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Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary44687GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​In a&#160;recent address, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona described&#160;the challenges that schools face in the coming years as they work to recover from the pandemic.&#160;“We have a daunting and important task ahead of us,” he said, as he introduced his&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/speeches/priorities-speech" target="_blank">priorities for education in America</a>, emphasizing the importance of the next few months for addressing the widening achievement gap. </p><p>Cardona highlighted the urgency of the moment and said it was necessary&#160;not only to&#160;bring the education system back to where it had been&#160;before the pandemic but to address the inequities that have plagued the system since long before the pandemic began.</p><p>“Many of the students who have been most underserved during the pandemic are the same ones who have had to deal with barriers to a high-quality education since well before COVID-19,” he said.&#160;Cardona made his remarks Jan. 27 during what the Department of Education described as a &quot;major address,&quot; at the department, to lay out his &quot;priorities for continued recovery through the pandemic and improving America’s education system more broadly.&quot;<br></p><p>Calling on state and district leaders to take a hard look at their resources and make difficult decisions, Cardona shared a number of key actions he believes should be prioritized for K-12 education&#58;</p><ol><li><em>Increased mental health supports.</em> Cardona called for improved access to mental health supports for students, including an increased hiring of mental health professionals. He urged districts to use <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">Americ​an Rescue Plan</a> funding to hire more staffers and partner with organizations on this issue. He noted one school he visited where every student attended one learning period dedicated to social and emotional well-being or mental health and said he wanted to see that type of work in schools everywhere.<br><br></li><li><em>Academic supports to address unfinished learning.</em> Recognizing the impact that missed learning time has had on millions of students, Cardona urged districts to invest in targeted, intensive tutoring; afterschool programming; and summer learning efforts. “We cannot expect classroom teachers to do it all themselves,” he said.<br><br></li><li><em>Attention to students disproportionately affected by the pandemic. </em>Cardona urged listeners&#160;to avoid a return to pre-pandemic strategies that had failed to&#160;address inequities. Instead, he called for an increase in funding for Title 1 schools, as well as for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Free&#160;universal preschool and affordable childcare were also noted in his priorities for supporting underserved students and their families. As part of these efforts, he urged more “meaningful and authentic parent and family engagement,” recognizing the importance of including parents’ voices in the conversation about recovery.<br><br></li><li><em>Investment in teachers. </em>A livable wage, ongoing professional development and improved working conditions were among the key areas Cardona said could help&#160;ensure that&#160;teachers are “treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”</li></ol><p>The Wallace Foundation has shared&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/american-rescue-plan-act/pages/default.aspx">a number of​ resources</a> to help districts and states make decisions about how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds in many of the areas outlined above, including social and emotional learning, summer learning and afterschool programming​. Additionally, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-role-of-principal-leadership.aspx">this brief</a> offers evidence-based considerations for school leaders on reopening and recovery planning. </p><p>“This is our moment to lift our students, our education system and our country to a level never before seen,” Cardona said. “Let’s get to work!”<br><br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-15T05:00:00ZEducation Department priorities also include mental and academic supports for students and teacher retention strategies2/16/2022 2:00:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary Education Department priorities also include mental 906https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers44623GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​Staffing shortages across the United States from healthcare to the airline&#160;industry have made headlines over the past few months. In fact, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December, according to the Labor Department’s latest <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank">Job Openings and Labor Turnover </a> <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm">report</a>. Unfortunately, afterschool programs are no exception to this latest trend. </p><p>According to a <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-6-Brief.pdf" target="_blank">new survey</a> by the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs and providers say staffing is the most pressing challenge they’re currently facing. </p><p>The survey, conducted by Edge Research between November 1 and December 13, 2021, states the top two concerns among the 1,043 afterschool providers surveyed are finding staff to hire/staffing shortages&#160;and maintaining staff levels through health concerns and safety protocols. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned about this, and more than half—51 percent—say that they are extremely concerned. These numbers&#160;are&#160;up 20 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in the spring of 2021.&#160; </p><p>“Combatting staff burnout is a priority for us,” one of the survey respondents said. “We&#160; are doing as much as we can to be supportive, both financially and by providing emotional support for staff. Keeping full-time staff engaged and encouraged has been a challenge. Keeping good part-time staff engaged and focused has proven even more difficult.”</p><p>Many of the providers surveyed connect the staffing challenges to their inability to serve more students, additional staff stress and burnout, and concerns about program costs. For instance, the survey found that 54 percent of programs that are physically open say that they have a waitlist, an increase from 37 percent in the spring 2021 survey. In addition, among respondents who report an increase in program costs, 83 percent say that staffing costs contributed to their program’s higher weekly cost-per-child.