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Report Examines How School Districts Ramped Up Summer Learning in Response to Pandemic1691GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>F​​​​​​or all of the talk about “moving the needle” in K-12 public education, it’s actually quite hard to do. There are any number of academic interventions and programs launched each year that hold significant promise, but ultimately they don’t stand up to the scrutiny of evaluation.&#160;<br></p><p>Summer learning programming, however, is one intervention that does, depending on how it is carried out. Research on the&#160;<a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/summer-learning.aspx?_ga=2.73386203.990642777.1673471938-1960687172.1666029165">National Summer Learning Project</a> showed that high-quality, well-attended school district–run summer learning programs offering a mix of academics and enrichment&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx?_ga=2.73386203.990642777.1673471938-1960687172.1666029165">can help</a> students academically and in other ways. </p><p>The challenge for the field? Figuring out how strong summer learning programming can be rolled out for students in a range of geographic contexts—and at a much larger scale.&#160; </p><p>An ongoing study of how schools, districts and states nationwide embraced summer learning—as a strategy to mitigate the effects of school closures and other pandemic-related harms—could offer clues for communities that want to meet the challenge, both now and when COVID is in the rearview mirror.&#160;&#160; </p><p> <strong> <em>Pandemic summer learning offers important lessons now, and for the future&#160;&#160;</em></strong><br></p><p>The&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-call-to-action-for-summer-learning-how-did-school-districts-respond.aspx?_ga=2.73386203.990642777.1673471938-1960687172.1666029165"><em>National Summer Learning and Enrichment Study</em></a>, funded by Wallace, is being conducted by the Westat research organization. Last month, in the first publication to emerge from the research—<em>National Call to Action&#58; How Did School Districts Respond?</em> –Westat began to document <em>how</em>, exactly, school districts across the country took action. Understanding districts’ responses at this extraordinary moment—across a range of different geographic contexts and within a relatively quick time frame—is important over the next two years as remaining federal relief funds for education are spent. It also has the potential to inform policy, practice and research on summer learning and enrichment post-pandemic.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/report-examines-how-school-districts-ramped-up-summer-learning-response-to-pandemic/Ann_5766.jpg" alt="Ann_5766.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;154px;height&#58;216px;" />“We believe the Westat study can help district and state leaders as they seek to strengthen their summer programming in the years to come,” says Ann Stone, senior research officer at Wallace. “Support for this project is an outgrowth of Wallace’s long-term commitment to summer learning, and our evidence-based belief that high-quality, well-attended summer learning programs provide significant benefits for students.”</p><p> <strong><em>How did districts respond?</em></strong></p><p>Through a survey of school districts that yielded nationally representative results, Westat found that fully 94 percent implemented summer learning programming in summer 2021, reaching, on average, approximately one-fifth (18 percent) of their students. Children K-6 were the largest population served. Other findings about the districts that had summer programming included&#58;​​<br></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Cities&#160; and rural areas served the greatest proportion of their students (22 percent and 18 percent, respectively) with school districts in suburbs serving the smallest proportion (13 percent).&#160;</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Supporting students in pursuing learning disrupted by the pandemic was the most common programming approach, used by 75 percent of districts.&#160;&#160;</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">More than half of districts (57 percent) supplemented academic programming with social-emotional learning.<br></div> The report also yielded insights about implementation patterns and common characteristics of typical 2021 summer programming. For example&#58;​<p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">​​​&#160;Two-thirds of districts with programs (67 percent) prioritized serving students with special needs.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Student data was the most common source of information used to determine whom to prioritize.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">&#160;41 percent of districts with programs engaged partners to plan for and/or deliver summer programming.</div> ​ <p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/report-examines-how-school-districts-ramped-up-summer-learning-response-to-pandemic/blog-westat-national-call-to-action-for-summer-learning-12.jpg" alt="blog-westat-national-call-to-action-for-summer-learning-12.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>​Future reports from the study will examine how states lent their support to summer efforts and dig deeper, through interviews and other analysis, into the districts’ efforts. So, stay tuned to learn more as we publish these reports later this year.&#160;<br></p><p>P.S. Yes, it may be sub-zero outside, but for those who intend to carry out a summer 2023 program, it is not too early to start planning. This<a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx"> toolkit</a>, a product of the National Summer Learning Project, can help. So can this&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/federal-funding-guide-for-summer-and-afterschool.aspx?_ga=2.161918196.990642777.1673471938-1960687172.1666029165">recent guide</a> to federal funding sources. The Westat report&#160; also offers recommendations for summer learning. Finally,&#160;<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/two-summer-programs-inch-towards-normal-as-covid-subsides.aspx?_ga=2.161918196.990642777.1673471938-1960687172.1666029165">this article</a> describes how two longtime summer programs relied on “creativity, flexibility and self-reflection” as they carried out their efforts in 2021.&#160;&#160; </p> ​<br><br><br>Rebecca Haessig1312023-01-17T05:00:00ZCOVID-spurred summer learning push could offer lessons for improved summer experiences beyond the crisis1/17/2023 4:58:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Report Examines How School Districts Ramped Up Summer Learning in Response to Pandemic F​​​​​​or all of the talk about 195https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
It's Here: Wallace's Top Ten Posts of 20221922GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​It has been a busy year here at Wallace. But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s look at a few numbers. Since January 1, 2022, we’ve&#58;</p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"> Launched a new five-year arts initiative with 18 arts organizations of color </div><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Received&#160; more than 1,700 submissions for a new funding&#160;&#160;opportunity focused on adolescents</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Continued working with eight large school districts to explore how to build pipelines that can produce school leaders capable of advancing their own district’s vision of equity</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Published more than 50 reports and articles, including the last of three “knowledge syntheses” examining what recent research says about important topics in school leadership</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Launched two podcast series</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Hosted several webinars and events, some with thousands of attendees</div><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Much of this work has been captured by our editorial staff and guest authors on The Wallace Blog, as you'll see in our annual Top Ten Blog Posts. We think the list gives a good sense of the breadth of our work while highlighting common themes, such as how people working in education and the arts are still experiencing effects from the pandemic, and how everyone is craving conversation (online or, thankfully this year, sometimes in person) with experts and their peers along with data and research.<br><br> We hope you enjoy revisiting these stories, and we hope you learn something new!<br><br><strong>10. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/focusing-on-principal-wellness-6-questions-for-school-leaders.aspx"> <strong>Focusing on Principal Wellness&#58; 6 Questions for School Leaders&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>Four principals—who, together, have more than 30 years of experience as school leaders—discuss what inspired them to become principals, how they deal with burnout and the impact of the pandemic, among other topics.&#160; <strong></strong> <br> <br> <strong>9. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-music-organizations-be-more-inclusive.aspx"> <strong>How Can Music Organizations Be More Inclusive?</strong></a><strong> </strong>In a Chamber Music America podcast episode, Slover Linett researcher Melody Buyukozer Dawkins highlights several insights from a recent study exploring 50 Black Americans’ perception of the arts. She also gives a few key takeaways for ensemble music professionals to use in their own work.<strong></strong><br><br><strong>8. </strong> <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline.aspx"> <strong>Three Districts, One Principal Pipeline&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>In this deep-dive into a sparsely populated section of rural Nebraska, we see how three small districts pooled their talent and resources to implement systemic improvements to the preparation, hiring, support and management of principals.<br><br><strong>7. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-arts-and-culture-organizations-be-more-welcoming.aspx"> <strong>How Can Arts and Culture Organizations Be More Welcoming?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Slover Linett researchers hit our Top 10 list twice this year, this time in a conversation upon the release of their report exploring Black Americans’ perspectives on arts and culture. The report also delves into how organizations can better support Black communities and work to earn their trust and make them feel welcome.<strong></strong><br><br><strong>6. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-takeaways-for-developing-high-quality-principals.aspx"> <strong>Five Takeaways for Developing High-Quality Principals&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>Two reports released in 2022 show how states, districts and universities all have a role to play in improving the quality of principal preparation. Authors from the two research teams presented highlights from their work​, along with a panel of experts to help dig into the findings. This blog post recaps five key takeaways from that conversation. <strong></strong> <br> <br> <strong>5. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-afterschool-programs-need-social-and-emotional-learning-sel-now.aspx"> <strong>Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>Read highlights from a webinar jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts and the Forum for Youth Investment, which emphasizes how afterschool programs have used SEL strategies to help children throughout the pandemic.