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Afterschool Arts Provide Digital Lifeline in Covid Times2961GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Recent studies have shown that <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx">creating art can help young people</a> make sense of the world around them, process their feelings and deepen empathy. After the pandemic hit and programs scrambled to go online, making art also became a source of<a href="https&#58;//www.aep-arts.org/power-of-the-arts-a-covid-19-silver-lining/" target="_blank"> healing</a>, connection and, ultimately, resilience, as well as increasing broader access to arts programs for more youth across the country. </p><p>The Wallace blog caught up with researchers involved with two arts learning programs to get a sense of the specific lessons they learned in the pivot to virtual learning and what we all might carry forward. <a href="https&#58;//www.researchforaction.org/about-rfa/meet-the-team/tracey-a-hartmann/" target="_blank">Tracey Hartmann</a>, Ph.D., is the director of qualitative research at Research for Action in Philadelphia and has been working with Wallace for a decade on our Youth Arts Initiative with the Boys &amp; Girls Club of America (BGCA). All five BGCA clubs from different parts of the country stayed open during the pandemic, offering some form of virtual,&#160; in-person and hybrid programming. <a href="https&#58;//www.linkedin.com/in/monica-clark-phd-44470714/" target="_blank">Monica Clark</a>, Ph.D, is the Teach YR project director at YR Media–a national media, technology and music training center and platform for emerging BIPOC content creators headquartered in Oakland, California. She leads the organization’s research arm. The pandemic gave birth to YR’s <a href="https&#58;//yr.media/ryl-studios-type-beat-challenge/" target="_blank">Type Beat Challenge</a>, which allowed young people to create and submit music from anywhere, collaborating with one another and with professional music producers around different themes. </p><p>Hartmann and Clark were meeting each other personally (on Zoom!) for the first time and had a lot to say about young people and the arts. The conversation has been edited for space and clarity. </p><p> <strong>Wallace Foundation&#58; In your work with the BGCA clubs, Tracey, you found that in moving to virtual there needed to be a higher level of what you called “intentionality” in programming. Can you give an example of what you mean? And then, Monica, does this resonate with your findings too? </strong></p><p> <strong>Tracey Hartmann&#58; </strong>Our data comes from focus groups we did with 31 youth participants across the five clubs, and what we heard from youth was that what engaged them in the virtual programming was very similar to what engaged them in person. But from the teaching artists’ perspectives, they found that they had to be more intentional about the things they did, and there were three elements that came up. The first was for young people to have input into programming. The program was designed for middle school youth–and sometimes older–an age group that is really hard in any setting. So the artists had to make an effort to learn what the young people were interested in, sometimes on an individual level, and be more intentional about following these interests, even outside of the Zoom class. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-1.JPEG" alt="blog-photo-rfa-1.JPEG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br> </p><p>Artists also had to be more intentional about connecting with youth, checking in at the beginning of class. For example, one artist said he had to make an extra effort to know who was shy and didn’t want to be on camera or what was going on for them that day. We also heard from youth that they wanted more verbal guidance, especially if they were learning new skills, to help them feel like they were getting the kind of hands-on support they might get in person. </p><p>Finally, the artists had to be intentional in thinking through how to do the hands-on art, making sure young people had the supplies or equipment they needed. Sometimes they delivered art supplies or sent home packets to young people. They also found that youth really appreciated watching them do the art. </p><p> <strong>Monica Clark&#58; </strong>So much of what Tracey just shared mirrors findings from our focus groups with about 40 people. We also held a convening where we brought together leaders from five different arts organizations to talk about the pivot to virtual. One of our instructors from that convening said something to the effect of “I’m shouting out into the void,” talking about the black screens, and the vulnerability involved in trying to engage&#160; students virtually and get them to turn their cameras on. How do you build community around that? </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-ryl-studios-2.jpg" alt="blog-photo-ryl-studios-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>One of the things that made our Type Beat project so successful for virtual was that it was co-designed with and by youth. We took advantage of remote platforms by opening up the program to young people outside of the Bay Area or to those who might not have been able to access the program in person. Doing this also highlighted the glaring inequalities that young people could face going online&#58; access to computer hardware and software, because with music production it’s not just your laptop but the software that’s going to help you bring the beats together; unreliable broadband and wifi access; equal resources and training for teachers; and a lack of basic social and economic support for our most marginalized students in their communities. </p><p>We knew we needed to meet people virtually where they were already hanging out online, and we did this by using eight different platforms. We also collaboratively created community norms for how we were going to operate as a community in the virtual space. These were specifically outlined and always pinned up in the chat. We were always thinking about how to create a positive community space focused on mental well-being. One of the Type Beat challenges was something like “chill beats for wellness,” so the young people could build that into the art they were making.&#160; </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; How did the teaching artists specifically need to change their practice in the virtual world? And what kind of support or tools did they need to be able to teach their art in this way? </strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>In some ways they were doing the things that were already done but learning how to do them in the virtual space. Of course, we always want to support our young people when they're showcasing their art. We want them to feel confident in what they're producing. But how do you do that when they're in their bedroom and you're in your apartment or wherever you are? For the Type Beat challenge, we asked our instructors to support young people in developing the design aesthetic of the background space of their room, knowing that we were asking them to be very vulnerable in showing their space. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-ryl-studios-1.jpg" alt="blog-photo-ryl-studios-1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>Then there are the kinds of interpersonal and community building activities that are needed in any space, but you need to be even more innovative in the ways that you do it in the virtual space. For instance, you could support students on screen by doing a hype up dance that each person would perform in their own space, so the whole group would be together dancing and getting each other excited. It helps break the discomfort and model that it’s safe to be vulnerable in this space.&#160; </p><div> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>Monica was referencing physical and emotional well being before, which is one of the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/something-to-say-success-principles-for-afterschool-arts-programs.aspx">10 principles</a> [for developing high-quality afterschool arts], and which was definitely coming up around people feeling shy about having their camera on. The artists worked to help young people create virtual backgrounds. They were aware that family members were also in the room, and some artists used that as an opportunity to invite them into the conversation or the activity. In fact some of the young people in focus groups suggested that it would have been okay for the artists to ask them to turn on the camera more often to show their work.</div><p> <br>​The instructors also needed basic tools. In addition to having the wifi capacity, maybe good cameras, microphones, lighting. There was a certain software that dance artists needed that helped them sync music with their video. Some of the TAs were digital artists, so they already had a lot of tech skills, and they ended up being kind of advisors to other staff in the club. But others did not have those skills, and it was a steeper learning curve for them. They needed more training and professional development to develop the skills to be able to offer programming virtually. <br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-2.JPEG" alt="blog-photo-rfa-2.JPEG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What did you learn about how young people used art during the pandemic to support their mental health, process their feelings, support civic engagement or anything else? </strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>We found that young people turned to art as an escape from what is happening in the world and also in trying to make sense of and reshape what they're experiencing under these extreme and uncertain conditions. They are using art as a social intervention to formulate and share their points of view, connect with others and mobilize for equity and justice. One of our young people said, “I think my view on art has definitely changed, and now I see it, less of something, just like doodling or whatever, and more as a tool that I can use in my life moving forward.” Another one of our national correspondents from Minneapolis was talking about a <a href="https&#58;//yr.media/news/a-minnesotan-weighs-in-is-there-hope-after-the-hashtags/" target="_blank">journalism piece she published ​</a>​with YR&#160; during the George Floyd protests, after his killing, and how it was one of the most difficult things that she ever wrote, but it was also the most powerful and it made her feel so good afterwards–particularly due to the fact that she was able to work with a Black editor that she looked up to in making final edits to her piece.