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Getting Ready for Summer in the Deep South3506GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It’s late March, and in many U. S. cities, the chill hasn’t yet left the air. But in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where you can already go out of the house in short sleeves, the message is clear&#58; Summer is right around the corner. That’s why a group of teachers, school administrators and enrichment providers has convened at Tuscaloosa Career &amp; Technology Academy—to solidify their 2019 summer learning offerings for students and learn how the &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a> can help them in their work.</p><p>The toolkit, developed by The Wallace Foundation, is a free online compendium of more than 50 evidence-based resources, including tip sheets, customizable tools like planning calendars and budget templates, and sample documents like staff handbooks and enrollment forms. The resources grew out of research and on-the-ground insights from communities involved in the Wallace-sponsored National Summer Learning Project. Wallace launched the project in 2011, commissioning the RAND Corporation to study five large-scale, voluntary summer learning programs led by public school districts&#58; Boston; Dallas; Duval County (Jacksonville), Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Rochester, N.Y. The goals of the project were to provide a summer mix of academics and enrichment to thousands of children in low-income communities; help the districts improve their programs; and understand what impact, if any, they have on participating students—as well as what factors influence results. </p><p>Now, to ensure that the lessons of the National Summer Learning Project benefit cities and districts across the country, Wallace—along with the National Summer Learning Association, a non-profit organization, and The Learning Agenda, a consultancy—is taking the Summer Learning Toolkit on the road. First stop&#58; Tuscaloosa.</p><p>In Alabama, summer learning has historically been a local concern with philanthropy playing a major role. For example, SAIL (Summer Adventures in Learning)—a partnership of funders, program providers and community stakeholders—has been making grants to support rigorous summer learning in Birmingham and elsewhere since 2012. “Alabama is a state with a real tradition of philanthropy, so we’re used to trying to solve our problems in a community way,” says Jim Wooten, board chair of the organization. “We like less government and more citizen-based ownership.” Things may be changing, however, as the state government looks for new ways to improve academic performance, particularly in reading. Last year, the legislature added $4 million to the state’s Education Trust Fund, part of which was used to establish a pilot summer reading program. This is a moment of opportunity for Alabama’s summer learning leaders. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Andrew-Maxey.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Getting-Ready-for-Summer-in-the-Deep-South/Andrew-Maxey.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;220px;" />In many ways, Tuscaloosa is ahead of the game. Its district-run summer learning effort is entering its third year with programs in nine schools. Enrollment is already up for 2019, from 800 elementary students in 2018 to 1,000 so far signed up for this coming summer (out of a total of about 5,000 in the district). The district also provides grant funding and other forms of support to a number of independent programs. Andrew Maxey, the district’s director of special programs, who oversees its summer work, says he initially looked to Dallas, one of the districts in the National Summer Learning Project, for ideas. Last November, he attended the National Summer Learning Association’s annual conference, which is where he first discovered the Summer Learning Toolkit. Maxey welcomed the chance to incorporate the toolkit into a regularly scheduled planning meeting. “The tools in there are ridiculously powerful,” he says. “They’re solutions to issues every summer program needs to solve.”</p><p>Tuscaloosa may not be as big as Dallas or the other cities in the National Summer Learning Project, but it has big ambitions, Maxey says, aiming to bring every major player in town to the table and provide summer learning experiences to every student in the district who could benefit. He sees the toolkit as a means of facilitating that growth. “With just nine school-based programs, I’m able to give them very close coaching attention,” he says, “but when you scale, that’s just not practical.”</p><p>The program directors and teachers in the room—coming from both the district’s school-based programs and independent programs run by nonprofits like the Y and Boys &amp; Girls Club—were curious about how the toolkit could help them with the challenges they face in the here and now. During one part of the presentation, a sample schedule of a typical day in Pittsburgh’s Summer Dreamers Academy appeared on the screen, and several attendees took out their phones to get a snapshot. </p><p>Juerrette Thomas, lead teacher for one of the district’s summer programs, operated by the 21st Century Community Learning Center at The Alberta School of the Performing Arts (TASPA), says that building partnerships with high-quality enrichment providers is foremost on her mind. “Our first year, we were a half-day program, and we did all the enrichment in-house,” she says. “But now that we’re going to a full day, we want that outside support. There are people who know about things we don’t or may have a way of presenting material to the students we haven’t even thought of. We’d like to have those partnerships, but they’re not solidified.”