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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 1313https://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 2744https://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 736https://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 1091https://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 244https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now44001GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or even homelessness. And nearly two-thirds of parents feel that their children’s social and emotional development has been affected by the pandemic, according to research from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. </p><p>Social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies can support young people as they cope with and recover from the pandemic, but the classroom is not the only setting to engage students on SEL. Afterschool and summer learning programs also can provide unique opportunities to help young people develop their social and emotional skills, behaviors and beliefs, which can help kids manage the challenges they have faced over the past two years. </p><p>A recent <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dLOrY6w41Y">webinar</a> jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts and the Forum for Youth Investment explores how afterschool programs around the country have employed SEL strategies to help kids focus their thinking, manage their behavior and understand and deal with feelings, particularly as they continue to face the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. </p><p>The webinar featured EASEL’s Dr. Stephanie Jones, lead author of the recently published update to the popular SEL guide, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out </a>, along with Cheryl Hollis, chief program officer of Wings for Kids, one of the 33 SEL programs featured in the guide. </p><p>The more than 550-page guide is designed as a practical resource for teachers and out of school time practitioners, with a new focus on equitable and trauma-informed SEL. Since its original rendition, the guide has emphasized the role that afterschool and summer learning providers can play in helping young people build their social and emotional skills, incorporating worksheets to help providers adapt SEL strategies to meet their program needs. </p><p>But what is SEL? According to Jones, SEL is primarily concerned with “building and holding positive relationships, establishing trust and comfort, (building) feelings of safety and belonging and having positive relationships with others.” <br> Effective SEL approaches can accelerate gains in academic learning, Jones said, and four elements define effective SEL in practice. </p><ol><li>Adults model behaviors themselves, and consequently need to be able to access their own social and emotional support.<br><br> </li><li>Children and youth should be taught skills directly.<br><br> </li><li>Students are given opportunities to practice their skills, providing them with teachable moments for both individuals and groups. <br><br></li><li>Guaranteeing that students and staff share a common “SEL language,” providing a framework to use SEL strategies in daily life. </li></ol><p>The Wings for Kids program has 10 SEL objectives that shape 30 SEL lessons that take place during small group discussions. In presenting the organization’s SEL strategies, Hollis said it centers the importance of its community in the program—which sets the tone and makes learning social and emotional lessons fun. Children attending Wings recite “words to live by” daily, positive affirmations said as a kind of “SEL pledge;” students and adults share “heys and praise” to highlight their peers’ positive impacts on the community; and students are encouraged to use words describing emotions to share positive news with peers.&#160; “Heys and praise is a very visible way to spread good vibes and energy,” Hollis said. </p><p>“Giving students regular opportunities to build speaking and listening skills and foster strong teacher-student and student-student relationships is a practical way to incorporate SEL into afterschool programs,” said Hollis. And it’s not just the students who develop their SEL skills at Wings. She added&#58; “Adult staffers receive support and training to model social and emotional skills for children and are encouraged to offer constructive feedback to other staff members on an ongoing basis.” </p><p>Programs like Wings are effective for two primary reasons, Jones said&#58; they establish safe and caring learning environments and teach students social-emotional skills in ways that engage students. For both to work, programs must foster connected, supportive and reciprocal relationships between students and staff. </p><p>As SEL research and practice continues to grow, Jones reflected on the future of the field. SEL will benefit from a clear focus, she said, and focusing on new approaches that are targeted, flexible, portable and engaging. SEL in practice should be geographically and culturally appropriate and simplifying and localizing strategies will allow practitioners to be more effective and equitable. Employing SEL strategies in a range of settings, from the classroom to afterschool programs, is critical for providing young people with the tools they need to thrive during and beyond COVID-19.&#160; Wings for Kids is clearly groundbreaking in its approach and a model for afterschool programs to look to.&#160; <br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-19T05:00:00ZRecent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have used SEL strategies to help children throughout the pandemic1/19/2022 3:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now Recent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have 634https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts18219GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog&#160; explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the&#160;​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy &amp;&#160;programs,&#160;at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​&#160;and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year&#160;found that arts education can positively affect​&#160;student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little&#160;surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The&#160;effort will&#160;involve&#160;work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.