</p><p>To address the staffing issues, 71 percent of respondents report that their program has undertaken at least one course of action to attract and retain staff&#58;<br></p><ul><li>53 percent are increasing salaries<br> </li><li> 32 percent are providing additional professional development opportunities<br></li><li> 18 percent are offering free childcare for staff<br></li><li> 15 percent are offering sign-on bonuses<br></li><li> 10 percent are offering more paid time off<br></li><li> 5 percent are offering increased benefits </li></ul><p>On the plus side, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">COVID relief dollars are able to help program providers</a> address their current issues with staffing. Among respondents who report that their program received new funding for fall 2021 programming, 47 percent say the new funding helped support staff recruitment efforts.</p><p>The Afterschool Alliance has also&#160;developed a <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/document/d/1RebwjpCkpiPP2SU2yksrHQJ8rm1gTRCOgUoBu5aTroc/edit" target="_blank">staff recruitment toolkit</a> to help providers recruit staff for afterschool programs.<br></p><p><em>Photo credit&#58; Photographer Webber J. Charles, Breakthrough Miami</em> <br> </p>Wallace editorial team792022-02-03T05:00:00ZNew survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in afterschool programs and how this is affecting children3/3/2022 3:40:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers New survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in 376https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now44001GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or even homelessness. And nearly two-thirds of parents feel that their children’s social and emotional development has been affected by the pandemic, according to research from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. </p><p>Social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies can support young people as they cope with and recover from the pandemic, but the classroom is not the only setting to engage students on SEL. Afterschool and summer learning programs also can provide unique opportunities to help young people develop their social and emotional skills, behaviors and beliefs, which can help kids manage the challenges they have faced over the past two years. </p><p>A recent <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dLOrY6w41Y">webinar</a> jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts and the Forum for Youth Investment explores how afterschool programs around the country have employed SEL strategies to help kids focus their thinking, manage their behavior and understand and deal with feelings, particularly as they continue to face the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. </p><p>The webinar featured EASEL’s Dr. Stephanie Jones, lead author of the recently published update to the popular SEL guide, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out </a>, along with Cheryl Hollis, chief program officer of Wings for Kids, one of the 33 SEL programs featured in the guide. </p><p>The more than 550-page guide is designed as a practical resource for teachers and out of school time practitioners, with a new focus on equitable and trauma-informed SEL. Since its original rendition, the guide has emphasized the role that afterschool and summer learning providers can play in helping young people build their social and emotional skills, incorporating worksheets to help providers adapt SEL strategies to meet their program needs. </p><p>But what is SEL? According to Jones, SEL is primarily concerned with “building and holding positive relationships, establishing trust and comfort, (building) feelings of safety and belonging and having positive relationships with others.” <br> Effective SEL approaches can accelerate gains in academic learning, Jones said, and four elements define effective SEL in practice. </p><ol><li>Adults model behaviors themselves, and consequently need to be able to access their own social and emotional support.<br><br> </li><li>Children and youth should be taught skills directly.<br><br> </li><li>Students are given opportunities to practice their skills, providing them with teachable moments for both individuals and groups. <br><br></li><li>Guaranteeing that students and staff share a common “SEL language,” providing a framework to use SEL strategies in daily life. </li></ol><p>The Wings for Kids program has 10 SEL objectives that shape 30 SEL lessons that take place during small group discussions. In presenting the organization’s SEL strategies, Hollis said it centers the importance of its community in the program—which sets the tone and makes learning social and emotional lessons fun. Children attending Wings recite “words to live by” daily, positive affirmations said as a kind of “SEL pledge;” students and adults share “heys and praise” to highlight their peers’ positive impacts on the community; and students are encouraged to use words describing emotions to share positive news with peers.&#160; “Heys and praise is a very visible way to spread good vibes and energy,” Hollis said. </p><p>“Giving students regular opportunities to build speaking and listening skills and foster strong teacher-student and student-student relationships is a practical way to incorporate SEL into afterschool programs,” said Hollis. And it’s not just the students who develop their SEL skills at Wings. She added&#58; “Adult staffers receive support and training to model social and emotional skills for children and are encouraged to offer constructive feedback to other staff members on an ongoing basis.” </p><p>Programs like Wings are effective for two primary reasons, Jones said&#58; they establish safe and caring learning environments and teach students social-emotional skills in ways that engage students. For both to work, programs must foster connected, supportive and reciprocal relationships between students and staff. </p><p>As SEL research and practice continues to grow, Jones reflected on the future of the field. SEL will benefit from a clear focus, she said, and focusing on new approaches that are targeted, flexible, portable and engaging. SEL in practice should be geographically and culturally appropriate and simplifying and localizing strategies will allow practitioners to be more effective and equitable. Employing SEL strategies in a range of settings, from the classroom to afterschool programs, is critical for providing young people with the tools they need to thrive during and beyond COVID-19.&#160; Wings for Kids is clearly groundbreaking in its approach and a model for afterschool programs to look to.&#160; <br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-19T05:00:00ZRecent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have used SEL strategies to help children throughout the pandemic1/19/2022 3:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now Recent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have 876https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts18219GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog&#160; explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the&#160;​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy &amp;&#160;programs,&#160;at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​&#160;and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year&#160;found that arts education can positively affect​&#160;student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little&#160;surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The&#160;effort will&#160;involve&#160;work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.