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Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools14057GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​“While last year was the most difficult year we’ve probably had as educators, this upcoming year is the most important year,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an opening statement during the U.S. Department of Education’s final <a href="https&#58;//compcenternetwork.org/national-center/6827/summer-learning-enrichment-collaborative-events" target="_blank">Summer Learning &amp; Enrichment Collaborative Virtual Session</a> last month.</p><p>Earlier conversations in the seven-part series focused on such topics as forming state-level coalitions, using evidence to inform summer programs, tapping ​federal funds to promote equity through summer enrichment opportunities. This last session, however, addressed perhaps the country’s most important stakeholders&#58; students. </p><p>“We know students have a voice, and they have a lot to say. We have to make sure we’re designed to listen,” Cardona said.</p><p>Cardona kicked off the convening in <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgICxaHfdIw" target="_blank">conversation</a>&#160;with a panel of students from around the country, who discussed what they’d gained from their various summer programs. </p><p>“We had different things for everybody, and I really enjoyed how inclusive and how much of a family my summer program is,” said Noah Shaw of his experience at the Miller Boys and Girls Club in Murray, Utah. </p><p>Mkayla Rowell, a freshman at Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at the John Hay Campus who participated in the Cleveland Metro School District Summer Learning Experience as a teacher, said the aspect she liked most about the program was being able to help kids who are younger than she is.&#160;​​​<br></p><p>“I really enjoyed just connecting with a younger generation and teaching them things that would’ve helped me when I was their age growing up in the city,” she said. </p><p>The students and young educators also offered their advice to education leaders for how to reimagine, redesign and rebuild engaging learning and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. </p><p>“Because most of us are transitioning from a school year that was mainly virtual, it’s going to be difficult for students to go back to in-person school,” said Kwynsky Miguel, a Lehigh University freshman, who worked over the summer at a program he attended in the past,&#160;the Aim High Summer Program in San Francisco. “I recommend teachers be very patient with their students rather than rushing them, because everyone will have a different pace going back into school. I really think being patient will help your students see that you want them to succeed and you really care about their mental well-being.”&#160; </p><p>In fact, a common theme throughout the conversation was the importance of creating a safe space, not just physically but mentally as well.</p><p>“I think the best advice I can give is just to be persistent with students,” Noah Shaw said. “Because I know some students have stuff going on at home, and that makes them want to give up and be antisocial, and their grades can fail. A great thing is to be persistent in making sure they’re okay...make sure you stick with them, never give up.”</p><p>Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also participated in the meetings that followed the roundtable with the youth leaders to provide updates on guidance and resources for a healthy and safe return to school. Their recommendations for schools included promoting vaccines to those who are eligible, wearing masks indoors, maintaining three feet of distance between others, washing hands, improving ventilation systems and staying home when sick.&#160; </p><p>“Transitioning in times of physical distancing, masks and extra stress is extra hard,” said&#160;Lara Robinson, a behavioral scientist with the Child Development Studies Team at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Teachers, parents and programs can help children by planning the transition, making strong connections and establishing new routines. With the right support, children can adjust to their new program, make new friends, learn new things and strive.”</p><p>Attendees of the virtual meeting also had the opportunity to join tabletop discussions. One of them, <em>Engaging Educators, Families, Students in Planning Summer and the Return to School,</em> examined innovations employed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and district partners for a “whole child, whole community” recovery from the pandemic. </p><p>Representatives from the district showed how they developed a vision for post-pandemic learning that includes competency-based education, anytime/anywhere and whole human learning, along with personalized learner pathways. This summer, Cleveland had the opportunity to implement some of these principles during their Summer Learning Experience. Teachers submitted creative ideas for projects to implement during two separate four-week summer sessions, which more than 8,000 students participated in. </p><p>“We saw our kids do amazing work,” said Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union. “Our educators came away invigorated with the different things they had done; our students were excited to share what they learned. And now the task for us is to build upon what we have been doing over the summer and start bringing this to scale during the course of the normal school year with a larger number of our students and educators.” </p><p>Schools in Cleveland will return to in-person instruction in the fall, with a new remote school option. The district is working diligently to create an experience that aimed at making&#160;students want to be in school. Educators and administrators are implementing a more inclusive dress code and offering expanded enrichment and extracurricular activities such as band, choir, fitness and pottery classes, along with the supports to make them accessible for students.&#160;&#160; </p><p>In addition, this fall, on October 28, the <a href="http&#58;//www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm" target="_blank">22nd annual Lights On Afterschool</a> will take place. In a typical year, more than 8,000 afterschool programs around the country hold events to showcase their programs. According to Tiyana Glenn, a project associate at the Afterschool Alliance, this event is a chance for afterschool programs to celebrate and showcase exactly what they do everyday, as well as make their case to their community, to parents, to policymakers and to the media that afterschool programs are essential for students and their families. </p><p>Kwynsky Miguel, the teacher-assistant at Aim High Summer Program, made the case for summer and out of school time programs and how they can both help students and adults adapt to new situations that might come up in the school year.</p><p>“I knew this was a safe space for me to be who I am as well as to learn from others,” she said. “The whole experience of meeting new people and learning about their story was such a surreal moment that I really appreciate Aim High for—for showing me that it’s okay to be new to a whole new environment as well as knowing when it’s right to let yourself be comfortable with new people.”&#160; </p><p>In his roundtable with the students, Cardona also stressed that schools and afterschool programs can help provide a much-needed sense of community for kids this fall. </p> “Schools, school communities, and good summer programs are like second families,” he said. “There’s a sense of community there that, I think, sometimes we overlook. We don’t talk about that as educators as much. Schools are communities for our students.