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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 163https://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 296https://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> <a href="https&#58;//zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xkg9Ay2_RbStE-oYE3X75Q">Tuesday, April 13, from 1&#58;00-2&#58;00pm ET on Zoom.​</a> </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 2000.4/21/2021 12:58:20 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Join Event for New Report on How Assistant Principals Could Advance School Improvement & Equity 185https://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 202https://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 187https://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 306https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Survey of Large Cities Shows Afterschool Systems Have Staying Power10452GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Over the past two decades, we at Wallace have learned a lot about how afterschool systems work and how cities can go about building them. One thing we still didn’t know, however, was whether cities would be able to sustain their efforts to coordinate the work of out-of-school-time providers, government agencies and others over a period of years. Now, a new report by the nonprofit human development organization FHI 360 offers some answers.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/stability-and-change-in-afterschool-systems-2013-2020-a-follow-up-study-of-afterschool-coordination-in-large-cities.aspx"><em>Stability and Change in Afterschool Systems, 2013-2020</em></a><em> </em>is a follow-up to an earlier study of 100 large U.S. cities, of which 77 were found to be engaged in some aspects of afterschool coordination. For the current report, the authors were able to contact 67 of those 77 cities. They also followed up with 50 cities that weren’t coordinating afterschool programs in 2013 and found a knowledgeable contact in 34 of them.&#160;</p><p>The report provides a snapshot of the state of afterschool coordination just before COVID-19 hit, causing the devastating closure of schools and afterschool programs. We recently had an email exchange with the lead authors, Ivan Charner, formerly of FHI 360 and Linda Simkin, senior consultant on the project, about what they found in their research and what the implications might be for cities looking to restore their afterschool services in the wake of the pandemic. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity. </p><p><strong>What do you consider the key findings of this research?</strong></p><p>We discovered that more than three-quarters of the 75 cities coordinating afterschool programs in 2013 were still coordinating in 2020. [<em>Two of the original 77 cities were left out of the study for methodological reasons.</em>] In addition, 14 cities that were not coordinating in 2013 had adopted some coordination strategies.&#160; </p><p>Our study of the cities that sustained coordination between 2013 and 2020 explored the extent to which they had the three key components [of an afterschool system]&#58; a coordinating entity, a common data system and a set of quality standards or a quality framework. Overall, there was an increase in the proportion of cities with all three components (from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2020). There was a decrease in the percentage of cities with a coordinating entity but increases in the percentage with a common data system or a set of quality standards, or both.<br> <br> Not surprisingly, funding was an important factor in whether or not cities had these components. Seventy-one percent of the cities that sustained their systems experienced either stable funding or increased funding over the past five years. A much higher percentage of cities reporting funding increases had all three coordination components compared to cities where funding remained the same or decreased. Increased funding was highly correlated with the presence of quality standards or a quality framework, in particular. </p><p>The commitment of a city or county leader to afterschool coordination was also important, as it was in 2013. Eighty percent of the cities that were still coordinating in 2020 characterized their current leaders as moderately or highly committed to afterschool coordination. There was a significant association between a high or moderate level of commitment and having a common data system in 2020.</p><p><strong>You found that at least three-quarters of the cities that were doing afterschool coordination in 2013 sustained their systems. What about the ones that didn’t? Were you able to identify possible reasons these cities dropped their systems?</strong> </p><p>A review of data collected for the 2013 study suggests that in some of these cities afterschool coordination was not firmly established (eight had one or none of the key coordination components). Another reason was turnover in city leadership, which brought with it changing priorities that resulted in decreases in funding for, and commitment of leadership to, afterschool coordination. In two cities, systematic afterschool coordination became part of broader collective impact initiatives. </p><p><strong>You found that more afterschool systems had a common data system and a quality framework or set of quality standards in 2020 than in 2013, but fewer had a designated entity responsible for coordination. What do you make of these changes, particularly the latter?</strong></p><p>Our finding that fewer cities had a designated coordinating entity in 2020 than in 2013 was surprising. Our survey question listed eight options covering different governance structures and organizational homes, so we’re fairly confident that the question wasn’t misinterpreted. We can only speculate about reasons for the change. It’s been suggested that mature systems may no longer see the need for a coordinating entity, which may be expensive to maintain. A coordinating entity such as a foundation or a United Way may have changed priorities, and systems may have collectively decided to operate without one, distributing leadership tasks among partners. Or cities may have been in the process of replacing the coordinating entity. This is one of those instances in which researchers generally call for further inquiry.