&#160; </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan&#58; Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the&#160;American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal&#160; funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.&#160; </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that&#160; sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed&#58; What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many&#160;of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention,&#160;considering that the item is&#160;in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>Jenna Doleh912021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color12/6/2021 8:52:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts A look back at your favorite reads this year—from 648https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating a “Web of Support” for Children2721GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​​What value do parents, teachers and out-of-school-time (OST) staff place on OST programs? And what role do these programs play in young people’s learning and development beyond simply filling in the time when children are not in school?&#160; <br></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-a-Web-of-Support-for-Children/PARK_5088copy.jpg" alt="PARK_5088copy.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;213px;" />Recently released <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/out-of-school-time-programs-this-summer.aspx">research</a> from Learning Heroes—a national organization that seeks to inform parents and equip the​m with the means to best support their children’s academic and developmental success—delves into these questions and much more. We spoke to David Park, senior vice president for communications and strategy at Learning Heroes, to find out more about the research and a playbook for the field that the organization developed based on the findings. </p><p><strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; Why did Learning Heroes conduct this research?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>​David Park&#58; </strong>We know that learning happens everywhere—in the classroom for sure, but also at home and in the community. And wherever learning takes place, it’s important that it’s connected, and that families can team up not only with their child’s teacher but with out-of-school-time providers as well. It’s also critical that schools and OST providers are connected in service of a child’s learning and development. We like to think of this as a web of support. </p><p>By listening to parents, teachers and OST providers, we can better understand how these audiences perceive the role of OST programs in children’s social, emotional and academic development and ultimately strengthen this web of support through enhanced communications, programs and policies. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Can you give an overview of your survey findings? What are some of the key conclusions from your research?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The survey found that parents, teachers and providers all view OST programs as offering a child-centered experience that is highly valuable and differentiated from classroom learning. We see this in the reasons parents say they enroll their child in these programs&#58; to expose them to new ideas, experiences and perspectives, and help them find their passion, purpose and voice. Practitioners can use this information to help shape their programs and communicate about them in a way that resonates with families. </p><p>We also found that while there is tremendous demand for OST programs, participation in high-quality opportunities is not always equitably distributed, primarily due to considerations including cost, transportation and time. We believe district administrators can use this research, particularly data on the value parents see in OST programs, to address issues of access and secure funding for high-quality programs that reach all families. </p><p>While there are many more interesting findings and insights, one thing I thought was particularly compelling is the language parents use to describe OST programs. An example is the term I’m using now—“out-of-school-time” or “OST”. While we use this term in the field, parents are&#160;unfamiliar with it, and certainly don’t use it to describe the programs their children are engaged in. “Extracurricular” is the term parents use most often. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; What survey answers surprised you the most?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> There were several surprises. One thing that stood out to me was how valuable educators found OST programs. More than 7 in 10 teachers (72 percent) agreed that these programs exposed children to new experiences, ideas and perspectives beyond their everyday home and school lives, and nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) agreed these programs motivated children to get excited about learning, even those who aren’t doing particularly well in school.&#160; </p><p>Given educators’ views on OST programs, coupled with the fact that families often get information about OST programs from schools, program providers may want to consider connecting with teachers to help promote the value of OST programs. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Can you describe some of the afterschool activities included in the survey?&#160; And how do parents&#160;assess quality?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The survey found that 65 percent of parents have children in an OST program, enrolling their children in an average of&#160;two programs per family. The most popular category is Sports/Arts/Interest, followed by School/Academic, Youth Development and Opportunity Centered. As parents assess quality, they look at indicators including their child’s happiness (83 percent), their child gaining confidence (79 percent) and their child developing social and emotional skills (77 percent). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; How did the Covid 19 pandemic affect your research?&#160; During lockdown, what were parents’ main concerns for their children?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> As we all know, the pandemic took a huge toll on families. The survey was fielded a year into the pandemic (in February/March 2021), and perhaps not surprising, children missing out on social connections and friendships topped the list of parent concerns, followed by kids having too much screen time, and losing motivation and interest to learn (which was particularly concerning to African American parents). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Learning Heroes has produced a </strong><strong>playbook for OST providers, teachers and others, based on the survey results.&#160; Why do you think the playbook is needed?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> We always try to make our research as actionable as possible, and that’s why we created the <a href="http&#58;//www.bealearninghero.org/OST-research">p</a><a href="http&#58;//www.bealearninghero.org/OST-research" target="_blank">laybook</a>. It can help educators, providers and advocates communicate the value of OST programs, inform the design of high-quality programs and shape policies that make these opportunities equitably accessible to all children. The playbook provides several specific ways the research can be used and includes tools and resources such as the research deck, a messaging guidance document, an animated video, social media infographics and more. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Do you think this research and </strong><strong>playbook will help make the case for more funding for OST programs?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The research clearly highlights the value of OST programs, and underscores the need for families, schools and OST programs to partner in support of children’s learning and development. With ESSER [the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act] funding available, we believe there is a unique opportunity to secure resources for ongoing partnerships between schools and OST providers and more equitable access to high-quality programs. </p>Wallace editorial team792021-11-22T05:00:00ZHow parents, teachers and program leaders view the time kids spend outside the classroom—and why this matters11/22/2021 12:11:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating a “Web of Support” for Children How parents, teachers and program leaders view the time kids spend outside the 919https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported32086GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Unpredictable. </p><p>This is how I would describe the last two school years. But there is one thing I would predict about the year that’s just beginning&#58; it will be just as turbulent, if not more so. </p><p>As adults debate or even fight over whether to wear masks, get vaccinated or even have our kids go in to school at all, we are creating an atmosphere of instability and worry around our children. Neither are conducive to learning, as safety and predictability are prerequisites to academic progress. Forget catching up on learning loss—unless we can create a secure, predictable atmosphere in our homes and schools, we’ll continue to short-change our children and we won’t see the progress we are hoping for.</p><p>So, what can teachers and parents do to help children feel stable, safe and ready to learn? My counsel is to return to social and emotional learning (SEL) fundamentals, processes that develop an array of skills and competencies that students need in order to set goals, manage behavior, build relationships and process and remember information, but that also help them manage and respond to stress and trauma. <br> <br>Here are my four recommendations for approaches that will help children feel understood, express themselves and flourish during this school year. All of these ideas come directly from the foundational practices that can be found in evidence-based social and emotional learning programs designed for schools and other settings. A comprehensive review of these approaches and their specific practices can be found <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">here</a> in a new guide recently published by the Wallace Foundation.&#160;&#160; </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">1.&#160;Ask Questions and Listen Actively in the Classroom and at Home<br></strong><br><p>Children are feeling intense pressure this year from parents and teachers. Both feel the need for their children to catch up after a year of online, hybrid or just unpredictable learning. In addition, many kids (especially older students) lost out on meaningful rituals—homecoming, prom, graduations and sports events—indeed most lost out on everything extra-curricular. These are the things that make school fun, meaningful and exciting for students. Many also experienced the trauma of losing a family member to Covid or witnessing a parent or grandparent fight the illness. Indeed, educators experienced many of these stressors themselves.<br> This disappointment and trauma will show up in the classroom and in the home, and everyone needs space and time to process what is happening, and what has happened. </p><p>So, what can we do? It helps to take time to check in with children and ensure their feelings are heard. Questions such as “tell me how you’re feeling” and “what is that like for you?” as well as repeating back what is heard, are important. A conversation with a teenager might go like this&#58;</p><p>Adult&#58; “Hey, I see you are upset (or especially quiet, or something) today. Is something going on that you’d like to talk about?”</p><p>Student&#58; “I’m not sure, I just don’t feel like myself and everything has me worried.”</p><p>Adult&#58; “I hear you; everything really can feel out of control right now. I’m here for you, you can talk with me any time, and I’ll do my best to listen.”</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">2.&#160;Let Your Children Know What’s Going to Happen and Establish Clear and Predictable Expectations<br></strong><br><p>Last year was uncertain and chaotic, with policymakers, districts and schools unsure of what would happen from one week to the next. Unfortunately, this year is shaping up to be similar, if not more so. With disruption all around them, children need as much routine and stability as adults can provide. </p><p>So, what can be done? It helps to overcommunicate with students about schedules and expectations both at home and in class and establish concrete procedures when possible. Predictability is the name of the game—students of all ages will thrive when they feel safe, and safety means knowing what’s coming next. If students are slow to fall into step, give them more space, slow things down and exhale. Children often need time to learn what’s expected and practice it. In unpredictable times, even routines require flexibility. </p><p>Adults at home can try to do the same. Keeping wake-up time, meals and bedtimes as similar as possible. Consistency makes a difference, and establishing rituals and routines for these everyday activities adds an opportunity for connection. You might ask, “what was the hardest and easiest for you today” or “what are you grateful for today” and share your own experience too.</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">3.&#160;Provide Extra Social and Emotional Time, Not Less<br></strong><br><p>Some simple foundational SEL strategies for the classroom (and in many cases, at home) are&#58; </p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Use Journaling&#58;</strong> encourage children to express their feelings on paper.