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Afterschool Arts Provide Digital Lifeline in Covid Times2961GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Recent studies have shown that <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx">creating art can help young people</a> make sense of the world around them, process their feelings and deepen empathy. After the pandemic hit and programs scrambled to go online, making art also became a source of<a href="https&#58;//www.aep-arts.org/power-of-the-arts-a-covid-19-silver-lining/" target="_blank"> healing</a>, connection and, ultimately, resilience, as well as increasing broader access to arts programs for more youth across the country. </p><p>The Wallace blog caught up with researchers involved with two arts learning programs to get a sense of the specific lessons they learned in the pivot to virtual learning and what we all might carry forward. <a href="https&#58;//www.researchforaction.org/about-rfa/meet-the-team/tracey-a-hartmann/" target="_blank">Tracey Hartmann</a>, Ph.D., is the director of qualitative research at Research for Action in Philadelphia and has been working with Wallace for a decade on our Youth Arts Initiative with the Boys &amp; Girls Club of America (BGCA). All five BGCA clubs from different parts of the country stayed open during the pandemic, offering some form of virtual,&#160; in-person and hybrid programming. <a href="https&#58;//www.linkedin.com/in/monica-clark-phd-44470714/" target="_blank">Monica Clark</a>, Ph.D, is the Teach YR project director at YR Media–a national media, technology and music training center and platform for emerging BIPOC content creators headquartered in Oakland, California. She leads the organization’s research arm. The pandemic gave birth to YR’s <a href="https&#58;//yr.media/ryl-studios-type-beat-challenge/" target="_blank">Type Beat Challenge</a>, which allowed young people to create and submit music from anywhere, collaborating with one another and with professional music producers around different themes. </p><p>Hartmann and Clark were meeting each other personally (on Zoom!) for the first time and had a lot to say about young people and the arts. The conversation has been edited for space and clarity. </p><p> <strong>Wallace Foundation&#58; In your work with the BGCA clubs, Tracey, you found that in moving to virtual there needed to be a higher level of what you called “intentionality” in programming. Can you give an example of what you mean? And then, Monica, does this resonate with your findings too? </strong></p><p> <strong>Tracey Hartmann&#58; </strong>Our data comes from focus groups we did with 31 youth participants across the five clubs, and what we heard from youth was that what engaged them in the virtual programming was very similar to what engaged them in person. But from the teaching artists’ perspectives, they found that they had to be more intentional about the things they did, and there were three elements that came up. The first was for young people to have input into programming. The program was designed for middle school youth–and sometimes older–an age group that is really hard in any setting. So the artists had to make an effort to learn what the young people were interested in, sometimes on an individual level, and be more intentional about following these interests, even outside of the Zoom class. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-1.JPEG" alt="blog-photo-rfa-1.JPEG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br> </p><p>Artists also had to be more intentional about connecting with youth, checking in at the beginning of class. For example, one artist said he had to make an extra effort to know who was shy and didn’t want to be on camera or what was going on for them that day. We also heard from youth that they wanted more verbal guidance, especially if they were learning new skills, to help them feel like they were getting the kind of hands-on support they might get in person. </p><p>Finally, the artists had to be intentional in thinking through how to do the hands-on art, making sure young people had the supplies or equipment they needed. Sometimes they delivered art supplies or sent home packets to young people. They also found that youth really appreciated watching them do the art. </p><p> <strong>Monica Clark&#58; </strong>So much of what Tracey just shared mirrors findings from our focus groups with about 40 people. We also held a convening where we brought together leaders from five different arts organizations to talk about the pivot to virtual. One of our instructors from that convening said something to the effect of “I’m shouting out into the void,” talking about the black screens, and the vulnerability involved in trying to engage&#160; students virtually and get them to turn their cameras on. How do you build community around that? </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-ryl-studios-2.jpg" alt="blog-photo-ryl-studios-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>One of the things that made our Type Beat project so successful for virtual was that it was co-designed with and by youth. We took advantage of remote platforms by opening up the program to young people outside of the Bay Area or to those who might not have been able to access the program in person. Doing this also highlighted the glaring inequalities that young people could face going online&#58; access to computer hardware and software, because with music production it’s not just your laptop but the software that’s going to help you bring the beats together; unreliable broadband and wifi access; equal resources and training for teachers; and a lack of basic social and economic support for our most marginalized students in their communities. </p><p>We knew we needed to meet people virtually where they were already hanging out online, and we did this by using eight different platforms. We also collaboratively created community norms for how we were going to operate as a community in the virtual space. These were specifically outlined and always pinned up in the chat. We were always thinking about how to create a positive community space focused on mental well-being. One of the Type Beat challenges was something like “chill beats for wellness,” so the young people could build that into the art they were making.&#160; </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; How did the teaching artists specifically need to change their practice in the virtual world? And what kind of support or tools did they need to be able to teach their art in this way? </strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>In some ways they were doing the things that were already done but learning how to do them in the virtual space. Of course, we always want to support our young people when they're showcasing their art. We want them to feel confident in what they're producing. But how do you do that when they're in their bedroom and you're in your apartment or wherever you are? For the Type Beat challenge, we asked our instructors to support young people in developing the design aesthetic of the background space of their room, knowing that we were asking them to be very vulnerable in showing their space. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-ryl-studios-1.jpg" alt="blog-photo-ryl-studios-1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>Then there are the kinds of interpersonal and community building activities that are needed in any space, but you need to be even more innovative in the ways that you do it in the virtual space. For instance, you could support students on screen by doing a hype up dance that each person would perform in their own space, so the whole group would be together dancing and getting each other excited. It helps break the discomfort and model that it’s safe to be vulnerable in this space.&#160; </p><div> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>Monica was referencing physical and emotional well being before, which is one of the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/something-to-say-success-principles-for-afterschool-arts-programs.aspx">10 principles</a> [for developing high-quality afterschool arts], and which was definitely coming up around people feeling shy about having their camera on. The artists worked to help young people create virtual backgrounds. They were aware that family members were also in the room, and some artists used that as an opportunity to invite them into the conversation or the activity. In fact some of the young people in focus groups suggested that it would have been okay for the artists to ask them to turn on the camera more often to show their work.</div><p> <br>​The instructors also needed basic tools. In addition to having the wifi capacity, maybe good cameras, microphones, lighting. There was a certain software that dance artists needed that helped them sync music with their video. Some of the TAs were digital artists, so they already had a lot of tech skills, and they ended up being kind of advisors to other staff in the club. But others did not have those skills, and it was a steeper learning curve for them. They needed more training and professional development to develop the skills to be able to offer programming virtually. <br></p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-2.JPEG" alt="blog-photo-rfa-2.JPEG" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What did you learn about how young people used art during the pandemic to support their mental health, process their feelings, support civic engagement or anything else? </strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>We found that young people turned to art as an escape from what is happening in the world and also in trying to make sense of and reshape what they're experiencing under these extreme and uncertain conditions. They are using art as a social intervention to formulate and share their points of view, connect with others and mobilize for equity and justice. One of our young people said, “I think my view on art has definitely changed, and now I see it, less of something, just like doodling or whatever, and more as a tool that I can use in my life moving forward.” Another one of our national correspondents from Minneapolis was talking about a <a href="https&#58;//yr.media/news/a-minnesotan-weighs-in-is-there-hope-after-the-hashtags/" target="_blank">journalism piece she published ​</a>​with YR&#160; during the George Floyd protests, after his killing, and how it was one of the most difficult things that she ever wrote, but it was also the most powerful and it made her feel so good afterwards–particularly due to the fact that she was able to work with a Black editor that she looked up to in making final edits to her piece.<br></p><p>The&#160; prevailing assumption was that the pandemic lockdown meant that young people could not go anywhere, that everyone was stuck in their house and trapped. But from a number of our focus group participants we found that the same conditions also enabled young people to explore more widely than before, forming new communities through digital access to faraway places and professional artists.