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Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices3345GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;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<p>​Better&#160;​services in schools and afterschool programs. Reforms that work. Exciting new opportunities for young people. They all come from a single source.​​</p><p>It’s not politics.<br></p><p>And it’s not money.</p><p>It’s better professional practices.</p><p>Think about what happens when planning for summer learning programs is left until the last minute. Or when training gaps mean that school and afterschool staff members are unprepared to support kids’ social and emotional development. Or when novice principals who are key to district efforts to improve school leadership have to fend for themselves, without mentors or coaching. <br></p><p>It’s not pretty. How efforts are implemented really matters. Even the best ideas and the most well-resourced programs can’t make up for weak implementation.</p><p>We know this because we’ve seen what happens when implementation goes awry. It’s a problem first pinned down in the 1970s, when Seymour Sarason’s <em>The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change</em> traced the surprising shortfalls of the 1960s “New Math” to lapses in how this approach to grade-school math education was carried out. Notably, teachers asked to teach the new math hadn’t been trained in how to do so. Moreover, the new curriculum wasn’t adapted to the local context, and planning was left until the new books arrived.</p><p>The bottom line was clear&#58; Even the best idea, done with the best of intentions, doesn’t help kids if it isn’t implemented thoughtfully, carefully and with a smart change process that responds to the challenges faced by practitioners.</p><div> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED_5991.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;204px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> </div><p>​Practitioners in schools and youth services take their work very seriously, so they know that well-executed programming is the best way they can help kids grow. And at The Wallace Foundation, we take practitioners’ work as seriously as they do. That’s why in addition to supporting improved practices and gathering many kinds of evidence to help enhance services for young people—from cost studies and outcomes data to market research and case studies—we gather practical, reliable lessons on implementation. Indeed, we place the highest priority on finding lessons that practitioners in education, youth services and other fields can use to strengthen their work, overcome barriers to effective programming and assist staff members when new services are being introduced. And we’ve seen how useful and beneficial these lessons are for practitioners and the kids they serve.</p><div>​​Our vehicle for this is the implementation study—independent research, which we commission and publish, that examines how an effort is put into operation. In uncovering both the strong points and flaws of implementation, this research identifies and illuminates the practices needed to carry out an innovation well.&#160;​In the foundation’s early days in the 1990s, for example, researchers examined our initiative to support then-novel efforts by public schools to provide services for children and families beyond regular school hours. Among the lessons in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"> <em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58;&#160;&#160;</em>It’s crucial to include school custodians in planning lest afterschool programming and afterschool cleaning and repairing collide. This simple reminder saved time and backtracking when the 21st Century Community Learning Centers effort began, and the U.S. Department of Education sent each center a copy of <em>Getting Started</em>.</div><div>&#160;</div><p>Here are three examples from our more recent work&#58; </p><p>In our National Summer Learning Project, begun in 2011, we supported five urban school districts as they worked to make high-quality summer learning programs available to children. <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, 2nd ed.</em></a> finds, among other things, that the districts needed to begin summer planning well ahead of summer’s onset if they wanted the programming to be as sound as possible. Best practices uncovered included this&#58; Start planning in January at the latest. </p><p>Our effort to help youth-serving organizations introduce high-quality arts programming for young people in disadvantaged areas began in 2014. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"> <em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas</em></a>&#160;highlights the ways local Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America managers integrated teaching artists into their staff teams so the “arts kids” were supported by the entire Club community.</p><p>And then there’s the Principal Pipeline Initiative, launched in 2010, which supported six large school districts as they developed a systematic effort, known as building a principal pipeline, to cultivate a large corps of effective school leaders. A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">recently published outcomes study</a> found that these pipelines proved advantageous to both student achievement and principal retention. The examination of the initiative’s implementation suggests <em>how and why </em>this played out—in part, through flexibility that allowed for local adaptation. Specifically, even though each district set out to build pipelines with common components—such as rigorous job standards and on-the-job supports including mentoring for new principals—each district adapted the components to its circumstances and managed to overcome the barriers that inevitably cropped up locally. In other words, principal pipelines benefit kids when school districts emphasize strong implementation. The evidence is laid out in five Wallace-commissioned implementation reports, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship.aspx"> <em>Building a Stronger Principalship</em></a>.