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Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges3441GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning<p>Complex social issues must be solved with a comprehensive approach. That’s the idea driving a recent surge in cross-sector collaborations anchored in communities and aimed at improving local educational outcomes, especially for low-income students. In one study, researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx">found 182 such place-based collaborations nationwide</a> working to improve students’ readiness for and success in early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education. </p><p>A forthcoming companion study (also from Teachers College), <em>Building Impact&#58; A Closer Look at Local Cross-Sector Collaboration for Education, </em>will be published this fall and examine eight collaborations, which often include philanthropies, school districts, businesses, higher education and social service agencies. Carolyn Riehl, an associate professor at Teachers College, presented some of the new study’s findings at a recent Collective Impact Convening in Chicago. She was joined by Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation, and Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, one of the collaborations featured in the study. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-sector-Collaborations-for-Education-Show-Promise-Face-Challenges/Panel-photo-1.1.jpg" style="margin&#58;170px 5px;width&#58;442px;" />While cross-sector collaborations were often overly optimistic about their initial goals, there’s reason for “cautious optimism” about their future, Riehl told a crowd gathered at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. They will likely take “more time than the usual window of opportunity social programs are given for making an impact,” she said, but they are bringing together partners who have rarely cooperated before, soothing local political tensions and making steady progress. </p><p>Here we highlight some key questions posed by the panel and preview findings from the upcoming report, which Miller called, “one of the most in-depth studies of the cross-sector collaboration approach.”</p><p> <strong>Can local collaborations mount comprehensive change?</strong></p><p>Several of the eight collaborations studied set out to provide supports from early childhood through post-secondary education, but only one—Say Yes Buffalo—has come close to meeting that promise so far, the study found. That group convinced the city to provide “a broad menu of wraparound support services” for students, Riehl said. “The ‘carrot’ that enticed the city to commit was that Say Yes promised college scholarships for all eligible public school graduates in the city. The stick was that if the city reneged on the support services, there would be no more scholarships.”</p><p>Other collaborations studied had expanded services on a more gradual and limited scale and not yet met their goals. Obstacles included getting participants to agree on strategies and a shortage of funding and organizational capacity. Still, the vision to provide comprehensive services “seems to give people a sense of purpose and significance, a horizon to reach for,” she noted. </p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address education?</strong><strong><br></strong><br> “The politics and pragmatics of collaborations working closely with school districts turned out to be much more complicated than we might imagine,” Riehl said to appreciative laughter. The initiatives studied often supported instructional improvement by launching afterschool programs or by backing a district’s strategic plan, but appropriately refrained from trying to drive instructional reforms.&#160;&#160;</p><p>But districts also were often hesitant to work closely with cross-sector collaborations, the study found. One reason, Riehl said, seemed to be a desire to avoid expensive, complicated and politically challenging work. Pressure to focus on immediate testing and accountability concerns may have played a role. Districts also commonly want to be viewed as the “source and motivator” of their own improvement, she noted, and working with an external collaboration might imply that the district couldn’t manage improvement on its own.</p><p>Collaborations did make one significant contribution to core education reform, the study found&#58; they calmed entrenched interests and tensions that often surround urban school systems. They reduced “the sense of frustration and urgency,” Riehl said, and created “an environment more conducive to school system stability and productivity. This may not be the kind of ambitious change implied in the rhetoric of collective impact, but it did count for something in local contexts.”</p><p> <strong>How do collaborations address equity in their systems?</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>Most collaborations were motivated by the desire to end disparities in academic performance for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. Yet at their start, they refrained from naming the problem directly or addressing other inequities that affect education, such as housing, employment, community safety and services. But over time, collaborations have become more explicit and intentional about equity, the study found. Researchers attributed that in part to the influence of national networks supporting collaboratives and growing national attention to class and race disparities, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign. &#160;<br><br> Still, collaborations generally continued to be made up of community leaders, “often without involving the people most impacted by inequity and poor education,” she observed. The