<br></p><p>The&#160; prevailing assumption was that the pandemic lockdown meant that young people could not go anywhere, that everyone was stuck in their house and trapped. But from a number of our focus group participants we found that the same conditions also enabled young people to explore more widely than before, forming new communities through digital access to faraway places and professional artists.​<br></p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>We saw that youth created artwork about Covid, about racial injustice, about grief and loss. It was a coping mechanism and a way to calm their nerves. Some young people needed opportunities to process some of the things that were going on in the world. But the program also served youth as young as nine, and maybe even younger, and for them it just took their mind off of what was going on, helped them feel “normal” or represent their private experiences. An instructor at one club described a song that his class created called quarantine crazy where youth were rapping and singing about their experiences during Covid. </p><p>The teaching artists were always responsive to where young people were at any given day and created the space, if needed, for them to talk about what was on their minds. Again this was particularly so for the older youth, who often wanted that space to talk about things. One artist said, “I feel as if I'm a counselor and an art teacher when they're sharing with me, and if I affirm how they feel, hopefully that makes some type of positive impact.”</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What unique role do you see art making continuing to offer young people, and how can we best support both the practitioners and the organizations that are dealing with them as they do this?</strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>We are focusing now on the idea that STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics] implementation can be built on solid foundations and serve genuine opportunities for deep learning at the intersection of creative and technical disciplines. Our young people are creating art but they're also learning the technical side of packaging, developing and creating music, which is a tech skill.</p><p>It’s also important to remember that we are freed from many of the constraints of schools, including short class periods, mandated use of grades, academic tracking limits on admissible subject matter.&#160; Out-of-school-time afterschool arts educators, who are often working artists themselves, can help support young people in the creation of creatively and socially challenging products that are guided by the young people and the issues that they want to be addressing.</p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>The artists described how they themselves needed support in these roles. They needed to know who to go to for referrals if issues came up that were beyond their ability to respond to. They needed more training in areas related to social and emotional well-being. For example, they received training in how to manage their own emotions to support young people. They received some training around supporting youth experiencing trauma, but they would have liked even more of that training. They received training around setting appropriate boundaries, because in the virtual space, the boundaries are a little different. How to de-escalate intense situations–this was for artists that were back in person–and then again just responding to grief and loss, because that was coming up a lot. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-4.jpg" alt="blog-photo-rfa-4.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;507px;" /> </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Any final words of advice for other organizations who are thinking about expanding their virtual arts learning or other models that include some people being online while others are in person? </strong></p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>One of our takeaways was that the synchronous model, which is live programming on Zoom or a similar platform, works best for youth who are really passionate about the art form. We heard from the artists as well that you have to be really motivated to do virtual synchronous programming. The hybrid model that the clubs used with the artist Zooming into the in-person classroom seemed to work well, especially if the artist was able to be in the club occasionally. It works better for exposure programming, meaning programming that allows youth to try out an unfamiliar art form to see if they like it. The hybrid model also has promise for bringing in artists from all over the country, which can expand youth access to all kinds of resources.</p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>The design of hybrid programs must be carefully considered in order for programs to, as one of our participants said, “bring the activity, energy and vibe that instructors bring to class to the virtual format.” As Tracey says, you have to carefully consider the work that's being done and determine which activities could be suited for the virtual space. Also remember that you can’t just be in one social space or one app. You have to meet students where they are and that’s always going to be shifting. <strong></strong></p><p>Most importantly, anytime you're doing programming that supports young people, young artists, they need to be brought into the design. I am really hyped about how our Type Beat challenge did that. It meant a lot to our young people, particularly in the moment in time that we were in, for them to have that agency, to feel that power and feel like they would produce not only the music but they would produce this program that is now living on.​<br></p><p> <em>All photos courtesy of the Boys &amp; Girls Club of America and YR Media.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792022-06-21T04:00:00ZTwo arts education researchers share what they learned when programs went online–and the strategies that might endure6/21/2022 12:01:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Afterschool Arts Provide Digital Lifeline in Covid Times Two arts education researchers share what they learned when 338https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides40943GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​T​​​​​​​​​​​​renton, N.J., <a href="https&#58;//www.nj.com/mercer/2014/04/from_iron_to_steel_to_pottery_trenton_once_flexed_industrial_might_for_world_to_take.html" target="_blank">a former manufacturing hub</a> where <a href="https&#58;//www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/trentoncitynewjersey/AGE775219#AGE775219" target="_blank">nearly a third of the population now lives in poverty</a>, is not known for nature or green spaces. It is understandable, then, that when two busloads of children from the city arrived last August at the&#160;<a href="https&#58;//princetonblairstown.org/" target="_blank">​​Princeton-Blairstown Center</a>, a bucolic, 268-acre environmental education center in Blairstown, N.J., some were a bit nervous.</p><p>When some two dozen children set out on canoes to explore the center’s Bass Lake, two stayed behind, both terrified of the unfamiliar body of water. Staffers had to coax them into the lake, first getting the children into life jackets, then helping them onto canoes, then gently bumping off the pier and, only when the panicked parties had found their sea legs, paddling off to join the other students in the center of the lake.<br></p><p> This is what the Princeton-Blairstown Center, a 114-year-old organization that brings students from some of the poorest parts of New Jersey to its campus in Blairstown every summer, calls “challenge by choice.” The goal is to help <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-lets-talk-social-and-emotional-learning-(sel)-podcast.aspx?_ga=2.40619170.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">build social and emotional skills</a> by getting children out of their comfort zones, helping them confront some fears and showing them how they could use those experiences to overcome challenges at home, in school and in their communities. The practice can cause its share of anxious outbursts, but staffers are trained to help students learn from them. “That’s the whole point of our activities,” says Christopher Trilleras, one of the counselors who helped the wobbly mariners onto Bass Lake. “To process frustrations at the end, to really talk about them and prevent them.”<br></p><p>Such<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-children-feel-safe,-understood-and-supported.