Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times26305GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Last spring the role of the principal changed overnight and continues to evolve. As the pandemic took hold, principals almost immediately shifted from leading a school within a building to leading virtual schools. Principal supervisors had to pivot, too.</p><p>Strong <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">principal supervisors are high-touch with their principals,</a> working with them intensively one-on-one and in learning communities, often in school buildings.&#160;How are they adapting to the online environment? What seems promising? What new supports do they need to adapt successfully? </p><p>This summer, Meredith Honig, a professor and director of the District Leadership Design Lab at the University of Washington, and Nancy Gutiérrez, president and CEO of The Leadership Academy, a national nonprofit organization, <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GlfNdbmTuU&amp;feature=youtu.be">took on this question in a webinar</a> in the series <em>Education Leadership for a Digital World</em>. <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/webinars/education-leadership-for-a-digital-world/">The series</a> was hosted by Digital Promise, with support from Wallace. </p><p>After watching the replay of the webinar, I reached out to <span> <span>Gutiérrez</span></span> and Honig for a follow-up conversation aimed at learning what principal supervisors can do to support their principals as the pandemic continues. If you are anything like me, you will be blown away by the depth of knowledge&#160;they shared in response to my questions.&#160;An edited version of our conversation follows. </p><p> <strong>How can principal supervisors be most supportive of principals now?</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> It’s as important as ever for principals to be leading powerfully for high-quality, culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching and learning.&#160;The shift to remote learning means many longstanding inequities may grow worse. So now is the time for principals to double down on their equity-focused instructional leadership and for principal supervisors to support them in that essential work.</p><p>In more typical times, maintaining that focus can be tough. That focus is definitely tough now as remote learning continues and too many students still do not have internet and laptops. Families are dealing with food insecurity, lack of access to childcare and other basic supports they rely on schools for. </p><p>That’s what we and others are seeing&#58; That shifting to remote learning has upped the ante on districts to ensure principals are supported to lead powerfully for excellent equitable instruction. <em>And</em> that they are trying to do that in the middle of a national public health crisis that, especially without federal support, continues to have dire consequences for school communities. Many of those consequences fall on the doorsteps of school districts and create incredible operational challenges. It’s tempting for principal supervisors to want to step in and help with that operational work. Our research and experience are clear that principal supervisors should resist that temptation. Principal supervisors are uniquely positioned to help principals keep their focus on equitable teaching and learning, and now’s not the time to let up.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong> I agree, Meredith. We have to drop evaluative tones and focus on capacity building. Commit to leveraging effective adult learning practices to ensure good use of the time commitment. (Our leaders are juggling multiple commitments). Align learning what we know about effective adult learning.<br><br> We have some essential beliefs about adult learning<strong></strong> at <a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resource/district-leadership/">The Leadership Academy</a>. We structure our work to make sure principal supervisors learn from experience and reflection, have structured freedom, engage in learning as a social process, make meaning through stories and have support through the most uncomfortable parts of learning. We model what we would like to see them do with the principals they lead. </p><p> <strong>What does this kind of hands-on support for principals look like with remote learning?</strong>&#160;<br><br><strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong> One key skill principal supervisors have learned to do well since last March has been to build capacity remotely. Believe it or not, it is still possible to visit classrooms with the same frequency and create feedback sessions for principals about the work in real time—remote coaching is one way to do this and follows the exact <a href="https&#58;//digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/remote-learning-check-in-guide.pdf">same five-step process a principal supervisor uses in person.</a></p><p>We would argue that remote support is not different from what we did pre-COVID. It requires building and maintaining relationships, coaching principals to better their practice as culturally responsive leaders, bringing small learning communities together to learn from each other and being responsive to principals' many questions and challenges in real time. The key here is not only to problem-solve in real time but to check on the social and emotional well-being of the adults. Adults need love too!&#160;</p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools<br></p><p> <strong>Honig&#58;</strong> Our ongoing research supports all of what you just shared, Nancy. When principal supervisors help principals grow as instructional leaders, they don't actually supervise in the traditional sense of the word—that is, they do not mainly evaluate or direct principals.&#160;</p><p>Instead, they coach principals from a teaching-and-learning stance—helping principals lead their own learning and mentoring principals one-on-one and in learning communities. That’s still the right work and really, it’s especially the right work right now when principals need flexibility and support to navigate the challenges of ensuring equity with remote learning. </p><p>Much of that support can be provided remotely through video conferencing, for example. Some principal supervisors tell us that they can be even more supportive of principals’ instructional leadership growth now that they don't have to spend so much time traveling to schools and that they can now more easily observe principals working with teachers online.&#160;</p><p> <strong>How can other district leaders support their principals and their supervisors as they navigate the new digital world we’re all living in?&#160;</strong><br><br><strong>Honig&#58;</strong> District support for principal supervisors is key to their success every day and especially today. In particular, supervisors of principal supervisors have important roles to play in principal supervisor support by reinforcing principal supervisors’ focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, protecting principal supervisors’ time for that work and mentoring them in taking a teaching-and-learning approach. In the webinar, I share examples of what that support looks like and the consequences of principal supervisors not receiving it.&#160; Supervisors of principal supervisors can find those examples as well as tools to help principal supervisors in our book, <a href="https&#58;//www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/supervising-principals-for-instructional-leadershi">S<em>upervising Principals for Instructional Leadership.</em></a></p><p>District leaders can also support principals and their supervisors by taking a hard look at their central offices. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for all of us to see some fundamental mismatches between what central offices have traditionally done and what supporting educational equity takes. We outline some of those mismatches in <a href="https&#58;//annenberg.brown.edu/sites/default/files/EdResearch_for_Recovery_Brief_10.pdf">a recent brief</a>. </p><p>As districts consider how to come out of the pandemic with a much stronger anti-racist equity focus, the principal supervisor-principal relationship can provide a kind of beacon. When principal supervisors try to do the right work and focus on principals’ growth as equity-focused instructional leaders, when does the rest of the central office get in the way of that work? And how can we start to bring all of what we do into greater alignment?</p><p> <strong><span><span><strong>Gutiérrez&#58;</strong></span></span></strong>&#160;The way districts can best support our principal supervisors&#58; 1) build their capacity, too; 2) check on their social and emotional well-being; and 3) make this difficult work, and progress within it, tangible.</p><p>A great principal supervisor gives school leaders the support they need to make their school a culturally responsive, standards-aligned learning environment for every student. But they need help to do this. Virtual learning during the pandemic reinforces the need to defy individualism as a path to success—all of us, regardless of role or experience in the system, need to continue learning and growing.