<strong></strong><br><br><strong>4. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/social-and-emotional-learning-in-the-spotlight.aspx"> <strong>Social and Emotional Learning in the Spotlight&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post breaks down our three-part podcast series, <em>Let’s Talk Social and Emotional Learning</em>, into short video clips in which Harvard’s Stephanie Jones highlights key topics in <em>Navigating SEL From the Inside Out</em>. <br><br><strong>3. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-arts-workers-navigate-pandemic-induced-burnout.aspx"> <strong>Helping Arts Workers Navigate Pandemic-Induced Burnout&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>Arts organizations offer up a slew of resources and ideas to support health and wellness for people working in the arts. <strong></strong> <br> <br> <strong>2. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/two-summer-programs-inch-towards-normal-as-covid-subsides.aspx"> <strong>Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>What can summer do to help overcome the havoc Covid-19 has wreaked on young people’s lives? A fair bit, according to the parents, kids and staff we interviewed at two summer programs in New York and New Jersey. In the number two blog post of the year, they talk about their experiences, how the programs had to adapt due to the pandemic and what their plans are for the future.&#160;<strong> </strong> <br> <br> <strong>1. </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/new-research-points-to-a-looming-principal-shortage.aspx"> <strong>New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage&#58;</strong></a><strong> </strong>Teacher burnout and shortages have been hot topics all year in the news. But what about principals? In the most viewed blog post of 2022, school leaders discuss how the principal role is changing, why four in ten principals surveyed said they might soon leave the profession and what to do about it.​<br><br></p>Jenna Doleh912022-12-13T05:00:00ZYour favorite reads this year touched on everything from SEL to principals to community arts12/13/2022 3:37:27 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / It's Here: Wallace's Top Ten Posts of 2022 Your favorite reads this year touched on everything from SEL to principals to 797https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Focusing on Principal Wellness: 6 Questions for School Leaders19363GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​For many, this year has been the start of a return to normalcy. But the overwhelming challenges facing schools, students and principals continue to evolve. According to <a href="https&#58;//survey.nassp.org/2022/?__hstc=180157371.bac77909d6215da4a21e8c328eb24c35.1664827493701.1665580618882.1665602121992.5&amp;__hssc=180157371.4.1665602121992&amp;__hsfp=3339776304#leaders" target="_blank">NASSP’s 2022 Survey of America’s School Leaders and High School Students</a>, one out of two school leaders say their stress level is so high, they are considering a career change or retirement, and three-quarters of school leaders report they needed help with their mental or emotional health last year. </p><p>That’s why the focus of this year’s <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/celebrate-your-principal/" target="_blank">National Principals Month</a> is on principal wellness. Celebrated every October, National Principals Month is an opportunity to honor school principals for their leadership and tireless dedication to their students and schools.</p><p>We spoke with four principals—who, together, have more than 30 years of experience as school leaders—about what inspired them to become principals, how they deal with burnout and the impact of the pandemic, among other topics. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/focusing-on-principal-wellness-6-questions-for-school-leaders/Kimberly_Greer_Photo.jpg" alt="Kimberly_Greer_Photo.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;189px;height&#58;252px;" />​<em>Kimberly Greer started her fifth year as principal at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia, this year.</em></p><p> <em> </em></p><p> <strong>What inspired you to become a principal?</strong></p><div> <em>​</em>I have been inspired by the need to ensure success for all students. While it is easy to focus on the majority, we must make sure all students are seen, respected and their needs properly addressed. I feel it is my calling to ensure each student is valued and feels a part of their school community.</div><div> <strong><br></strong></div><div> <strong>Reflecting on the past two years, what are some of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on your job?</strong><br></div><div> <strong><br></strong></div><p>Being a principal has never been easy. However, since the pandemic, school leaders have had to work on supporting the emotional needs of stakeholders. In addition to meeting the needs of students, we’ve had to address the emotional wellness of staff members. Mental health challenges faced by students are greater. The biggest impact of the pandemic is it has provided opportunities to have conversations regarding mental health. We’ve used the pandemic as a chance to normalize these conversations and to remove the stigma associated with the topic. </p><p> <strong>There have been many articles circulating about principal burnout. Have you experienced this and if so, how have you dealt with it? </strong></p><p>I haven’t experienced burnout, but weariness has been felt at varying times over the past two years. I approach each day as a new opportunity. This has helped me to avoid burnout. Educational leadership isn’t easy. What keeps me going is the recognition that I have thousands of students and their families depending on me, as well as hundreds of staff members. I must provide support to all stakeholders so we are able to remain focused on students and their success.</p><p> <strong>What do principals need in order to feel supported?</strong></p><p>We need first and foremost for our humanity to be recognized. We are people who carry the weight of our schools, divisions and communities on our shoulders. We need people to check on us and make sure we're okay. Concern for our mental and physical wellness goes a long way. We are strong individuals, but we are human.<br></p><p> <strong>What advice do you have for aspiring principals?</strong></p><p>Build your network. Realize you can’t do it alone. Have fun. The job is tough, but find joy in the work. Young people are incredible, and we’re blessed to be a part of their journeys.</p><p> <strong>What is the best part about being a principal? What experience will stay with you long after you’ve retired?</strong></p><p>The best part is seeing your vision realized. It is incredible to consider that our decisions today will continue to impact our students long after they graduate. The experience that will stay with me is hearing seniors at last year’s graduation recite the sign-off I have used during the morning announcements since I became principal in 2018. This gesture meant they were listening and taking to heart the message I work daily to impart to students&#58; be kind-hearted human beings who take care of yourselves and one another.<br><br> </p><p> <em> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/focusing-on-principal-wellness-6-questions-for-school-leaders/Twainna_Fortner_Calhoun_photo.jpg" alt="Twainna_Fortner_Calhoun_photo.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;195px;height&#58;195px;" />Twainna Calhoun, principal at Good Hope Middle School in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, has been in school administration for 20 years and has been principal at her current school for 17 years. </em></p><p> <strong>What inspired you to become a principal?</strong></p><p>I think I've always had leadership in me. I have nine siblings, and I was led by awesome principals during my career. Every one of my principals saw something in me that they also thought would make a good leader. The legacy laid out in front of me inspired me to be a principal.</p><p> <strong>Reflecting on the past two years, what are some of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on your job? </strong></p><p>The isolation. The students, teachers and parents had been social distancing. And we’re finally getting back to where we were in March 2020. The isolation had a huge impact on my building and getting everyone motivated again. It seemed like the students post-pandemic lost motivation and had given up, but we just had to make it fun again. For instance, we started having pep rallies and spirit days again. The kids really enjoy that. That’s part of the school experience. The social aspect is important as well as the academics.</p><p> <strong>There have been many articles circulating about principal burnout. Have you experienced this and if so, how have you dealt with it? </strong></p><p>I have, definitely. As a matter of fact, this time last year I was job searching. I just thought I couldn’t do it anymore because one thing after another was compounding. But my principal colleagues—being a part of NASSP, being a part of the Louisiana Association of Principals—have helped me. Listening to their stories and knowing that I’m not alone helped me realize I can get through this. I’m not trying to be cliché, but the first day of school this year was probably the most excited I’ve been because I just put the spirit back into being a principal. I was born to do this. I came back and remembered my purpose. There are going to be roadblocks. My students, my staff and my own children are what inspired me to keep going. </p><p> <strong>What do principals need in order to feel supported?</strong></p><p>Districts can show support by attending our sporting events. It is helpful for district personnel to drop in and visit, not simply when there is a crisis. An &quot;atta girl&quot; goes a long way when you are a building leader. </p><p> <strong>What advice do you have for aspiring principals?</strong></p><p>Be confident. Because you are the building leader. You have to make decisions that are not popular, but you have to be confident in what you do. You have to be intentional, and be a good listener. Listening goes beyond paying attention when other people talk. It’s your response. You have to be a motivator. But I think the most important thing is being confident in what you do. You have to be prepared to be the decision maker. Take the bad and the good. You’re going to get the praise one day, and not so good feedback the next. Be organized. Be balanced, and be a visionary. You have to see beyond tomorrow.</p><p> <strong>What is the best part about being a principal? What experience will stay with you long after you’ve retired?</strong></p><p>The best part of being a principal is building relationships. I was born and raised here, and I’ve been in my building for 17 years. I’ve built relationships with teachers, and even after they’ve retired, I still communicate with them. One of my students is about to be my dentist now. Another student is now a teacher in our building, and he said I inspired him to become a teacher. I’ve actually had three students come back to teach. So just that experience of them coming back and wanting to be part of the process will stay with me long after I’ve retired.<br><br></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/focusing-on-principal-wellness-6-questions-for-school-leaders/Aaron_Huff_Headshot.jpeg" alt="Aaron_Huff_Headshot.jpeg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;189px;height&#58;284px;" />Aaron Huff, principal at Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana, spent three years working as an assistant principal and has now been a principal for 11 years. </em></p><p> <strong>What inspired you to become a principal?