to managing school politics. Its agenda is packed; every semester, students must complete two six-week courses, each meeting once a week for three and a half hours, and a daylong workshop. </p><p>It’s a busy schedule, says Winallan Columbano, a high-school health and physical education teacher who taught in New York City for 10 years before enrolling in UCAPP. He appreciates the pace on some levels; he says it provides a thorough introduction to Connecticut school systems and familiarizes him with pre-high school instruction. But, he says, the schedule can sometimes feel a bit rushed. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" id="div_29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_29f77ba0-7956-4016-b141-756be248f77b" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“It’s a little bit short I would say, the six-class sessions,” he said. “By the time you get going with the professor, it’s almost over. So, in that sense, I wish I had a little more time.”</p><p>But another element of UCAPP helps make up for that hectic pace, Columbano says&#58; internships.</p><p> <strong>From theory to practice</strong></p><p>UCAPP internships place each student in an area school with a veteran principal for all six semesters of the program. The student visits that school regularly over two years and helps its principal with leadership responsibilities. The principal, which UCAPP calls a mentor, guides the student through a series of leadership tasks. Meanwhile, a leadership coach, generally a retired principal or a school-district leader, works closely with both student and mentor, advises the student and helps draw connections to concepts covered in class.</p><p>These internships, Columbano says, are helping him apply concepts he may only peripherally encounter in his coursework. “We’re able to apply what we’re learning,” he said. “The work that’s covered in the courses, you’re actually doing that in schools.”</p><p>Kimberly Monroe, who has taught math for 18 years and currently serves as a teacher leader, is relying heavily on that practical experience to prepare herself for the principalship. While her teaching experience is deep, she is in her first year in a leadership role and feels she has much to learn about managing the politics of the principalship. “There may be times when I'll have to balance what the priorities are,” she said, “based on someone else telling me what needs to happen versus what I see as being the most important.”</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779" id="div_04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779"></div><div id="vid_04a62037-ffe9-4824-b605-1177cbf11779" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>UCAPP’s organizational leadership course in the fall of 2019 helped lay the theoretical foundation to help manage such priorities, she said. Observing principals, both in the school in which she teaches and the one in which she is interning, is showing her how that foundation plays out in schools. “I see how they interact with people,” she said. “Listening and getting the full picture and hearing from both sides and looking at best practices, to then make a decision about what they'll ultimately do.”</p><p>“I've already learned several things from my internship principal,” she added, “and I think there's even more that I'll continue to learn.”</p><p>Leadership coaches, a new addition to the program, also help. Monroe said that her work with her coach is helping her build confidence, not just in her internship, but also in her role as a teacher leader. That role requires Monroe to observe and evaluate teachers, a responsibility she approached cautiously, wary of overstepping her bounds. “I want to be invited into your room,” she said of the teachers she has to observe. “I don't want to feel pushy and push my way into your room.”</p><p>Monroe therefore left it up to teachers to schedule time for her observations. Few did, so her UCAPP leadership coach urged her to be more proactive and propose times herself. “That has worked much better,” Monroe said, “It helped me to be a little more forthright with trying to encourage them to meet with me.” &#160;</p><p>Coaches also help ensure students use time wisely. Farmer says her coach has helped steer her away from the details of her current job and focus on what she must learn to become a principal. “I don’t want you doing lunch duty,” Farmer’s coach told her. “I want you to go in. I want you to have an agenda. I want you to have what it is you want to talk about with [your mentor principal].”</p><p>Coaches will not solve students’ problems, however. They will only help students think through them. “Very rarely, if at all in this program, have I felt like they’ve given us the answer,” Columbano said, “That’s nice, but it’s also a little frustrating. UConn has made it pretty clear that they would rather we face our problems now, maybe struggle with them, fight through them and figure it out.”</p><p>Both he and Farmer say that that focus on independent thought, with the support of instructors and leadership coaches, helps prepare them for the jobs ahead. “Nobody's going to give you the answer; it's going to be up to you to figure out the answer,” Farmer said. “And I’m getting more and more comfortable with not having the answer than I was just a few months ago.”</p><p> <strong>Tracking progress</strong></p><p>To nudge its students towards such confidence, and to help ensure that they meet state requirements for principals, UCAPP introduced the “core assessment,” a series of projects designed to measure students’ progress in key areas of leadership. Students complete projects every semester, either in their own schools or those in which they’re interning, and work with their coaches every month to reflect on their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and plan for future improvement. “That's really been important and helpful to me,” Farmer said. “To sit back and look at, what did I feel went well? What did I feel I would change?”</p><p>Teresa Maturino Rodriguez, a teacher of 20 years, also sees benefits in the core assessments, saying that they help students acclimate themselves to the twists and turns of the principalship. However, she said, they take a lot of time and she is not yet clear about the value of every required component. All students must complete the same projects, she added, even if they have years of experience with the practices those projects are meant to demonstrate. Some of these tasks can become rather onerous for students who are juggling classes, internships, families and day jobs.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" id="div_1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_1957595c-cc46-47f8-b674-919c4b402a62" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“I feel like there's this other component hanging out there,” she said, expressing some discomfort with the addition to the workload. But she’s willing to give the assessments time to play themselves out. “I'm going to trust this is part of the learning process they're trying to create for us,” she added.</p><p>The benefits are more obvious to Columbano. The first step of the core assessment—an “organizational diagnosis” that asks students to investigate reasons behind an achievement gap of their choice at their internship school—helped him look beyond his previous focus on high-school phys-ed.</p><p>“Instead of looking at things strictly within your classroom,” he said, “it made me ask myself, ‘How do I fix this on a school level?’”