&quot;<p></p>Jenna Doleh912021-09-16T04:00:00ZStudents, educators and others at U.S. Department of Education convening encourage patience, safe spaces, increased support as students return this fall.9/16/2021 3:13:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools Students, educators and others at U.S. Department of 71https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning11652GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify s4-wpActive" style="margin-bottom&#58;500px;"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/embed/2FfSODepxdg?enablejsapi=1&amp;origin=http&#58;//admin.wallacefoundation.org" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" data-gtm-yt-inspected-2194631_46="true" id="935418708"></iframe>&#160;</div> <br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-06T04:00:00ZCo-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings, including benefits for kids who attend frequently4/6/2021 2:51:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning Co-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings 380https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs?11622GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool<p>N​​onprofits that work with young people are always looking for ways to assess their effectiveness, and randomized controlled trials—which <em>randomly</em> place eligible young people into&#160;“treatment” and “control” groups to draw comparisons between them—are generally considered the most rigorous approach. Implementation studies, by contrast, examine how an effort is carried out, pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in operations. </p><p>In tandem, randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, and implementation studies can help organizations answer two major questions&#58; What is the impact of our work? What can we do to improve?&#160;&#160; </p><p>As informative as such studies can be, they are also challenging to pull off and act on. Just ask Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, one of the organizations that took part in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>. Higher Achievement, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for more than 1,000 middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore and Richmond, Va., has participated in two RCTs, the most recent one accompanied by an implementation study.</p><p>The first RCT, which was partially funded by Wallace and ran from 2006 to 2013, showed statistically significant effects for Higher Achievement students—known as “scholars” within the program—on math and reading test scores and in high school placement and family engagement. The second, completed last year (also with some Wallace support), found positive results, too, with the implementation study revealing some program delivery issues to be addressed in order for Higher Achievement to reach its full potential. (Readers can find the research and more information <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/impact/">here</a>.) The organization was in the process of making changes when COVID-19 hit and turned everything upside down, but as the pandemic eases, the hope is to use the findings to help pave the path forward. </p><p>This is part two of our interview with Jeffries. See the first post on <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/creating-safe-spaces-for-young-people-during-the-pandemic.aspx">running an afterschool program during a pandemic</a>. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Why did you decide to participate in the second RCT, especially having already done one? </strong></p><p>There were two main reasons. One is that the first study only focused on what has been our home base in the D.C. metro area. So, it showed statistically significant positive impacts on academics for D.C. and also Alexandria, Virginia. But since that study was conducted, we have expanded to other locations, and our effectiveness hadn't been empirically proven in those places. That was important to understand. A number of programs may be able to show impacts in their home base, but replicating that through all the complications that come with expansion is a next level of efficacy. </p><p>Second, it was suggested to us that the way to be most competitive for the major federal <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-inaugural-education-innovation-and-research-competition">i3 grant</a> we ultimately won was to offer an RCT. It's the highest level of evidence and worth the most points on the application.</p><p> <strong>Were there risks versus rewards that you had to weigh in making the decision to go ahead with the second RCT?</strong></p><p>We very carefully considered it because we knew from past experience the strains an RCT puts on the community and the organization.</p><p>The reward is that if you win the dollars you can learn a lot and serve more students. Our grant application was about adapting our academic mentoring to help accelerate learning towards Common Core standards. That's something we wouldn’t have been able to do, at least not at the intensity we wanted, without a multi-million-dollar investment.</p><p> <strong>Were there any results of either the RCT or the implementation study that caught you by surprise?</strong></p><p>The positive effect size for report card grades was greater in this second study than it was for test scores in a previous study. And that level of confidence did surprise me frankly, because I’ve lived and breathed Higher Achievement every day for many years now, and it's been messy. It hasn't just been a simple expansion process. There have been lots of questions along the way, adaptations to local communities, staffing changes, and more. So, to see that positive effect size for our scholars was encouraging.</p><p> <strong>You mentioned the strain an RCT can put on community relationships and the organization itself. What does that look like?</strong></p><p>Only accepting 50 percent of the students you recruit strains community relationships; it strains relationships with families and scholars most importantly but also with schools. It also fatigues the staff, who have to interview twice as many students as we can serve. They get to know the students and their families, knowing that we have to turn away half of them.</p><p>Here’s are example of how an RCT can distort perceptions in the community&#58; I'll never forget talking to a middle schooler who had applied for our program but was assigned to the control group. She said, &quot;Oh, yeah, I know Higher Achievement. It's that group that pays you $100 to take a test on a Saturday.&quot; [As part of the first RCT] we did pay students to take this test, and so that’s what we were to her.</p><p>Additionally, when you’re recruiting for an RCT, you have to cast twice as wide a net [because you need a sufficient number of students in both the treatment and control groups]. Because there was such a push for a larger sample, the interview process for Higher Achievement became pro forma, and our retention rate ended up dipping because the overall level of commitment of the scholars and families recruited for the RCT was lower than it would be otherwise. And both studies showed that we don't have statistically significant effects until scholars get through the second year. So, when scholar retention dips, you're distorting the program.</p><p> <strong>Did you approach the second RCT differently in terms of recruitment or communications to try to avoid or address that potential for strain?</strong></p><p>We were very cognizant of our school relationships the second time. Principals really value the service we provide, which makes it quite hard for them to agree to a study, knowing half the students won’t actually get the benefit of that service. So, we gave each of our principals three to five wild cards for particular students they wanted to be exempt from the lottery process in order to make sure that they got into the program. That hurt our sample size because those students couldn’t be part of the study, but it helped preserve the school relationships. We also deepened training for the staff interviewing potential scholars, which helped a bit with retention. </p><p> <strong>How did Higher Achievement go about putting the research findings into practice? In order to make changes at the program level, were there also changes that had to be made at the administrative level? </strong></p><p>The implementation study was really helpful, and I'm so grateful we were able to bring in $300,000 in additional support from Venture Philanthropy Partners [a D.C.-based philanthropy] to support it. One of the things we took away from the implementation study was that there was more heterogeneity in our program delivery than we desired. We knew that internally, but to read it from these external researchers made us pause, consider the implications, and develop a new approach—Higher Achievement 2.0. </p><p>Higher Achievement 2.0 consisted of a refined program model and staffing structure to support it. We shifted our organizational chart pretty dramatically. Previously, program implementation was managed by the local executive directors [with a program director for each city and directors of individual centers within each city reporting to the executive director]. Program research, evaluation and design were under a chief strategy officer, who was not in a direct reporting line with the program implementation. It wasn't seamless, and it led to inconsistencies in program delivery. </p><p>The big change we made was to create a new position, a central chief program officer who manages both the R&amp;D department, which we now call the center support team, and the local program directors, with the center directors reporting to those program directors. What that does functionally is lift the local center directors a full step or two or three, depending on the city, up in the organization chart and in the decision-making process [because they no longer report to a local executive director or deputy director]. Everything we're doing as an organization is much closer to the ground.