</strong></p><p>I started working at the YMCA in youth outreach my senior year of high school and continued that work through college as an afterschool care supervisor while attending Ball State University. Upon graduation, I returned to my school district and started working as a site coordinator. During my time at BSU, my mother had become an assistant principal, and I watched her impact generations of children and families. She became a highly recognizable assistant principal and principal. One who garnered the respect of the whole community. People always spoke about the impact she had on their life. Little did I know that my becoming a principal would lead to me replacing my mother as the principal of Bosse High School. </p><p> <strong>Reflecting on the past two years, what are some of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on your job? </strong></p><p>I would say the biggest impacts the pandemic has had on the principalship relate to the mental health of students and staff. Also, I have seen an increase in student apathy. We are now experiencing the ripple effects of a prolonged pause in education. There are economic impacts and prolonged health impacts. The shortage of teachers and administration is a real challenge for the future of education.</p><p> <strong>There have been many articles circulating about principal burnout. Have you experienced this and if so, how have you dealt with it? </strong></p><p>I'd be lying if I said I hadn't. I am just fortunate to have a village around me that is extremely supportive and encouraging. I work with great individuals and students that keep me motivated. Burnout is experienced when I have to deal with the outside noise around education that prevents me from doing the things most important to our children and advancing our school. I also try to find the &quot;balance,&quot; literally and figuratively. I have taken up hot yoga, and that time on the mat is precious and is the opportunity for me to hit the reset button.</p><p> <strong>What do principals need in order to feel supported?</strong></p><p>I think principals need to be heard. Their voice then causes decision-makers to reevaluate, reconsider and adjust policy, practice and protocols that negatively impact the principalship. Acknowledge and support the work principals are doing to improve student educational outcomes.</p><p> <strong>What advice do you have for aspiring principals?</strong></p><p>Anyone can put time and energy into a position. As a principal, pour your heart into it, and keep students at the center. Organizations can't grow without great leaders willing to grow the people around them while they grow. Seek out various perspectives and schools of thought. Don't be consumed by maintaining day-to-day operations. Choose to think outside the box, and give permission to the people you lead to think outside the box. </p><p> <strong>What is the best part about being a principal? What experience will stay with you long after you’ve retired?</strong></p><p>The students, families, colleagues and friends you interact with daily. They become your family. I love the ability to alter a young person's life for the better.&#160; I value collaborative leadership and learning from others. Giving space for teachers to become leaders within the building. Creating an environment that students, families and community members love and want to be a part of. I cherish the connections with students and former students. Those are great memories. When you run into former students in the community, and they simply say thank you and share what they are doing now is what will stay with me.<br><br></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/focusing-on-principal-wellness-6-questions-for-school-leaders/Lawson_Charles_Derrick__Headshot_2022.jpg" alt="Lawson_Charles_Derrick__Headshot_2022.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;159px;height&#58;239px;" />Derrick Lawson has been principal at Indio High School in Indio, California, for seven years and is in his 37th year of working in education. <strong></strong></em></p><p> <strong>What inspired you to become a principal?</strong></p><p>During my high school years, I was facing some significant personal life challenges. One of the assistant principals at my high school went the second, third and fourth mile to make a difference in my life and to ensure that the potential he saw in me would come to fruition. He and his wife both invested time and resources to help me stay connected to school and get through the circumstances that could have resulted in my going off in a direction that would have led me to become a very different person from who I am today. I want to do the same for others.</p><p> <strong>Reflecting on the past two years, what are some of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on your job? </strong></p><p>First, recalibrating the way I spend my time in order to address the needs of my staff. We’ve had to find a new balance to their own responses to trauma and new energy levels when they are taxed to the point of exhaustion trying to meet the needs of students in this new post-COVID paradigm. The second biggest impact is leading my school family in the reestablishment of our school culture. So many of our kids came back impacted by anxiety, fear and personal trauma, or they have returned with an exuberance and zeal for being back at school. There really is no middle ground and, in reality, only my seniors were truly a part of the school culture that existed prior to the pandemic. It is as if we are having to begin at “ground zero” once again. I am perpetually reminding everyone that we cannot take for granted that all of our staff and students fully remember, understand or embrace all of the traditions, expectations and experiences that make us who we are as a school.</p><p> <strong>There have been many articles circulating about principal burnout. Have you experienced this and if so, how have you dealt with it? </strong></p><p>While burnout has not been something I’ve experienced, I will say yes, I have experienced some exhausting times of stress and have had to take some specific actions to make sure that burnout does not become a potential on my horizon. I make it a point daily to take a break and find my point of joy. When I was an elementary school principal, that was visiting a kindergarten class full of kids hanging on my pant leg and wanting to hang all over me as I read a story to them. That was such a gratifying and fulfilling experience. In my high school, it may be shooting a few hoops at PE with some of my kids, going to the band room and having an impromptu performance on the piano during a practice piece or joining a science lab group as one of the students. My kids keep me level.<strong></strong></p><p> <strong>What do principals need in order to feel supported?</strong></p><p>From parents, principals need patience and grace. We care about their kids, too! But when we are juggling so many things at once, some days it is like drinking water from a firehose. I tell my parents, your issue or concern is not lost or ignored, we just may need time to be able to address it appropriately. From peers, we need one another’s empathy on those challenging days. Brilliance and expertise on days when we need to tap the skill set of others so that we can learn. Being the leader at the top can be a solitary place at times. From the district, we need flexibility in mandates and deadlines. Every day is different as we strive to uplift our staff and students and as we try to address the demands and pressures to provide a “return to normalcy” while also entertaining the changes of a whole new education paradigm. From students, we need their commitment to&#58; experience school—get involved in activities, clubs, sports and career tech pathways; Explore—new learning, stretch yourself, grow; and Exhibit—good character, acceptance of others, making good choices and being a member of our school family.</p><p> <strong>What advice do you have for aspiring principals?</strong></p><p>I feel strongly that as school site administrators, we have the potential to have the greatest impact on shaping the next generation. I recommend my own version of the ‘three R’s’&#58; relationships, reflection and renewal. It is important that we take the time to first build relationships with fellow site administrators and to provide mutual support and inspiration. Second, it is important to end each and every day with a moment of reflection. What would you do differently? Give yourself some kudos and reflect on something you did well or on how you made an impact, and let that be the last thing you think about when you go home for the evening. Make certain that it is not the challenges, but the successes that you bring home with you. Finally, take time for renewal. Refill your emotional bucket with some self-care. Refill your professional bucket by learning something new. And then include time for physical renewal with exercise, meditation, or something else that recharges your battery.</p><p> <strong>What is the best part about being a principal? What experience will stay with you long after you’ve retired?</strong></p><p>The best part about being a principal is the relationships that we build as we seek to guide and develop better talents for the futures of students and staff. I have a folder that I call my “blue folder”. Here I save every card, every story, every email—the smiles, the memories and the treasured moments where I was able to make a difference. While I may not be rich in dollars, I am one of the wealthiest people you will ever meet when it comes to memories and connections. I am blessed daily to cross paths with people who, over my years as a principal, stop to share a smile, a hug, a thank you or a treasured memory. That is pure gold.</p>Jenna Doleh912022-10-26T04:00:00ZFour principals reflect on their experiences and share how we can support them during National Principals Month—and throughout the year.10/26/2022 6:23:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Focusing on Principal Wellness: 6 Questions for School Leaders Four principals reflect on their experiences and share how 3750https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