</p><p>It’s helping him make an essential change to the way he sees education. “I’m always looking at things through a different lens now,” he said.</p><p>“I’m looking at it from a principal’s lens, not a teacher’s.”</p><p> <strong>Embracing change</strong></p><p>It takes a lot of planning and adjustment to create a program that can stimulate such a change in perspective. Administrators say they are always learning from their experiences and tweaking the program to respond to feedback from students, faculty and community partners. That willingness to change, however, can complicate things for students. </p><p>Farmer, for example, was hoping to get summer schedules ready for her internship when we spoke to her in January. But her class schedule was still unclear, making it hard to plan ahead. “We find that they're still tweaking things up to the last minute,” she said. “For people like us, who want to know things way in advance, that's been a little bit frustrating,”</p><p>That frustration, however, may also be part of learning to be a principal. Columbano says that his time in UCAPP so far is beginning to make him more comfortable with the uncertainties of the principalship. “Will I know everything?” he said. “No. But I know that if I work at it, I can get to the right answers.”</p><p></p><p>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/it-takes-a-village-to-train-an-effective-principal.aspx">It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal</a>.</p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-23T04:00:00ZFour aspiring principals at the University of Connecticut get a glimpse of the work that lies ahead6/24/2020 3:29:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Learning to Navigate the Uncertainties of School Leadership Four aspiring principals at the University of Connecticut get a 297https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis3631GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It may seem like a truism that, in a time of crisis, the various players and institutions in a community should set aside their individual agendas and pull together for a common cause. But there’s a lot that goes into a true collaboration—one that involves government, schools, businesses, universities, foundations and nonprofits. Collaborators must build trust, develop and state a shared vision, and establish roles. And that’s just for starters.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-Sector-Collaboration-May-Be-Invaluable-in-the-Current-Crisis/Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" alt="Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;138px;height&#58;207px;" />Carolyn Riehl knows this well. A professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Riehl, along with a team of colleagues, conducted a Wallace-sponsored study of cross-sector collaborations to improve education. The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-impact-a-closer-look-at-local-cross-sector-collaborations-for-education.aspx">final report</a> from this landmark study was published just a few months before COVID-19 changed everything, not only in the realm of education but society as a whole. Riehl says that, as the pandemic exacerbates inequities and the need for services, cross-sector collaborations—sometimes known as “collective impact” initiatives—may become more important than ever, even as their work goes underfunded and unnoticed. We asked Riehl about where the cross-sector collaboration movement stands now and what the future may hold.<br> <em> </em></p><p><strong>What do you see as the contribution of this report to the conversation about cross-sector collaboration? Who are the intended readers of the report and what can they expect to take away from it?</strong><br><em> </em><br> <span><span><strong></strong></span></span>There are many potential audiences for the report, and we tried to provide information relevant to all of them. Leaders of, and participants in, cross-sector collaborations may find it valuable to learn about other programs’ governance structures, service networks and communication strategies. Philanthropies and government agencies who provide financial support for collaborations may be encouraged to learn how others have been generous but patient as these complex enterprises take the necessary time to build towards long-term success. Readers who are considering starting a collaborative initiative will, we hope, be inspired by the efforts and accomplishments of the programs we studied, while also getting a reality check about the challenges and potential pitfalls. We hope citizens and stakeholders in the cities we studied will be proud that their stories can help lead the way, but also that they will use our report to inform their efforts to improve.</p><p><span><strong></strong></span><strong>How do you think the pandemic will affect cross-sector collaboration—both the collaborations you studied and the movement in general?</strong></p><p><span><span><span><span><strong></strong></span></span></span></span>The needs that cross-sector collaborations were established to address—better access to quality early childhood education and afterschool programs, social-emotional learning opportunities, targeted support for boys and young men of color, wraparound health and social services for students—are likely to become even more acute for more children and youth. And school districts and other service providers may be hard pressed to respond, given reduced budgets and increased demand. So collaborations are likely to become more useful than ever, even if it’s hard for them to garner direct attention and funding. We’re learning in the pandemic to appreciate all sorts of people and enterprises that operate mostly out of public view but are clearly essential to keeping things going, and cross-sector collaborations might prove to be another vital background operation.&#160; </p><p><strong>In the report, you and your colleagues say, “While it is still early in the game, we think there are enough indicators of good things happening that the waning of the movement would represent a loss.” What are some of those indicators?&#160;And have any of them taken on new significance in the current crisis?</strong><br><em> </em><br> One positive aspect of cross-sector collaboration for education is an increase in the shared, public recognition that children and young adults often face complicated obstacles keeping them from educational and career success. In the current health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, inequities appear in even more stark relief, and we fear they will reverberate for a long time. Removing obstacles and erasing disparities will require a concerted effort by many organizations and agencies, not just schools. Collaborations have already set the stage for that. Another good thing is that despite some early promises of quick success, many collaborations are taking the time to understand what their local needs are and to craft appropriate responses. This thoughtfulness and care will be even more important as the full impact of the pandemic comes into view. Finally, just the fact that collaborations have established structures and processes for people to work together and trust one another—that’s going to be a huge help, I think. <br> <br> <strong>What are some of the common challenges communities face in launching and sustaining cross-sector collaborations? Does the pandemic present any new challenges? For example, can the hard work of building trust and working relationships still take place when conversations and meetings are all happening online?