&#160;We need to know what is expected of us. </p><p>We define a culturally responsive leader as someone who recognizes the impact of institutionalized racism and embraces their role in mitigating, disrupting and dismantling systemic oppression. Leaders like this must first work on themselves by reflecting on their biases and beliefs. Only then can they move to publicly modeling belief systems grounded in equity; being responsive to, and inclusive of, student and staff cultural identities when making decisions; confronting and changing institutional biases that marginalize students; and finally, creating systems and structures that promote equity, particularly for traditionally marginalized students.</p><p>One great tool to help leaders guide principal supervisors to assess their own progress in being more culturally responsive is The Leadership Academy’s&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.leadershipacademy.org/resources/culturally-responsive-leadership-a-framework-for-school-school-system-leaders/">Culturally Responsive Actions for Principal Supervisors</a> (specifically pages 51-64). The guide provides a set of tangible observable actions to do this important work, which is important to note because the work around equity is so big that it can be intangible. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/remote-support-of-principal-supervisors-not-different-from-pre-covid-times/Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" alt="Digital-Promise-1-Five-Steps-Coaching-Principals.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;Source&#58; The Leadership Academy</p>Rochelle Herring362020-11-17T05:00:00ZAsk the experts: three questions about principal supervisors and how they can best support principals now11/17/2020 5:10:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Remote Support of Principal Supervisors “Not Different” from Pre-COVID Times Ask the experts: three questions about 479https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts29634GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​The financial fallout from the pandemic has left school districts facing several years of budget shortfalls and tough decisions. State and school leaders everywhere are learning how to do more with less and mitigate harm to their most vulnerable students. The Wallace Blog looked at some of the top priorities and challenges state leaders are facing, lessons learned from the Great Recession and how they are addressing budget shortfalls. </p><p>Revenue is down across the country because states are collecting less from taxes on sales and personal income. According to Daniel Thatcher, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are projecting an 11 to 12 percent decline in revenue, which informs their budget decisions for the upcoming fiscal year. </p><p>“Education is not escaping these cuts scot-free,” Thatcher says. </p><p>And while school districts across the board are facing cuts, some have more capacity to handle them than others. Even if all districts face the same state budget cuts, Thatcher says, property-wealthy districts could raise revenue on their own to make up for them. Districts that don’t have that capacity would be much more deeply affected by the cuts. </p><p>The consequences of these kinds of cuts are not entirely unknown. During the 2008 Great Recession, schools faced similar types of budget cuts, which significantly reduced student ELA and math achievement. These effects were <a href="https&#58;//cepa.stanford.edu/content/impact-great-recession-student-achievement-evidence-population-data">concentrated in school districts serving low income students and students of color</a>. Thatcher hopes states have learned from how cuts were handled during the Great Recession and that they will attempt to lessen negative effects on the most vulnerable students.</p><p>Robert Hull, president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, echoes these concerns, noting that while wealthier communities will see more damage in the next few years as property values shift, the poorest communities are being hit hardest now and need federal investment right away. </p><p>“The districts that really need the greatest resources, they’re going to see a greater dearth of resources right now because that money coming from the local level is drying up,” Hull says.</p><p>Besides the decrease in state revenue, districts are spending more because of the pandemic. Investment in technology, intensive school building cleaning, personal protective equipment, additional buses to allow for social distancing and professional development for teachers who are learning to teach online are driving up costs for schools, whether they start the year with a hybrid or online model. Additionally, Hull says, schools are continuing to provide meals to families in need, despite depleted nutrition funds. </p><p>There is also concern that some students are shifting from public schools to private schools or homeschooling, though it’s unclear how significant those numbers are right now. But fewer enrolled students would mean a decrease in funding for the next school year. Thatcher says it’s fair to say the parents with higher incomes are most likely to shift their children from public school to private schools or homeschooling.</p><p>“This is a concern for equity,” he says. “This is a concern for who is going to make it out of this pandemic in better shape than other students. It’s something that states need to be aware of.” </p><p>The more-equitable funding allocations that Thatcher would like to see would direct state dollars to low-wealth districts. However, he acknowledges, this is a politically difficult decision to make.</p><p>But states like Georgia have put in place systems to do just that. Georgia’s funding formula has a special carve-out of “equalization grants” for low-wealth and rural districts, which suffered the most during the Great Recession. These grants give more money to lower-wealth districts to bring them up to the same levels as the wealthier districts. In Colorado, state funding helps fill in gaps left by local funding from property taxes, to equalize funding across all districts. The recently passed Public School Finance Act created a way for the legislature to put more of the funding burden on local tax revenue, freeing up more state money for lower-income districts. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" id="div_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645"></div><div id="vid_3ca04ac0-4620-4be0-8d4b-22bf85fc9645" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>“One of the other important things that we see states looking at, and that we suggest that states consider looking at, are the supports that help vulnerable students the most,” Thatcher says. Those include afterschool programs, reading supports, coaching and more. </p><p>In Utah, the state board has not only avoided school funding cuts—they actually increased education funding. The state board of education and legislative staff put together a document that illustrated education cuts at 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent. At 10 percent, Thatcher says, they would be making cuts to things like social emotional learning supports and professional development for teachers. But in August, Utah <a href="https&#58;//www.npr.org/2020/08/03/895386579/utah-lawmakers-use-savings-to-limit-cuts-to-education-and-social-services">lawmakers decided to dip into a rainy-day fund</a> and increased funding for K-12 education by 1.3 percent. </p><p>Many states had buoyed these sorts of reserve funds after the Great Recession, Thatcher says, lessening the more painful cuts for now because they have more cash on hand than they would have in the past.</p><p>“The other policy choice states are looking at is around the funding that comes through their categorical programs and trying to loosen the reins on these,” he says. Giving principals and district leaders more latitude in how they use this money can help them best meet the needs of their communities and schools. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" id="div_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55"></div><div id="vid_dd27bc36-1e38-4182-b987-86cc30232e55" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Hull and Thatcher noted the importance of school leaders as the key communicators and decision makers at the school level.</p><p>“Leadership matters. Communicate early and often, and be nimble as you’re making decisions,” Hull says of NASBE’s guidance for how to navigate these challenging times. He encourages leaders to be flexible and make changes as they know more, because we are learning more about the virus every day. </p><p>Thatcher agrees&#58; “At this time, school leadership is critical. They’re the key communicators to the community, to parents, and they are the ones who should make decisions based upon community input.” He urges parents to communicate with their principals and offer their support when and where they can. </p><p>Hull has also called for more research to help state boards of education and other education leaders make informed decisions. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" id="div_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f"></div><div id="vid_79458811-5b6f-46ac-8ec8-97a988a33f0f" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Thatcher’s hope is that the public health and financial crises become an opportunity to shift school funding to more reliable revenue sources, as well as to sources that are more fair to taxpayers and to students. He says&#58; “I’m just hopeful that we can take some good out of all this bad and reform our systems in this unprecedented time.”</p> Wallace editorial team792020-10-20T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.10/20/2020 3:54:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / With Equity in Mind, Districts Address State Budget Cuts Some see hope as state and school leaders shift funding options 431https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
