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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 202https://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 306https://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 361https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool? 10217GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For the past few years, participation in afterschool programs has dropped precipitously. ​Families of 24.6 million children—<a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-National-Report.pdf">an ​​increase of 60 percent&#160;since 2004</a>—are una​​ble to access a program and many report cost as a barrier, according to a new survey from the Afterschool Alliance.</p><p>The study, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/America-After-3PM-Demand-Grows-Opportunity-Shrinks.aspx"> <em>America After 3pm&#58; Demand Grows, Opportunity Shrinks</em></a><em>, </em>identifies trends in afterschool program offerings and shares overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. With responses from more than 30,000 U.S. families, this survey builds on the household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. While it offers a pre-pandemic snapshot of how children and youth spend their afternoons, it also includes findings from a separate survey of parents conducted in fall 2020, to capture the pandemic’s impact on afterschool. </p><p>The Wallace Blog caught up with Jennifer Rinehart, Senior VP, Strategy &amp; Programs at the&#160;Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the survey and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world. </p><p> <strong>This is the fourt​​h edition of <em>America After 3PM</em>. Why did you start collecting these data and what is the value in continuing to do so?</strong></p><p> <em>America After 3PM</em> was the first research undertaking at the Afterschool Alliance and continues to be a pillar of our work. In the early 2000​s, we realized very quickly that there wasn’t a data source that provided a comprehensive view of how kids in America spend their afterschool hours, and we set out to remedy that. As a field building, policy and advocacy organization, we recognized that having good research and data would be critical to our success in helping all young people access quality afterschool and summer programs. And we knew it wasn’t enough to have just a national snapshot. We’d need families from every state, families at all income levels and all races and ethnicities, to really tell the story of who has access to afterschool and summer programs, who is missing out, and why. Through the fourth&#160;edition of America After 3PM, we surveyed more than 31,000 families to capture this in-depth and detailed portrait of the afterschool hours across the U.S.</p><p> <strong>Unmet demand for afterschool programs continues to be a major issue, but access and availability of programs is still a concern. Can you talk more about this?</strong></p><p> <em>America After 3PM</em> paints a picture of the huge unmet demand for afterschool programs, with the heaviest burdens falling on low-income families and families of color. The families of nearly 25 million children are unable to access a program. That’s more than ever before; for every child in an afterschool program in America, three more are waiting to get in.</p><p>More families report that cost and transportation, as well as overall lack of programs, are barriers today than in 2014, and that is especially the case for families with low-income and families of color.</p><p> <strong>Despite this demand, your recent survey found that participation in afterschool programs has actually decreased for the first time since Afterschool Alliance started doing the survey. Do you have any thoughts on why?</strong></p><p>That’s right. We found that about 8 million children and youth are enrolled in afterschool programs today. That’s down from just over 10 million in 2014.&#160; We know from parent responses that cost and access are the biggest barriers to participation.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Even more troubling than the decline in participation are the inequities in terms of which students can access programs. The number of children from low-income households participating in afterschool fell from 4.6 million in 2014 to 2.7 million in 2020. The number of higher-income children in afterschool fell by just under 450,000 over the same period. </p><p>Publicly funded afterschool and summer programs like the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) and state-funded programs have been a backbone of support for many young people from low-income households. However, these investments are not keeping up with the demand for programs, and a significant number of low-income young people are being denied the opportunity to participate in afterschool programs. We are very concerned that low-income families who in the past could manage to pay for programs can no longer do so.</p><p> <strong>We know that children in low-income families have more limited learning and enrichment opportunities outside of school compared to their higher income peers. How does having afterschool opportunities help to close this opportunity gap?</strong></p><p>The opportunity gap and the achievement gap are clearly connected. If we can begin to close the gap in terms of who has access to afterschool and summer learning and enrichment, we can also begin to close the achievement gap.&#160; </p><p>Quality afterschool programs have a long history of expanding opportunity for young people by supporting academics and learning, but also by supporting the whole child and helping struggling families. Afterschool programs help children with schoolwork; provide opportunities to explore subjects like science, technology, engineering and math; give them time to be social and active; help them develop life skills and more. The research base is clear that kids who regularly participate in afterschool programs can improve their work habits and grades, attend school more often, get excited about learning and have higher graduation rates.<br></p><p>The opportunity gap goes beyond access to afterschool and summer programs. In <em>America After 3PM</em>, we also ask about other types of enrichment in the after school and summer hours—things like sports, music and art lessons, and more—and how much families spend on those out-of-school-time opportunities. </p><p>Similar to other research on the opportunity gap, we found that higher income families report greater access to afterschool, summer and other out-of-school activities, and higher-income families spend more than five times as much on those opportunities than families in the lowest income bracket [roughly $3,600 vs. $700 per year]. </p><p> <strong>According to the report, more than 8 in 10 parents surveyed said that afterschool helps working parents keep their jobs. What other feedback did you hear from parents? </strong></p><p>Parents recognize a wide array of benefits associated with participation in afterschool programs.&#160; Parents agree that afterschool programs provide time for kids to engage with their peers and reduce unproductive screen time (85 percent), get kids more excited about learning and interested in school (74 percent) and reduce the likelihood that youth will use drugs or engage in other risky behaviors (75 percent).<br></p><p>And, the benefits of participation extend to parents as well. When asked about supports they receive from programs, 78 percent of parents with a child enrolled in afterschool report that programs help them keep their jobs, and 71 percent say that programs allow them to build their skills through classes or workshops offered. </p><p>Given that wide range of benefits, it’s no surprise that parents give afterschool programs very high marks. Ninety-four percent of parents are satisfied with their child’s program. This is the highest level of satisfaction in the history of <em>America After 3PM</em> and is an indication that programs are providing high-quality programming that meets the needs of kids and families.</p><p> <strong>How have parent perceptions about afterschool and its value changed since COVID-19? What is the impact of the pandemic on future demand?</strong></p><p>While most of the data for <em>America After 3PM</em> were collected pre-pandemic (January through early March of 2020), we also fielded <em>America After 3PM</em> oversample surveys in a handful of localities from April through June, which provide a glimpse into how parents’ thinking about afterschool did or didn’t change in the midst of the pandemic. </p><p>While these data are from a smaller sample of households, we found that at the household level, parents without a child in an afterschool program in the aggregate oversample were just as likely to say that they would likely enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available as parents surveyed at the start of the year (59 percent vs. 59 percent). </p><p>In a nationally representative follow up survey conducted in October 2020, parents also reported similar barriers to participation in the midst of COVID. While the biggest barriers were COVID-related, beyond those COVID concerns, we saw the same top barriers related to cost and access.