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How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success14175GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​By providing free and accessible summer learning activities and reading materials, <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/blog/reimagining-summer-learning-during-the-pandemic" target="_blank">even during the pandemic</a>, public libraries have a unique role in the summer learning landscape. Libraries are one of the most trusted institutions in the communities they serve, <a href="https&#58;//www.nextlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PI_2017.09.11_FactsAndInfo_1-02.png" target="_blank">according to Pew research</a>. They are also one of the widest-reaching—there are <a href="https&#58;//www.imls.gov/news/imls-releases-new-data-american-public-libraries" target="_blank">more U.S. library branches</a> than <a href="https&#58;//www.scrapehero.com/location-reports/Starbucks-USA/" target="_blank">Starbucks locations</a>, and visiting the library is the <a href="https&#58;//news.gallup.com/poll/284009/library-visits-outpaced-trips-movies-2019.aspx" target="_blank">most common cultural activity</a> for Americans, having outpaced visits to movies or sporting events by a wide margin in the pre-pandemic world. </p><div> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Liz_headshot.jpg" alt="Liz_headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;220px;" /> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span></div><div>In fact, public libraries have been providing learning materials and opportunities to youth in the summertime for over a century. This began with the distribution of Victorian-era reading lists designed to keep youth on the moral path. Today, the efforts of libraries, and their partners, have become more joyous&#58; making available beautiful, culturally appropriate books and other resources to support young people in myriad ways, from letting them indulge in the simple pleasure of reading to helping them develop 21st century learning skills.</div><div> <br> </div><div>For over half a decade, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has taken a leading role in catalyzing the evolution of public libraries as essential hubs and partners for summer learning. ULC is a think and action tank of leading North American public libraries with a primary focus on advancing more positive outcomes for all youth by dismantling barriers they face, providing them with high-quality learning opportunities and strengthening local partnerships between libraries and other educational institutions.</div><div> <br> </div><div>ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/the-leaders-library-card-challenge/participating-libraries" target="_blank">Leaders Library Card Challenge</a>—which started as an Obama Administration initiative—has equipped more than 4 million K-12 students with library cards, an achievement made possible by partnerships forged between libraries, local schools and mayors and county executives. ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/stem-middle-school" target="_blank">Partners for Middle School STEM</a> initiative aligns libraries, local governments, schools and businesses to increase high-quality STEM learning opportunities for middle grade youth from low-income families—positioning the library as a critical partner in fixing the “leaky” STEM pipeline.</div><p> <br>ULC’s focus on building partnerships to strengthen summer learning started in 2016, when we published the <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/assets/Leadership_Brief_Expanding_Summer.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Libraries Expanding Summer Opportunities</em></a>&#160;leadership brief in collaboration with the National Summer Learning Association, the pre-eminent authority on summer learning in the United States. That pivotal document has directly helped to shape the ways that libraries think and go about their work to support youth during the summer—shifting from a focus on “summer reading” to “<a href="https&#58;//journals.ala.org/index.php/cal/article/view/7200/9831" target="_blank">summer learning</a>,” intentionally addressing a wide range of academic and developmental challenges.</p><p>Driving that shift is a growing recognition of the importance of summer learning for improving the lives of all youth, and the unique role that libraries can play in supporting those opportunities. Over the past two summers, the devastating impact of COVID-19 has made it more important than ever for communities to leverage the unique capacity of libraries as partners for addressing learning loss.</p><p> <strong>Combating opportunity &amp; achievement gaps</strong></p><p>Even before COVID-19, much research had been compiled about the widening of achievement and opportunity gaps between students from low-income families and their peers from higher-income families during the summer months. Emerging post-pandemic data now also reveals profound inequities for children who have been historically excluded, including Black, Hispanic and Indigenous youth. Research from McKinsey &amp; Associates reported in <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-learning-loss-disparities-grow-and-students-need-help" target="_blank">Mind the Gap</a> shows the disparities in access and educational equity which have created barriers to learning. &#160;</p><p>The good news is that high-quality summer learning can make a real difference for children, as&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">research</a> clearly shows. The National Academy of Sciences, too, recently released a <a href="https&#58;//www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/summertime-experiences-and-child-and-adolescent-education-health-and-safety" target="_blank">study</a>, which analyzes availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summer learning experiences in conjunction with overall health, social-emotional and safety outcomes for youth.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" alt="Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" />​​<br><br>While <a href="https&#58;//www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/04/29/covid-19-the-educational-equity-crisis-and-the-opportunity-ahead/" target="_blank">learning loss research</a> underscores the importance of helping youth in Kindergarten through third grade recover or level-up reading and math skills, the further good news is that public libraries across the country are offering reading and learning programs targeted to these ages during critical out-of-school time periods, including summer. Early math, social-emotional learning and play-based programming are also part of these efforts.</p><p>Complementing these programs are workshops for parents and caregivers, offering them meaningful time to reflect on learning. Additionally, understanding that we must reduce barriers to youth learning, thousands of public libraries that serve young people living in poverty now tap federal food programs to offer <a href="https&#58;//www.cslpreads.org/libraries-and-summer-food/" target="_blank">meals</a> and afterschool snacks.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>In the words of Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch Director for Branch Libraries and Education at the New York Public Library, “Summer is a time of immense inequities for America’s youth. The public library is uniquely poised to reach children with high-quality books, STEM and active learning activities that I have personally seen … [improve] anticipated outcomes for our youth.” </p><p>Programs such as the New York Public Library’s <a href="https&#58;//www.nypl.org/summer/book-kits" target="_blank">book and activity give-away</a>—which provides children and teens with totes or colorful drawstring bags filled with age-appropriate books and other goodies—&#160;show how libraries continue to innovate to reach children during COVID-19 and Summer 2021. For another great example, look to <a href="https&#58;//www.cantonrep.com/story/news/2021/07/12/heart-stark-stark-county-district-library-offers-summer-fun-school/7908675002/" target="_blank">The Stark District Library</a> in Canton, Ohio, which is working with a local elementary school to provide learning activities for over 2,000 rising kindergarteners through third graders with targeted learning interventions, book ownership and meals. </p><p> <strong>Partnering for greater equity</strong></p><p>All education institutions—and libraries are no exception—confront systemic barriers that limit opportunity, particularly for those from traditionally marginalized populations or who are living in low-income households. One obstacle facing many children and their caregivers is lack of access to the reliable transportation needed to visit library buildings and other institutions in person. A related&#160;barrier, hindering both reaching and engaging youth, is inadequate digital access. <a href="https&#58;//www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/22/digital-divide-persists-even-as-americans-with-lower-incomes-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/" target="_blank">Pew research suggests</a> that “35% of lower-income households with school-age children [do] not have a broadband internet connection at home.” </p><p>By convening and strengthening partnerships with summer and out-of-school program providers, libraries can help bring literacy and learning programs to children and families who would not otherwise have access. Relationships with park districts enable libraries to provide literacy and other educational opportunities to campers and youth living in areas where they may not otherwise have access to learning resources. Our ability to share program materials makes us a strong ally of community camps and other summer programs. And, critically, our relationships with schools allow us to align summer learning activities to school priorities. </p><p>In addition, public libraries develop partnerships with cultural institutions and with organizations across the nation to promote more equitable outcomes for young people and ensure our program content is culturally appropriate and healing. The <a href="https&#58;//sfpl.org/events/special-programs/summer-stride-2021" target="_blank">Summer Stride</a> program at the San Francisco Public Library, for example, involves a partnership with the local Human Rights Commission to develop deeper connections to communities where youth have been historically excluded from high-quality summer programming access. As another example, <a href="https&#58;//www.crlibrary.org/2021/06/03/mobile-technology-lab-ready-to-roll-to-cedar-rapids-parks/" target="_blank">Cedar Rapids Public Library</a> forged a partnership with Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation’s Rollin’ Recmobile to offer unique tech learning opportunities at four parks per week throughout the summer, providing youth with access to e-readers, laptops, robotics and more.