|What Theater Can Do Best||3559||GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>Two years ago, we embarked on our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) Stories Series, which has chronicled early accounts from the BAS initiative.
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/denver-center-for-the-performing-arts-is-cracking-the-millennial-code.aspx">One of the organizations featured</a> was Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), focusing on Off-Center—an experimental branch of DCPA’s Theatre Company. Off-Center is helmed and curated by Charlie Miller, who also serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Denver Center Theatre Company. </p><p>
To see how the work has been progressing, Corinna Schulenburg, Director of Communications at Theatre Communications Group, sat down with Miller to discuss Off-Center’s work to date, what they’ve learned and recommendations for other organizations seeking to expand their work in audience building.
<br> This following is an excerpted and edited version of the exchange.</p><p>
<strong>Shulenburg: Can you provide a brief overview of the Denver Center and your work with the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative?</strong>
<br> Miller: The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit theater based in Denver, and it's a unique organization because it houses both the Broadway presenting house and the regional theater that we call the Theatre Company. Inside the Theatre Company, there's a line of programming that I lead called Off-Center, which was created in 2010 to be a theatrical testing center, a place where we could experiment with new ideas and new forms and new ways of engaging a new and younger audience.
<br> This really came out of the challenge we were facing a decade ago—subscriptions were declining and audiences were aging. There was more competition for entertainment dollars, so we had to find a new way to engage an audience who wasn’t necessarily predisposed to theater the way that their parents and grandparents were. We were determined to create a new kind of programming geared toward that audience and that’s where Off-Center came from. </p><p>Around the same time, I became really fascinated with immersive theater and the way that it put the audience at the center of the experience. I also felt like it was a great thing for Denver because people who come to Colorado enjoy experiences. They like being active, and immersive theater allows an audience to be active inside of a story. So we set out to build the DCPA’s capacity to produce large scale immersive work through Off-Center.</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"><br><img alt="miller-schulenburg.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-Theater-Can-Do-Best/miller-schulenburg.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />
Corinna Schulenburg, director of communications, Theatre Communications Group and Charlie Miller, associate artistic director, Denver Center Theatre Company. </p><p><strong>Shulenburg: Can you say a little bit more about the aesthetic and the audience experience of immersive theater?</strong>
<br> Miller: For me what immersive means—and I also often use the word “experiential” interchangeably—is that it puts the audience at the center. They have some kind of role in the experience or in the story. It doesn't mean that the audience is playing a part like the actor, but instead that there is no fourth wall. It also needs to engage your senses and often involves not being seated the whole time, sometimes moving through multiple spaces, sometimes moving through the real world, but within a story that serves as a lens through which you’re viewing the world.<br>
<strong>Shulenburg: I know that an initial impulse was around engaging millennial audiences, particularly because you are a millennial yourself. Do you feel that millennial audience members have a particular relationship to this kind of work?</strong>
<br> Miller: On average we’ve seen 35 percent of the audience is made up of millennials for these experiential productions, which is a departure from the Theatre Company, which is closer to 16 percent. We've also noticed that there is a halo effect, where you create programming that you think will speak to one generation and it becomes compelling to other generations. The common denominator is not your age, it’s how adventurous you are and what you’re looking for in your cultural experience.
<br> What’s exciting to us is that the work we’re doing is engaging a significantly newer and younger audience but it’s also engaging a diverse audience and people of all ages who are interested in engaging with their art in a different way.
<br> Also through the work we’ve been doing, I've continued to feel a tension in artistic programming between listening to what the audience wants and just doing interesting work that people will be excited about that they didn't know they want. There’s the famous Henry Ford quote that I love, something like, “If I listened to what people wanted I would have just given them a faster horse.”
<strong>Shulenburg: I remember in some of your past work you’ve uncovered that there’s a gap in what they think they want and what you actually found they wanted through market research.</strong>
<br> Miller:  As we were starting our Wallace-funded work we did a lot of market research, both qualitative and quantitative, to look at millennials in Denver and to understand if they would be interested in immersive theater. And when we asked them what type of experience, what attributes they wanted in an experience, they wanted “entertaining,” “lighthearted and fun,” “casual and relaxed.” They did not want “exclusive,” “serious” or “high end.” </p><p>
<em>Sweet & Lucky</em>, which was the first big project we produced, was serious and emotional and contemplative and people loved it, but it was the opposite of what they said they wanted. And it turns out that some of the subsequent work we've done that has been categorized as “entertaining, lighthearted and fun” has not been as popular among audiences. So even though they said they thought they knew what they wanted, it turns out they didn't.
<strong>Shulenburg: Since Wallace released the Building Audiences for Sustainability Story on your work, what has changed since then? What have you been up to?</strong>
<br> Miller: The production that is running right now is called
<a href="https://www.denvercenter.org/tickets-events/between-us/">Between Us</a></em>, and it is a trio of one-on-one experiences between one actor and one audience member. This was inspired, in part, by an observation from
<em>Sweet & Lucky</em>: during that production, every audience member received a brief one-on-one with an actor, and we saw how impactful that was for audience members. </p><p>Through all our projects this spring I've been fascinated with how much agency we can give the audience. How do we create a situation where the audience can show up as themselves, not have to play a part, but can have a meaningful and authentic impact on the direction and possibly even the outcome of the story? And how do we do that in a way that still guarantees that there's satisfying narrative arc? We're really experimenting with that in all of these pieces. We've had to rethink how we do things and learn along the way.
<strong>Shulenburg: Do you have any advice for smaller organizations looking to begin the work of audience building?</strong>
<br> Miller:  I think it's really important to get feedback from your audience. You don’t have to have a big budget to collect information and to use that to inform some of your decisions. It’s a skill set and a muscle that you can develop, and there are free tools out there to help. I believe that audience members have more buy-in with an organization if they feel like they’re able to share their opinion, so I’m a big proponent of continuous learning—as Wallace calls it—and using data to support strategy.
<br> Another thing we've learned is that experimental and nonlinear work has been least successful, as determined by audience response. We’ve heard that loud and clear on three different projects now. I always have to remind myself that at the core you have to provide a good story and that’s what brings people in. Theater is an art of storytelling.</p><p>Finally, I’m a huge proponent of prototyping and taking small, incremental steps to improve based on what you learn. The analogy I like to give is climbing up two feet and trying out your parachute and then climbing up another two feet, rather than just jumping off a cliff and hoping that the parachute opens. The more you can iterate, prototype and experiment, that can be really valuable. It’s a way to take calculated risks.</p><p>
<strong>Shulenburg: We’ve been talking a lot about the role human contact plays in the work you do at Off-Center, so I wanted to end by mentioning the New York Times article, "</strong><strong><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/23/sunday-review/human-contact-luxury-screens.html">Human Contact Is Now A Luxury Good</a></strong><strong>" – have you seen it?</strong></p><p>Miller: Oh yes, I did see this piece.
<strong>Shulenburg: The research suggests that it used to be that people who had resources and money had access to screens. Now, it's reversed—folks who are economically distressed have screens around them all the time and human contact has become a luxury good for the wealthy. What’s so interesting to me about the work that you are doing, it feels like it's connected to that, that you are hitting on the significance of direct human contact. It seems to me like you're tapping into a real wellspring of hunger.</strong>
<br> Miller: I think you're right there. This relates to why I think millennials are drawn to immersive work. Our lives are mediated through screens, and theater like this forces you to put your screen down and to just be real, present and embodied.