&#160; </p><p>These data suggest that as we move towards recovery and focus on what children need to thrive and what parents need to get and keep jobs, we can expect to return to previous levels of demand for programs, and we will need to provide supports for afterschool programs to increase the capacity of existing programs and make sure more of them are available to meet the needs of all kids and families.</p><p> <strong>How can we use the findings of this study to help provide children with affordable, quality afterschool programs and what kind of support and/or funding is needed?</strong></p><p>While there have been modest increases to federal funding for afterschool since 2014, the increases have not been enough to keep up with the costs of providing a high-quality afterschool program. In fact, when adjusted for inflation, the investment in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is actually $10 million less today than it was in 2014. Several states have increased their funding for afterschool and those investments are critical in helping keep low-income young people in afterschool programs in those states. California is a notable example with higher than average participation levels in afterschool due in part to its state investment.&#160; </p><p>We need to use these data to convince governments at all levels, businesses, philanthropies and others to prioritize funding for afterschool programs. </p><p> <strong>What would you like policymakers to take away from this survey?</strong></p><p>Afterschool and summer programs were a key support for young people and families prior to the pandemic and have been rising to the moment during the pandemic to meet the needs of children and families. All our children and youth need access to the enrichment opportunities and resources afterschool programs provide and it’s clear from <em>America After 3PM</em> that too many were missing out prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the disparities in access. </p><p>As we move forward, we need to be smart and invest in our future. There’s no question that afterschool is a smart investment for kids, families, our workforce, our economy and our country.​&#160;Supporting afterschool is essential to help children succeed in school and in life and to help us emerge from the pandemic strong.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912021-03-03T05:00:00ZSurvey finds satisfaction with afterschool programs are growing, but cost and access are preventing participation.4/7/2021 7:46:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool National survey finds high demand for afterschool programs, but cost 380https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog Posts26783GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​A deadly global health crisis. Its economic fallout on school districts, arts organizations, nonprofits, and communities of color in particular. An energized racial justice movement across America and beyond. </p><p>It’s no surprise that both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com at the time of this writing have both chosen<em> pandemic</em> as their word of the year. Indeed, the most widely read posts on The Wallace Blog in this tumultuous year reflect concerns across the many communities we work with. &#160;From the first lockdowns in March, our editorial team, with the assistance of so many partners, quickly shifted gears to help people navigate the fog of 2020—everything from an <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx">interview with a financial management expert</a> on weathering the financial crisis to a <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-arts-getting-us-through-a-pandemic.aspx">list of the nonprofit arts organizations</a> that provided comfort, stimulation and plain-old entertainment when we needed them most.</p><p>Our Top 10 stories this year might someday become a time capsule of Wallace’s work during the pandemic. We present them here by popularity, which for this purpose is defined by total number of&#160;views, from lowest (1,030) to highest (more than 20,000!), with an average viewing time of three&#160;minutes and 12 seconds. </p><p> <strong>10) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-museums-navigate-through-the-covid-19-fog.aspx"> <strong>Helping Museums Navigate Through the COVID-19 Fog</strong></a>&#160;Much like the rest of the country, museums have been grasping for ways to endure the disruption COVID-19 has brought on. Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight at the American Alliance of Museums,&#160;​offers ways that museums and other organizations could create plans for possible post-pandemic scenarios in their communities. </p><p> <strong>9) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/engaging-audiences-in-the-age-of-social-distancing.aspx"> <strong>Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing</strong></a>&#160;This post describes&#160;how some of the arts organizations that&#160;participated in our now-concluded Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative ramped up their digital offerings and continued&#160;to connect with their audiences online.</p><p> <strong>8) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/bringing-out-the-best-in-principals-during-the-covid-19-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis</strong></a>&#160;Back in early summer, we caught up with Jill Baker, superintendent of the&#160;Long Beach (Calif.)&#160;Unified School District, about the district’s efforts to support principals during school closures, as well as its summer plans for school leadership development.</p><p> <strong>7) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/changing-principal-preparation-to-help-meet-school-needs.aspx"> <strong>Changing Principal Preparation to Help Meet School Needs</strong></a>&#160;In the first post of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program, the university’s director gives a behind-the-scenes look at the changes the program made to better prepare future leaders. (Reporting for this story took place in the few pre-COVID months of 2020.)</p><p> <strong>6) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/research-about-the-arts-and-kids-a-fertile-area-for-inquiry.aspx"> <strong>Research About the Arts and Kids&#58; A Fertile Area for Inquiry</strong></a>&#160;Wallace’s director of communications Lucas Held recaps a conference held at George Mason University, part of an effort by the National Endowment for the Arts to help ensure “that every child will have access to arts education.”<br></p><p> <strong>5) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/keeping-young-people-creative-and-connected-in-quarantine.aspx"> <strong>Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine</strong></a>&#160;At the height of classroom shutdowns, we chatted with Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, to discuss how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in this era of social distancing and isolation.<br></p><p> <strong>4) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/literacy-expert-on-why-kids-must-keep-reading-during-this-unprecedented-moment.aspx"> <strong>Literacy Expert on Why Kids Must Keep Reading During This ‘Unprecedented Moment’</strong></a><strong>&#160;</strong>Jimmy Kim, the person behind <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reads-helping-children-become-summer-bookworms.aspx">READS for Summer Learning</a>, offers guidance and tools for parents and caregivers on encouraging at-home reading for children amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic.</p><p> <strong>3) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-the-pandemic-means-for-summer-learning-and-how-policymakers-can-help.aspx"> <strong>What the Pandemic Means for Summer Learning-And How Policymakers Can Help</strong></a>&#160;Government policies can both help and limit summer learning efforts. In this post, RAND’s Catherine Augustine discusses a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-support-for-summer-learning-policies-affect-summer-learning-programs.aspx">report on the summer learning policy landscape</a> and what could lie ahead for summer programs in the pandemic and beyond.</p><p> <strong>2) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Managing Nonprofit Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis</strong></a>&#160;It might come as little&#160;surprise that&#160;our second most popular post of 2020 is about the financial bottom line. Nonprofit financial management expert Hilda Polanco discusses&#160;how nonprofits can best assess and work to maintain their financial health throughout the pandemic. While you’re at it, take a look at the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-covid-19-for-nonprofits-from-financial-triage-to-scenario-planning.aspx">webinar</a> on this topic, attended by more than 1,000 people.