Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled24117GP0|#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 208https://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 students8/27/2020 3:07:08 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 599https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What the Pandemic Means for Summer Learning-And How Policymakers Can Help24122GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>This is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone. Schools are beginning to adapt to the realities of the current crisis brought on by the global coronavirus pandemic, but what about summer learning programs? Summer programs have always played an important role in supporting students who fall behind academically, but with so many young people across the country losing vital learning time, they may be important than ever. Yet organizers of summer programs face a host of unknowns, including whether they will be able to serve students at all in the coming months and, if so, how. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Catherine-Augustine.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/what-the-pandemic-means-for-summer-learning-and-how-policymakers-can-help/Catherine-Augustine.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />One thing that doesn’t have to be an unknown is the way government policies—federal, state, city and school district—both help and limit summer learning efforts. <em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-support-for-summer-learning-policies-affect-summer-learning-programs.aspx">Getting Support for Summer Learning</a></em>, a new report from the RAND Corporation, offers information and advice to aid summer learning leaders in securing and maintaining support for their programs. We talked to Catherine Augustine, one of the report’s authors, about applying the lessons of the report in this unprecedented moment.</p><p><strong>What is the outlook for summer learning during this very difficult period?</strong></p><p>For this coming summer, some programs are canceling altogether, some are pivoting to be 100 percent virtual and others are hoping to continue in person. It’s likely that most will cancel. For those shifting to online experiences, it’s important to capture how that goes. Are they reaching kids? Are kids attending regularly? Are they benefiting and in what ways? Documenting what goes well in the summer would be useful to schools because they’re likely to continue at least some virtual offerings in the fall. Schools are already learning a lot about virtual learning, of course, but school leaders might gain insights from summer programs about offering virtual enrichment classes like art, music and even physical education.</p><p>Hopefully, summer programs can be in full swing and “normal” in summer 2021. At that point, they should be a critical tool for helping those students who are falling behind now to catch up. Districts and schools should soon begin aggressively planning to serve more kids than they typically do in summer 2021 and focusing their summer programs on the skills students need to gain to catch up to their counterparts.</p><p><strong>We know that students are losing a significant amount of learning time this school year and may lose more in the school year to come. We also know that inequities between poor families and more affluent families are worsening during this period. Given these conditions, should policymakers be thinking differently about summer learning?</strong></p><p>Yes. I hope policymakers come to see summer 2021 as incredibly important for catching up those students who are now falling behind and make sure there is adequate funding and support for school districts to expand the number of students served next summer in high-quality programs.</p><p><strong>As we approach the time when summer programs would typically open, summer learning leaders are facing great uncertainty. Are there any lessons from the report that are particularly relevant to the current situation?</strong></p><p>In the report, we advise summer program organizers to try to ensure that district leaders understand the importance of summer programming, so they can make it a priority in their budget meetings and decisions about how to spend general operating or Title I dollars, or about what outside grants to pursue. This is even more critical now. As districts are scrambling to meet students’ immediate learning and other needs, they’re probably not thinking about summer programming. But if summer programs aren’t planned in advance, it’s unlikely they’ll be high quality. Program leaders should do what they can to ensure they have funding in hand or pledged for summer 2021 by the end of this calendar year so that they can start planning. </p><p><strong>What steps can states take policy-wise to help communities use summer effectively as a time for learning? What steps can districts take? Cities?</strong></p><p>Some states, like Texas, have recently established new funding streams for extending school time, including in the summer. Other states might want to replicate these laws, given the importance of focusing on children who are now falling behind. States will also have the opportunity to hold back a small portion of the K-12 funding that they will pass on to districts from the federal Education Stabilization Fund [part of the federal <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-cares-act.aspx">CARES Act stimulus package</a>]. They could use that funding to incentivize district-led summer programs. Districts can use this stabilization funding for summer programming, too, although it’s likely that at this point their priority is technology, which is critical for their online learning efforts. City budgets are likely to be more strained than is typical in the next year, but cities that offer jobs programs might continue to support those programs and should advocate for that funding if it’s at risk. Summer jobs programs have been <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx">demonstrated to have several positive outcomes</a>, including less risky and illegal behavior on the part of participants. At-risk youth will likely need these programs more than ever in 2021 if small businesses in their communities close. </p><p><strong>What, if anything, is known about virtual forms of summer learning, which may be the best option for many programs this summer?