<br> Spending an hour with a stranger and just getting to know them is a unique experience; you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the world from a different point of view. My hope is that this can wake us up from the monotony of our everyday routine and give us a new perspective on our own lives and on the world. That’s what we’re really trying to do at the end of the day. That’s what theater can do best. </p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2019-06-25T04:00:00Z||Checking in with Denver Center’s Theater Company on what they’ve learned about their audiences from championing immersive theater||6/25/2019 3:04:24 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Theater Can Do Best Checking in with Denver Center’s Theater Company on what they’ve learned about their audiences ||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices||3345||GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education||<p>Better services in schools and afterschool programs. Reforms that work. Exciting new opportunities for young people. They all come from a single source.</p><p>It’s not politics.<br></p><p>And it’s not money.</p><p>It’s better professional practices.</p><p>Think about what happens when planning for summer learning programs is left until the last minute. Or when training gaps mean that school and afterschool staff members are unprepared to support kids’ social and emotional development. Or when novice principals who are key to district efforts to improve school leadership have to fend for themselves, without mentors or coaching.
<br></p><p>It’s not pretty. How efforts are implemented really matters. Even the best ideas and the most well-resourced programs can’t make up for weak implementation.</p><p>We know this because we’ve seen what happens when implementation goes awry. It’s a problem first pinned down in the 1970s, when Seymour Sarason’s
<em>The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change</em> traced the surprising shortfalls of the 1960s “New Math” to lapses in how this approach to grade-school math education was carried out. Notably, teachers asked to teach the new math hadn’t been trained in how to do so. Moreover, the new curriculum wasn’t adapted to the local context, and planning was left until the new books arrived.</p><p>The bottom line was clear: Even the best idea, done with the best of intentions, doesn’t help kids if it isn’t implemented thoughtfully, carefully and with a smart change process that responds to the challenges faced by practitioners.</p><div>
<img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED_5991.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:204px;color:#555555;font-size:14px;" />
</div><p>Practitioners in schools and youth services take their work very seriously, so they know that well-executed programming is the best way they can help kids grow. And at The Wallace Foundation, we take practitioners’ work as seriously as they do. That’s why in addition to supporting improved practices and gathering many kinds of evidence to help enhance services for young people—from cost studies and outcomes data to market research and case studies—we gather practical, reliable lessons on implementation. Indeed, we place the highest priority on finding lessons that practitioners in education, youth services and other fields can use to strengthen their work, overcome barriers to effective programming and assist staff members when new services are being introduced. And we’ve seen how useful and beneficial these lessons are for practitioners and the kids they serve.</p><div>Our vehicle for this is the implementation study—independent research, which we commission and publish, that examines how an effort is put into operation. In uncovering both the strong points and flaws of implementation, this research identifies and illuminates the practices needed to carry out an innovation well. In the foundation’s early days in the 1990s, for example, researchers examined our initiative to support then-novel efforts by public schools to provide services for children and families beyond regular school hours. Among the lessons in
<em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>:  </em>It’s crucial to include school custodians in planning lest afterschool programming and afterschool cleaning and repairing collide. This simple reminder saved time and backtracking when the 21st Century Community Learning Centers effort began, and the U.S. Department of Education sent each center a copy of
<em>Getting Started</em>.</div><div> </div><p>Here are three examples from our more recent work: </p><p>In our National Summer Learning Project, begun in 2011, we supported five urban school districts as they worked to make high-quality summer learning programs available to children.
<em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed.</em></a> finds, among other things, that the districts needed to begin summer planning well ahead of summer’s onset if they wanted the programming to be as sound as possible. Best practices uncovered included this: Start planning in January at the latest. </p><p>Our effort to help youth-serving organizations introduce high-quality arts programming for young people in disadvantaged areas began in 2014.
<em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas</em></a> highlights the ways local Boys & Girls Clubs of America managers integrated teaching artists into their staff teams so the “arts kids” were supported by the entire Club community.</p><p>And then there’s the Principal Pipeline Initiative, launched in 2010, which supported six large school districts as they developed a systematic effort, known as building a principal pipeline, to cultivate a large corps of effective school leaders. A
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">recently published outcomes study</a> found that these pipelines proved advantageous to both student achievement and principal retention. The examination of the initiative’s implementation suggests
<em>how and why </em>this played out—in part, through flexibility that allowed for local adaptation. Specifically, even though each district set out to build pipelines with common components—such as rigorous job standards and on-the-job supports including mentoring for new principals—each district adapted the components to its circumstances and managed to overcome the barriers that inevitably cropped up locally. In other words, principal pipelines benefit kids when school districts emphasize strong implementation. The evidence is laid out in five Wallace-commissioned implementation reports,
<em>Building a Stronger Principalship</em></a>.</p><p>We are looking forward to future explorations of implementation, too. A forthcoming Wallace-commissioned report from our Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, for example, is setting out to detail how front-line youth workers and teachers find the time to incorporate social and emotional learning into their regular practices.</p><p>Over more than two decades of commissioning and communicating about implementation studies of Wallace’s initiatives, we’ve learned a lot:</p><ul><li>We’ve learned to pay attention to straightforward descriptions of what’s feasible in several different places. Practitioners value descriptions of what their peers have actually done in the real world, because that’s how they see they can do it, too. And we’ve seen that comparisons among several sites deepen the value of the implementation evidence.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to look at the start-up process, because it points to the stakeholders who need to be at the table and the practical ideas they contribute.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to identify hindrances to implementation—whether planning oversights, disengaged management teams, unequal treatment of some practitioners, lack of preparation time, staff inexperience or other commonplace operational challenges—and crucially, how practitioners overcome them.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned that sensible adaptations help practitioners respond to their own context—and show people who are considering an improvement approach how they can tweak it to fit their own situation.</li></ul><p>Most of all, we’ve found that
<em>every serious improvement effort requires significant operational changes in day-to-day practices and management</em>, so it is essential to probe and learn from the on-the-ground experiences of the front-line practitioners who are serving kids. The payoff for good implementation evidence is feasible, adaptable, practical ideas that enable institutions to engage in continuous improvement of services—with a consistent focus on benefitting young people. Strong practitioners are constantly figuring out how to do their work better. Smart implementation evidence helps them in that and, ultimately, in serving kids. </p><p>Effective implementation is the not-so-hidden story of services that work, and Wallace’s support for disadvantaged young people is rooted in the foundation’s recognition that the right kind of implementation is what gets the job done. That’s the most useful, and most constructive, lesson from Wallace’s work. And it’s the lesson practitioners use.</p><div><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="16" style="background-color:#e4e4e4;"><tbody><tr><td><h3><strong>One More Look:  Highlights from Wallace-Commissioned Implementation Evidence</strong></h3><p>Over the years, Wallace-commissioned research has looked at the implementation of initiatives in areas ranging from adult literacy and financial management of not-for-profit organizations to school leadership and summer learning. Which reports have ideas to help strengthen
<em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>: Early Lessons from the Field</em><strong>, </strong>Kay E. Sherwood (2000)</p><p>
<em>“One Day I Will Make It”: A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs</em></a> (2005)</p><p>
<em>Aligning Student Support With Achievement Goals: The Secondary Principal’s Guide</em> (2006).  The book is available for purchase online. A free Wallace
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-perspective-aligning-student-support-with-achievement-goals.aspx">brief</a> highlights key report findings. </p><p>
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/hours-of-opportunity-volumes-i-ii-iii.aspx"><em>Hours of Opportunity: Lessons from Five Cities on Building Systems to Improve After-School, Summer School, and Other Out-of-School-Time Programs</em></a> (2010)</p><p>
<em>The Skills to Pay the Bills: An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their Finances</em></a> (2015)</p><p>
<em>Building a Stronger Principalship Vol 5: The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action</em></a> (2016)</p><p>
<em>Leader Tracking Systems: Turning Data Into Information for School Leadership</em></a> (2017)</p><p>
<em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas: Implementing High-Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization</em></a> (2017)</p><p>
<em>Designing for Engagement: The Experiences of Tweens in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</em></a> (2018)</p><p>
<em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs: Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a> (2018)</p><p>
<em>A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors: Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative</em></a>(2018)</p><p>