</p><p> <strong>1) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-cares-act.aspx"> <strong>The CARES Act&#58; Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a>&#160;EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, dug into the federal CARES Act and summarized its&#160;major education&#160;provisions&#160;shortly after the relief&#160;legislation was passed&#160;last spring. The post was followed up by&#160;a&#160;webinar on the&#160;topic, which you can view <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">here</a>, and the team is ready to look at any&#160;future federal legislation as the pandemic continues into 2021. </p>Jenna Doleh912020-12-15T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting principals during COVID-19 to keeping kids connected during quarantine.12/15/2020 6:51:26 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog Posts Our most-read posts this year—from helping schools and nonprofits navigate 719https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis3631GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It may seem like a truism that, in a time of crisis, the various players and institutions in a community should set aside their individual agendas and pull together for a common cause. But there’s a lot that goes into a true collaboration—one that involves government, schools, businesses, universities, foundations and nonprofits. Collaborators must build trust, develop and state a shared vision, and establish roles. And that’s just for starters.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-Sector-Collaboration-May-Be-Invaluable-in-the-Current-Crisis/Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;138px;height&#58;207px;" />Carolyn Riehl knows this well. A professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Riehl, along with a team of colleagues, conducted a Wallace-sponsored study of cross-sector collaborations to improve education. The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-impact-a-closer-look-at-local-cross-sector-collaborations-for-education.aspx">final report</a> from this landmark study was published just a few months before COVID-19 changed everything, not only in the realm of education but society as a whole. Riehl says that, as the pandemic exacerbates inequities and the need for services, cross-sector collaborations—sometimes known as “collective impact” initiatives—may become more important than ever, even as their work goes underfunded and unnoticed. We asked Riehl about where the cross-sector collaboration movement stands now and what the future may hold.<br> <em> </em></p><p><strong>What do you see as the contribution of this report to the conversation about cross-sector collaboration? Who are the intended readers of the report and what can they expect to take away from it?</strong><br><em> </em><br> <span><span><strong></strong></span></span>There are many potential audiences for the report, and we tried to provide information relevant to all of them. Leaders of, and participants in, cross-sector collaborations may find it valuable to learn about other programs’ governance structures, service networks and communication strategies. Philanthropies and government agencies who provide financial support for collaborations may be encouraged to learn how others have been generous but patient as these complex enterprises take the necessary time to build towards long-term success. Readers who are considering starting a collaborative initiative will, we hope, be inspired by the efforts and accomplishments of the programs we studied, while also getting a reality check about the challenges and potential pitfalls. We hope citizens and stakeholders in the cities we studied will be proud that their stories can help lead the way, but also that they will use our report to inform their efforts to improve.</p><p><span><strong></strong></span><strong>How do you think the pandemic will affect cross-sector collaboration—both the collaborations you studied and the movement in general?</strong></p><p><span><span><span><span><strong></strong></span></span></span></span>The needs that cross-sector collaborations were established to address—better access to quality early childhood education and afterschool programs, social-emotional learning opportunities, targeted support for boys and young men of color, wraparound health and social services for students—are likely to become even more acute for more children and youth. And school districts and other service providers may be hard pressed to respond, given reduced budgets and increased demand. So collaborations are likely to become more useful than ever, even if it’s hard for them to garner direct attention and funding. We’re learning in the pandemic to appreciate all sorts of people and enterprises that operate mostly out of public view but are clearly essential to keeping things going, and cross-sector collaborations might prove to be another vital background operation.&#160; </p><p><strong>In the report, you and your colleagues say, “While it is still early in the game, we think there are enough indicators of good things happening that the waning of the movement would represent a loss.” What are some of those indicators?&#160;And have any of them taken on new significance in the current crisis?</strong><br><em> </em><br> One positive aspect of cross-sector collaboration for education is an increase in the shared, public recognition that children and young adults often face complicated obstacles keeping them from educational and career success. In the current health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, inequities appear in even more stark relief, and we fear they will reverberate for a long time. Removing obstacles and erasing disparities will require a concerted effort by many organizations and agencies, not just schools. Collaborations have already set the stage for that. Another good thing is that despite some early promises of quick success, many collaborations are taking the time to understand what their local needs are and to craft appropriate responses. This thoughtfulness and care will be even more important as the full impact of the pandemic comes into view. Finally, just the fact that collaborations have established structures and processes for people to work together and trust one another—that’s going to be a huge help, I think. <br> <br> <strong>What are some of the common challenges communities face in launching and sustaining cross-sector collaborations? Does the pandemic present any new challenges? For example, can the hard work of building trust and working relationships still take place when conversations and meetings are all happening online?</strong></p><p>Our report describes in detail the ways communities built collaborations from the ground up. Most depended heavily on relationships and a nascent sense of shared purpose as they got going, and the need for personal connections didn’t disappear over time. In our new reality, it can be hard to get to know new colleagues, to make eye contact and read the subtle signals in a conversation, or to find serendipitous opportunities for sharing and brainstorming in an online Zoom meeting. But I’ve talked with numerous school leaders recently who are astounded that more people are attending school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and professional development sessions online than they did in person. This is an opportunity collaborations can take advantage of. It may be possible to communicate more widely and build even larger constituencies for their work and to enable more people to participate across time and distance in work groups and governance bodies. But it will be crucial to ensure that the community members who are often isolated and marginalized are not prevented from participating in new forms of online engagement.</p><p><strong>What does the future of cross-sector collaboration look like and how has that picture changed in light of the pandemic? Is the movement in a healthy place or is the fate of these efforts more precarious? What factors will be important in the evolution and endurance of the current wave of cross-sector collaborations?</strong><br><em> </em><br>&#160;It’s hard to predict what will happen to cross-sector collaborations for education, whether they will become permanent or end up as yet another promising but short-lived innovation. Several months ago, my colleagues and I might have opined that their future depended most of all on their ability to develop stable, sufficient revenue streams and to demonstrate to their stakeholders at least some success in achieving goals they set for themselves. We saw reasonably strong signs that this was happening in many places. <br> <br> But the coronavirus pandemic has been a major disruption. On the one hand, it’s possible that because of it, education funding will be so dramatically reduced, and philanthropic dollars so thinly stretched, that there simply won’t be enough resources to sustain collaborations. Participating local governments, social agencies, and school systems themselves may have to scale back their expectations for accomplishing anything more than the very basic services they are charged to provide; there may be little reserve energy for the ambitious goals of collaborative enterprises.