</strong></p><p>Our report describes in detail the ways communities built collaborations from the ground up. Most depended heavily on relationships and a nascent sense of shared purpose as they got going, and the need for personal connections didn’t disappear over time. In our new reality, it can be hard to get to know new colleagues, to make eye contact and read the subtle signals in a conversation, or to find serendipitous opportunities for sharing and brainstorming in an online Zoom meeting. But I’ve talked with numerous school leaders recently who are astounded that more people are attending school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and professional development sessions online than they did in person. This is an opportunity collaborations can take advantage of. It may be possible to communicate more widely and build even larger constituencies for their work and to enable more people to participate across time and distance in work groups and governance bodies. But it will be crucial to ensure that the community members who are often isolated and marginalized are not prevented from participating in new forms of online engagement.</p><p><strong>What does the future of cross-sector collaboration look like and how has that picture changed in light of the pandemic? Is the movement in a healthy place or is the fate of these efforts more precarious? What factors will be important in the evolution and endurance of the current wave of cross-sector collaborations?</strong><br><em> </em><br>&#160;It’s hard to predict what will happen to cross-sector collaborations for education, whether they will become permanent or end up as yet another promising but short-lived innovation. Several months ago, my colleagues and I might have opined that their future depended most of all on their ability to develop stable, sufficient revenue streams and to demonstrate to their stakeholders at least some success in achieving goals they set for themselves. We saw reasonably strong signs that this was happening in many places. <br> <br> But the coronavirus pandemic has been a major disruption. On the one hand, it’s possible that because of it, education funding will be so dramatically reduced, and philanthropic dollars so thinly stretched, that there simply won’t be enough resources to sustain collaborations. Participating local governments, social agencies, and school systems themselves may have to scale back their expectations for accomplishing anything more than the very basic services they are charged to provide; there may be little reserve energy for the ambitious goals of collaborative enterprises.&#160;</p><p> On the other hand, the pandemic may reveal cross-sector collaborations to be absolutely indispensable. When a community’s needs become comprehensive and intense, the presence of a collaboration that is already accustomed to coordinating efforts and devising innovative solutions could be invaluable. We’ve already seen anecdotal evidence of cross-sector collaborations convening with philanthropies to decide how best to direct funding to meet extraordinary needs, and we’ve heard how at least one collaboration marshalled efforts to help its community adjust when schools were closed and students needed everything from meal deliveries to laptops and iPads for online learning. Cross-sector collaborations were designed to do things that existing systems hadn’t been able to do. If they are able to adapt to the new realities they face, their future may be secure.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-18T04:00:00ZCarolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective impact” can play during pandemic6/19/2020 3:34:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis Carolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective 173https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal11043GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p><em>​This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort to determine the effects of the work is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p><em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>Ask Mark Benigni, superintendent of schools in Meriden, Conn., about the importance of partnerships in education, and he might tell you about Daniel Crispino. Crispino started his career as a first-grade teacher in Meriden Public Schools. His success in that role led the district to tap him for a leadership position and eventually nominate him for a spot in the University of Connecticut’s Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). After a one-year program at UCAPP, Crispino returned to the district as an assistant principal. In 2016, he became principal of John Barry Elementary School, which at the time had a “failing” designation from the state. By 2019, Crispino had helped transform the school; it received a <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/daniel-crispino-principal-john-barry-elementary-school-meriden-connecticut/">National Blue Ribbon Award</a> that year, and Crispino became one of ten principals to receive the <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/2019-terrel-h-bell-awardees-honored-for-outstanding-school-leadership/">Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership</a>. He is now the district’s director of school leadership, where he is helping other principals improve their schools.</p><p>Benigni may not be able to retain leaders such as Crispino, he says, without his district’s long-standing relationship with the University of Connecticut. The promise of career advancement through training at UCAPP helps keep talent in the district, despite its limited salaries. “As a small urban district, we can’t pay as well as some suburban communities,” he said. “What we can offer is a really enriching experience working with a college partner.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>That partner is now working to strengthen such ties so it can enhance those experiences and help improve leadership in districts such as Meriden. In 2016, UCAPP joined The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which supports the redesign of six university programs so they can better train future principals. The initiative calls, in part, for closer partnerships with states, school districts and other community organizations so universities can tailor training to the needs of schools. UCAPP has embarked on a systematic effort to reinforce such ties, with a close, collaborative assessment of needs, establishment of regular communication channels and joint monitoring of results.</p><p>“We had had a concerted effort to work with more urban districts in the state,” said Casey Cobb, professor of educational policy at the University of Connecticut, who helped reorient UCAPP’s approach to district partnerships. “But we never had formal partnerships beyond one with the Hartford School District. The Wallace initiative gave us the opportunity to reach out to districts to support their leadership development pathways.” </p><p>UCAPP chose to work with three urban districts—Hartford, Meriden and New Haven—with which it has had close and long-standing relationships. “We wanted districts who had both the need and also the capacity to be part of this redesign,” said Jennifer McGarry, the university’s department head in education leadership who also helped manage work in the Wallace initiative. “We wanted people that we knew had a commitment to change and continual improvement.”