​<br></p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>We saw that youth created artwork about Covid, about racial injustice, about grief and loss. It was a coping mechanism and a way to calm their nerves. Some young people needed opportunities to process some of the things that were going on in the world. But the program also served youth as young as nine, and maybe even younger, and for them it just took their mind off of what was going on, helped them feel “normal” or represent their private experiences. An instructor at one club described a song that his class created called quarantine crazy where youth were rapping and singing about their experiences during Covid. </p><p>The teaching artists were always responsive to where young people were at any given day and created the space, if needed, for them to talk about what was on their minds. Again this was particularly so for the older youth, who often wanted that space to talk about things. One artist said, “I feel as if I'm a counselor and an art teacher when they're sharing with me, and if I affirm how they feel, hopefully that makes some type of positive impact.”</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What unique role do you see art making continuing to offer young people, and how can we best support both the practitioners and the organizations that are dealing with them as they do this?</strong></p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>We are focusing now on the idea that STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics] implementation can be built on solid foundations and serve genuine opportunities for deep learning at the intersection of creative and technical disciplines. Our young people are creating art but they're also learning the technical side of packaging, developing and creating music, which is a tech skill.</p><p>It’s also important to remember that we are freed from many of the constraints of schools, including short class periods, mandated use of grades, academic tracking limits on admissible subject matter.&#160; Out-of-school-time afterschool arts educators, who are often working artists themselves, can help support young people in the creation of creatively and socially challenging products that are guided by the young people and the issues that they want to be addressing.</p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>The artists described how they themselves needed support in these roles. They needed to know who to go to for referrals if issues came up that were beyond their ability to respond to. They needed more training in areas related to social and emotional well-being. For example, they received training in how to manage their own emotions to support young people. They received some training around supporting youth experiencing trauma, but they would have liked even more of that training. They received training around setting appropriate boundaries, because in the virtual space, the boundaries are a little different. How to de-escalate intense situations–this was for artists that were back in person–and then again just responding to grief and loss, because that was coming up a lot. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/afterschool-arts-provide-digital-lifeline-in-covid-times/blog-photo-rfa-4.jpg" alt="blog-photo-rfa-4.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;507px;" /> </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Any final words of advice for other organizations who are thinking about expanding their virtual arts learning or other models that include some people being online while others are in person? </strong></p><p> <strong>TH&#58; </strong>One of our takeaways was that the synchronous model, which is live programming on Zoom or a similar platform, works best for youth who are really passionate about the art form. We heard from the artists as well that you have to be really motivated to do virtual synchronous programming. The hybrid model that the clubs used with the artist Zooming into the in-person classroom seemed to work well, especially if the artist was able to be in the club occasionally. It works better for exposure programming, meaning programming that allows youth to try out an unfamiliar art form to see if they like it. The hybrid model also has promise for bringing in artists from all over the country, which can expand youth access to all kinds of resources.</p><p> <strong>MC&#58; </strong>The design of hybrid programs must be carefully considered in order for programs to, as one of our participants said, “bring the activity, energy and vibe that instructors bring to class to the virtual format.” As Tracey says, you have to carefully consider the work that's being done and determine which activities could be suited for the virtual space. Also remember that you can’t just be in one social space or one app. You have to meet students where they are and that’s always going to be shifting. <strong></strong></p><p>Most importantly, anytime you're doing programming that supports young people, young artists, they need to be brought into the design. I am really hyped about how our Type Beat challenge did that. It meant a lot to our young people, particularly in the moment in time that we were in, for them to have that agency, to feel that power and feel like they would produce not only the music but they would produce this program that is now living on.​<br></p><p> <em>All photos courtesy of the Boys &amp; Girls Club of America and YR Media.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792022-06-21T04:00:00ZTwo arts education researchers share what they learned when programs went online–and the strategies that might endure6/21/2022 12:01:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Afterschool Arts Provide Digital Lifeline in Covid Times Two arts education researchers share what they learned when 389https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Recovery Cannot Happen Without Great Principals2799GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News​<p>​​​J​​​ames Lane, assistant secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education, began his address on a recent webinar for education leaders with gratitude for principals. “You’ve stepped up in ways that none of us could have ever imagined,” he said, going on to thank principals for their dedication, perseverance and tenacity in keeping communities together during the pandemic.&#160;<br></p><p>Citing the report,&#160;<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</a>, Lane emphasized the importance of school leaders, quoting the report authors&#58; Principals really matter.</p><p>Indeed it is difficult to envision an investment with a higher ceiling on its potential return than a successful effort to improve school leadership. He underscored this point by reviewing the Department of Education’s priorities and its supplemental priorities.</p><p>The supplemental priorities include&#58;<br> </p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet"> Diversifying the education workforce to reflect the diversity of students.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Addressing staffing shortages through measures such as encouraging states to increase compensation; improving teacher working conditions; supporting teacher-wellbeing; and building a cadre of substitute teachers.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">​Investing in an educator pipeline by establishing loan forgiveness, teacher development residencies and teaching as a registered apprenticeship.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Providing technical assistance to states and studying teacher shortages in order to provide researched guidance as to how to increase the number of teachers in the pipeline and improve retention.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Preparing and developing principals by expanding the definition of “educator” in certain grants to include not only classroom teachers but all those involved in education, including principals. These grants include the&#160;​<a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/innovation-early-learning/education-innovation-and-research-eir/" target="_blank">Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program</a>, and&#160;<a href="https&#58;//oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/effective-educator-development-programs/supporting-effective-educator-development-grant-program/#&#58;~&#58;text=The%20purpose%20of%20the%20SEED%2cenhance%20the%20skills%20of%20educators." target="_blank">Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grants</a>.</div><p>Lane also addressed the administration’s commitment of federal funds to meet the needs of students and educators trying to recover and reimagine schools.</p><p>“We have got to invest those dollars <em>now,</em>” Lane said, addressing education leaders across the country. Lane and his colleagues are meeting with district leaders nationally who are using their federal funding to support activities such as partnering with community organizations to provide holistic services to students, putting a health clinic on campus that is open to the entire community and others. </p><p>Lane ended his remarks urging district leaders to be bold about the actions they take to make sure every student has the support they need to be successful.</p><p>You can view the recording of the webinar <a href="https&#58;//vimeo.com/705801954/334fd7c94b" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-05-31T04:00:00ZU.S. Assistant Secretary of Education explains how the department is prioritizing educators now and in the future5/31/2022 5:30:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Cannot Happen Without Great Principals U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education explains how the department 612https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Covering Education in a Crisis3680GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​Education has been at the center of the news over the past couple of years as the nation continues to wrestle with the pandemic and the havoc it has wreaked on schools. Education writers, too, have at times found themselves having to stretch to cover more areas of public policy, health issues and basic concerns like food and housing.<br></p><p>In early 2020, just before the first cases of Covid began to surface in the U.S., the Education Writers Association commissioned the EdWeek Research Center to conduct a study of education journalism. Released the following year, the <a href="https&#58;//www.ewa.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/ewa_ed_beat_report_2021_1.25.21_0.pdf?1616011351" target="_blank">State of the Beat report</a> surveyed 419 education journalists, following up with 24 phone conversations, to tell the story of the people who are covering education today.