&#160;</p><p> On the other hand, the pandemic may reveal cross-sector collaborations to be absolutely indispensable. When a community’s needs become comprehensive and intense, the presence of a collaboration that is already accustomed to coordinating efforts and devising innovative solutions could be invaluable. We’ve already seen anecdotal evidence of cross-sector collaborations convening with philanthropies to decide how best to direct funding to meet extraordinary needs, and we’ve heard how at least one collaboration marshalled efforts to help its community adjust when schools were closed and students needed everything from meal deliveries to laptops and iPads for online learning. Cross-sector collaborations were designed to do things that existing systems hadn’t been able to do. If they are able to adapt to the new realities they face, their future may be secure.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-18T04:00:00ZCarolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective impact” can play during pandemic8/27/2020 3:05:51 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis Carolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective 439https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The CARES Act: Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now10547GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning<p> <em>​​​The newly enacted federal law in response to the coronavirus crisis provides more than $30 billion for K-12 and higher education programs; more than $4 billion for early childhood education; and other supports such as forgivable loans to nonprofits, including many providers of afterschool or summer programs. The <strong>Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act</strong> comes at a moment when many states and districts are <a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-coronavirus-and-school-closures.html">closing schools</a> while seeking to continue to educate students, out-of-school-time programs are pondering how best to offer services​&#160;and summer is fast approaching.</em></p><p> <em>To assist decision&#160;makers, this post summarizes five things that school and district leaders should know about the major education provisions in the CARES Act. It also contains information pertaining to nonprofits. This summary was prepared for The Wallace Foundation by <a href="https&#58;//educationcounsel.com/">EducationCounsel</a></em>,<em> a mission-based education organization and law firm that has analyzed the text of the new law. </em> <br> </p><ol><li> <strong> <em>The $2.3 trillion CARES Act provides new, one-time funding for states, districts and schools—based in part on poverty but with significant flexibility regarding where funds are used. </em></strong></li></ol><blockquote> The law includes a $30.75 billion <strong> <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/">Education Stabilization Fund</a></strong> divided into three parts and meant to provide initial relief to states and districts facing education challenges stemming from the coronavirus. The parts are&#58; </blockquote><ol type="A" start="0"><ol type="A"><li> <strong>The&#160;</strong><strong>$13.5 billion <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/elementary-secondary-school-emergency-relief-fund/">Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief</a> Fund</strong>. States will receive this funding based on the number of students in poverty in the same manner as funding is provided under Title I, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—better known today as ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act. States must allocate 90 percent of that funding to districts, including charter schools, based on Title I, Part A. Districts have flexibility on how to target the funds they receive, including how and which schools are funded. States have flexibility on how to target the 10 percent of funding they retain. One way to think about this funding is that it equates to about 80 percent of the most recent year’s Title I, Part A, funding.<br><br></li><li> <strong>The&#160;</strong><strong>$3 billion <a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/governors-emergency-education-relief-fund/">Governor’s Emergency Education Relief</a> Fund</strong>. States will receive funds based on a combination of both school-age population and rates of poverty, and governors have wide discretion over use of these funds to support K-12 or higher education.<br><br></li><li> <strong>The $14.25 billion <a href="https&#58;//www2.ed.gov/programs/heerf/index.html">Higher Education Emergency Relief</a> Fund</strong>. Institutions of higher education will receive this funding directly, and they have broad latitude over its use, although at least 50 percent of their allocations must support emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and child care. About $1 billion of the higher education relief fund is earmarked for Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Minority Serving Institutions. </li></ol></ol><blockquote> Other provisions in the CARES Act directly support early childhood education, including <strong>$3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant </strong>program and<strong> $750 million for Head Start.<br><br> </strong> <strong>Afterschool providers should consider additional relief offered through small business loans</strong>. Through the <a href="https&#58;//www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/023595_comm_corona_virus_smallbiz_loan_final.pdf">Paycheck Protection Program</a>, the CARES Act provides federally guaranteed loans to small businesses—including nonprofits—with fewer than 500 employees. These loans can be forgiven if the employer keeps its employees on the payroll. After the enactment of the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program quickly depleted its $350 billion allocation; however, Congress has passed a bipartisan agreement to replenish some of its funding. </blockquote><ol start="2"><li> <strong><em>The U.S. Department of Education will allocate K-12 education funds to states, which will then disburse funds to districts, but this could take several weeks or more. </em></strong> </li></ol><blockquote> On April 23, the Secretary of Education <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-makes-available-over-13-billion-emergency-coronavirus-relief-support-continued-education-k-12-students">released the application</a> states &#160;will need to fill out to receive K-12 funding from the Education Stabilization Fund. States have until July 1 to complete the applications, and once received by the department, they are to be reviewed and approved within three business days. The department’s state application forms require states to provide technical assistance, if applicable, to districts on district use of funding for remote learning. The form also asks states to describe how they could use their state funding to support technology capacity and student access to technology.&#160; <br> <br> Each state will make Elementary and Secondary Relief Funds available to districts, using Title I formulas. The districts will then make decisions about funding priorities. Although there is an expectation that all involved will move quickly, the process could well take time to unfold—even as states and districts approach the end of their school and/or fiscal years. This means that district and school leaders should consider thinking about use of funds not only for immediate needs but also for the longer term, that is, over the summer and into the coming school year.<br></blockquote> <img alt="The-CARES-Act.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-CARES-Act/The-CARES-Act.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <ol start="3"><li> <strong><em>The CARES Act provides districts (and states) with broad discretion over how they use new funds. </em></strong></li></ol><blockquote> The Elementary and Secondary Relief Fund provides <em>district</em> leaders with broad authority over both the targeting of funds to specific schools and the use of funds more broadly. The CARES Act includes a long list of allowable activities, including any activities authorized under a range of existing federal education laws, as well as a long list of activities broadly related to coronavirus, such as support for principals and other school leaders to meet the needs of their schools; support for education technology essential to&#160; &#160;distance learning; and support for measures to address the unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness and foster care youth. Also on the list is support for summer learning and afterschool programs.<br></blockquote> <img alt="Allowable-Activities.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-CARES-Act/Allowable-Activities.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <blockquote> States, meanwhile, have broad authority over spending from the Governor’s Education Relief Fund and their 10 percent share of dollars from the Elementary and Secondary Fund.