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010"> social and emotional support is especially important</a> for children today, as the coronavirus pandemic has robbed them of months of school, play and interpersonal experimentation. The Wallace editorial team visited two summer programs in 2021—one operated by the Princeton-Blairstown Center and the other by <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/" target="_blank">The Fresh Air Fund</a> in New York City—to see how they worked to help young people overcome the effects of months of isolation, including social anxiety, emotional volatility and a lack of focus after several school terms spent spacing out on Zoom. Both programs have had to get creative with established practices to help young people through two Covid-infested summers, staffers say, and are learning from those experiences to take on an unpredictable summer ahead.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" id="div_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Old principles, new social and emotional needs<br></h3><p>The two organizations, both more than a century old, have well-developed practices to help young people develop the sorts of social and emotional skills that the pandemic appears to have compromised. When they take children out canoeing, for example, they’re working to help children build confidence to confront new experiences. When they design collaborative construction projects or obstacle courses, they’re looking to grease social wheels and encourage teamwork. When they teach kids to tend to vegetable gardens or model farms, they’re working to foster a sense of responsibility. The students’ mere presence in peaceful but unfamiliar outdoor spaces, far removed from their regular lives in urban centers such as Trenton, New York City and Newark, N.J., can help build relationships, says Pam Gregory, president and chief executive officer of the Princeton-Blairstown Center. “When you come together for a week with people who have a shared experience that’s really unique from most of the other people in your life,” she says, “you form a very close bond.” </p><p>Such practices can be insufficient in a pandemic, however. Months in isolation without social opportunities have made many young people more reluctant to try new things, program staffers say. Last August in Sunset Park, a diverse, middle-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 30 tots and tweens spent a morning practicing crafts, learning to dance and racing handmade carts on a street blocked off for summer programs by The Fresh Air Fund. Most seemed comfortable enough, but one 10-year-old clung to a counselor, too uncomfortable to approach the others. It was a situation familiar to Jane Li, an area resident whose son faced similar anxieties when he first came to The Fresh Air Fund.&#160; “Sometimes in the beginning, he’s a little withdrawn,” Li says of her son. “Maya, the counselor, she talks to him, plays games with him, gets him warmed up and gradually join the small group and then the bigger group.” </p><p>Some counselors are even able to use the pandemic to help students deal with deeper traumas. Many students who find their way to the Princeton-Blairstown Center or The Fresh Air Fund have histories of homelessness, domestic abuse or worse. Tabs Alam, a senior environmental education facilitator at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, speaks of group sessions with students where conversations began with talk of the pandemic but ended with discussion of more visceral worries about home, family, friends and poverty. Some students will admit how they find lockdowns especially hard, Alam says, because home has never been safe for them. </p><p>“Covid was a vessel to have people think about themselves a little bit more,” she says.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" id="div_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Learning Without Knowing It</h3><p>There are fewer silver linings when it comes to academics, however. School closures and other pandemic-related disruptions have set students, especially “historically marginalized students,” months behind, according to <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/education/our-insights/covid-19-and-education-the-lingering-effects-of-unfinished-learning" target="_blank">consulting firm McKinsey &amp; Company</a>. Basic math and English are rarely the central focus of programs like The Fresh Air Fund and the Princeton-Blairstown Center, but they are still working to help students regain the ground they’ve lost. </p><p>Both face two major constraints when doing so. For one thing, &#160;they can’t really drag children into classrooms and force them to make up for the academics they’ve lost. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">Research suggests</a> that attendance is a key component of student success, and students are unlikely to want to attend if they’re crammed back into rooms after months spent indoors. </p><p>For another,&#160;both programs have less time than usual to dedicate to academics. In normal times, the Princeton-Blairstown Center would host its students for at least five days, while The Fresh Air Fund would shuttle campers to nature reserves north of New York City for two weeks. In 2021, after a season spent online, the Princeton-Blairstown Center was able to offer four days of programming in parks and schoolyards in its students' communities and a fifth-day daytrip to Blairstown. The Fresh Air Fund had to move most activities to New York City, cordoning off streets for camp-like activities for two, three-hour sessions a day, four days a week. </p><p>Both programs work to meet these twin challenges by doubling down on one of the things they do best&#58; making learning fun. “We like to fold education in without kids knowing that they’re learning,” says Sheila Wilson-Wells, chief program officer of The Fresh Air Fund. The programs feature libraries that staffers encourage students to use and quiet spaces where students can read, reflect and write. They also offer activities such as cooking, architecture and soil and water analysis that help students brush up on science and math. “For a lot of the young people that we serve, it’s the first time that they understand that learning can be fun,” Gregory says. “Because it’s hands-on, not just sitting there doing worksheets or a lecture.”</p><p>“Throughout their time with us, they’re learning,” adds Wilson-Wells. “From the time they get off the bus and they don’t even know it.”</p><p>Such subtle blends of academics, fun and social and emotional learning are essential in summer programs, say Aaron Dworkin and Broderick Clarke of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/" target="_blank">National Summer Learning Association</a>​ (NSLA), especially in the wake of a crippling pandemic. “We have to get away from false-choice binary arguments that are a waste of time,” says&#160;Dworkin, chief executive officer of the NSLA. “Do kids need academic help or do they need social emotional help? They need both.”</p><p>“The best practitioners don't necessarily make that distinction or separation,” adds&#160;Clarke, the association’s vice president for programs. “They figure out a way to make the magic happen and to incorporate social and emotional competencies in the course of whatever activities they're presenting.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">O to Struggle Against Great Odds…</h3><p>Summer programs must make this magic happen while dealing with their own daunting challenges, from staff burnout and fatigue to the limited time they have with their campers. Three characteristics help them do so, say staffers from the two programs&#58; flexibility, partnerships and continuous improvement.</p><p>Both programs have had to be nimble to offer children as much programming as the pandemic permits. When the coronavirus shut everything down in 2020, for example, the Princeton-Blairstown Center sent its students “PBC in a Bag,” kits with books, snacks and the materials they needed for daily activities such as building catapults and seeing how far they could shoot projectiles across their rooms. After each activity, counselors led discussions on Zoom and helped students draw lessons from the experience. “It was very challenging for our facilitators,” says&#160;Gregory, “but over time they perfected it.”</p><p>The following summer, as the relative safety of outdoor gatherings became clearer, the Princeton-Blairstown Center resumed in-person activities. It still couldn’t host people overnight, as most parents were still nervous about children sharing rooms, so it devised its schedule of four days in students’ neighborhoods and one at its Blairstown campus so students could get at least a little taste of nature. It isn’t much, but Richad Hollis, a rising eighth grader from Trenton visiting the center in August, appeared to appreciate it. “In Trenton, it’s just streets and people playing outside,” he said. “Here, it’s a whole creek right over here. It’s just way more stuff that you can do other than just running around in the streets.”</p><p>The Fresh Air Fund never stopped in-person programming, but it created <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/summer-spaces/" target="_blank">a new Summer Spaces</a> program to avoid crowding children into buses or dorms. It blocked traffic on 11 city blocks throughout New York City and opened them up so children could drop in for activities including dancing, sports, STEM projects and arts and crafts. Each site featured two health and safety officers to ensure adherence to pandemic protocols and social workers traveled from site to site to help acclimate children unnerved by the sudden onslaught of social activity. </p><p>These adaptations would have been impossible without partnerships, says Wilson-Wells. To find and secure city blocks, staffers worked with communities, city councilmembers and the New York City Department of Transportation. To offer dance lessons, they recruited performers through a partnership with&#160; the <a href="https&#58;//www.abt.org/" target="_blank">American Ballet Theatre</a>. To help teach science, they asked for help from <a href="https&#58;//www.biobus.org/" target="_blank">Biobus</a>, a New York City-based organization that runs mobile labs for children. To get books, they worked with the Brooklyn and Queens libraries. “There were so many wonderful partners that really pulled together to do comprehensive services,” Wilson-Wells says, “so we can ensure that, even in the pandemic, we were able to impart learning moments.”