</p><p><strong>Laying out the foundation</strong></p><p>The work began with the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx">Quality Measures self-assessment tool</a>, which requires programs to work with school districts to determine whether they are preparing principals to lead teaching and learning in those districts. Based on the results of that assessment, UCAPP developed a general agreement with each district outlining the areas of focus and priorities for their work together. </p><p>These agreements are informal and sketch out broad frameworks for the work, such as guidelines for admissions processes, placement of UCAPP students for internships in district schools and protocols for communications among the partners. They were once enshrined in formal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that UCAPP leaders assumed would help resolve disagreements or miscommunications. UCAPP has learned, however, that their utility can often fall short of the legal and administrative work they require. </p><p>UCAPP’s MOU with one district, for example, unraveled with the arrival of a new superintendent whose priorities differed significantly from those of her predecessor. UCAPP had spent three years cultivating the relationship that led to this MOU, working closely with leaders and lawyers to ensure it met all parties’ rules and regulations. Yet, with the arrival of a new district leader, all that work came to naught.</p><p>“It became a fragile agreement,” said UCAPP director Richard Gonzales. “Even with the MOU, we couldn't ensure that things were going to go according to those terms.”<br> UCAPP is therefore bypassing the formalities and focusing more on the spirit than the letter of its agreements. It still uses a self-assessment to determine the broad contours of its work with the districts, but it now relies more on personal ties than on official documents. “Now it’s much less about the written agreement and much more about the relationships,” Gonzales said. “You have to maintain and nurture those relationships. It’s more time-intensive.” </p><p><strong>Staying in touch and strengthening ties</strong></p><p>UCAPP relies on regular contacts, both formal and informal, to maintain these relationships. It convenes leaders from all partner districts roughly once every fortnight to share information and solve problems. All partners also come together at regular meetings of a professional learning community of participants in the Wallace initiative.</p><p>The most obvious benefit of this frequent contact is that it allows UCAPP to adapt and improve its program based on actual needs in schools. One district, for example, said early-career principals were struggling to create leadership teams. UCAPP therefore added to its curriculum to beef up support in that area. Another district was having trouble with teacher turnover. So UCAPP created a three-year program to help high-performing teachers become instructional leaders and help improve classroom performance throughout the district. Chronic absenteeism seemed to be a problem throughout the state. UCAPP responded by incorporating readings, discussions and assignments about absenteeism into its curriculum.</p><p>Beyond immediate improvements in UCAPP’s offerings, the frequency of contact is also creating bonds that transcend formal MOUs. Benigni, for example, had been looking for ways to better support his district’s eight elementary-school principals. At a meeting of the Wallace-convened professional learning community, he got the idea to restructure his central office and create a position dedicated to those principals. He saw an opportunity to do so when Miguel Cardona, an assistant superintendent in his district, left to become Connecticut’s education commissioner. With a top spot open, Benigni could shuffle resources and job responsibilities to get his elementary-school principals the support they needed. To help make sure he did it right, he called Richard Gonzales.&#160; </p><p>Gonzales helped Benigni determine the most efficient ways to restructure the central office and create a new position dedicated to elementary-school principals. He even used his knowledge of philanthropies such as The Wallace Foundation to help Benigni work out how to pay for that position. Benigni introduced the new position to the district in the 2019-2020 school year. It is currently filled by UCAPP graduate Dan Crispino.</p><p>“The added partnership puts us more in touch with each other so it’s easier to throw those ideas off each other,” Benigni said. “You become partners, but you become strategic thinkers together as well.”</p><p>Such relationships can’t ensure complete agreement among parties. Complications do arise, and UCAPP must work closely with districts to resolve them. For example, Cobb said, a district may place a UCAPP intern in a school that needs more support, not in one that would help that intern become a more effective leader. “It can be a little tricky,” he said of such situations, “but we try to face it head on.” UCAPP advocates for students in such situations. “We know they’re in a tough position,” Cobb added. “They can’t be complaining, they can’t put down other administrators. That’s when we will have a side conversation with the district.”</p><p><strong>Tracking outcomes<br></strong></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><strong></strong></p><p>Such sensitive conversations can be easier when they’re based on data. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, for example, said that the district was once unable to communicate its needs to UCAPP because it lacked the data to understand those needs itself. “We needed stronger data systems to be able to see how our principals are doing and progressing,” she said. “It felt challenging to us to identify goals for the partnership when our data systems weren’t as strong.”</p><p>UCAPP is therefore working with all its partner districts to develop data systems to track the performance and career trajectories of its graduates. These systems will collect key points of data, such as graduates’ areas of strength while they were in UCAPP, the number of UCAPP graduates hired as administrators, the amount of time they spend in those positions and key performance indicators of the schools in which they serve. UCAPP plans to use such systems to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its graduates as they play out in schools. These systems could also help match UCAPP interns and graduates; if data suggest that a certain school needs support in a certain area, UCAPP could help direct graduates with expertise in that area to that school.</p><p>&quot;​I don’t need a zillion candidates to fill a principal job, I just need the one right person,” Benigni said. “If we can come up with a firm understanding of what makes a leader most effective, and if we can then track the development of those skills, then I’ll know when I’ve got a strong person ready for that job.”</p><p>Such systems cannot be bought off the shelf, however. Each district’s systems are different, and to bring them all together, UCAPP would have to sort through several technical and legal complications, such as the nature of the data collected, how they are stored, who owns and maintains them, how they are shared and how all parties can ensure privacy and security.</p><p>UCAPP quickly realized that the effort necessary to create a single system across all districts outweighed its potential benefits. Instead, the program forged agreements whereby each district develops its own system but gives UCAPP a standard data report every year. Such an arrangement gives districts the flexibility to collect the data that matter most to them, while allowing UCAPP to aggregate the data it needs to identify broader trends in principal performance and areas in which it may need to adapt. </p><p>It also highlights the importance of another partnership&#58; that with the Connecticut State Department of Education.