</strong></p><p>Districts have had success delivering credit recovery summer programs to high school students in online form. But those programs are more akin to school with a focus on academic learning, rather than the enrichment activities typically offered in summer programs. If summer programs do attempt to replicate enrichment activities online, they’re likely to do so with small groups of students who take breaks to create on their own or with another student online and then return to the group to share what they have done through a video exchange. Students might, for example, create a video to be shared with the rest of the group. Teachers can ensure that students have time to present their thoughts and have a say in what they learn and experience. To support social and emotional learning, teachers can hold virtual restorative practice circles [i.e., dialogues in which students and teachers respond to challenging behavior and try to “make things right”] by asking students to respond to a prompt. Some teachers who are already leading online classes are using props such as wheels that display various emotions to start conversations about how students are feeling.</p><p>All of this is new, so we have few roadmaps to follow. But I have faith in those who teach in <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">summer programs </a>. If anyone can find creative ways to continue to engage children during the summer, they can. And the rest of us should follow along and learn from their trailblazing. </p>Wallace editorial team792020-05-14T04:00:00ZRAND’s Catherine Augustine discusses a new report on the summer learning policy landscape and what lies ahead for summer programs8/27/2020 3:12:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What the Pandemic Means for Summer Learning-And How Policymakers Can Help RAND’s Catherine Augustine discusses a new report 1358https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Take a Winter Break…for Summer Learning!24111GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Whether you’re on winter break this week, or simply daydreaming about warmer weather, now is actually a great time to think about summer—summer learning that is! </p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">Research tells us</a> that summer program leaders who commit to a program in the fall and begin planning in January run smoother programs with fewer disruptions. But it’s already February, you ask? Is that too late? The short answer is no. And we’re here to help. </p><p>All this week, we’re sharing tools and resources to assist you in developing a high-quality summer learning program that can lead to measurable benefits in math, reading, and social and emotional learning. These successful outcomes help level the playing field for kids from low-income communities who often lose ground over the summer. Our resources are drawn from the work of five urban school districts and aligned with research from RAND.</p><p>Follow us on <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/WallaceFdn">Twitter</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/WallaceFdn/">Facebook</a><a href="https&#58;//www.linkedin.com/company/the-wallace-foundation">, LinkedIn</a> or <a href="https&#58;//www.instagram.com/wallacefdn/?hl=en">Instagram</a>, where each day we’ll be highlighting tools and resources from our Summer Learning Toolkit. Or dive right into the full toolkit <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">here</a>. It’s a good place to begin. </p><p>And for you early planners, now is a great time to start ramping up. Summer will be here before we know it!</p>Wallace editorial team792020-02-26T05:00:00ZYour 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.2/26/2020 6:07:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Take a Winter Break…for Summer Learning It’s not too late to plan a summer learning program The short answer is no. And 457https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership24054GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts<p>​​​​I​f we can glean any trends from our list of most popular posts published on the Wallace Blog this year, it might be&#58; Everything is connected. From arts education programs focused on urban tweens to performing arts organizations with varied audiences, the question seems to be how to get people in the door. Then once there, how to keep them…just as school districts are struggling to retain principals and might find support in RAND’s groundbreaking principal pipeline research. And speaking of school leaders, their growing concern for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) is more evident than ever.&#160;<br></p><p>We’ve got all that and more in our Top 10 list this year, so go ahead and get connected&#58;&#160;<br></p><p> 10)&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-benefits-of-arts-education-for-urban-tweens.aspx">The Benefits of Arts Education for Urban Tweens</a></strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Does high-quality arts programming benefit urban tweens? What does it take to recruit young people to these programs—and keep them coming back? Read highlights from this webinar hosted by The National Guild for Community Arts Education and drawn from research and practice in our Youth Arts Initiative. <br><br> 9<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/principal-retention-findings-from-ppi-report.aspx"><strong>Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> Principal turnover disrupts schools, teachers and students, and the cost to replace a principal is about $75,000. This blog post investigates the principal retention finding of &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">RAND’s groundbreaking report</a> on building principal pipelines. <br><br> 8<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-if-districts-focused-not-just-on-preparing-and-hiring-principals-but-also-retaining-them.aspx"><strong>What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> For more on principal retention, Marina Cofield, then the senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what the district did about it.