&#160; </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan&#58; Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the&#160;American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal&#160; funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.&#160; </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that&#160; sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed&#58; What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many&#160;of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention,&#160;considering that the item is&#160;in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>Jenna Doleh912021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color12/6/2021 8:52:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts A look back at your favorite reads this year—from 585https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development46978GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​What does it take to build a large corps of high-quality principals who can improve schools and promote equitable education within them? Partnerships and a clear focus might be a good way to begin. That was a key message from a recent meeting of Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community, which brings together teams from 11 states working to see how federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding could be used to support evidence-based ways to develop effective school leadership. </p><p>“No amount of money, flexibility or investment is likely to make a difference for students if we just follow the familiar path,” said one of the participants in the virtual event, Hal Smith, a senior vice president at the National Urban League. “The work is complex, though the aim is clear. We can get there together.”</p><p>The Urban League, along with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, helps oversee the learning community, whose members generally include representatives from the education departments of the participating states, school districts within the states and Urban League affiliates that represent local community concerns.&#160;&#160;&#160; <br> The convening featured presentations by four state teams—Nebraska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—to describe the work they’ve done for the learning community, share lessons learned and discuss what comes next. </p><p>The Pennsylvania team has focused on developing and supporting a diverse education pipeline for both teachers and leaders, with an emphasis on maximizing opportunities for all Pennsylvania students, especially those most in need.&#160; “As educators we know that in order for students to do their very best, students need to learn in an environment that is safe and empowering to them,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “It’s critically important as educators that we take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen and expand that awareness.”</p><p>A central&#160; goal of the team has been diversifying the educator workforce in the state. “There remain nearly 1,500 Pennsylvania schools and 184 entire school districts that employ zero teachers of color,” said Donna-Marie Cole-Malott,&#160; a consultant to the Pennsylvania team. Only five percent of teachers in the state are of color, according to Cole-Malott. </p><p>Efforts by the team have included holding two convenings about the Black male educator workforce—one focused on recruitment and the other on developing, supporting and retaining Black male educators. The team has also engaged stakeholders to learn about how others doing similar work have been successful and how they can work together.</p><p>In Minnesota, meanwhile, the learning community team has worked to support the development of a Minnesota equity framework for schools and communities. The partners are the Minnesota Department of Education, the Urban League Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Public Schools.</p><p>Marquita Stephens, vice president of strategic engagement and chief strategy officer for the Urban League Twin Cities, launched her presentation with an expression used by Hal Smith of the National Urban League&#58; “Schools are made for communities and not the other way around.”&#160; She said the phrase “helped us center the reason for involving all of the partners together to make sure that the outcomes for children were exactly what we intended for them to be. All three partners were drawn back to this as a centering understanding of why we needed to work together. ”</p><p>The creation of the Minnesota Equity Framework is the result of all three partners being in the room together, constantly being in discussion and building relationships, said Marcarre Traynham, director of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center at the Minnesota Department of Education. </p><p>“Equity is really about consensus,” she said.&#160; “It’s about having conversations, understanding where people are at, understanding what the point of view is, listening for understanding in order to make shifts in your own belief systems.”</p><p>The team was committed to creating shared understanding about equity, and helping people to think about what creating equity in their areas would mean, Traynham said. Discussion about this helped the team members build authentic relationships across the board, she added.</p><p>“Doing the equity work and living the equity work are intertwined,” said Kandace Logan, who served as executive director of equity and integration for Minneapolis Public Schools. “This work is hard and it must be done with authentic partnership and relationships.”</p><p>Forging strong partnerships has proved crucial for Nebraska’s team members, too.&#160; Kim Snyder, statewide teacher and principal support director at the state’s education department,&#160; said that participation in the learning community “taught us a lot about making sure we’re all at the table together.”</p><p>A big part of Nebraska’s work has focused on developing nontraditional rubrics for teachers and principals that align with the Nebraska teacher and principal performance standards, according to Snyder. </p><p>“They’re nontraditional in the sense that they’re designed to be a lever for growth versus the traditional rubrics that are used maybe once or twice a year for an evaluation process,” she said. “The rubrics are meant to strengthen the educator effectiveness lens through which districts can really create a portrait of the whole teacher and whole principal in their buildings.”</p><p>But how can stakeholders ensure that these standards have impact? </p><p>Through a grant from Wallace and work with The Leadership Academy, an organization that promotes principal effectiveness, the Nebraska team created an equity task force to support, among other things, their ability to work toward equity-driven leadership development.