</p><p><strong>Support from and for the state</strong></p><p>UCAPP can’t gain a full understanding of school needs using data from just three districts. Principals may move from district to district, and UCAPP must track its graduates’ records across districts to fully understand how well it trained them. Instead of negotiating complex data agreements with each of Connecticut’s nearly 200 districts, UCAPP is working with the state department of education to help meet its data needs. The department of education will help UCAPP track the basic essentials throughout the state, and UCAPP will incorporate the more nuanced data it receives from its three partners every year.</p><p>UCAPP has forged a close but informal relationship with the state, as it has with its partner districts, beyond such data systems. Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona says this relationship helps ensure principals are trained to lead schools that principal preparation programs often ignore. “We have students who are dealing with many different things in their life, whether it's through poverty or other issues,” he said. “Historically, the students that graduate from some of the traditional principal preparation programs have had very little experience learning about leadership in communities dealing with these needs.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>State representatives participate in meetings UCAPP convenes with districts and communicate these needs, Cardona said. They also use these conversations to flag important shifts in state policy. Cardona pointed to the example of a recent change from a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior to a focus on restorative practices, which seek to improve students’ relationships with each other and the community. State staffers signaled that change to UCAPP, and UCAPP tweaked its curriculum accordingly. “Now, pre-service principals are hearing different perspectives and different approaches towards restorative practices being considered in districts,” Cardona said. “So when they go into districts, these approaches are not new. New principals don't hear about them for the first time when they're employed.”</p><p>The state also gives UCAPP important context for its efforts. “The state is the best source of historical information for us,” Jennifer McGarry said. The department of education keeps information about interventions in years past, which she says is useful as UCAPP considers new approaches. “We can ask, ‘why did it work? Why did it not work? Is it something we want to revisit, or is it something that’s been done and wasn’t successful?”</p><p><strong>Results thus far</strong></p><p>Productive partnerships don’t come easy. All parties must stay open to feedback and change. They must balance different viewpoints and sometimes competing needs. And they must secure the resources they need to follow through on commitments. “It's not just one conversation, and then you go back to business as usual,” Cardona said. “It's a constant reflection of what's working, what's not working, what needs attention.”</p><p>But that effort may be yielding some early benefits for schools. Benigni, for example, said that more careful consideration of the skills his principals need and his greater familiarity with principal training has helped him ask better questions when he interviews principal candidates. “We’re putting less emphasis on the feel of the interview and more emphasis on the substance of the person,” he said. “There’s a likability factor that comes out in an interview. Sometimes that’s valuable, because being well liked helps you lead. But if you can’t help your teachers get better, that’s going to wear off very quickly.”</p><p>Cardona said closer communication with UCAPP and its partner districts is leading the state to reconsider certification policies. “The certification department may be under the assumption that a policy is a really good one,” he said. “But partners will tell us what they’re experiencing, and we might find that it is unintentionally hurting our ability to attract quality candidates. It gives us the opportunity to revisit that policy, see why it is in place and whether or not it's needed.”</p><p>Cobb, meanwhile, suggested that UCAPP’s initial self-assessment and its partnership with the state may even prod other programs to improve. “The state convened competing programs to talk about the quality of their own programs through the Quality Measures protocol,” he said. “I thought that was pretty neat.”</p><p>Challenges remain, however. One is staff capacity. Changes in personnel can disrupt efforts and partnerships with UCAPP can stretch districts’ financial and human resources. Another is the amount of time it takes to meet partnership commitments. Districts have requests UCAPP has not yet been able to address, and it can take a while for UCAPP to determine how best to squeeze these requests into a packed curriculum. </p><p>But the work so far has forced the parties closer together, built trust and, some hope, paved a path for continuous improvement in days ahead. “I define success by creating a culture of interdependence between the University of Connecticut, the districts and the department of education,” Cardona said. “So if this Wallace initiative wraps up, the partnership and the ongoing dialogue are still there.”</p><p>Benigni suggests that partnerships may be on their way to accomplishing just that. “We were partners before,” he said. “But now I feel like we may be influencing their work and they may be influencing ours.”</p><span>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; </span><a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">Embracing the Unknown in New Approaches to Principal Preparation</a>.<span></span><p><span></span><br></p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-16T04:00:00ZClose partnerships with school districts and the state help the University of Connecticut strengthen principal training.6/17/2020 1:18:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal Close partnerships with school districts and the state help the 227https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer11027GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summer has always been an important time to keep young people learning and developing in healthy ways. But now that the public health crisis has forced schools across the nation to close for weeks, says the National Summer Learning Association, making the best possible use of the summer months should be at the top of the education agenda.<br></p><p>The association hosted an online event, <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/HEXvbBKJ5Vk" target="_blank">“When Schools Close&#58; Harnessing the Power of Summer for America’s Young People,”</a> to draw attention to research about the importance of summer and to provide innovative examples of state and local efforts to keep kids learning, moving and creating this summer.</p><p>“We hope that this will lead to partnerships and people picking up the phone and emailing and reaching out to one another,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, the chief executive officer of NSLA. “How can I work with you, how can I bring that resource and experience to the families and the kids I serve?”