</p><p> <strong>What were the main changes at the program level as a result of the implementation study?</strong></p><p>One of the key takeaways from the implementation research was that our Summer Academy, which was a six-week, 40-hours-a-week program, was important for culture building but the academic instruction wasn’t consistently high quality or driving scholar retention or academic outcomes. That prompted us to take a very different approach to summer and to make afterschool the centerpiece of what we do. The plan was to focus on college-preparatory high school placement and to expand afterschool by seven weeks and go from three to four days a week. That’s a big change in how we operate, which we were just beginning to actualize in January 2020. Then COVID hit, and we had to pivot to a virtual, streamlined program, but now we’re exploring how to go back to a version of Higher Achievement 2.0 post-COVID.</p><p>High school placement has always been part of Higher Achievement’s model, but we elevated it to be our anchor indicator, so all the other performance indicators need to lead back to high school readiness and placement. While our direct service ends in eighth grade, we have long-term intended impacts of 100 percent on-time high school graduation and 65 percent post-secondary credential attainment. [Therefore], the biggest lever we can pull is helping our scholars choose a great fit for high school and making sure they’re prepared to get into those schools. Instead of running programs in the summer, we are referring scholars to other strong programs and spending much more time on family engagement in the summer to support high school placement. This starts in fifth grade, with increasingly robust conversations year after year about report cards and test scores and what different high school options can mean for career paths and post-secondary goals. We are building our scholars’ and families’ navigational capital. That discipline is being more uniformly implemented across our sites; it had been very scattered in the past. </p><p>The other thing we set out to do, which has been delayed because all our design capacity has been re-routed to virtual learning, is to build out a ninth-grade transition program. We know how important ninth grade is; the research is undeniable. The individual data from our scholars says sometimes it goes smoothly and in other cases it's really rocky. Students who’ve been placed in a competitive high school may shift later because they didn't feel welcome or supported in that school.</p><p> <strong>What challenges have you faced as you’ve gone about making these big changes? Were there any obstacles in translating the decisions of your leadership team into action?</strong></p><p>The biggest obstacle is COVID. We haven't been able to put much of our plan into action in the way intended. The other obstacle we’ve faced is what any change faces&#58; emotional and intellectual ties to the way things have always been done. I was one of the staff members who had a great emotional attachment to our Summer Academy.</p><p>​There are rituals that have been a part of our Summer Academy that are beloved rites of passage for young people. We are building these rites of passage, college trips and other culture-building aspects of Summer Academy into our Afterschool Academy. That way, we can focus in the summer on intentionally engaging our scholars and families to prepare them for college-preparatory high schools and increase our overall organizational sustainability and effectiveness.</p><p> <strong>What advice would you give to an organization that’s considering participating in an RCT and implementation study or other major research of this kind?</strong></p><p>Proceed with caution. Before undertaking an RCT, review the studies that already exist in the field and learn from those to increase the effectiveness of your program. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. If you do decide to proceed with an RCT, be really clear on what your model is and is not. And then be prepared to add temporary capacity during the study, particularly for recruitment, program observation and support. It takes a lot of internal and external communication to preserve relationships while also having a valid RCT. </p><p>There's a larger field question about equity—who is able to raise the money to actually conduct these very extensive and expensive studies? It tends to be white-led organizations and philanthropic dollars tend to consolidate to support those proven programs. Too few nonprofits have been proven effective with RCTs—for a host of reasons, including that these studies are cost-prohibitive for most organizations and that they strain community relations. And most RCT-proven models are difficult and expensive to scale.</p><p>However, just because an organization has not been proven effective with an RCT should not mean that it is prohibited from attracting game-changing investment.&#160; If there were a more rigorous way for organizations to truly demonstrate being evidenced-based (not just a well-written and research-cited proposal paragraph), perhaps there would be a way to bring more community-based solutions to scale.&#160;With that approach, we could begin to solve challenges at the magnitude that they exist.<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-31T04:00:00ZAn afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of intensive program evaluations4/5/2021 8:18:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs An afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of 264https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic10599GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>T​​he best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, according to the poet Robert Burns. For a nonprofit organization serving young people in the midst of a pandemic that has forced them to stay at home and take on a raft of additional worries and responsibilities, the best-laid plans don’t so much go awry as get adapted on the fly. At the beginning of 2020, Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va., was all set to promote the impressive results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) it had recently wrapped up as well as roll out new programming to better serve its students. </p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-Safe-Spaces-for-Young-People-During-the-Pandemic/LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" alt="LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;174px;height&#58;174px;" />Then, COVID-19, along with an overdue racial reckoning and a wildly contentious presidential election, flipped the script. Through it all, Higher Achievement, a participant in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>, has continued serving its students, known as “scholars” within the program. The intent is to respond, CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries says, “with both urgency and gentleness.” <div> <br>​In this interview, the first of a two-part blog post, Jeffries discusses what it’s been like for one youth-serving nonprofit to face the great unknown—a topic on the minds of many this month as we mark the first anniversary of the declaration, by the World Health Organization, that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. In part two, scheduled to be published later this month, Jeffries talks about the challenges that can come along with the benefits of research, the steps Higher Achievement took to put the research into practice, and considerations for other nonprofits contemplating an RCT.