</p><p>The Urban Libraries Council continues to find ways to support the essential role of libraries in the&#160;&#160;education ecosystem. Over the past year and half, ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/going-forward-from-the-pandemic/action-team-school-partnerships" target="_blank">Partnering with Schools</a> action team has been researching and working on tools to help libraries across the nation rethink and recommit to partnerships with their local school districts, including aligning library work to efforts to help children and teens accelerate their learning after the instructional losses caused by the pandemic. In June, the Urban Libraries Council supported the development of the National Summer Learning Association’s <a href="https&#58;//discoversummer.inplay.org/" target="_blank">Discover Summer</a> web app, which is designed to help families nationwide locate accessible summer learning opportunities in their local communities, including public library programming.</p><p>“Public libraries are uniquely positioned to help all kids rise and close … [education] gaps,” said the National Summer Learning Association’s president and CEO, Aaron Dworkin. “It’s going to take the enormous energy and heart of us all, working together to make a meaningful difference.” Luckily, many tools and models to activate these opportunities already exist. The Wallace Foundation has given out-of-school and summer providers a <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">toolkit</a> to develop vigorous summer learning programs that help build equity and develop strong outcomes. Libraries can play a critical partner role through each phase of this toolkit—from recruiting youth, strengthening academics and enrichment opportunities, offering safe and resource-rich learning sites, filling staffing gaps and supporting program planning. Together with libraries, summer learning program providers can drive deep, meaningful and equitable outcomes for youth that will last a lifetime.<br></p><p> <em>Photos courtesy of Urban Libraries Council and Chicago Public Library.</em><br></p>Elizabeth McChesney1172021-07-28T04:00:00ZPublic libraries have long been poised to help strengthen learning opportunities and equitable outcomes for youth7/28/2021 7:17:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success Public libraries have long been poised to help 203https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Think States Play No Role in Shaping Effective Principals? Think Again.14084GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​​​​States often tread lightly when it comes to assuming a full role in improving principal quality. They are concerned, among other things, about overreach into an area—public education—where local authority is prized. But that doesn’t mean states have to be bystanders as interest in cultivating effective school leadership grows. Indeed, according to a RAND report published by Wallace last fall, states have seven key policy levers to consider pulling&#58;<br></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Setting principal standards<br></div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Recruiting promising candidates into the profession</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Licensing new and veteran principals<br></div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Approving and overseeing principal preparation programs</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Supporting principals’ growth with professional development</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Evaluating principals</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Supporting “leader tracking systems,” online systems to collect and analyze data on aspiring and established school leaders.</div><p>The report,<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/using-state-level-policy-levers-to-promote-principal-quality.aspx"><em>Using State-level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality</em></a>, examines how seven states have pulled these levers, or not, as well as what helps and hinders effective use of the levers.&#160; A <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Infographic-Policies-Seven-States-Enacted-to-Promote-the-Quality-of-Principal-Preparation.pdf">new infographic​</a> also details what pulling the levers can entail as well as the degree to which the seven states have used each one. The states—California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia—are part of Wallace’s&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">University Principal Preparation Initiative</a>, an effort bringing together university-based preservice school leadership programs, school districts and states to improve principal training.&#160; </p><p>We spoke via email with Susan Gates, a senior researcher at RAND and the lead author of the report, to find out more about using state policy levers for better school leadership. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p><strong>What’s the main lesson of your study for states that may be eyeing the principalship and considering what steps to take to improve it?</strong></p><p>When setting policy priorities related to the principalship, states need to consider the mix of policy levers they are currently using compared with the full range of options we outline in the report. What are you doing that is working well? What is not working so well? Think about how your successes could be leveraged to improve upon the gap areas. For example, all of the University Principal Preparation Initiative states have leader standards and are using them to promote principal quality to some degree, but not consistently across all levers. Extending the use of leader standards to levers where they are not currently used—such as evaluation—to create coherence across the entire pathway is a good option for states to consider.</p><p>Another key insight is that the pathway to the principalship is more complicated than most people think, and it differs state to state. The seven levers our report highlights typically target specific stages of the pathway. The best levers for one state to focus on may be different from those for another because the two states may have dissimilar pathways.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>What else did you find out about the varying routes to becoming a principal among the states you examined?&#160; </strong></p><p>When people think about the pathway to the principalship, they often have something simple in mind. A teacher attends a graduate program, gets a license and becomes a principal. We found that the pathway to the principalship is much more complex than that. It is common for there to be multiple stages in the licensure process. In addition, some states have alternative pathways that allow candidates to bypass state-approved preparation programs. This was true in three of the seven initiative states—California, Kentucky and Virginia. These alternative pathways are really interesting. If used with restraint, they can allow states to increase the stringency of program regulation and oversight without unduly burdening specific districts—because there is a work-around districts can pursue when they want to hire a compelling candidate who did not attend a state-approved program. But if used excessively, these alternative pathways can render state-approved programs irrelevant. These alternative pathways have potentially important implications for the use of other levers, and states should gather and examine data about the prevalence and implications of their use.</p><p><strong>You emphasize that a change in one area of state principal policy can trigger changes in others. Why does that matter?</strong></p><p>Our study highlights that the seven policy levers are highly interconnected. By reinforcing the ties between and among levers, states can amplify their effectiveness. We saw numerous examples of this. For example, program approval requirements in most states include that programs engage in effective candidate recruitment practices such as getting input from districts. Another example is that principal licensure, as I suggested earlier, typically requires completion of a state-approved principal preparation program. As a result, licensure requirements drive aspiring principals into programs that are in turn shaped by state policy. This interconnectedness means that when new policies are implemented that target one lever, they can have downstream or upstream implications for other levers. For example, when states change the assessment they use for state licensure, state-approved principal preparation programs modify their programs to support the success of their students on these assessments—even when the state’s program approval requirements do not explicitly change.&#160; </p><p><strong>Of the various key levers states can pull to improve school leadership, one stands out for having received nearly universal agreement in the seven states that it was effective in promoting principal quality&#58; leader standards. Why are standards so powerful?</strong></p><p>Leader standards are important because they provide a way of communicating priorities and objectives about the principalship that is relevant to all stakeholder groups (aspiring and current leaders, principal preparation programs and districts) and across all stages of the pathway to the principalship. Standards help states reinforce the ties between and among levers. For example, stakeholders we interviewed reported that program approval and licensure requirements were viewed as more effective when clearly aligned with standards.<br> <br> <strong>On the other hand, few of the people you interviewed for the report thought the recruitment lever was being used effectively. What do you think might be keeping states from pressing this lever more forcefully?</strong></p><p>Recruitment is a particularly complex one for states because using it effectively involves influencing the behavior of all three groups of policy targets&#58; aspiring leaders, programs and districts. Aspiring leaders must be encouraged to enroll in a state-approved principal preparation program, programs must be encouraged to accept high-potential candidates and districts must encourage those with potential to pursue the pathway to the principalship. The decision to enroll in a particular program requires the aspiring leader to make a financial commitment to the principal pathway in general and to a particular program. That can be a dealbreaker even in situations where all three groups agree that a particular candidate would be a good leader and that a particular institution is a good fit for that candidate.