<br></p><p>Karl Alexander, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the report <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-academy-of-sciences-report-on-summer-learning.aspx">Shaping Summer Experiences</a>, said the “elevated risk” of food insecurity, learning loss and lack of enrichment activities for students who live in low-income neighborhoods is even more pronounced now. </p><p>“Three months away from school have stretched to six, with practically no time to plan,” Alexander said. “The pandemic has made the issues taken up by our report even more urgent and more challenging.” (The fall 2019 report was supported by The Wallace Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)</p><p>Over the 90-minute event, which drew more than 900 registrants, panels of experts discussed the importance of summer and how everyone from policymakers to parents should think creatively to try to make the most of the time. </p><p>“One thing we know is when the story of this particular summer is told, and this school year is told, it will be a story of inequities,” said Tanji Reed Marshall, the director of P-12 practice at the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group. “The naturally occurring disparities among groups will exacerbate.” </p><p>Marshall called for states and districts to spend money from the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress in late March to address the economic impact of COVID-19, for summer and extended learning.</p><p>Jillian Balow, the Wyoming state schools superintendent and the president of the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers, noted that while every state is different, “Our job is to look at summer learning opportunities and figure out how to leverage them. Removing barriers and being that influencer and broker and connector is a role all state chiefs play.”</p><p>Other panelists noted that summer programming has always been “fragmented” among various actors, all of which are now facing serious budget problems. </p><p>Erik Peterson, senior vice president for policy at the Afterschool Alliance, discussed the CARES Act and other funding sources that can be used to provide summer programming. Noting that the primary source of education funding is from states and localities, which face budget shortfalls, Peterson added that community-based organizations, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and nonprofit and fee-based programs are also struggling. </p><p>“There are a tremendous amount of challenges,” he said, “but the opportunity is there as well and it’s often in these kinds of challenges where everyone will come together to braid and blend resources in a way that hopefully provides quality summer learning for children.”</p><p>Engaging Curious Minds, a nonprofit in Charleston, S.C., that works with about 11,000 students in grades K-8 in six school districts, has already adapted its summer programming, said Executive Director Robin Berlinsky. The program’s focus is to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through the arts. </p><p>This summer, rather than visit school facilities, students will receive “create kits” every week (some hidden by teachers in a scavenger hunt) with arts materials. Campers will do both online and in-person activities. For instance, the group plans to work with partner organizations such as running clubs and cheer teams to have socially distant parades where students receive math challenges and “story starters” to write about, Berlinsky said.</p><p>That’s the type of innovation that’s needed to make summer 2020 work for students, said Dworkin. </p><p>“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said, “and it’s going to take partnerships between parents, programs, policymakers, the business community, nonprofits, the government sector, everyone trying to be as coordinated as possible and as seamless as possible to give kids the experiences they deserve.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-11T04:00:00ZExperts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for students6/12/2020 4:13:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem 506https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Embracing the Unknown in New Approaches to Principal Preparation11017GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort documenting the universities’ efforts is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p> <em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic, and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>Richard Gonzales, director of the Neag School of Public Education’s University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP), <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/A-Road-to-More-Effective-Principals-Begins-in-one-Universitys-Classrooms.aspx">wrote on this blog</a> about the significant changes the program had to take on as part of Wallace’s <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/school-leadership.aspx">University Principal Preparation Initiative</a>. Few feel these changes as acutely as the program’s faculty members, who must revamp long-established approaches to fit the program’s new curriculum.</p><p>Six of these faculty members met earlier this year at the UConn Hartford campus in the historic Hartford Times Building to discuss changes in the program thus far, elements that appear to work well, elements that present some challenges and directions the program may take in days and years ahead. Wallace’s editorial staff had the opportunity to listen in and report back. </p><p> <strong>No course is an island</strong></p><p>UCAPP, like many principal preparation programs, was once a collection of courses with few explicit connections among them. Students would study one course every semester, each focused on different regulatory requirements, with little discussion of how topics covered in different courses could interact. The curriculum is now more interconnected, said Erin Murray, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Simsbury Public Schools who teaches courses on instructional leadership at UConn. Students revisit key concepts of leadership throughout the program to ensure they can apply them in a variety of different situations.</p><p>“From what was a more isolated, topical approach to instruction,” Murray said, “we've gone to a more integrated crossover opportunity that topics will re-emerge throughout the two-year program.”</p><p>Students now complete two courses every semester, all of which have moved from a focus on narrow topics to one on broad competencies of leadership. A course that was once limited to supervision and teacher evaluation, for example, is now part of a broader set of courses that teach talent management, including recruitment, retention and team leadership. Three strands of leadership—instructional leadership, organizational leadership and talent management—are now woven together, with courses interspersed throughout the two years of the program. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read a5216f60-1baf-4848-a2ae-9a62e66969a3" id="div_a5216f60-1baf-4848-a2ae-9a62e66969a3" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_a5216f60-1baf-4848-a2ae-9a62e66969a3" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>The change requires faculty to work out how their courses fit into a larger program, said Howard Thiery, superintendent of the Harwinton-Burlington regional school district who teaches courses on organizational leadership. “Each of us is trying to deliver on this high-quality experience within our course and figure out how it integrates,” he says. “Are we delivering on the integration? I don’t know yet. It’s early.”