<br><br> Given this, state, district and school leaders should quickly consider&#58; <ul><li>How to use federal funds most effectively; </li><li>What data, evidence and input they will use to inform those decisions; and</li><li>How to coordinate efforts and adopt the most coherent approach across funding streams, including with regard to CARES Act funds supporting early childhood and higher education.</li></ul></blockquote><ol start="4"><li> <strong><em>The CARES Act creates expedited waiver authority regarding ESSA requirements, but federal civil rights laws remain. </em></strong> <br></li></ol><blockquote> <span><span>In addition to establishing the Education Stabilization Fund, the CARES Act authorizes the Secretary of Education to approve, upon state request, expedited waivers from ESSA requirements, including those regarding state assessments, accountability, and data reporting. If subject to waivers, schools identified for school improvement this school year would retain that status for the 2020-2021 year. Before the CARES Act became law, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had already begun to <a href="https&#58;//www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/200320.html">approve state waivers</a> for these requirements under existing ESSA waiver authority.</span></span><br><br>It is important to note that the CARES Act does not permit states or the Education Secretary to waive federal civil rights requirements. However, the act does require the secretary to report to Congress within 30 days on what additional waivers may be necessary, including with regard to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.<br><br> Upon request by a state or district, the education secretary may waive several financial requirements in ESSA, according to the CARES Act. &#160;Among them are the limitation on carrying over Title I funding from the previous year, the requirement that a school have 40 percent of its students qualify for Title I to use funds schoolwide and the definition of “professional development” (so that districts can train and support teachers using methods that would not otherwise qualify). Also subject to waiver is the restriction on how much Title IV funding can be used for technology infrastructure and the requirement for a school to complete a needs assessment to justify use of Title IV funding. On April 6, the Secretary announced the creation of <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-education-betsy-devos-authorizes-new-funding-flexibilities-support-continued-learning-during-covid-19-national-emergency">a streamlined process</a> so that states can be approved for these waivers within one business day.<br><br> Last, the act requires states and districts to continue to meet “maintenance of effort” requirements regarding state and local education funding. However, the act also empowers the secretary to waive this requirement if states experience a “precipitous decline in financial resources.” <p></p></blockquote><ol start="5"><li> <strong><em>There are several actions that school and district leaders should consider taking now to promote the most efficient, effective use of CARES Act funds.</em></strong></li></ol><blockquote> In the next several weeks, states and districts are slated to begin receiving CARES Act funds. The <a href="https&#58;//www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/how-much-will-states-receive-through-the-education-stabilization-fund">specific amounts</a> have already been estimated for each state and district. There are three immediate steps that school and district leaders can take to prepare for these funds&#58; <p></p><ol type="A"><li> <strong>Identify</strong><strong> the most critical needs—now and over time.</strong>&#160; As noted above, school districts and states will have significant flexibility in use of CARES Act funds, including with regard to which schools and students are supported, and how funds are used. Now is the time to consider key data and evidence, as well as stakeholder input, to identify highest priorities. Given the outsized impact this crisis is having on the most marginalized children and families, decision makers should pay particular attention to equity and the children in greatest need, as well as to ensuring equitable access to education services consistent with federal civil rights laws. <br> <br> <ul><li> <em>For district and school leaders. </em>Consider issues such as how these funds can close equity gaps in remote learning, support school communities that need them most, promote summer learning to mitigate further learning loss and aid good faith efforts to ensure equitable access to education resources for students with disabilities. <br> <br></li><li> <em>For state leaders. </em>Consider statewide priorities but also how funds can be directed at places and populations with the greatest needs. Also consider whether and how to seek ESSA waivers while still keeping critical systems of data and school improvement in place long term. Finally, consider making widely available evidence on effective approaches to supporting districts, schools and students during the pandemic.<br><br></li></ul></li><li> <strong>Maintain</strong><strong> and improve systems for effective coordination and integration of funds. </strong>Districts and states have authority over different CARES Act funding sources. This means it will be important for school, district and state leaders to coordinate effectively about how best to target and use funds as part of a coherent approach to spending. Because CARES Act funds are supplemental and flexible, they can be combined with other state and local funds and strategies (including under ESSA plans) to promote an integrated approach. Further, family and community engagement can play a key role in making the best decisions and having the greatest impact.&#160; <br> <br> <ul><li> <em>For district and school leaders. </em>Consider how to best engage families and communities to help identify the greatest needs and best strategies, and how to best engage with state leaders as well. <br> <br></li><li> <em>For state leaders. </em>Consider what existing or new mechanisms could be used to ensure coordination and learning from the field. Think about how funds could be used most strategically with other plans and establish systems to determine how CARES Act funds are spent. This can help support continual review and improvement in use of funds over time.<br><br></li></ul></li><li> <strong>Analyze</strong><strong> and track additional needs as early as possible.</strong> The coronavirus crisis is far from predictable. Uncertainties include the duration of the pandemic as well as its impact on public health and safety, the economy, and state and local revenues. What it will mean for education opportunity and learning is another question mark. Further, the crisis could extend well into the next school year or beyond, and we cannot know when things will return to “normal” or what “normal” will or should look like. CARES Act funds are likely to be helpful but insufficient. Key national organizations representing school and district leaders have already begun to identify likely priorities for additional funding. To inform other policy actions over time, school, district and state leaders should act early to analyze the likely impact of the crisis on children’s development—academically, socially and emotionally—and on the education system. <br> <br> <ul><li> <em>For district and school leaders. </em>Plan now for different scenarios in the fall and identify likely strategies and needs given your circumstances, including with regard to issues such as professional learning, student diagnostic assessments,​ and child and family supports.&#160; <br> <br></li><li> <em>For state leaders. </em>Consider the same statewide, particularly the budget implications of the current crisis and what it will take to ensure equitable access to education resources, including greater support for children, families and communities in greatest need.</li></ul></li></ol></blockquote>Sean Worley, Scott Palmer1072020-04-23T04:00:00ZFederal Coronavirus Aid Package Provides School and Preschool Funding; Summer and Afterschool Programs Eligible8/27/2020 3:24:12 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The CARES Act: Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now The newly enacted federal law in response to 11624https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership24054GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts<p>​​​​I​f we can glean any trends from our list of most popular posts published on the Wallace Blog this year, it might be&#58; Everything is connected. From arts education programs focused on urban tweens to performing arts organizations with varied audiences, the question seems to be how to get people in the door. Then once there, how to keep them…just as school districts are struggling to retain principals and might find support in RAND’s groundbreaking principal pipeline research. And speaking of school leaders, their growing concern for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) is more evident than ever.