&#160;<br></div><p> <strong> <br>Has the pandemic caused you to view the role that Higher Achievement plays in a different way? </strong></p><p>The pandemic has forced us to prioritize what matters most. This pandemic has devastated traditionally marginalized communities and exacerbated health disparities and economic instability. Too many of our scholars are shouldering additional burdens, whether it’s worry about the health of family members or responsibility for childcare for their younger siblings because their family members are essential workers. </p><p>With these realities at home, and Zoom fatigue from virtual school, we had to radically adapt our high-dosage afterschool program to focus on where we could be most effective in this context of trauma, extra responsibility, learning loss and isolation. </p><p> <strong>You had these really positive RCT results to share right when the pandemic hit. Did that change the way you went about communicating the results of the research?</strong></p><p>We had plans to highlight the results of the study with our funders and our school partners in 2020, but those plans got overtaken by events. The study was published three weeks after George Floyd was murdered. We weren’t going to do a virtual roadshow on our study when it felt irrelevant. That was what was in the hearts of our staff. </p><p>Now the conversation is beginning to move towards what we can do to recover what's been over 12 months of learning loss, according to McKinsey's estimates, for kids who've been in virtual learning. As school districts and funders are considering “high-dosage” tutoring as one of the solutions, the RCT is elevating Higher Achievement’s position as a potential part of that solution. When we think about the results, particularly the positive effect on Black boys’ math scores, we’re asking how does this encourage us to be bolder in this racial reckoning work, in the achievement gap work?</p><p> <strong>How exactly has the pandemic affected the services that Higher Achievement provides?</strong></p><p>We’ve narrowed our program down to three things for now. The newest is virtual math tutoring pods, in which small groups of scholars review and practice what they’re learning in school. Second is mentoring, including high school placement mentoring. Third is community meetings. All those happen throughout the week. The virtual math pods are the biggest play we made. We realized our scholars were really slipping in math, and families are largely unprepared for that. Our school partners and school teachers have also asked us to support math instruction in these small groups. Scholars have wanted to be able to ask questions and have that person over their shoulder to help work through these concepts. We’ve had to re-skill our staff to be able to deliver. We did four rounds of pilots from March until August, then we rolled out a full program in September based on those pilots. With math, first semester grades are seven percent higher in December 2020 than in December 2019, pre-pandemic. </p><p>Math instruction by our volunteer mentors did not work well in the pilots of spring 2020, so we switched approaches in September, and the math pods are now led by our paid staff members.&#160; Humanities mentoring is working, however, and serves as a critical vehicle for tackling relevant social justice topics. We build on the curriculum and materials of a group called <a href="https&#58;//youthcomm.org/">Youth Communication</a>. They produce a youth-written online magazine about relevant topics from identity to the presidential election to activist movements to relationships, and it builds in reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Mentoring is consistently the most popular element of our program, with scholars and mentors so eager to deepen their relationships, combat isolation and dive into social justice together. </p><p>The high school placement mentoring looks radically different this year. Even though many of our eighth graders have not learned eighth grade content in school, we expect most of them will be ninth graders next year. And we want to make sure we’re supporting them in the transition. Family engagement throughout this year, starting with one-on-one outreach the week after COVID closed schools, has been critical to our high school placement efforts. </p><p>Community meetings have been a wonderful time for scholars, staff and mentors to all come together to process current events. There have been a lot of conversations about the election and now about figuring out how to support our communities through the recent assaults on democracy.</p><p> <strong>Do you anticipate any of the changes you’ve made because of the pandemic becoming permanent?</strong></p><p>We will see. We are conducting a strategic review in late March to develop our COVID recovery plan for the next two school years. We expect to continue our math pods in some form, but convert them to in-person settings, and possibly during the school day. We are also involved in advisory efforts to design and scale tutoring efforts in our cities.</p><p> <strong>Any advice for organizations struggling to adapt to the pandemic? A lot of time has passed, but we still unfortunately don't exactly know where we're at in terms of recovery.</strong></p><p>Do not try to do it all. Focus on your towering strengths to meet the extreme urgency of this moment. And then balance that with care for self and team. Try to act with both urgency and gentleness. The stake are high, and humans are fragile. </p><p>These turbulent times are hard, but also potentially transformative. Don’t lose sight of the hope. &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-18T04:00:00ZHow one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness’ for middle schoolers in these difficult times4/5/2021 8:20:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic How one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness 410https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Survey of Large Cities Shows Afterschool Systems Have Staying Power10452GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Over the past two decades, we at Wallace have learned a lot about how afterschool systems work and how cities can go about building them. One thing we still didn’t know, however, was whether cities would be able to sustain their efforts to coordinate the work of out-of-school-time providers, government agencies and others over a period of years. Now, a new report by the nonprofit human development organization FHI 360 offers some answers.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/stability-and-change-in-afterschool-systems-2013-2020-a-follow-up-study-of-afterschool-coordination-in-large-cities.aspx"><em>Stability and Change in Afterschool Systems, 2013-2020</em></a><em> </em>is a follow-up to an earlier study of 100 large U.S. cities, of which 77 were found to be engaged in some aspects of afterschool coordination. For the current report, the authors were able to contact 67 of those 77 cities. They also followed up with 50 cities that weren’t coordinating afterschool programs in 2013 and found a knowledgeable contact in 34 of them.&#160;</p><p>The report provides a snapshot of the state of afterschool coordination just before COVID-19 hit, causing the devastating closure of schools and afterschool programs. We recently had an email exchange with the lead authors, Ivan Charner, formerly of FHI 360 and Linda Simkin, senior consultant on the project, about what they found in their research and what the implications might be for cities looking to restore their afterschool services in the wake of the pandemic. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity. </p><p><strong>What do you consider the key findings of this research?</strong></p><p>We discovered that more than three-quarters of the 75 cities coordinating afterschool programs in 2013 were still coordinating in 2020. [<em>Two of the original 77 cities were left out of the study for methodological reasons.</em>] In addition, 14 cities that were not coordinating in 2013 had adopted some coordination strategies.&#160; </p><p>Our study of the cities that sustained coordination between 2013 and 2020 explored the extent to which they had the three key components [of an afterschool system]&#58; a coordinating entity, a common data system and a set of quality standards or a quality framework. Overall, there was an increase in the proportion of cities with all three components (from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2020). There was a decrease in the percentage of cities with a coordinating entity but increases in the percentage with a common data system or a set of quality standards, or both.