University's Revamped Principal Training Yields Changes for District, Too45694GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>W​​​​​​hen Henrico County Public Schools and Virginia State University began their partnership six years ago, their goal was to improve the university’s principal preparation program. Here’s what wasn’t on the horizon&#58; redesigning the district’s leadership professional development.&#160;</p><p>But what began as a Wallace-sponsored initiative to ensure that university training of future principals reflected research-based practices, ended up sparking a big rethink of leader prep within Henrico itself. The result? Changes to and expansion of professional development across the spectrum from teacher-leaders all the way up to principal supervisors. </p><p>“This was an opportunity for us to develop a new partnership, to strengthen our principal pipeline and to be involved in the work of the principal preparation program,” says Tracie Weston, director of professional development at Henrico County Public Schools, which serves about 50,000 students in suburban Richmond. </p><p>The&#160; “opportunity” in question was the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), in which seven universities in seven states each worked with a handful of local school districts and others to reshape their school-leader training programming to incorporate what research has found about everything from curriculum and clinical experiences to candidate admissions. Virginia State was one of those universities, and Henrico County was one of its partner districts, working, like all the other initiative districts, to ensure that the university programs responded to the needs and circumstances of the locales that hired program graduates. </p><p>An unexpected outcome, however, was that working to boost the university programming inspired the district to boost its own development efforts, according to a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/district-partnerships-with-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">study</a> by the RAND Corp. The initiative “raised the visibility of school leadership in the district and created a window of opportunity where district leadership supported PD,”&#160; RAND reported, using the initials for “professional development.” A number of changes resulted. For example, some of the topics addressed in the refashioned district PD, including leadership dispositions and equity, reflected priorities that Virginia State and its partner districts had discussed in redesigning the university program, according to RAND’s <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/redesigning-university-principal-preparation-programs-full-report.pdf">in-depth examination</a> of the initiative. And Henrico’s PD for sitting principals began pairings of district leaders with sitting principals to emphasize policy and practice–an approach used in the university program. </p><p>Henrico County works successfully with a number of pre-service preparation programs, Weston says. As a district with a highly diverse student population, the school system welcomed collaborating as well with Virginia State, a historically Black university with a strong commitment to educational equity. “Much of our work in the college of education has been to bring about greater equity in the face of teacher education, counselor education and K-12 administration,” said Willis Walter, the university’s dean of education. “We have a fairly simple conceptual framework that is deeply rooted in culturally responsive pedagogy, and I think that is, for the most part, what attracted Henrico to some of the concepts we were teaching. We come at education from the standpoint of everyone has strengths.”</p><p>When it started working with the university, the district had several different programs that looked at pieces of leadership, but not leadership as a whole. </p><p>“To strengthen the things Henrico was already doing well, we wanted to make sure they had the right people at the table and the most vetted and best practices that were out there. And the best way of doing that was us working together,” Walter said. </p><p>The school system and university representatives bonded quickly,&#160; according to Walter. “I think that's because there was a common passion and a common focus,” ​he said. “We had some real knock-down, dragged-out conversations, but because everyone in the room trusted and appreciated the point of view that the other was coming from, it was never taken to an extreme.”</p><p>At the start of the initiative, Henrico had a small team responsible for providing professional learning for school leaders. Because these team members had all been principals, they recognized the need for ongoing, job-embedded professional learning for all leaders, including teachers. Throughout the UPPI partnership, Weston recalls, there were conversations about additional areas that needed to be included in a principal preparation program to ensure that leaders understood the responsibilities of the position, and that they were prepared for those responsibilities. These conversations led to taking a closer look at what professional learning the partner districts themselves were providing for school leaders. </p><p>The “moment of magic” as Weston calls it–the moment that led to the district wanting to revamp its entire professional development process–occurred when Henrico visited Gwinnett County, Ga., whose school district, known for its leader-development endeavors, worked with Virginia State in the UPPI.&#160; </p><p>Within the first six months of seeing the work in Gwinnett (a participant in an earlier Wallace venture), Henrico had developed its Aspiring Leader Academy, a district program designed to help prepare those aspiring to leadership jobs for their future administrative positions. Henrico’s goal was to create a program that was “meaningful, relevant&#160;and sustainable,” according to Weston. The interest in that academy was so high that Henrico expanded and introduced some new features to it.&#160; </p><p>“In year two, not only were we looking to identify our next school leaders, but we also wanted to provide professional learning for teachers who wanted to lead from the classroom–those who wanted to stay but grow,” said Weston. So, Henrico introduced a track for&#160;teacher-leaders. Both aspiring principal and teacher-leader tracks were aligned with national model standards for school leadership, the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/professional-standards-for-educational-leaders-2015.aspx">Professional Standards for Educational Leaders</a>, and, while in training, the two groups came together for the morning sessions, which were led by the school system’s top administrative leaders–superintendents and directors–so that the candidates had the opportunity to “learn through the broader lens vision of how we work together to maximize student achievement.”</p><p>The afternoon sessions were tailored to the two different tracks, with the aspiring principals in one room and aspiring teacher-leaders in another.</p><p>District leaders also identified a gap in Henrico’s professional learning effort&#58; development for assistant principals. They created a third track based on the teacher-leader effort, called the Assistant Principal Learning Series. In this track, candidates participate in “action research,” where assistant principals look at a problem of practice at their school. In their second year of the program, they can tap into more personalized options–at present more than 17 to choose from.</p><p>“So in the year we kicked off the AP learning series, every leader in Henrico County was getting a minimum of one day of professional learning targeted to an area of leadership where they felt they needed growth,” Weston said.<strong> </strong></p><p>After adding APs, Henrico expanded the program yet again to include principal supervisors. That means that today the district has professional learning opportunities for aspiring leaders to assistant principals and principals all the way up to supervisors.</p><p>There may be more to come. “We're so excited about the work that we were exposed to and the connections we made, that we want to create a statewide cohort of principal supervisors so that principal supervisors across the state are receiving quality, relevant, practical professional learning for their positions,” Weston said.</p><p>Weston and Walter credit the partnership between the university and district for improving principal development on both sides. </p><p>“We were looking at best practice from a theory standpoint, and they were looking at best practice from an application standpoint,” Walter said. “I think the merging of those two benefited both of us. We were able to bring more relevant examples to our candidates that were about to graduate as well as to make sure that our faculty were on the right page when it came to the conversations they were having with prospective administrators in many of our surrounding communities.”</p><p>Although the grant from the University Principal Preparation Initiative has ended, Henrico and VSU have continued their strong partnership.</p><p>“It's an ongoing partnership where we lift one another, we share resources, we share experiences,” Weston said. “We're helping Virginia State see what the boots-on-the-ground challenges are, and how that can be reflected in the coursework that the students are being exposed to so that when they graduate, they are ready for the real-life challenges of K-12.”</p><p>Both Weston and Walter have advice for other districts and universities that wish to take on similar partnerships to revamp the way they develop and support school leaders. </p><p>“We always focused on the K-12 student, not on the personality, not on the administration,” Walter said. “It was all about what is best for the K-12 students in that community.”</p><p>Weston emphasized the importance of being willing&#160; to lean on partners for support. “Have conversations, reach out, make connections,” she said. “Because we learn from one another.”&#160;<br></p>Jenna Doleh912022-09-14T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/14/2022 2:10:49 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / University's Revamped Principal Training Yields Changes for District, Too How one school district looked to its university 1926https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Covering Education in a Crisis3680GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Education has been at the center of the news over the past couple of years as the nation continues to wrestle with the pandemic and the havoc it has wreaked on schools. Education writers, too, have at times found themselves having to stretch to cover more areas of public policy, health issues and basic concerns like food and housing.<br></p><p>In early 2020, just before the first cases of Covid began to surface in the U.S., the Education Writers Association commissioned the EdWeek Research Center to conduct a study of education journalism. Released the following year, the <a href="https&#58;//www.ewa.org/" target="_blank">State of the Beat report</a> surveyed 419 education journalists, following up with 24 phone conversations, to tell the story of the people who are covering education today.&#160; According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents said education journalism is a career path they’re committed to pursuing, and 98 percent said their w​​​ork has had a positive impact on the community. Despite these positive perceptions, education journalists surveyed indicated that they face serious challenges–from outright harassment and hostility to diminishing resources, financial difficulties&#160;and the public’s distrust in the news media.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“​School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home.​” — Linda Jacobson<br></p><p>The Wallace blog spoke with two education writers to discuss some of the obstacles and bright spots they’ve encountered and how the pandemic has affected the education beat in general. Linda Jacobson, senior writer at The 74 Million, has been covering education for over a decade, and Dahlia Bazzaz, education reporter at The Seattle Times, has been covering education for about four years. Her first two years at the publication were spent as an engagement editor for the <a href="https&#58;//www.seattletimes.com/education-lab-about/" target="_blank">Education Lab</a>, a project that started in 2013 that spotlights promising approaches to some of the most persistent challenges in public education. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; Linda, as a veteran in education writing, can you talk about how the education beat has changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>Linda Jacobson&#58; </strong>For me, the access to and growing awareness of families’ and educators’ lives outside of school has been a noticeable departure from how I, and probably many other reporters, routinely interacted with sources prior to the pandemic. School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home. Did they have reliable internet? Were students sharing a study space with siblings? Did they have to go to work with their parents? I know I also had to develop knowledge in some areas that were outside the typical boundaries of education policy. COVID testing, vaccines, supply chain issues&#160;and broadband access are a few examples. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Dahlia, You were a member of EWA’s New to the Beat rookie class in 2018. What was it like being newer to the education beat in the middle of a pandemic? Can you talk about some of the challenges?&#160; </strong></p><p> <strong>Dahlia Bazzaz&#58;</strong> By the time the pandemic began, I had been a full-time reporter for about two years, and an engagement editor for the education team for two years prior to that. For some context, I covered the closure of Bothell High School in the Seattle area, the first school in the United States to shutter in the pandemic. I remember pairing up with our health reporter at the time for that first story, and believing it would blow over. A few months prior, a Seattle school had closed because of a norovirus outbreak, so this type of story wasn’t unusual to me. Two days later, on February 29, when a King County man’s death was announced as the first known in the U.S. from the coronavirus, I realized I had helped write some of the earliest pages of our pandemic history. One of our stories, about the order closing all schools in King County, actually “broke” the analytics tracker that the Seattle Times uses and set a pageview record. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">“</span>To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020.<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”</span> — Dahlia Bazzaz​<br></p><p>The pressure and responsibility we felt, and still feel, was immense. Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. Almost every day early on, someone would cry during an interview. Then I would cry afterward as I processed their worries about their future and my own. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback and attention on our reporting from around the world.&#160; </p><p>It was a huge test of everything I’d learned about the education system and government until that point. To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020. I also found myself truly living in every single beat—one day a health reporter, researching the best air filtration systems for schools, another day out at protests against institutional racism and police brutality. The definition of education beat reporter has really expanded. </p><p>A lot of things helped me keep going. I am fortunate to live and work in a community where there are many kids and adults willing to spend time speaking with a reporter in the midst of chaos and trauma in their lives. I am forever thankful to them for their trust. My experienced colleagues came up with the questions I never thought to ask because my reporting or life hadn’t taken me there yet. The Education Lab team has also kept a steady lens on racism and inequity in schools, which meant our first questions and stories centered on how the pandemic would affect kids of color, kids receiving special education services and kids living in low-income communities. I’m a better education reporter now, almost four years into the game, than I was two years ago. But part of that improvement is realizing how much I didn’t know and how much I still need to learn. The pandemic made me see that. <br></p><p> <strong>WF&#58; According to the State of the Beat report, access has been a challenge for education journalists. What kind of access do you have to school leaders and how has that changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>Because I cover education from a national perspective and don’t concentrate on a specific district, it’s rare that I get to visit and meet with leaders in person. It might only happen if I’m reporting on something in the Los Angeles area, where I live, or traveling for a story. But I’m constantly developing connections with superintendent and principal organizations at both the national and state levels. On deadline, they’ve been quick to refer me to principals or district leaders, and I’ve found that throughout the pandemic, many have been especially candid about their experiences.<br><br> Perhaps it’s because whether they were in rural Georgia or the Pacific Northwest, they’ve all experienced the same dilemmas—burned out teachers, annoyed parents and disengaged students. Instead of being reticent, many leaders I’ve interviewed over the past two years have talked as if they were almost waiting for someone to ask how they were coping. Our retrospective on&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/700-days-since-school-lockdown-covid-ed-lessons/" target="_blank">700 days</a> of the pandemic, in particular, was a platform for some of these leaders to share their personal and professional reflections. </p><p> <strong>DB&#58; </strong>Because Western Washington schools opened later compared to the rest of the country, there was a good solid year where our coverage took place outside. We managed to get inside a few schools in between, but they were outside of the Seattle area, where policies on visitors inside schools were less restrictive. Since schools reopened full-time this past fall, the access has been really dependent on the district. Some are much more open and friendly to reporters than others. Or the access appears predicated on the type of story we’re pursuing. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; The survey also shows that journalists are split on whether or not K-12 schools were going in the right direction—roughly half say they are going in the right direction and the other half say they’re not. Do you think these numbers would look different now, given everything that has changed in the education field over the past 2 years? Why or why not?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>My coverage largely focuses on this exact question, so I don’t think it’s my place to share any personal perspectives here or speculate on what journalists would say. It’s important for me to keep the lines of communication open with sources that fully believe in traditional public schools as well as those working outside of the system to offer new options to children and families. Besides, there’s never an easy answer to that question. For students and families, these aren’t simple, either-or choices. There are challenges and marks of success with all schools and educational models.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58;</strong> This is a hard question because I personally don’t feel we have a uniform experience of education in the United States. It is vast, it is inequitable and it is largely dependent on zip code. I think we’ve seen how heavily state and local policies drive what happens in schools, especially when it comes to funding and the efforts in places to suppress teaching about racism and social issues. </p><p>Here in Washington State, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a lot of things that make me hopeful at the local level. Our job at Education Lab is to find promising, research-backed solutions to longstanding problems in education. For example, I’ve been able to read and report about ways schools and nonprofits are successfully improving kids’ reading skills or finding alternatives to suspending and expelling students. But for a variety of reasons, promising practices can take a long time before they float up to state policy, if they even do at all. School districts still rake in more money if their community has high home values and is amenable to passing levies. So, even within a state, there can be a multitude of different experiences and outcomes for kids. I don’t believe the pandemic has changed this. <br></p><p> <strong>WF&#58; How do you cover such hot-button issues while retaining your journalistic point of view?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>I’ve worked hard over the past two years to understand the arguments on all sides of the more contentious issues we’ve covered—reopening schools, mask mandates, vaccine requirements, discussions of race and gender. I always try to represent the multiple positions in my articles, and again, for families and teachers, these issues can be more complicated than the public debate suggests. We try to capture that when we can. I think we’ve also strived to give readers realistic expectations about where things are headed and the relevant legal and policy options. If a lawsuit or piece of legislation has no chance of advancing, we try to make that clear.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58; </strong>I think the key to covering hot-button issues is not losing sight of who the issue will affect the most. Because that is often not the person who will be the most accessible to the press or the loudest person in the room. In education reporting, we need to remind ourselves that it’s about the kids. They are the recipients of this system. It matters the most what happens to them as a result of any policy or change.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What are some of the big issues we should be watching in 2022? Where might we see some “bright spots”?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58;</strong> We ran an article in the fall of 2020 with the headline, “Right Now, All Students are Mobile,” quoting a source with expertise on the issue of student mobility. There are students who have spent each year of the pandemic in a different schooling situation—traditional, homeschooled, a virtual charter. Recent research is showing that the correlation between multiple school changes and declining academic performance is even stronger than previously thought. It’s another aspect of the long-term effects of the pandemic’s disruption that I know I want to better understand.<br><br> With our recent coverage of&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/covid-school-enrollment-students-move-away-from-urban-districts-virtual/" target="_blank">enrollment trends</a>, I think it’s important to keep following the departure of students from urban districts and the tough decisions leaders will make regarding school consolidations and closures. And we need to understand where families are going, what districts and new models they’re choosing and how those decisions are working for students.<br><br> Data is emerging not just on how districts plan to spend federal relief money, but actually how they’ve spent it. There are endless opportunities there to track where it goes and what difference it makes for students.​<br></p><p> Certainly, we’ll be watching the midterm elections. President Biden already hasn’t been able to accomplish all he set out to do in the early phases of his presidency—including his plan for child care, universal pre-K, and teacher and administrator preparation. And if Republicans gain control of the House—or the House and Senate—that could bring his agenda to a standstill.<br><br> As for bright spots, I would expect that districts have learned a lot from the past two summers and that there would be even more ambitious and creative examples of summer learning programs to watch this year.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58;</strong> I’m interested in watching how schools spend their unprecedented amount in federal aid due to the pandemic. The last of those funds expire in a couple of years from now, so we’ll need to keep our eyes on those dollars for a while. These funds can be used to start helpful beneficial programs for kids most affected by the past two years, and we need to be shining a light on where and if that happens—and whether people in power will invest to prolong their lifespan. We should also be holding leaders accountable for the promises they made to improve the education system for Black and brown students in 2020.