<em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd edition</em></a> (2018)</p><div><div> </div> </div></td></tr></tbody></table></div><div> <br></div>||Edward Pauly||9||2019-05-20T04:00:00Z||Studies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement Efforts Help Practitioners See What Works—and What Doesn’t||5/21/2019 4:28:30 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices Studies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement ||431||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Many Questions, Some Leads to Build Arts Audiences||3081||GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>At Wallace, all of our initiatives are designed with two goals in mind: to benefit the organizations we fund and to benefit those we don't fund by providing credible, relevant knowledge derived from the initiative. For that reason all of our initiatives have a learning agenda. </p><p>In <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">our current arts initiative</a>, for instance, we set out to understand how audience-building efforts, carried out by nonprofit performing arts organizations in a continuous learning process, could attract new audiences while retaining current ones, and, at the same time, contribute to financial health. Now, the first of three expected reports from the initiative is out: <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/audience-building-and-financial-health-nonprofit-performing-arts.aspx">a literature review</a> of what’s known about the relationship between audience building and financial health. </p><p><a href="https://lbj.utexas.edu/directory/faculty/francie-ostrower">Francie Ostrower</a>, a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Fine Arts and a senior fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas, Austin, is co-author of the literature review and is leading the research effort on the initiative. In addition to the current review, Ostrower expects to publish two more reports: one on how the 25 organizations participating in the initiative implemented their efforts and another detailing the outcomes of their work. </p><p>We asked Ostrower to reflect on some of the key findings of the literature review.</p><p><strong>What is your opinion on the state of research surrounding the topic of audience building?</strong><br>
The literature offers numerous intriguing leads, ideas, and case studies—but many remain to be examined more systematically to really understand the consequences of audience-building efforts of different types. Other promising lines for future development would be to build a more cohesive body of research whose individual works reference and build on one another, and to link audience-building studies to the broader literature on organizational change, learning and culture.  </p><p><strong>At a few points in the literature review, you highlight that “audience-building and financial health literatures are distinct (with virtually no exploration of the relationship between the two).”</strong> <strong>Why do you think they’ve been separated historically? And what value is there in combining the two fields?  </strong> <br>
There would be great value to having additional studies that combine these fields. That is not to say that audience-building efforts should be judged or motivated by financial returns. They may yield financial returns, or their returns may be social or mission-driven.  However, organizations need to understand the financial costs and returns so that if needed, funding is secured to support the efforts in a sustainable way.   </p><p><strong>You highlight that empirical support for audience-building efforts is often slim. To what do you attribute this lack of empirical evidence? </strong> <br>
Assessing the outcomes of audience-building efforts is far more complicated than it may appear, and faces barriers of time, cost and access to reliable data. Arts organizations themselves may have only limited data on their audiences. The research challenges become even more substantial when we go beyond overall attendance counts to look at audience composition, follow efforts over time to understand their sustainability and try and establish how generalizable an approach tried by some organizations may be to others.    </p><p><strong>It seems there are two gaps in the literature: little study of the link between audience-building and financial health and a lack of empirical evidence of the results of audience-building tactics. How does the design of the evaluation for the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative address these gaps?</strong> <br>
Working within the challenges of this very complex data undertaking, we will be trying to establish whether and how organizations attracted new audiences and retained current audiences as they undertook their audience building activities. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, we will also seek to understand the experiences and internal organizational consequences of engaging in audience building efforts. </p><p><strong>Based on this literature review, what are the takeaways you hope nonprofit arts managers will find? Do you have different takeaways for board members? How about for artistic staff? </strong> <br>
There are several takeaways:  Audience-building efforts should not be viewed as isolated or mechanical undertakings, and there is every indication that successful and significant audience-building efforts require widespread and sustained organizational commitment.  Therefore, it is very important to think about why the organization is undertaking the activity, the level of commitment it is willing to make and how far the organization is willing to go in order to achieve audience-building objectives, especially where achieving those objectives requires the organization to re-think the status quo.</p>
<br><br>||Wallace editorial team||79||2019-05-13T04:00:00Z||Author of new review says literature surveyed offers intriguing ideas and case studies, but empirical evidence of success of audience-building efforts is slim.||5/16/2019 2:19:29 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Many Questions, Some Leads to Build Arts Audiences Author of new review says literature surveyed offers intriguing ideas ||166||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Building an Effective Afterschool Program…With the Evidence to Back It Up||4473||GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>So you want to start an afterschool program or expand the one you’ve got. You have demand in your community and an idea of what kinds of activities you want to offer. You even have a space lined up. What you need now is funding. The good news is that the federal government makes money available for afterschool under a number of funding streams in the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), particularly through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. (President Trump’s latest budget proposal would do away with 21st Century funding in the 2020 fiscal year, but the program has survived other recent efforts at elimination.) In order to be eligible for that money, however, you may need something else: strong, research-based evidence that your program can be effective in improving outcomes for young people.  </p><p>Fortunately, there’s a body of evidence about the effectiveness of afterschool programs already out there. To help providers tap into that research, Wallace commissioned
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/afterschool-programs-a-review-of-evidence-under-the-every-student-succeeds-act.aspx">a report</a> from Research for Action, an independent organization with a focus on education. The report reviews virtually all the available studies of afterschool programs from 2000 to 2017 and identifies those programs that meet ESSA requirements for credible evidence. Research for Action found more than 60 programs—covering all grade levels and almost every type of program—that fall into the top three of four levels of evidence described in ESSA. The report is accompanied by a guide that provides details about each program and summaries of the studies included in the review. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Ruth-Neild copy.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Building-an-Effective-Afterschool-Program-With-the-Evidence-to-Back-It-Up/Ruth-Neild%20copy.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />We talked to Ruth Neild, the report’s lead author and recently-named president of the Society for Research on Education Effectiveness,  about why afterschool should be more than an afterthought and how providers and policymakers can use her work to create programs that make a difference for students.*</p><p>
<strong>What is the need that this report and companion guide are intended to fill?</strong></p><p>ESSA encourages, and, in some cases, requires, providers and districts to use evidence-based practices, and it has specific standards for different levels of evidence. This raises a question: Folks in the afterschool space and the district aren’t researchers, so how in the world are they going to know what the evidence is? How are they even going to access it since a lot of it is behind paywalls? Our contribution to the field is that we’re bringing that evidence out into the open for everyone to take a look at. We did a comprehensive scan of the literature on every afterschool program we could find and reviewed it against the ESSA standards, so districts and providers don’t have to do that for themselves. </p><p>
<strong>Why does afterschool programming matter for young people?</strong></p><p>Afterschool programming obviously has the potential, at minimum, to keep students safe and supervised. It also has the potential to help students keep pace academically. A lot of programs, for example, include tutoring and academic enrichment. Beyond that, it has the potential to provide enrichment, including interest exploration and physical activity, that complements the school day and, in some cases, may not be available during the school day. Examples of that include arts, apprenticeships, internships, and self-directed science activities like robotics. In addition to standards of evidence, ESSA talks about a “well-rounded education.” Afterschool can help with that.</p><p>
<strong>What are the headlines from your review of the available evidence on the effectiveness of afterschool programs?</strong></p><p>One of the important things this review shows is that, when you do a comprehensive search and assessment of the most rigorous evidence, you find there are many programs that have positive effects and that, taken together, these programs have positive effects on a range of outcomes, whether you’re talking academics, physical health, attendance, or promotion and graduation. I think that is news, actually. There have been questions in the past based on a small handful of studies about whether there are net benefits of afterschool programs. But when you do a comprehensive search and you pull all the studies together and look at the average effects, for most outcomes the average effects are positive, and there are plenty of programs that have had positive impacts on students. </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption">
<img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Afterschool_Illustration2.1.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Building-an-Effective-Afterschool-Program-With-the-Evidence-to-Back-It-Up/Afterschool_Illustration2.1.png" style="margin:5px;" /> <em>The report's companion guide provides summaries, such as this one, on the research about the effectiveness of specific afterschool programs.