<br> <br> Not surprisingly, funding was an important factor in whether or not cities had these components. Seventy-one percent of the cities that sustained their systems experienced either stable funding or increased funding over the past five years. A much higher percentage of cities reporting funding increases had all three coordination components compared to cities where funding remained the same or decreased. Increased funding was highly correlated with the presence of quality standards or a quality framework, in particular. </p><p>The commitment of a city or county leader to afterschool coordination was also important, as it was in 2013. Eighty percent of the cities that were still coordinating in 2020 characterized their current leaders as moderately or highly committed to afterschool coordination. There was a significant association between a high or moderate level of commitment and having a common data system in 2020.</p><p><strong>You found that at least three-quarters of the cities that were doing afterschool coordination in 2013 sustained their systems. What about the ones that didn’t? Were you able to identify possible reasons these cities dropped their systems?</strong> </p><p>A review of data collected for the 2013 study suggests that in some of these cities afterschool coordination was not firmly established (eight had one or none of the key coordination components). Another reason was turnover in city leadership, which brought with it changing priorities that resulted in decreases in funding for, and commitment of leadership to, afterschool coordination. In two cities, systematic afterschool coordination became part of broader collective impact initiatives. </p><p><strong>You found that more afterschool systems had a common data system and a quality framework or set of quality standards in 2020 than in 2013, but fewer had a designated entity responsible for coordination. What do you make of these changes, particularly the latter?</strong></p><p>Our finding that fewer cities had a designated coordinating entity in 2020 than in 2013 was surprising. Our survey question listed eight options covering different governance structures and organizational homes, so we’re fairly confident that the question wasn’t misinterpreted. We can only speculate about reasons for the change. It’s been suggested that mature systems may no longer see the need for a coordinating entity, which may be expensive to maintain. A coordinating entity such as a foundation or a United Way may have changed priorities, and systems may have collectively decided to operate without one, distributing leadership tasks among partners. Or cities may have been in the process of replacing the coordinating entity. This is one of those instances in which researchers generally call for further inquiry.</p><p>While it wasn’t within the scope of this study to investigate reasons for the increase in data systems and quality standards, we can speculate about why this occurred. More than half the cities that sustained their systems experienced increased funding, and that probably facilitated the development of both data systems and quality standards. One possibility is that, with the growing emphasis on accountability in the education and nonprofit sectors, funders may be calling for more supporting data. It’s also possible that cities or school systems decided to incorporate afterschool data into their own systems. It’s interesting to note that some respondents in cities without data systems were investigating them. </p><p>As for quality standards and assessment tools, we learned from anecdotal reports that cities had adopted templates and received training offered by outside vendors or state or regional afterschool networks, more so than came to our attention in 2013. </p><p><strong>In the context of the pandemic and the racial justice movement, what do you hope that cities will take away from this report?</strong>&#160;</p><p>The findings of this study present a picture of progress in afterschool coordination <em>before</em> the full impact of the challenges caused by the pandemic and the reckoning with social injustice and inequality. We’ve since learned that systems have renewed their commitment to ensuring the growing numbers of children and youth living in marginalized communities have access to high quality afterschool and summer programming that meets their social-emotional needs. Statewide out-of-school-time organizations and others have rapidly gathered and disseminated resources and tools to aid the response of afterschool providers and coordinating entities. Some intermediary organizations have shifted to meeting immediate needs, while others have found opportunities to partner more deeply with education leaders and policymakers to help plan ways to reconfigure and rebuild afterschool services.</p><p>This study gives us reason to believe that cities with coordinated afterschool programs will be in a strong position to weather these times because of their shared vision, collective wisdom, standards of quality, and ability to collect and use data to assess need and plan for the future. Not surprisingly, funding and city leadership continue to be important facilitators for building robust systems, and respondents in both new and emerging systems expressed a desire for resources related to these and other topics.​<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-11T05:00:00ZYour 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.3/11/2021 4:49:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Survey of Large Cities Shows Afterschool Systems Have Staying Power Authors of new report discuss why cities that 433https://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 1037https://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 2346https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine9888GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, authored the report, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/new-opportunities-for-interest-driven-arts-learning-in-a-digital-age.aspx">New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age</a></em>, in 2013. Social media was relatively young then, and Peppler set out to determine ways in which it, along with other digital technologies, could help make up for cuts in arts education and help young people develop the creativity they need to become well-rounded adults.</p><p>Those cuts in arts education pale in comparison to the disruptions we face now, as the world struggles to contain the novel coronavirus. Schools and out-of-school programs are shuttered, young people are confined to their homes and, for many, digital technologies are now the only connection to art or the outside world.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="KylieHeadshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Literacy-Expert-on-Why-Kids-Must-Keep-Reading-During-This-Unprecedented-Moment/KylieHeadshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;219px;height&#58;219px;" />Wallace caught up with Peppler, now an associate professor at University of California, Irvine, to see how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in an unprecedented era of social distancing and isolation. Below is an abridged and edited version of our conversation.</p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; You had written in the report about three benefits of the arts&#58; learning about oneself, learning about one's group and learning about other cultures. Can you talk a little bit about how you think any of those might apply in our situation now?</strong></p><p> <strong>Kylie Peppler&#58;</strong> Thinking about the self, there's a large body of research that points to the importance of expression and the therapeutic value of the arts. I think of <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/europe/italian-radio-national-anthem-intl-scli/index.html">the wonderful example from Italy</a> of people turning to music. People in my own neighborhood, every day at five o'clock, have a small concert and people social-distance in the street to come and listen.</p><p>Even as adults, we’re challenged to put words to this situation. For children, art can be so important in the expression of loss and sadness, of being cut off from friend groups and just how long this time must feel to them. It can be really valuable for them to visually represent those emotions, to put them to music, to dance, to drama.<br></p><p>My daughter is five. Her grandfather passed away, and she drew this lovely drawing that had two very similar parts. She later told me, “That was before, and this is after. Things are almost the same, but a little bit different now.” It struck me how aware she was, and it allowed us to have a conversation that we wouldn't have otherwise had.