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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 801https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices3345GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education<p>​​Better&#160;​services in schools and afterschool programs. Reforms that work. Exciting new opportunities for young people. They all come from a single source.​​</p><p>It’s not politics.<br></p><p>And it’s not money.</p><p>It’s better professional practices.</p><p>Think about what happens when planning for summer learning programs is left until the last minute. Or when training gaps mean that school and afterschool staff members are unprepared to support kids’ social and emotional development. Or when novice principals who are key to district efforts to improve school leadership have to fend for themselves, without mentors or coaching. <br></p><p>It’s not pretty. How efforts are implemented really matters. Even the best ideas and the most well-resourced programs can’t make up for weak implementation.</p><p>We know this because we’ve seen what happens when implementation goes awry. It’s a problem first pinned down in the 1970s, when Seymour Sarason’s <em>The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change</em> traced the surprising shortfalls of the 1960s “New Math” to lapses in how this approach to grade-school math education was carried out. Notably, teachers asked to teach the new math hadn’t been trained in how to do so. Moreover, the new curriculum wasn’t adapted to the local context, and planning was left until the new books arrived.</p><p>The bottom line was clear&#58; Even the best idea, done with the best of intentions, doesn’t help kids if it isn’t implemented thoughtfully, carefully and with a smart change process that responds to the challenges faced by practitioners.</p><div> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED_5991.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;204px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> </div><p>​Practitioners in schools and youth services take their work very seriously, so they know that well-executed programming is the best way they can help kids grow. And at The Wallace Foundation, we take practitioners’ work as seriously as they do. That’s why in addition to supporting improved practices and gathering many kinds of evidence to help enhance services for young people—from cost studies and outcomes data to market research and case studies—we gather practical, reliable lessons on implementation. Indeed, we place the highest priority on finding lessons that practitioners in education, youth services and other fields can use to strengthen their work, overcome barriers to effective programming and assist staff members when new services are being introduced. And we’ve seen how useful and beneficial these lessons are for practitioners and the kids they serve.</p><div>​​Our vehicle for this is the implementation study—independent research, which we commission and publish, that examines how an effort is put into operation. In uncovering both the strong points and flaws of implementation, this research identifies and illuminates the practices needed to carry out an innovation well.&#160;​In the foundation’s early days in the 1990s, for example, researchers examined our initiative to support then-novel efforts by public schools to provide services for children and families beyond regular school hours. Among the lessons in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"><em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58;&#160;&#160;</em>It’s crucial to include school custodians in planning lest afterschool programming and afterschool cleaning and repairing collide. This simple reminder saved time and backtracking when the 21st Century Community Learning Centers effort began, and the U.S. Department of Education sent each center a copy of <em>Getting Started</em>.</div><div>&#160;</div><p>Here are three examples from our more recent work&#58; </p><p>In our National Summer Learning Project, begun in 2011, we supported five urban school districts as they worked to make high-quality summer learning programs available to children. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed.</em></a> finds, among other things, that the districts needed to begin summer planning well ahead of summer’s onset if they wanted the programming to be as sound as possible. Best practices uncovered included this&#58; Start planning in January at the latest. </p><p>Our effort to help youth-serving organizations introduce high-quality arts programming for young people in disadvantaged areas began in 2014. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"><em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas</em></a>&#160;highlights the ways local Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America managers integrated teaching artists into their staff teams so the “arts kids” were supported by the entire Club community.</p><p>And then there’s the Principal Pipeline Initiative, launched in 2010, which supported six large school districts as they developed a systematic effort, known as building a principal pipeline, to cultivate a large corps of effective school leaders. A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">recently published outcomes study</a> found that these pipelines proved advantageous to both student achievement and principal retention. The examination of the initiative’s implementation suggests <em>how and why </em>this played out—in part, through flexibility that allowed for local adaptation. Specifically, even though each district set out to build pipelines with common components—such as rigorous job standards and on-the-job supports including mentoring for new principals—each district adapted the components to its circumstances and managed to overcome the barriers that inevitably cropped up locally. In other words, principal pipelines benefit kids when school districts emphasize strong implementation. The evidence is laid out in five Wallace-commissioned implementation reports, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship.aspx"><em>Building a Stronger Principalship</em></a>.