original idea was to involve “powerful decision-makers in systemwide change” but that approach, she said, might ultimately fail to galvanize widespread support, including from those they intend to serve. </p><p> <strong>What can influence sustainability in a collaboration? </strong></p><p>“Goodwill and enthusiasm for the idea of collective impact gave these initiatives their start and seem to be boosting them along,” Riehl reported. Other factors aiding sustainability include effective “backbone” organizations to manage the collaboration, leaders with strong interpersonal skills, and national networks providing technical assistance, networking, strategies, funding and other supports. &#160;<br> Davis of Milwaukee Succeeds, which belongs to the national StriveTogether network, said that her collaborative has sustained itself since 2011 despite launching amid local education politics “that had been toxic for 25 years.” The city’s education landscape included a high-poverty school system struggling to raise student achievement, a large number of independent charter schools and private (mostly religious) schools enrolling students with vouchers. &#160;</p><p>Keeping all three education systems working together through the collaborative, she said, “is no small feat.”</p><p>She attributes their commitment to a shared desire to benefit children, a refusal to allow the collaborative’s forum “to be hijacked for political reasons,” such as elections, and insistence among the five major foundations funding the work that the three education systems show evidence of partnership. “That sends the message that you want to stay in the tent,” she said.</p><p>Early on, the collaboration also realized that it would get more traction if it placed school system priorities at the forefront, she added.</p><p>While Milwaukee Succeeds had to scale back on its ambition to tackle the whole “cradle to career spectrum” at once, it has had some wins, Davis said. After a technology manufacturing company promised the county 13,000 jobs, the collaborative helped to convene 18 local two- and four-year colleges and universities to come up with a workforce development plan that included raising college enrollment and completion. &#160;</p><p>“That was a huge deal,” she said. “I don’t know how many of you have worked with higher ed—it’s worse than the Titanic in terms of turning it around. And they are moving with great speed.”</p><p>In another win, they convinced state legislators to fund a statewide expansion of a tutoring program for early readers that the collaborative had brought to Milwaukee. Business partners in the collaborative made the request, backed by data, she said, and philanthropic partners promised funding for a quarter of the cost.</p><p> <strong>What does the immediate future look like for collaborations?</strong></p><p>Davis said she regrets that the collaborative neglected grassroots involvement at the start and so is not well-known in the wider community. Eight years in, they are working to forge those relationships. An important step, she said, will be finding ways to support grassroots agendas. To build community buy-in, she advised “don’t bring them to your table, go to their table.” &#160;</p><p>Miller added that in his own personal experience, he’s found that a cross-sector collaboration needs support both from elites to bring resources to the table and from grassroots participation to give the effort legitimacy. Some collaborations he’s participated in, he said, owed their success in large part to “a lengthy, exhaustive process” for identifying where the interests of each overlapped. &#160;</p><p>Riehl and Davis agreed that sustaining cross-sector collaboration long-term will depend on the skill of “backbone” organizations like Milwaukee Succeeds to forge and manage diverse relationships and become more representative of the communities they serve. </p><p>“This process takes a long time,” Riehl said. “People get bored and stop coming, they argue, there’s conflict, factions develop, so it really takes a steady hand to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”<br><br> But, she said, “we’ve seen lovely instances where partner agencies have changed their strategies because they want to be part of the action.”</p><p><em>To learn more about the Teachers College study of cross-sector collaborations in education,</em> see <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/putting-collective-impact-into-context.aspx">Putting Collective Impact Into Context</a> <em>and</em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/collective-impact-and-the-new-generation-of-cross-sector-collaboration-for-education.aspx?_ga=2.17155889.962354234.1561754504-1014093728.1520357385">Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education</a>. </p>Photo&#58; ​Will Miller, president, The Wallace Foundation; Danae Davis, executive director, Milwaukee Succeeds; Carolyn Riehl, associate professor, Teachers College<br>Elizabeth Duffrin972019-06-18T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.6/28/2019 8:49:02 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-sector Collaborations for Education Show Promise, Face Challenges Upcoming report examines collaborations and their 629https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping the Lights On for Afterschool10263GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​This week, in more than 8,000 communities across the country and at U.S. military bases worldwide, afterschool programs will open their doors to showcase the skills students gain and the talents they develop at their afterschool programs. We expect more than a million people to participate in <a href="http&#58;//www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm" target="_blank">Lights On Afterschool</a>, the only national rally for afterschool.