<br><br> 7<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/could-federal-funding-help-pay-for-arts-ed-in-your-school.aspx">Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?</a></strong> The authors of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">a report exploring research on approaches to arts education</a> under the Every Student Succeeds Act discuss the types of activities and approaches that qualify for funding, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators might use their report to improve arts education in their schools.<br><br> 6<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-organizations-five-different-strategies-to-build-arts-audiences.aspx">Five Organizations, Five Different Strategies to Build Arts Audiences</a></strong><strong>&#58;&#160; </strong>Organizations&#160;from our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative share early results from their efforts to tap new audiences while continuing to engage current attendees. As detailed in accounts from our BAS Stories Project, the work of the five varies&#160;widely;&#160;some strategies show&#160;success, some falter&#160;and many fall somewhere in between.<br><br> 5<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/implementation-gets-the-job-done-benefiting-kids-by-strengthening-practices.aspx"><strong>Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefitting Kids by Strengthening Practices</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>Wallace’s recently retired director of research, Ed Pauly, shares insights from his decades-long career into why implementation studies matter, highlighting examples from recent Wallace work.<br><br> 4<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/looking-toward-a-nation-at-hope.aspx">Looking Toward a Nation at Hope&#58;</a></strong><strong> </strong>Rooted in findings that academic learning and social and emotional learning are intertwined, <a href="http&#58;//nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/">a report released earlier this year by The Aspen Institute</a> shares recommendations and next steps for supporting a more holistic learning approach.<br><br> 3<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/choosing-the-right-social-and-emotional-learning-programs-and-practices.aspx">Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>More from the SEL front&#58; RAND researchers discuss the importance of social and emotional learning and their new guide meant to help educators adopt evidence-based programs that fit needs of students and communities.<br><br> 2<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span>&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-leading-for-equity-can-look-like-paul-fleming.aspx">What Leading for Equity Can Look Like</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Paul Fleming, assistant commissioner for the teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, discusses the importance of equity and how a publication on the subject by a statewide team seeks to help schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.<br><br> 1<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong>​ </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-principals-support-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>It’s no surprise that our top post of 2019 falls at the crossroads of school leadership and SEL&#58; Here, guest author Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, tells of his conversations with educators around the country and the guide for SEL implementation that came out of them. </p> <br>Wallace editorial team792019-12-04T05:00:00ZRead the most popular stories we published this year and the research that inspired them.12/4/2019 5:57:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership Read the most popular stories we published this year and 1513https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
This Holiday Season, Start Planning for … Summer?24116GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Temperatures are dropping and holiday decorations are appearing in storefront windows, so summer may seem a long way off.&#160; But <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">evidence</a> shows that <em>now</em> is actually the optimal time to start planning for summer programs. </p><p>And <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/learning-from-summer-effects-of-voluntary-summer-learning-programs-on-low-income-urban-youth.aspx">additional research</a> finds that students from low-income families can get meaningful benefits in reading and math, as well as bolster their social and emotional skills, with frequent attendance in high-quality voluntary programs. This makes summer an opportune time to help level the playing field for these children. &#160;</p><p>You can find all of the research—based on the work of five urban school districts that, with partners, participated in Wallace’s National Summer Learning Project—at the <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning</a> hub of our Knowledge Center. &#160;We’ve also got a slew of tools to help you get started in planning before the end of the year. Highlights include&#58; </p><ul> <li>​The <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a>&#58; a free online compendium of more than 50 evidence-based resources. They include customizable tools such as a program observation instrument; sample documents, like staff handbooks and enrollment forms, from the five districts; tip sheets from field experts; and guidance for how to effectively use each resource, with explanations of what the resource is, why it’s important and whom it can benefit.