</p><p>We are looking forward to future explorations of implementation, too. A forthcoming Wallace-commissioned report from our Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, for example, is setting out to detail how front-line youth workers and teachers find the time to incorporate social and emotional learning into their regular practices.</p><p>Over more than two decades of commissioning and communicating about implementation studies of Wallace’s initiatives, we’ve learned a lot&#58;</p><ul><li>We’ve learned to pay attention to straightforward descriptions of what’s feasible in several different places. Practitioners value descriptions of what their peers have actually done in the real world, because that’s how they see they can do it, too. And we’ve seen that comparisons among several sites deepen the value of the implementation evidence.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to look at the start-up process, because it points to the stakeholders who need to be at the table and the practical ideas they contribute.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned to identify hindrances to implementation—whether planning oversights, disengaged management teams, unequal treatment of some practitioners, lack of preparation time, staff inexperience or other commonplace operational challenges—and crucially, how practitioners overcome them.</li></ul><ul><li>We’ve learned that sensible adaptations help practitioners respond to their own context—and show people who are considering an improvement approach how they can tweak it to fit their own situation.</li></ul><p>Most of all, we’ve found that <em>every serious improvement effort requires significant operational changes in day-to-day practices and management</em>, so it is essential to probe and learn from the on-the-ground experiences of the front-line practitioners who are serving kids. The payoff for good implementation evidence is feasible, adaptable, practical ideas that enable institutions to engage in continuous improvement of services—with a consistent focus on benefitting young people. Strong practitioners are constantly figuring out how to do their work better. Smart implementation evidence helps them in that and, ultimately, in serving kids. </p><p>Effective implementation is the not-so-hidden story of services that work, and Wallace’s support for disadvantaged young people is rooted in the foundation’s recognition that the right kind of implementation is what gets the job done. That’s the most useful, and most constructive, lesson from Wallace’s work. And it’s the lesson practitioners use.</p><p><span style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#555555;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;freightsans_probook;font-size&#58;14px;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;400;text-decoration&#58;none;word-spacing&#58;0px;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;normal;orphans&#58;2;float&#58;none;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><em>Ed Pauly is Wallace’s director of research</em></span><em>​.</em><br><br></p><div><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="16" style="background-color&#58;#e4e4e4;"><tbody><tr><td><h3>​<strong>One More Look&#58;&#160; Highlights from Wallace-Commissioned Implementation Evidence</strong></h3><p>Over the years, Wallace-commissioned research has looked at the implementation of initiatives in areas ranging from adult literacy and financial management of not-for-profit organizations to school leadership and summer learning. Which reports have ideas to help strengthen <em>your</em> practices?</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-started-with-extended-service-schools.aspx"><em>Getting Started with Extended Service Schools</em></a><em>&#58; Early Lessons from the Field</em><strong>, </strong>Kay E. Sherwood (2000)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-study-of-adult-student-persistence-in-library-literacy-programs.aspx"><em>“One Day I Will Make It”&#58; A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs</em></a> (2005)</p><p> <em>Aligning Student Support With Achievement Goals&#58; The Secondary Principal’s Guide</em> (2006).&#160; The book is available for purchase online. A free Wallace <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-perspective-aligning-student-support-with-achievement-goals.aspx">brief</a> highlights key report findings. </p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/hours-of-opportunity-volumes-i-ii-iii.aspx"> <em>Hours of Opportunity&#58; Lessons from Five Cities on Building Systems to Improve After-School, Summer School, and Other Out-of-School-Time Programs</em></a> (2010)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-skills-to-pay-the-bills.aspx"><em>The Skills to Pay the Bills&#58; An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their Finances</em></a> (2015)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship-vol-5-the-principal-pipeline-initiative-in-action.aspx"><em>Building a Stronger Principalship Vol 5&#58; The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action</em></a> (2016)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/leader-tracking-systems-turning-data-into-information-for-school-leadership.aspx"><em>Leader Tracking Systems&#58; Turning Data Into Information for School Leadership</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/raising-the-barre-and-stretching-the-canvas.aspx"><em>Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas&#58; Implementing High-Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization</em></a> (2017)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx"><em>Designing for Engagement&#58; The Experiences of Tweens in the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx"><em>Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</em></a> (2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-new-role-emerges-for-principal-supervisors.aspx"><em>A