<strong>How can program providers use the report and guide in their decision-making?</strong></p><p>For providers, we summarize both branded and unbranded programs. Branded programs are formally organized and have a formal model. They may have a manual and a name. Some afterschool programs are branded, but probably most of them are homegrown models. For providers who might be thinking about purchasing products from the branded programs, the guide is a place to go and check a summary of their evidence. For providers who are developing a homegrown model, looking to see what others have done is a way of doing a tune-up on your own offerings. It helps you to think, “Here’s what I’m offering. What might I be able to expect in terms of outcomes for my kids?” </p><p>
<strong>What advice do you have for a provider who may be seeking federal funding for a program that doesn’t already have established evidence of effectiveness?</strong></p><p>First of all, in the afterschool context, a lot is left to the states to determine, so it’s important to know what level of evidence your state is requiring. Another thing providers should do is look in the guide to see if there is a program with important similarities to the one they’re offering that’s been shown to have a positive impact. When you’re putting in evidence to apply for federal funding, that evidence doesn’t haven’t to be from your particular program; it could be from a like program. </p><p>Another important thing to know is that Tier 4 [the fourth level of evidence described in ESSA], offers a door through which a program can be offered, as long as there’s a compelling research-informed argument for why the program would have an impact
<em>and</em> it’s being studied for effectiveness. Our review highlights some areas evaluators and programs should keep in mind as they’re figuring out what their evaluations should look like. For example, it’s important to think about getting a large enough sample size, otherwise your program is going to appear to have no statistically significant effects—even if it’s actually effective.</p><p>The afterschool field should also be thinking about what kind and intensity of outcomes afterschool programs can realistically produce. We found an awful lot of programs that use standardized test scores as an outcome. Test scores are easily available from school records. The problem is they’re very hard to budge. Think about school improvement grants: Millions and millions of dollars went into intensive school-day interventions, and it was hard to get a bang out of that. It seems potentially harmful to hold afterschool programs to that standard. The amazing thing is that afterschool programs have done it, but we would encourage providers and funders to think hard about whether there are other meaningful measures that can be used to capture what these programs are trying to change. Sometimes, funders may need to help providers develop those measures.</p><p>
<strong>What lessons does your review of the evidence base hold for state and federal policymakers? What can they do to promote effective afterschool programming?<br> </strong>
<br> Providers, districts, and schools can be lauded: Great job. You’ve shown that afterschool programs can be evaluated in rigorous ways and have some positive outcomes. Where the field needs to go next is to conduct better studies that test particular approaches, not just a mishmash of different approaches and outcomes. For example, if you’re going to have a program that’s trying to affect academic outcomes, really take a look at what it takes. How much time does it take? Can you offer it two days a week or do you need to offer it five days a week? What kind of staffing do you need to have? Are there requirements or incentives for participation you need to have?</p><p>States are in a great position to incentivize or require providers to develop a learning agenda because they’re re-granting a billion dollars collectively through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. There is evaluation money built into that program. But I don’t see great examples of states developing clear learning agendas with their grantees. That seems like the next step to me.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2019-03-26T04:00:00Z||Education researcher Ruth Neild on afterschool research and the funding requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act||3/26/2019 5:33:09 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Effective Afterschool Program…With the Evidence to Back It Up Education researcher Ruth Neild on afterschool ||318||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals ||10375||GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>In 2011, we launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative to test whether six large districts could put in place systems aimed at developing corps of effective school principals. Independent studies of the initiative’s implementation thus far have found that
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/perspective-building-principal-pipelines-update.aspx">building principal pipelines</a> proved both feasible and affordable in the six participating districts, and we’ll soon know more about how this work impacted student achievement. But when the initiative concluded: the question of sustainability remained: Would districts maintain these pipeline components—and if so, how?
</p><p>Now a Policy Studies Associates team led by researchers <a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx">Leslie Anderson</a> and Brenda Turnbull has interviewed key decision makers and surveyed novice principals to understand to what extent they are still carrying out the four components of the pipeline, what changes they have made and if principals’ perspectives on their hiring and placement, evaluation and support are similar to previous findings. Their findings are published in a new study <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</a>.
</p><p>We asked Anderson to elaborate on the report’s findings and what they mean for the sustainability of strong principal pipelines.  </p><p>
<strong>What are the most significant implications of these findings for districts that want to develop and operate principal pipelines?</strong></p><p>
<em>It’s worthwhile:</em> There is a real payoff that districts have seen from steady investment of time and thought in developing and refining several key ingredients for leader development: standards; partnerships; succession planning; mentoring and coaching, and leader tracking systems. Moreover, principals’ survey responses indicate that newly placed principals see strengths in the preparation and support they have received. As of 2018, the principal pipeline shows staying power. </p><p>
<em>It’s a process not a product:</em> One district leader described their pipeline experience as a journey rather than a destination that one reaches through shortcuts. No one should think that one district is “the district to watch” and try to copy what that district does. Instead, building a pipeline is a developmental process that district leaders must grow into. </p><p>
<em>It’s affordable:</em> There is almost no cost associated with developing leadership standards. In addition, only moderate costs are associated with creating a standardized application for principal candidates. Yet this relatively low-cost upgrade to district hiring practices can quickly strengthen the pool of candidates qualified to fill school vacancies. Indeed, seven years after starting the Principal Pipeline Initiative, district leaders no longer report struggling to find highly qualified candidates to fill vacancies; they are impressed with the skills of the principals they are hiring. Moreover, over time, districts saw fewer principal vacancies, suggesting that principal turnover had declined and new principals were better prepared.<br> </p><p>
<strong>What lessons does the study hold about how districts and universities can work together to improve preservice training for principals? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? </strong></p><p>PPI districts saw real benefits from investing staff time in the care and keeping of their university partners. Denver, for example, assigned a staff person to meet with district partners regularly, often monthly or more, to co-plan the programming. The result, according to another district administrator, has been that “they're producing candidates that are highly qualified [to lead our] schools.” Similarly, principal supervisors in Charlotte-Mecklenburg spent years on a university partner’s board and worked together closely to identify gaps between the district’s leadership standards and the university’s preparation program coursework. Ultimately, as one district leader explained, if done right, the benefits of the partnership are shared: “There is that mutual beneficial relationship that enables the university to have outstanding graduates and for us to have outstanding leaders.”  </p><p>By 2018, district investments in their university partnerships had yielded dividends. Higher percentages of principals who had started on the job in more recent years (after March 2012) compared with those who had started earlier (before March 2012) reported that their preservice preparation emphasized competencies related to school improvement, including instructional leadership.  Moreover, more recently prepared principals reported having started on the job with higher levels of preparedness for leadership. </p><p>