<br><br></li></ul><ul><li>RAND’s full set of recommendations on implementing high-quality summer learning programs, which can be found in <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd Edition</a></em><em>.</em> The recommendations include starting planning no later than January; operating the program five to six weeks with three to four hours of academics each day; establishing a firm enrollment deadline and clear attendance policy; and hiring teachers who have grade-level and subject-matter experience.<br><br></li></ul><ul><li>More recently, the National Academies of Sciences released a report, <em> <a href="http&#58;//sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BCYF/summertime/index.htm">Shaping Summertime Experiences,</a></em> &#160;that looks at summer in relation not only to academic learning but also to social and emotional development; physical and mental health; and safety, risk-taking and pro-social behavior. The report offers recommendations to improve the availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summertime experiences for children and youth.<br><br></li></ul><p>Our recently published <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/summer-a-time-for-learning-five-lessons-from-school-districts-and-their-partners-about-running-successful-programs.aspx">summer learning perspective</a> offers five lessons, with tips, from the work of the districts and their partner organizations. Other resources and reports focus on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/summer-learning-recruitment-guide.aspx">recruitment</a>, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx">funding</a> and related aspects of implementing summer programming. By starting planning now, you can help ensure strong logistics, better prepared teachers and, ultimately, a more successful experience for participating students. </p><p>Happy planning!</p> <br>Wallace editorial team792019-11-19T05:00:00ZResearch shows that successful summer learning programs begin with early planning11/19/2019 5:09:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / This Holiday Season, Start Planning for … Summer Research shows that successful summer learning programs begin with early 1375https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
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 387https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Books, Research and Beloved Pigs of Children’s Literature16119GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>The idea seems simple—give low-income kids books over the summer and their reading will improve. As Harvard education professor <a href="https&#58;//www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/james-kim" target="_blank">James Kim</a> knows, there’s a lot more to it than that. </p><p>Kim is the key person behind READS for Summer Learning, a school-run, home-based program shaped by 10-plus years of research and experimentation. Over time, Kim and his colleagues developed a program which, through a combination of instructional support, family engagement and books carefully matched to the reading levels and interests of young readers, helped its participants in high-poverty elementary schools gain nearly 1.5 months of reading skills on average compared to non-participants. A <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/reads-helping-children-become-summer-bookworms.aspx">new Wallace report</a> describes READS, which received support from the foundation.<em>&#160;(Click on the thumbnail below to view the infographic.)&#160;</em></p><p> <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/READS-Helping-Children-Become-Summer-Bookworms-infographic.pdf"> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Asset_Infographic.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/summer-books-research-beloved-pigs-of-childrens-literature/Asset_Infographic.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;290px;" /></a>The READS research was all-consuming. Kim even packed and hand-delivered boxes of books to schools participating in his studies. Still, the hard work was worthwhile, considering its purpose, according to Kim. “READS is designed to impact a child’s head, heart and hands,” he says. “It helps kids read for understanding, inspires their love of reading and causes them to want to get their hands on more and more books.” <br> <br> Now, educators want to get their hands on READS. Kim has fielded inquiries from school district leaders to classroom teachers. This past year, he conducted webinar training with a group of school literacy facilitators in Michigan. A colleague ran a similar workshop with librarians in Massachusetts. Interest has also come from nonprofit organizations that bring services to schools, such as tutoring and book fairs. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="jk2-cropped.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/summer-books-research-beloved-pigs-of-childrens-literature/jk2-cropped.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;210px;" />Kim’s work follows him home&#58; His three kids are entering second, third and fourth grade. What’s one of their favorite books to read together? Kate DiCamillo’s <em>Mercy Watson</em> series, starring a hilarious pig. “While we’re on the theme of pigs, I love <em>Charlotte’s Web</em> too!” Kim adds. </p><p>Below, he talks more about his research and summer learning.<br><br><strong>You started your career in education as a middle-school history teacher in the 1990s. How did that experience spark your interest in researching summer reading loss and possible solutions?