New Role Emerges for Principal Supervisors&#58; Evidence from Six Districts in the Principal Supervisor Initiative</em></a>(2018)</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd edition</em></a> (2018)​<br></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p><br>&#160;</p><br></div>Ed Pauly992019-05-20T04:00:00ZStudies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement Efforts Help Practitioners See What Works—and What Doesn’t7/17/2019 6:55:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefiting Kids by Strengthening Practices Studies Probing How to Carry Out Improvement 758https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Building an Effective Afterschool Program…With the Evidence to Back It Up4473GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>So you want to start an afterschool program or expand the one you’ve got. You have demand in your community and an idea of what kinds of activities you want to offer. You even have a space lined up. What you need now is funding. The good news is that the federal government makes money available for afterschool under a number of funding streams in the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), particularly through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. (President Trump’s latest budget proposal would do away with 21st Century funding in the 2020 fiscal year, but the program has survived other recent efforts at elimination.) In order to be eligible for that money, however, you may need something else&#58; strong, research-based evidence that your program can be effective in improving outcomes for young people. &#160;</p><p>Fortunately, there’s a body of evidence about the effectiveness of afterschool programs already out there. To help providers tap into that research, Wallace commissioned <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/afterschool-programs-a-review-of-evidence-under-the-every-student-succeeds-act.aspx">a report</a> from Research for Action, an independent organization with a focus on education. The report reviews virtually all the available studies of afterschool programs from 2000 to 2017 and identifies those programs that meet ESSA requirements for credible evidence. Research for Action found more than 60 programs—covering all grade levels and almost every type of program—that fall into the top three of four levels of evidence described in ESSA. The report is accompanied by a guide that provides details about each program and summaries of the studies included in the review. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Ruth-Neild copy.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Building-an-Effective-Afterschool-Program-With-the-Evidence-to-Back-It-Up/Ruth-Neild%20copy.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />We talked to Ruth Neild, the report’s lead author and recently-named president of the Society for Research on Education Effectiveness,&#160; about why afterschool should be more than an afterthought and how providers and policymakers can use her work to create programs that make a difference for students.*</p><p> <strong>What is the need that this report and companion guide are intended to fill?</strong></p><p>ESSA encourages, and, in some cases, requires, providers and districts to use evidence-based practices, and it has specific standards for different levels of evidence. This raises a question&#58; Folks in the afterschool space and the district aren’t researchers, so how in the world are they going to know what the evidence is? How are they even going to access it since a lot of it is behind paywalls? Our contribution to the field is that we’re bringing that evidence out into the open for everyone to take a look at. We did a comprehensive scan of the literature on every afterschool program we could find and reviewed it against the ESSA standards, so districts and providers don’t have to do that for themselves. </p><p> <strong>Why does afterschool programming matter for young people?</strong></p><p>Afterschool programming obviously has the potential, at minimum, to keep students safe and supervised. It also has the potential to help students keep pace academically. A lot of programs, for example, include tutoring and academic enrichment. Beyond that, it has the potential to provide enrichment, including interest exploration and physical activity, that complements the school day and, in some cases, may not be available during the school day. Examples of that include arts, apprenticeships, internships, and self-directed science activities like robotics. In addition to standards of evidence, ESSA talks about a “well-rounded education.” Afterschool can help with that.</p><p> <strong>What are the headlines from your review of the available evidence on the effectiveness of afterschool programs?</strong></p><p>One of the important things this review shows is that, when you do a comprehensive search and assessment of the most rigorous evidence, you find there are many programs that have positive effects and that, taken together, these programs have positive effects on a range of outcomes, whether you’re talking academics, physical health, attendance, or promotion and graduation. I think that is news, actually. There have been questions in the past based on a small handful of studies about whether there are net benefits of afterschool programs. But when you do a comprehensive search and you pull all the studies together and look at the average effects, for most outcomes the average effects are positive, and there are plenty of programs that have had positive impacts on students. </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Afterschool_Illustration2.1.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Building-an-Effective-Afterschool-Program-With-the-Evidence-to-Back-It-Up/Afterschool_Illustration2.1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;<em>The report's companion guide provides summaries, such as this one, on the research about the effectiveness of specific afterschool programs. </em></p><p> <strong>How can program providers use the report and guide in their decision-making?