Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools14057GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​“While last year was the most difficult year we’ve probably had as educators, this upcoming year is the most important year,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an opening statement during the U.S. Department of Education’s final <a href="https&#58;//compcenternetwork.org/national-center/6827/summer-learning-enrichment-collaborative-events" target="_blank">Summer Learning &amp; Enrichment Collaborative Virtual Session</a> last month.</p><p>Earlier conversations in the seven-part series focused on such topics as forming state-level coalitions, using evidence to inform summer programs, tapping ​federal funds to promote equity through summer enrichment opportunities. This last session, however, addressed perhaps the country’s most important stakeholders&#58; students. </p><p>“We know students have a voice, and they have a lot to say. We have to make sure we’re designed to listen,” Cardona said.</p><p>Cardona kicked off the convening in <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgICxaHfdIw" target="_blank">conversation</a>&#160;with a panel of students from around the country, who discussed what they’d gained from their various summer programs. </p><p>“We had different things for everybody, and I really enjoyed how inclusive and how much of a family my summer program is,” said Noah Shaw of his experience at the Miller Boys and Girls Club in Murray, Utah. </p><p>Mkayla Rowell, a freshman at Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at the John Hay Campus who participated in the Cleveland Metro School District Summer Learning Experience as a teacher, said the aspect she liked most about the program was being able to help kids who are younger than she is.&#160;​​​<br></p><p>“I really enjoyed just connecting with a younger generation and teaching them things that would’ve helped me when I was their age growing up in the city,” she said. </p><p>The students and young educators also offered their advice to education leaders for how to reimagine, redesign and rebuild engaging learning and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. </p><p>“Because most of us are transitioning from a school year that was mainly virtual, it’s going to be difficult for students to go back to in-person school,” said Kwynsky Miguel, a Lehigh University freshman, who worked over the summer at a program he attended in the past,&#160;the Aim High Summer Program in San Francisco. “I recommend teachers be very patient with their students rather than rushing them, because everyone will have a different pace going back into school. I really think being patient will help your students see that you want them to succeed and you really care about their mental well-being.”&#160; </p><p>In fact, a common theme throughout the conversation was the importance of creating a safe space, not just physically but mentally as well.</p><p>“I think the best advice I can give is just to be persistent with students,” Noah Shaw said. “Because I know some students have stuff going on at home, and that makes them want to give up and be antisocial, and their grades can fail. A great thing is to be persistent in making sure they’re okay...make sure you stick with them, never give up.”</p><p>Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also participated in the meetings that followed the roundtable with the youth leaders to provide updates on guidance and resources for a healthy and safe return to school. Their recommendations for schools included promoting vaccines to those who are eligible, wearing masks indoors, maintaining three feet of distance between others, washing hands, improving ventilation systems and staying home when sick.&#160; </p><p>“Transitioning in times of physical distancing, masks and extra stress is extra hard,” said&#160;Lara Robinson, a behavioral scientist with the Child Development Studies Team at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Teachers, parents and programs can help children by planning the transition, making strong connections and establishing new routines. With the right support, children can adjust to their new program, make new friends, learn new things and strive.”</p><p>Attendees of the virtual meeting also had the opportunity to join tabletop discussions. One of them, <em>Engaging Educators, Families, Students in Planning Summer and the Return to School,</em> examined innovations employed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and district partners for a “whole child, whole community” recovery from the pandemic. </p><p>Representatives from the district showed how they developed a vision for post-pandemic learning that includes competency-based education, anytime/anywhere and whole human learning, along with personalized learner pathways. This summer, Cleveland had the opportunity to implement some of these principles during their Summer Learning Experience. Teachers submitted creative ideas for projects to implement during two separate four-week summer sessions, which more than 8,000 students participated in. </p><p>“We saw our kids do amazing work,” said Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union. “Our educators came away invigorated with the different things they had done; our students were excited to share what they learned. And now the task for us is to build upon what we have been doing over the summer and start bringing this to scale during the course of the normal school year with a larger number of our students and educators.” </p><p>Schools in Cleveland will return to in-person instruction in the fall, with a new remote school option. The district is working diligently to create an experience that aimed at making&#160;students want to be in school. Educators and administrators are implementing a more inclusive dress code and offering expanded enrichment and extracurricular activities such as band, choir, fitness and pottery classes, along with the supports to make them accessible for students.