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912022-05-24T04:00:00ZTwo journalists discuss the challenges and rewards of working the education beat and how COVID-19 has changed things for them10/5/2022 1:33:51 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Covering Education in a Crisis Two journalists discuss the challenges and rewards of working the education beat and how 1570https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Three Districts, One Principal Pipeline2845GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>R​​ecent research has shown that <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/How-Principals-Affect-Students-and-Schools-A-Systematic-Synthesis-of-Two-Decades-of-Research.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">strong principal leadership is key to improved student achievement</a> and provided evidence of&#160;how building <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">principal pipelines can work</a> to better support school leaders working in large urban districts. But how can smaller, rural districts achieve this kind of success as well?<br></p><p>Three&#160;districts in central Nebraska–Grand Island Public Schools, Hastings Public Schools and Kearney Public Schools–are hoping to address this question by pooling their talent and resources to implement systemic improvements to the preparation, hiring, support and management of principals. Working together they have developed a model for an intensive internship and contextually-driven experience for teacher-leaders who are interested in becoming principals, called the Tri-City ASCEND Academy. Combined, Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney serve more than 19,000 students. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Tawana_Grover.jpg" alt="Tawana_Grover.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;210px;" />“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?” said Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools. </p><p>The ASCEND Academy is a shared leadership program that offers teachers who are ready to take on administrative roles the opportunity to get hands-on experience. It is aligned with leading national <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx?_ga=2.45912679.239897736.1650464379-225658064.1650464379">research</a> on the elements necessary to building&#160;and maintaining a&#160;pipeline of high-quality&#160;school leaders, including&#160;leader standards that guide all aspects of principal development and support;&#160;rigorous&#160;preservice preparation&#160;for aspiring&#160;principals; selective hiring and placement of these professionals; and on-the-job induction, evaluation and support. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We asked ourselves, how can we come together to ensure that we have high-quality educators ready to serve in the principal role where they feel confident?”&#160;<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>—</em></span><em>​&#160;Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Toni_Palmer.jpg" alt="Toni_Palmer.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;154px;height&#58;192px;" />“When we think about leadership standards—the competencies that our leaders need to have in order to influence people to move the continuous improvement process forward—building [the participants’] level of understanding of the knowledge and scope of that leadership capacity has to be in place in order to make that happen,” said Toni Palmer, chief of leadership and learning at Grand Island Public Schools. “We were really focused on equity-driven leadership and how we can build their level of knowledge and understanding of how to lead through that lens.” </p><p>The effort&#160;emerged in part from Nebraska's involvement in a Wallace-sponsored community of 11 states seeking to bolster the principalship. ASCEND participants ​were assigned and able to learn from their own home districts, and they were also given the opportunity to intern in the other two districts within one semester. After graduating, they can be hired in any of the Tri-City districts. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.”&#160;<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>—</em></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">&#160;</span><em>​Jessica Schroeder, &#160;academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools</em>​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" alt="Jessica_Schroeder.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;250px;" />Jessica Schroeder, currently an academic support coach at Grand Island Public Schools, was one of the first three graduates of the program, which was launched in fall 2021. She had the opportunity to intern as a principal in Kearney and Hastings as well. </p><p>“Seeing all the hats a principal wears was so valuable,” Schroeder said. “When you are a teacher, or in my case an academic support coach, you don't always see what goes into a principal's day. The ASCEND internship gave me that opportunity.”</p><p>Leaders in all three of the districts hypothesized&#160;that program participants&#160;would benefit by interning in different spots, although they realized that the logistics of arranging for this variety of placements&#160;would be complex.&#160;&#160;​​<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/Kent_Edwards.jpg" alt="Kent_Edwards.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;148px;height&#58;222px;" />“We knew our overall goal and objectives, but bringing structure to it took an investment of thought and time,'' said Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools. “Involving three separate school districts and three separate school boards brought forward the importance of communication and coordination between all of our districts.”</p><p>The districts’ boards approved the use of funds, and with a highly selective process, they chose their first three candidates. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/three-districts-one-principal-pipeline/JeffSchneider.JPG" alt="JeffSchneider.JPG" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;226px;" />“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,” said Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools. “We also wanted them to learn the best practices of the district they were interning in and share these best practices with their home district.”</p><p>The three participants who were chosen kept weekly journals of their experiences to track progress and also met regularly with other educators&#160;from the districts they were interning with to work on professional development. “Each intern was exposed to three different leaders, three different structures, and three different practices and protocols to accomplish the mission of education,” said Edwards. “Each of the interns also were able to inventory and apply their own respective styles and ideas. Practically, a far better experience than any coursework could provide.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We hoped the candidates would get a feel for what it is like to be in an actual administrative position rather than just learning about administrative positions,”<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em>&#160;<em>Jeff Schneider, superintendent of Hastings Public Schools.​</em><br></p><p>Schroeder, along with the other two participants, met with the district supervisors and learned about local principal performance&#160;standards, as well as how to process the&#160;problems of practice that one might experience as a first-year principal. </p><p>“There are many situations that you discuss in your college classes, but to experience them and have someone else to process through was very beneficial,” she said. “You were also able to see how the principal prioritized different situations that came up during the school day. Deciding what needed immediate attention versus something that could wait was a valuable lesson. I was also able to develop relationships with the principals I worked with. I feel because of this internship, I have two exceptional principals I can reach out to if I need advice or support.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems.<em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span>​—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em>​​</em><br></p><p></p><p> Representatives from all three districts said the communication and partnership among them&#160;became essential&#160;for the work to succeed. “The relationship between the superintendents included trust and respect,” said Grover. “We found ourselves relying on each other, asking each other ‘what are you doing, how are you going to handle this?’ Our bond became so strong at that point, and I think it allowed us to be very candid about what our needs are as an individual district, and how we're going to work on that together.” ​</p><p>The three districts had something key in&#160;common&#58;&#160;the circumstances of being relatively small and&#160;located in a&#160;rural community.&#160;<br></p><p>“Just being in central Nebraska, there's going to be some things that are unique to us and how we have to go about solving those problems,” Grover said. “The bigger challenge for us compared to some of the larger systems is that we’re not surrounded by all that support. We don’t want these students to think for one minute that they don’t deserve what a larger school district may have to offer. We may have to think differently about how we do it, but the goal of having that highly effective principal should be at the forefront, for us as leaders.”​</p><p>Working together and sharing resources and ideas across all three districts was a way to overcome this challenge. And it could be possible for similar smaller, rural districts to replicate this partnership in their own areas. <br></p><p>“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.” said Grover. “And I think what we've demonstrated is there is power in collaboration. We've demonstrated that we were not going to let location or size be an excuse for us. We’re going to pull our resources together to provide these rich experiences so that we can have high-quality principals available for all of our students.”</p><p>Grover’s advice for districts that&#160;want to take on similar work is to look for opportunities for collaboration,&#160;which proved&#160;beneficial to the Tri-City effort&#160;in a number of&#160;ways. Among other things, the three districts were able to split costs of the program, and they were able to have extra support, with multiple staff members from each district dedicated to the work.&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We came to it with the common understanding that every student deserves to have a highly effective principal leading their building–no matter their zip code, no matter where they are.”&#160;<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">​​</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span><br></p><p>In the first year of the academy, all participants were elementary-school placements. For the 2022-2023 school year, the participants will remain in elementary schools, and&#160;the districts are considering&#160;expanding to the secondary level. Another change is likely to be the number of schools where the participants serve; the districts learned&#160;from the candidates’ feedback that sending the interns&#160;to two different buildings in the same semester was a difficult task. </p><p>“While we liked the exposure to two different leaders, it was also very challenging for them to build relationships with two different sets of staff,” Schneider said. “So this year, they will just intern at one of the other districts as opposed to both.”