<strong>The report mentions that there are some areas of confusion or overlap in the various systems of support for principals that the pipeline developed.  What are these areas and how can schools and districts remedy them? </strong></p><p>Districts strive to coordinate principal support in a way that addresses principal needs but mitigates the risk of delivering conflicting messages. While principal supervisors, mentors and coaches are all necessary principal support, they need to be managed appropriately to avoid contradictory or confusing advice. A Denver principal supervisor described a novice principal getting four sets of guidance from four different people on a daily basis, for example.  </p><p>Creating more lines of communication between support streams is a good first step toward mitigating conflicting messaging.  Because people are busy, it’s often hard to know which support provider is helping principals develop which capacity or competency. A leader in Gwinnett County maintained that it was incumbent upon district leaders and support providers to work together to provide a coherent support structure that ultimately helps principals succeed. She suggested that districts should start by calibrating support providers in defining or diagnosing the needs of the school. And she cautioned that coordination does not mean standardization and that the support delivered to principals should vary in response to school contexts and needs.</p><p>Finally, there is a danger of overwhelming principals with support.  First-year principals often feel as if they are “drinking from a firehose,” as an administrator put it, and they cannot absorb all of the support they receive. Prince George’s County has tried to address this problem by creating what it calls “a central office school support network” to coordinate all of the offices that impact the building so that the principal “didn't have to have 13 different meetings with 13 different offices at the beginning of the school year.”</p><p>
<strong>With the emergence of the principal supervisor role as a key element of the pipeline, how can districts ensure that supervisors are able to focus mainly on principal support and development? </strong></p><p>
Districts used a variety of strategies to ensure that supervisors could focus on principal support. Several hired more supervisors, reducing their span of control and thereby increasing the time supervisors could devote to developing principals’ instructional leadership skills. One district removed any responsibility for operations management from principal supervisors’ span of control by creating a department of academic support and another department for school operations.<br></p><p>Another, less costly approach one district took was organizing supervisors into different buckets of responsibility. Leaders in this district recognized that their supervisors reflected an assortment of competencies, some uniquely qualified to guide principals’ growth in instructional leadership, and some not. They opted to divide the work of their eight supervisors so that five would be instructionally focused and three would be operationally focused.  </p><p>
<strong>What was surprising to you about these findings? </strong></p><p>That this initiative has real staying power. That is, seven years after the PPI began, districts still have their principal pipelines. Districts still use standards to shape their principal preparation, hiring, evaluation and support systems; hiring managers have well-stocked pools of vetted principal candidates as well as individual-level data for use in their succession planning. Mentors, coaches and supervisors continue to build principals’ skills on the job. All six districts continue working on strengthening and expanding the pipeline components in ways that further manage and support the career progressions of principals. For example, they continue to strengthen the principal supervisors’ skills in supporting principals. They also work on strengthening principals’ capacity to identify and develop the leadership talents of aspiring leaders, recognizing that sitting principals play a key role as mentors. </p><p>In summary, as we mention in the
<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">sustainability report</a>, they are trying to build an ecosystem for talent development in which principals and principal supervisors regularly seek to identify and nurture the very best and brightest future leaders.  </p><p><em>Leslie Anderson is a Managing Director at Policy Studies Associates (PSA). To read her full bio </em><a href="/about-wallace/People/Pages/Leslie-Anderson-.aspx"><em>click here</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2019-02-19T05:00:00Z||Study finds Principal Pipelines have staying power and big payoffs for districts.||2/19/2019 2:55:47 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Ecosystem of Talent Development for Principals Study finds Principal Pipelines are durable and have big payoffs ||605||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?||16092||GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||
<p>The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 makes considerable funding available to state and local education agencies for a variety of activities, including arts education. To make use of this funding, however, agencies must show evidence that the activities they propose make—or could reasonably make—a difference in student outcomes. </p><p>Researchers from the American Institutes for Research recently released<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Review-of-Evidence-Arts-Education-Research-ESSA.aspx"> a detailed Wallace-commissioned report </a>that points to 88 studies of arts education approaches that meet ESSA's standards of evidence. Their report also includes a broader estimate, based on available evidence, of the results policymakers might see when undertaking certain types of arts education activities.</p><p>Wallace's editorial team talked to the authors of the report—Yinmei Wan, Meredith Ludwig and Andrea Boyle—to discuss the funding programs in ESSA, the activities and approaches that qualify for these programs, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators could use their report to improve arts education in their schools.</p><p>The report identifies 12 ESSA funding programs that agencies could use for arts education. "Some funding programs are particular to specific activities," said Boyle. "For example, if you want to open an arts-focused magnet school, there is a program specifically for that."</p><p>Others such as the Title I program, which offers funds to help improve certain schools, can be used to support a range of activities, Boyle added. "But they might focus on specific populations, such as English learners or students of low income backgrounds, or on certain types of settings, such as extended days or afterschool programs," she said. "If you focus on those student groups or activities, then that might be the sort of program you would want to pursue."</p><p>Approaches that meet the evidence requirements for these funding programs cover a range of art forms, including dance, drama, and media arts. Most, however, focus on music and visual arts. “There is a lot more research literature about music and visual arts”, said Meredith Ludwig, "because those are the dominant programs available to students in schools."</p><p>ESSA splits evidence into four tiers. Tiers I, II and III require positive, statistically significant results for an arts education intervention to qualify for ESSA. Most of the eligible approaches mentioned in the report fall under Tier IV, which requires a theoretical or research-based rationale suggesting that an intervention islikely todeliver a positive result. </p><p>"The Tier IV evidence category allows for opportunities to innovate with new interventions or new approaches that don't quite have a research base yet," said Boyle. "It requires an intervention to have a rationale or logic model explaining how the intervention is expected to work, paired with efforts to evaluate what effects the intervention actually has once it is put into practice. To come up with a logic model, you can look at interventions that <em>do</em> have evidence behind them, what their logic model might be, and develop a rationale informed by that." </p><p>A previous ESSA study could help inform such efforts, Ludwig said. "<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-interventions-under-essa-evidence-review.aspx">The RAND report on social and emotional learning</a> did a good job describing how Tier IV is a good jumping off point for further research," she said. "It's important to explore what you know about a Tier IV intervention, whether you need to make changes to it and how you might bring the level of evidence up."</p><p>Different ESSA funding programs have different requirements, however. When matching a desired activity to a potential funding program, educators must ensure that the activity meets the evidence standards for that program. "Read the fine print of the specific funding program you're going after," said Boyle. "And make sure that the evidence aligns with those requirements."</p><p>Ultimately, the authors suggest, educators must ensure that the interventions they choose fit their broader goals for their schools. "Think about where an arts program would stand in relation to other things the school might be doing," Boyle said. "Look at the other types of funding available, what your priorities might be and how arts education might fit into those priorities." </p><p>The report's authors also explored the potential efficacy of arts education efforts beyond ESSA's evidence requirements. The final chapter of the report is a meta-analysis of all empirical studies the researchers found, regardless of whether they found the positive results that would make activities eligible for ESSA. </p><p>“We examined all of the effects produced from well-designed and well-implemented studies, regardless of whether they provide positive or negative findings, or whether the findings are statistically significant or not,” said Yinmei Wan, lead author of the report. “We think it can provide more important information for policymakers that takes account of the magnitude and direction of the effects in all the studies.”</p><p>The meta-analysis found that arts education produces a moderate, statistically significant, positive effect on student outcomes. But Wan urges caution when interpreting its results, largely because of the dearth of empirical research about arts education.“For some art types and outcome domains, there is only one single study,” she said. </p><p>She also points to the difficulties inherent in measuring the entirety of the arts experience. “Researchers are trying to find ways to better measure features of the arts experience," she said. </p><p>Still, there are many studies that could help point educators in the right direction. "Our review has limited scope," Wan said. "We don't review international studies or studies about afterschool programs. But there are other resources available like the <a href="https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/">What Works Clearinghouse</a> or <a href="https://www.artsedsearch.org/">artsedsearch.org</a> that have more information about interventions that are not covered in the report."</p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2019-01-23T05:00:00Z||Authors of a new report discuss ways in which schools could get federal support for arts education and the results they could expect from it.||1/23/2019 2:51:30 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School Authors of a new report discuss ways in which schools ||1490||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Principals, SEL and the Arts Mark Year’s Top Blog Posts||16110||GP0|#6b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384;L0|#06b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||