</p><p>There are about 22 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunches in American schools, according to the <a href="https&#58;//schoolnutrition.org/aboutschoolmeals/schoolmealtrendsstats/" target="_blank">School Nutrition Association</a>, a trade group for the school-food-service industry. Such partnerships are essential to get those children the services they need, says Aaron Dworkin of the NSLA. “No one program can serve 22 million kids,” he says. “But collectively, we can.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">…To Meet Enemies Undaunted</h3><p>Both programs are now using these experiences to gear up for an uncertain summer ahead, inching towards traditional programming, keeping what worked during the pandemic and tweaking what did not. The Fresh Air Fund plans to reopen camps for two-week experiences again. But 2022 will include important adjustments to help students and staffers adapt and respond to new realities. The organization will open just four of its six camps and limit capacity to 50 percent. The reduction in size, says Wilson-Wells, should help get campers the extra attention they need, give staffers room to reacquaint themselves with camp life and ensure everyone has enough space to return to social distancing should that become necessary. </p><p>To help meet the demand it cannot meet at its condensed camps, The Fresh Air Fund will continue to operate the Summer Spaces program it created during the pandemic. However, as it begins to direct resources back to more traditional programs, it will trim that program from 11 sites to four, focusing on neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the pandemic and where families have expressed the greatest interest. </p><p>All experiences, both at the camps and in New York City, will still include the health and safety workers who&#160;helped ensure adherence​​ to Covid restrictions during the pandemic. Staffers felt kids could use more social and emotional support, however, so the fund will replace its traveling social workers with support staffers dedicated to each site. “We're hoping that that will allow us to have organic conversations with young people to really hear how we can best serve them,” says Wilson-Wells.</p><p>The Princeton-Blairstown Center, meanwhile, is staying flexible. It will begin to host groups for overnight sessions at Blairstown if the parents, schools and organizations that send them are comfortable. But it will keep a pandemic schedule to accommodate students from communities with low vaccination rates, those who may live with vulnerable family members in multigenerational households and those whose regular teachers are too Covid-worn to chaperone them.</p><p>Like The Fresh Air Fund, the center is adapting that pandemic schedule based on observations from the last two years. The one, five-hour day at Blairstown seemed rushed in 2021, Gregory says, so the center&#160; may expand it to an eight-hour day for children who cannot visit for a whole week. The extra time, says Gregory, would allow children to experience more of the pastoral expanse of the Blairstown campus, learn more about their relationships with nature and form closer bonds with each other. “Dosage matters,” she says. “The amount of time kids spend doing the activities matters a lot.”<br></p><p>The center will also tweak its curriculum to adapt to shifting needs during the pandemic. In 2021, most students read <em>Seedfolks</em>, a book about 13&#160;children of different ethnicities tending a community garden in Cleveland. To spark conversations, counselors asked students which of the book's characters they found most relatable. The book remains the same for 2022, but the discussion will now focus on the plants in the garden and what they could teach campers about sprouting from the ashes of a pandemic. &quot;It's to provide kids with more of an opportunity to talk about how challenging it's been,&quot; Gregory says, &quot;and what they need moving forward.&quot; </p><p>It is unclear whether such careful planning can help children recover from the two years they have lost to the pandemic. Many parents and educators, however, are happy just to see them get out, let loose and have fun again. “They were free to run,” says Alice Lightner, a parent who was chaperoning children in Blairstown in August. “They were free to play, free to explore and engage with their peers.”</p><p>“Getting in touch with nature, just a quick walk, you feel so at peace,” adds Samantha Elliott, another parent. “I just saved probably about $500 from the therapist.”<br></p> <p><em>Additional reporting, editing and production work by </em><a href="/about-wallace/people/pages/jenna-doleh.aspx"><em>Jenna Doleh</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Sarosh Z. Syed502022-03-29T04:00:00ZThe Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on creativity, flexibility and self-reflection to help kids rise from the ashes of a pandemic3/30/2022 2:42:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides The Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on 4761https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Social and Emotional Learning in the Spotlight372GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​The s​ocial isolation students experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures has shined a spotlight on unmet social and emotional needs. Secretary Cardona noted social and emotional learning (SEL)<strong> </strong>as one of his <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/pandemic-recovery-must-address-equity-says-us-education-secretary.aspx">education priorities</a>, and even President Biden referenced students’ social and emotional health in his first State of the Union speech. </p><p>Researcher Stephanie Jones and her team at Harvard’s <a href="https&#58;//easel.gse.harvard.edu/" target="_blank">EASEL Lab</a> have been studying how to build children’s social and emotional skills since well before the pandemic and have recently published an updated and expanded guide to evidence-based SEL programs, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx"> <em>Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out</em></a>. The updated guide by Jones and her team at Harvard includes more programs overall, adding preschool programs into the mix; provides recommendations for adapting programs for out-of-school-time (OST) settings; and introduces new chapters on equitable and trauma-informed SEL. </p><p>In a new three-part podcast series, “<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-lets-talk-social-and-emotional-learning-(sel)-podcast.aspx">Let’s Talk Social and Emotional Learning</a><u>,</u>” Jones and her EASEL colleague Thelma Ramirez sat down with Wallace’s communications director Lucas Held to discuss the history and current landscape of SEL, high-quality SEL in practice and the intersection of SEL and equity, among other topics. </p><p>In the video clips here Jones breaks down some of the key topics in the updated SEL guide and its new components.​<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 746bbfab-8118-4214-8fd3-4032bf4ece2b" id="div_746bbfab-8118-4214-8fd3-4032bf4ece2b"></div><div id="vid_746bbfab-8118-4214-8fd3-4032bf4ece2b" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div>​​<h3>​​​ <strong>SEL for Pre-K</strong><strong></strong></h3><p>Teaching the whole child goes beyond traditional academics; it includes building and holding positive relationships, establishing trust and comfort and fostering feelings of safety and belonging. Jones explains how this starts as early as preschool and how SEL lessons taught in Pre-K can provide valuable lessons for other grades.</p> ​ <div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 6fc4848f-441b-4aac-869f-b3e2a5bdee88" id="div_6fc4848f-441b-4aac-869f-b3e2a5bdee88"></div><div id="vid_6fc4848f-441b-4aac-869f-b3e2a5bdee88" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div>​​​ <h3> <strong>SEL in OST</strong><strong></strong></h3><p>Sports teams, music and theater clubs, student government and other OST programs are natural settings for children and youth to develop social and emotional skills. Jones highlights the importance of bridging students’ in-school and OST experiences and aligning SEL across both learning environments.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read fcfbfcc2-740f-4b52-ba92-d1243c348317" id="div_fcfbfcc2-740f-4b52-ba92-d1243c348317"></div><div id="vid_fcfbfcc2-740f-4b52-ba92-d1243c348317" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div>​​ <h3> <strong>Trauma-Informed SEL</strong> <strong></strong></h3><p>As the pandemic continues and schools navigate a “new normal,” trauma-informed SEL is more important than ever. Educators are under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure, and Jones reminds us that SEL is not just for children but is critical for adults’ social and emotional wellbeing as well. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read bca8f2da-95d5-4c7d-9e54-88ce1e8a0651" id="div_bca8f2da-95d5-4c7d-9e54-88ce1e8a0651"></div><div id="vid_bca8f2da-95d5-4c7d-9e54-88ce1e8a0651" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div>​​​ <hr />​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To learn more about SEL, the SEL guide and its new components, tune in to the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-lets-talk-social-and-emotional-learning-(sel)-podcast.aspx">Let’s Talk Social and Emotional Learning</a> podcast series.