</strong></p><p>For providers, we summarize both branded and unbranded programs. Branded programs are formally organized and have a formal model. They may have a manual and a name. Some afterschool programs are branded, but probably most of them are homegrown models. For providers who might be thinking about purchasing products from the branded programs, the guide is a place to go and check a summary of their evidence. For providers who are developing a homegrown model, looking to see what others have done is a way of doing a tune-up on your own offerings. It helps you to think, “Here’s what I’m offering. What might I be able to expect in terms of outcomes for my kids?” </p><p> <strong>What advice do you have for a provider who may be seeking federal funding for a program that doesn’t already have established evidence of effectiveness?</strong></p><p>First of all, in the afterschool context, a lot is left to the states to determine, so it’s important to know what level of evidence your state is requiring. Another thing providers should do is look in the guide to see if there is a program with important similarities to the one they’re offering that’s been shown to have a positive impact. When you’re putting in evidence to apply for federal funding, that evidence doesn’t haven’t to be from your particular program; it could be from a like program. </p><p>Another important thing to know is that Tier 4 [the fourth level of evidence described in ESSA], offers a door through which a program can be offered, as long as there’s a compelling research-informed argument for why the program would have an impact <em>and</em> it’s being studied for effectiveness. Our review highlights some areas evaluators and programs should keep in mind as they’re figuring out what their evaluations should look like. For example, it’s important to think about getting a large enough sample size, otherwise your program is going to appear to have no statistically significant effects—even if it’s actually effective.</p><p>The afterschool field should also be thinking about what kind and intensity of outcomes afterschool programs can realistically produce. We found an awful lot of programs that use standardized test scores as an outcome. Test scores are easily available from school records. The problem is they’re very hard to budge. Think about school improvement grants&#58; Millions and millions of dollars went into intensive school-day interventions, and it was hard to get a bang out of that. It seems potentially harmful to hold afterschool programs to that standard. The amazing thing is that afterschool programs have done it, but we would encourage providers and funders to think hard about whether there are other meaningful measures that can be used to capture what these programs are trying to change. Sometimes, funders may need to help providers develop those measures.</p><p> <strong>What lessons does your review of the evidence base hold for state and federal policymakers? What can they do to promote effective afterschool programming?<br> </strong> <br> Providers, districts, and schools can be lauded&#58; Great job. You’ve shown that afterschool programs can be evaluated in rigorous ways and have some positive outcomes. Where the field needs to go next is to conduct better studies that test particular approaches, not just a mishmash of different approaches and outcomes. For example, if you’re going to have a program that’s trying to affect academic outcomes, really take a look at what it takes. How much time does it take? Can you offer it two days a week or do you need to offer it five days a week? What kind of staffing do you need to have? Are there requirements or incentives for participation you need to have?</p><p>States are in a great position to incentivize or require providers to develop a learning agenda because they’re re-granting a billion dollars collectively through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. There is evaluation money built into that program. But I don’t see great examples of states developing clear learning agendas with their grantees. That seems like the next step to me.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792019-03-26T04:00:00ZEducation researcher Ruth Neild on afterschool research and the funding requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act3/26/2019 5:33:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building an Effective Afterschool Program…With the Evidence to Back It Up Education researcher Ruth Neild on afterschool 536https://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 660https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Afterschool Systems Find a Home10292GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning <p>Afterschool providers, schools, government agencies, private funders…they all want to give young people opportunities for growth, learning and fun. But they all have different roles and ways of working, so knitting their efforts together into coordinated systems is no easy task. Cities that set out to build, manage and sustain afterschool systems can use a little guidance along the way.</p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="sharon_deich1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/sharon_deich1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;319px;" />That’s where the consulting firm FourPoint Education Partners, formerly Cross &amp; Joftus, comes in. From 2012 to 2017, FourPoint provided technical assistance (TA) to the nine cities participating in Wallace’s “next-generation” afterschool system-building initiative, helping them solidify systems that were already in place. (An earlier Wallace initiative had supported five cities starting systems from scratch.) FourPoint drew on that work for a new paper, <em><a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Governance-Structures-for-City-Afterschool-Systems-Three-Models.aspx">Governance Structures for City Afterschool Systems&#58; Three Models</a></em>, describing three different models for setting up and running an afterschool system.