</p><p>All of the states in our study establish pre-requisites for admission to state-approved principal preparation programs and most encourage these programs to collaborate with districts in the candidate admission process. But only one of the states has a state-funded effort that provides financial resources to promising candidates to attend designated preparation programs. I think this approach is not used more widely because of the costs associated with it and the political difficulty associated with allocating state funds to support an aspiring principal’s pre-service preparation at some but not all state-approved programs.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>The report describes a number of ways to encourage change—coupling mandates with support, for example, or engaging early on with the variety of people and institutions that have a stake in the policy at hand. But you note that “among the most significant” policy changes you saw were those that emerged from efforts that had piggybacked on earlier K-12 education reforms. What’s an example? Why does this approach work?</strong></p><p>There’s a lot going on at the state level when it comes to education policy, and the principalship is often what is called a “low agenda status” topic in this space. It’s just not on the radar of a lot of people. This can make it difficult for principal quality to bubble up to the top of the priority list for policy change. One way to get principal quality initiatives on the agenda and successfully implemented is to link them clearly to a broader state education priority. Even better is to craft principal quality initiatives that piggyback on prior initiatives targeting teachers. For example, if the state revamps the teacher evaluation system or assessment for aspiring teachers, it can leverage that work and advance related efforts to revise principal evaluation systems or assessments for aspiring leaders. By leveraging the prior efforts, the costs of developing the system or assessment itself may be lower and some of the political legwork needed to achieve buy-in will have already been done. <br> <br> <strong>State policymakers—like their counterparts on the federal, local and school-district level—find themselves in an unprecedented moment. They are facing not only the pandemic’s dire effects on education but also the nation’s long overdue reckoning with racial justice. Is there a way in which state school leadership policy can help provide a beneficial response to these developments?</strong></p><p>The challenges facing our nation’s schools and school districts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and reckoning with racial justice pose deep questions for state policymakers that go well beyond school leadership policy. Within the school leadership space, the base of evidence about how to effectively address these challenges is relatively thin. Our study found that policy lever use is perceived as effective when it is grounded in evidenced-based, rigorous requirements. We also found that stakeholder engagement allows states to leverage expertise from across the state and expand and or supplement state capacity in order to push forward on a change agenda.</p><p>So as a first step, states could support knowledge-building about equity-centered and crisis-oriented school leadership, tapping a wide range of stakeholders to inform next steps.&#160; This could take the form of support for learning communities, or the development of templates for districts or preparation programs to use as they engage with community groups on these complex issues.</p><p>Another idea would be for states to orient their support for principal professional development toward these issues. Our study found that PD was being&#160;<em>used&#160;​</em>by all states, but stakeholders in only three states felt that it was being&#160;&#160;<em>used effectively</em> to promote principal quality. Professional development was a real focus of new state activity during the study time frame, with most states launching efforts to expand PD support. Orienting these efforts toward these pressing concerns is something states could consider.​<br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-07-22T04:00:00ZResearcher discusses seven policy levers states can pull to improve school leadership7/22/2021 5:00:29 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Think States Play No Role in Shaping Effective Principals Researcher discusses seven policy levers states can pull to 287https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program9774GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​It’s been said thousands of times but bears repeating&#58; the summer of 2021 promises to be a most unusual one as schools, districts, nonprofits, parents and others roll up their sleeves to help counteract some of the learning losses of the pandemic—and simply bring children together again safely. Then again, what could be more normal than corralling a group of children in summer, whether to learn how to multiply fractions or swing a bat? <br></p><p>As Summer Learning Week begins, we’ve pulled together an unofficial list of Wallace’s Top 5 Summer Learning Publications. A majority of the research stems from the experiences of five urban school districts and their partners who formed Wallace’s <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/summer-learning.aspx">National Summer Learning Project</a> (NSLP) from 2011 through 2016. While the most current findings and popular tools headline the list, there is much more to be discovered in the <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning section</a> of Wallace’s Knowledge Center, all of which can be easily downloaded free of charge.<br> <br> </p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" alt="Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;286px;" /></a> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span> <div><strong>1.</strong><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">The </a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">First Stop for Summer Learning Practitioners</a>&#160;</div><p>Based on the RAND Corporation’s evaluations from the NSLP, <em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed </em>addresses questions about how to implement a high-quality summer learning program and offers evidence-based recommendations around such topics as timing, hiring and training, and how to recruit students. For example, do you know the recommended month to begin planning a summer program? (If you guessed January, gold star.) Many more specific recommendations and guidance await your perusal. <br><br></p> ​ <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" alt="Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;287px;" /></a><strong>2.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">Running a High-Quality Program Shows Meaningful Results</a><br> <em>Every Summer Counts&#58; A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project </em>also stems from RAND and the NSLP and finds both short-term and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary five- to six-week summer learning programs. The largest and longest study of its kind, the research confirms previous studies finding that after the first summer high-attenders outperformed control group members in math, and after the second summer, high-attenders saw advantages in math, language arts and social-emotional skills. This report shows that even three years after the second summer, while academic benefits had decreased in magnitude and were not statistically significant, they remained educationally meaningful. All of this suggests that summer programs can be an important component in how school districts support learning and skill development, particularly for children from low-income families who may face widening achievement and opportunity gaps in any summer, let alone this one post-COVID.<div><br><p></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" alt="toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;200px;" /></a><strong>3.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">A Hands-On How-To Guide for High-Quality Summer Learning</a><br> This online resource hub houses more than 50 evidence-based tools, templates and resources used successfully by NSLP’s districts and their partners. Additional resources created by field experts round out the offerings, all of which are aligned to RAND’s key research findings and contain guidance for how to use them. Each section of the toolkit includes a timeline for when you should start thinking about the various components of planning and design. Maybe you’re late to the toolkit for this summer, but fear not, you can begin many of the pre-planning and logistical steps for next summer this fall. <br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/out-of-school-time-programs-this-summer.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" alt="Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;113px;" /></a><strong>4.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/out-of-school-time-programs-this-summer.aspx">What Parents Want from Out-of-School Programs This Summer</a><br> For this recently released study, Edge Research and Learning Heroes surveyed parents of K-8th grade children, out-of-school-time (OST) professionals, field leaders and others to explore the unique role OST programs play in youth development compared with home and school as well as the impact of COVID-19 for this summer and beyond. Among the many nuggets, the researchers found that parents were indeed concerned about the impact of the pandemic, with many expressing fears that their children were struggling academically, socially and emotionally. Overall parents identified three priorities for what they’d like to see summer programming address for their children&#58; their social and emotional health, providing them with physical outdoor activities and helping them discover their passion and purpose. ​​<br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" alt="Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;278px;" />​</a><strong>5.