</p><p>The team supports the notion of fully integrating equity considerations into efforts to develop&#160; effective principals and other school leaders. “We’re trying to embed an equity lens into the leadership support that already exists,” said Ryan Ricenbaw, Nebraska Leadership &amp; Learning Network Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education. “We’re able to learn from one another, work with one another and make sure that communication is consistent and ongoing.”</p><p>Wisconsin team members agreed that powerful partnerships and a common goal can help advance the work. </p><p>The Wisconsin team was focused “from the get-go” on using&#160; federal ESSA dollars to support the development of principals statewide in order to “ensure they had the skills and capabilities to really address the inequities they saw every day in their schools,” said Mary-Dean Barringer, a facilitator for the Wisconsin team. </p><p>With a grant from the state’s&#160; Department of Public Instruction, the team was able to help the five largest districts in Wisconsin work with consultants to identify and begin to address the unmet needs of the schools.</p><p>“The project was so exciting—that we have a strong partnership from the Department of Public Instruction to make this a sustainable model that would also leverage community connection to help empower schools and bring solutions forward by using the connections and networks that already existed in our community,” said Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison.<strong></strong></p><p>Barringer also stressed the importance of sustaining the work.</p><p>“As we look ahead, we would like to harness the power of this partnership and its action orientation to address other critical challenges in addition to supporting equity-centered school leaders,” she said. </p><p>The ESSA Leadership Learning Community, established in 2016, has been extended&#160; through December 2022, so the participating teams can use the partnerships they developed during the past five years to address today’s challenges.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912021-11-11T05:00:00ZFour states share best practices and lessons learned after five years of working to build a corps of effective school principals.11/11/2021 8:07:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Powerful Partnerships and Clear Focus: Two Keys to Equity-Centered Leader Development Four states share best practices and 547https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic10739GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​Another school year is well under way, and we can’t imagine getting through the trials and tribulations of the last twenty months without our principals. School leaders have always been incredibly committed to ensuring that our students grow, learn and play in a safe, nurturing space—not to mention their support of the entire staff, faculty, parents and larger school community. While they deserve recognition every day for their commitment and hard work, we are delighted to join in the celebration of&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/about/" target="_blank">National Principals Month</a> this October.</p><p>To get a clearer picture of principals’ challenges and successes right now, as well as insights into how they can best be supported, we spoke with Beverly Hutton, chief programs officer of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP,) along with Gracie Branch, associate executive director, professional learning, and Danny Carlson, associate executive director, policy and advocacy, both of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).</p><p> <strong>Principals Need Support, Inclusion and Encouragement</strong></p><p>“To address principals’ various needs, they need support from a myriad of sources in a myriad of ways,” says Carlson. He points to research from the just-released report, <em><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/leaders-we-need-now/" target="_blank">Leaders We Need Now​</a></em>, which indicates that the pandemic has changed the profession.</p><p>“Principals have become mail deliverers, bus drivers, contract tracers and more,” Hutton says. “Things are changing every single day. They need some grace and real support.”</p><p>One such support noted in the report is long-term funding, including funding to support in-school mental and physical health for students. While incoming American Rescue Plan funding is crucial in the short-term, many of the issues principals are facing are here for the long-term. Investing in the principal and teacher workforce infrastructure can help principals confront any underlying systemic challenges. Additionally, educator shortages due to low morale and early retirements continue to be a problem.</p><p>Hutton noted that principals also need to be included in important conversations about American Rescue Plan funding, as they will need to strategically manage those funds when they come in.</p><p>“Principals know their schools better than anyone,” Carlson says. “They have unique insight into what will be the most beneficial resources for their school communities.”</p><p> <strong>The Role of Principal Supervisors</strong></p><p>Principal supervisors <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/changing-the-principal-supervisor-role-to-better-support-principals.aspx">play an important role</a> in providing the support that many principals need,so Hutton urges them to be present with their principals. “Be on the front lines with them to see what they really need,” she says.</p><p>Branch, too, encourages principal supervisors to make it clear to their principals that their physical and mental well-being is being prioritized. Supervisors must remember that principals can’t do everything, she notes. As new initiatives emerge or are passed down from the state level, responsibilities must be delegated.</p><p>“The job cannot be bigger than the person asked to do the job,” she says.</p><p>Principals need access to preparation and professional learning, and that learning must be up to date. Moreover as their role shifts and they are forced to confront a neverending parade of new challenges, principals can only step up to the plate if they are equipped and empowered to do so. Because principals often feel tied to their school buildings, they need encouragement from their supervisors to not only find opportunities for ongoing learning but also to engage with those opportunities.