</p><p>We are looking forward to future explorations of implementation, too. A forthcoming Wallace-commissioned report from our Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, for example, is setting out to detail how front-line youth workers and teachers find the time to incorporate social and emotional learning into their regular practices.</p><p>Over more than two decades of commissioning and communicating about implementation studies of Wallace’s initiatives, we’ve learned a lot&#58;</p><ul><li>We’ve learned to pay attention to straightforward descriptions of what’s feasible in several different places. Practitioners value descriptions of what their peers have actually done in the real world, because that’s how they see they can do it, too. And we’ve seen that comparisons among several sites deepen the value of the implementation evidence.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to look at the start-up process, because it points to the stakeholders who need to be at the table and the practical ideas they contribute.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to identify hindrances to implementation—whether planning oversights, disengaged management teams, unequal treatment of some practitioners, lack of preparation time, staff inexperience or other commonplace operational challenges—and crucially, how practitioners overcome them.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned that sensible adaptations help practitioners respond to their own context—and show people who are considering an improvement approach how they can tweak it to fit their own situation.</li></ul><p>Most of all, we’ve found that <em>every serious improvement effort requires significant operational changes in day-to-day practices and management</em>, so it is essential to probe and learn from the on-the-ground experiences of the front-line practitioners who are serving kids. The payoff for good implementation evidence is feasible, adaptable, practical ideas that enable institutions to engage in continuous improvement of services—with a consistent focus on benefitting young people. Strong practitioners are constantly figuring out how to do their work better. Smart implementation evidence helps them in that and, ultimately, in serving kids. </p><p>Effective implementation is the not-so-hidden story of services that work, and Wallace’s support for disadvantaged young people is rooted in the foundation’s recognition that the right kind of implementation is what gets the job done. That’s the most useful, and most constructive, lesson from Wallace’s work. And it’s the lesson practitioners use.</p><div><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="16" style="background-color&#58;#e4e4e4;"><tbody><tr><td><h3>​<strong>One More Look&#58;&#160; Highlights from Wallace-Commissioned Implementation Evidence</strong></h3><p>Over the years, Wallace-commissioned research has looked at the implementation of initiatives in areas ranging from adult literacy and financial management of not-for-profit organizations to school leadership and summer learning. Which reports have ideas to help strengthen <em>your</em> practices?</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"> <em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58; Early Lessons from the Field</em><strong>, </strong>Kay E. Sherwood (2000)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-study-of-adult-student-persistence-in-library-literacy-programs.aspx"> <em>“One Day I Will Make It”&#58; A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs</em></a> (2005)</p><p> <em>Aligning Student Support With Achievement Goals&#58; The Secondary Principal’s Guide</em> (2006).&#160; The book is available for purchase online. A free Wallace <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-perspective-aligning-student-support-with-achievement-goals.aspx">brief</a> highlights key report findings. </p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/hours-of-opportunity-volumes-i-ii-iii.aspx"><em>Hours of Opportunity&#58; Lessons from Five Cities on Building Systems to Improve After-School, Summer School, and Other Out-of-School-Time Programs</em></a> (2010)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-skills-to-pay-the-bills.aspx"> <em>The Skills to Pay the Bills&#58; An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their Finances</em></a> (2015)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship-vol-5-the-principal-pipeline-initiative-in-action.aspx"> <em>Building a Stronger Principalship Vol 5&#58; The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action</em></a> (2016)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/leader-tracking-systems-turning-data-into-information-for-school-leadership.aspx"> <em>Leader Tracking Systems&#58; Turning Data Into Information for School Leadership</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"> <em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas&#58; Implementing High-Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx"> <em>Designing for Engagement&#58; The Experiences of Tweens in the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx"> <em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx"> <em>A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors&#58; Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative</em></a>(2018)</p><p> <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, 2nd edition</em></a> (2018)</p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div></td></tr></tbody></table></div><div> ​<br></div>Edward Pauly92019-05-20T04:00:00ZStudies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement Efforts Help Practitioners See What Works—and What Doesn’t5/21/2019 4:28:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices Studies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement 431https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Afterschool Systems Find a Home10292GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning <p>Afterschool providers, schools, government agencies, private funders…they all want to give young people opportunities for growth, learning and fun. But they all have different roles and ways of working, so knitting their efforts together into coordinated systems is no easy task. Cities that set out to build, manage and sustain afterschool systems can use a little guidance along the way.