<p>The end of the year is a time of lists…shopping lists, of course, but also top 10 lists: top 10 movies, top 10 books and so on. To celebrate the first year of the Wallace blog, we’re counting down a list of our own: These are the posts you’ve visited the most since the launch of the blog in March 2018, and we think they give a nice taste of our work this year.</p><p>Happy New Year to all and to all a good read. </p><p>10) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/summer-books-research-beloved-pigs-of-childrens-literature.aspx">“Summer Books, Research and Beloved Pigs of Children’s Literature”</a> A chat with Harvard’s James Kim about READS for Summer Learning, a school-run, home-based program Kim developed over the course of 10-plus years of research and experimentation.</p><p>9) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/talking-to-parents-about-social-and-emotional-learning-.aspx">“Talking to Parents about Social and Emotional Learning”</a><strong> </strong>Bibb Hubbard, founder of the nonprofit Learning Heroes, talks to Wallace about a report aimed at helping schools and organizations communicate with parents about social and emotional learning.</p><p>8) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/research-on-arts-integration-an-essa-evidence-review-blog-post.aspx">“High-Quality ‘Arts Integration’ Programs Can Benefit Learning in Core Subjects”</a> A brief look at a study by the American Institutes for Research, which shows that high-quality programs that incorporate music, theater or other arts into core subjects such as English and math can make a difference in learning.</p><p>7) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/students-mental-and-emotional-health.aspx">“Students’ Mental and Emotional Health Top Concerns for Elementary Principals”</a><strong> </strong>Run-down of a survey of elementary and middle school principals, which finds that their priorities have shifted dramatically over the past 10 years, with students’ mental and emotional issues now leading their list of concerns.</p><p>6) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/research-and-self-reflection-help-strengthen-community-ties.aspx">“Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties”</a> A guest post from social psychologist and statistician Bob Harlow about efforts by the Fleisher Art Memorial to connect with newly arrived immigrants in its South Philadelphia community.</p><p>5) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/showing-young-people-they-belong-at-the-ballet.aspx">“Showing Young People They Belong at the Ballet”</a> Harlow discusses the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s work to attract 20-to-40-year-olds.</p><p>4) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-principals-can-improve-student-success-blog-post.aspx">“How Principals Can Improve Student Success”</a>: A look back at <em>How Leadership Influences Student Learning</em>, a landmark Wallace report from 2004 that helped bring to light the importance of an overlooked factor in education—the role of the school principal.</p><p>3) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/want-stronger-communities-create-a-bridge-to-the-arts.aspx">“Want Stronger Communities? Create a Bridge to the Arts”</a>: Our communications director, Lucas Held, reflects on a Knight Foundation report, which finds that art and culture help people develop a sense of attachment to their community.</p><p>2) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/aasa-stephanie-jones-interview.aspx">“The Elements of Social and Emotional Learning”</a>:<strong> </strong>An excerpt from an interview with Harvard researcher Stephanie Jones, in which she relates her own personal experience with social and emotional learning and explains why educators should care about it.</p><p>1) <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/your-top-picks-and-ours.aspx">“Your Top Picks and Ours”</a>: OK, so we posted this one before the official launch of the blog in March. It’s a round-up of Wallace’s most-downloaded publications of 2017. It just goes to show, everybody loves a good list!</p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2018-12-18T05:00:00Z||A look back at your favorite dispatches from the first year of the Wallace blog||12/18/2018 3:00:18 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Principals, SEL and the Arts Mark Year’s Top Blog Posts A look back at your favorite dispatches from the first year of the ||345||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning||12651||GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||
<p>All the leaves have fallen from the trees. There’s a chill in the air. ’Tis the season…for planning your district’s summer learning program?</p><p>That’s right, district leaders. Decide in the fall to offer a program and begin the planning process by January and you’ll run into fewer roadblocks when summer rolls around. That’s just one of more than 60 recommendations in the second edition of <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success</em>.</a> This report from the RAND Corporation updates guidance to districts interested in launching a summer learning program or improving an existing one. It’s based on evaluations of five urban school districts participating in the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP), a Wallace-funded effort to understand whether and how voluntary district-run summer learning programs can help promote success in school. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="heather-schwartz.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Now-Is-the-Time-to-Get-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning/heather-schwartz.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:241px;" />The report answers such questions as when districts should begin work on their summer program, how they should hire and train teachers, what they should consider in choosing or developing a curriculum, which actions can help boost attendance and keep students on task, how to create a warm and welcoming environment and how to provide engaging enrichment experiences. Heather Schwartz, one of the authors of the report, guided us through some of the highlights.*</p><p><strong>How did you arrive at the recommendations in the guide? </strong><br>
To develop our recommendations, we drew from over 900 interviews with summer teachers and administrators, 2,000 hours of observations of summer classes and 1,200 summer staff surveys that we collected over four summers. We believe this is the most comprehensive data currently available about voluntary, academic summer programs run by school districts and their community partners.</p><p><strong>What's new in this second edition? How has your thinking evolved since the first edition?</strong><br>
Although most of the lessons from the first edition still stand, the second edition provides further and more detailed recommendations. For example, by the second edition we had learned that students who received a minimum of 25 hours of mathematics instruction and those receiving 34 hours of language arts in a summer performed better on the subsequent state math and ELA tests. These findings informed our recommendations in the second edition about the duration of the summer program, the number of hours of academics and ways for instructors to use intended instructional time more productively. </p><p><strong>You provide a wealth of recommendations in the guide. Could you briefly highlight one or two of the most important?</strong><br>
Our most emphatic recommendation is to commit in the fall to a summer program. This means dedicating at least half of the time of a summer program director to actively start planning the summer program no later than January. The early planning should include attention to enrichment as well as to academics.</p><p><strong>What did you learn about the cost of a high-quality summer program? What can districts to do to make their summer programs cost-effective?</strong><br>
The cost per student who attended at least one day of a program in summer 2014 ranged from $1,070 to $1,700 with an average of $1,340. Since staff is the largest component of a summer budget, an important way to control costs is to hire staff to achieve desired ratios based on projected daily attendance, not the number of enrollees. Of course, program designers should weigh the savings from cost-cutting measures against potential negative impacts on program quality. Other ways to lower costs include partnering with community organizations for enrichment activities, reducing the number of summer facilities since each carry fixed costs to operate them, centralizing some planning activities to avoid duplicated work, extending school-year curricula for use during the summer and continuing the program over time to capitalize on initial start-up investments. </p><p><strong>Can you give a preview of what's still to come from the National Summer Learning Project?</strong><br>
There are four more reports coming out of the NSLP. In the first, we examine how district, city, state and federal policy support and constrain summer programming and we offer recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on navigating this policy landscape. In the second, we examine how student learning unfolds over the course of a calendar year, taking a close look at summer learning, in two urban school districts. In the third, we follow the students in the randomized controlled trial to see if those who went through the NSLP programs have different outcomes in seventh grade than the students in the control group. And, finally in the fourth report, we report on the efforts of NSLP communities to improve access to quality summer learning programming. The case studies in this final report should prove useful to other community leaders across the country.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed. </em></p><p><em>For additional hands-on tools and guidance, including a sample program calendar, see the online </em><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a><em>. </em></p><div><div> </div> </div>