</p><p>This event began 19 years ago, when afterschool programs were little known but badly needed. In those days, most people could quickly and easily articulate the need for afterschool programs, but few knew what the term meant. A weekly chess club? Seasonal football or cheerleading practices? A monthly volunteer activity? </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="group_of_kids_at_table.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/group_of_kids_at_table.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;425px;" />Neither policymakers nor educators had reliable information about where the country’s children were and what they were doing each afternoon after school closed. Police and prosecutors knew too many were unsupervised and on the streets. First responders and health care providers knew too many were at risk for substance abuse, sexual activity and other dangerous behaviors. Educators knew not enough were getting homework help and enriching, engaging activities. Business and college leaders knew they weren’t using that time to hone the communications and team-building skills that ready them for jobs or college. And millions of parents knew–all too well–the anxiety that came with crossing your fingers each afternoon, hoping against hope that your kids would be okay until you got home from work.</p><p>All that has changed. </p><p>Today, more than 10 million children are in afterschool programs. By overwhelming majorities, the public recognizes that these programs provide comprehensive supports and activities that improve students’ prospects in school and in life, boost families, make communities safer and strengthen our workforce, according to a <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/research.cfm" target="_blank">national public opinion survey</a> the Afterschool Alliance released this week. <a name="_Hlk526952191"></a></p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Balloons-and-teen-students-.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Balloons-and-teen-students-.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;406px;" />What got us here? A combination of factors, including afterschool providers, educators and school system leaders who were willing to advocate for the programs they knew children and families needed; <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">a growing body of research</a> documenting the benefits afterschool and summer learning programs provide; strong policies that built on that research; and a field that has been receptive and innovative in both applying lessons from research into practice and finding new ways to engage students in learning.&#160; We can actually see evidence of these factors at work during Lights On Afterschool this month. Students nationwide are showing off the skills they’re learning after school, from engineering robots to public speaking to performing music and plays they wrote themselves. </p><p>Many Lights On Afterschool events feature mayors and city leaders, who have emerged as champions of programs that give working parents peace of mind, reduce juvenile crime and engage businesses in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. And nearly every governor has issued a proclamation in support of Lights On Afterschool Day. </p><p>We have a lot to be proud of, but we also have a long way to go. While programs have stepped up, and more elected officials recognize the value of these programs, demand for afterschool and summer options still far outpaces supply. Most families today need afterschool and summer programs, but for every child in an afterschool program, two more are waiting to get in.</p><p>Where will we be in another 19 years? We certainly hope that, before long, no child will be without the afterschool program she or he needs. But whether that happens depends on all of us. Business, philanthropy, government, communities and parents each have a role in play in charting the course of afterschool and summer programs.&#160; It is my sincere hope that by 2040, afterschool and summer are treated as the integral part of a child’s education we know them to be.&#160; </p> <em>Jodi Grant is executive director of the </em> <a href="http&#58;//www.afterschoolalliance.org/" target="_blank"> <em>Afterschool Alliance</em></a><em>.</em>Jodi Grant882018-10-23T04:00:00ZAnnual Lights On Afterschool Event Highlights the Benefits and Value of Afterschool Programs Across the U.S.10/23/2018 7:59:24 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping the Lights On for Afterschool Annual event highlights the benefits and value of afterschool programs across the 472https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Interest in Social and Emotional Learning Heats Up16101GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>There is growing consensus among educators that children must develop skills beyond academics to succeed in the classroom and in life. Often grouped under the term “social and emotional learning,” (SEL), these skills, when nurtured and developed, can ​help kids manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and navigate social situations, among other things. </p><p>As the field of social and emotional learning continues to build momentum, our work at Wallace has begun to focus on helping teachers, afterschool educators and others define what SEL skills are, why they matter, and how practitioners can incorporate them into their programs. Late in 2016, we gleaned a sense of the curiosity on this topic when we held <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-feedback-and-communications-insights-from-the-field.aspx">a webinar</a> with insights from the field collected by Edge Research. The researchers found that practitioners and policymakers were familiar with the term social and emotional learning and that educators in both K-12 schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs considered building SEL skills a priority.