</p><p>As we think about the group, art gives us a way to understand ourselves, understand the people that are bunkering down with us and allows us to express that in ways that might evade words. Zoom was primarily a tool for business. But it has quickly turned to a tool we’re using to play music together, trying to do things that help us connect to one another. </p><p>We’re connecting through our creative writing and sharing of our stories. I've noticed my kids wanting to do more video production highlighting what this time is like and how similar and how varied all our experiences are. Sharing those messages and what that means brings us together.</p><p>In my own household, my kids and their cousins and friends are all meeting in Minecraft to build together and creating very meaningful pieces. Some high schools are <a href="https&#58;//www.today.com/parents/kid-creates-graduation-minecraft-after-school-closure-t176475">having graduation in Minecraft</a>. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You spoke about four types of areas—the technical, the critical, the creative, the ethical. Can you think of any one of those areas that you would put more emphasis in as an educator? Are there opportunities to work on any of those four areas?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>I think there's opportunity to work across all four of them. I would put the creative at the center. We all need a creative mindset to get through this, to think about possibilities that aren't there and solve problems in new ways. Everything from cooking without all the right ingredients to using current technologies, but in in vastly different ways. </p><p>What are our boundaries and how can we defy them? How can we use what we have in hand to do something new? The arts have a way of teaching that. As we’re exposing kids to these creative expressions, we're looking at the tools that we might have buried in our garages or under the kitchen sink and thinking, well, what can I do with these today? </p><p>And that takes us into the technical. We start learning about STEM aspects of whatever our kids are creating. Whatever they want to create, they're not going to be able to get around the technical aspects; that they have to learn how to code, for example. </p><p>And our current moment puts, whether we like it or not, another emphasis on the critical and the ethical portions of arts. With <a href="https&#58;//www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-education/2020/04/06/carranza-says-city-will-transition-out-of-zoom-333886">this pushback on Zoom</a>, for example, we have more context to think through. We have to think about the pressure we're putting on companies to regulate themselves. We're putting pressure on schools and teachers to learn digital technologies, to update them and to use them thoughtfully. </p><p>When you’re in a creative line of thought, you have to think critically about how you're engaging children. So the critical and the ethical are definitely going to be important in this period.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A large part of your report is about interest-driven arts, where young people select their creative pursuits for themselves. Now that young people are at home, perhaps with more freedom and less structure to select their pursuits, is there anything adults should be doing to direct them?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of times we have a notion of what kids <em>should</em> be doing or what we <em>should</em> be doing. It distracts us from seeing the value of what they're <em>actually</em> doing.<br> Why does my kid keep coming back to Minecraft, for example? What might they be learning? What social skills are they practicing? How can I talk to them about that? </p><p>I think the first part is to be curious to take a genuine interest.</p><p>My son, for example, just made a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Minecraft. But on the inside, he had created a garden. What was he thinking about there? It became a venue for us to talk about how little of his physical environment he can change, and how he’s turning to Minecraft to redesign things and explore ideas. </p><p>If we stay curious, if we stay interested, we can start to connect these things to children’s development and understanding. As adults we know what other people are going to value. We should be thinking about how we can help young people make small steps towards those things, through the things they’re already interested in, rather than saying, “Stop what you're doing, do this thing because society values it.”</p><p> <strong>WP&#58; In your report, you mentioned social learning networks and that they're not very well studied. Has that changed? If it has, are there any lessons about social learning that parents or educators might use in this period of social distancing?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>That's one area in which we have done a lot of design and development and research. We're still in early stages, but one thing that we know is that the wide-open internet is just too big for kids. If you start searching for something, you see all the solutions. Whether you're going on <a href="https&#58;//www.instructables.com/">instructables.com</a> or <a href="https&#58;//scratch.com/">scratch.com</a>, you're almost intimidated. There's just too much. </p><p>Right-sized developmental groups are coming up. <a href="https&#58;//diy.org/">DIY.org</a>, for example, has started creating camp-like structures. They're small groups where people with similar interests can come together. Seven or eight parents could band together with their kids, who all share the same interest and have weekly interactions. You could trade off among parents and have small homework groups. Why should it just be one parent working with one child? Why not band together and do group work? <a href="https&#58;//connectedcamps.com/">Connected Camps</a> is another one, led by my colleague, Mimi Ito. </p><p>Another thing we know that promotes interest-driven learning is that there's usually an audience for it. Pulling in an audience—as big or as small as right-sized for your kid—is important. Create a thirst and an accountability so they want to share what they learn. </p><p>Third, we’re looking at pathways. How do we move from one interest to the next piece? Maybe a kid has an ambition to be one of Beyonce’s backup dancers. How do I move from an interest to that next level? We've started thinking about ways to connect those interest-driven activities to future opportunity. </p><p>If you've got money and time, you can give your kids options. You have a large network of people, you've got other adults or other parents giving you other ideas as well. That's not true of all parents and all contexts. How can institutions like afterschool centers connect kids to those futures and to future economic opportunity?</p><p>We’ve found that new technologies can help do that. Social learning networks have blossomed. <a href="http&#58;//digitalyouthnetwork.org/staff/nichole-pinkard/">Nichole Pinkard</a>, for example, is starting to think about how learning opportunities can be connected to enrollments in other programs, and how all our policies and programs start to be well aligned to support future learning. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You mentioned diy.org and Connected Camps. In your report, you mentioned Etsy and Revelry as sites that might be constructive and artistic, but without the vitriol that we often see online. What is it about those sites that helps keep things constructive? What could parents and educators look for to ensure that time online is as constructive as possible and avoids the worst of the internet?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of social spaces can be constructive spaces if there's some accountability. To leave a comment, you need to log in, for example. There are also ways of monitoring. <a href="https&#58;//scratch.mit.edu/">Scratch.mit.edu</a>, for example, has full time monitors looking at things flagged by the community and pulling things off. A lot of times people will flag something as useful or flag something down. You want to look for that kind of group moderation or paid moderation. </p><p> <a href="https&#58;//www.commonsensemedia.org/">Common Sense Media</a> is a great place to start if you're looking for new apps or new web communities. But if you want a gut check, go right to the comments, go right to the forums and just see what kind of language people are using.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Since young people are spending a lot of time online right now, perhaps with little supervision, are there ways for adults to differentiate between time spent constructively and time spent just to kill time? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>There are two things I think that you need to do. One is to look for the creative over the consumptive. Consuming it is quite easy and sometimes important. You can’t make a game if you've never played a game, for example. You can’t make a movie if you've never seen a movie. </p><p>But often, we're consuming way more than what we're producing. So look for the creative technologies, the ones in which kids are producing something, anything.</p><p>The second piece is to make it social. If you look at early studies about Sesame Street, for example, it wasn’t just kids watching Sesame Street. They were watching with parents or siblings or other adults. Adults have to take experiences kids learn and apply them to other situations. That's what we do well as adults. Kids don't see the connections between contexts. </p><p>Right now, while we’re shut in our homes, that’s a very large ask. Thinking about doing more together is stressful. But even if you're just trying to do it for 20 minutes a day, or one hour a day. The media consumption done together as opposed to apart can make small inroads.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A lot of what we’ve talked about assumes there are parents at home while schools are closed. But the pandemic is affecting different socioeconomic groups in different ways. Many young people may be home from school, but the adults of the household may be out delivering mail, collecting trash, driving buses or operating trains. What can society do to keep such young people engaged? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Structured and scheduled peer interactions can help. A physical example is the <a href="https&#58;//theclubhousenetwork.org/">Computer Clubhouse Network</a>. It’s an adult-supervised, physical space where kids come together, but the kid-to-adult ratio can be up to 100 to one. Still, those learning environments can be of higher quality than what we can do in our homes. Because the kids are involved in long-term production together.</p><p>So, before the parents go out the door, they could say, “Oh, at one o'clock. you've got this call by phone,” or a call with a grandparent, or with peers. Making these connections part of the rhythm of the day can be very helpful. Just bringing a peer group together, trying to have people meet in a video game and asking how it went that day, can make a difference.</p><p>You can try small things that could generate an audience. Taking the sidewalk chalk outside, for example, and having kids draw things. Maybe leaving a piece of chalk there for other people to respond. Different ways to kind of create audience to create that social community. </p><p>But, unfortunately, this is going to be one of our most inequitable times. Wifi is going to be a problem. Having the digital technologies is going to be a problem. I'm looking at school districts that have whole libraries of Notebooks and Chromebooks. They've got one per child, but they're not releasing them to homes. A lot of times we want to hold on to these technologies. We're not sure that we’ll get them back in the right condition or get them back at all.</p><p>But in reality, programs that do lend out their equipment are often amazed at how well-respected things are. These are things that people appreciate. They will take care of them. Give people a chance right now to meet that expectation.</p><p>Instead of canceling your programs, think about how you can move services. Let's take this as a time to go to the next level. How can I move my services to bring people into a Zoom chat? How can I lower their costs? How can I lobby to help them [kids] get wifi?</p><p>I hope, out of this, we’ll have lots of really cool stories about how people really stepped up in this time. It's still not going to be equitable, but we'll certainly know a lot more about how to achieve equity through all of this.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What recommendations would you have for philanthropies or foundations that are interested in arts education? What can we do at this time of very great but uncertain need?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Equity is something that we all need to double down on. The middle class needs to take responsibility for ensuring that not just that our children and our homes have access, but the other kids that go to school with our children, that they have access. </p><p>Second, now that people are interested and we're looking at this, how can we start to document some of the innovation happening here? How are people continuing with music lessons? How are people continuing with dance lessons? What are the ways in which this enforced isolation is changing the amount of time spent on the arts? </p><p>There are always going to be pluses and minuses. How do we learn from what was great? And what did we lose in translation?</p><p>Third, art museums are letting up to 80 percent of their workforce go, and that's just the first hemorrhage. A lot of times, in these kinds of structural losses, people look for other jobs, and they start doing other things. We lose all that capacity. It's not a switch we can just turn on later.</p><p>Arts organizations I'm working with are not feeling like they're going to be able to open doors within the next year or so. How can foundations help translate those services and try to keep as many people in their jobs? Not just for their human needs but also because of that lost infrastructure? </p><p>These will be changed organizations when they do reopen their doors. How do we prevent the epic loss that could really happen here?</p> Wallace editorial team792020-04-14T04:00:00ZExpert at the intersection of arts, education and technology shares ideas and resources to help keep kids constructive at home.8/27/2020 3:14:37 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine Expert at the intersection of arts, education and technology 4572https://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 947https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Communities Can Put Data to Work for Young People24075GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​“Show me the numbers.” It’s a refrain that’s sure to be familiar to those who work hard to create enriching afterschool and summer experiences for young people. Funders and civic leaders want data demonstrating how their dollars are making a difference. Program providers want to use data to get better and make a case for public support. Often, they rely on intermediaries—nonprofit organizations that coordinate out-of-school-time (OST) efforts and resources in a community—to oversee the data gathering and analysis. But what if intermediaries are gathering the wrong data in the wrong way? </p><p>As part of a project spearheaded by Every Hour Counts, a coalition representing intermediaries, the RAND Corporation explored how three of the nation’s most mature intermediaries gather and use data. RAND reviewed the quality of the data the organizations collected, the measurement tools and databases they used and more. The result was the recently published <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/putting-data-to-work-for-young-people.aspx">Putting Data to Work for Young People&#58; A Ten-Step Guide for Expanded Learning Intermediaries</a></em>. Developed with support from Wallace and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the guide offers practical advice on gathering and working with data to improve decision making. </p><p>Every Hour Counts Executive Director Jessica Donner, along with the heads of the three intermediaries that participated in the project—Erik Skold of Sprockets in St. Paul, Minn., Hillary Salmons of the Providence After School Alliance, and Chris Smith of Boston After School &amp; Beyond—provided us with their take on the power of data and what intermediaries and others in the field can do to harness it. </p><p> <strong>What is the problem this guide is intended to solve?</strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Jessica.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Jessica.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;168px;height&#58;212px;" />Donner&#58;</strong>&#160;Over the course of our project with RAND and the three intermediaries, we learned that data use is messy, much more so than we anticipated. A number of key questions came up, like, What youth outcomes should we measure to show the impact our out-of-school-time programs are having? What’s the best approach for sharing data with providers and schools? How do we act on data in a timely and meaningful way? We developed the guide to answer those questions and to help intermediaries and others deal with common data-related challenges.