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx">Federal Funds Are Now Available for Summer Learning</a><br> Complementing parents’ concern for their children’s academic, social and emotional well-being, the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act has made funds available to states and districts to speed up recovery from the effects of the pandemic, including addressing learning loss. In <em>Evidence-based Considerations for COVID-19 Reopening and Recovery Planning&#58; Summer Learning with Academic and Non-Academic Activities, </em>Wallace has distilled evidence from our summer-learning work that may be helpful in informing choices about how to spend those funds, as well as how to implement key strategies. The paper includes an annotated bibliography with links to resources and tools (more than we could fit in this Top 5 list, so it’s a bonus!). ​<br><br></p></div>Wallace editorial team792021-07-09T04:00:00ZEverything from planning district-wide summer programs to maximizing resources available under the American Rescue Plan Act—and Wallace’s popular summer learning toolkit7/9/2021 1:56:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program Everything from planning district-wide summer programs to 356https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education9829GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​Though he'd been drawing since he was young, Kaden Robinson, 17, says it was his program at the Boys &amp; Girls Club in Knoxville that taught him how to express himself through art. Help from mentors, and access to easels and canvases, helped him escape the &quot;dark place mentally&quot; he says he'd been in. &quot;I cannot imagine being the person I am without art,&quot; he says.&#160;&#160;</p><p>Kaden’s experience is not unique. Studies confirm that especially with sustained engagement, arts experiences, and especially making art, can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate, and even fuel civic engagement.</p><p>Arts learning can also promote school success. In Houston, a<a href="https&#58;//protect-us.mimecast.com/s/1nq_C73O90fPMv3sRfsXz?domain=kinder.rice.edu"> randomized study</a> of 10,548&#160; students in grades 3-8 found increasing arts education improved writing achievement, school engagement, college aspirations and arts-facilitated empathy.</p><p>Yet spending on arts education has declined, and too many miss out&#58; A 2017 National Endowment for the Arts survey found among 18-24 year-olds, 67 percent of white students reported having had an art class in or out of school, 52 percent of African-Americans, 47 percent of Asian-Americans and 33 percent of Hispanics.</p><p>All children deserve access to high-quality arts education in and after school;<a href="https&#58;//protect-us.mimecast.com/s/KyJKC31O6XT83wLfq7AD8?domain=wallacefoundation.org"> research</a> shows that includes knowledgeable instructors, positive relationships with adults and peers, high standards, a welcoming environment, and a culminating event to build confidence and community. Within cities, schools and arts organization<a href="https&#58;//protect-us.mimecast.com/s/MZxfC4x463ijPyLUBLS7H?domain=wallacefoundation.org"> collaborations</a> can help overcome barriers like transportation and access to instructors.</p><p>As Kaden reminds us, arts experiences affirm children’s imaginations, and expand their sense of self--and possibility--in the world. With parents deeply concerned about both learning loss and social and emotional well-being, and in the context of our emergence from COVID-19 and in a national conversation on race, ensuring access to arts experiences will help us build a more equitable future.</p><p> A shorter version of this post first appeared in Time Magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/"> Visions of Equity </a> project.​<br></p><p><em>Top&#160;photo&#58;&#160;Kaden Robinson, 17, in creative writing class; with Shannon Hance, 14, to his left and Kayla Brawner, 15, right. ​Courtesy of the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.</em><br></p><p></p>Bahia Ramos842021-06-15T04:00:00ZStudies confirm that arts experiences can boost academic and social skills--but too many children and teens are still missing out6/15/2021 6:33:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education Studies confirm that arts experiences can boost academic and 2023https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Shining the Spotlight on Assistant Principals22056GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​ <p>​​​​​​​​​They are second in command in a school, and yet assistant principals often are not given opportunities to strengthen leadership skills that are vital to their effectiveness in the role as well as in the principal post many will assume one day. That is one of the main takeaways of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-role-of-assistant-principals-evidence-insights-for-advancing-school-leadership.aspx"> <em>The Role of Assistant Principals&#58; Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership</em></a>, a major new research review that synthesizes the findings of 79 studies about APs published since 2000 and includes fresh analyses of national and state data. The review found that the number of APs has grown markedly in the last 25 years and that the role has become a more common stop on the path to the principalship. At the same time, the researchers found disparities in the composition of the leadership workforce. Educators of color are less likely to become principals and more likely to become APs than white educators. Women are less likely than men to become either APs or principals.</p><p>Recently, the Wallace Blog spoke with the report’s authors, Ellen Goldring and Mollie Rubin of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and Mariesa Herrmann of Mathematica, about their findings and the implications for district policies and practices. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.<br></p><p> <strong>The number of APs has grown six times faster than the number of principals in the last 25 years. Why do you think that is?</strong> </p><p> <strong>Herrmann</strong>&#58; We looked into whether it was due to an increased number of students in elementary schools and found that explained some but not all of the increase. You’re still seeing an increase in the assistant principal-student ratio in elementary schools over this time period.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> That’s important, because at least officially, districts might have a funding formula that says if a school is of a particular size, it gets an AP position. But we also surmise that local districts can certainly fund positions differently. They might combine a coaching position with a teacher-leader position and turn that into an AP position. We have no idea why [the increase] is happening, the implications vis-à-vis other staffing decisions and what the rationale might be for a district or principal to think that the AP position is a better role to help fulfill the needs of a school as compared to other positions.</p><p> <strong>The synthesis found uneven opportunities for advancement for educators of color and women in the leadership pipeline. Does the research suggest reasons why? What measures could be taken to promote equitable opportunities?</strong></p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> For educators of color, the research mentions things like differences in access to mentoring, particularly for Black women. It also suggests hiring discrimination, such as people of color not being considered for suburban schools or schools with predominately white student populations. One African American female educator in a study had a nice quote about this; she was not hired and informed that she wasn’t the right “fit.” She said, “Most of the [African American female administrators in our district]…are placed in high-poverty schools. Perhaps this is where we fit?” There’s also some evidence of differences in assigned leadership tasks by race, which could prevent people’s advancement. For women, there are a bunch of explanations—differences in access to mentorship, differences in assigned tasks, family responsibilities and the time commitments of being an assistant principal or a principal, differences in aspirations or confidence, and also discrimination.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> The point about not being a “good fit” is something to emphasize. There’s probably a lot of both explicit and implicit bias about where leaders of color want to be placed, should be placed and the implications for their career trajectories. We suggest using equity audits and leader tracking systems [which compile data on the backgrounds and careers of potential and sitting school leaders] to bring patterns to light and show how they play out in different types of schools. It’s an important first step but beyond that, districts need to create spaces for people to have really honest and open conversations about the patterns. That is key to addressing them.</p><p> <strong>Hermann&#58;</strong> Besides just understanding the patterns, I think addressing this requires mentoring people of color and women. Someone who is already a principal can help them understand how to be a leader in that particular district. Maybe to the extent that they share similar backgrounds or experiences, they can relate to that person.</p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> It’s also about making space to hear the experiences of people who are facing differential outcomes and how they’re experiencing the roles that they’re in. We often assume that we know what we’re trying to fix, but we don’t necessarily understand it at a deep level. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Shining-the-Spotlight-on-Assistant-Principals/FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" alt="FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>Principals today are more likely to have served as assistant principals than in the past. Many say that the experience was pivotal to their leadership preparation. What makes a strong principal-assistant principal mentoring relationship?&#160;</strong></p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> One study mentioned areas where assistant principals found advice and mentoring useful. One was skills development, such as building strong relationships, honing decision-making skills, having strong communications skills. This suggests that principals need to have strong leadership skills themselves, so that they can model them for the assistant principal.