</p><p>According to Edwards, the districts hoped to develop a stronger&#160;leader pipeline to meet the needs of the respective districts. The districts were able to ascertain if the participants ultimately would&#160; have&#160;the skills and traits of the kind of leadership they needed for their schools. And even if a&#160;match ends&#160;up not working, districts stand&#160;to gain from the&#160;endeavor. “Should they [the participants] elect not to pursue a formal leadership position, however, the district would still benefit, informally, from their decision to remain in their current position,” he said. “They would have a completely different perspective.”</p><p>Schroeder offered up some advice for future participants in the program, noting that her experience as one of its first three participants was both challenging and rewarding.<br></p><p>“The best advice I have is to ask questions,” she said. “I asked lots of questions to understand what the principal's thought process was for the decisions they made. My other piece of advice is to enjoy this experience. It was definitely an experience that challenged me. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable to learn and to grow through this experience truly helped me develop more confidence in myself as an instructional leader.”&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact.”&#160;<em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">—</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"><em>Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools.​</em></span><em style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">​​</em><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;"></span><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”&#160;</span>​​<br></p><p>As the Tri-City ASCEND Academy prepares for its second year, educators in smaller districts and rural areas elsewhere&#160;might take notice.&#160;​“When we're able to lift up leaders across the state, ultimately we're going to have a national impact,” Grover said. “Kids all across the country can benefit from the seeds that are sown right here in the heartland.”<br></p><p> <em>Lead photo above&#58; ​Educators involved in the first year of the Tri-City ASCEND Academy included (from left to right)&#58; Kent Edwards, superintendent of Kearney Public Schools and Shannon Blaschko, selected as an intern from that district; Tawana Grover, superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, and Jessica Schroeder, selected as a Grand Island intern; and Tamisha Osgood, an intern selected from Hastings Public schools and Superintendent Jeff Schneider.</em></p>Jenna Doleh912022-04-26T04:00:00ZAn inside look at how three rural districts worked together to train, develop and support principals4/28/2022 12:00:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Three Districts, One Principal Pipeline An inside look at how three rural districts worked together to train, develop and 2993https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage44693GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​Teacher burnout and shortages have been<a href="https&#58;//www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/NEA%20Member%20COVID-19%20Survey%20Summary.pdf" target="_blank"> making headlines </a>for months now as schools have struggled to adequately staff their classrooms. But what about the school leaders who are managing the constant changes and crises, and facing sometimes hostile criticism of their decision making? Turns out they’re not immune to the burnout their colleagues are reporting, and experts say the fallout could severely impact the principal pipeline for years to come.</p><p>The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has released an&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.nassp.org/news/nassp-survey-signals-a-looming-mass-exodus-of-principals-from-schools/" target="_blank">alarming report</a> based on their national survey of secondary school principals, the results of which indicate a looming exodus of principals from preK-12 schools. A staggering 4 out of 10 principals surveyed expect to leave the profession in the next three years, and the pandemic and increased political tensions are among the factors they cite for accelerating this decision.</p><p>“It’s going to shock the education system,” says Aman Dhanda, chief engagement officer at NASSP says of the findings. But she also noted that, while alarming, the results of the survey were not surprising.</p><p>Brian Cox, a principal at Johnson Middle School in Cheyenne, Wyo., agrees. “Issues have compounded from the pandemic, the political climate,” he says. “Nothing has been calm from 2019 to the present.”</p><p>Indeed, beyond managing significant changes in running their schools as the pandemic continues, some principals have also encountered hostile reactions to their mitigation efforts. More than one-third of principals surveyed said they had been threatened in response to the steps they have taken to stop the spread of COVID in their school.</p><p>“Seeing what’s happening at school board meetings, that’s wearing on our leaders,” says Nancy Antoine, principal of Bridgewater Elementary School in Northfield, Minn. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents reported receiving in-person threats from their local community members, with 20 percent reporting that these threats have made them much less likely to continue as a principal.</p><p>Besides the new challenges that have emerged in the last two years, principals surveyed reported that more commonly known factors like heavy workloads and state accountability measures are most likely to cause them to leave the profession.</p><p>The consequences of the loss of experienced principals cannot be understated.&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx?_ga=2.221791832.1941763541.1645546322-1352763000.1643649010">Recent research</a> tells us that principals are even more important than previously believed. Besides their strong impact on student achievement, effective principals also have positive impacts on teacher satisfaction and retention.</p><p>The ripple effects of losing effective principals could have devastating effects on already resource-scarce schools. “When there is rapid turnover at the principal level a school can lose momentum and any gains in student achievement,” says Kaylen Tucker, associate executive director, communications at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Dhanda at NASSP agrees, adding that students of color and those from low-income families could stand to lose the most. </p><p>What can be done now to prepare for—or better yet, mitigate—a mass exodus of principals over the next few years?</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LWNNEvolutionofPrincipalship.pdf" target="_blank">A new report</a> from NAESP’s&#160;<em>Leaders We Need Now</em> series suggests that the role of the principal has evolved significantly over the past two years, but no corresponding support has followed. This has resulted in a triage effect where principals put important responsibilities, such as equity and school improvement, on the back burner in favor of more immediately pressing tasks like COVID tracing.</p><p>“I hear from principals a lot that they are hyper-focused on keeping their school community safe—and that includes attending to [the community’s] social and emotional needs,” says Tucker.</p><p>The NAESP report points to implications of the evolving role for the principal pipeline, with the biggest impact on job standards and pre-service training. The research shows that crisis management and communications management will be important areas of expertise for principals in the future and both current and new principals will need additional training and support in these areas.</p><p>“The <em>Leaders We Need Now </em>research elevates why investing in principal pipelines takes on even greater urgency now,” says Tucker. “The research demonstrates that all phases of the continuum must be prioritized.”</p><p>Dhanda, too, encourages school districts to invest in the long-term health of their principal pipelines by preparing their school leaders of tomorrow and training their principals today. She points to Atlanta Public Schools as one district that is already addressing this issue by investing in salary increases and staff retention bonuses to attract and retain leaders. District leaders also plan to convene educators on the topic of mental well-being—for students and for the adults in the building too.&#160; </p><p>The NAESP report suggests that besides improving support and professional development for school leaders, redistributing some responsibilities to assistant principals, teacher-leaders and central office staff could help address the changes they’ve identified in the role.</p><p>The principals we spoke to agreed with the redistribution of responsibilities and also emphasized the importance of elevating the voices of principals early on in the decision-making process, not just after new ideas have been implemented. “Building a team or networking system that will embrace leaders and make them feel trusted, listened to and empowered can assist in addressing and taking the next steps to greater success,” says Lisa Higa, principal of Nānākuli Elementary School in Honolulu.</p><p>Many principals themselves are helping to nurture the school leaders of the future. In Minnesota, Antoine teaches graduate-level courses for future school administrators and encourages her fellow principals to identify and support educators to become school leaders, despite all of the challenges the role entails.</p><p>Higa hopes to do the same someday. “There are great leaders out there,” she says. “What message do we ignite in them to empower the field of the principalship?”&#160; </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-23T05:00:00ZSchool leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals might soon leave the profession and what to do about it2/23/2022 3:11:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage School leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals 5457https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary44687GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​In a&#160;recent address, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona described&#160;the challenges that schools face in the coming years as they work to recover from the pandemic.&#160;“We have a daunting and important task ahead of us,” he said, as he introduced his&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/speeches/priorities-speech" target="_blank">priorities for education in America</a>, emphasizing the importance of the next few months for addressing the widening achievement gap. </p><p>Cardona highlighted the urgency of the moment and said it was necessary&#160;not only to&#160;bring the education system back to where it had been&#160;before the pandemic but to address the inequities that have plagued the system since long before the pandemic began.</p><p>“Many of the students who have been most underserved during the pandemic are the same ones who have had to deal with barriers to a high-quality education since well before COVID-19,” he said.&#160;Cardona made his remarks Jan. 27 during what the Department of Education described as a &quot;major address,&quot; at the department, to lay out his &quot;priorities for continued recovery through the pandemic and improving America’s education system more broadly.&quot;<br></p><p>Calling on state and district leaders to take a hard look at their resources and make difficult decisions, Cardona shared a number of key actions he believes should be prioritized for K-12 education&#58;</p><ol><li><em>Increased mental health supports.