&#160; According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents said education journalism is a career path they’re committed to pursuing, and 98 percent said their w​​​ork has had a positive impact on the community. Despite these positive perceptions, education journalists surveyed indicated that they face serious challenges–from outright harassment and hostility to diminishing resources, financial difficulties&#160;and the public’s distrust in the news media.<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“​School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home.​” — Linda Jacobson<br></p><p>The Wallace blog spoke with two education writers to discuss some of the obstacles and bright spots they’ve encountered and how the pandemic has affected the education beat in general. Linda Jacobson, senior writer at The 74 Million, has been covering education for over a decade, and Dahlia Bazzaz, education reporter at The Seattle Times, has been covering education for about four years. Her first two years at the publication were spent as an engagement editor for the <a href="https&#58;//www.seattletimes.com/education-lab-about/" target="_blank">Education Lab</a>, a project that started in 2013 that spotlights promising approaches to some of the most persistent challenges in public education. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; Linda, as a veteran in education writing, can you talk about how the education beat has changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>Linda Jacobson&#58; </strong>For me, the access to and growing awareness of families’ and educators’ lives outside of school has been a noticeable departure from how I, and probably many other reporters, routinely interacted with sources prior to the pandemic. School and home overlapped in so many ways that it became more important to understand both contexts—the expectations that schools were placing on families for virtual learning and the nature of quarantine policies, for example, combined with the challenges children and parents faced at home. Did they have reliable internet? Were students sharing a study space with siblings? Did they have to go to work with their parents? I know I also had to develop knowledge in some areas that were outside the typical boundaries of education policy. COVID testing, vaccines, supply chain issues&#160;and broadband access are a few examples. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Dahlia, You were a member of EWA’s New to the Beat rookie class in 2018. What was it like being newer to the education beat in the middle of a pandemic? Can you talk about some of the challenges?&#160; </strong></p><p> <strong>Dahlia Bazzaz&#58;</strong> By the time the pandemic began, I had been a full-time reporter for about two years, and an engagement editor for the education team for two years prior to that. For some context, I covered the closure of Bothell High School in the Seattle area, the first school in the United States to shutter in the pandemic. I remember pairing up with our health reporter at the time for that first story, and believing it would blow over. A few months prior, a Seattle school had closed because of a norovirus outbreak, so this type of story wasn’t unusual to me. Two days later, on February 29, when a King County man’s death was announced as the first known in the U.S. from the coronavirus, I realized I had helped write some of the earliest pages of our pandemic history. One of our stories, about the order closing all schools in King County, actually “broke” the analytics tracker that the Seattle Times uses and set a pageview record. </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"><span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">“</span>To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020.<span style="color&#58;#2b92be;font-size&#58;24px;">”</span> — Dahlia Bazzaz​<br></p><p>The pressure and responsibility we felt, and still feel, was immense. Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. Almost every day early on, someone would cry during an interview. Then I would cry afterward as I processed their worries about their future and my own. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback and attention on our reporting from around the world.&#160; </p><p>It was a huge test of everything I’d learned about the education system and government until that point. To fully capture how the disruption of foundational services are affecting people, you have to understand them at a deep level, and understand how they used to work (and not work) before 2020. I also found myself truly living in every single beat—one day a health reporter, researching the best air filtration systems for schools, another day out at protests against institutional racism and police brutality. The definition of education beat reporter has really expanded. </p><p>A lot of things helped me keep going. I am fortunate to live and work in a community where there are many kids and adults willing to spend time speaking with a reporter in the midst of chaos and trauma in their lives. I am forever thankful to them for their trust. My experienced colleagues came up with the questions I never thought to ask because my reporting or life hadn’t taken me there yet. The Education Lab team has also kept a steady lens on racism and inequity in schools, which meant our first questions and stories centered on how the pandemic would affect kids of color, kids receiving special education services and kids living in low-income communities. I’m a better education reporter now, almost four years into the game, than I was two years ago. But part of that improvement is realizing how much I didn’t know and how much I still need to learn. The pandemic made me see that. <br></p><p> <strong>WF&#58; According to the State of the Beat report, access has been a challenge for education journalists. What kind of access do you have to school leaders and how has that changed during the pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>Because I cover education from a national perspective and don’t concentrate on a specific district, it’s rare that I get to visit and meet with leaders in person. It might only happen if I’m reporting on something in the Los Angeles area, where I live, or traveling for a story. But I’m constantly developing connections with superintendent and principal organizations at both the national and state levels. On deadline, they’ve been quick to refer me to principals or district leaders, and I’ve found that throughout the pandemic, many have been especially candid about their experiences.<br><br> Perhaps it’s because whether they were in rural Georgia or the Pacific Northwest, they’ve all experienced the same dilemmas—burned out teachers, annoyed parents and disengaged students. Instead of being reticent, many leaders I’ve interviewed over the past two years have talked as if they were almost waiting for someone to ask how they were coping. Our retrospective on&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/700-days-since-school-lockdown-covid-ed-lessons/" target="_blank">700 days</a> of the pandemic, in particular, was a platform for some of these leaders to share their personal and professional reflections. </p><p> <strong>DB&#58; </strong>Because Western Washington schools opened later compared to the rest of the country, there was a good solid year where our coverage took place outside. We managed to get inside a few schools in between, but they were outside of the Seattle area, where policies on visitors inside schools were less restrictive. Since schools reopened full-time this past fall, the access has been really dependent on the district. Some are much more open and friendly to reporters than others. Or the access appears predicated on the type of story we’re pursuing. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; The survey also shows that journalists are split on whether or not K-12 schools were going in the right direction—roughly half say they are going in the right direction and the other half say they’re not. Do you think these numbers would look different now, given everything that has changed in the education field over the past 2 years? Why or why not?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>My coverage largely focuses on this exact question, so I don’t think it’s my place to share any personal perspectives here or speculate on what journalists would say. It’s important for me to keep the lines of communication open with sources that fully believe in traditional public schools as well as those working outside of the system to offer new options to children and families. Besides, there’s never an easy answer to that question. For students and families, these aren’t simple, either-or choices. There are challenges and marks of success with all schools and educational models.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58;</strong> This is a hard question because I personally don’t feel we have a uniform experience of education in the United States. It is vast, it is inequitable and it is largely dependent on zip code. I think we’ve seen how heavily state and local policies drive what happens in schools, especially when it comes to funding and the efforts in places to suppress teaching about racism and social issues. </p><p>Here in Washington State, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a lot of things that make me hopeful at the local level. Our job at Education Lab is to find promising, research-backed solutions to longstanding problems in education. For example, I’ve been able to read and report about ways schools and nonprofits are successfully improving kids’ reading skills or finding alternatives to suspending and expelling students. But for a variety of reasons, promising practices can take a long time before they float up to state policy, if they even do at all. School districts still rake in more money if their community has high home values and is amenable to passing levies. So, even within a state, there can be a multitude of different experiences and outcomes for kids. I don’t believe the pandemic has changed this. <br></p><p> <strong>WF&#58; How do you cover such hot-button issues while retaining your journalistic point of view?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58; </strong>I’ve worked hard over the past two years to understand the arguments on all sides of the more contentious issues we’ve covered—reopening schools, mask mandates, vaccine requirements, discussions of race and gender. I always try to represent the multiple positions in my articles, and again, for families and teachers, these issues can be more complicated than the public debate suggests. We try to capture that when we can. I think we’ve also strived to give readers realistic expectations about where things are headed and the relevant legal and policy options. If a lawsuit or piece of legislation has no chance of advancing, we try to make that clear.