</p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> We noted in our report that there are no studies on how principals think about or conceptualize the role of assistant principals. We don’t know why an assistant principal might spend more time on task A or task B, or what principals consider when they hire assistant principals. There are gaps in terms of the research as well. &#160;</p><p>Your question brings out the important notion of the relationship between the assistant principal role and their evaluation, and the extent to which there is systematic, competency-based formative feedback that’s built into both the role of and the relationship between the assistant principal and the principal. In most cases, principals and assistant principals are evaluated on the same rubric. The few studies that talk about the assistant principal experience with evaluation note a lot of ambiguity. In one study, the assistant principals did not even know if they were formally evaluated or how. Another study mentioned the complexity of using the same rubric&#58; If I’m an assistant principal and evaluated on the same rubric as the principal, does that mean I can never be exemplary because that’s only for principals? What does this mean for the types of tasks and leadership opportunities that an assistant principal has?&#160; </p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> A principal might assign tasks to their assistant principal to fill in for their own weaknesses. Together they make one really powerful team, but when it comes to the assistant principal’s evaluation, what does it say? They may not have the opportunities to do or learn certain things.</p><p> <strong>The pandemic has upended education and created unprecedented challenges for school leaders this year. Has it heightened awareness of the role of assistant principals? Could it lead to lasting change to the job and if so, how? </strong></p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> During National Assistant Principals Week, I facilitated a webinar with a panel of four assistant principals about their role during COVID. The most important point they wanted to bring home was that they are school leaders in their own right and that this year highlighted their overall importance as part of the leadership team. They are not assistants to their principals. It was a nice link to the importance of assistant principals having opportunities to really be school leaders and not necessarily be the assistant principal of X—of student affairs, of curriculum and instruction, of a particular grade level. COVID put the focus on the complexity of school leadership and the need for partners in that work. You really need more than one leader.</p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58; </strong>I worry that in some ways, assistant principals may once again slip through the cracks. I keep hearing that assistant principals have become COVID contact tracers. That says a lot about how nebulous the job is. “<em>Who’s going to do contact tracing? Oh, the AP can!”</em> Principals who have lost their assistant principals, perhaps in the last recession, will be the first to tell you how important they are. But at the same time, there seems to be a lack of recognition and attention paid to the role. Perhaps it needs to be more deliberate.</p><p> <strong>Your report found that assistant principals have been seriously under-studied. If money and time were no object, what would you study about the role? </strong></p><p> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> I would love to watch the changes that happen when districts decide to invest in the assistant principal position—how they define the role to align with their vision and goals, and how it plays out in schools in terms of interpersonal dynamics, such as the relationships between assistant principals and principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders.</p><p>There’s also a study I want Mariesa to do because I don’t do this kind of work. We don’t know a whole lot about the effects of assistant principals or the effects of serving as an assistant principal on leader performance. I hypothesize that’s because the role is so nebulous. My question is, what are the leadership tasks that lead to the outcomes we’d like to see, both in terms of evaluation performance as an assistant principal and later as a principal, as well as outcomes for students, school and staff. If you could really figure out what matters most, then you could create a model of an assistant principalship that’s constant at a district level.</p><p> <strong>Herrmann&#58;</strong> Mollie did a really good job there! Assistant principal roles vary considerably and I think we need to better understand what aspects are most important for improving student learning and well-being. Are there ways the role can be better leveraged to improve outcomes for students? I don’t know if the role actually has to be constant across a district. I think you could investigate how it should be different, based on the local context, and what to take into account when developing the role.<br> <br> <strong>Rubin&#58;</strong> I wish I could fund you, Mariesa. </p><p> <strong>Goldring&#58;</strong> One of our big problems is that we have very blunt measuring instruments. We say that assistant principals’ tasks vary, but the way in which that has been measured is very unsatisfactory and leading to misunderstanding and misreporting. Researchers typically ask assistant principals how they spend their time, but no two studies ask that question similarly. In some studies, time is reported for a typical week, sometimes it’s not even clear what the timeframe is. We also need to rethink categories of tasks. Why is student disciplinary work not considered instructionally focused? If you’re working with a student to be more focused in class, isn’t that core instruction work? This is deep conceptual work that could greatly enhance the field.</p><p>The second thing that has emerged for me is trying to understand how and why some assistant principals choose to make the role a stepping-stone to the principalship while others choose to stay in the role and make it their own leadership position in its own right, alongside the principal. Is it an individual preference, a district preference, something in the school context and the way that leaders are developing teams? If we understood this, we would be better able to counsel and speak about the options to teachers who are coming up through the ranks. </p>Jennifer Gill832021-05-18T04:00:00ZAs an increasing presence in schools, APs merit more attention and study, report authors say5/18/2021 6:00:12 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Shining the Spotlight on Assistant Principals As an increasing presence in schools, APs merit more attention and study 279https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning11652GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify s4-wpActive" style="margin-bottom&#58;500px;"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/embed/2FfSODepxdg?enablejsapi=1&amp;origin=http&#58;//admin.wallacefoundation.org" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" data-gtm-yt-inspected-2194631_46="true" id="935418708"></iframe>&#160;</div> <br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-06T04:00:00ZCo-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings, including benefits for kids who attend frequently4/6/2021 2:51:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning Co-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings 350https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Join Event for New Report on How Assistant Principals Could Advance School Improvement & Equity11634GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Join us for the upcoming release of a new synthesis, <em>The Role of Assistant Principals&#58; Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership.</em> One of the most comprehensive to date, this study suggests assistant principals could become more powerful forces in advancing school improvement and equity. </p><p> Tuesday, April 13, from 1&#58;00-2&#58;00pm E​T on Zoom.​ </p><p>Based on an exploration of 79 studies published since 2000, along with analyses of national survey results and data from two states, the researchers conclude that assistant principals are uniquely positioned to help make progress toward a number of goals from promoting equitable outcomes for students and contributing to a diverse pool of high-quality principals to addressing principal attrition and teacher shortages.<br><br> The lead researchers will share highlights from this study&#58;<br><strong>Ellen Goldring</strong>, Patricia and Rodes Hart professor and chair, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University <br> <strong>Mollie Rubin</strong>, research assistant professor, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University<br><strong>Mariesa Herrmann</strong>, senior researcher, Mathematica</p><p>A team of panelists will then reflect on the implications of the findings. They include&#58; <br> <strong>Michael Casserly</strong>, executive eirector of the Council of the Great City Schools<br><strong>Beverly Hutton</strong>, chief programs officer, National Association of Secondary School Principals<br><strong>Debra Paradowski</strong>, 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. <br> <br> Nicholas Pelzer, senior program officer at The Wallace Foundation will moderate.<br></p><br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-02T04:00:00ZAn expert panel kicks off publication of the report based on an exploration of 79 studies published since 2000.7/19/2021 5:48:18 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Join Event for New Report on How Assistant Principals Could Advance School Improvement & Equity 245https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs?11622GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool<p>N​​onprofits that work with young people are always looking for ways to assess their effectiveness, and randomized controlled trials—which <em>randomly</em> place eligible young people into&#160;“treatment” and “control” groups to draw comparisons between them—are generally considered the most rigorous approach. Implementation studies, by contrast, examine how an effort is carried out, pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in operations. </p><p>In tandem, randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, and implementation studies can help organizations answer two major questions&#58; What is the impact of our work? What can we do to improve?&#160;&#160; </p><p>As informative as such studies can be, they are also challenging to pull off and act on. Just ask Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, one of the organizations that took part in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>. Higher Achievement, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for more than 1,000 middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore and Richmond, Va., has participated in two RCTs, the most recent one accompanied by an implementation study.