</p><p>Sure enough, the toolkit features a section with guidance on vetting and setting expectations for enrichment partners, including sample documents like a request for proposals and a memorandum of understanding. Making the trip to Tuscaloosa to talk about putting these resources into action was Kathryn Vargas, director of Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time, the nonprofit “intermediary” organization that works with Pittsburgh Public Schools to connect community-based enrichment providers with the district’s Summer Dreamers Academy. Thomas, who, in addition to her summer responsibilities, is a full-time teacher at TASPA, commented that she and her colleagues could use the support of an intermediary to take on the enrichment part of the summer learning equation. </p><p>She may eventually get her wish&#58; Maxey told the group that he is exploring the possibility of bringing on a “backbone organization,” separate from the district, to coordinate Tuscaloosa’s summer learning activity, including the cultivation of enrichment partners.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Mike-Daria.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Getting-Ready-for-Summer-in-the-Deep-South/Mike-Daria.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;224px;" />The opportunity to learn and draw inspiration from someone like Vargas may have been what Mike Daria, superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools, had in mind when he kicked off the day by saying he was excited about “who was in the room together.” Daria says the district’s goal is to “recalibrate” what it’s doing in the summer, so that teachers and families alike think of it as “not just summer school.” Lesley Bruinton, the district’s coordinator of public relations, sees Daria’s vision of summer as a time when “learning is real <em>and</em> really fun” starting to become a reality. As an example, she mentions a summer teacher who created a class called “It’s a Piece of Cake,” in which students built their math skills by participating in a baking project and took a field trip to visit a local donut shop. </p><p>Summers in Tuscaloosa have always been sweltering, but when it comes to summer learning, it looks like things are really heating up.</p><p><em>Photos by C. W. Newell. Top&#58; Closing exercise at the event; middle&#58; Andrew Maxey,&#160;district director of special programs;&#160;bottom&#58; Mike Daria, superintendent,&#160;Tuscaloosa City Schools.</em></p><p> &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792019-04-16T04:00:00ZEducators and enrichment providers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, explore Wallace’s summer learning toolkit4/16/2019 1:30:33 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Getting Ready for Summer in the Deep South Educators and enrichment providers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, explore Wallace’s 323https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning12651GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​All the leaves have fallen from the trees. There’s a chill in the air. ’Tis the season…for planning your district’s summer learning program?</p><p>That’s right, district leaders. Decide in the fall to offer a program and begin the planning process by January and you’ll run into fewer roadblocks when summer rolls around. That’s just one of more than 60 recommendations in the second edition of <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success</em>.</a> This report from the RAND Corporation updates guidance to districts interested in launching a summer learning program or improving an existing one. It’s based on evaluations of five urban school districts participating in the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP), a Wallace-funded effort to understand whether and how voluntary district-run summer learning programs can help promote success in school. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="heather-schwartz.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Now-Is-the-Time-to-Get-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning/heather-schwartz.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;241px;" />The report answers such questions as when districts should begin work on their summer program, how they should hire and train teachers, what they should consider in choosing or developing a curriculum, which actions can help boost attendance and keep students on task, how to create a warm and welcoming environment&#160;and how to provide engaging enrichment experiences. Heather Schwartz, one of the authors of the report, guided us through some of the highlights.*</p><p><strong>How did you arrive at the recommendations in the guide? </strong><br> To develop our recommendations, we drew from over 900 interviews with summer teachers and administrators, 2,000 hours of observations of summer classes and 1,200 summer staff surveys that we collected over four summers. We believe this is the most comprehensive data currently available about voluntary, academic summer programs run by school districts and their community partners.</p><p><strong>What's new in this second edition? How has your thinking evolved since the first edition?</strong><br> Although most of the lessons from the first edition still stand, the second edition provides further and more detailed recommendations. For example, by the second edition we had learned that students who received a minimum of 25 hours of mathematics instruction and those receiving 34 hours of language arts in a summer performed better on the subsequent state math and ELA tests. These findings informed our recommendations in the second edition about the duration of the summer program, the number of hours of academics&#160;and ways for instructors to use intended instructional time more productively. </p><p><strong>You provide a wealth of recommendations in the guide. Could you briefly highlight one or two of the most important?</strong><br> Our most emphatic recommendation is to commit in the fall to a summer program. This means dedicating at least half of the time of a summer program director to actively start planning the summer program no later than January. The early planning should include attention to enrichment as well as to academics.</p><p><strong>What did you learn about the cost of a high-quality summer program? What can districts to do to make their summer programs cost-effective?