<br></p><p> You can also download the SEL guide <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">here</a>. </p>Jenna Tomasello1222022-03-11T05:00:00ZHarvard professor shares highlights to popular SEL guide in new podcast series3/11/2022 4:28:48 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Social and Emotional Learning in the Spotlight Harvard professor shares highlights to popular SEL guide in new podcast 3507https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage44693GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​Teacher burnout and shortages have been<a href="https&#58;//www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/NEA%20Member%20COVID-19%20Survey%20Summary.pdf" target="_blank"> making headlines </a>for months now as schools have struggled to adequately staff their classrooms. But what about the school leaders who are managing the constant changes and crises, and facing sometimes hostile criticism of their decision making? Turns out they’re not immune to the burnout their colleagues are reporting, and experts say the fallout could severely impact the principal pipeline for years to come.</p><p>The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has released an&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.nassp.org/news/nassp-survey-signals-a-looming-mass-exodus-of-principals-from-schools/" target="_blank">alarming report</a> based on their national survey of secondary school principals, the results of which indicate a looming exodus of principals from preK-12 schools. A staggering 4 out of 10 principals surveyed expect to leave the profession in the next three years, and the pandemic and increased political tensions are among the factors they cite for accelerating this decision.</p><p>“It’s going to shock the education system,” says Aman Dhanda, chief engagement officer at NASSP says of the findings. But she also noted that, while alarming, the results of the survey were not surprising.</p><p>Brian Cox, a principal at Johnson Middle School in Cheyenne, Wyo., agrees. “Issues have compounded from the pandemic, the political climate,” he says. “Nothing has been calm from 2019 to the present.”</p><p>Indeed, beyond managing significant changes in running their schools as the pandemic continues, some principals have also encountered hostile reactions to their mitigation efforts. More than one-third of principals surveyed said they had been threatened in response to the steps they have taken to stop the spread of COVID in their school.</p><p>“Seeing what’s happening at school board meetings, that’s wearing on our leaders,” says Nancy Antoine, principal of Bridgewater Elementary School in Northfield, Minn. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents reported receiving in-person threats from their local community members, with 20 percent reporting that these threats have made them much less likely to continue as a principal.</p><p>Besides the new challenges that have emerged in the last two years, principals surveyed reported that more commonly known factors like heavy workloads and state accountability measures are most likely to cause them to leave the profession.</p><p>The consequences of the loss of experienced principals cannot be understated.&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx?_ga=2.221791832.1941763541.1645546322-1352763000.1643649010">Recent research</a> tells us that principals are even more important than previously believed. Besides their strong impact on student achievement, effective principals also have positive impacts on teacher satisfaction and retention.</p><p>The ripple effects of losing effective principals could have devastating effects on already resource-scarce schools. “When there is rapid turnover at the principal level a school can lose momentum and any gains in student achievement,” says Kaylen Tucker, associate executive director, communications at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Dhanda at NASSP agrees, adding that students of color and those from low-income families could stand to lose the most. </p><p>What can be done now to prepare for—or better yet, mitigate—a mass exodus of principals over the next few years?</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LWNNEvolutionofPrincipalship.pdf" target="_blank">A new report</a> from NAESP’s&#160;<em>Leaders We Need Now</em> series suggests that the role of the principal has evolved significantly over the past two years, but no corresponding support has followed. This has resulted in a triage effect where principals put important responsibilities, such as equity and school improvement, on the back burner in favor of more immediately pressing tasks like COVID tracing.</p><p>“I hear from principals a lot that they are hyper-focused on keeping their school community safe—and that includes attending to [the community’s] social and emotional needs,” says Tucker.</p><p>The NAESP report points to implications of the evolving role for the principal pipeline, with the biggest impact on job standards and pre-service training. The research shows that crisis management and communications management will be important areas of expertise for principals in the future and both current and new principals will need additional training and support in these areas.</p><p>“The <em>Leaders We Need Now </em>research elevates why investing in principal pipelines takes on even greater urgency now,” says Tucker. “The research demonstrates that all phases of the continuum must be prioritized.”</p><p>Dhanda, too, encourages school districts to invest in the long-term health of their principal pipelines by preparing their school leaders of tomorrow and training their principals today. She points to Atlanta Public Schools as one district that is already addressing this issue by investing in salary increases and staff retention bonuses to attract and retain leaders. District leaders also plan to convene educators on the topic of mental well-being—for students and for the adults in the building too.&#160; </p><p>The NAESP report suggests that besides improving support and professional development for school leaders, redistributing some responsibilities to assistant principals, teacher-leaders and central office staff could help address the changes they’ve identified in the role.</p><p>The principals we spoke to agreed with the redistribution of responsibilities and also emphasized the importance of elevating the voices of principals early on in the decision-making process, not just after new ideas have been implemented. “Building a team or networking system that will embrace leaders and make them feel trusted, listened to and empowered can assist in addressing and taking the next steps to greater success,” says Lisa Higa, principal of Nānākuli Elementary School in Honolulu.</p><p>Many principals themselves are helping to nurture the school leaders of the future. In Minnesota, Antoine teaches graduate-level courses for future school administrators and encourages her fellow principals to identify and support educators to become school leaders, despite all of the challenges the role entails.</p><p>Higa hopes to do the same someday. “There are great leaders out there,” she says. “What message do we ignite in them to empower the field of the principalship?”&#160; </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-23T05:00:00ZSchool leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals might soon leave the profession and what to do about it2/23/2022 3:11:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage School leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals 3074https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary44687GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​In a&#160;recent address, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona described&#160;the challenges that schools face in the coming years as they work to recover from the pandemic.&#160;“We have a daunting and important task ahead of us,” he said, as he introduced his&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/speeches/priorities-speech" target="_blank">priorities for education in America</a>, emphasizing the importance of the next few months for addressing the widening achievement gap. </p><p>Cardona highlighted the urgency of the moment and said it was necessary&#160;not only to&#160;bring the education system back to where it had been&#160;before the pandemic but to address the inequities that have plagued the system since long before the pandemic began.</p><p>“Many of the students who have been most underserved during the pandemic are the same ones who have had to deal with barriers to a high-quality education since well before COVID-19,” he said.&#160;Cardona made his remarks Jan. 27 during what the Department of Education described as a &quot;major address,&quot; at the department, to lay out his &quot;priorities for continued recovery through the pandemic and improving America’s education system more broadly.&quot;<br></p><p>Calling on state and district leaders to take a hard look at their resources and make difficult decisions, Cardona shared a number of key actions he believes should be prioritized for K-12 education&#58;</p><ol><li><em>Increased mental health supports.</em> Cardona called for improved access to mental health supports for students, including an increased hiring of mental health professionals. He urged districts to use <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">Americ​an Rescue Plan</a> funding to hire more staffers and partner with organizations on this issue. He noted one school he visited where every student attended one learning period dedicated to social and emotional well-being or mental health and said he wanted to see that type of work in schools everywhere.<br><br></li><li><em>Academic supports to address unfinished learning.</em> Recognizing the impact that missed learning time has had on millions of students, Cardona urged districts to invest in targeted, intensive tutoring; afterschool programming; and summer learning efforts. “We cannot expect classroom teachers to do it all themselves,” he said.