&#160;<br></p><p>We’ve got all that and more in our Top 10 list this year, so go ahead and get connected&#58;&#160;<br></p><p> 10)&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-benefits-of-arts-education-for-urban-tweens.aspx">The Benefits of Arts Education for Urban Tweens</a></strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Does high-quality arts programming benefit urban tweens? What does it take to recruit young people to these programs—and keep them coming back? Read highlights from this webinar hosted by The National Guild for Community Arts Education and drawn from research and practice in our Youth Arts Initiative. <br><br> 9<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/principal-retention-findings-from-ppi-report.aspx"><strong>Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> Principal turnover disrupts schools, teachers and students, and the cost to replace a principal is about $75,000. This blog post investigates the principal retention finding of &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">RAND’s groundbreaking report</a> on building principal pipelines. <br><br> 8<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-if-districts-focused-not-just-on-preparing-and-hiring-principals-but-also-retaining-them.aspx"><strong>What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> For more on principal retention, Marina Cofield, then the senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what the district did about it.<br><br> 7<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/could-federal-funding-help-pay-for-arts-ed-in-your-school.aspx">Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?</a></strong> The authors of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">a report exploring research on approaches to arts education</a> under the Every Student Succeeds Act discuss the types of activities and approaches that qualify for funding, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators might use their report to improve arts education in their schools.<br><br> 6<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-organizations-five-different-strategies-to-build-arts-audiences.aspx">Five Organizations, Five Different Strategies to Build Arts Audiences</a></strong><strong>&#58;&#160; </strong>Organizations&#160;from our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative share early results from their efforts to tap new audiences while continuing to engage current attendees. As detailed in accounts from our BAS Stories Project, the work of the five varies&#160;widely;&#160;some strategies show&#160;success, some falter&#160;and many fall somewhere in between.<br><br> 5<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/implementation-gets-the-job-done-benefiting-kids-by-strengthening-practices.aspx"><strong>Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefitting Kids by Strengthening Practices</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>Wallace’s recently retired director of research, Ed Pauly, shares insights from his decades-long career into why implementation studies matter, highlighting examples from recent Wallace work.<br><br> 4<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/looking-toward-a-nation-at-hope.aspx">Looking Toward a Nation at Hope&#58;</a></strong><strong> </strong>Rooted in findings that academic learning and social and emotional learning are intertwined, <a href="http&#58;//nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/">a report released earlier this year by The Aspen Institute</a> shares recommendations and next steps for supporting a more holistic learning approach.<br><br> 3<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/choosing-the-right-social-and-emotional-learning-programs-and-practices.aspx">Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>More from the SEL front&#58; RAND researchers discuss the importance of social and emotional learning and their new guide meant to help educators adopt evidence-based programs that fit needs of students and communities.<br><br> 2<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span>&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-leading-for-equity-can-look-like-paul-fleming.aspx">What Leading for Equity Can Look Like</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Paul Fleming, assistant commissioner for the teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, discusses the importance of equity and how a publication on the subject by a statewide team seeks to help schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.<br><br> 1<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong>​ </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-principals-support-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>It’s no surprise that our top post of 2019 falls at the crossroads of school leadership and SEL&#58; Here, guest author Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, tells of his conversations with educators around the country and the guide for SEL implementation that came out of them. </p> <br>Wallace editorial team792019-12-04T05:00:00ZRead the most popular stories we published this year and the research that inspired them.12/4/2019 5:57:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership Read the most popular stories we published this year and 1656https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Staff Expertise, Careful Communications to Parents Fuel Successful SEL Efforts5426GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Growing up in a home with domestic violence, Byron Sanders remembers&#160;afterschool programs being&#160;a refuge for him.&#160;In football, track and theater,&#160; the president and CEO of Big Thought in Dallas said, he could be a “happy, effervescent kid.”</p><p>“Afterschool was also my pathway to opportunity,” he told the audience of 150 educators and youth development leaders at an October forum in Chicago hosted by The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance. Still, his afterschool experience fell short of its potential, he said, because the social and emotional skills he needed weren’t intentionally taught. That’s still too often the case in afterschool programs, he observed. “How many kids do you know of today,” he asked, “who can access that power, which is what social and emotional learning truly is?”<br></p><p>Social and emotional skills—which can include working productively with a group, managing feelings and resolving conflicts—are increasingly recognized as a key to success in the modern workforce, along with academic learning. A recent <a href="https&#58;//www.nber.org/papers/w21473">study</a> by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that jobs requiring high levels of social interaction made up a growing share of the U.S. labor force, while the percentage of jobs not requiring social skills declined. </p><p>Accordingly, efforts to integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) with academic and out-of-school time have grown exponentially in the past decade. The day-long forum, designed as a pre-conference in advance of the inaugural SEL Exchange hosted by The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which drew approximately 1,500 participants, aimed to build on that momentum. Youth development leaders, researchers and educators attending the pre-conference event discussed the latest SEL research and two of the field’s biggest challenges—developing the ability of adults to teach SEL skills and communicating the importance of those skills to the uninitiated.</p><p>“Sometimes it's hard to communicate successfully to people who are skeptics, non-believers or just not yet dialed into this channel,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. Here are highlights from a few of the panel discussions. </p><p><strong>The neuroscience of SEL</strong><br> Deborah Moroney, managing director at American Institutes for Research and a leading researcher on social and emotional learning, remarked on how far the field of social and emotional learning in out-of-school time has come. In the 1990s, researchers began to quantify the effect of afterschool programs on young people’s lives, including long-term outcomes such as finding employment and avoiding incarceration, she said. “We didn’t call it ‘social-emotional learning’ at the time, but the studies were there.”<strong></strong></p><p>The catalyst that linked SEL with out-of-school time, Moroney believes, came in 2007 when Roger Weissberg and Joseph Durlak released a pivotal study of existing research, <em><a href="https&#58;//casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PDF-1-the-impact-of-after-school-programs-that-promote-personal-and-social-skills-executive-summary.pdf">The Impact of After-School Programs that Promote Personal and Social Skills.</a></em> “They found that when young people participate in high quality programs defined as—you can say this with me,” she told the audience, “SAFE&#58; sequenced, active, focused and explicit—that they experienced social-emotional growth linked to academic outcomes.” </p><p>Some of the latest SEL research comes from neuroscience. Karen Pittman, president and CEO of Forum for Youth Investment, shared findings from a series of articles by the Science of Learning and Development Project. “What they said wasn’t new,” she noted, “but how they said it was important.”