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Do Daily Greetings&#58;</strong> smile warmly and greet each other by preferred name; use whole group greeting activities.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Hold Class/Family Meetings&#58;</strong> to foster camaraderie and group behavior norms.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Incorporate Art&#58;</strong> use visual arts to document and express feelings.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Talk About Managing Emotions&#58; </strong>engage in a group discussion about emotions and effective and safe ways to express them in class.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Employ Optimistic Closings&#58;</strong> “what I learned today is …” “I am looking forward to tomorrow because …” “What I might do differently is…” are some examples. </div><p>If children are to thrive in the current climate, incorporating these tools and practices into both the classroom and at home is essential. Clearly, the exact approach will differ for younger and older students, but both do best in respectful, open and accepting learning environments. </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">4.&#160;Parents&#58; Step Back, Connect and Listen<br></strong><br><p>While many place the burden on teachers to get back up to speed, it shouldn’t all be on them. Parents play a uniquely valuable role in providing children with feelings of stability and comfort. I’m the mother of first year college and high school students and I’ve learned the importance of having conversations (when possible—we all know our teenagers can be hard to communicate with) about what’s going on for them. </p><p>Mealtimes are a great time to have family meetings. As the adult, share what’s hard for you about the current situation—model vulnerability with your kids. Then, sit back and actively listen. Let your kids of all ages know they’ve been heard (“I hear you, it’s really hard when you can’t spend time with your friends”) and validate their feelings (“I understand it must be tough being a new student right now with everyone wearing masks. I feel the same way trying to make connections with my new students.”). </p><p>Most of all, I don’t think parents need to double down immediately with academic pressure—when children feel safe and comfortable back at school will they be able to fully focus on their work. </p><p>With the education system focusing heavily on addressing learning loss at the start of this school year, it’s tempting to pull back on the important social and emotional components that my research has demonstrated are crucial for student success. It’s important to remember that academic and social and emotional learning are deeply intertwined; they are complements to each other, not in competition with each other, and now more than ever, we should take advantage of that. </p><p>When students feel safe, listened to and supported by adults in their life, they can fully engage in academic work and everything else they do. And this applies both in the family home and in the classroom.</p><p><em>A version of this piece first appeared in </em>Education Week<em> as </em><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>“4 Social-Emotional Practices to Help Students Flourish Now</em></a><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>”</em></a><em> on September 28, 2021. This version is being reissued with permission from the author.</em><br></p>Stephanie Jones1212021-10-20T04:00:00ZAuthor of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for educators—and parents!—in these trying times10/20/2021 1:26:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported Author of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for 1449https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
American Rescue Plan: Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now14265GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​​​​​​​Earlier this year, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, the federal government’s third major COVID-19 relief bill. The law provides nearly $2 trillion to support the nation’s efforts to reopen and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Included is more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education.&#160; </em></p><p> <em>These are historic levels of K-12 funding, far surpassing the amounts in previous pandemic relief bills, and they go well beyond annual federal K-12 education investments. Moreover, the relief package could have an impact well into the future, as districts and states are allowed to spend their allotments through September 2024—enabling them to identify and develop solutions that meet immediate needs and seed long-term, evidence-based shifts to better promote equity and improved outcomes. &#160;</em></p><p> <em>This description of the ARP, with considerations for states and school districts, was prepared for The Wallace Foundation by </em> <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/"> <em>EducationCounsel</em></a><em>, a mission-based education consulting firm. EducationCounsel&#160;advises Wallace and has analyzed the new law.&#160;</em></p><p> <strong>1. ARP provides at least $126 billion in K-12 funding to states and districts, building upon previous COVID-19 relief packages, to support school reopening, recovery&#160;and program redesign. </strong></p><p>The ARP includes $123 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund—nearly $109.7 billion (about 90 percent) for districts (or local education agencies) and nearly $12.2 billion (about 10 percent) for state education agencies. These funds can be used by states and districts directly or through contracts with providers from outside the public school system.&#160; </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/ARP-Funding-Compared-ch.jpg" alt="ARP-Funding-Compared-ch.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;494px;" />The ESSER fund also includes $800 million dedicated to identifying and supporting students experiencing homelessness. While not included in the ESSER fund, an additional $3 billion is available under the law for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).</p><p>Further, the ARP provides $40 billion for colleges and universities (of which $20 billion must be used to support students directly) and more than $40 billion to support the child care and early childhood education systems.&#160; For additional information on the other funding provided by the ARP, please see <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/?publication=educationcounsels-summary-of-the-american-rescue-plan-act-of-2021">EducationCounsel’s fuller summary of the law</a>. </p><p>In addition, the ARP includes hundreds of billions of dollars in &#160;<a href="https&#58;//home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/state-and-local-fiscal-recovery-funds">State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds</a> that can be used to support early childhood, K-12&#160;and higher education. This includes $195.3 billion to state governments and up to $154.7 billion to local governments and territories. Under the <a href="https&#58;//home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Fact-Sheet-FINAL1-508A.pdf">U.S. Treasury Department’s guidance</a>, state and local governments are encouraged, among other possible uses, to tap the State and Local Recovery Funds to create or expand early learning and child care services; address pandemic-related educational disparities by providing additional resources to high-poverty school districts, offering tutoring or afterschool programs, and by providing services that address students’ social, emotional and mental health needs; and support essential workers by providing premium pay to school staff.