</strong></p><p>At my school, kids learned about colonial history to the Civil War in sixth grade. I covered Reconstruction to the present in seventh grade. When kids returned to school in September, some clearly knew a lot about history and some seemed to have forgotten much of what they learned about the Civil War, which was covered just three months ago. As I probed, it became clear that many of my disadvantaged students did not have enriching summers. They read few books and lost a lot of ground academically. This first-hand experience gave me the initial burst of inspiration to think of a low-cost solution to summer learning loss.</p><p> <strong>Your research on READS spans more than a decade. There was a trial-and-error approach to your work as you figured out the key components of the program. What surprised you most</strong>? </p><p>I call the trial-and-error approach the fusion of “strategic replication” and “heroic incrementalism.”&#160; That is, I wanted to stick with a program of research long enough to build on what worked and to make changes to what didn’t. This approach yielded a lot of surprises, but that’s what makes science fun—having your assumptions challenged and continually building knowledge.</p><p>One surprise was disappointing. In an early READS study with my colleague Jon Guryan, an economist at Northwestern University, we let kids select their own books rather than matching them with books based on their reading level and book tastes. Too many kids picked really hard books. They did no better on a follow-up reading test than their peers who hadn’t been part of READS. We shouldn’t think of this as a failure, though, because it’s critical to know what doesn’t work. </p><p>A second finding is more optimistic. In our last RCT [randomized controlled trial] of READS, we compared core or traditional READS with adaptive READS. In the core READS program, we instructed teachers to implement the core components with fidelity. In the adaptive READS model, we allowed for structured adaptations so teachers could make changes to help make the program work better with their kids. The adaptive READS program worked better, improved student engagement and ultimately students’ reading comprehension outcomes. We were surprised and gratified to see that the adaptive READs model could work well in high-poverty schools (75 percent to 100 percent of students eligible for free lunch) particularly when teachers had implemented core READs for at least one year.</p><p> <strong>Summer seems to be an under-utilized time for learning. Why is that?</strong></p><p>One challenge is that educators already have a crowded agenda. There’s already so much that a superintendent, principal and teacher have to accomplish during the school year. I think summer is a peripheral concern. In addition, educators typically don’t have the same level of accountability or funding for programs outside school, especially during the summer. My hope is that more educators invest in low-cost and scalable solutions, whether READS or some other program, for stimulating learning outside school in the summer. </p><p> <strong>Mobile technology and usage have evolved significantly since you started your research. According to Pew Research, 92 percent of U.S. adults earning $30,000 or less own a cell phone of some kind. Two-thirds carry smartphones. Can you see READS going digital, with kids reading books and answering comprehension questions via a READS app?</strong></p><p>Great question. I’ve always felt that READS should evolve to meet the needs of educators, parents and children. And one great need today is developing digital solutions that are low-cost and effective in promoting summer learning. A READS app is a promising idea because it could provide parents and children more real-time feedback and encouragement. It might include games and incentives to further stimulate summer reading at home. I’d like to develop and try out some of these ideas. Stay tuned for updates on our website as we develop digital tools.</p><p> <strong>As a father, how have you encouraged good reading habits in your children?</strong></p><p>I think the key word is habit. Most nights, I read aloud to my kids, and I typically choose (or at least try) a book that my kids might not read on their own. One of my favorites is a series of biographies for kids by Brad Meltzer called <em>Ordinary People Change the World</em>. My kids wouldn’t, on their own, pick up a book about Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincoln, but I like to read these biographies to them. In many ways, this is exactly what we do in READS. Educators provide lessons about a narrative chapter book and teach kids a simple routine to engage with fun books about animals, natural science and famous people. Ultimately, to form good reading habits, kids need caring teachers and parents to open up new worlds of knowledge that are engaging and fascinating. </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"> <em>Photos by </em> <a href="http&#58;//www.claireholtphotography.com/" target="_blank"> <em>Claire Holt</em></a><em>. Main photo&#58; James Kim reads with his children.</em></p>Jennifer Gill832018-08-01T04:00:00ZHarvard’s James Kim Chats About the Reads for Summer Learning Program8/1/2018 3:00:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Books, Research and Beloved Pigs of Children’s Literature Harvard’s James Kim Chats About the Reads for Summer 4498https://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 449https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How to Get Kids and Parents Psyched for Summer Learning24079GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>The National Summer Learning Project—a collaboration between The Wallace Foundation, the RAND Corporation and five urban school districts—has produced <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Learning-from-Summer-Effects-of-Voluntary-Summer-Learning-Programs-on-Low-Income-Urban-Youth.aspx">promising evidence</a> that voluntary-attendance summer learning programs can help students succeed in school. But “voluntary” means that districts have to entice families to enroll. </p><p>As part of the project, we engaged Crosby Marketing Communications to help the districts participating do just that.