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58; </strong>I think the key to covering hot-button issues is not losing sight of who the issue will affect the most. Because that is often not the person who will be the most accessible to the press or the loudest person in the room. In education reporting, we need to remind ourselves that it’s about the kids. They are the recipients of this system. It matters the most what happens to them as a result of any policy or change.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What are some of the big issues we should be watching in 2022? Where might we see some “bright spots”?</strong></p><p> <strong>LJ&#58;</strong> We ran an article in the fall of 2020 with the headline, “Right Now, All Students are Mobile,” quoting a source with expertise on the issue of student mobility. There are students who have spent each year of the pandemic in a different schooling situation—traditional, homeschooled, a virtual charter. Recent research is showing that the correlation between multiple school changes and declining academic performance is even stronger than previously thought. It’s another aspect of the long-term effects of the pandemic’s disruption that I know I want to better understand.<br><br> With our recent coverage of&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.the74million.org/article/covid-school-enrollment-students-move-away-from-urban-districts-virtual/" target="_blank">enrollment trends</a>, I think it’s important to keep following the departure of students from urban districts and the tough decisions leaders will make regarding school consolidations and closures. And we need to understand where families are going, what districts and new models they’re choosing and how those decisions are working for students.<br><br> Data is emerging not just on how districts plan to spend federal relief money, but actually how they’ve spent it. There are endless opportunities there to track where it goes and what difference it makes for students.​<br></p><p> Certainly, we’ll be watching the midterm elections. President Biden already hasn’t been able to accomplish all he set out to do in the early phases of his presidency—including his plan for child care, universal pre-K, and teacher and administrator preparation. And if Republicans gain control of the House—or the House and Senate—that could bring his agenda to a standstill.<br><br> As for bright spots, I would expect that districts have learned a lot from the past two summers and that there would be even more ambitious and creative examples of summer learning programs to watch this year.</p><p> <strong>DB&#58;</strong> I’m interested in watching how schools spend their unprecedented amount in federal aid due to the pandemic. The last of those funds expire in a couple of years from now, so we’ll need to keep our eyes on those dollars for a while. These funds can be used to start helpful beneficial programs for kids most affected by the past two years, and we need to be shining a light on where and if that happens—and whether people in power will invest to prolong their lifespan. We should also be holding leaders accountable for the promises they made to improve the education system for Black and brown students in 2020.<br></p>Jenna Doleh912022-05-24T04:00:00ZTwo journalists discuss the challenges and rewards of working the education beat and how COVID-19 has changed things for them5/24/2022 2:38:59 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Covering Education in a Crisis Two journalists discuss the challenges and rewards of working the education beat and how 935https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides40943GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​T​​​​​​​​​​​​renton, N.J., <a href="https&#58;//www.nj.com/mercer/2014/04/from_iron_to_steel_to_pottery_trenton_once_flexed_industrial_might_for_world_to_take.html" target="_blank">a former manufacturing hub</a> where <a href="https&#58;//www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/trentoncitynewjersey/AGE775219#AGE775219" target="_blank">nearly a third of the population now lives in poverty</a>, is not known for nature or green spaces. It is understandable, then, that when two busloads of children from the city arrived last August at the&#160;<a href="https&#58;//princetonblairstown.org/" target="_blank">​​Princeton-Blairstown Center</a>, a bucolic, 268-acre environmental education center in Blairstown, N.J., some were a bit nervous.</p><p>When some two dozen children set out on canoes to explore the center’s Bass Lake, two stayed behind, both terrified of the unfamiliar body of water. Staffers had to coax them into the lake, first getting the children into life jackets, then helping them onto canoes, then gently bumping off the pier and, only when the panicked parties had found their sea legs, paddling off to join the other students in the center of the lake.<br></p><p> This is what the Princeton-Blairstown Center, a 114-year-old organization that brings students from some of the poorest parts of New Jersey to its campus in Blairstown every summer, calls “challenge by choice.” The goal is to help <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-lets-talk-social-and-emotional-learning-(sel)-podcast.aspx?_ga=2.40619170.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">build social and emotional skills</a> by getting children out of their comfort zones, helping them confront some fears and showing them how they could use those experiences to overcome challenges at home, in school and in their communities. The practice can cause its share of anxious outbursts, but staffers are trained to help students learn from them. “That’s the whole point of our activities,” says Christopher Trilleras, one of the counselors who helped the wobbly mariners onto Bass Lake. “To process frustrations at the end, to really talk about them and prevent them.”<br></p><p>Such<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-children-feel-safe,-understood-and-supported.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010"> social and emotional support is especially important</a> for children today, as the coronavirus pandemic has robbed them of months of school, play and interpersonal experimentation. The Wallace editorial team visited two summer programs in 2021—one operated by the Princeton-Blairstown Center and the other by <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/" target="_blank">The Fresh Air Fund</a> in New York City—to see how they worked to help young people overcome the effects of months of isolation, including social anxiety, emotional volatility and a lack of focus after several school terms spent spacing out on Zoom. Both programs have had to get creative with established practices to help young people through two Covid-infested summers, staffers say, and are learning from those experiences to take on an unpredictable summer ahead.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" id="div_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Old principles, new social and emotional needs<br></h3><p>The two organizations, both more than a century old, have well-developed practices to help young people develop the sorts of social and emotional skills that the pandemic appears to have compromised. When they take children out canoeing, for example, they’re working to help children build confidence to confront new experiences. When they design collaborative construction projects or obstacle courses, they’re looking to grease social wheels and encourage teamwork. When they teach kids to tend to vegetable gardens or model farms, they’re working to foster a sense of responsibility. The students’ mere presence in peaceful but unfamiliar outdoor spaces, far removed from their regular lives in urban centers such as Trenton, New York City and Newark, N.J., can help build relationships, says Pam Gregory, president and chief executive officer of the Princeton-Blairstown Center. “When you come together for a week with people who have a shared experience that’s really unique from most of the other people in your life,” she says, “you form a very close bond.” </p><p>Such practices can be insufficient in a pandemic, however. Months in isolation without social opportunities have made many young people more reluctant to try new things, program staffers say. Last August in Sunset Park, a diverse, middle-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 30 tots and tweens spent a morning practicing crafts, learning to dance and racing handmade carts on a street blocked off for summer programs by The Fresh Air Fund. Most seemed comfortable enough, but one 10-year-old clung to a counselor, too uncomfortable to approach the others. It was a situation familiar to Jane Li, an area resident whose son faced similar anxieties when he first came to The Fresh Air Fund.&#160; “Sometimes in the beginning, he’s a little withdrawn,” Li says of her son. “Maya, the counselor, she talks to him, plays games with him, gets him warmed up and gradually join the small group and then the bigger group.” </p><p>Some counselors are even able to use the pandemic to help students deal with deeper traumas. Many students who find their way to the Princeton-Blairstown Center or The Fresh Air Fund have histories of homelessness, domestic abuse or worse. Tabs Alam, a senior environmental education facilitator at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, speaks of group sessions with students where conversations began with talk of the pandemic but ended with discussion of more visceral worries about home, family, friends and poverty. Some students will admit how they find lockdowns especially hard, Alam says, because home has never been safe for them. </p><p>“Covid was a vessel to have people think about themselves a little bit more,” she says.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" id="div_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Learning Without Knowing It</h3><p>There are fewer silver linings when it comes to academics, however. School closures and other pandemic-related disruptions have set students, especially “historically marginalized students,” months behind, according to <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/education/our-insights/covid-19-and-education-the-lingering-effects-of-unfinished-learning" target="_blank">consulting firm McKinsey &amp; Company</a>. Basic math and English are rarely the central focus of programs like The Fresh Air Fund and the Princeton-Blairstown Center, but they are still working to help students regain the ground they’ve lost. </p><p>Both face two major constraints when doing so. For one thing, &#160;they can’t really drag children into classrooms and force them to make up for the academics they’ve lost. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">Research suggests</a> that attendance is a key component of student success, and students are unlikely to want to attend if they’re crammed back into rooms after months spent indoors. </p><p>For another,&#160;both programs have less time than usual to dedicate to academics. In normal times, the Princeton-Blairstown Center would host its students for at least five days, while The Fresh Air Fund would shuttle campers to nature reserves north of New York City for two weeks. In 2021, after a season spent online, the Princeton-Blairstown Center was able to offer four days of programming in parks and schoolyards in its students' communities and a fifth-day daytrip to Blairstown. The Fresh Air Fund had to move most activities to New York City, cordoning off streets for camp-like activities for two, three-hour sessions a day, four days a week. </p><p>Both programs work to meet these twin challenges by doubling down on one of the things they do best&#58; making learning fun. “We like to fold education in without kids knowing that they’re learning,” says Sheila Wilson-Wells, chief program officer of The Fresh Air Fund. The programs feature libraries that staffers encourage students to use and quiet spaces where students can read, reflect and write. They also offer activities such as cooking, architecture and soil and water analysis that help students brush up on science and math. “For a lot of the young people that we serve, it’s the first time that they understand that learning can be fun,” Gregory says. “Because it’s hands-on, not just sitting there doing worksheets or a lecture.”</p><p>“Throughout their time with us, they’re learning,” adds Wilson-Wells. “From the time they get off the bus and they don’t even know it.”</p><p>Such subtle blends of academics, fun and social and emotional learning are essential in summer programs, say Aaron Dworkin and Broderick Clarke of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/" target="_blank">National Summer Learning Association</a>​ (NSLA), especially in the wake of a crippling pandemic. “We have to get away from false-choice binary arguments that are a waste of time,” says&#160;Dworkin, chief executive officer of the NSLA. “Do kids need academic help or do they need social emotional help? They need both.”</p><p>“The best practitioners don't necessarily make that distinction or separation,” adds&#160;Clarke, the association’s vice president for programs. “They figure out a way to make the magic happen and to incorporate social and emotional competencies in the course of whatever activities they're presenting.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">O to Struggle Against Great Odds…</h3><p>Summer programs must make this magic happen while dealing with their own daunting challenges, from staff burnout and fatigue to the limited time they have with their campers. Three characteristics help them do so, say staffers from the two programs&#58; flexibility, partnerships and continuous improvement.</p><p>Both programs have had to be nimble to offer children as much programming as the pandemic permits. When the coronavirus shut everything down in 2020, for example, the Princeton-Blairstown Center sent its students “PBC in a Bag,” kits with books, snacks and the materials they needed for daily activities such as building catapults and seeing how far they could shoot projectiles across their rooms. After each activity, counselors led discussions on Zoom and helped students draw lessons from the experience. “It was very challenging for our facilitators,” says&#160;Gregory, “but over time they perfected it.”</p><p>The following summer, as the relative safety of outdoor gatherings became clearer, the Princeton-Blairstown Center resumed in-person activities. It still couldn’t host people overnight, as most parents were still nervous about children sharing rooms, so it devised its schedule of four days in students’ neighborhoods and one at its Blairstown campus so students could get at least a little taste of nature. It isn’t much, but Richad Hollis, a rising eighth grader from Trenton visiting the center in August, appeared to appreciate it. “In Trenton, it’s just streets and people playing outside,” he said. “Here, it’s a whole creek right over here. It’s just way more stuff that you can do other than just running around in the streets.”</p><p>The Fresh Air Fund never stopped in-person programming, but it created <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/summer-spaces/" target="_blank">a new Summer Spaces</a> program to avoid crowding children into buses or dorms. It blocked traffic on 11 city blocks throughout New York City and opened them up so children could drop in for activities including dancing, sports, STEM projects and arts and crafts. Each site featured two health and safety officers to ensure adherence to pandemic protocols and social workers traveled from site to site to help acclimate children unnerved by the sudden onslaught of social activity. </p><p>These adaptations would have been impossible without partnerships, says Wilson-Wells. To find and secure city blocks, staffers worked with communities, city councilmembers and the New York City Department of Transportation. To offer dance lessons, they recruited performers through a partnership with&#160; the <a href="https&#58;//www.abt.org/" target="_blank">American Ballet Theatre</a>. To help teach science, they asked for help from <a href="https&#58;//www.biobus.org/" target="_blank">Biobus</a>, a New York City-based organization that runs mobile labs for children. To get books, they worked with the Brooklyn and Queens libraries. “There were so many wonderful partners that really pulled together to do comprehensive services,” Wilson-Wells says, “so we can ensure that, even in the pandemic, we were able to impart learning moments.”</p><p>There are about 22 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunches in American schools, according to the <a href="https&#58;//schoolnutrition.org/aboutschoolmeals/schoolmealtrendsstats/" target="_blank">School Nutrition Association</a>, a trade group for the school-food-service industry. Such partnerships are essential to get those children the services they need, says Aaron Dworkin of the NSLA. “No one program can serve 22 million kids,” he says. “But collectively, we can.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">…To Meet Enemies Undaunted</h3><p>Both programs are now using these experiences to gear up for an uncertain summer ahead, inching towards traditional programming, keeping what worked during the pandemic and tweaking what did not. The Fresh Air Fund plans to reopen camps for two-week experiences again. But 2022 will include important adjustments to help students and staffers adapt and respond to new realities. The organization will open just four of its six camps and limit capacity to 50 percent. The reduction in size, says Wilson-Wells, should help get campers the extra attention they need, give staffers room to reacquaint themselves with camp life and ensure everyone has enough space to return to social distancing should that become necessary. </p><p>To help meet the demand it cannot meet at its condensed camps, The Fresh Air Fund will continue to operate the Summer Spaces program it created during the pandemic. However, as it begins to direct resources back to more traditional programs, it will trim that program from 11 sites to four, focusing on neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the pandemic and where families have expressed the greatest interest. </p><p>All experiences, both at the camps and in New York City, will still include the health and safety workers who&#160;helped ensure adherence​​ to Covid restrictions during the pandemic. Staffers felt kids could use more social and emotional support, however, so the fund will replace its traveling social workers with support staffers dedicated to each site. “We're hoping that that will allow us to have organic conversations with young people to really hear how we can best serve them,” says Wilson-Wells.</p><p>The Princeton-Blairstown Center, meanwhile, is staying flexible. It will begin to host groups for overnight sessions at Blairstown if the parents, schools and organizations that send them are comfortable. But it will keep a pandemic schedule to accommodate students from communities with low vaccination rates, those who may live with vulnerable family members in multigenerational households and those whose regular teachers are too Covid-worn to chaperone them.</p><p>Like The Fresh Air Fund, the center is adapting that pandemic schedule based on observations from the last two years. The one, five-hour day at Blairstown seemed rushed in 2021, Gregory says, so the center&#160; may expand it to an eight-hour day for children who cannot visit for a whole week. The extra time, says Gregory, would allow children to experience more of the pastoral expanse of the Blairstown campus, learn more about their relationships with nature and form closer bonds with each other. “Dosage matters,” she says. “The amount of time kids spend doing the activities matters a lot.”<br></p><p>The center will also tweak its curriculum to adapt to shifting needs during the pandemic. In 2021, most students read <em>Seedfolks</em>, a book about 13&#160;children of different ethnicities tending a community garden in Cleveland. To spark conversations, counselors asked students which of the book's characters they found most relatable. The book remains the same for 2022, but the discussion will now focus on the plants in the garden and what they could teach campers about sprouting from the ashes of a pandemic. &quot;It's to provide kids with more of an opportunity to talk about how challenging it's been,&quot; Gregory says, &quot;and what they need moving forward.&quot; </p><p>It is unclear whether such careful planning can help children recover from the two years they have lost to the pandemic. Many parents and educators, however, are happy just to see them get out, let loose and have fun again. “They were free to run,” says Alice Lightner, a parent who was chaperoning children in Blairstown in August. “They were free to play, free to explore and engage with their peers.”</p><p>“Getting in touch with nature, just a quick walk, you feel so at peace,” adds Samantha Elliott, another parent. “I just saved probably about $500 from the therapist.”<br></p> <p><em>Additional reporting, editing and production work by </em><a href="/about-wallace/people/pages/jenna-doleh.aspx"><em>Jenna Doleh</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Sarosh Z. Syed502022-03-29T04:00:00ZThe Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on creativity, flexibility and self-reflection to help kids rise from the ashes of a pandemic3/30/2022 2:42:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides The Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on 4779https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