</p><p> <strong>Principals are Leading Communities into the Future</strong></p><p>All three people we spoke to said that principals have used the challenges of the last 20 months as opportunities to innovate. Many principals have secured access to digital hardware and broadband internet for their students. They've also encouraged creative approaches to teaching in the classroom and online to transform students’ learning experiences.</p><p>“We’re blazing trails that will make school much more inclusive, equitable and relevant moving forward,” says Hutton.</p><p>Principals are building out their communities as well. According to Branch, they are eager to connect with their peers and learn from each other, using social media platforms, book groups and other venues to understand how others are coping with the fallout from the pandemic.</p><p>Branch also points to new roles that principals are creating within their school community that may have never existed before. They include attendance liaisons, wellness coaches for adults and students, instructional coaches, SEL coaches and more.</p><p>“Principals know they need extra supports,” says Branch. “They currently have the funding to put people resources in place. However, principals also fear these critical positions will go away when their funding goes away.”</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">Research</a> can help support a school’s or district’s advocacy for additional funds. It can also help amplify best practices and provide exemplars of infrastructure and programs that effectively support principals, so they, in turn, can be more effective at their jobs. Just as importantly, these findings can also help districts and schools improve principal retention.</p><p>“The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">research is clear</a> about the impact of school leaders on the school environment,” says Hutton. “Any investment should be considered a highly cost-effective approach to school improvement.”</p><p> <strong>Principals Matter</strong></p><p>While it’s only October, Branch told us that principals are reporting feeling as exhausted as they usually do in March during a typical school year. That’s why pausing to acknowledge and appreciate their work now—and on a regular basis—is important.</p><p>“Principals are on the front lines,” Branch says. “They are the ‘boots on the ground’ for their school, and many are at the lowest points in their careers [right now]…people stay where they are cared about and appreciated.”</p><p>Hutton vehemently agrees, stating that celebrating principals could help with the burnout she is seeing in the profession across the country&#58; “We have to recognize that school leaders, along with hospital workers and educators, have taken us through this pandemic on their shoulders. Buildings closed but schooling continued. That alone is a reason to celebrate principals this year in particular.”</p><p>Branch hopes that through all they’ve weathered, principals will remain hopeful.</p><p>“They are part of the most amazing profession,” she says. “And the country desperately needs their expertise, their courage, their resilience and their compassion.” Principals, too, do not need to go through their journey alone, she says, reminding them that national associations like NAESP and state organizations are here to help.</p><p>Hutton adds that NASSP is also here for principals, to help provide safe spaces for school leaders to connect with each other regularly. “Get the emotional support that you can, so you can get through this,” she urges all principals. “And hang in there.”<br></p><p> <em>Photo by Claire Holt. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2018.​</em>​​<br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142021-10-26T04:00:00ZRecognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during National Principals Month—and every month of the year10/27/2021 7:30:40 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Principals have Survived (and Thrived!) During the Pandemic Recognizing our school leaders’ as essential workers during 944https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported32086GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Unpredictable. </p><p>This is how I would describe the last two school years. But there is one thing I would predict about the year that’s just beginning&#58; it will be just as turbulent, if not more so. </p><p>As adults debate or even fight over whether to wear masks, get vaccinated or even have our kids go in to school at all, we are creating an atmosphere of instability and worry around our children. Neither are conducive to learning, as safety and predictability are prerequisites to academic progress. Forget catching up on learning loss—unless we can create a secure, predictable atmosphere in our homes and schools, we’ll continue to short-change our children and we won’t see the progress we are hoping for.</p><p>So, what can teachers and parents do to help children feel stable, safe and ready to learn? My counsel is to return to social and emotional learning (SEL) fundamentals, processes that develop an array of skills and competencies that students need in order to set goals, manage behavior, build relationships and process and remember information, but that also help them manage and respond to stress and trauma. <br> <br>Here are my four recommendations for approaches that will help children feel understood, express themselves and flourish during this school year. All of these ideas come directly from the foundational practices that can be found in evidence-based social and emotional learning programs designed for schools and other settings. A comprehensive review of these approaches and their specific practices can be found <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">here</a> in a new guide recently published by the Wallace Foundation.&#160;&#160; </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">1.&#160;Ask Questions and Listen Actively in the Classroom and at Home<br></strong><br><p>Children are feeling intense pressure this year from parents and teachers. Both feel the need for their children to catch up after a year of online, hybrid or just unpredictable learning. In addition, many kids (especially older students) lost out on meaningful rituals—homecoming, prom, graduations and sports events—indeed most lost out on everything extra-curricular. These are the things that make school fun, meaningful and exciting for students. Many also experienced the trauma of losing a family member to Covid or witnessing a parent or grandparent fight the illness. Indeed, educators experienced many of these stressors themselves.