</p><p>While it wasn’t within the scope of this study to investigate reasons for the increase in data systems and quality standards, we can speculate about why this occurred. More than half the cities that sustained their systems experienced increased funding, and that probably facilitated the development of both data systems and quality standards. One possibility is that, with the growing emphasis on accountability in the education and nonprofit sectors, funders may be calling for more supporting data. It’s also possible that cities or school systems decided to incorporate afterschool data into their own systems. It’s interesting to note that some respondents in cities without data systems were investigating them. </p><p>As for quality standards and assessment tools, we learned from anecdotal reports that cities had adopted templates and received training offered by outside vendors or state or regional afterschool networks, more so than came to our attention in 2013. </p><p><strong>In the context of the pandemic and the racial justice movement, what do you hope that cities will take away from this report?</strong>&#160;</p><p>The findings of this study present a picture of progress in afterschool coordination <em>before</em> the full impact of the challenges caused by the pandemic and the reckoning with social injustice and inequality. We’ve since learned that systems have renewed their commitment to ensuring the growing numbers of children and youth living in marginalized communities have access to high quality afterschool and summer programming that meets their social-emotional needs. Statewide out-of-school-time organizations and others have rapidly gathered and disseminated resources and tools to aid the response of afterschool providers and coordinating entities. Some intermediary organizations have shifted to meeting immediate needs, while others have found opportunities to partner more deeply with education leaders and policymakers to help plan ways to reconfigure and rebuild afterschool services.</p><p>This study gives us reason to believe that cities with coordinated afterschool programs will be in a strong position to weather these times because of their shared vision, collective wisdom, standards of quality, and ability to collect and use data to assess need and plan for the future. Not surprisingly, funding and city leadership continue to be important facilitators for building robust systems, and respondents in both new and emerging systems expressed a desire for resources related to these and other topics.​<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-11T05:00:00ZYour 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.3/11/2021 4:49:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Survey of Large Cities Shows Afterschool Systems Have Staying Power Authors of new report discuss why cities that 361https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Yes, Principals Are That Important9657GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​Effective principals have an even greater impact than previously thought, benefiting not only student learning and attendance but also teacher satisfaction and retention, according to a major new research review. <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</a>&#160;</em>draws on 219 high-quality research studies of K-12 school leadership conducted since 2000 and updates the landmark 2004 literature review by Kenneth Leithwood, et al., that concluded that principals are second only to classroom instruction among school-related factors affecting student achievement. </p><p>​​​​The authors of the new synthesis—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—presented their findings at a recent <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/CKrXjvwqxpU" target="_blank">webinar​</a> hosted by Wallace President Will Miller and attended by more than 1,450 people. The event also featured a panel of education experts who shared their reactions to the report, which set out to answer three main questions&#58; How much do principals contribute to student achievement and other school outcomes? Which behaviors are critical to that work? Who are principals today and how have they changed over time?&#160;&#160;</p>​​​​​To get at the first question, the researchers dug into six rigorous studies that together followed more than 22,000 principals and the schools they led over time, allowing the authors to assess the impact of the same principal at different schools and the same school under different principals. Principal effects are large, they found. Further, they translated the effect size into months of learning, finding that replacing a below-average principal—one at the 25th percentile in terms of raising student achievement—with an above-average principal at the 75th percentile resulted in nearly three more months of learning a year for students, almost as much as the four months of increased learning generated by a teacher at the 75th percentile. Principal effects are broader in scope than those of a teacher because they are felt across an entire school rather than a single classroom. Still, the effects stem in large part from a leader’s work with teachers, including how principals hire and coach staff members and create a school environment conducive to learning. The report’s authors also found that great principals yield benefits for outcomes beyond achievement, such as student attendance, exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspension), teacher satisfaction and teacher retention.