As the Pandemic Shifts So Does People’s Thinking About Arts and Culture4178GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​More than half of Americans say that arts and culture organizations are important to them, according to a new study. The results are part of an ongoing research effort by the companies LaPlaca Cohen and Slover Linett Audience Research, called <em>Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation</em>. </p><p>This <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/transformation/" target="_blank">second wave of research</a> is based on surveys conducted in May 2021. Along with its companion report, <a href="https&#58;//sloverlinett.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rethinking-Relevance-Rebuilding-Engagement-CCTT-Wave-2-Survey-Full-Report.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Rethinking relevance, rebuilding engagement</em></a>, the survey finds that most Americans believe that arts organizations can play a critical role in helping their communities during this time of continuing change and crises. In fact, a majority of respondents said they wanted arts and culture organizations to actively address social justice issues in their community.&#160; </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/blog-JenBenoitBryan-cropped.jpg" alt="blog-JenBenoitBryan-cropped.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;195px;height&#58;226px;" />To help break down some of these findings and their implications, we spoke via email with Jen Benoit-Bryan, Vice President and Co-Director of Research at Slover Linett. You can also see information on the earlier Culture Track work and study <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/" target="_blank">here</a>. </p><p><strong>Wallace Foundation&#58; What does this study tell us about how Americans might be thinking about the value of the arts? Compared to other research, is there anything new or perhaps surprising about what this survey found? </strong></p><p>Jen Benoit-Bryan&#58; Going into the second wave of this study in early 2021, we anticipated that the personal salience of arts and culture organizations might have declined as people generally hadn’t been as involved in-person with these organizations, and many were grappling with illness and uncertainty in their lives. Instead, we saw a substantial increase in the proportion of Americans who viewed arts and culture organizations as important to them in May 2021 at 56 percent compared with 37 percent who said they were important when reflecting back to before the pandemic. </p><p>We’re not aware of any other national studies that have tracked the importance of the arts across the pandemic, but a study of residents in Washington state found similar patterns. <a href="https&#58;//www.artsfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/ArtsFund_COVID_Cultural_Impact_Study-Spreads.pdf" target="_blank">ArtsFund’</a>s omnibus panel of WA residents conducted in Fall 2021 found that about a third of residents value cultural programming more now than prior to the pandemic, while 55 percent value it about the same and just 14 percent value it less than they did before the pandemic.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/chart-culture-rising-sentiment-arts-culture-community-p22.jpg" alt="chart-culture-rising-sentiment-arts-culture-community-p22.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;774px;height&#58;436px;" /><br>​This can be seen as a point of pride for the sector and as a statistic to cite in advocacy efforts. Of course, the increase could be due to Americans focusing more on their immediate needs during those early months of the pandemic, when the Wave 1 responses were gathered, and now having more room to explore other aspects of life, including culture and the arts. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; While the responses indicate that a majority of Americans want arts and culture organizations to actively address social issues, they place different priorities on specific issues (e.g., racial justice 42 percent, wealth inequality 31 percent and climate justice 31 percent). How should organizations apply these complicated findings in their own contexts? </strong></p><p>JBB&#58; While racial justice was the most-often selected issue that Americans want to see these organizations address, no single issue was selected by a majority of the respondents. That suggests that addressing multiple issues may be important to meeting the needs of many communities. There are some interesting patterns around which issues matter most to whom—for example, racial justice was a priority issue for a majority of Asians/Pacific Islanders and Black/African Americans (65 percent and 59 percent, respectively) and climate change was more likely to be a priority issue among Americans in coastal regions. We recommend that organizations think about what communities they hope to serve in the future (whether defined by geography, race and ethnicity or age, etc.), and then determine which issues to address. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/chart-culture-community-changes-wish-to-see-p29.jpg" alt="chart-culture-community-changes-wish-to-see-p29.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;774px;height&#58;436px;" /><br><br></p><p>Then there’s the question of what it means for an arts or culture organization to “address” those kinds of issues. We didn’t investigate that in the survey, but there are many examples around the field, and they span the spectrum of internal, programmatic and external or community action. For example, addressing climate change could take place internally (e.g. a recycling program, rainwater reuse, a LEED-certified building expansion, etc.); in programming (a theater production or sound art exhibition on the topic) and/or externally (a partnership with local nonprofit focused on installing solar arrays in new housing developments). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; When considering these findings, it’s important to remember that Americans are not a monolith, as you note throughout the report. Did you find any differences in responses when sorting the population by characteristics other than race, such as geography, income or education level?</strong></p><p>JBB&#58; Absolutely. We focused primarily on the lens of race and ethnicity in this report because we believe that amplifying BIPOC voices is critical to a more inclusive and representative cultural sector, and there are consistent and sizeable differences by race and ethnicity for most of our questions. But at various points in the report, we also highlight geographic, income, disability status and age differences in the responses. A deeper dive into the co-variation of some of these demographics with race and ethnicity would be a fascinating follow-up analysis. That could be particularly valuable for questions where we see clear differences by demographics, such as addressing social issues, perceptions of systemic racism and desires for change in the sector.</p><p>Because this data offers such a wealth of information—more than we can explore even in this rather lengthy new report—we’re making the data sets for both survey waves freely available to researchers and academics for additional analysis. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; The situation in the country changed while the data for the report were being collected and synthesized, from vaccines and new COVID-19 variants to political races across the country focusing on policing, public safety, race and education, and, more recently, escalating global conflict. How should readers of the report account for shifts like this when thinking about the survey data?</strong></p><p>JBB&#58; This is the perpetual problem of doing real, policy-level research as the world continues to change so fast. In a political poll, where the statistical weighting is simple and the analysis is just crosstabs, results can be provided quickly. In deep-dive studies like this, where the weighting to combine the data sources into one national picture took weeks, and the exploratory analysis took months, we knew we’d still be making meaning from responses collected at a fixed time in the past. That’s why we focused many of the survey questions on broad themes that we expect to change slowly—things that aren’t really COVID-dependent, like the role of arts and culture in society, the kinds of change people hope to see across the sector and the value people receive through different kinds of engagement. In contrast, projects like <a href="https&#58;//www.audienceoutlookmonitor.com/" target="_blank">WolfBrown’s Audience Outlook Monitor</a> fill the important role of providing more rapid, repeating assessments of more highly variable questions, like how audiences feel about going out again and what will make them feel safe attending in person. </p><p>As with all data, I’d recommend reading our Culture + Community/Culture Track findings with an eye to both your local context and how the world as a whole has been changing since the Wave 2 data collection in May 2021. </p><p><em>This is part one of a two-part blog series focused on recent reports published by Slover Linett as part of </em><a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/transformation/" target="_blank">Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation&#58; A Special Edition of Culture Track</a><em>. The second part, to be published in the coming weeks, will focus on </em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-place-to-be-heard-a-space-to-feel-held-black-perspectives.aspx?_ga=2.210986325.1369777494.1647372834-1352763000.1643649010">A Place to Be Heard; A Space to Feel Held</a><em>, a qualitative study of the perspectives of Black Americans on creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and well-being. </em><strong> </strong></p><p><em>For more information on this report, or to request the complete data sets for both survey waves, email </em><a href="mailto&#58;CCTT@sloverlinett.com"><em>CCTT@sloverlinett.com</em></a></p><p><em>The included charts are excerpted from the </em><a href="https&#58;//s28475.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CCTT-Key-Findings-from-Wave-2.pdf" target="_blank">Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation&#58; A Special Edition of Culture Track</a> <em>report.​</em></p>Wallace editorial team792022-03-17T04:00:00ZNew research reveals Americans' evolving relationships with arts and culture and the changes they wish to see from the sector3/17/2022 6:05:59 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / As the Pandemic Shifts So Does People’s Thinking About Arts and Culture More than half of Americans say that arts and 1328https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage44693GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​Teacher burnout and shortages have been<a href="https&#58;//www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/NEA%20Member%20COVID-19%20Survey%20Summary.pdf" target="_blank"> making headlines </a>for months now as schools have struggled to adequately staff their classrooms. But what about the school leaders who are managing the constant changes and crises, and facing sometimes hostile criticism of their decision making? Turns out they’re not immune to the burnout their colleagues are reporting, and experts say the fallout could severely impact the principal pipeline for years to come.