&#160; </p><p>Still nothing prepared us for the keen interest in what’s become our runaway hit&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Navigating-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-from-the-Inside-Out.aspx"><em>Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out</em></a>. This in-depth guide to 25 evidence-based programs—aimed at elementary schools and OST providers—seeks to help practitioners make informed choices about their SEL programs. Using the guide, practitioners can compare curricula, program features and methods across top SEL programs, based upon their own needs. Users can also see how programs can be adapted from schools to out-of-school-time settings, such as afterschool and summer programs. </p><p>The apparent need for what is, in effect, the first consumer guide to SEL cannot be overstated&#58; In just several months the 349-page publication has been downloaded almost 10,000 times from our website, and practitioners have been sharing it widely across social media. The guide was written by noted SEL expert Stephanie Jones at Harvard. Complementing the SEL guide is a special edition of <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/The-Future-of-Children-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.aspx">The Future of Children</a>, a compilation of articles showing that SEL skills are essential for kids and that teachers and OST staff need professional development to help children develop them. Multiple authors, all preeminent voices in the field, urge a greater focus on outcomes at the classroom level and age-appropriate interventions. They also begin to wrestle with the complicated question of how to measure SEL skill development. </p><p>Taken together, these products are helping to build a&#160;canon&#160;for social and emotional learning. We have more publications currently in the works to keep up with new insights and knowledge in this ever-growing field. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZWallace Foundation products help inform the emerging field of social and emotional learning, focusing on what we know about SEL programs and practices4/4/2018 7:24:38 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Interest in Social and Emotional Learning Heats Up New products help inform the emerging field of social and emotional 409https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Learning Programs Benefit Youth with High Attendance16120GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>At first the conclusion seems almost too obvious to state&#58; Voluntary summer learning programs benefit low-income youth in both math and reading…if children attend. </p><p> But unpack it a bit further and you begin to see both the groundbreaking nature of the research leading to this conclusion, as well as the real barriers that often keep young people, particularly those in under-resourced areas, from attending summer programs. </p><p>&#160;Research on summer programs has largely been confined to&#160;mandatory &quot;summer school&quot;&#160;or voluntary opportunities that many families are not able to afford. But what might happen if children elected to attend summer programs run by the school district, so educators could ensure a level of quality and continuity with the school year? Would this make an impact for kids? </p><p> We created the <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/VIDEO-Ready-for-Fall.aspx">National Summer Learning Project </a>to help answer these questions. As part of the project, we commissioned the RAND Corporation to study five districts with large-scale voluntary summer learning programs to help them improve their programs and then survey the impact on participating students. RAND published its cumulative findings in a 2016 publication&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Learning-from-Summer-Effects-of-Voluntary-Summer-Learning-Programs-on-Low-Income-Urban-Youth.aspx"> <em> Learning from Summer&#58; Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth</em>. </a>The big eye-opener was that kids who attended the five-to-six week programs for 20 or more days benefitted in both reading and math. </p><p> Other key findings thus far include&#58; </p><ul><li> Early planning is key&#58; According to RAND schools need to begin the planning process by January at the latest. <br></li><li>High-quality instruction matters&#58; Ideally, teachers should have subject matter and grade-level experience to make connections between the summer and what students are learning throughout the year. <br></li><li>Attendance must be nurtured and tracked&#58; It’s important that kids feel welcome in the program so they’ll attend, and we now know how essential high attendance is to success. </li></ul><p> Future publications from the project will include an operational guide, hand-on tool kits and resources, as well as an online recruitment guide. All research and tools link back to the primary conclusion&#58; Good results are possible if you can get children in the door and keep them there. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZThe Wallace Foundation’s National Summer Learning Project and RAND Corporation provide evidence that summer learning programs bring academic and other benefits4/4/2018 4:58:22 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Learning Programs Benefit Youth with High Attendance Study provides evidence that summer learning programs bring 231https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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