<p></p><p>​The new report identifies four observable behaviors of school leaders that the best-available research suggests produce positive school outcomes&#58;​ </p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Fo​cusing on high-leverage engagement in instruction, such as through teacher evaluations and coaching</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Establishing a productive school climate</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities</div><p></p><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Managing personnel and resources strategically </div><p></p><p>As schools gradually reopen for in-person learning, nurturing a positive school climate and helping students reconnect must be a priority for leaders, noted panelist Hal Smith, senior vice president at the National Urban League. During the pandemic, “we’ve seen students report that the loss of relationships has been particularly unsettling…they don’t know where to look for support,” he said. Having a principal who’s attuned to the social-emotional needs of students and staff and thinking about how to “reknit” the school community will be critical in the months ahead, he added. </p><p>State education agencies have a vital role to play in helping current principals strengthen the skills that manifest themselves in these four inter-related behaviors, in addition to ensuring a strong pool of future principals, said Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents top-ranking state education officials. Below-average principals can become above-average ones if they have access to the right in-service learning opportunities. The new synthesis provides a “map” of where states might consider directing their investments and their work with partners to support school leaders, she noted. “Sometimes we just think of the [principal] pipeline in terms of recruitment, but it’s also about retention and skill-building,” she said. Panelist Michael Casserly noted that more needs to be learned about improving the skills of current principals. He is executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents larger, urban school districts. “How is that we can move principals from being less effective to more effective?” he asked. “The research is not very clear on that but would be enormously important.” </p><p>The report also calls on principals to embed equity in their leadership practices, given the growing number of marginalized students, such as students from low-income families and English learners. The authors examine emerging research on how equity-focused principals exhibit the four behaviors linked to positive school outcomes. For example, equity-oriented leaders promote a productive school climate by implementing alternative strategies to student expulsions. They use data to identify children who are falling behind and work with teachers to create a plan to get them back on track. They engage families in the life of the school and coach teachers on culturally-responsive instructional practices to better serve marginalized students. Noting that some teachers “simply want to be excused” from tough discussions about equity because they find them uncomfortable, Casserly said it is imperative for principals to push forward with the work and encourage teachers to adopt an equity mindset. </p><p>Principals of color appear especially likely to have positive impacts on students and teachers of color, according to the report, yet the racial and ethnic gaps between school leaders and the students they serve are stark. Nearly 80 percent of principals today are white while the student body is only 53 percent white. Diversifying the principal workforce will require taking a closer look at how emerging leaders of color are identified, noted panelist Mónica Byrne-Jiménez, executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration, a consortium of higher education institutions committed to advancing the preparation and practice of principals and other school leaders. “If you want to diversify the leadership pipeline, we have to diversify the teacher pipeline,” she said. Future leaders of color may begin their studies at community college or start as teacher assistants, she added. Schools and districts need to identify these rising stars early on, give them opportunities to cultivate their budding leadership skills, and provide a viable career path to the principalship. </p><p>Whether they’re aspiring to the role—or already on the job—investing in principals makes sound financial sense given the magnitude and scope of their effects on a broad range of school outcomes. “Principals <em>really </em>matter,” conclude the report’s authors. “Indeed, it is difficult to envision an investment in K-12 education with a higher ceiling on its potential return than impr​oving school leadership.”</p>Jennifer Gill832021-02-19T05:00:00ZEducation experts weigh in on findings from new groundbreaking review of research on school leadership—and the implications for policy and practice2/19/2021 3:05:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Yes, Principals Are That Important Education experts weigh in on findings from new groundbreaking review of research on 2811https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Resiliency, Innovation, Courage Key Characteristics to Ensure Survival of The Arts5567GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the new year brings thoughts of recovery for arts practitioners and audiences—remember the joy of live performances?—we can learn a lot from looking at research from the past two decades. Researchers Diane Grams and Betty Farrell, for instance, have for the past 15 years helped demonstrate some of the ways the arts have survived and recovered from multiple crises through the years.</p><p>Grams and Farrell were the lead authors and editors of the book <a href="https&#58;//www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/entering-cultural-communities/9780813544953"> <em>Entering Cultural Communities&#58; Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts</em></a> (Rutgers University Press 2008), which explored how to build broader participation in the arts—using data captured during the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Their work took on greater resonance as the 2008 economic crisis bore down and organizations were once again faced with an uncertain future. Today many organizations are expressing similar concerns (see Wallace’s recent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation.aspx">Arts Conversation Series</a> for an example)&#58; that the pandemic and all it has wrought have exacerbated already debilitating factors, with declining arts participation high up on that list. </p><p>The Wallace Blog caught up with Grams and Farrell over email to see what insights they might have for organizations facing today’s challenges. You can also download the first chapter of the book free of charge <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Building-Arts-Participation-Through-Transactions-Relationships-or-Both.aspx">here​</a> on our site.