</p><p>The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has released an&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.nassp.org/news/nassp-survey-signals-a-looming-mass-exodus-of-principals-from-schools/" target="_blank">alarming report</a> based on their national survey of secondary school principals, the results of which indicate a looming exodus of principals from preK-12 schools. A staggering 4 out of 10 principals surveyed expect to leave the profession in the next three years, and the pandemic and increased political tensions are among the factors they cite for accelerating this decision.</p><p>“It’s going to shock the education system,” says Aman Dhanda, chief engagement officer at NASSP says of the findings. But she also noted that, while alarming, the results of the survey were not surprising.</p><p>Brian Cox, a principal at Johnson Middle School in Cheyenne, Wyo., agrees. “Issues have compounded from the pandemic, the political climate,” he says. “Nothing has been calm from 2019 to the present.”</p><p>Indeed, beyond managing significant changes in running their schools as the pandemic continues, some principals have also encountered hostile reactions to their mitigation efforts. More than one-third of principals surveyed said they had been threatened in response to the steps they have taken to stop the spread of COVID in their school.</p><p>“Seeing what’s happening at school board meetings, that’s wearing on our leaders,” says Nancy Antoine, principal of Bridgewater Elementary School in Northfield, Minn. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents reported receiving in-person threats from their local community members, with 20 percent reporting that these threats have made them much less likely to continue as a principal.</p><p>Besides the new challenges that have emerged in the last two years, principals surveyed reported that more commonly known factors like heavy workloads and state accountability measures are most likely to cause them to leave the profession.</p><p>The consequences of the loss of experienced principals cannot be understated.&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx?_ga=2.221791832.1941763541.1645546322-1352763000.1643649010">Recent research</a> tells us that principals are even more important than previously believed. Besides their strong impact on student achievement, effective principals also have positive impacts on teacher satisfaction and retention.</p><p>The ripple effects of losing effective principals could have devastating effects on already resource-scarce schools. “When there is rapid turnover at the principal level a school can lose momentum and any gains in student achievement,” says Kaylen Tucker, associate executive director, communications at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Dhanda at NASSP agrees, adding that students of color and those from low-income families could stand to lose the most. </p><p>What can be done now to prepare for—or better yet, mitigate—a mass exodus of principals over the next few years?</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.naesp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LWNNEvolutionofPrincipalship.pdf" target="_blank">A new report</a> from NAESP’s&#160;<em>Leaders We Need Now</em> series suggests that the role of the principal has evolved significantly over the past two years, but no corresponding support has followed. This has resulted in a triage effect where principals put important responsibilities, such as equity and school improvement, on the back burner in favor of more immediately pressing tasks like COVID tracing.</p><p>“I hear from principals a lot that they are hyper-focused on keeping their school community safe—and that includes attending to [the community’s] social and emotional needs,” says Tucker.</p><p>The NAESP report points to implications of the evolving role for the principal pipeline, with the biggest impact on job standards and pre-service training. The research shows that crisis management and communications management will be important areas of expertise for principals in the future and both current and new principals will need additional training and support in these areas.</p><p>“The <em>Leaders We Need Now </em>research elevates why investing in principal pipelines takes on even greater urgency now,” says Tucker. “The research demonstrates that all phases of the continuum must be prioritized.”</p><p>Dhanda, too, encourages school districts to invest in the long-term health of their principal pipelines by preparing their school leaders of tomorrow and training their principals today. She points to Atlanta Public Schools as one district that is already addressing this issue by investing in salary increases and staff retention bonuses to attract and retain leaders. District leaders also plan to convene educators on the topic of mental well-being—for students and for the adults in the building too.&#160; </p><p>The NAESP report suggests that besides improving support and professional development for school leaders, redistributing some responsibilities to assistant principals, teacher-leaders and central office staff could help address the changes they’ve identified in the role.</p><p>The principals we spoke to agreed with the redistribution of responsibilities and also emphasized the importance of elevating the voices of principals early on in the decision-making process, not just after new ideas have been implemented. “Building a team or networking system that will embrace leaders and make them feel trusted, listened to and empowered can assist in addressing and taking the next steps to greater success,” says Lisa Higa, principal of Nānākuli Elementary School in Honolulu.</p><p>Many principals themselves are helping to nurture the school leaders of the future. In Minnesota, Antoine teaches graduate-level courses for future school administrators and encourages her fellow principals to identify and support educators to become school leaders, despite all of the challenges the role entails.</p><p>Higa hopes to do the same someday. “There are great leaders out there,” she says. “What message do we ignite in them to empower the field of the principalship?”&#160; </p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-23T05:00:00ZSchool leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals might soon leave the profession and what to do about it2/23/2022 3:11:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Research Points to a Looming Principal Shortage School leaders discuss how the role is changing, why 4 in 10 principals 3095https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary44687GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​In a&#160;recent address, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona described&#160;the challenges that schools face in the coming years as they work to recover from the pandemic.&#160;“We have a daunting and important task ahead of us,” he said, as he introduced his&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/speeches/priorities-speech" target="_blank">priorities for education in America</a>, emphasizing the importance of the next few months for addressing the widening achievement gap. </p><p>Cardona highlighted the urgency of the moment and said it was necessary&#160;not only to&#160;bring the education system back to where it had been&#160;before the pandemic but to address the inequities that have plagued the system since long before the pandemic began.</p><p>“Many of the students who have been most underserved during the pandemic are the same ones who have had to deal with barriers to a high-quality education since well before COVID-19,” he said.&#160;Cardona made his remarks Jan. 27 during what the Department of Education described as a &quot;major address,&quot; at the department, to lay out his &quot;priorities for continued recovery through the pandemic and improving America’s education system more broadly.&quot;<br></p><p>Calling on state and district leaders to take a hard look at their resources and make difficult decisions, Cardona shared a number of key actions he believes should be prioritized for K-12 education&#58;</p><ol><li><em>Increased mental health supports.</em> Cardona called for improved access to mental health supports for students, including an increased hiring of mental health professionals. He urged districts to use <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">Americ​an Rescue Plan</a> funding to hire more staffers and partner with organizations on this issue. He noted one school he visited where every student attended one learning period dedicated to social and emotional well-being or mental health and said he wanted to see that type of work in schools everywhere.<br><br></li><li><em>Academic supports to address unfinished learning.</em> Recognizing the impact that missed learning time has had on millions of students, Cardona urged districts to invest in targeted, intensive tutoring; afterschool programming; and summer learning efforts. “We cannot expect classroom teachers to do it all themselves,” he said.<br><br></li><li><em>Attention to students disproportionately affected by the pandemic. </em>Cardona urged listeners&#160;to avoid a return to pre-pandemic strategies that had failed to&#160;address inequities. Instead, he called for an increase in funding for Title 1 schools, as well as for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Free&#160;universal preschool and affordable childcare were also noted in his priorities for supporting underserved students and their families. As part of these efforts, he urged more “meaningful and authentic parent and family engagement,” recognizing the importance of including parents’ voices in the conversation about recovery.<br><br></li><li><em>Investment in teachers. </em>A livable wage, ongoing professional development and improved working conditions were among the key areas Cardona said could help&#160;ensure that&#160;teachers are “treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”</li></ol><p>The Wallace Foundation has shared&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/american-rescue-plan-act/pages/default.aspx">a number of​ resources</a> to help districts and states make decisions about how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds in many of the areas outlined above, including social and emotional learning, summer learning and afterschool programming​. Additionally, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-the-role-of-principal-leadership.aspx">this brief</a> offers evidence-based considerations for school leaders on reopening and recovery planning. </p><p>“This is our moment to lift our students, our education system and our country to a level never before seen,” Cardona said. “Let’s get to work!”