</p><p>Optimal conditions for learning exist, scientists found, in the context of strong relationships, a sense of safety and belonging, rich instruction, individualized supports, and intentional development of essential mindsets, skills and habits, she said. </p><p>The catch is, “we can’t just pick some of these things,” Pittman said. “At the point where we’re not doing all of these things at a threshold of doing good, we actually could be doing harm.”</p><p>For instance, she explained, “we can’t just say, ‘We have to do social-emotional skill-building, let’s bring in a curriculum,’ if we haven’t paid attention to relationships and belonging.”</p><p>But when learning experiences are optimal, she said, “you can actually undo the damage of adversity.&quot;<br></p><p><strong>‘Who you are changes kids’</strong><br> Successfully incorporating SEL skill-building into academics or youth programs depends on having staff competent in using those skills themselves, noted Ron Berger, chief academic officer at EL Education, which provides professional development to a national network of schools. “Who you are is what changes kids—what your staff models.”</p><p>To model strong SEL skills, staff need more than training, Berger said. “There is no way you can build in a couple of days a week of professional learning and assume that’s going to change them. You have to create cultures in schools that are engines for professional growth.”</p><p>That means creating norms for social interaction, such as for dealing with conflict or addressing racial or gender bias, he said. In one school he worked with, the principal inherited a toxic culture. To lay a foundation for new norms, Berger worked with the school on building relationships among adults. “We spent two days as a staff having conversations,” he said. “The whole staff had never been in a circle before. They had always faced the principal. They had never talked about their personal lives, their professional vision. It was hard.”</p><p>BellXcel, a national nonprofit offering afterschool and summer programs, takes a similarly holistic approach to developing SEL skills in adults and kids, said Brenda McLaughlin, chief strategy officer. In addition to professional development, its approach to culture-building includes agreements between staff and students on how to interact with each other and daily “community time” for students to reflect on social and emotional learning. The BellXcel curriculum has language in each lesson for building students’ “growth mindset,” or the belief that their abilities are not fixed but can grow with effort. Cultural norms are continually reinforced, McLaughlin said.</p><p>“Having structures in place over time will change the culture,” she explained. “If you’re not willing to write up your culture and bring it up in staff meetings, people are going to act how they’ve always acted.”<br> </p><p><strong>When ‘grit’ is a dirty word</strong><br> Parents are essential allies in developing children’s SEL skills. Yet the way that practitioners talk about those skills can be confusing to parents, said Bibb Hubbard, president of Learning Heroes, a national nonprofit that provides resources for PTAs, schools, and other organizations to help educate parents.</p><p>A <a href="https&#58;//r50gh2ss1ic2mww8s3uvjvq1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/DLS-Report-2018-for-distribution-single-pages.pdf">large-scale national study</a> by Learning Heroes found that while K-8 parents agreed on the importance of some SEL competencies such as respect, confidence and problem-solving, they didn’t give much weight to others, including growth mindset, executive functioning and grit, because they didn’t understand them, said Hubbard. “Many folks in out-of-school settings use ‘grit.’ For parents, it sounds negative, dirty, like a struggle. And parents are not comfortable with their kids struggling. They think, ‘I’m not doing my job if they’re having to struggle.’”</p><p>When communicating about the importance of SEL, Hubbard explained, it’s important to carefully define unfamiliar terms and illustrate them with real-life examples.</p><p>Higher Achievement, a national nonprofit with a year-round academic enrichment program for middle school students, partnered with Learning Heroes to pilot an approach to discussing SEL with parents. Lynsey Wood Jeffries, Higher Achievement CEO, explained that those conversations need to be carefully framed. “Families feel, ‘It’s my responsibility that my child become a good human being,’ so training on social-emotion learning for families can come across awkwardly.”</p><p>To overcome that obstacle, Higher Achievement talks about SEL in the context of a goal the nonprofit shares with parents&#58; preparing students to enter college preparatory high schools, Jeffries explained. “To get into a good high school takes a whole host of social-emotional skills. It takes self-efficacy, to feel, ‘I can get into the school and I’m going to take steps to do it.’ It takes executive function, getting all the materials in on time . . .”</p><p>While OST practitioners need to take care in how they communicate about SEL with families, Hubbard said, the good news is that “parents are eager and interested to learn more. So there’s great opportunity there.”</p><p><em>The Wallace Foundation will release a full report on the </em>SEL + OST = Perfect Together<em> forum early in 2020.</em></p> ​<br>Elizabeth Duffrin972019-11-06T05:00:00ZYour 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.11/6/2019 3:08:41 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Staff Expertise, Careful Communications to Parents Fuel Successful SEL Efforts A forum raises considerations for those 1870https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices24080GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education<p>​​Better&#160;​services in schools and afterschool programs. Reforms that work. Exciting new opportunities for young people. They all come from a single source.​​</p><p>It’s not politics.<br></p><p>And it’s not money.</p><p>It’s better professional practices.</p><p>Think about what happens when planning for summer learning programs is left until the last minute. Or when training gaps mean that school and afterschool staff members are unprepared to support kids’ social and emotional development. Or when novice principals who are key to district efforts to improve school leadership have to fend for themselves, without mentors or coaching. <br></p><p>It’s not pretty. How efforts are implemented really matters. Even the best ideas and the most well-resourced programs can’t make up for weak implementation.</p><p>We know this because we’ve seen what happens when implementation goes awry. It’s a problem first pinned down in the 1970s, when Seymour Sarason’s <em>The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change</em> traced the surprising shortfalls of the 1960s “New Math” to lapses in how this approach to grade-school math education was carried out. Notably, teachers asked to teach the new math hadn’t been trained in how to do so. Moreover, the new curriculum wasn’t adapted to the local context, and planning was left until the new books arrived.</p><p>The bottom line was clear&#58; Even the best idea, done with the best of intentions, doesn’t help kids if it isn’t implemented thoughtfully, carefully and with a smart change process that responds to the challenges faced by practitioners.</p><div> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED_5991.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;204px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> </div><p>​Practitioners in schools and youth services take their work very seriously, so they know that well-executed programming is the best way they can help kids grow. And at The Wallace Foundation, we take practitioners’ work as seriously as they do. That’s why in addition to supporting improved practices and gathering many kinds of evidence to help enhance services for young people—from cost studies and outcomes data to market research and case studies—we gather practical, reliable lessons on implementation. Indeed, we place the highest priority on finding lessons that practitioners in education, youth services and other fields can use to strengthen their work, overcome barriers to effective programming and assist staff members when new services are being introduced. And we’ve seen how useful and beneficial these lessons are for practitioners and the kids they serve.</p><div>​​Our vehicle for this is the implementation study—independent research, which we commission and publish, that examines how an effort is put into operation. In uncovering both the strong points and flaws of implementation, this research identifies and illuminates the practices needed to carry out an innovation well.