||Wallace editorial team||79||2018-12-11T05:00:00Z||Talking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful summer learning program||12/11/2018 3:00:53 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning Talking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful ||802||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Three Questions About Education Leadership Research||16123||GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>R<em>ecently, </em>Education Week<em> columnist Rick Hess handed over the reins of his blog for a </em><a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2018/08/three_questions_about_education_leadership_research.html" target="_blank"><em>post </em></a><em>on current research in education leadership. We were happy to see the piece refer to our University Principal Preparation Initiative, among other sources, and received permission to republish the post. The authors are Anna Egalite, assistant professor of leadership and policy at North Carolina State University, and Tim Drake, who's also at NC State. The two are collaborating on a project (supported through the Wallace initiative) to redesign NC State's principal training program and share lessons learned with others.</em> <br></p><p>A commonly cited
<a href="https://hechingerreport.org/why-school-leadership-matters/" target="_blank">statistic</a> in education leadership circles is that 25 percent of a school's impact on student achievement can be explained by the principal, which is encouraging for those of us who work in principal preparation, and intuitive to the many educators who've experienced the power of an effective leader. It lacks nuance, however, and has gotten us thinking about the state of education-leadership research—what do we know with confidence, what do we have good intuitions (but insufficient evidence) about, and what are we completely in the dark on? With this in mind, we've brainstormed three big questions about school leaders. The research in this area is incomplete, but a recent development makes us hopeful that better data are on the horizon.</p><p>
<strong>1. Do principals impact student performance?</strong></p><p>Quantifying a school leader's impact is analytically challenging. How should principal effects be separated from teacher effects, for instance? Some teachers are high-performing, regardless of who leads their school, but effective principals hire the right people into the right grade levels and offer them the right supports to propel them to success.</p><p>Another issue relates to timing: Is the impact of great principals observed right away, or does it take several years for principals to grapple with the legacy they've inherited—the teaching faculty, the school facilities, the curriculum and textbooks, historical budget priorities, and so on. Furthermore, what's the right comparison group to determine a principal's unique impact? It seems crucial to account for differences in school and neighborhood environments—such as by comparing different principals who led the same school at different time points—but if there hasn't been principal turnover in a long time, and there aren't similar schools against which to make a comparison, this approach hits a wall.</p><p>Grissom, Kalogrides, and Loeb carefully document the trade-offs inherent in the many approaches to calculating a principal's impact,
<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0162373714523831?journalCode=epaa" target="_blank">concluding</a> that the window of potential effect sizes ranges from .03 to .18 standard deviations. That work mirrors the conclusions of Branch, Hanushek, and Rivkin, who
<a href="https://www.educationnext.org/school-leaders-matter/" target="_blank">estimate</a> that principal impacts range from .05 to .21 standard deviations (in other words, four to 16 percentile points in student achievement).</p><p>Our best estimates of principal impacts, therefore, are either really small or really large, depending on the model chosen. The takeaway? Yes, principals matter—but we still have a long way to go to before we can confidently quantify just how much.</p><p>
<strong>2. What skills are needed to ensure success as a modern school leader?</strong></p><p>The fundamentals haven't changed, as a quick read of Dale Carnegie's classic<a href="https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034" target="_blank"> text</a> will reveal—smile; don't criticize, condemn, or complain; show appreciation. Specific applications to the field of education administration are obvious: Be a good manager, be organized, and follow the policies you set. These are concrete skills that can be taught in a preparation program and their value has been quantified. See, for instance,
<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0002831211402663?journalCode=aera" target="_blank">Grissom and Loeb</a>, who point to the importance of practical managerial skills;
<a href="http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=12742" target="_blank">Hess and Kelly</a>, who write about the principal's role in supporting curriculum and instruction; and
<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0013189X13510020?journalCode=edra" target="_blank">Grissom, Loeb, and Master</a>, who demonstrate the value of teacher coaching. </p><p>But there are also intangible skills that cannot be easily taught—being visionary and motivating, showing compassion, being a force for good, keeping children at the center of the work, and being cognizant of whether civil rights are being advanced or inhibited by the culture you build. This latter list highlights the skills that principal candidates need to bring to the table before their preparation program even begins, and it's this latter list that matters the most in our current context.</p><p>
<strong>3. What are the characteristics of high-quality principal preparation programs?</strong></p><p>Principal preparation programs have two primary responsibilities: Identify and admit the most promising candidates, then provide them with concrete skills that will equip them to be successful upon graduation.
<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Preparing-Principals-Changing-World-Leadership/dp/0470407689" target="_blank">Studying</a> exemplary programs offers a roadmap for how to do this well, but data limitations restrict how closely we can actually monitor their success in meeting these responsibilities.</p><p>We can show that there is sufficient
<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013161X18785865?journalCode=eaqa" target="_blank">systematic variation</a> between programs in terms of test-score growth, for instance, that allows us to sort them into high, medium, and low performance categories. But we know too little about differences in the actual training received across programs. Administrative datasets rarely allow us to link principals to the specific program from which they graduated. Most programs can't even self-evaluate because they don't have data systems to track their graduates.</p><p>So what are we doing about all this?</p><p>With support from the Wallace Foundation's
<a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/wallace-announces-seven-universities-to-participate-in-47-million-dollar-initiative.aspx" target="_blank">$47 million initiative</a> to improve the quality of principal preparation, NC State has been engaged in redesigning our program to train principals who are ready to meet the demands of a constantly changing job. We joined forces with local school leaders to identify the skills and attributes of effective school leaders. We then developed our program selection criteria, curricula, assessments, and internship to align with this framework. We're now partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and SAS to develop a leadership-development dashboard that tracks the career pathway and performance of our graduates, with a vision of scaling the system state-wide to include all North Carolina-based principal preparation programs and school districts.</p><p>The data don't exist yet to answer the most pressing questions about the relationship between principal preparation and leadership effectiveness. It's our hope that's about to change.</p><p>—<em>Anna Egalite and Tim Drake</em></p>||Wallace editorial team||79||2018-09-11T04:00:00Z||What we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions about and what we still need to learn about education leadership.||9/11/2018 6:11:47 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Three Questions About Education Leadership Research What we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions ||1266||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|
|Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties||16114||GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61||<p>About 10 years ago, staff at Fleisher Art Memorial recognized that the organization was not keeping pace with demographic changes in its Southeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Although Fleisher had off-site community and school programs that served the neighborhood’s growing number of residents of Latin American and Southeast Asian descent, this population was not well represented among the approximately 4,000 students taking on-site classes. In 2008, Fleisher received a Wallace Excellence Award to identify barriers to their attendance and launch programs to eliminate them. The school then saw a subsequent increase in the perception of Fleisher as an inclusive organization and experienced an uptick in enrollment of area youth in its classes. That effort is described in
<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Wallace-Studies-in-Building-Arts-Audiences-Staying-Relevant-in-a-Changing-Neighborhood.aspx">a 2015 case study</a>.</p><p>Because audience diversification can take many years to accomplish, we were eager to revisit Fleisher and see how things now stand. We found an organization that is not only attracting an increasingly diverse audience but is also asking more questions about itself and inviting its community to help provide answers.</p><p>