&#160; </p><p> <strong>2. ARP funding for districts and states is intended to support a wide array of programs that use evidence-based practices to attend to matters including the academic, social, emotional&#160;and mental health needs of marginalized students. &#160;</strong></p><p>States and districts have substantial flexibility in how they can use their ARP ESSER funds to support recovery efforts and to seed fundamental shifts in their programs and services.&#160;Within the text of the ARP and the U.S. Department of Education guidance about the law, states and districts are encouraged to use funds in ways that not only support reopening and recovery efforts but also seek to address the unique needs of our most marginalized students. This emphasis is woven throughout the ARP, including in its state and district set-asides (discussed below) and the provisions focused on <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/MOE-Chart_with-waiver-FAQs_FINAL_4.21.21Update.pdf">ensuring continued</a> and <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/06/21-0099-MOEq-FAQs.-FINAL.pdf">equitable education funding</a> from state and local governments, particularly for highest poverty schools. This equity focus is also inherent in the U.S. Department of Education’s actions to implement the ARP, as evidenced by departmental requirements for state and district ARP plans as well as the department’s guidance regarding use of ARP funds. Equity considerations are meant to help drive state and district decisions to address the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners and students experiencing homelessness. To accomplish this, the <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ESSER.GEER_.FAQs_5.26.21_745AM_FINALb0cd6833f6f46e03ba2d97d30aff953260028045f9ef3b18ea602db4b32b1d99.pdf">Department of Education has described several ways</a> in which the funds can be used. The ARP includes important <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/FINAL_ARP-ESSER-FACT-SHEET.pdf">priority state and local set-asides as well</a>, as described below, all of which must be focused on attending to the academic, social and emotional learning needs of students, and must attend to the unique needs of marginalized youth. &#160;</p><p> <strong>States</strong>. Of their $12.2 billion in ARP ESSER funding, states must spend&#58;</p><ul><li>At least 50 percent (or roughly $6.1 billion) on evidence-based interventions to address the lost instructional time caused by the pandemic; </li><li>At least 10 percent (or roughly $1.2 billion) on evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs; and &#160;</li><li>At least 10 percent (or roughly $1.2 billion) on evidence-based afterschool programs. </li></ul><p> <strong>Districts</strong>. Of their $109.7 billion in ARP ESSER funding, districts must devote at least 20 percent (or roughly $21.9 billion) to evidence-based interventions to address both the lost instructional time caused by the pandemic and the crisis’s disproportionate impact on certain students.&#160; Similar to the previous COVID-19 relief bills, the ARP allows districts to use funds for activities directly related to the pandemic, such as purchasing equipment and supporting and protecting the health and safety of students and staff, as well as for activities to address the unique needs of marginalized students and any allowable activity under major federal education laws, such as the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/Full-Set-of-Allowable-Activities-for-ARP-ESSER-Funds-ch.jpg" alt="Full-Set-of-Allowable-Activities-for-ARP-ESSER-Funds-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>3. Funds are flowing to states and districts and will be available immediately, but they&#160;can also be spent through September 2024 to support recovery and redesign.</strong></p><p>In <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/ARP_Letter_Sec_to_Chiefs_Final_03.24.2021-1.pdf">late March</a>, states received nearly $81 billion (about two-thirds) of the ARP ESSER fund. Although states and districts were allowed to spend this funding immediately to support efforts to reopen schools for in-person learning or to design and operate <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">summer learning programs</a>, the remaining third of funding is conditioned on states submitting a plan for how they and their districts would use their ARP ESSER funds. Once the U.S. Department of Education <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/american-rescue-plan/american-rescue-plan-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief/stateplans/">approves a state’s plan</a>, the Department will send the remaining funds to the state, and districts will receive their full shares of the funding (via Title I formula) when the state subsequently approves their district plan. The Department has approved plans from several states already&#160;and is expected to approve more over the coming weeks. Districts are currently developing their plans, and those should be submitted in the coming months, but timelines vary across states.&#160; </p><p>While ARP funds are available immediately to support relief and reopening efforts, <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ARP-ESSER-Plan-Office-Hours-5.6.21.pdf">states and districts can spend funds over several years to promote and support efforts to redesign</a> and improve K-12 education and supports for young people.&#160; In particular, districts have until September 30, 2024* to “obligate”<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>which means to decide on the funding’s use and plan for it through contracts, service-agreements, etc.<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>​their funding. States, in comparison, have a shorter timeline. Within one year of receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Education, states must obligate their funding; however, similar to the timeline for districts, states may spend those funds through September 30, 2024. This three-year period will be critical for states and districts in redesigning how they provide services and supports to students and staff, and states and districts are encouraged to think about this when developing their ARP ESSER plans.