&#160;&#160; </p><p>In addition, this fall, on October 28, the <a href="http&#58;//www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm" target="_blank">22nd annual Lights On Afterschool</a> will take place. In a typical year, more than 8,000 afterschool programs around the country hold events to showcase their programs. According to Tiyana Glenn, a project associate at the Afterschool Alliance, this event is a chance for afterschool programs to celebrate and showcase exactly what they do everyday, as well as make their case to their community, to parents, to policymakers and to the media that afterschool programs are essential for students and their families. </p><p>Kwynsky Miguel, the teacher-assistant at Aim High Summer Program, made the case for summer and out of school time programs and how they can both help students and adults adapt to new situations that might come up in the school year.</p><p>“I knew this was a safe space for me to be who I am as well as to learn from others,” she said. “The whole experience of meeting new people and learning about their story was such a surreal moment that I really appreciate Aim High for—for showing me that it’s okay to be new to a whole new environment as well as knowing when it’s right to let yourself be comfortable with new people.”&#160; </p><p>In his roundtable with the students, Cardona also stressed that schools and afterschool programs can help provide a much-needed sense of community for kids this fall. </p> “Schools, school communities, and good summer programs are like second families,” he said. “There’s a sense of community there that, I think, sometimes we overlook. We don’t talk about that as educators as much. Schools are communities for our students.&quot;<p></p>Jenna Doleh912021-09-16T04:00:00ZStudents, educators and others at U.S. Department of Education convening encourage patience, safe spaces, increased support as students return this fall.9/16/2021 3:13:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools Students, educators and others at U.S. Department of 71https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success14175GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​By providing free and accessible summer learning activities and reading materials, <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/blog/reimagining-summer-learning-during-the-pandemic" target="_blank">even during the pandemic</a>, public libraries have a unique role in the summer learning landscape. Libraries are one of the most trusted institutions in the communities they serve, <a href="https&#58;//www.nextlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PI_2017.09.11_FactsAndInfo_1-02.png" target="_blank">according to Pew research</a>. They are also one of the widest-reaching—there are <a href="https&#58;//www.imls.gov/news/imls-releases-new-data-american-public-libraries" target="_blank">more U.S. library branches</a> than <a href="https&#58;//www.scrapehero.com/location-reports/Starbucks-USA/" target="_blank">Starbucks locations</a>, and visiting the library is the <a href="https&#58;//news.gallup.com/poll/284009/library-visits-outpaced-trips-movies-2019.aspx" target="_blank">most common cultural activity</a> for Americans, having outpaced visits to movies or sporting events by a wide margin in the pre-pandemic world. </p><div> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Liz_headshot.jpg" alt="Liz_headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;220px;" /> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span></div><div>In fact, public libraries have been providing learning materials and opportunities to youth in the summertime for over a century. This began with the distribution of Victorian-era reading lists designed to keep youth on the moral path. Today, the efforts of libraries, and their partners, have become more joyous&#58; making available beautiful, culturally appropriate books and other resources to support young people in myriad ways, from letting them indulge in the simple pleasure of reading to helping them develop 21st century learning skills.</div><div> <br> </div><div>For over half a decade, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has taken a leading role in catalyzing the evolution of public libraries as essential hubs and partners for summer learning. ULC is a think and action tank of leading North American public libraries with a primary focus on advancing more positive outcomes for all youth by dismantling barriers they face, providing them with high-quality learning opportunities and strengthening local partnerships between libraries and other educational institutions.</div><div> <br> </div><div>ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/the-leaders-library-card-challenge/participating-libraries" target="_blank">Leaders Library Card Challenge</a>—which started as an Obama Administration initiative—has equipped more than 4 million K-12 students with library cards, an achievement made possible by partnerships forged between libraries, local schools and mayors and county executives. ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/stem-middle-school" target="_blank">Partners for Middle School STEM</a> initiative aligns libraries, local governments, schools and businesses to increase high-quality STEM learning opportunities for middle grade youth from low-income families—positioning the library as a critical partner in fixing the “leaky” STEM pipeline.</div><p> <br>ULC’s focus on building partnerships to strengthen summer learning started in 2016, when we published the <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/assets/Leadership_Brief_Expanding_Summer.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Libraries Expanding Summer Opportunities</em></a>&#160;leadership brief in collaboration with the National Summer Learning Association, the pre-eminent authority on summer learning in the United States. That pivotal document has directly helped to shape the ways that libraries think and go about their work to support youth during the summer—shifting from a focus on “summer reading” to “<a href="https&#58;//journals.ala.org/index.php/cal/article/view/7200/9831" target="_blank">summer learning</a>,” intentionally addressing a wide range of academic and developmental challenges.</p><p>Driving that shift is a growing recognition of the importance of summer learning for improving the lives of all youth, and the unique role that libraries can play in supporting those opportunities. Over the past two summers, the devastating impact of COVID-19 has made it more important than ever for communities to leverage the unique capacity of libraries as partners for addressing learning loss.