</p><p>As an example, Thiery pointed to two courses&#58; one on organizational leadership, which he teaches, and another on instructional leadership. Similar courses would once have been taught in different semesters, but his course now immediately follows the other in the same semester. “The two courses in a semester come literally back to back,” he said. “[Students] end one course on a Monday and the following Monday they’re in a new course.” </p><p>His course work must now gel with the one that now precedes it. “I couldn’t ignore the fact that they had just come from [that] course,” he said. “I had to show them that although these are different strengths in our program, instructional leadership and organizational leadership in the actual practitioner are integrated daily. One impacts the other; they are part of a system.”</p><p>When his students present their work on learning targets and assignments, for example, he tries to connect it to school culture. “If these are your learning targets for kids,” he asks his students, “what does that say about your school values? How did you engage parents?” </p><p>The juxtaposition of courses forces him to keep the bigger picture in mind, he said. “I was just reacting to where my students were,” he added. “It wasn't so much by design as by demand.”</p><p> <strong>More work for instructors…</strong></p><p>The new setup places many other demands on faculty. Chief among them, instructors say, at least while they iron out the kinks, is communication. Richard Gonzales, director of UCAPP who also teaches courses on organizational leadership, said that instructors must share much more information with each other to stay in sync. “We had talked plenty,” he said, speaking of previous iterations of the program, “but we'd never exchanged our plan for the sessions. That's a noticeable shift”</p><p>Yet more may be necessary, said Kelly Lyman, superintendent of schools for Mansfield Public Schools who teaches instructional leadership. “It seems like there’s going to need to be more opportunity for us as instructors to understand the whole two-year program and what’s taught where so that we can help make those connections,” she said.</p><p>Thiery agreed. “What did you do right before me and what did you do right before her,” he said. “Finding the mechanisms for that are going to be key.”</p><p>The new curriculum also requires instructors to reduce their reliance on rubrics and checklists to develop course syllabi. “Looking at the competencies,” said Lyman, “forces me to think beyond just the content of course.” &#160;</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 3295a12b-373e-4f79-985c-2b1402c0c24d" id="div_3295a12b-373e-4f79-985c-2b1402c0c24d"></div><div id="vid_3295a12b-373e-4f79-985c-2b1402c0c24d" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Broader course guidelines could help instructors make this shift, said Charles “Chip” Dumais, who teaches courses on instructional leadership and serves as executive director of Cooperative Educational Services, a nonprofit that supports area schools. “A rubric that is based on the competencies—that includes an element of connections to the other work they've done—supports what we're asking them to do in the program,” he said.</p><p>Instructors must also become much better versed with their own material, Gonzales suggested. They must now examine their classes from many diverse perspectives and cannot fall back on standard practices that had changed little in many years. “We were students of our own content more this time around,” he said. “We re-read certain things, we assigned new things for the first time … and we were much more attuned to the preparation.” </p><p>That extra preparation is also necessary to meet the pace of the new curriculum, which puts students through two courses per semester instead of one. “We’re a little bit more focused on staying on schedule now,” Gonzales said.</p><p>Still, said Dumais, the quicker pace and extra effort could help instructors bring more value for their students. “If all of talent management is condensed into one semester,” he said, “it really doesn't allow you to do all the things that you'd need to do.”</p><p> <strong>… could lead to benefits for students</strong></p><p>Instructors hope that their extra work will help give students a more complete picture of the principalship. “I experienced the balance,” said Eric Bernstein, assistant professor in educational leadership. “Students are doing more than one thing at the same time.”</p><p>That cross-pollination of ideas, Murray suggested, is especially important given the breadth of experience of UCAPP students. “The backgrounds that the people come to in the program are so vastly different,” she said. “You could have a school psychologist, a guidance counselor, school counselor, first-grade teacher, a special-ed teacher. To integrate it in this redesign is extremely powerful to get them to better understand the full picture of what leadership is going to look like for them.”</p><p>It also keeps students engaged, said Thiery. In previous versions of the curriculum, students who had greater experience with school culture may have had to take a back seat for a year while courses focused on curriculum. That is no longer so. “We immediately hopped [from a course on curriculum] into a school culture and climate course,” he said. “And the school psychologist and school counselor all of a sudden had legs way up on many of the other students in the class. They got see their own value and their own strengths.”</p><p>The redesign could also make students’ internships more meaningful. Lyman suggested that the previous program design could often limit the work students did as interns. “It used to be, well, don't do anything on curriculum until you get to semester four, because that's when we teach it,” she said. </p><p>“Now,” she added, “I'm hoping that there's a little more opportunity in a more natural way for them to make those connections.”</p><p>Ultimately, said Thiery, the new structure shifts from academic requirements and forces instructors to help build students’ professional skills. “One of the biggest shifts we have to do is get them into a professional mindset,” he said, “which gets out of the ‘how many pages, what font, how many references’ mode of instruction.” The new design requires him to focus on larger competencies. “Here's your standard, here's your professional competency, here's what it would look like in practice,” he said. “It is about being a practitioner.”</p><p> <strong>It’s not easy being green</strong></p><p>New approaches bring many potential benefits, instructors suggest. But the program has much to learn and glitches to fix before it can claim success. Administrators are constantly collecting feedback from students, instructors, school districts and other partners to ensure it is on the right path. </p><p>“The first time we're doing it it’s going to be clunky,” Bernstein said, suggesting UCAPP must be open to criticism as it tests its new waters. But, he said, it must also be judicious about the feedback it chooses to act upon. “How do you differentiate between being responsive to the students’ concerns and letting something work before you stop trying it?” he asked.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 6598adf6-fd1e-43cc-ad07-b2b014740c9a" id="div_6598adf6-fd1e-43cc-ad07-b2b014740c9a"></div><div id="vid_6598adf6-fd1e-43cc-ad07-b2b014740c9a" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“How do we take our reflections and feedback and figure out what is structurally deficient,” added Thiery, “and what is actually developmental on the student's end?”