</em> Cardona called for improved access to mental health supports for students, including an increased hiring of mental health professionals. He urged districts to use <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">Americ​an Rescue Plan</a> funding to hire more staffers and partner with organizations on this issue. He noted one school he visited where every student attended one learning period dedicated to social and emotional well-being or mental health and said he wanted to see that type of work in schools everywhere.<br><br></li><li><em>Academic supports to address unfinished learning.</em> Recognizing the impact that missed learning time has had on millions of students, Cardona urged districts to invest in targeted, intensive tutoring; afterschool programming; and summer learning efforts. “We cannot expect classroom teachers to do it all themselves,” he said.<br><br></li><li><em>Attention to students disproportionately affected by the pandemic. </em>Cardona urged listeners&#160;to avoid a return to pre-pandemic strategies that had failed to&#160;address inequities. Instead, he called for an increase in funding for Title 1 schools, as well as for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Free&#160;universal preschool and affordable childcare were also noted in his priorities for supporting underserved students and their families. As part of these efforts, he urged more “meaningful and authentic parent and family engagement,” recognizing the importance of including parents’ voices in the conversation about recovery.<br><br></li><li><em>Investment in teachers. </em>A livable wage, ongoing professional development and improved working conditions were among the key areas Cardona said could help&#160;ensure that&#160;teachers are “treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”</li></ol><p>The Wallace Foundation has shared&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/american-rescue-plan-act/pages/default.aspx">a number of​ resources</a> to help districts and states make decisions about how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds in many of the areas outlined above, including social and emotional learning, summer learning and afterschool programming​. Additionally, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-role-of-principal-leadership.aspx">this brief</a> offers evidence-based considerations for school leaders on reopening and recovery planning. </p><p>“This is our moment to lift our students, our education system and our country to a level never before seen,” Cardona said. “Let’s get to work!”<br><br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-15T05:00:00ZEducation Department priorities also include mental and academic supports for students and teacher retention strategies2/16/2022 2:00:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary Education Department priorities also include mental 1177https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
School-Community Collaborations Fuel Afterschool Success in California44681GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<br><br><p> <strong>​WF&#58;&#160;</strong><strong>The pandemic has had a significant impact on the out-of-school time sector. What gives you hope and what keeps you up at night?</strong></p><p> <strong>JP</strong>&#58;&#160;In a state where afterschool programs are heavily run through schools, that meant so many kids lost access to these essential services while schools were shut down last year. Our providers around the state were the ones that were opening up learning hubs for homeless kids, for English learners, for kids whose parents had no choice but to be at work. All of the difficult circumstances we know that kids went through, our folks stepped in to make sure kids got their meals, Wi-Fi devices and, in many cases, they just found places and ways to serve kids creatively. We and our partners documented and communicated a lot about these amazing efforts and our field got some overdue recognition. The big investments we are seeing now are partly a result of what people saw our field do during the pandemic, but it was also a result of decades of hard work by leaders in our field that positioned us for this moment.<strong></strong></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/School-Community-Collaborations-Fuel-Afterschool-Success-in-California/BACR-photo_IMG_3227.jpg" alt="BACR-photo_IMG_3227.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;269px;height&#58;359px;" />In California, for example, on top of the <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">federal investment</a> last spring, the state put in $4.6 billion in emergency COVID money just for expanded learning. Our half-a-billion-dollar investment in afterschool previously was by far the largest in the nation and now $4.6 billion was being pumped into this system, plus the federal money, and now even more state money that’s meant to be ongoing. I never thought I'd see a day when we got so much more investment than we even asked for. But we now have the opposite challenge, which is that there's <em>so</em> much money coming into the system all at once that there's little capacity to implement it effectively. We are very focused right now on trying to influence how &#160;implementation happens based on everything we know from research and experience about quality, impactful program delivery. We are also very focused on documentation and storytelling. We must be constantly telling the story to policy leaders about the difference this investment can make for kids, so that we have a chance to sustain it over time. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; If you could wave a magic wand and make one policy change to impact students and youth, what would it be?</strong></p><p> <strong>JP</strong>&#58; One thing that remains a gap that I hope is going to shift, is how we're supporting our community-based program providers. In California, the massive investment of expanded learning funds is all going through school systems, so schools are responsible for implementing programs. I understand the instinct around that by our state leaders because we want these services, supports and opportunities to be aligned with educational outcomes. However, it creates a power dynamic around the resources that plays out in ways that aren't necessarily beneficial to implementing quality programs at the local level. </p><p>In some places, our community-based organizations have much more experience and expertise at delivering high-quality expanded learning than our school systems do. Yet, it's up to the whims of the district around whether they're going to bring in a community-based partner and how much they're going to pay them or honor them for their time and work. I want to see a portion of this investment going directly to support our community-based sector. </p><p>And then, aligned with that in policy, I want to see more teeth around what is currently an encouragement of districts to collaborate with communities in this work. Current policy articulates that community partnerships are important; it tells school districts that they should be including community organizations of all kinds in their planning and implementation which is a great step, but there’s no requirement. That's something else I think needs to change.</p> <em>​​​​​Photos courtesy of Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin and Bay Area Community Resources</em><br>​​​​<br><br>Jenna Tomasello1222022-02-09T05:00:00ZFounder of influential nonprofit reflects on two decades of partnership and policymaking on behalf of children3/14/2022 4:19:00 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / School-Community Collaborations Fuel Afterschool Success in California Founder of influential nonprofit reflects on two 1520https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers44623GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​Staffing shortages across the United States from healthcare to the airline&#160;industry have made headlines over the past few months. In fact, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December, according to the Labor Department’s latest <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank">Job Openings and Labor Turnover </a> <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm">report</a>. Unfortunately, afterschool programs are no exception to this latest trend. </p><p>According to a <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-6-Brief.pdf" target="_blank">new survey</a> by the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs and providers say staffing is the most pressing challenge they’re currently facing. </p><p>The survey, conducted by Edge Research between November 1 and December 13, 2021, states the top two concerns among the 1,043 afterschool providers surveyed are finding staff to hire/staffing shortages&#160;and maintaining staff levels through health concerns and safety protocols. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned about this, and more than half—51 percent—say that they are extremely concerned. These numbers&#160;are&#160;up 20 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in the spring of 2021.&#160; </p><p>“Combatting staff burnout is a priority for us,” one of the survey respondents said. “We&#160; are doing as much as we can to be supportive, both financially and by providing emotional support for staff. Keeping full-time staff engaged and encouraged has been a challenge. Keeping good part-time staff engaged and focused has proven even more difficult.”</p><p>Many of the providers surveyed connect the staffing challenges to their inability to serve more students, additional staff stress and burnout, and concerns about program costs. For instance, the survey found that 54 percent of programs that are physically open say that they have a waitlist, an increase from 37 percent in the spring 2021 survey. In addition, among respondents who report an increase in program costs, 83 percent say that staffing costs contributed to their program’s higher weekly cost-per-child.</p><p>To address the staffing issues, 71 percent of respondents report that their program has undertaken at least one course of action to attract and retain staff&#58;<br></p><ul><li>53 percent are increasing salaries<br> </li><li> 32 percent are providing additional professional development opportunities<br></li><li> 18 percent are offering free childcare for staff<br></li><li> 15 percent are offering sign-on bonuses<br></li><li> 10 percent are offering more paid time off<br></li><li> 5 percent are offering increased benefits </li></ul><p>On the plus side, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">COVID relief dollars are able to help program providers</a> address their current issues with staffing. Among respondents who report that their program received new funding for fall 2021 programming, 47 percent say the new funding helped support staff recruitment efforts.</p><p>The Afterschool Alliance has also&#160;developed a <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/document/d/1RebwjpCkpiPP2SU2yksrHQJ8rm1gTRCOgUoBu5aTroc/edit" target="_blank">staff recruitment toolkit</a> to help providers recruit staff for afterschool programs.<br></p><p><em>Photo credit&#58; Photographer Webber J. Charles, Breakthrough Miami</em> <br> </p>Wallace editorial team792022-02-03T05:00:00ZNew survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in afterschool programs and how this is affecting children3/3/2022 3:40:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers New survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in 627https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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