</strong><br> The cost per student who attended at least one day of a program in summer 2014 ranged from $1,070 to $1,700 with an average of $1,340. Since staff is the largest component of a summer budget, an important way to control costs is to hire staff to achieve desired ratios based on projected daily attendance, not the number of enrollees. Of course, program designers should weigh the savings from cost-cutting measures against potential negative impacts on program quality. Other ways to lower costs include partnering with community organizations for enrichment activities, reducing the number of summer facilities since each carry fixed costs to operate them, centralizing some planning activities to avoid duplicated work, extending school-year curricula for use during the summer and continuing the program over time to capitalize on initial start-up investments. </p><p><strong>Can you give a preview of what's still to come from the National Summer Learning Project?</strong><br> There are four more reports coming out of the NSLP. In the first, we examine how district, city, state and federal policy support and constrain summer programming and we offer recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on navigating this policy landscape. In the second, we examine how student learning unfolds over the course of a calendar year, taking a close look at summer learning, in two urban school districts. In the third, we follow the students in the randomized controlled trial to see if those who went through the NSLP programs have different outcomes in seventh grade than the students in the control group. And, finally in the fourth report, we report on the efforts of NSLP communities to improve access to quality summer learning programming. The case studies in this final report should prove useful to other community leaders across the country.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed. </em></p><p><em>For additional hands-on tools and guidance, including a sample program calendar, see the online </em><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a><em>. </em></p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div> Wallace editorial team792018-12-11T05:00:00ZTalking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful summer learning program12/11/2018 3:00:53 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning Talking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful 890https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Ringing in Another National Summer Learning Day10221GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Most summer days, you can find 12-year-old Madison Newman at a camp run through New York City’s Madison Square Boys &amp; Girls Club. She and the other kids enrolled take classes and participate in a range of activities. Sometimes they go on group field trips to libraries or museums. </p><p>But on one hot Monday in July, Madison left her fellow campers in the Bronx to travel into Manhattan, with her mother in tow. She was all dressed up and headed downtown to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to help kick off the National Summer Learning Association’s annual <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-day/">Summer Learning Day</a>.&#160; </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Madison-Newman.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/Madison-Newman.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;256px;" />“It’s really exciting here!” said Madison, who during the year attends the Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx. She was busy soaking up conversations in the gilded halls of the board room at the stock exchange. Earlier she’d given a reading from the book <em>Trombone Shorty</em> backed by an actual trombonist. Her summer group had read the autobiography about a young jazz player, which is the official read-aloud book of this year’s Summer Learning Day. </p><p>Madison was also the lead in a play about bullying earlier in the summer. “We were doing the play so we’d learn how sticking up for each other shows leadership, and how more violence is not the answer,” she said, adding that the program always focuses on “things you can use in life, like respecting people, respecting yourself and taking care of yourself.” </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="stock-exchange.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/stock-exchange.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;242px;" />Just before being escorted downstairs to the iconic floor of the exchange, Madison shared a final thought about summer learning and how it might influence her life. “We were talking the other day about the army and how their budget was $600 billion versus $67 billion for children,” she said. “Imagine if that were the other way around? How much better that would be for kids.” </p><p>In case you’re wondering, her numbers weren’t far off. &#160;Based on <a href="https&#58;//www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_spending_2018USbn_19bs2n_3020#usgs302">2018 projections</a> released by the U.S. government, spending on military defense is roughly $648 billion, while total spending on education comes in at $111 billion, of which about 40 billion goes to pre-primary through secondary education. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="stock-exchange2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/stock-exchange2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;331px;" />“So for me, what I want to do in five or 10 years?” Madison said. “I want to try and open up a foundation or something to help summer programs and schools get more of the money.”</p><p>Minutes later she stood at the center of the world’s global markets bringing the day’s trading to a close. Her goal seemed entirely possible.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">* &#160; &#160;*&#160;&#160; &#160;*&#160;</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>​For more on the effects of voluntary summer learning programs and other research and reports visit the </em><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx"><em>Summer Learning</em></a><em> section at our Knowledge Center. </em> </p>Lauren Sanders732018-07-12T04:00:00ZSee why this 12-year-old summer student was the perfect person to close out the trading day on Wall Street7/12/2018 2:00:26 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Ringing in Another National Summer Learning Day See why this 12-year-old summer student was the perfect person to close out 409https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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