</p><p>The first RCT, which was partially funded by Wallace and ran from 2006 to 2013, showed statistically significant effects for Higher Achievement students—known as “scholars” within the program—on math and reading test scores and in high school placement and family engagement. The second, completed last year (also with some Wallace support), found positive results, too, with the implementation study revealing some program delivery issues to be addressed in order for Higher Achievement to reach its full potential. (Readers can find the research and more information <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/impact/">here</a>.) The organization was in the process of making changes when COVID-19 hit and turned everything upside down, but as the pandemic eases, the hope is to use the findings to help pave the path forward. </p><p>This is part two of our interview with Jeffries. See the first post on <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/creating-safe-spaces-for-young-people-during-the-pandemic.aspx">running an afterschool program during a pandemic</a>. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Why did you decide to participate in the second RCT, especially having already done one? </strong></p><p>There were two main reasons. One is that the first study only focused on what has been our home base in the D.C. metro area. So, it showed statistically significant positive impacts on academics for D.C. and also Alexandria, Virginia. But since that study was conducted, we have expanded to other locations, and our effectiveness hadn't been empirically proven in those places. That was important to understand. A number of programs may be able to show impacts in their home base, but replicating that through all the complications that come with expansion is a next level of efficacy. </p><p>Second, it was suggested to us that the way to be most competitive for the major federal <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-inaugural-education-innovation-and-research-competition">i3 grant</a> we ultimately won was to offer an RCT. It's the highest level of evidence and worth the most points on the application.</p><p> <strong>Were there risks versus rewards that you had to weigh in making the decision to go ahead with the second RCT?</strong></p><p>We very carefully considered it because we knew from past experience the strains an RCT puts on the community and the organization.</p><p>The reward is that if you win the dollars you can learn a lot and serve more students. Our grant application was about adapting our academic mentoring to help accelerate learning towards Common Core standards. That's something we wouldn’t have been able to do, at least not at the intensity we wanted, without a multi-million-dollar investment.</p><p> <strong>Were there any results of either the RCT or the implementation study that caught you by surprise?</strong></p><p>The positive effect size for report card grades was greater in this second study than it was for test scores in a previous study. And that level of confidence did surprise me frankly, because I’ve lived and breathed Higher Achievement every day for many years now, and it's been messy. It hasn't just been a simple expansion process. There have been lots of questions along the way, adaptations to local communities, staffing changes, and more. So, to see that positive effect size for our scholars was encouraging.</p><p> <strong>You mentioned the strain an RCT can put on community relationships and the organization itself. What does that look like?</strong></p><p>Only accepting 50 percent of the students you recruit strains community relationships; it strains relationships with families and scholars most importantly but also with schools. It also fatigues the staff, who have to interview twice as many students as we can serve. They get to know the students and their families, knowing that we have to turn away half of them.</p><p>Here’s are example of how an RCT can distort perceptions in the community&#58; I'll never forget talking to a middle schooler who had applied for our program but was assigned to the control group. She said, &quot;Oh, yeah, I know Higher Achievement. It's that group that pays you $100 to take a test on a Saturday.&quot; [As part of the first RCT] we did pay students to take this test, and so that’s what we were to her.</p><p>Additionally, when you’re recruiting for an RCT, you have to cast twice as wide a net [because you need a sufficient number of students in both the treatment and control groups]. Because there was such a push for a larger sample, the interview process for Higher Achievement became pro forma, and our retention rate ended up dipping because the overall level of commitment of the scholars and families recruited for the RCT was lower than it would be otherwise. And both studies showed that we don't have statistically significant effects until scholars get through the second year. So, when scholar retention dips, you're distorting the program.</p><p> <strong>Did you approach the second RCT differently in terms of recruitment or communications to try to avoid or address that potential for strain?</strong></p><p>We were very cognizant of our school relationships the second time. Principals really value the service we provide, which makes it quite hard for them to agree to a study, knowing half the students won’t actually get the benefit of that service. So, we gave each of our principals three to five wild cards for particular students they wanted to be exempt from the lottery process in order to make sure that they got into the program. That hurt our sample size because those students couldn’t be part of the study, but it helped preserve the school relationships. We also deepened training for the staff interviewing potential scholars, which helped a bit with retention. </p><p> <strong>How did Higher Achievement go about putting the research findings into practice? In order to make changes at the program level, were there also changes that had to be made at the administrative level? </strong></p><p>The implementation study was really helpful, and I'm so grateful we were able to bring in $300,000 in additional support from Venture Philanthropy Partners [a D.C.-based philanthropy] to support it. One of the things we took away from the implementation study was that there was more heterogeneity in our program delivery than we desired. We knew that internally, but to read it from these external researchers made us pause, consider the implications, and develop a new approach—Higher Achievement 2.0. </p><p>Higher Achievement 2.0 consisted of a refined program model and staffing structure to support it. We shifted our organizational chart pretty dramatically. Previously, program implementation was managed by the local executive directors [with a program director for each city and directors of individual centers within each city reporting to the executive director]. Program research, evaluation and design were under a chief strategy officer, who was not in a direct reporting line with the program implementation. It wasn't seamless, and it led to inconsistencies in program delivery. </p><p>The big change we made was to create a new position, a central chief program officer who manages both the R&amp;D department, which we now call the center support team, and the local program directors, with the center directors reporting to those program directors. What that does functionally is lift the local center directors a full step or two or three, depending on the city, up in the organization chart and in the decision-making process [because they no longer report to a local executive director or deputy director]. Everything we're doing as an organization is much closer to the ground.</p><p> <strong>What were the main changes at the program level as a result of the implementation study?</strong></p><p>One of the key takeaways from the implementation research was that our Summer Academy, which was a six-week, 40-hours-a-week program, was important for culture building but the academic instruction wasn’t consistently high quality or driving scholar retention or academic outcomes. That prompted us to take a very different approach to summer and to make afterschool the centerpiece of what we do. The plan was to focus on college-preparatory high school placement and to expand afterschool by seven weeks and go from three to four days a week. That’s a big change in how we operate, which we were just beginning to actualize in January 2020. Then COVID hit, and we had to pivot to a virtual, streamlined program, but now we’re exploring how to go back to a version of Higher Achievement 2.0 post-COVID.</p><p>High school placement has always been part of Higher Achievement’s model, but we elevated it to be our anchor indicator, so all the other performance indicators need to lead back to high school readiness and placement. While our direct service ends in eighth grade, we have long-term intended impacts of 100 percent on-time high school graduation and 65 percent post-secondary credential attainment. [Therefore], the biggest lever we can pull is helping our scholars choose a great fit for high school and making sure they’re prepared to get into those schools. Instead of running programs in the summer, we are referring scholars to other strong programs and spending much more time on family engagement in the summer to support high school placement. This starts in fifth grade, with increasingly robust conversations year after year about report cards and test scores and what different high school options can mean for career paths and post-secondary goals. We are building our scholars’ and families’ navigational capital. That discipline is being more uniformly implemented across our sites; it had been very scattered in the past. </p><p>The other thing we set out to do, which has been delayed because all our design capacity has been re-routed to virtual learning, is to build out a ninth-grade transition program. We know how important ninth grade is; the research is undeniable. The individual data from our scholars says sometimes it goes smoothly and in other cases it's really rocky. Students who’ve been placed in a competitive high school may shift later because they didn't feel welcome or supported in that school.</p><p> <strong>What challenges have you faced as you’ve gone about making these big changes? Were there any obstacles in translating the decisions of your leadership team into action?</strong></p><p>The biggest obstacle is COVID. We haven't been able to put much of our plan into action in the way intended. The other obstacle we’ve faced is what any change faces&#58; emotional and intellectual ties to the way things have always been done. I was one of the staff members who had a great emotional attachment to our Summer Academy.