School Leaders Keep Eye on Equity as Unusual Year Begins29492GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Schools, has heard the same concern from parents across her district’s 161 schools since in-person instruction was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. No matter where they live, she says, parents throughout her high-poverty district are worried that their children are losing ground academically during this period. </p><p>They have reason to be concerned&#58; A McKinsey &amp; Company report estimates that if in-person instruction does not fully resume until January, black, Hispanic and low-income students could lose as much as nine to 12 months of learning because they are less likely to have received high-quality remote instruction last spring and now again this fall. </p><p>As Baltimore developed its re-opening plan, some voices in the district argued that schools should focus on students’ social and emotional needs and put academics on the back burner. Santelises refused. Schools must tend to their students’ mental health, she says, but short-changing instruction would only exacerbate learning loss and widen the achievement gap for the most vulnerable groups. Simply put, schools have to do it all. &#160;</p><p>“It is easier in this time period to resonate in a broken-child narrative, to almost let ourselves off the hook for choosing to do one or the other,” she says. “I would argue that…in this crucible, we actually are being charged for the first time to do both-and for children who are not used to having people address their needs both-and.” &#160;</p><p>Approaching the re-opening of schools with a ‘both-and’ mindset was the central theme of Santelises’s keynote address at last month’s convening of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Learning Community. The virtual event drew more than 270 participants, including 17 superintendents, from 80 districts across the U.S. that are testing a toolkit that guides how they hire, train and match principals to schools. The toolkit is based on lessons learned from the Principal Pipeline Initiative, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">which found a significant improvement in math and reading scores</a> across six districts that took a strategic approach to school leadership. The convening focused on principal pipeline activities in the midst of the pandemic and how districts like Baltimore are ensuring equity as schools re-open.&#160; </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-plc-post-core-principles-lg-feature.jpg" alt="blog-plc-post-core-principles-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>Equity is one of five core principles—along with health and safety, high-quality student learning, stakeholder engagement and continuous improvement—guiding Baltimore’s re-opening plan . The district examines every policy and practice with an eye on equity, determining which students may be disparately affected and how to mitigate those effects. Baltimore students started the school year virtually, but if and when schools transition to a hybrid-learning model, struggling students such as English learners and those far behind in reading and math will return to the classroom first. The district is also digging into attendance data during remote learning to expose disparities “so that we can have a response that is not the same for all, but that names without fear or frankly, apology, that there are certain groups of students that actually require more attention,” Santelises says.</p><p>Students aren’t the only ones needing attention as the school year gets under way. The convening also featured a panel of central-office leaders from three districts who described their efforts to support principals as they adjust to ever-shifting policies and lead their school communities during such trying circumstances. Rudy Jimenez, assistant superintendent of North East Independent School District, which serves 64,000 students in San Antonio, Texas, discussed how his district revised its communications strategy with principals after realizing that some were misinterpreting information coming from the central office. District leaders added a second weekly meeting with principals to avoid overwhelming them with too much information at once and shared their talking points after each virtual gathering for principals to review. The pandemic has also amplified the critical role of the district’s four principal supervisors. “They’ve been able to take the pulse of what’s going on in their collective schools and act accordingly,” says Jimenez.</p><p>The first day of school started at 3 a.m. for panelist Sheila McCabe, assistant superintendent for educational services for Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, with calls from principals who were being evacuated from their homes due to fast-moving wildfires in their region 45 miles north of San Francisco. The district postponed re-opening for a few days and its 21,000 students are currently fully remote. Re-opening has brought heightened attention to principals’ social and emotional wellbeing, says McCabe. After it became apparent that principals were running themselves ragged as they prepared for distance learning, district leaders realized they had to do a better job giving principals the space—and permission—to unplug and take time for themselves. Supporting principals has also meant rethinking how fast to proceed with the district’s pipeline-building efforts. “The question becomes, how much do we push and how much do we back off in helping site leaders move forward with these initiatives while simultaneously recognizing their capacity based on everything that’s taking place?” McCabe says.</p><p>The good news is that the pandemic hasn’t derailed pipeline work in many districts. Plenary attendees described holding virtual boot camps for new principals over the summer, hiring coaches to support school leaders, and implementing leader tracking systems to better manage principals’ career development. Boston Public Schools completely revamped its recruiting website in the midst of the pandemic, adding details about required leadership competencies, profiles of principal mentors and photos of its two most recent cohorts of new principals, 75 percent of whom are minorities. The goal, explains Corey Harris, Boston’s chief of accountability, is to give applicants a sense of who they will work with and what they will experience if they’re hired. Boston’s hiring process had already begun when the pandemic struck, but the district quickly pivoted to an all-virtual experience. Applicants can even do a dry run on Zoom before their interview to check connectivity.&#160; </p><p>While their districts continue adjusting to the new normal, participants in the learning community agreed that collaboration with families, staff, community partners and others is essential to ensuring an equitable response to a school year that will be like no other. Parents, noted Santelises, are counting on them. “Our families have not relinquished their belief in the power of education to give their young people the kinds of agency that oftentimes underresourced communities have not been able to fully experience.”</p>Jennifer Gill832020-10-13T04:00:00ZRecent convening of leaders from 80 U.S. school districts addresses issues of equity and principal support as schools re-open.10/13/2020 1:02:49 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / School Leaders Keep Eye on Equity as Unusual Year Begins Recent convening of leaders from 80 U.S. school districts 326https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping Kids Learning and Connected this Fall24471GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​In response to the coronavirus pandemic last March, schools across the country closed their doors and pivoted quickly to distance learning. School and district leaders scrambled to distribute paper packets, devices and mobile hotspots, as well as to get students connected to free or inexpensive broadband internet. Inequities became apparent almost immediately as many students faced challenges accessing online classes. </p><p>With many schools now starting the new year in a hybrid or fully digital model, we took a look at how school leaders are building on lessons learned from the spring, testing out innovative approaches to digital learning and ensuring that students, particularly those who are most vulnerable, have what they need to be successful. </p><p><strong>The digital divide is not a new phenomenon</strong> </p><p>The digital divide—also known as “the homework gap”—existed long before the pandemic. A 2019 Pew Research Center study found that a third of rural Americans said they did not have a broadband internet connection at home. Ownership of desktop or laptop computers among rural Americans has only risen slightly since 2008. A Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data showed that one in five school-aged children do not have high-speed internet in their home; that number increases to one in three when focused on children from low-income households. </p><p>Many district leaders, like Superintendent Robert Runcie in Broward County, Fla., had been working to eliminate this gap over the past several years and were therefore better positioned for the shift to distance learning last March. (Broward is one of six districts that participated in The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative.) The district had invested in infrastructure including a single sign-on system for teachers and staff; a learning management system called Canvas, which allowed for blended learning and sharing of ideas and curricula across the district; and a decreased ratio of students to computers, shifting from 6&#58;1 to 1&#58;1, effectively. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" id="div_993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_993de807-2551-40a5-927c-68767f169871" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>Making the call this fall</strong> </p><p>The unprecedented crisis and limited federal guidance meant that district leaders faced complex decisions about whether or how to open their buildings. <br> “And that was, in some cases, at the expense of time and energy focused on making virtual learning as good as it can be,” said Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at The Education Trust (one of Wallace’s communications partners) and co-author of a report on promising digital learning practices from districts across the country.<br></p><p>Runcie started planning at the end of last spring for the very real possibility school would still be virtual in the fall. His team worked to understand best practices and recommendations for re-opening from other school systems across the country and around the world. At the time, infection rates in Florida were increasing and he knew his district was nowhere near ready to re-open in person. Schools opened in August with 100 percent virtual learning. </p><p><strong>Lessons learned so far this fall </strong></p><p>In Broward, with devices distributed and access to internet supported by partnerships with Comcast and AT&amp;T, Runcie turned his attention toward teachers. <br> “We wanted to make sure that there was a consistent level of high-quality education experiences online this year,” he said. </p><p>His district spent the summer training teachers to be more confident and effective using the online platform and tools. They found that some teachers had already risen to “master expert” level when it came to using these tools, and tapped their newfound expertise to help build capacity of others.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905" id="div_cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905"></div><div id="vid_cbf51070-8093-4f8c-8540-c5f5f9b8a905" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>Despite the number of challenges school leaders face, Socol notes that school and district leaders have “really rise(n) to the occasion … and marshalled all of their resources and all of their people to meet the needs of students who are most struggling.” </p><p>A report Socol co-wrote in collaboration with Digital Promise, “<a href="https&#58;//s3-us-east-2.amazonaws.com/edtrustmain/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/06163247/10-Questions-for-Equity-Advocates-to-Ask-About-Distance-Learning-During-COVID-19-May-2020.pdf">With Schools Closed and Distance Learning the Norm, How is Your District Meeting the Needs of Its Students</a>?,” compiles innovative strategies and best practices districts are using to improve digital learning, particularly for their most vulnerable students. Some highlights include&#58;</p><ul><li>New Orleans distributed tens of thousands of Chromebooks, making students experiencing homelessness a priority</li><li>New York City Public Schools partnered with Apple and T-Mobile to provide LTE-enabled iPads to students</li><li>Rock Hill Public Schools in South Carolina provided curbside IT support outside of school buildings</li><li>Highline Public Schools in Washington state and Austin school districts sent wifi-equipped buses to apartment complexes and neighborhoods where students struggled with internet access</li><li>In Phoenix Union High School District, district leaders instituted a program in which an adult contacts every student every day to ensure they and their families have what they need </li><li>In New Orleans and San Francisco, free student support hubs involve adults besides classroom teachers in helping students with digital learning in small group settings</li></ul><p>Socol notes that sharing these ideas across state borders is an important role that state leaders can play. </p><p>“We would love to see state leaders think about how to collect information about what districts are doing, to track data on the success of these new initiatives…and then to help share those practices with other districts that are still trying to figure out how to help students learn in this moment,” she said.</p><p><strong>Prioritizing historically underserved students </strong></p><p>Despite school leaders’ best efforts to equip students with the devices they need to participate in digital learning, there is more work to be done, particularly for students of color and those from low-income households. </p><p>“There are so many other challenges besides just having a computer or an iPad or the internet,” Socol points out. “Students need a quiet space in order to participate and engage in online instruction. They need access to support if their internet’s down…. Younger students may need an adult there to help them access the instruction online.” </p><p>Runcie is still focused on helping Broward students who are struggling with basic needs, who may be left at home alone at a young age or who may be facing abuse. Part of Broward’s distance learning planning includes ensuring that social services are maintained. Since June, Runcie reports that social workers have provided 160,000 interventions in response to over 36,000 referrals. </p><p>Socol encourages school and district leaders to focus their efforts and energies on thinking of those students most underserved by the public school system. Some districts, such as Arlington Public Schools in Virginia, are planning to phase in in-person learning, starting with students with disabilities, English-language learners and those from low-income families. </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288" id="div_4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288"></div><div id="vid_4b2e35fe-f919-4974-b122-ce83c3732288" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p><strong>Advice for other school leaders </strong></p><p>Communication and transparency are at the top of Runcie’s priority list this fall, and he urges other district leaders to focus on the same.&#160;&#160;</p><p>“Communicate, communicate, communicate. Do it with integrity and be transparent, straight up with the community, what challenges you’re facing, what the approaches are and make sure you’re listening to them,” Runcie said. </p><p>His district conducted three major surveys of families. They held town halls and forums, partnering closely with the PTA, the special needs student advisory council and the school board. </p><p>Socol echoed the need to communicate regularly and honestly, adding a call for data collection. She hopes to see schools and districts conducting diagnostic assessments at the beginning of the school year to understand where students are and what they need to make up for lost instructional time. “And we need to see continued communication and transparency from school systems about how [distance learning] is going,” she added. </p><p>Finally, Runcie would like to see his fellow superintendents invest in technology, which includes both infrastructure and training for teachers and staff.&#160;</p><p>“Digital learning is something I believe is going to be here with us for the long run,” he said, noting that many children may have underlying health conditions or live in multigenerational households, factors that could keep them at home even if schools reopen their doors for in-person learning. “I think it’s something that you’ve got to commit to do, because I think it’s going to be part of our portfolio of offerings and the type of flexibility that we need to have in public education going forward.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-09-29T04:00:00ZAs the new school year kicks off—mostly virtually—how far have districts come since March in providing a strong online learning experience for students?9/29/2020 6:11:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping Kids Learning and Connected this Fall As the new school year kicks off—mostly virtually—how far have districts come 375https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer11027GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summer has always been an important time to keep young people learning and developing in healthy ways. But now that the public health crisis has forced schools across the nation to close for weeks, says the National Summer Learning Association, making the best possible use of the summer months should be at the top of the education agenda.