</p><p> <strong>Why is it important for intermediaries to be able to work with data effectively? What does effective data work look like?</strong></p><p> <strong> <span> <span> <span> <span> <img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Erik.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Erik.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;167px;" /></span></span></span></span>Skold&#58;</strong> Data is a space where intermediaries can really add value to the field.&#160;Youth-serving organizations often lack the time and capacity to<span></span> effectively collect, analyze and use data. Intermediaries can provide them with the systems, tools and processes to help them better understand what’s happening in their programs and make improvements.&#160;Intermediaries can also aggregate&#160;data from across programs to tell a broader story about what’s happening in a city or a system.&#160;That allows for larger community conversations about how best to support youth and helps policymakers and other stakeholders analyze gaps and needs and think about how to prioritize investments.</p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Chris.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Chris.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;259px;height&#58;173px;" />Smith&#58;</strong> Data is one way for us to know, as a city, if we are effective in our work of providing high-quality opportunities for students to grow in their knowledge and skills. It can shine a light on what we're doing well and what we need to work on, and help programs across the city build capacity together. </p><p> <strong>How should intermediaries get started working with data? What's the first step?</strong></p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> There is an overwhelming plethora of data out there for intermediaries to consider so the first step for intermediaries, as noted in the report, is to do some hard thinking about the purpose of the data gathering. Then, we hope communities will turn to the <a href="https&#58;//static1.squarespace.com/static/5b199ed585ede1153ef29e8a/t/5b19a09e2b6a28c655798a25/1528406174521/Every+Hour+Counts+Measurement+Framework.pdf">Every Hour Counts Measurement Framework</a>, a tool that our organization has developed (and is revising) to &#160;streamline and simplify a data collection process that can be daunting. The framework lays out what we’ve assessed as the most valuable outcomes for out-of-school-time system builders to measure, how to measure them and the research base for each. The framework has an intentional tri-level focus on a small number of system-, program- and youth-level outcomes that we hope communities will achieve as a result of building local expanded-learning systems. Informed by our work with RAND and our network, we are releasing a revised Framework in 2020 that further distills the outcomes into an even more manageable and focused list for intermediaries. </p><p>We advise communities to tread lightly when it comes to measuring youth outcomes. Systems are ultimately developed to support young people, so there’s a natural desire to want to measure the impact of your investment. But positive youth outcomes develop through multiple experiences over the course of a lifetime. We encourage systems to start by focusing on promoting and measuring the conditions that research has shown to improve youth outcomes&#58; program design, high-quality program implementation and frequent attendance. </p><p> <strong>What are the biggest data-related challenges that OST intermediaries face?</strong></p><p> <strong>Skold&#58;</strong> One of the biggest challenges is working with large amounts of data from various program models.&#160;Aggregating&#160;and making meaning of data collected from programs of varying focus, length and age groups is difficult.&#160;It can be especially difficult when trying to demonstrate the impact that the programs and the intermediary are having on participants.&#160;Intermediaries need to be very thoughtful about what data they’re collecting from programs and what types of data to aggregate.&#160; </p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> Out-of-school-time intermediaries, and they aren’t alone in this, don’t know what they don’t know. Data work is complex, and without tremendous in-house data expertise, it’s hard to know what questions to ask, where to start and where there are missed opportunities for efficiencies. Intermediaries need to develop an infrastructure to do data work well, and that takes support, financial and in-kind, from public and private partners. </p><p> <strong>What’s one piece of advice you would give to other intermediaries to help them get better at working with data?</strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Hillary.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Hillary.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;height&#58;165px;" />Salmons&#58;</strong> Take the changes one step at a time. While you may have an ultimate vision to guide you towards where you want to be, understand that each step along the way requires thoughtful planning, trial, reflection and improvement. That way, you can set clear goals of what to accomplish within a set time period; be honest with your partners and stakeholders about what’s realistic within the coming months and years; and make sure that each data improvement you make is meeting their needs. </p><p> <strong>Smith&#58;</strong> As early as you can manage it, set up a system that makes it easier for programs to collect and submit data and designate intermediary staff who can devote time and attention to answering questions, troubleshooting and helping programs see the importance of continuous improvement.</p><p> <strong>How can intermediaries use the guide to get better at working with data? What are some of the most useful tips that came out of the research? </strong></p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> One of the most important tips featured in this guide is for intermediaries to find a way to have in an in-house point person for data—even if they work with an outside research firm or university. Due to the complexity of data collection, the intense nature of collaboration with stakeholders and the likelihood of mistakes, we’ve learned it’s a good idea to have a person on the team who’s dedicated to using data effectively and efficiently and, above all, thinking about the right questions to move the work forward. </p><p>Another recommendation from the guide is to start by making a list of your key stakeholders, what they need or want to know and how they’re likely to use the information. That advice is everything. We hear time and again that the mayor or superintendent asks a particular question, and intermediaries want to be at the ready with attendance, retention and other stats. So how do you get in front of that, anticipate questions and design a system that gets you the data you need to answer them? The guide has template—data needs for program directors—to help. </p><p><em>Top photo&#58; Youth race cardboard boats they designed and built in one of the many out-of-school time offerings in Providence. Photo courtesy of the Providence After School Alliance.</em> </p> <p></p><p> <em>For more information, see these publications on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/afterschool-programs-a-review-of-evidence-under-the-every-student-succeeds-act.aspx">afterschool</a> and <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx">summer programs</a> for a review of evidence about out-of-school-time programming. These Wallace Perspectives offer insights on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/summer-a-time-for-learning-five-lessons-from-school-districts-and-their-partners-about-running-successful-programs.aspx">summer</a> and <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/growing-together-learning-together.aspx">afterschool</a> as well.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792020-01-28T05:00:00ZYour 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.1/28/2020 2:53:42 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Communities Can Put Data to Work for Young People Four leaders in the out-of-school-time field offer practical advice 1315https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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