</p><p>One concern is the amount of time the program demands from its students. “The classes meet weekly for students who are full time educators,” said Lyman. “They've already had some leadership experiences in their school or district and now we're asking them every week to meet with us. I just wonder about the absorption rate and the application.”</p><p>Some wondered whether this pace is causing students to brush over essential elements of the program, especially the core assessment, a measure of the extent to which students meet established standards of school leadership. Students are expected to check progress against the core assessments throughout their time in the program, but some instructors worry that these assessments get buried under other demands. </p><p>“The pace is rapid and I think that that might be more of an issue for us in the design than for them in the work,” said Dumais. UCAPP may have to work harder, he suggests, to demonstrate the importance of each of its components, including the core assessment. “In order for the core assignment to be parallel [to curriculums and internships,]” he said, “we have to make the conditions for the core assignment to be parallel.”</p><p>Faculty members are soliciting and receiving feedback from students and partners to respond to such concerns. “It seems that there's something about the way this [iteration of the program] is working, or the way that we're approaching it, that we're listening more,” said Gonzales. </p><p>“If you listen to what you've said today,” he said to his colleagues, “there's a greater awareness of what you know and don't know. We understand what is happening or not happening, or what needs to be done, more than we did eight years ago.”</p><p> <strong>Do try this at home</strong></p><p>While the results of the work are still unclear, each of the instructors had advice for others who may embark on similar initiatives. <br> Faculty members can be key, said Lyman. “Engage faculty members as frequently as you can from the start to really build the understanding,” she said.&#160; “This program would not be successful if people in it, teaching it, working within it, don't understand the big picture of their program.”</p><p>An experienced partner could help, said Murray. The University of Illinois at Chicago had previously redesigned its own principal training program and helped guide UCAPP, a support Murray thought was critical. “The collaboration we’ve had with University of Illinois was exceptional,” she said. “Having outside people talking with us about other work that they've done and looking at other programs I think was extremely powerful.”</p><p>Don’t be scared of mistakes, said Thiery. “Even in the best of planning and design circumstances, where you have all the time in the world, when you finally push the go switch, there's still going to be this feeling that you're making it up,” he said. “The checking in with students more often comes from our own acknowledgement that we're building the plane and flying it at the same time. … I think to some degree that intensity is making us better. You have to be willing to do it and not be afraid of it.”</p><p>Stay focused, adds Bernstein. Equity and the student’s identity as a leader were the two guiding principles for the program, clear targets he found helpful. “These two things should be thought about in all of the ways that we're designing every piece,” he said. “Not these 12 or 18 or 36 things. Not these broad general notions, but these two very specific things.”</p><p>Students come first, said Dumias. “I don't think that the first thing that comes to mind when people ask about great teaching is college or graduate school. Things that are good for students, they become slightly inconvenient for teachers,” he said. “I think that this program is a perfect example of how this teaching staff are changing their perspective on how to change the structure so it best meets the needs of students.”</p><p>And design is just the beginning, said Gonzales. “Don't underestimate or discount implementation as part of the redesign,” he said, adding&#58; “It's the first cycle of implementation and the adjustments based on lessons learned … that's part of redesign. Make sure that you plan for that.”</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Embracing-the-Unknown-in-New-Approaches-to-Principal-Preparation/UCAPP-faculty-tips.jpg" alt="UCAPP-faculty-tips.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/taking-principal-training-to-the-real-world.aspx">Taking Principal Training to the Real World</a>. </p> <p></p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-09T04:00:00ZUniversity of Connecticut faculty members reflect on adaptations they made to strengthen their principal preparation program6/9/2020 3:12:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Embracing the Unknown in New Approaches to Principal Preparation University of Connecticut faculty members reflect on 195https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
A message from President Will Miller about recent events10926GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​<br></p><p>Over the past several weeks, we’ve witnessed a series of horrifying events in the U.S. that once again call attention to the cumulative burden of centuries of racial inequity in our society. The widespread protests have been sparked not just by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, the attack on Christian Cooper in Central Park, the disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout on communities of color, and much more.</p><p>The indisputable fact is that bias and systemic oppression of marginalized communities are deeply intertwined with many aspects of our culture and society. This is intolerable. We reject racism in any form.</p><p>I believe it is critical for the future of our country that we collectively and proactively engage in the difficult conversations to define equity and take action to create a more equitable system.<br> <br> When I was younger, I asked James A. Joseph, a civil rights leader, where the best place was to fight injustice. He responded simply&#58; “Where you are.” At Wallace, we will intensify our commitment to infusing diversity, equity, access and inclusion into the work we do internally and externally in the arts, K-12 leadership, summer learning, social and emotional learning, and afterschool – including in the design of new initiatives now under way. </p><p>​We appreciate that we are part of a community of grantees, partners, educators, artists&#160;and others who are committed to making a real difference. My hope is that, together, we can help, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “bend the arc of history toward justice.”&#160; </p><p>Sincerely,<br><img alt="Will Miller Signature Hi-Res.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/A-message-from-President-Will-Miller-about-recent-events/Will%20Miller%20Signature%20Hi-Res.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;139px;height&#58;42px;" /><br>Will Miller, President</p>Will Miller42020-06-05T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.6/5/2020 4:58:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / A message from President Will Miller about recent events Over the past several weeks, we’ve witnessed a series of 204https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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