<br></p><p> *Per <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/05/ESSER.GEER_.FAQs_5.26.21_745AM_FINALb0cd6833f6f46e03ba2d97d30aff953260028045f9ef3b18ea602db4b32b1d99.pdf">federal spending regulations</a>, states and districts have 120 days after a performance period to fully liquidate funds received. Accordingly, states and districts have until January 28, 2025, to liquidate their funding. Although this provides a slightly longer window to spend funding, we are using the September 30, 2024, obligation as the main deadline for states and districts to keep in mind for planning purposes.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now/Timeline-ARP-Implementation-ch.jpg" alt="Timeline-ARP-Implementation-ch.jpg" style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;margin&#58;5px;" /> &#160;</p><p> <strong>4. The U.S. Department of Education requires states, and districts, to develop plans for how they will use ARP ESSER funding and to revisit plans for periodic review and continuous improvement.</strong></p> ​As a condition of receiving their full ARP ESSER funds, <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/ARP-ESSER-State-Plan-Template-04-20-2021_130PM.pdf">every state and district must produce a plan</a> that describes how they will use their share of the ARP ESSER funding, and districts must also produce school reopening plans. Although they are required to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education only once, states and districts must periodically review and, if necessary, improve those plans. The requirement for states and districts to develop and submit plans is new; it was not a feature of the previous two pandemic relief bills. The requirement also has several noteworthy aspects. &#160;<p></p><p>For one thing, to complete the plans states and districts must evaluate and report out the needs of their students and staff, including their most marginalized student groups. For another, states must identify their top priority areas in recovering from the pandemic. In addition, states and districts must consult with key stakeholders such as students, families, educators, community advocates and school leaders.</p><p>Below is a list of the seven major areas that the U.S. Department of Education requires each state plan to address, <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/?publication=educationcounsels-summary-of-used-state-plan-template-for-arp-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief-esser-fund">each of which has several requirements</a>&#58; &#160;</p><ol><li>The state’s current reopening status, any identified promising practices for supporting students, overall priorities for reopening and recovery and the needs of historically marginalized students<br></li><li>How the state will support districts in reopening schools for full-time in-person instruction, and how the state will support districts in sustaining the safe operation of schools for full-time in-person instruction<br></li><li>How the state will engage with stakeholders in developing its ARP ESSER plans and how the state will combine ARP funding with funding from other federal sources to maximize the impact of the spending<br></li><li>How the state will use its set-aside funding to address lost instructional time, support summer learning and enrichment programs&#160;and support afterschool programs<br></li><li>What the state will require districts to include in their ARP ESSER plans, how the state will ensure that districts engage with stakeholders during the planning process,&#160;and how states will monitor and support districts in implementation of their ARP ESSER plans<br></li><li>How the state will support its educator workforce and identify areas that are currently experiencing shortages<br></li><li>How the state will build and support its capacity for data collection and reporting so that it can continuously improve the ARP ESSER plans of both the state and its districts&#160;&#160;</li></ol><p>Although they may provide valuable insight into how states and districts will approach using their ARP ESSER funds, the plans may not give the full picture of how the funds will be used—especially for some states and districts. That’s because the plans may not be the only governing documents for states and districts, and the plans can change. In fact, as noted above, the <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/two-opportunities-for-states-to-support-more-thoughtful-school-district-recovery-plans/">Department encourages—indeed requires in some aspects—states and districts to periodically review</a> and adapt the plans. Plans may also be limited because of current circumstances; that is, it may be difficult for districts and states to be plotting moves several years ahead of time while facing pressing and immediate summer programming and fall-reopening needs.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p> <strong>5. What possibilities and factors might state/district leaders consider when planning for using ARP ESSER funds? </strong></p><p>Education leaders and practitioners across the country have faced the pandemic with resilience and compassion for their students and families. They have overcome challenges unheard of only 18 months ago, and they will continue to face an uphill battle as our nation recovers from this pandemic.&#160;The funding from the ARP can help in this effort—to address immediate needs and transform our education systems based on evidence and stakeholder input, including what we know from the science of learning and development. &#160;<br> <br>Based on our long history at EducationCounsel of supporting state and district leaders in developing equity-centered approaches and policies, we provide, below, several considerations for sound planning and use of ARP funding.&#160;We hope these considerations will offer leaders insights into how they can think longer-term, best support their most marginalized students and those most severely affected by the pandemic, and develop strong systems of continuous improvement. &#160;</p><ul><li> <em>Don’t just fill holes, plant seeds. </em>The ARP gives leaders the opportunity to provide what their students and families need most immediately, but there is also great need and opportunity to create improved systems over the longer-term. Because funds can be obligated and spent through September 30, 2024, leaders have time to think about the potential of their systems in the next three to five years. While deciding on evidence-based programs that will support current reopening needs, leaders can simultaneously look ahead to how public school education and necessary comprehensive supports for young people can be redesigned and improved.&#160;Successful improvements may require additional state or local funding, if efforts are to be sustained long term. Accordingly, leaders may want to consider various strategies to blend ARP funding with other funding sources (including future funding sources) to avoid any funding cliff that may occur when ARP funding ends in 2024. Forming strategic partnerships, building and leaning on the full system of supports for students,&#160;and creating community investment will help plant and cultivate those seeds for future progress.