</p><p>We caught up with Sharon Deich, a FourPoint partner, to discuss her role in the initiative and get her perspective on the past, present and future of afterschool system building. </p><p><strong>Describe the work you did as a TA provider for the initiative. </strong></p><p>First, we helped the cities think about how they were going to support their infrastructure when their Wallace money went away. Hand in hand with the finance work was the governance work. How do you create anchor points in the community for the work to deepen and grow, even if one of your key champions—like a mayor, a superintendent or a project lead—were to leave? The third piece was partnerships. Who else do you need to have at the table and then how do you plug them into your governance structure? The last piece was strategy. We worked closely with Wallace, thinking about where the initiative was going and what the needs and opportunities were.</p><p><strong>What is the most important thing you learned over the course of the initiative?</strong></p><p>We came in with the notion that you build a system and then, “Here it is.” But the [actual systems] were very dynamic. More than half the cities changed the home of their system or the organizational structure. In Denver, they started out with an initiative in the mayor’s office and ended up with a networked approach where the mayor’s office, the Boys &amp; Girls Club and the school district were jointly managing the work.</p><p><strong><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Governance_v1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Helping-Afterschool-Systems-Find-a-Home/Governance_v1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />How do cities go about finding the right governance structure for their system?</strong></p><p>One consideration is, what’s the primary work of the system? Some systems focus on [program] quality, some on data, some on creating partnerships. They all touch that elephant in different places. If you’re building [new] programs, you might need a different home than if you’re trying to boost the quality of the work. Another factor is, who are your champions? If your mayor is a big champion it may be more logical to be in the mayor’s office or one of the city agencies. </p><p><strong>What do you still not know about system building that you still hope to learn?</strong></p><p>One of the hardest things about system building is communicating what you mean by “system building.” When I work in mainstream education, I often say, “It’s not about what one school is doing. It’s about how the district is supporting all the schools.” I don’t think there’s an equivalent in this mushy space where afterschool lives. Then how do you convince people that investment in system pieces is as important as dollars for programming? </p><p><strong>What does the future of afterschool system building look like to you? </strong></p><p>In this current environment, I can’t see afterschool growing and getting a lot of attention. I worry about the money for 21st Century [Community Learning Centers, a source of federal funding for afterschool]. So, it’s really important that afterschool be part of a broader package of supports and services that school districts and communities want for their kids. Whether it’s social and emotional learning, enrichment, homework help, meals—afterschool can be a delivery vehicle.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>For more information about afterschool systems, check out <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/growing-together-learning-together.aspx">Growing Together, Learning Together</a>.</p><p>&#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-01-18T05:00:00ZA paper describes three models for setting up and running an afterschool system.4/4/2018 3:47:42 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Afterschool Systems Find a Home Talking Technical Assistance with Sharon Deich of FourPoint Education Partners 617https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
To Build Afterschool Systems, Communities Must “Figure It Out, Then Figure It Out Again”16095GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Seeing is believing, the saying goes, and Priscilla Little has seen the benefits of afterschool systems up close for more than two decades. From 1996 to 2010, she oversaw the Harvard Family Research Project’s afterschool efforts. In 2012, she became the manager of Wallace’s “next-generation” <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/Pages/default.aspx">afterschool system building effort</a>, the successor to an initiative, begun in 2003, to increase access to high-quality afterschool programming by coordinating the work of program providers, government agencies, private funders and other players. </p><p>Now that her time at Wallace has come to a close, we asked Priscilla to reflect on her experience in this evolving field.*</p><p> <strong>How has the field of afterschool system building changed since you started working with Wallace?</strong></p><p>On a base numbers level, there are more communities trying to do it. And we now have cross-sector community collaborations that weren’t in place 10 years ago. Afterschool systems may start off as straight-up networks of programs, but they quickly embrace the fact that they’re operating in a larger community context. They recognize that they need to connect with other initiatives that touch young people and try to be more efficient, streamlined and coordinated in their approach. More afterschool systems are also working intentionally with school districts now, partly in response to education reform and greater openness on the part of schools. Another thing I’m seeing is increasing language about afterschool as a solution to workforce challenges—not just because it solves a childcare issue for the workforce but because it promotes the kind of skills employers need. It’s not that afterschool programs are doing anything different, but the way they’re being talked about is different.