<br><br></p>Andrea Ruggirello1142022-02-15T05:00:00ZEducation Department priorities also include mental and academic supports for students and teacher retention strategies2/16/2022 2:00:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Pandemic Recovery Must Address Equity, Says U.S. Education Secretary Education Department priorities also include mental 866https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers44623GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​Staffing shortages across the United States from healthcare to the airline&#160;industry have made headlines over the past few months. In fact, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December, according to the Labor Department’s latest <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank">Job Openings and Labor Turnover </a> <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm">report</a>. Unfortunately, afterschool programs are no exception to this latest trend. </p><p>According to a <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-6-Brief.pdf" target="_blank">new survey</a> by the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs and providers say staffing is the most pressing challenge they’re currently facing. </p><p>The survey, conducted by Edge Research between November 1 and December 13, 2021, states the top two concerns among the 1,043 afterschool providers surveyed are finding staff to hire/staffing shortages&#160;and maintaining staff levels through health concerns and safety protocols. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned about this, and more than half—51 percent—say that they are extremely concerned. These numbers&#160;are&#160;up 20 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in the spring of 2021.&#160; </p><p>“Combatting staff burnout is a priority for us,” one of the survey respondents said. “We&#160; are doing as much as we can to be supportive, both financially and by providing emotional support for staff. Keeping full-time staff engaged and encouraged has been a challenge. Keeping good part-time staff engaged and focused has proven even more difficult.”</p><p>Many of the providers surveyed connect the staffing challenges to their inability to serve more students, additional staff stress and burnout, and concerns about program costs. For instance, the survey found that 54 percent of programs that are physically open say that they have a waitlist, an increase from 37 percent in the spring 2021 survey. In addition, among respondents who report an increase in program costs, 83 percent say that staffing costs contributed to their program’s higher weekly cost-per-child.</p><p>To address the staffing issues, 71 percent of respondents report that their program has undertaken at least one course of action to attract and retain staff&#58;<br></p><ul><li>53 percent are increasing salaries<br> </li><li> 32 percent are providing additional professional development opportunities<br></li><li> 18 percent are offering free childcare for staff<br></li><li> 15 percent are offering sign-on bonuses<br></li><li> 10 percent are offering more paid time off<br></li><li> 5 percent are offering increased benefits </li></ul><p>On the plus side, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx">COVID relief dollars are able to help program providers</a> address their current issues with staffing. Among respondents who report that their program received new funding for fall 2021 programming, 47 percent say the new funding helped support staff recruitment efforts.</p><p>The Afterschool Alliance has also&#160;developed a <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/document/d/1RebwjpCkpiPP2SU2yksrHQJ8rm1gTRCOgUoBu5aTroc/edit" target="_blank">staff recruitment toolkit</a> to help providers recruit staff for afterschool programs.<br></p><p><em>Photo credit&#58; Photographer Webber J. Charles, Breakthrough Miami</em> <br> </p>Wallace editorial team792022-02-03T05:00:00ZNew survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in afterschool programs and how this is affecting children3/3/2022 3:40:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Staffing is Top Concern for Afterschool Providers New survey findings provide stark picture of staffing shortages in 339https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now44001GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or even homelessness. And nearly two-thirds of parents feel that their children’s social and emotional development has been affected by the pandemic, according to research from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. </p><p>Social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies can support young people as they cope with and recover from the pandemic, but the classroom is not the only setting to engage students on SEL. Afterschool and summer learning programs also can provide unique opportunities to help young people develop their social and emotional skills, behaviors and beliefs, which can help kids manage the challenges they have faced over the past two years. </p><p>A recent <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dLOrY6w41Y">webinar</a> jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts and the Forum for Youth Investment explores how afterschool programs around the country have employed SEL strategies to help kids focus their thinking, manage their behavior and understand and deal with feelings, particularly as they continue to face the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. </p><p>The webinar featured EASEL’s Dr. Stephanie Jones, lead author of the recently published update to the popular SEL guide, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-social-and-emotional-learning-from-the-inside-out.aspx">Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out </a>, along with Cheryl Hollis, chief program officer of Wings for Kids, one of the 33 SEL programs featured in the guide. </p><p>The more than 550-page guide is designed as a practical resource for teachers and out of school time practitioners, with a new focus on equitable and trauma-informed SEL. Since its original rendition, the guide has emphasized the role that afterschool and summer learning providers can play in helping young people build their social and emotional skills, incorporating worksheets to help providers adapt SEL strategies to meet their program needs. </p><p>But what is SEL? According to Jones, SEL is primarily concerned with “building and holding positive relationships, establishing trust and comfort, (building) feelings of safety and belonging and having positive relationships with others.” <br> Effective SEL approaches can accelerate gains in academic learning, Jones said, and four elements define effective SEL in practice. </p><ol><li>Adults model behaviors themselves, and consequently need to be able to access their own social and emotional support.<br><br> </li><li>Children and youth should be taught skills directly.<br><br> </li><li>Students are given opportunities to practice their skills, providing them with teachable moments for both individuals and groups. <br><br></li><li>Guaranteeing that students and staff share a common “SEL language,” providing a framework to use SEL strategies in daily life. </li></ol><p>The Wings for Kids program has 10 SEL objectives that shape 30 SEL lessons that take place during small group discussions. In presenting the organization’s SEL strategies, Hollis said it centers the importance of its community in the program—which sets the tone and makes learning social and emotional lessons fun. Children attending Wings recite “words to live by” daily, positive affirmations said as a kind of “SEL pledge;” students and adults share “heys and praise” to highlight their peers’ positive impacts on the community; and students are encouraged to use words describing emotions to share positive news with peers.&#160; “Heys and praise is a very visible way to spread good vibes and energy,” Hollis said. </p><p>“Giving students regular opportunities to build speaking and listening skills and foster strong teacher-student and student-student relationships is a practical way to incorporate SEL into afterschool programs,” said Hollis. And it’s not just the students who develop their SEL skills at Wings. She added&#58; “Adult staffers receive support and training to model social and emotional skills for children and are encouraged to offer constructive feedback to other staff members on an ongoing basis.” </p><p>Programs like Wings are effective for two primary reasons, Jones said&#58; they establish safe and caring learning environments and teach students social-emotional skills in ways that engage students. For both to work, programs must foster connected, supportive and reciprocal relationships between students and staff. </p><p>As SEL research and practice continues to grow, Jones reflected on the future of the field. SEL will benefit from a clear focus, she said, and focusing on new approaches that are targeted, flexible, portable and engaging. SEL in practice should be geographically and culturally appropriate and simplifying and localizing strategies will allow practitioners to be more effective and equitable. Employing SEL strategies in a range of settings, from the classroom to afterschool programs, is critical for providing young people with the tools they need to thrive during and beyond COVID-19.&#160; Wings for Kids is clearly groundbreaking in its approach and a model for afterschool programs to look to.&#160; <br><br></p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-19T05:00:00ZRecent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have used SEL strategies to help children throughout the pandemic1/19/2022 3:15:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now Recent discussion highlights how afterschool programs have 798https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts18219GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog&#160; explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the&#160;​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy &amp;&#160;programs,&#160;at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​&#160;and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year&#160;found that arts education can positively affect​&#160;student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little&#160;surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The&#160;effort will&#160;involve&#160;work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.&#160; </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan&#58; Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the&#160;American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal&#160; funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.&#160; </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that&#160; sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed&#58; What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many&#160;of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention,&#160;considering that the item is&#160;in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>Jenna Doleh912021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color12/6/2021 8:52:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts A look back at your favorite reads this year—from 628https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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