<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Focus funding on programs and initiatives that will have the most direct impact on marginalized students. </em>The ARP is centered on equity and is designed particularly to attend to the needs of students who have been most severely affected by the pandemic. The <a href="https&#58;//www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/20210608-impacts-of-covid19.pdf">U.S. Department of Education has documented the level of trauma</a> such students faced over the course of the pandemic and how this trauma compounds the previous challenges and inequities our students were forced to confront. We encourage leaders to consider how to implement programs that will provide targeted relief and support to marginalized students and those programs that will have the greatest impact on those with the greatest need. This necessitates deep examination of the unique needs of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ+ students and students experiencing homelessness, and how those unique needs may require unique solutions.&#160;<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Support the academic, social, emotional&#160;and mental health needs of students and staff<span style="background-image&#58;initial;background-position&#58;initial;background-size&#58;initial;background-repeat&#58;initial;background-attachment&#58;initial;background-origin&#58;initial;background-clip&#58;initial;">—</span>in schools and across the various systems of student supports.</em>&#160;The level of trauma students <em>and</em> staff have faced these last 18 months is unprecedented. Given this, leaders can use ARP funds to create cultures and structures that address the whole spectrum of student needs. <a href="https&#58;//eb0b6ac7-8d5b-43ca-82bf-5fa89e49b5cb.usrfiles.com/ugd/eb0b6a_042c6c82a88144249223ca80bc9c2919.pdf">This could include designing school and other learning environments</a>, based on evidence, to best serve whole-child recovery and equity by fostering positive relationships, improving the sense of safety and belonging, creating rich and rigorous learning experiences, and integrating supports throughout the entire school. Implementing such efforts and building these cultures was <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/early-lessons-from-schools-and-out-of-school-time-programs-implementing-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">beneficial to students before the pandemic</a> and will be even more important now. School and district leaders might do well to remember the needs of their staff members during this moment, including <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-for-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-importance-of-sel.aspx">how developing staff social and emotional learning skills is essential</a> to supporting students’ needs. (We’ve linked to design principles created by the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance, on which Scott Palmer serves as a member of the leadership team and EducationCounsel is a governing partner in the initiative.)<br><br>Among the questions they might ask are&#58; What needs to be different about welcoming procedures? Do schools need additional support staff? Are teachers and school leaders equipped with the tools and resources they need to fully respond to the circumstances schools now face? How can out-of-school-time providers become full partners with schools, so that students find themselves fully supported in<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/stability-and-change-in-afterschool-systems-2013-2020-a-follow-up-study-of-afterschool-coordination-in-large-cities.aspx"> an ecosystem of school and out-of-school</a>-time supports?&#160; &#160;<br><br></li><li> <em>Develop current (and future) school leaders to meet the moment.</em> School leaders are <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">central to successful efforts to improve schools and outcomes for students</a>, but no current school leader has experienced a pandemic and interruption in learning at this scale, and principals&#160;more than ever&#160;need support from their state and district leadership. State and district leaders can use ARP funds to develop and provide guidance on reopening and recovery; provide professional development to support school leaders in meeting the academic, social and emotional health needs of their students; and involve school leaders in critical decision making. State and district leaders can also consider how to balance providing direction to school leaders with ensuring school leaders have the autonomy and flexibility to attend to their communities’ singular needs. Similar to the suggested approach above to consider the needs of the future, state and district leaders can use ARP funding to develop the next generation of school leaders and to support <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipelines.aspx">principal pipelines</a> that can both develop talent and diversify the profession. They may also want to evaluate what changes are necessary to existing structures and systems so that future leaders can be prepared to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic. &#160;&#160;<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <em>Regularly revisit plans to analyze impact, identify new needs and continuously improve over time.</em> Recovering from the pandemic and redesigning systems and programs will require ongoing leadership. State and district ARP ESSER plans and strategies should not be viewed as stagnant; instead, they can evolve to meet the needs of students and staff as we progress from reopening to recovery to reinvigorating. By periodically reviewing (and improving) their plans, leaders can help ensure that ARP funds are being used effectively to meet immediate needs, while also evaluating how improvements are aligning to the future. In other words, they can think about the seeds that are planted. To support periodic review efforts, state and district leaders can review data and evidence, consider lessons from implementation&#160;and develop feedback mechanisms so that stakeholders are continually engaged and are able to share how funds are (or are not) having the most impact on students’ experiences. It may be helpful for state and district leaders to reevaluate their plans each semester or every six months, at least to make sure that previously identified priorities and interventions are still pertinent to their communities and long-term goals. &#160;</li></ul> <br>Sean Worley, Scott Palmer1072021-08-04T04:00:00ZYour 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.10/13/2021 3:00:37 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / American Rescue Plan: Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now The latest round of federal COVID aid can be 2240https://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 463https://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 773https://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 657https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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