</p><p> <strong>What is the most important thing you’ve learned about system building in your time with Wallace?</strong></p><p>One thing I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of coordination that<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Growing-Together-Learning-Together.aspx"> fits the local context</a>. What was a revelation for many of the sites in the Wallace initiatives is that coordination is going to change over time because community context changes. The notion of “one and done” is just not realistic. I could tell you many stories of systems that incubate in one place and land in another, and that’s an inherently good thing. That disruptive change is healthy for a system. Communities just want to figure out, “What is this going to look like?” And I tell them, “Good enough, good until. We’ll figure it out, and when something new comes along, we’ll figure it out again.” </p><p> <strong>What do you not know about system building that you still hope to learn?</strong></p><p>What I keep getting asked is, “How do we sustain this work absent big resources from foundations?” How does it become part of the course of nurturing children to have these systems in place? Beyond the systems approach, how do we change education so that afterschool becomes part of the equation without school districts co-opting it? Wallace’s new <a href="/knowledge-center/Social-and-Emotional-Learning/Pages/default.aspx">Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning initiative</a> is partly about how we can help both school and afterschool systems do what they do well but coordinate better.</p><p> <strong>What does the future of afterschool system building look like to you? </strong></p><p>Continuing to build systems is important because they’re good for providers and kids. The next frontier is changing the conversation so that it starts with equity and what young people need to be successful, not what we can do. We’re quick to jump to institutions and settings without asking, “What is your vision for young people in this community? How can the organizations in the community support that vision?”</p><p>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</p>Wallace editorial team792017-11-02T04:00:00ZInsights from Former Initiative Manager Priscilla Little3/20/2018 6:44:11 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / To Build Afterschool Systems, Communities Must “Figure It Out, Then Figure It Out Again From 1996 to 2010, she oversaw the 647https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Afterschool Systems Show Promise for Learning and Enrichment16087GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>“Proof of principle.” It’s a clinical-sounding phrase derived from the search for new medications.</p><p>But oh, what excitement it generated here at Wallace when we first read it in print in 2010, because the phrase also means that something has shown promise and warrants further development. There it was, on pg. 74 of a RAND Corp. report, <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Hours-of-Opportunity-Volumes-I-II-III.aspx"> <em>Hours of Opportunity</em>, </a>which examined Wallace-supported afterschool program efforts in five cities. For years, organizations in those communities—Boston; Chicago; New York City; Providence, R.I.; and Washington, D.C.—had been working to see if a then-novel concept was possible. </p><p>The idea? To have the major groups involved in afterschool programs—parks, libraries, schools, recreation programs, government agencies and others—collaborate to build a coherent system of high-quality afterschool programming, especially for the neediest children and teens. </p><p>The cities had embarked on this effort in the early 2000s, not knowing whether afterschool coordination on a wide scale and involving numerous players was possible. But apparently, the after-school systems idea had something to it. “This initiative provided a proof of principle—that organizations across cities could work together toward increasing access, quality, data-based decision-making, and sustainability,” RAND concluded. </p><p>In other words, the cities had demonstrated the feasibility of launching afterschool systems with the potential to improve programs and make them more readily available. Ultimately, that meant kids might have a better shot at filling their spare time with enrichment and learning, rather than risk. </p><p>Hours helped guide what we called our next-generation afterschool effort, in which nine other cities with system work underway received support to boost their efforts, especially in the collection and analysis of data. That work, in turn, gave rise to several other notable reports. One, an updated Wallace Perspective called <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Growing-Together-Learning-Together.aspx"> <em>Growing Together, Learning Together,</em> </a>found that building strong afterschool systems required four key elements&#58; leadership from all the major players, a coordinating entity, use of data and efforts to bolster program quality.&#160; </p><p>By 2013, we had some reason to believe that system-building was more than a flash in the pan. A Wallace-commissioned scan found that at least 77 of the nation’s 275 largest cities were endeavoring to build afterschool systems. </p><p>What’s the latest figure? The answer will have to wait for another study. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZOrganizations band together to create a powerful network of afterschool programming4/4/2018 4:36:45 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Afterschool Systems Show Promise for Learning and Enrichment Organizations band together to create a powerful network of 509https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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