<br><br></li><li><em>Attention to students disproportionately affected by the pandemic. </em>Cardona urged listeners&#160;to avoid a return to pre-pandemic strategies that had failed to&#160;address inequities. Instead, he called for an increase in funding for Title 1 schools, as well as for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Free&#160;universal preschool and affordable childcare were also noted in his priorities for supporting underserved students and their families. As part of these efforts, he urged more “meaningful and authentic parent and family engagement,” recognizing the importance of including parents’ voices in the conversation about recovery.<br><br></li><li><em>Investment in teachers. </em>A livable wage, ongoing professional development and improved working conditions were among the key areas Cardona said could help&#160;ensure that&#160;teachers are “treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”</li></ol><p>The Wallace Foundation has shared&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/american-rescue-plan-act/pages/default.aspx">a number of​ resources</a> to help districts and states make decisions about how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds in many of the areas outlined above, including social and emotional learning, summer learning and afterschool programming​. Additionally, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-role-of-principal-leadership.aspx">this brief</a> offers evidence-based considerations for school leaders on reopening and recovery planning. </p><p>“This is our moment to lift our students, our education system and our country to a level never before seen,” Cardona said. “Let’s get to work!”<br><br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-15T05:00:00ZEducation Department priorities also include mental and academic supports for students and teacher retention strategies2/16/2022 2:00:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary Education Department priorities also include mental 855https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers44623GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​Staffing shortages across the United States from healthcare to the airline&#160;industry have made headlines over the past few months. In fact, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December, according to the Labor Department’s latest <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank">Job Openings and Labor Turnover </a> <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm">report</a>. Unfortunately, afterschool programs are no exception to this latest trend. </p><p>According to a <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-6-Brief.pdf" target="_blank">new survey</a> by the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs and providers say staffing is the most pressing challenge they’re currently facing. </p><p>The survey, conducted by Edge Research between November 1 and December 13, 2021, states the top two concerns among the 1,043 afterschool providers surveyed are finding staff to hire/staffing shortages&#160;and maintaining staff levels through health concerns and safety protocols. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned about this, and more than half—51 percent—say that they are extremely concerned. These numbers&#160;are&#160;up 20 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in the spring of 2021.&#160; </p><p>“Combatting staff burnout is a priority for us,” one of the survey respondents said. “We&#160; are doing as much as we can to be supportive, both financially and by providing emotional support for staff. Keeping full-time staff engaged and encouraged has been a challenge. Keeping good part-time staff engaged and focused has proven even more difficult.”</p><p>Many of the providers surveyed connect the staffing challenges to their inability to serve more students, additional staff stress and burnout, and concerns about program costs. For instance, the survey found that 54 percent of programs that are physically open say that they have a waitlist, an increase from 37 percent in the spring 2021 survey. In addition, among respondents who report an increase in program costs, 83 percent say that staffing costs contributed to their program’s higher weekly cost-per-child.</p><p>To address the staffing issues, 71 percent of respondents report that their program has undertaken at least one course of action to attract and retain staff&#58;<br></p><ul><li>53 percent are increasing salaries<br> </li><li> 32 percent are providing additional professional development opportunities<br></li><li> 18 percent are offering free childcare for staff<br></li><li> 15 percent are offering sign-on bonuses<br></li><li> 10 percent are offering more paid time off<br></li><li> 5 percent are offering increased benefits </li></ul><p>On the plus side, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">COVID relief dollars are able to help program providers</a> address their current issues with staffing. Among respondents who report that their program received new funding for fall 2021 programming, 47 percent say the new funding helped support staff recruitment efforts.</p><p>The Afterschool Alliance has also&#160;developed a <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/document/d/1RebwjpCkpiPP2SU2yksrHQJ8rm1gTRCOgUoBu5aTroc/edit" target="_blank">staff recruitment toolkit</a> to help providers recruit staff for afterschool programs.<br></p><p><em>Photo credit&#58; Photographer Webber J. Charles, Breakthrough Miami</em> <br> </p>Wallace editorial team792022-02-03T05:00:00ZNew survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in afterschool programs and how this is affecting children3/3/2022 3:40:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers New survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in 331https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now44001GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or even homelessness. And nearly two-thirds of parents feel that their children’s social and emotional development has been affected by the pandemic, according to research from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. </p><p>Social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies can support young people as they cope with and recover from the pandemic, but the classroom is not the only setting to engage students on SEL. Afterschool and summer learning programs also can provide unique opportunities to help young people develop their social and emotional skills, behaviors and beliefs, which can help kids manage the challenges they have faced over the past two years. </p><p>A recent <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dLOrY6w41Y">webinar</a> jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts and the Forum for Youth Investment explores how afterschool programs around the country have employed SEL strategies to help kids focus their thinking, manage their behavior and understand and deal with feelings, particularly as they continue to face the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. </p><p>The webinar featured EASEL’s Dr. Stephanie Jones, lead author of the recently published update to the popular SEL guide, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out </a>, along with Cheryl Hollis, chief program officer of Wings for Kids, one of the 33 SEL programs featured in the guide. </p><p>The more than 550-page guide is designed as a practical resource for teachers and out of school time practitioners, with a new focus on equitable and trauma-informed SEL. Since its original rendition, the guide has emphasized the role that afterschool and summer learning providers can play in helping young people build their social and emotional skills, incorporating worksheets to help providers adapt SEL strategies to meet their program needs. </p><p>But what is SEL? According to Jones, SEL is primarily concerned with “building and holding positive relationships, establishing trust and comfort, (building) feelings of safety and belonging and having positive relationships with others.” <br> Effective SEL approaches can accelerate gains in academic learning, Jones said, and four elements define effective SEL in practice. </p><ol><li>Adults model behaviors themselves, and consequently need to be able to access their own social and emotional support.<br><br> </li><li>Children and youth should be taught skills directly.<br><br> </li><li>Students are given opportunities to practice their skills, providing them with teachable moments for both individuals and groups. <br><br></li><li>Guaranteeing that students and staff share a common “SEL language,” providing a framework to use SEL strategies in daily life. </li></ol><p>The Wings for Kids program has 10 SEL objectives that shape 30 SEL lessons that take place during small group discussions. In presenting the organization’s SEL strategies, Hollis said it centers the importance of its community in the program—which sets the tone and makes learning social and emotional lessons fun. Children attending Wings recite “words to live by” daily, positive affirmations said as a kind of “SEL pledge;” students and adults share “heys and praise” to highlight their peers’ positive impacts on the community; and students are encouraged to use words describing emotions to share positive news with peers.