<br></p><p>The association hosted an online event, <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/HEXvbBKJ5Vk" target="_blank">“When Schools Close&#58; Harnessing the Power of Summer for America’s Young People,”</a> to draw attention to research about the importance of summer and to provide innovative examples of state and local efforts to keep kids learning, moving and creating this summer.</p><p>“We hope that this will lead to partnerships and people picking up the phone and emailing and reaching out to one another,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, the chief executive officer of NSLA. “How can I work with you, how can I bring that resource and experience to the families and the kids I serve?”<br></p><p>Karl Alexander, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the report <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-academy-of-sciences-report-on-summer-learning.aspx">Shaping Summer Experiences</a>, said the “elevated risk” of food insecurity, learning loss and lack of enrichment activities for students who live in low-income neighborhoods is even more pronounced now. </p><p>“Three months away from school have stretched to six, with practically no time to plan,” Alexander said. “The pandemic has made the issues taken up by our report even more urgent and more challenging.” (The fall 2019 report was supported by The Wallace Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)</p><p>Over the 90-minute event, which drew more than 900 registrants, panels of experts discussed the importance of summer and how everyone from policymakers to parents should think creatively to try to make the most of the time. </p><p>“One thing we know is when the story of this particular summer is told, and this school year is told, it will be a story of inequities,” said Tanji Reed Marshall, the director of P-12 practice at the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group. “The naturally occurring disparities among groups will exacerbate.” </p><p>Marshall called for states and districts to spend money from the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress in late March to address the economic impact of COVID-19, for summer and extended learning.</p><p>Jillian Balow, the Wyoming state schools superintendent and the president of the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers, noted that while every state is different, “Our job is to look at summer learning opportunities and figure out how to leverage them. Removing barriers and being that influencer and broker and connector is a role all state chiefs play.”</p><p>Other panelists noted that summer programming has always been “fragmented” among various actors, all of which are now facing serious budget problems. </p><p>Erik Peterson, senior vice president for policy at the Afterschool Alliance, discussed the CARES Act and other funding sources that can be used to provide summer programming. Noting that the primary source of education funding is from states and localities, which face budget shortfalls, Peterson added that community-based organizations, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and nonprofit and fee-based programs are also struggling. </p><p>“There are a tremendous amount of challenges,” he said, “but the opportunity is there as well and it’s often in these kinds of challenges where everyone will come together to braid and blend resources in a way that hopefully provides quality summer learning for children.”</p><p>Engaging Curious Minds, a nonprofit in Charleston, S.C., that works with about 11,000 students in grades K-8 in six school districts, has already adapted its summer programming, said Executive Director Robin Berlinsky. The program’s focus is to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through the arts. </p><p>This summer, rather than visit school facilities, students will receive “create kits” every week (some hidden by teachers in a scavenger hunt) with arts materials. Campers will do both online and in-person activities. For instance, the group plans to work with partner organizations such as running clubs and cheer teams to have socially distant parades where students receive math challenges and “story starters” to write about, Berlinsky said.</p><p>That’s the type of innovation that’s needed to make summer 2020 work for students, said Dworkin. </p><p>“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said, “and it’s going to take partnerships between parents, programs, policymakers, the business community, nonprofits, the government sector, everyone trying to be as coordinated as possible and as seamless as possible to give kids the experiences they deserve.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-11T04:00:00ZExperts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for students8/27/2020 3:07:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem 684https://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 8176https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine9888GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, authored the report, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/new-opportunities-for-interest-driven-arts-learning-in-a-digital-age.aspx">New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age</a></em>, in 2013. Social media was relatively young then, and Peppler set out to determine ways in which it, along with other digital technologies, could help make up for cuts in arts education and help young people develop the creativity they need to become well-rounded adults.</p><p>Those cuts in arts education pale in comparison to the disruptions we face now, as the world struggles to contain the novel coronavirus. Schools and out-of-school programs are shuttered, young people are confined to their homes and, for many, digital technologies are now the only connection to art or the outside world.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="KylieHeadshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Literacy-Expert-on-Why-Kids-Must-Keep-Reading-During-This-Unprecedented-Moment/KylieHeadshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;219px;height&#58;219px;" />Wallace caught up with Peppler, now an associate professor at University of California, Irvine, to see how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in an unprecedented era of social distancing and isolation. Below is an abridged and edited version of our conversation.</p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; You had written in the report about three benefits of the arts&#58; learning about oneself, learning about one's group and learning about other cultures. Can you talk a little bit about how you think any of those might apply in our situation now?</strong></p><p> <strong>Kylie Peppler&#58;</strong> Thinking about the self, there's a large body of research that points to the importance of expression and the therapeutic value of the arts. I think of <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/europe/italian-radio-national-anthem-intl-scli/index.html">the wonderful example from Italy</a> of people turning to music. People in my own neighborhood, every day at five o'clock, have a small concert and people social-distance in the street to come and listen.</p><p>Even as adults, we’re challenged to put words to this situation. For children, art can be so important in the expression of loss and sadness, of being cut off from friend groups and just how long this time must feel to them. It can be really valuable for them to visually represent those emotions, to put them to music, to dance, to drama.<br></p><p>My daughter is five. Her grandfather passed away, and she drew this lovely drawing that had two very similar parts. She later told me, “That was before, and this is after. Things are almost the same, but a little bit different now.” It struck me how aware she was, and it allowed us to have a conversation that we wouldn't have otherwise had.</p><p>As we think about the group, art gives us a way to understand ourselves, understand the people that are bunkering down with us and allows us to express that in ways that might evade words. Zoom was primarily a tool for business. But it has quickly turned to a tool we’re using to play music together, trying to do things that help us connect to one another. </p><p>We’re connecting through our creative writing and sharing of our stories. I've noticed my kids wanting to do more video production highlighting what this time is like and how similar and how varied all our experiences are. Sharing those messages and what that means brings us together.</p><p>In my own household, my kids and their cousins and friends are all meeting in Minecraft to build together and creating very meaningful pieces. Some high schools are <a href="https&#58;//www.today.com/parents/kid-creates-graduation-minecraft-after-school-closure-t176475">having graduation in Minecraft</a>. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You spoke about four types of areas—the technical, the critical, the creative, the ethical. Can you think of any one of those areas that you would put more emphasis in as an educator? Are there opportunities to work on any of those four areas?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>I think there's opportunity to work across all four of them. I would put the creative at the center. We all need a creative mindset to get through this, to think about possibilities that aren't there and solve problems in new ways. Everything from cooking without all the right ingredients to using current technologies, but in in vastly different ways. </p><p>What are our boundaries and how can we defy them? How can we use what we have in hand to do something new? The arts have a way of teaching that. As we’re exposing kids to these creative expressions, we're looking at the tools that we might have buried in our garages or under the kitchen sink and thinking, well, what can I do with these today? </p><p>And that takes us into the technical. We start learning about STEM aspects of whatever our kids are creating. Whatever they want to create, they're not going to be able to get around the technical aspects; that they have to learn how to code, for example. </p><p>And our current moment puts, whether we like it or not, another emphasis on the critical and the ethical portions of arts. With <a href="https&#58;//www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-education/2020/04/06/carranza-says-city-will-transition-out-of-zoom-333886">this pushback on Zoom</a>, for example, we have more context to think through. We have to think about the pressure we're putting on companies to regulate themselves. We're putting pressure on schools and teachers to learn digital technologies, to update them and to use them thoughtfully. </p><p>When you’re in a creative line of thought, you have to think critically about how you're engaging children. So the critical and the ethical are definitely going to be important in this period.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A large part of your report is about interest-driven arts, where young people select their creative pursuits for themselves. Now that young people are at home, perhaps with more freedom and less structure to select their pursuits, is there anything adults should be doing to direct them?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of times we have a notion of what kids <em>should</em> be doing or what we <em>should</em> be doing. It distracts us from seeing the value of what they're <em>actually</em> doing.<br> Why does my kid keep coming back to Minecraft, for example? What might they be learning? What social skills are they practicing? How can I talk to them about that? </p><p>I think the first part is to be curious to take a genuine interest.</p><p>My son, for example, just made a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Minecraft. But on the inside, he had created a garden. What was he thinking about there? It became a venue for us to talk about how little of his physical environment he can change, and how he’s turning to Minecraft to redesign things and explore ideas. </p><p>If we stay curious, if we stay interested, we can start to connect these things to children’s development and understanding. As adults we know what other people are going to value. We should be thinking about how we can help young people make small steps towards those things, through the things they’re already interested in, rather than saying, “Stop what you're doing, do this thing because society values it.”</p><p> <strong>WP&#58; In your report, you mentioned social learning networks and that they're not very well studied. Has that changed? If it has, are there any lessons about social learning that parents or educators might use in this period of social distancing?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>That's one area in which we have done a lot of design and development and research. We're still in early stages, but one thing that we know is that the wide-open internet is just too big for kids. If you start searching for something, you see all the solutions. Whether you're going on <a href="https&#58;//www.instructables.com/">instructables.com</a> or <a href="https&#58;//scratch.com/">scratch.com</a>, you're almost intimidated. There's just too much. </p><p>Right-sized developmental groups are coming up. <a href="https&#58;//diy.org/">DIY.org</a>, for example, has started creating camp-like structures. They're small groups where people with similar interests can come together. Seven or eight parents could band together with their kids, who all share the same interest and have weekly interactions. You could trade off among parents and have small homework groups. Why should it just be one parent working with one child? Why not band together and do group work? <a href="https&#58;//connectedcamps.com/">Connected Camps</a> is another one, led by my colleague, Mimi Ito. </p><p>Another thing we know that promotes interest-driven learning is that there's usually an audience for it. Pulling in an audience—as big or as small as right-sized for your kid—is important. Create a thirst and an accountability so they want to share what they learn. </p><p>Third, we’re looking at pathways. How do we move from one interest to the next piece? Maybe a kid has an ambition to be one of Beyonce’s backup dancers. How do I move from an interest to that next level? We've started thinking about ways to connect those interest-driven activities to future opportunity. </p><p>If you've got money and time, you can give your kids options. You have a large network of people, you've got other adults or other parents giving you other ideas as well. That's not true of all parents and all contexts. How can institutions like afterschool centers connect kids to those futures and to future economic opportunity?</p><p>We’ve found that new technologies can help do that. Social learning networks have blossomed. <a href="http&#58;//digitalyouthnetwork.org/staff/nichole-pinkard/">Nichole Pinkard</a>, for example, is starting to think about how learning opportunities can be connected to enrollments in other programs, and how all our policies and programs start to be well aligned to support future learning. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You mentioned diy.org and Connected Camps. In your report, you mentioned Etsy and Revelry as sites that might be constructive and artistic, but without the vitriol that we often see online. What is it about those sites that helps keep things constructive? What could parents and educators look for to ensure that time online is as constructive as possible and avoids the worst of the internet?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of social spaces can be constructive spaces if there's some accountability. To leave a comment, you need to log in, for example. There are also ways of monitoring. <a href="https&#58;//scratch.mit.edu/">Scratch.mit.edu</a>, for example, has full time monitors looking at things flagged by the community and pulling things off. A lot of times people will flag something as useful or flag something down. You want to look for that kind of group moderation or paid moderation. </p><p> <a href="https&#58;//www.commonsensemedia.org/">Common Sense Media</a> is a great place to start if you're looking for new apps or new web communities. But if you want a gut check, go right to the comments, go right to the forums and just see what kind of language people are using.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Since young people are spending a lot of time online right now, perhaps with little supervision, are there ways for adults to differentiate between time spent constructively and time spent just to kill time? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>There are two things I think that you need to do. One is to look for the creative over the consumptive. Consuming it is quite easy and sometimes important. You can’t make a game if you've never played a game, for example. You can’t make a movie if you've never seen a movie. </p><p>But often, we're consuming way more than what we're producing. So look for the creative technologies, the ones in which kids are producing something, anything.</p><p>The second piece is to make it social. If you look at early studies about Sesame Street, for example, it wasn’t just kids watching Sesame Street. They were watching with parents or siblings or other adults. Adults have to take experiences kids learn and apply them to other situations. That's what we do well as adults. Kids don't see the connections between contexts. </p><p>Right now, while we’re shut in our homes, that’s a very large ask. Thinking about doing more together is stressful. But even if you're just trying to do it for 20 minutes a day, or one hour a day. The media consumption done together as opposed to apart can make small inroads.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A lot of what we’ve talked about assumes there are parents at home while schools are closed. But the pandemic is affecting different socioeconomic groups in different ways. Many young people may be home from school, but the adults of the household may be out delivering mail, collecting trash, driving buses or operating trains. What can society do to keep such young people engaged? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Structured and scheduled peer interactions can help. A physical example is the <a href="https&#58;//theclubhousenetwork.org/">Computer Clubhouse Network</a>. It’s an adult-supervised, physical space where kids come together, but the kid-to-adult ratio can be up to 100 to one. Still, those learning environments can be of higher quality than what we can do in our homes. Because the kids are involved in long-term production together.</p><p>So, before the parents go out the door, they could say, “Oh, at one o'clock. you've got this call by phone,” or a call with a grandparent, or with peers. Making these connections part of the rhythm of the day can be very helpful. Just bringing a peer group together, trying to have people meet in a video game and asking how it went that day, can make a difference.</p><p>You can try small things that could generate an audience. Taking the sidewalk chalk outside, for example, and having kids draw things. Maybe leaving a piece of chalk there for other people to respond. Different ways to kind of create audience to create that social community. </p><p>But, unfortunately, this is going to be one of our most inequitable times. Wifi is going to be a problem. Having the digital technologies is going to be a problem. I'm looking at school districts that have whole libraries of Notebooks and Chromebooks. They've got one per child, but they're not releasing them to homes. A lot of times we want to hold on to these technologies. We're not sure that we’ll get them back in the right condition or get them back at all.</p><p>But in reality, programs that do lend out their equipment are often amazed at how well-respected things are. These are things that people appreciate. They will take care of them. Give people a chance right now to meet that expectation.</p><p>Instead of canceling your programs, think about how you can move services. Let's take this as a time to go to the next level. How can I move my services to bring people into a Zoom chat? How can I lower their costs? How can I lobby to help them [kids] get wifi?</p><p>I hope, out of this, we’ll have lots of really cool stories about how people really stepped up in this time. It's still not going to be equitable, but we'll certainly know a lot more about how to achieve equity through all of this.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What recommendations would you have for philanthropies or foundations that are interested in arts education? What can we do at this time of very great but uncertain need?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Equity is something that we all need to double down on. The middle class needs to take responsibility for ensuring that not just that our children and our homes have access, but the other kids that go to school with our children, that they have access. </p><p>Second, now that people are interested and we're looking at this, how can we start to document some of the innovation happening here? How are people continuing with music lessons? How are people continuing with dance lessons? What are the ways in which this enforced isolation is changing the amount of time spent on the arts? </p><p>There are always going to be pluses and minuses. How do we learn from what was great? And what did we lose in translation?</p><p>Third, art museums are letting up to 80 percent of their workforce go, and that's just the first hemorrhage. A lot of times, in these kinds of structural losses, people look for other jobs, and they start doing other things. We lose all that capacity. It's not a switch we can just turn on later.</p><p>Arts organizations I'm working with are not feeling like they're going to be able to open doors within the next year or so. How can foundations help translate those services and try to keep as many people in their jobs? Not just for their human needs but also because of that lost infrastructure? </p><p>These will be changed organizations when they do reopen their doors. How do we prevent the epic loss that could really happen here?</p> Wallace editorial team792020-04-14T04:00:00ZExpert at the intersection of arts, education and technology shares ideas and resources to help keep kids constructive at home.8/27/2020 3:14:37 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine Expert at the intersection of arts, education and technology 2273https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Understanding the Effects of Building a Principal Pipeline Strategy11926GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>On this day one year ago educators from around the country came to New York City to celebrate the launch of the RAND Corporation’s report <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</a></em><em>.</em> The report, which examined the impact of a strategic approach to school leader development in the six large districts that took part in Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, found a positive impact on student achievement and principal retention. </p><p>A lot has happened since we released the findings, and it’s no understatement to say a lot has happened in the world around us as well. Still, we thought this day was worthy of note, both to acknowledge the significance of the original findings and the work they have inspired. </p><p>In late 2019, we <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/effectively-communicating-about-principal-pipelines.aspx">commissioned market research</a> to better understand how state and local educators view pipelines, the benefits they deemed most important and any barriers that prevented them from implementing the approach. This could ultimately help us and others in the field communicate more effectively about pipelines. The main takeaway&#58; The researchers found that the response to the principal pipeline approach to developing a robust corps of effective school leaders is “resoundingly positive.” However, a key challenge in advancing pipelines is differentiating what some districts are doing now from the deliberate and comprehensive approach encompassed in the domains of the principal pipeline strategy. There’s much more in the deck for those interested in the language we use to define school leadership and what it means to different people. </p><p>Meanwhile, we’ve been working with 90 school districts in 31 states to test and spread the lessons learned from the Principal Pipeline Initiative. The 90 districts have signed on to test a tool kit that guides how they hire, train and match principals. Read more about the initiative <a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/02/10/6-districts-invested-in-principals-and-saw.html">here</a> and stay tuned for results in the fall.&#160; Finally, later this year, we will release a literature review on the connection between school leadership and student achievement. </p><p>And if you’re still looking for more on the Principal Pipeline, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">Pipeline Page</a> for all things related to the groundbreaking report and the work behind it. </p><p> <em>Photo by </em><a href="http&#58;//www.claireholtphotography.com/"><em>Claire Holt</em></a> </p>Wallace editorial team792020-04-08T04:00:00ZThe learning continues one year after the launch of RAND’s groundbreaking report on school leadership4/8/2020 4:44:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Understanding the Effects of Building a Principal Pipeline Strategy The learning continues one year after the launch of 1065https://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 1548https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges3441GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning<p>Complex social issues must be solved with a comprehensive approach. That’s the idea driving a recent surge in cross-sector collaborations anchored in communities and aimed at improving local educational outcomes, especially for low-income students. In one study, researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx">found 182 such place-based collaborations nationwide</a> working to improve students’ readiness for and success in early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education. </p><p>A&#160;companion study (also from Teachers College), <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-impact-a-closer-look-at-local-cross-sector-collaborations-for-education.aspx"><em>Building Impact&#58; A Closer Look at Local Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education,​</em>&#160;</a> now examines&#160;eight collaborations, which often include philanthropies, school districts, businesses, higher education and social service agencies. Prior to the study's release, Carolyn Riehl, an associate professor at Teachers College, presented a few&#160;of the&#160;&#160;findings at a ​​Collective Impact Convening in Chicago. She was joined by Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation, and Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, one of the collaborations featured in the study. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-sector-Collaborations-for-Education-Show-Promise-Face-Challenges/Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" style="margin&#58;170px 5px;width&#58;442px;" />While cross-sector collaborations were often overly optimistic about their initial goals, there’s reason for “cautious optimism” about their future, Riehl told a crowd gathered at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. They will likely take “more time than the usual window of opportunity social programs are given for making an impact,” she said, but they are bringing together partners who have rarely cooperated before, soothing local political tensions and making steady progress. </p><p>Here we highlight some key questions posed by the panel and preview findings from the upcoming report, which Miller called, “one of the most in-depth studies of the cross-sector collaboration approach.”</p><p> <strong>Can local collaborations mount comprehensive change?</strong></p><p>Several of the eight collaborations studied set out to provide supports from early childhood through post-secondary education, but only one—Say Yes Buffalo—has come close to meeting that promise so far, the study found. That group convinced the city to provide “a broad menu of wraparound support services” for students, Riehl said. “The ‘carrot’ that enticed the city to commit was that Say Yes promised college scholarships for all eligible public school graduates in the city. The stick was that if the city reneged on the support services, there would be no more scholarships.”</p><p>Other collaborations studied had expanded services on a more gradual and limited scale and not yet met their goals. Obstacles included getting participants to agree on strategies and a shortage of funding and organizational capacity. Still, the vision to provide comprehensive services “seems to give people a sense of purpose and significance, a horizon to reach for,” she noted. </p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address education?</strong><strong><br></strong><br> “The politics and pragmatics of collaborations working closely with school districts turned out to be much more complicated than we might imagine,” Riehl said to appreciative laughter. The initiatives studied often supported instructional improvement by launching afterschool programs or by backing a district’s strategic plan, but appropriately refrained from trying to drive instructional reforms.&#160;&#160;</p><p>But districts also were often hesitant to work closely with cross-sector collaborations, the study found. One reason, Riehl said, seemed to be a desire to avoid expensive, complicated and politically challenging work. Pressure to focus on immediate testing and accountability concerns may have played a role. Districts also commonly want to be viewed as the “source and motivator” of their own improvement, she noted, and working with an external collaboration might imply that the district couldn’t manage improvement on its own.</p><p>Collaborations did make one significant contribution to core education reform, the study found&#58; they calmed entrenched interests and tensions that often surround urban school systems. They reduced “the sense of frustration and urgency,” Riehl said, and created “an environment more conducive to school system stability and productivity. This may not be the kind of ambitious change implied in the rhetoric of collective impact, but it did count for something in local contexts.”</p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address equity in their systems?</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Most collaborations were motivated by the desire to end disparities in academic performance for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. Yet at their start, they refrained from naming the problem directly or addressing other inequities that affect education, such as housing, employment, community safety and services. But over time, collaborations have become more explicit and intentional about equity, the study found. Researchers attributed that in part to the influence of national networks supporting collaboratives and growing national attention to class and race disparities, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign. &#160;<br><br> Still, collaborations generally continued to be made up of community leaders, “often without involving the people most impacted by inequity and poor education,” she observed. The original idea was to involve “powerful decision-makers in systemwide change” but that approach, she said, might ultimately fail to galvanize widespread support, including from those they intend to serve. </p><p> <strong>What can influence sustainability in a collaboration? </strong></p><p>“Goodwill and enthusiasm for the idea of collective impact gave these initiatives their start and seem to be boosting them along,” Riehl reported. Other factors aiding sustainability include effective “backbone” organizations to manage the collaboration, leaders with strong interpersonal skills, and national networks providing technical assistance, networking, strategies, funding and other supports. &#160;<br> Davis of Milwaukee Succeeds, which belongs to the national StriveTogether network, said that her collaborative has sustained itself since 2011 despite launching amid local education politics “that had been toxic for 25 years.” The city’s education landscape included a high-poverty school system struggling to raise student achievement, a large number of independent charter schools and private (mostly religious) schools enrolling students with vouchers. &#160;</p><p>Keeping all three education systems working together through the collaborative, she said, “is no small feat.”</p><p>She attributes their commitment to a shared desire to benefit children, a refusal to allow the collaborative’s forum “to be hijacked for political reasons,” such as elections, and insistence among the five major foundations funding the work that the three education systems show evidence of partnership. “That sends the message that you want to stay in the tent,” she said.</p><p>Early on, the collaboration also realized that it would get more traction if it placed school system priorities at the forefront, she added.</p><p>While Milwaukee Succeeds had to scale back on its ambition to tackle the whole “cradle to career spectrum” at once, it has had some wins, Davis said. After a technology manufacturing company promised the county 13,000 jobs, the collaborative helped to convene 18 local two- and four-year colleges and universities to come up with a workforce development plan that included raising college enrollment and completion. &#160;</p><p>“That was a huge deal,” she said. “I don’t know how many of you have worked with higher ed—it’s worse than the Titanic in terms of turning it around. And they are moving with great speed.”</p><p>In another win, they convinced state legislators to fund a statewide expansion of a tutoring program for early readers that the collaborative had brought to Milwaukee. Business partners in the collaborative made the request, backed by data, she said, and philanthropic partners promised funding for a quarter of the cost.</p><p> <strong>What does the immediate future look like for collaborations?</strong></p><p>Davis said she regrets that the collaborative neglected grassroots involvement at the start and so is not well-known in the wider community. Eight years in, they are working to forge those relationships. An important step, she said, will be finding ways to support grassroots agendas. To build community buy-in, she advised “don’t bring them to your table, go to their table.” &#160;</p><p>Miller added that in his own personal experience, he’s found that a cross-sector collaboration needs support both from elites to bring resources to the table and from grassroots participation to give the effort legitimacy. Some collaborations he’s participated in, he said, owed their success in large part to “a lengthy, exhaustive process” for identifying where the interests of each overlapped. &#160;</p><p>Riehl and Davis agreed that sustaining cross-sector collaboration long-term will depend on the skill of “backbone” organizations like Milwaukee Succeeds to forge and manage diverse relationships and become more representative of the communities they serve. </p><p>“This process takes a long time,” Riehl said. “People get bored and stop coming, they argue, there’s conflict, factions develop, so it really takes a steady hand to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”<br><br> But, she said, “we’ve seen lovely instances where partner agencies have changed their strategies because they want to be part of the action.”</p><p><em>To learn more about the Teachers College study of cross-sector collaborations in education,</em> see <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/putting-collective-impact-into-context.aspx">Putting Collective Impact Into Context</a> <em>and</em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx?_ga=2.17155889.962354234.1561754504-1014093728.1520357385">Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education</a>. </p>Photo&#58; ​Will Miller, president, The Wallace Foundation; Danae Davis, executive director, Milwaukee Succeeds; Carolyn Riehl, associate professor, Teachers College<br>Elizabeth Duffrin972019-06-18T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.1/16/2020 4:30:17 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges Upcoming report examines collaborations and their 1536https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​