<strong>Engaging the Community</strong></p><p>Fleisher Art Memorial was founded in 1898 in Southeast Philadelphia, which has been an entry point for newly arrived immigrants throughout its history. For most of the 20th century, Fleisher students came from a patchwork of nearby communities of European heritage. In recent decades, however, those populations have been replaced by newcomers from Latin America (mostly Mexico) and Southeast Asia, groups that Fleisher staff came to realize were not signing up for classes. </p><p>Though many of newly arrived immigrants had practiced art in their home countries—and it continued to be an important part of their lives—they did not know that Fleisher could provide them with art-making opportunities. Fleisher’s research revealed that even though the institution was committed to making art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, many of the new immigrants believed the school was for wealthier people of European descent, and in the absence of other information, they assumed they would not be welcome. Therefore, the staff put aside their original aim to engage community residents by offering new programs and instead focused on the need to challenge an inaccurate perception. </p><p>With that in mind, the school launched a community engagement initiative that integrated Fleisher activities into neighborhood daily life. New programs included:</p><ul><li>
<a href="http://fleisher.community/programs/color-wheels/">ColorWheels</a>, a van serving as a mobile art studio that allowed the school to bring art-making to dozens of neighborhood parks, festivals and schools; </li><li>“FAMbassadors,” two local residents who joined the staff to raise awareness of Fleisher and notify the institution of areas where its programs could complement and enrich celebrations and other happenings; and </li><li>Expansion of ARTspiration, its annual day-long street festival, to make it more inclusive of various community groups.</li></ul><p>At the same time, staff members underwent cultural competency training to create a more welcoming environment on-site. They also participated in workshops on topics such as: building relationships, collaborations and partnerships; marketing and messaging in the community; and developing strategies to work with local agencies. After the staff did this groundwork, the neighborhood’s impression of Fleisher as elitist softened considerably, with visitor surveys showing a sharp increase in the perception of Fleisher as committed to serving non-English speakers and people born outside the United States. Moreover, the school began to serve more students from the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it.</p><p>
<strong>Continuing Existing Programs and Creating New Ones</strong></p><p>Since the 2015 case study, Fleisher has continued, and in some cases expanded, its engagement programs in these ways:<u></u></p><ul><li>The ColorWheels van still brings art-making throughout the neighborhood, with funding in part from the
<a href="https://www.pnc.com/en/about-pnc/corporate-responsibility/philanthropy/pnc-foundation.html">PNC Foundation</a>. </li><li>ARTspiration has grown and become more of a family festival. Last year, more than 7,000 people visited, a far cry from the less than 2,000 who came just five years ago. The organization still invites vendors and performers who reflect the community’s diversity. According to former director of programs Magda Martinez, ARTspiration has been one of the most effective ways of introducing large numbers of people to Fleisher. </li><li>As part of their orientation, new staff and board members learn about the community research and engagement work to help them understand its objectives and how they link to Fleisher’s mission.</li><li>Fleisher has hired its first communications director, translated promotional and registration materials into multiple languages and hired bilingual staff and faculty.</li><li>A new video-rich website,
<a href="http://fleisher.community/">Fleisher.community</a>, highlights Fleisher’s activities throughout the neighborhood.</li><li>With the departure of one of the original FAMbassadors and the organization’s changing relationship with the communities, staff members are rethinking what role these liaisons will play in the future. </li></ul><p>The following charts show youth- and adult-program enrollments and the percentage of those enrollments that draw from Southeast Philadelphia (defined as zip codes 19147 and 19148). The greatest growth has been in youth programs, with young people from the neighborhood now making up 38 percent of total enrollment, confirming research findings that suggested that residents wanted art for their children. While growth in adult programs has been slower, neighborhood residents now make up a larger percentage of such enrollment than in the past. </p><p>
<em>Youth Class and Workshop Enrollment</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-Youth-Enrollment.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-Youth-Enrollment.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>
<em>Adult Class and Workshop Enrollment (incomplete data from 2013 and 2014 not shown)</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-Adult-Enrollment.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-Adult-Enrollment.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>One new program forging relationships with neighborhood residents is the celebration of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos at Fleisher. Over several weeks each fall, a working artist and community members gather to create the art used for the festivities at Fleisher, including a large thematic altar (an “ofrenda”) that honors those who have passed away. There are also workshops to make papier-mâché sculptures and paper marigolds. The celebration culminates with face painting and a parade in the streets surrounding Fleisher (with music from community artists) and a gathering at the school. </p><p>
<em>Altar Created for Día de los Muertos at Fleisher</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>
<em>Día de los Muertos Parade and Celebration at Fleisher<br><img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos3.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></em></p><p>
<img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos2.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></em> </p><p>Images by Gustavo Garcia, Colibri Workshop </p><p>The Día de los Muertos celebration began six years ago when Fleisher FAMbassador Carlos Pascual Sanchez connected Exhibitions Manager José Ortiz-Pagán with a local merchant hosting an ofrenda. The merchant, in turn, connected Ortiz-Pagán to local artists, dancers and community leaders involved with other Día de los Muertos festivities around the city. They formed a volunteer committee to create a large-scale ofrendaat Fleisher, inviting the local Mexican community and others. Ortiz-Pagán notes that the school did not invite an artist to come in for just one weekend and build an ofrenda. Instead, it asked the community to inform every step of the process, start to finish, in order to better nurture a long-term relationship. </p><p>Run by an autonomous committee of eight community members who create the budget and plans, the festivities have grown to become one of the largestDía de los Muertos celebrations in the Northeast. Fleisher provides space, materials and expertise such as fundraising and grant-writing support. Last year the observance also included a community fundraiser. Staff members say it was welcomed by neighborhood residents, who wanted to play a larger role in supporting the effort, and by Fleisher’s board and donors, who appreciated the event as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about the cultural tradition of Día de los Muertos.</p><p>Ortiz-Pagán sees the commemoration as emblematic of Fleisher’s commitment to being an integral part of Southeast Philadelphia by supporting communities to manifest their cultures, a mission reflected in other art-based partnerships as well. Such partnerships include a new Bring Your Own Project initiative funded by the
<a href="http://www.pewtrusts.org/en">Pew Charitable Trusts</a>, which invites artists to Fleisher to work with surrounding communities and the social service organizations that represent them. Says Martinez, “Instead of the artist coming in with a project already set, the artist spends time meeting the community, and we prepare participants to talk about what’s important to them and if they see art playing a role for their concerns in their community and if so, how?”</p><p>
<strong>Working as Part of the Community</strong></p><p>Stemming from the first period of research and program development, programs like Bring Your Own Project represent a rethinking of the institution’s approach to engaging with the community. In reaching out to the people they hope will be involved, staff members pose questions and try to learn about neighborhood needs before acting. They also constantly ask themselves why they want to take on a particular initiative and how it will have an impact on the community.</p><p>Martinez notes that the questions are the same regardless of whether the work involves community engagement or other Fleisher programming. In thinking through a new program for older adults, for example, Fleisher has reached out to a predominantly Latino immigrant–serving health agency to identify what art forms most interest its older clients, what kind of engagement would be best for them and what Fleisher can provide that would enrich their lives and is not available elsewhere. This inquiry has led to a new ceramics curriculum designed to promote story sharing and reduce social isolation among the elderly in immigrant communities. </p><p>This way of developing programs is a significant shift for the institution. “Questioning is now an intrinsic part of Fleisher’s culture. I’m not so sure we were good at that ten years ago,” says Martinez. “We now question ourselves, what we’re doing and why. We’re more aware of what’s happening in the city and on a national level.” </p>||Bob Harlow||82||2018-08-22T04:00:00Z||The Fleisher Art Memorial builds on its success in connecting with newly arrived immigrants in South Philadelphia||8/30/2018 7:20:48 PM||The Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties The Fleisher Art Memorial builds on its success in connecting ||4996||https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx||html||False||aspx|