&#160; “Heys and praise is a very visible way to spread good vibes and energy,” Hollis said. </p><p>“Giving students regular opportunities to build speaking and listening skills and foster strong teacher-student and student-student relationships is a practical way to incorporate SEL into afterschool programs,” said Hollis. And it’s not just the students who develop their SEL skills at Wings. She added&#58; “Adult staffers receive support and training to model social and emotional skills for children and are encouraged to offer constructive feedback to other staff members on an ongoing basis.” </p><p>Programs like Wings are effective for two primary reasons, Jones said&#58; they establish safe and caring learning environments and teach students social-emotional skills in ways that engage students. For both to work, programs must foster connected, supportive and reciprocal relationships between students and staff. </p><p>As SEL research and practice continues to grow, Jones reflected on the future of the field. SEL will benefit from a clear focus, she said, and focusing on new approaches that are targeted, flexible, portable and engaging. SEL in practice should be geographically and culturally appropriate and simplifying and localizing strategies will allow practitioners to be more effective and equitable. Employing SEL strategies in a range of settings, from the classroom to afterschool programs, is critical for providing young people with the tools they need to thrive during and beyond COVID-19.&#160; Wings for Kids is clearly groundbreaking in its approach and a model for afterschool programs to look to.&#160; <br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-19T05:00:00ZRecent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have used SEL strategies to help children throughout the pandemic1/19/2022 3:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now Recent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have 790https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts18219GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog&#160; explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the&#160;​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy &amp;&#160;programs,&#160;at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​&#160;and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year&#160;found that arts education can positively affect​&#160;student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little&#160;surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The&#160;effort will&#160;involve&#160;work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.&#160; </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan&#58; Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the&#160;American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal&#160; funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.&#160; </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that&#160; sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed&#58; What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many&#160;of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention,&#160;considering that the item is&#160;in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>Jenna Doleh912021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color12/6/2021 8:52:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts A look back at your favorite reads this year—from 624https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating a “Web of Support” for Children2721GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​​What value do parents, teachers and out-of-school-time (OST) staff place on OST programs? And what role do these programs play in young people’s learning and development beyond simply filling in the time when children are not in school?&#160; <br></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-a-Web-of-Support-for-Children/PARK_5088copy.jpg" alt="PARK_5088copy.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;213px;" />Recently released <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/out-of-school-time-programs-this-summer.aspx">research</a> from Learning Heroes—a national organization that seeks to inform parents and equip the​m with the means to best support their children’s academic and developmental success—delves into these questions and much more. We spoke to David Park, senior vice president for communications and strategy at Learning Heroes, to find out more about the research and a playbook for the field that the organization developed based on the findings. </p><p><strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; Why did Learning Heroes conduct this research?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>​David Park&#58; </strong>We know that learning happens everywhere—in the classroom for sure, but also at home and in the community. And wherever learning takes place, it’s important that it’s connected, and that families can team up not only with their child’s teacher but with out-of-school-time providers as well. It’s also critical that schools and OST providers are connected in service of a child’s learning and development. We like to think of this as a web of support. </p><p>By listening to parents, teachers and OST providers, we can better understand how these audiences perceive the role of OST programs in children’s social, emotional and academic development and ultimately strengthen this web of support through enhanced communications, programs and policies. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Can you give an overview of your survey findings? What are some of the key conclusions from your research?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The survey found that parents, teachers and providers all view OST programs as offering a child-centered experience that is highly valuable and differentiated from classroom learning. We see this in the reasons parents say they enroll their child in these programs&#58; to expose them to new ideas, experiences and perspectives, and help them find their passion, purpose and voice. Practitioners can use this information to help shape their programs and communicate about them in a way that resonates with families. </p><p>We also found that while there is tremendous demand for OST programs, participation in high-quality opportunities is not always equitably distributed, primarily due to considerations including cost, transportation and time. We believe district administrators can use this research, particularly data on the value parents see in OST programs, to address issues of access and secure funding for high-quality programs that reach all families. </p><p>While there are many more interesting findings and insights, one thing I thought was particularly compelling is the language parents use to describe OST programs. An example is the term I’m using now—“out-of-school-time” or “OST”. While we use this term in the field, parents are&#160;unfamiliar with it, and certainly don’t use it to describe the programs their children are engaged in. “Extracurricular” is the term parents use most often. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; What survey answers surprised you the most?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> There were several surprises. One thing that stood out to me was how valuable educators found OST programs. More than 7 in 10 teachers (72 percent) agreed that these programs exposed children to new experiences, ideas and perspectives beyond their everyday home and school lives, and nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) agreed these programs motivated children to get excited about learning, even those who aren’t doing particularly well in school.&#160; </p><p>Given educators’ views on OST programs, coupled with the fact that families often get information about OST programs from schools, program providers may want to consider connecting with teachers to help promote the value of OST programs. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Can you describe some of the afterschool activities included in the survey?&#160; And how do parents&#160;assess quality?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The survey found that 65 percent of parents have children in an OST program, enrolling their children in an average of&#160;two programs per family. The most popular category is Sports/Arts/Interest, followed by School/Academic, Youth Development and Opportunity Centered. As parents assess quality, they look at indicators including their child’s happiness (83 percent), their child gaining confidence (79 percent) and their child developing social and emotional skills (77 percent). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; How did the Covid 19 pandemic affect your research?&#160; During lockdown, what were parents’ main concerns for their children?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> As we all know, the pandemic took a huge toll on families. The survey was fielded a year into the pandemic (in February/March 2021), and perhaps not surprising, children missing out on social connections and friendships topped the list of parent concerns, followed by kids having too much screen time, and losing motivation and interest to learn (which was particularly concerning to African American parents). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Learning Heroes has produced a </strong><strong>playbook for OST providers, teachers and others, based on the survey results.&#160; Why do you think the playbook is needed?</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> We always try to make our research as actionable as possible, and that’s why we created the <a href="http&#58;//www.bealearninghero.org/OST-research">p</a><a href="http&#58;//www.bealearninghero.org/OST-research" target="_blank">laybook</a>. It can help educators, providers and advocates communicate the value of OST programs, inform the design of high-quality programs and shape policies that make these opportunities equitably accessible to all children. The playbook provides several specific ways the research can be used and includes tools and resources such as the research deck, a messaging guidance document, an animated video, social media infographics and more. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; Do you think this research and </strong><strong>playbook will help make the case for more funding for OST programs?