&#160;​<br></p><p> <strong>Your book frames the concept of building wider, deeper and more diverse arts participation. Why was this important? And how is that relevant to our situation today? </strong> </p><p> <strong> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Resiliency-Innovation-Courage-Key-Characteristics-Ensure-Survival-The-Arts/Entering-Cultural-Communities-Diversity-Change-Nonprofit-Arts-Chapter-1-a.jpg" alt="Entering-Cultural-Communities-Diversity-Change-Nonprofit-Arts-Chapter-1-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;173px;height&#58;261px;" />Grams&#58;</strong> The year 2020 brought what might be viewed as the convergence of all the previous crises that have threatened the very existence of the arts. The current challenges for the cultural sector are still unfolding in the face of shuttered organizations and greatly curtailed arts programs, devastatingly high unemployment rates among artists and cultural staff, competing priorities facing funders, and audiences and participants unsure of when they can safely return to public spaces to engage in creative activities.&#160; </p><p>We see resilience, innovation and courage as three enduring elements that will help ensure the survival and recovery of many cultural organizations. The arts face enormous challenges, but the pandemic has also created new opportunities to engage people where they are now and to reshape cultural participation for a new post-pandemic world. &#160;</p><p>Our research focused on the concept of expanding and diversifying audience participation across a wide range of artistic genres and cultural organizations. We were interested in tracking some profound changes taking place in the cultural sector, as artists, educators, cultural leaders, funders and audiences alike were challenging the cultural status quo. We saw organizational and programmatic changes taking place both inside and outside these organizations. Building relationships and building financial support will remain critically important for cultural organizations in the post-pandemic era. </p><p> <strong>Among the cultural organizations you studied, what were some strategies they used to cultivate resilience? </strong></p><p> <strong>Farrell&#58; &#160;</strong>Many started by making internal organizational changes. They broke down the barriers between departments to bring arts education or community outreach programs directly into the institution’s core efforts. They engaged new visitors by making their physical space more welcoming and less intimidating. They created new “point-of-entry” programs, such as a concert that mixed a traditional symphony along with jazz or rock performances. They sought more ethnic and cultural diversity among the staff, volunteers and board members to signal the institution’s recognition of the need for greater representation. They learned to reach out beyond their own walls in new ways, especially forming partnerships with non-cultural organizations in the community. In making these changes, the cultural organization was becoming more institutionally adaptable and ultimately more resilient in the face of continuing change. </p><p> <strong>What kinds of innovation will arts organizations need to recover and prosper? &#160;</strong></p><p> <strong>​​​<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Resiliency-Innovation-Courage-Key-Characteristics-Ensure-Survival-The-Arts/Grams-and-Farrell.jpg" alt="Grams-and-Farrell.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Grams&#58; </strong>There are many examples of how organizations innovate with new strategies for engagement. One is in the expanded use of technology as a tool for artistic expression. Organizations will continue to be challenged to develop innovative programs that incorporate their audience’s growing sophistication with technological tools and their desire to be active cultural producers rather than just recipients. </p><p>We saw many innovative programs emerge in the course of our research that were about building community beyond the organization’s walls. For example, the “One City, One Book” program served as both a literacy and community-building effort. Cities, states, schools and universities have used the process of everyone reading the same book as a way to introduce often overlooked work by authors from isolated immigrant groups, or to solve a problem, such as bullying in schools. When the National Endowment for the Arts began “The Big Read” program in 2005, some of our interviewees feared it meant the death of the locally sponsored programs. Now, we see this has not been the case. The NEA has not only expanded funding of these programs but has created an even bigger outlet for some historically overlooked authors and genres. </p><p>And innovation is also evident in transactional activities. Some new approaches to ticketing for exhibitions come to mind. Because of social-distancing limitations on the numbers of patrons that can enter the building, line queues can be tracked with phone text alerts allowing patrons to wander until their time to enter a special exhibition space occurs. Within the exhibition space, visitors could use their own phone and coded podcasts, once considered rogue and unauthorized practices because they sidestepped the paid audio tour. </p><p> <strong>What are examples from your research of the kind of courage demonstrated by arts leaders that can help an organization change and thrive? &#160;</strong></p><p> <strong>Farrell&#58; </strong>It takes courage to take on something new, untested or unusual. &#160;It also takes courage to share power. One example of this from our research was the Walker Art