</p><p>​There are rituals that have been a part of our Summer Academy that are beloved rites of passage for young people. We are building these rites of passage, college trips and other culture-building aspects of Summer Academy into our Afterschool Academy. That way, we can focus in the summer on intentionally engaging our scholars and families to prepare them for college-preparatory high schools and increase our overall organizational sustainability and effectiveness.</p><p> <strong>What advice would you give to an organization that’s considering participating in an RCT and implementation study or other major research of this kind?</strong></p><p>Proceed with caution. Before undertaking an RCT, review the studies that already exist in the field and learn from those to increase the effectiveness of your program. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. If you do decide to proceed with an RCT, be really clear on what your model is and is not. And then be prepared to add temporary capacity during the study, particularly for recruitment, program observation and support. It takes a lot of internal and external communication to preserve relationships while also having a valid RCT. </p><p>There's a larger field question about equity—who is able to raise the money to actually conduct these very extensive and expensive studies? It tends to be white-led organizations and philanthropic dollars tend to consolidate to support those proven programs. Too few nonprofits have been proven effective with RCTs—for a host of reasons, including that these studies are cost-prohibitive for most organizations and that they strain community relations. And most RCT-proven models are difficult and expensive to scale.</p><p>However, just because an organization has not been proven effective with an RCT should not mean that it is prohibited from attracting game-changing investment.&#160; If there were a more rigorous way for organizations to truly demonstrate being evidenced-based (not just a well-written and research-cited proposal paragraph), perhaps there would be a way to bring more community-based solutions to scale.&#160;With that approach, we could begin to solve challenges at the magnitude that they exist.<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-31T04:00:00ZAn afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of intensive program evaluations4/5/2021 8:18:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs An afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of 238https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why should school districts invest in principals?9783GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​<p>T​hey are items on every school district’s to-do list&#58; Reduce chronic absenteeism. Improve teacher satisfaction and retention. Bolster student learning. Now a major new research review points to the person who can have a positive impact on all of these priorities—the school principal. The groundbreaking study, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx"> <em>How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</em></a>, finds that replacing a below-average principal at the 25th percentile of effectiveness with an above-average principal at the 75th percentile increases the average student’s learning by nearly three months in math and reading annually. Schools led by strong principals also have higher student attendance and greater teacher retention and satisfaction, according to the report. </p><p>Recently, the Wallace Blog caught up with the report’s authors, Jason A. Grissom, the Patricia and Rodes Hart professor at Vanderbilt University; Anna J. Egalite, associate professor at North Carolina State University; and Constance A. Lindsay, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to discuss their findings and implications for the field. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>After the release of the report, some people were asking on social media if a great principal is more important than a great teacher and you had a great response. Can you share it with us? </strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> You can’t directly compare the effects of teachers and principals because the effects of a principal are largely through their work to expose kids to great teachers. It’s helpful to think about it from different points of view. From the student’s point of view, the teacher is clearly the most important person because he or she has the most direct effect on what I learn and my other outcomes. For the life of a school, the principal is certainly among the most important people, maybe the most important person, in part because principals are the ones who hire great teachers, ensure that great teachers stay in the building, and set the conditions for teachers to be able to teach to their full potential. </p><p>The report tries to emphasize how large the impacts of principals are and also what the scope of those effects are. Even if you just focus on student test scores, the report uses this size-plus-scope-of-effect to argue that we really should be investing in principal leadership. We’d go so far as to say that if you could only invest in one adult in the school building, then that person should pretty clearly be the principal. </p><p> <strong>Given the research evidence showing the positive effects that a principal can have on student learning and other important outcomes, how can the field help less-effective principals improve? </strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> That’s the question we tried to answer in the second part of the report, which identifies the four leadership behaviors of great principals&#58; engaging in instructionally-focused interactions with teachers, building a productive school climate, facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities, and managing personnel and resources strategically. If you were designing professional development for below-average principals, these are the four areas you could lean on that the evidence shows are associated with better outcomes in the long run. </p><p> <strong>Which instructionally-focused activities appear particularly effective—and which ones not so much?</strong></p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> One effective activity is the use of data. Principals can encourage teacher buy-in by using data to monitor student progress and demonstrate changes in student achievement. Another is teacher evaluations, which have become more sophisticated in recent years. They no longer just analyze student test scores to say if someone is a good teacher or a bad teacher, but marry that information with other data points collected through classroom observations and other measures. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We tried to highlight engagement with instruction as separate from a more general, and maybe ill-defined notion, of what it means to be an instructional leader. Some principals have internalized the message that instructional leadership means being in classrooms. But simply being present is not associated with greater student growth. It may even have negative effects because having the principal in the classroom is distracting for both the students and the teacher. Maybe that distraction is worth it if the principal follows up with support for the teacher’s work and uses data from the observations to help drive the instructional program. But on its own, it’s not enough to move the needle. <br> </p><p> <strong>The report found that principals can have an important impact on marginalized populations, including students from low-income households and students of color. How does an equity-focused principal exhibit the four leadership behaviors?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> They infuse all the activities they usually do with an equity focus. With regard to instruction, it would mean working with teachers to adopt a more culturally responsive pedagogy. It means making sure that teachers are engaging in practices that are relevant to all students in the school. In building a productive school climate, it means working with families and thinking about the community context. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> Thinking about how equity can be infused into these domains of behavior is clearly an area we need to know more about. The report offers lots of examples from the research base that exists, but the evidence is still developing.<br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Why-should-school-districts-invest-in-principals/FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" alt="FIGURE-7-2-Emerging-Framework-Connecting-Equity-in-Principal-Leadership-to-Equitable-Outcomes-ch.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>You also found widening racial and ethnic gaps between principals and the students they serve. What are some tactics that districts can use to diversify the principal workforce? </strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> The key is diversifying the teacher workforce, because principals start as teachers. In terms of district actions, there are strategies like “grow your own” programs where districts identify and develop individuals in-house who are well-suited to meeting the needs of their community. Districts can also examine different stages of the educator human capital pipeline to identify places where people of color drop out and then work to shore up those stages. </p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve had concerns for a long time that access to the principalship in a lot of areas is driven by who you know within a district. That likely disadvantages people who are not in power. In response, districts are increasingly formalizing leadership programs with predefined selection criteria, ensuring that people are getting into the principal pipeline on the basis of their capacity for leadership. And at the end of the pipeline, there has to be an equitable hiring and selection process. Diversifying the pipeline is an area we have to learn more about—where is it happening successfully and how, so that those practices can be taken to other places to ensure greater principal diversity. </p><p> <strong>Based on your report’s findings, what aspect of school leadership would you study right now if money and time were no object?