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong>DP&#58;</strong> The research clearly highlights the value of OST programs, and underscores the need for families, schools and OST programs to partner in support of children’s learning and development. With ESSER [the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act] funding available, we believe there is a unique opportunity to secure resources for ongoing partnerships between schools and OST providers and more equitable access to high-quality programs. </p>Wallace editorial team792021-11-22T05:00:00ZHow parents, teachers and program leaders view the time kids spend outside the classroom—and why this matters11/22/2021 12:11:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating a “Web of Support” for Children How parents, teachers and program leaders view the time kids spend outside the 870https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported32086GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Unpredictable. </p><p>This is how I would describe the last two school years. But there is one thing I would predict about the year that’s just beginning&#58; it will be just as turbulent, if not more so. </p><p>As adults debate or even fight over whether to wear masks, get vaccinated or even have our kids go in to school at all, we are creating an atmosphere of instability and worry around our children. Neither are conducive to learning, as safety and predictability are prerequisites to academic progress. Forget catching up on learning loss—unless we can create a secure, predictable atmosphere in our homes and schools, we’ll continue to short-change our children and we won’t see the progress we are hoping for.</p><p>So, what can teachers and parents do to help children feel stable, safe and ready to learn? My counsel is to return to social and emotional learning (SEL) fundamentals, processes that develop an array of skills and competencies that students need in order to set goals, manage behavior, build relationships and process and remember information, but that also help them manage and respond to stress and trauma. <br> <br>Here are my four recommendations for approaches that will help children feel understood, express themselves and flourish during this school year. All of these ideas come directly from the foundational practices that can be found in evidence-based social and emotional learning programs designed for schools and other settings. A comprehensive review of these approaches and their specific practices can be found <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">here</a> in a new guide recently published by the Wallace Foundation.&#160;&#160; </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">1.&#160;Ask Questions and Listen Actively in the Classroom and at Home<br></strong><br><p>Children are feeling intense pressure this year from parents and teachers. Both feel the need for their children to catch up after a year of online, hybrid or just unpredictable learning. In addition, many kids (especially older students) lost out on meaningful rituals—homecoming, prom, graduations and sports events—indeed most lost out on everything extra-curricular. These are the things that make school fun, meaningful and exciting for students. Many also experienced the trauma of losing a family member to Covid or witnessing a parent or grandparent fight the illness. Indeed, educators experienced many of these stressors themselves.<br> This disappointment and trauma will show up in the classroom and in the home, and everyone needs space and time to process what is happening, and what has happened. </p><p>So, what can we do? It helps to take time to check in with children and ensure their feelings are heard. Questions such as “tell me how you’re feeling” and “what is that like for you?” as well as repeating back what is heard, are important. A conversation with a teenager might go like this&#58;</p><p>Adult&#58; “Hey, I see you are upset (or especially quiet, or something) today. Is something going on that you’d like to talk about?”</p><p>Student&#58; “I’m not sure, I just don’t feel like myself and everything has me worried.”</p><p>Adult&#58; “I hear you; everything really can feel out of control right now. I’m here for you, you can talk with me any time, and I’ll do my best to listen.”</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">2.&#160;Let Your Children Know What’s Going to Happen and Establish Clear and Predictable Expectations<br></strong><br><p>Last year was uncertain and chaotic, with policymakers, districts and schools unsure of what would happen from one week to the next. Unfortunately, this year is shaping up to be similar, if not more so. With disruption all around them, children need as much routine and stability as adults can provide. </p><p>So, what can be done? It helps to overcommunicate with students about schedules and expectations both at home and in class and establish concrete procedures when possible. Predictability is the name of the game—students of all ages will thrive when they feel safe, and safety means knowing what’s coming next. If students are slow to fall into step, give them more space, slow things down and exhale. Children often need time to learn what’s expected and practice it. In unpredictable times, even routines require flexibility. </p><p>Adults at home can try to do the same. Keeping wake-up time, meals and bedtimes as similar as possible. Consistency makes a difference, and establishing rituals and routines for these everyday activities adds an opportunity for connection. You might ask, “what was the hardest and easiest for you today” or “what are you grateful for today” and share your own experience too.</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">3.&#160;Provide Extra Social and Emotional Time, Not Less<br></strong><br><p>Some simple foundational SEL strategies for the classroom (and in many cases, at home) are&#58; </p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Use Journaling&#58;</strong> encourage children to express their feelings on paper.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Do Daily Greetings&#58;</strong> smile warmly and greet each other by preferred name; use whole group greeting activities.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Hold Class/Family Meetings&#58;</strong> to foster camaraderie and group behavior norms.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Incorporate Art&#58;</strong> use visual arts to document and express feelings.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Talk About Managing Emotions&#58; </strong>engage in a group discussion about emotions and effective and safe ways to express them in class.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Employ Optimistic Closings&#58;</strong> “what I learned today is …” “I am looking forward to tomorrow because …” “What I might do differently is…” are some examples. </div><p>If children are to thrive in the current climate, incorporating these tools and practices into both the classroom and at home is essential. Clearly, the exact approach will differ for younger and older students, but both do best in respectful, open and accepting learning environments. </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">4.&#160;Parents&#58; Step Back, Connect and Listen<br></strong><br><p>While many place the burden on teachers to get back up to speed, it shouldn’t all be on them. Parents play a uniquely valuable role in providing children with feelings of stability and comfort. I’m the mother of first year college and high school students and I’ve learned the importance of having conversations (when possible—we all know our teenagers can be hard to communicate with) about what’s going on for them. </p><p>Mealtimes are a great time to have family meetings. As the adult, share what’s hard for you about the current situation—model vulnerability with your kids. Then, sit back and actively listen. Let your kids of all ages know they’ve been heard (“I hear you, it’s really hard when you can’t spend time with your friends”) and validate their feelings (“I understand it must be tough being a new student right now with everyone wearing masks. I feel the same way trying to make connections with my new students.”). </p><p>Most of all, I don’t think parents need to double down immediately with academic pressure—when children feel safe and comfortable back at school will they be able to fully focus on their work. </p><p>With the education system focusing heavily on addressing learning loss at the start of this school year, it’s tempting to pull back on the important social and emotional components that my research has demonstrated are crucial for student success. It’s important to remember that academic and social and emotional learning are deeply intertwined; they are complements to each other, not in competition with each other, and now more than ever, we should take advantage of that. </p><p>When students feel safe, listened to and supported by adults in their life, they can fully engage in academic work and everything else they do. And this applies both in the family home and in the classroom.</p><p><em>A version of this piece first appeared in </em>Education Week<em> as </em><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>“4 Social-Emotional Practices to Help Students Flourish Now</em></a><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>”</em></a><em> on September 28, 2021. This version is being reissued with permission from the author.</em><br></p>Stephanie Jones1212021-10-20T04:00:00ZAuthor of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for educators—and parents!—in these trying times10/20/2021 1:26:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported Author of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for 1321https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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