Center’s Teen Arts Council program. These young people were given both a substantial budget and a powerful voice in how their funds would be used in the institution’s core exhibitions. During our site visit we observed a museum curator coming to the Teen Arts Council to make a presentation about an upcoming exhibition, asking for their ideas about how they might participate in and contribute financial support to the proposed exhibition. </p><p> <strong>Grams&#58; </strong>It takes courage to talk about race. &#160;When race intersects with issues of identity, skin color, religion, sexual preference and diversity within or across communities, the conversation can either be explosive or it can be a site of reconciliation. The planning process for “The African Presence in Mexico,” a 2006 exhibition at The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, brought out concerns in both the African American and Latino communities, around the topics of race, racism, and the complexities of multiculturalism. But the museum could ultimately count the success of the exhibition not only in the estimated seventy-two thousand people who attended, but that more than half had been African Americans, many of whom had never before been to this Mexican ethnic museum. </p><p> <strong>Based on your experience studying arts organizations and audience participation, what advice would you give to arts leaders who are working in the current environment?”</strong></p><p> <strong>Grams&#58;</strong> The arts have long been forced to prove their value to society, and today is no different. &#160;Our formal classification as “nonessential businesses” strikes a debilitating blow against our most basic understanding of the human need for cultural expression. Moreover, during the pandemic, this designation limited manufacturing of materials and supplies necessary for art making while shuttering businesses and organizations, and leaving thousands of artists and allied workers without a source of income and a limited economic safety net. </p><p>Even as we find ourselves in the midst of this economic and social catastrophe, we are reminded that the arts can be a powerful tool for creating social cohesion and for healing, in addition to being a tool for economic development and revitalization. In short, they are essential. We see this today—from people singing from balconies to creating murals, paintings and posters that honor health care workers and to the popularity of star-studded Zoom performances. Through proactive cultural policy in the near future, can the arts enhance opportunities for cultural participation and play a more central role in addressing social and community recovery, as a tool for bonding and healing our most serious social fractures?</p><p> <strong>Farrell&#58; </strong>&#160;Cultural practitioners know how to be resourceful, nimble and creative in designing projects and programs that engage their audiences in the moment. But they work in an often fragmented and individualistic art world, and much that could be learned and widely shared from these efforts is inevitably lost. When practitioners work with researchers as they did in our study, however, they can design studies alongside their projects to document what works and what doesn’t. They can build longitudinal evidence about the impact of participating in the arts, capturing knowledge and shaping effective arts policy. Forging stronger ties between research and practice with the goal of creating a shared knowledge base is a critically important way to build resilience for the post-pandemic future of the cultural sector.​</p><p> <em>​Main image&#58;Installation by Patricia Mendoza for Faith in Women exhibition at Inter-​media Arts in Minneapolis, September 29, 2005–January 7, 2006. Photograph by Timothy D. Lace © 2005.​</em></p><p> <em>Photo of Betty Farrell and Diane Grams from their 2008 book launch in Chicago. ​</em></p> <p></p>Wallace editorial team792021-02-11T05:00:00ZAuthors of a seminal book on audience participation in the arts help us assess the current landscape2/11/2021 3:13:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Resiliency, Innovation, Courage Key Characteristics to Ensure Survival of The Arts Authors of a seminal book on audience 391https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Join Event for New Report on How Principals Affect Schools5472GP0|#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 <em>How Principals Affect Students and Schools&#58; A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research</em>. The comprehensive study offers more precise evidence on the impact of principals on student achievement and other factors, and it identifies skills and behaviors by principals that are linked to benefits for students and schools.<br><br></p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2">Tuesday, February 16, from ​1&#58;00-2&#58;00pm ET on Zoom.<br></h2><p> <br>​The lead researchers—Jason Grissom, Patricia and Rhodes Hart professor, Vanderbilt University; Anna Egalite, associate professor, North Carolina State University; and Constance Lindsay, assistant professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—will share highlights from this study.<br> <br> A team of panelists will then reflect on the implications of the findings. They include&#58; Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer of the Council of Chief State School Officers; Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, Hal Smith, senior vice president of the National Urban League, and Mónica Byrne-Jiménez, executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration.</p><p>Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation will moderate the panel.</p> Wallace editorial team792021-02-03T05:00:00ZAn expert panel kicks off publication of the report that surveys two decades of research on school leadership6/8/2021 4:33:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Join Event for New Report on How Principals Affect Schools An expert panel kicks off publication of the report that surveys 308https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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