</p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="sharon_deich1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/sharon_deich1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;319px;" />That’s where the consulting firm FourPoint Education Partners, formerly Cross &amp; Joftus, comes in. From 2012 to 2017, FourPoint provided technical assistance (TA) to the nine cities participating in Wallace’s “next-generation” afterschool system-building initiative, helping them solidify systems that were already in place. (An earlier Wallace initiative had supported five cities starting systems from scratch.) FourPoint drew on that work for a new paper, <em><a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Governance-Structures-for-City-Afterschool-Systems-Three-Models.aspx">Governance Structures for City Afterschool Systems&#58; Three Models</a></em>, describing three different models for setting up and running an afterschool system.</p><p>We caught up with Sharon Deich, a FourPoint partner, to discuss her role in the initiative and get her perspective on the past, present and future of afterschool system building. </p><p><strong>Describe the work you did as a TA provider for the initiative. </strong></p><p>First, we helped the cities think about how they were going to support their infrastructure when their Wallace money went away. Hand in hand with the finance work was the governance work. How do you create anchor points in the community for the work to deepen and grow, even if one of your key champions—like a mayor, a superintendent or a project lead—were to leave? The third piece was partnerships. Who else do you need to have at the table and then how do you plug them into your governance structure? The last piece was strategy. We worked closely with Wallace, thinking about where the initiative was going and what the needs and opportunities were.</p><p><strong>What is the most important thing you learned over the course of the initiative?</strong></p><p>We came in with the notion that you build a system and then, “Here it is.” But the [actual systems] were very dynamic. More than half the cities changed the home of their system or the organizational structure. In Denver, they started out with an initiative in the mayor’s office and ended up with a networked approach where the mayor’s office, the Boys &amp; Girls Club and the school district were jointly managing the work.</p><p><strong><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Governance_v1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/Governance_v1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />How do cities go about finding the right governance structure for their system?</strong></p><p>One consideration is, what’s the primary work of the system? Some systems focus on [program] quality, some on data, some on creating partnerships. They all touch that elephant in different places. If you’re building [new] programs, you might need a different home than if you’re trying to boost the quality of the work. Another factor is, who are your champions? If your mayor is a big champion it may be more logical to be in the mayor’s office or one of the city agencies. </p><p><strong>What do you still not know about system building that you still hope to learn?</strong></p><p>One of the hardest things about system building is communicating what you mean by “system building.” When I work in mainstream education, I often say, “It’s not about what one school is doing. It’s about how the district is supporting all the schools.” I don’t think there’s an equivalent in this mushy space where afterschool lives. Then how do you convince people that investment in system pieces is as important as dollars for programming? </p><p><strong>What does the future of afterschool system building look like to you? </strong></p><p>In this current environment, I can’t see afterschool growing and getting a lot of attention. I worry about the money for 21st Century [Community Learning Centers, a source of federal funding for afterschool]. So, it’s really important that afterschool be part of a broader package of supports and services that school districts and communities want for their kids. Whether it’s social and emotional learning, enrichment, homework help, meals—afterschool can be a delivery vehicle.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For more information about afterschool systems, check out <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/growing-together-learning-together.aspx">Growing Together, Learning Together</a>.</p><p>&#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-01-18T05:00:00ZA paper describes three models for setting up and running an afterschool system.4/4/2018 3:47:42 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Afterschool Systems Find a Home Talking Technical Assistance with Sharon Deich of FourPoint Education Partners 449https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
To Build Afterschool Systems, Communities Must “Figure It Out, Then Figure It Out Again”16095GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Seeing is believing, the saying goes, and Priscilla Little has seen the benefits of afterschool systems up close for more than two decades. From 1996 to 2010, she oversaw the Harvard Family Research Project’s afterschool efforts. In 2012, she became the manager of Wallace’s “next-generation” <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/Pages/default.aspx">afterschool system building effort</a>, the successor to an initiative, begun in 2003, to increase access to high-quality afterschool programming by coordinating the work of program providers, government agencies, private funders and other players. </p><p>Now that her time at Wallace has come to a close, we asked Priscilla to reflect on her experience in this evolving field.*</p><p> <strong>How has the field of afterschool system building changed since you started working with Wallace?