</p><p><span aria-hidden="true"></span><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="JRosenberg_V3_2X2_5.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-to-Get-Kids-and-Parents-Psyched-for-Summer-Learning/JRosenberg_V3_2X2_5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;374px;" />Crosby conducted focus groups of parents in three cities and found that, while they are motivated by the idea of preparing their children for the next grade, they also believe summer should be a break from the rigors of the school year. The term “summer learning” was not a familiar one, and “summer school” elicited a negative reaction because it evoked a remedial program. Crosby, a firm with expertise in what is known as “social marketing,” worked with the districts to develop social marketing campaigns that would overcome these obstacles. All five exceeded their recruitment goals.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/recruitment/pages/default.aspx">A new guide, developed by Crosby, and companion website,</a> presents lessons learned from that successful collaboration and advice to districts interested in launching or improving their own recruitment efforts. We talked to Jeff Rosenberg, an executive vice president at Crosby, about the guide and what he’s learned about encouraging students to attend summer learning programs.*</p><p><strong>Why is it so important for school districts to do a recruitment campaign for their summer learning programs?</strong></p><p>There are two main reasons. The first is, of course, to motivate parents and students to register. The second is that districts want to engage with the students who can benefit the most. To do that, you have to be intentional in who you reach out to and how you communicate.</p><p><strong>What is social marketing? How can school districts use it to recruit for their summer learning programs?</strong></p><p>Social marketing refers to using the principles and practices of marketing for the common good, that is, to raise awareness of a social issue or promote positive behavior change. At Crosby we have a lot of experience in social marketing. For example, we developed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national campaign encouraging people to sign up as organ donors. </p><p>By definition, a recruitment campaign for a summer learning program is social marketing. In the case of the National Summer Learning Project, we helped the districts practice what’s known as “community-based” social marketing—using the existing levers in a community to generate behavior change. That involved, for example, relying on the people in the community who are most trusted by parents and students—principals, teachers, and guidance counselors—to deliver the message and promote enrollment.</p><p><strong>What were the most essential/effective techniques that the districts you worked with used to recruit students?</strong></p><p>What the districts found most important was being consistent and assertive in their outreach. One mailing home was not enough to make a connection. The second thing was using several types of outreach. Sending a flyer home by “backpack express” can work, but as all parents know, those flyers don’t always make it to them, so you don’t want to rely on that one approach. The districts also found phone calls to parents to be effective, as well as recruitment events. Third, engaging directly with students is extremely valuable, whether it’s in the form of an event like a pizza party, a piece of mail addressed specifically to them, or a conversation with a teacher. </p><p><strong>Were there any activities that did not prove to be worth the effort or expense?</strong></p><p>A couple of districts conducted home visits, and while they certainly yielded some registrations, they may not justify the intense effort they require. Some districts tried raffles. Parents who sent in a registration form were automatically entered to win a prize. These can work, but we suspect that some parents who registered their children didn’t actually intend to send them to the program; they just wanted a chance at the prize.</p><p><strong>How can districts use the new </strong><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/recruitment/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Recruitment website</a><strong> to develop a summer learning marketing campaign?</strong><br> <br> The website is designed so that someone can come in and develop an entire recruitment plan from A to Z. But it can also be a resource for a district that’s already actively recruiting and is just looking for some tips and tools to up its game. There’s guidance on how to develop a written plan. There are also a number of templates from a registration flyer to robocall scripts to talking points that teachers and principals can use when they reach out to parents and students. </p><p><strong>Do you have any final advice for school districts?</strong></p><p>When parents register their children for your summer learning program, view that as the beginning of a relationship. Follow up with a confirmation letter. Consider a “get ready for summer” event in the spring. Schedule robocalls to remind parents and students when your program starts. You’ll find templates in the guide. It’s crucial to use the time between the end of your registration period and the beginning of your summer learning program to get parents and students excited about what’s to come. That will help boost day one attendance.</p><p><em>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792018-03-06T05:00:00ZCreator of new online guide offers up advice on recruiting for voluntary summer programs3/6/2018 5:20:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How to Get Kids and Parents Psyched for Summer Learning Creator of new online guide offers up advice on recruiting for 741https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​