<br> This disappointment and trauma will show up in the classroom and in the home, and everyone needs space and time to process what is happening, and what has happened. </p><p>So, what can we do? It helps to take time to check in with children and ensure their feelings are heard. Questions such as “tell me how you’re feeling” and “what is that like for you?” as well as repeating back what is heard, are important. A conversation with a teenager might go like this&#58;</p><p>Adult&#58; “Hey, I see you are upset (or especially quiet, or something) today. Is something going on that you’d like to talk about?”</p><p>Student&#58; “I’m not sure, I just don’t feel like myself and everything has me worried.”</p><p>Adult&#58; “I hear you; everything really can feel out of control right now. I’m here for you, you can talk with me any time, and I’ll do my best to listen.”</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">2.&#160;Let Your Children Know What’s Going to Happen and Establish Clear and Predictable Expectations<br></strong><br><p>Last year was uncertain and chaotic, with policymakers, districts and schools unsure of what would happen from one week to the next. Unfortunately, this year is shaping up to be similar, if not more so. With disruption all around them, children need as much routine and stability as adults can provide. </p><p>So, what can be done? It helps to overcommunicate with students about schedules and expectations both at home and in class and establish concrete procedures when possible. Predictability is the name of the game—students of all ages will thrive when they feel safe, and safety means knowing what’s coming next. If students are slow to fall into step, give them more space, slow things down and exhale. Children often need time to learn what’s expected and practice it. In unpredictable times, even routines require flexibility. </p><p>Adults at home can try to do the same. Keeping wake-up time, meals and bedtimes as similar as possible. Consistency makes a difference, and establishing rituals and routines for these everyday activities adds an opportunity for connection. You might ask, “what was the hardest and easiest for you today” or “what are you grateful for today” and share your own experience too.</p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">3.&#160;Provide Extra Social and Emotional Time, Not Less<br></strong><br><p>Some simple foundational SEL strategies for the classroom (and in many cases, at home) are&#58; </p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Use Journaling&#58;</strong> encourage children to express their feelings on paper.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Do Daily Greetings&#58;</strong> smile warmly and greet each other by preferred name; use whole group greeting activities.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Hold Class/Family Meetings&#58;</strong> to foster camaraderie and group behavior norms.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Incorporate Art&#58;</strong> use visual arts to document and express feelings.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Talk About Managing Emotions&#58; </strong>engage in a group discussion about emotions and effective and safe ways to express them in class.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"><strong>Employ Optimistic Closings&#58;</strong> “what I learned today is …” “I am looking forward to tomorrow because …” “What I might do differently is…” are some examples. </div><p>If children are to thrive in the current climate, incorporating these tools and practices into both the classroom and at home is essential. Clearly, the exact approach will differ for younger and older students, but both do best in respectful, open and accepting learning environments. </p><strong style="font-size&#58;20px;">4.&#160;Parents&#58; Step Back, Connect and Listen<br></strong><br><p>While many place the burden on teachers to get back up to speed, it shouldn’t all be on them. Parents play a uniquely valuable role in providing children with feelings of stability and comfort. I’m the mother of first year college and high school students and I’ve learned the importance of having conversations (when possible—we all know our teenagers can be hard to communicate with) about what’s going on for them. </p><p>Mealtimes are a great time to have family meetings. As the adult, share what’s hard for you about the current situation—model vulnerability with your kids. Then, sit back and actively listen. Let your kids of all ages know they’ve been heard (“I hear you, it’s really hard when you can’t spend time with your friends”) and validate their feelings (“I understand it must be tough being a new student right now with everyone wearing masks. I feel the same way trying to make connections with my new students.”). </p><p>Most of all, I don’t think parents need to double down immediately with academic pressure—when children feel safe and comfortable back at school will they be able to fully focus on their work. </p><p>With the education system focusing heavily on addressing learning loss at the start of this school year, it’s tempting to pull back on the important social and emotional components that my research has demonstrated are crucial for student success. It’s important to remember that academic and social and emotional learning are deeply intertwined; they are complements to each other, not in competition with each other, and now more than ever, we should take advantage of that. </p><p>When students feel safe, listened to and supported by adults in their life, they can fully engage in academic work and everything else they do. And this applies both in the family home and in the classroom.</p><p><em>A version of this piece first appeared in </em>Education Week<em> as </em><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>“4 Social-Emotional Practices to Help Students Flourish Now</em></a><a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-4-social-emotional-practices-to-help-students-flourish-now/2021/09"><em>”</em></a><em> on September 28, 2021. This version is being reissued with permission from the author.</em><br></p>Stephanie Jones1212021-10-20T04:00:00ZAuthor of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for educators—and parents!—in these trying times10/20/2021 1:26:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Children Feel Safe, Understood and Supported Author of popular guide to social & emotional learning offers tips for 1081https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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