</strong></p><p>On a base numbers level, there are more communities trying to do it. And we now have cross-sector community collaborations that weren’t in place 10 years ago. Afterschool systems may start off as straight-up networks of programs, but they quickly embrace the fact that they’re operating in a larger community context. They recognize that they need to connect with other initiatives that touch young people and try to be more efficient, streamlined and coordinated in their approach. More afterschool systems are also working intentionally with school districts now, partly in response to education reform and greater openness on the part of schools. Another thing I’m seeing is increasing language about afterschool as a solution to workforce challenges—not just because it solves a childcare issue for the workforce but because it promotes the kind of skills employers need. It’s not that afterschool programs are doing anything different, but the way they’re being talked about is different.</p><p> <strong>What is the most important thing you’ve learned about system building in your time with Wallace?</strong></p><p>One thing I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of coordination that<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Growing-Together-Learning-Together.aspx"> fits the local context</a>. What was a revelation for many of the sites in the Wallace initiatives is that coordination is going to change over time because community context changes. The notion of “one and done” is just not realistic. I could tell you many stories of systems that incubate in one place and land in another, and that’s an inherently good thing. That disruptive change is healthy for a system. Communities just want to figure out, “What is this going to look like?” And I tell them, “Good enough, good until. We’ll figure it out, and when something new comes along, we’ll figure it out again.” </p><p> <strong>What do you not know about system building that you still hope to learn?</strong></p><p>What I keep getting asked is, “How do we sustain this work absent big resources from foundations?” How does it become part of the course of nurturing children to have these systems in place? Beyond the systems approach, how do we change education so that afterschool becomes part of the equation without school districts co-opting it? Wallace’s new <a href="/knowledge-center/Social-and-Emotional-Learning/Pages/default.aspx">Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning initiative</a> is partly about how we can help both school and afterschool systems do what they do well but coordinate better.</p><p> <strong>What does the future of afterschool system building look like to you? </strong></p><p>Continuing to build systems is important because they’re good for providers and kids. The next frontier is changing the conversation so that it starts with equity and what young people need to be successful, not what we can do. We’re quick to jump to institutions and settings without asking, “What is your vision for young people in this community? How can the organizations in the community support that vision?”</p><p>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</p>Wallace editorial team792017-11-02T04:00:00ZInsights from Former Initiative Manager Priscilla Little3/20/2018 6:44:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / To Build Afterschool Systems, Communities Must “Figure It Out, Then Figure It Out Again From 1996 to 2010, she oversaw the 450https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Afterschool Systems Show Promise for Learning and Enrichment16087GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>“Proof of principle.” It’s a clinical-sounding phrase derived from the search for new medications.</p><p>But oh, what excitement it generated here at Wallace when we first read it in print in 2010, because the phrase also means that something has shown promise and warrants further development. There it was, on pg. 74 of a RAND Corp. report, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Hours-of-Opportunity-Volumes-I-II-III.aspx"> <em>Hours of Opportunity</em>, </a>which examined Wallace-supported afterschool program efforts in five cities. For years, organizations in those communities—Boston; Chicago; New York City; Providence, R.I.; and Washington, D.C.—had been working to see if a then-novel concept was possible. </p><p>The idea? To have the major groups involved in afterschool programs—parks, libraries, schools, recreation programs, government agencies and others—collaborate to build a coherent system of high-quality afterschool programming, especially for the neediest children and teens. </p><p>The cities had embarked on this effort in the early 2000s, not knowing whether afterschool coordination on a wide scale and involving numerous players was possible. But apparently, the after-school systems idea had something to it. “This initiative provided a proof of principle—that organizations across cities could work together toward increasing access, quality, data-based decision-making, and sustainability,” RAND concluded. </p><p>In other words, the cities had demonstrated the feasibility of launching afterschool systems with the potential to improve programs and make them more readily available. Ultimately, that meant kids might have a better shot at filling their spare time with enrichment and learning, rather than risk. </p><p>Hours helped guide what we called our next-generation afterschool effort, in which nine other cities with system work underway received support to boost their efforts, especially in the collection and analysis of data. That work, in turn, gave rise to several other notable reports. One, an updated Wallace Perspective called <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Growing-Together-Learning-Together.aspx"> <em>Growing Together, Learning Together,</em> </a>found that building strong afterschool systems required four key elements&#58; leadership from all the major players, a coordinating entity, use of data and efforts to bolster program quality.&#160; </p><p>By 2013, we had some reason to believe that system-building was more than a flash in the pan. A Wallace-commissioned scan found that at least 77 of the nation’s 275 largest cities were endeavoring to build afterschool systems. </p><p>What’s the latest figure? The answer will have to wait for another study. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZOrganizations band together to create a powerful network of afterschool programming4/4/2018 4:36:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Afterschool Systems Show Promise for Learning and Enrichment Organizations band together to create a powerful network of 307https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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