&#160;​In the foundation’s early days in the 1990s, for example, researchers examined our initiative to support then-novel efforts by public schools to provide services for children and families beyond regular school hours. Among the lessons in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"><em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58;&#160;&#160;</em>It’s crucial to include school custodians in planning lest afterschool programming and afterschool cleaning and repairing collide. This simple reminder saved time and backtracking when the 21st Century Community Learning Centers effort began, and the U.S. Department of Education sent each center a copy of <em>Getting Started</em>.</div><div>&#160;</div><p>Here are three examples from our more recent work&#58; </p><p>In our National Summer Learning Project, begun in 2011, we supported five urban school districts as they worked to make high-quality summer learning programs available to children. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed.</em></a> finds, among other things, that the districts needed to begin summer planning well ahead of summer’s onset if they wanted the programming to be as sound as possible. Best practices uncovered included this&#58; Start planning in January at the latest. </p><p>Our effort to help youth-serving organizations introduce high-quality arts programming for young people in disadvantaged areas began in 2014. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"><em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas</em></a>&#160;highlights the ways local Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America managers integrated teaching artists into their staff teams so the “arts kids” were supported by the entire Club community.</p><p>And then there’s the Principal Pipeline Initiative, launched in 2010, which supported six large school districts as they developed a systematic effort, known as building a principal pipeline, to cultivate a large corps of effective school leaders. A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">recently published outcomes study</a> found that these pipelines proved advantageous to both student achievement and principal retention. The examination of the initiative’s implementation suggests <em>how and why </em>this played out—in part, through flexibility that allowed for local adaptation. Specifically, even though each district set out to build pipelines with common components—such as rigorous job standards and on-the-job supports including mentoring for new principals—each district adapted the components to its circumstances and managed to overcome the barriers that inevitably cropped up locally. In other words, principal pipelines benefit kids when school districts emphasize strong implementation. The evidence is laid out in five Wallace-commissioned implementation reports, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship.aspx"><em>Building a Stronger Principalship</em></a>.</p><p>We are looking forward to future explorations of implementation, too. A forthcoming Wallace-commissioned report from our Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, for example, is setting out to detail how front-line youth workers and teachers find the time to incorporate social and emotional learning into their regular practices.</p><p>Over more than two decades of commissioning and communicating about implementation studies of Wallace’s initiatives, we’ve learned a lot&#58;</p><ul><li>We’ve learned to pay attention to straightforward descriptions of what’s feasible in several different places. Practitioners value descriptions of what their peers have actually done in the real world, because that’s how they see they can do it, too. And we’ve seen that comparisons among several sites deepen the value of the implementation evidence.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to look at the start-up process, because it points to the stakeholders who need to be at the table and the practical ideas they contribute.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to identify hindrances to implementation—whether planning oversights, disengaged management teams, unequal treatment of some practitioners, lack of preparation time, staff inexperience or other commonplace operational challenges—and crucially, how practitioners overcome them.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned that sensible adaptations help practitioners respond to their own context—and show people who are considering an improvement approach how they can tweak it to fit their own situation.</li></ul><p>Most of all, we’ve found that <em>every serious improvement effort requires significant operational changes in day-to-day practices and management</em>, so it is essential to probe and learn from the on-the-ground experiences of the front-line practitioners who are serving kids. The payoff for good implementation evidence is feasible, adaptable, practical ideas that enable institutions to engage in continuous improvement of services—with a consistent focus on benefitting young people. Strong practitioners are constantly figuring out how to do their work better. Smart implementation evidence helps them in that and, ultimately, in serving kids. </p><p>Effective implementation is the not-so-hidden story of services that work, and Wallace’s support for disadvantaged young people is rooted in the foundation’s recognition that the right kind of implementation is what gets the job done. That’s the most useful, and most constructive, lesson from Wallace’s work. And it’s the lesson practitioners use.</p><p><span style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#555555;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;freightsans_probook;font-size&#58;14px;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;400;text-decoration&#58;none;word-spacing&#58;0px;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;normal;orphans&#58;2;float&#58;none;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><em>Ed Pauly is Wallace’s director of research</em></span><em>​.</em><br><br></p><div><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="16" style="background-color&#58;#e4e4e4;"><tbody><tr><td><h3>​<strong>One More Look&#58;&#160; Highlights from Wallace-Commissioned Implementation Evidence</strong></h3><p>Over the years, Wallace-commissioned research has looked at the implementation of initiatives in areas ranging from adult literacy and financial management of not-for-profit organizations to school leadership and summer learning. Which reports have ideas to help strengthen <em>your</em> practices?</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"><em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58; Early Lessons from the Field</em><strong>, </strong>Kay E. Sherwood (2000)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-study-of-adult-student-persistence-in-library-literacy-programs.aspx"><em>“One Day I Will Make It”&#58; A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs</em></a> (2005)</p><p> <em>Aligning Student Support With Achievement Goals&#58; The Secondary Principal’s Guide</em> (2006).&#160; The book is available for purchase online. A free Wallace <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-perspective-aligning-student-support-with-achievement-goals.aspx">brief</a> highlights key report findings. </p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/hours-of-opportunity-volumes-i-ii-iii.aspx"> <em>Hours of Opportunity&#58; Lessons from Five Cities on Building Systems to Improve After-School, Summer School, and Other Out-of-School-Time Programs</em></a> (2010)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-skills-to-pay-the-bills.aspx"><em>The Skills to Pay the Bills&#58; An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their Finances</em></a> (2015)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship-vol-5-the-principal-pipeline-initiative-in-action.aspx"><em>Building a Stronger Principalship Vol 5&#58; The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action</em></a> (2016)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/leader-tracking-systems-turning-data-into-information-for-school-leadership.aspx"><em>Leader Tracking Systems&#58; Turning Data Into Information for School Leadership</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"><em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas&#58; Implementing High-Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx"><em>Designing for Engagement&#58; The Experiences of Tweens in the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx"><em>A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors&#58; Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative</em></a>(2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd edition</em></a> (2018)​<br></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p><br>&#160;</p><br></div>Ed Pauly992019-05-20T04:00:00ZStudies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement Efforts Help Practitioners See What Works—and What Doesn’t7/17/2019 6:55:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices Studies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement 1368https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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