</strong></p><p> <strong>Lindsay&#58;</strong> A lot of the research on equity that we drew from is very localized and context specific. I would study equity in a more systematic way. Just as we have rubrics for other things, I think it would be nice to have one about culturally responsive pedagogy that’s been tested and validated at a wide scale. </p><p> <strong>Egalite&#58;</strong> I’d like to know more, from a measurement perspective, about defining effective principals. I went through a Catholic teacher training program and for a brief moment considered its leadership training program. Their approach to leadership training is very much centered on building the school culture. Test scores are a much later part of the conversation. Private Catholic schools are obviously a different context than public schools, but how a principal sets the tone in a school and gets everyone rowing in the same direction is still relevant. How do you measure that? We rely on test scores to gauge principal effectiveness because they are easily collected by states, but it’s really just one piece of the pie. A more multidimensional view of principal effectiveness would be helpful.</p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> I’m interested in how to measure capacity for the skills and behaviors we discuss in the report, so that we can do a better job identifying future leaders, developing their capacities and ensuring they are ready to lead when they enter the principalship. Historically, we have not done a great job of assessing people’s future potential. Maybe this is because we didn’t have the opportunities to develop the tools that measure those capacities. The same tools could also be used once a person is in leadership to identify areas for growth and target professional learning. They could also help us identify excellent leaders so we can draw on their excellence to help other people behind them in the principal pipeline. There are a lot of opportunities to think about how we identify, measure and assess both potential and strength at all phases of the pipeline. </p><p> <strong>Your report is the first of three research syntheses to be released by Wallace this year. A second will examine the role of the assistant principal and a third will look at the characteristics and outcomes of effective principal preparation programs and on-the-job development. How does it feel to be first out of the gate?</strong></p><p> <strong>Grissom&#58;</strong> We’ve done a few presentations about our report and people have asked how our findings apply to assistant principals and the implications for pre-service preparation and in-service professional learning. </p><p>It will be very interesting to see the conversations following the release of the other two reports and how they build on the conversation we’ve been having with the release of ours. Stay tuned. </p>Jennifer Gill832021-03-23T04:00:00ZYour 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.4/5/2021 8:19:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why should school districts invest in principals Authors of major new research review on school leadership discuss the 261https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic10599GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>T​​he best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, according to the poet Robert Burns. For a nonprofit organization serving young people in the midst of a pandemic that has forced them to stay at home and take on a raft of additional worries and responsibilities, the best-laid plans don’t so much go awry as get adapted on the fly. At the beginning of 2020, Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va., was all set to promote the impressive results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) it had recently wrapped up as well as roll out new programming to better serve its students. </p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-Safe-Spaces-for-Young-People-During-the-Pandemic/LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" alt="LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;174px;height&#58;174px;" />Then, COVID-19, along with an overdue racial reckoning and a wildly contentious presidential election, flipped the script. Through it all, Higher Achievement, a participant in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>, has continued serving its students, known as “scholars” within the program. The intent is to respond, CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries says, “with both urgency and gentleness.” <div> <br>​In this interview, the first of a two-part blog post, Jeffries discusses what it’s been like for one youth-serving nonprofit to face the great unknown—a topic on the minds of many this month as we mark the first anniversary of the declaration, by the World Health Organization, that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. In part two, scheduled to be published later this month, Jeffries talks about the challenges that can come along with the benefits of research, the steps Higher Achievement took to put the research into practice, and considerations for other nonprofits contemplating an RCT.&#160;<br></div><p> <strong> <br>Has the pandemic caused you to view the role that Higher Achievement plays in a different way? </strong></p><p>The pandemic has forced us to prioritize what matters most. This pandemic has devastated traditionally marginalized communities and exacerbated health disparities and economic instability. Too many of our scholars are shouldering additional burdens, whether it’s worry about the health of family members or responsibility for childcare for their younger siblings because their family members are essential workers. </p><p>With these realities at home, and Zoom fatigue from virtual school, we had to radically adapt our high-dosage afterschool program to focus on where we could be most effective in this context of trauma, extra responsibility, learning loss and isolation. </p><p> <strong>You had these really positive RCT results to share right when the pandemic hit. Did that change the way you went about communicating the results of the research?</strong></p><p>We had plans to highlight the results of the study with our funders and our school partners in 2020, but those plans got overtaken by events. The study was published three weeks after George Floyd was murdered. We weren’t going to do a virtual roadshow on our study when it felt irrelevant. That was what was in the hearts of our staff. </p><p>Now the conversation is beginning to move towards what we can do to recover what's been over 12 months of learning loss, according to McKinsey's estimates, for kids who've been in virtual learning. As school districts and funders are considering “high-dosage” tutoring as one of the solutions, the RCT is elevating Higher Achievement’s position as a potential part of that solution. When we think about the results, particularly the positive effect on Black boys’ math scores, we’re asking how does this encourage us to be bolder in this racial reckoning work, in the achievement gap work?</p><p> <strong>How exactly has the pandemic affected the services that Higher Achievement provides?</strong></p><p>We’ve narrowed our program down to three things for now. The newest is virtual math tutoring pods, in which small groups of scholars review and practice what they’re learning in school. Second is mentoring, including high school placement mentoring. Third is community meetings. All those happen throughout the week. The virtual math pods are the biggest play we made. We realized our scholars were really slipping in math, and families are largely unprepared for that. Our school partners and school teachers have also asked us to support math instruction in these small groups. Scholars have wanted to be able to ask questions and have that person over their shoulder to help work through these concepts. We’ve had to re-skill our staff to be able to deliver. We did four rounds of pilots from March until August, then we rolled out a full program in September based on those pilots. With math, first semester grades are seven percent higher in December 2020 than in December 2019, pre-pandemic. </p><p>Math instruction by our volunteer mentors did not work well in the pilots of spring 2020, so we switched approaches in September, and the math pods are now led by our paid staff members.&#160; Humanities mentoring is working, however, and serves as a critical vehicle for tackling relevant social justice topics. We build on the curriculum and materials of a group called <a href="https&#58;//youthcomm.org/">Youth Communication</a>. They produce a youth-written online magazine about relevant topics from identity to the presidential election to activist movements to relationships, and it builds in reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Mentoring is consistently the most popular element of our program, with scholars and mentors so eager to deepen their relationships, combat isolation and dive into social justice together. </p><p>The high school placement mentoring looks radically different this year. Even though many of our eighth graders have not learned eighth grade content in school, we expect most of them will be ninth graders next year. And we want to make sure we’re supporting them in the transition. Family engagement throughout this year, starting with one-on-one outreach the week after COVID closed schools, has been critical to our high school placement efforts. </p><p>Community meetings have been a wonderful time for scholars, staff and mentors to all come together to process current events. There have been a lot of conversations about the election and now about figuring out how to support our communities through the recent assaults on democracy.</p><p> <strong>Do you anticipate any of the changes you’ve made because of the pandemic becoming permanent?</strong></p><p>We will see. We are conducting a strategic review in late March to develop our COVID recovery plan for the next two school years. We expect to continue our math pods in some form, but convert them to in-person settings, and possibly during the school day. We are also involved in advisory efforts to design and scale tutoring efforts in our cities.</p><p> <strong>Any advice for organizations struggling to adapt to the pandemic? A lot of time has passed, but we still unfortunately don't exactly know where we're at in terms of recovery.</strong></p><p>Do not try to do it all. Focus on your towering strengths to meet the extreme urgency of this moment. And then balance that with care for self and team. Try to act with both urgency and gentleness. The stake are high, and humans are fragile. </p><p>These turbulent times are hard, but also potentially transformative. Don’t lose sight of the hope. &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-18T04:00:00ZHow one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness’ for middle schoolers in these difficult times4/5/2021 8:20:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic How one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness 374https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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