</p><p> <strong>Combating opportunity &amp; achievement gaps</strong></p><p>Even before COVID-19, much research had been compiled about the widening of achievement and opportunity gaps between students from low-income families and their peers from higher-income families during the summer months. Emerging post-pandemic data now also reveals profound inequities for children who have been historically excluded, including Black, Hispanic and Indigenous youth. Research from McKinsey &amp; Associates reported in <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-learning-loss-disparities-grow-and-students-need-help" target="_blank">Mind the Gap</a> shows the disparities in access and educational equity which have created barriers to learning. &#160;</p><p>The good news is that high-quality summer learning can make a real difference for children, as&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">research</a> clearly shows. The National Academy of Sciences, too, recently released a <a href="https&#58;//www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/summertime-experiences-and-child-and-adolescent-education-health-and-safety" target="_blank">study</a>, which analyzes availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summer learning experiences in conjunction with overall health, social-emotional and safety outcomes for youth.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" alt="Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" />​​<br><br>While <a href="https&#58;//www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/04/29/covid-19-the-educational-equity-crisis-and-the-opportunity-ahead/" target="_blank">learning loss research</a> underscores the importance of helping youth in Kindergarten through third grade recover or level-up reading and math skills, the further good news is that public libraries across the country are offering reading and learning programs targeted to these ages during critical out-of-school time periods, including summer. Early math, social-emotional learning and play-based programming are also part of these efforts.</p><p>Complementing these programs are workshops for parents and caregivers, offering them meaningful time to reflect on learning. Additionally, understanding that we must reduce barriers to youth learning, thousands of public libraries that serve young people living in poverty now tap federal food programs to offer <a href="https&#58;//www.cslpreads.org/libraries-and-summer-food/" target="_blank">meals</a> and afterschool snacks.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>In the words of Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch Director for Branch Libraries and Education at the New York Public Library, “Summer is a time of immense inequities for America’s youth. The public library is uniquely poised to reach children with high-quality books, STEM and active learning activities that I have personally seen … [improve] anticipated outcomes for our youth.” </p><p>Programs such as the New York Public Library’s <a href="https&#58;//www.nypl.org/summer/book-kits" target="_blank">book and activity give-away</a>—which provides children and teens with totes or colorful drawstring bags filled with age-appropriate books and other goodies—&#160;show how libraries continue to innovate to reach children during COVID-19 and Summer 2021. For another great example, look to <a href="https&#58;//www.cantonrep.com/story/news/2021/07/12/heart-stark-stark-county-district-library-offers-summer-fun-school/7908675002/" target="_blank">The Stark District Library</a> in Canton, Ohio, which is working with a local elementary school to provide learning activities for over 2,000 rising kindergarteners through third graders with targeted learning interventions, book ownership and meals. </p><p> <strong>Partnering for greater equity</strong></p><p>All education institutions—and libraries are no exception—confront systemic barriers that limit opportunity, particularly for those from traditionally marginalized populations or who are living in low-income households. One obstacle facing many children and their caregivers is lack of access to the reliable transportation needed to visit library buildings and other institutions in person. A related&#160;barrier, hindering both reaching and engaging youth, is inadequate digital access. <a href="https&#58;//www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/22/digital-divide-persists-even-as-americans-with-lower-incomes-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/" target="_blank">Pew research suggests</a> that “35% of lower-income households with school-age children [do] not have a broadband internet connection at home.” </p><p>By convening and strengthening partnerships with summer and out-of-school program providers, libraries can help bring literacy and learning programs to children and families who would not otherwise have access. Relationships with park districts enable libraries to provide literacy and other educational opportunities to campers and youth living in areas where they may not otherwise have access to learning resources. Our ability to share program materials makes us a strong ally of community camps and other summer programs. And, critically, our relationships with schools allow us to align summer learning activities to school priorities. </p><p>In addition, public libraries develop partnerships with cultural institutions and with organizations across the nation to promote more equitable outcomes for young people and ensure our program content is culturally appropriate and healing. The <a href="https&#58;//sfpl.org/events/special-programs/summer-stride-2021" target="_blank">Summer Stride</a> program at the San Francisco Public Library, for example, involves a partnership with the local Human Rights Commission to develop deeper connections to communities where youth have been historically excluded from high-quality summer programming access. As another example, <a href="https&#58;//www.crlibrary.org/2021/06/03/mobile-technology-lab-ready-to-roll-to-cedar-rapids-parks/" target="_blank">Cedar Rapids Public Library</a> forged a partnership with Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation’s Rollin’ Recmobile to offer unique tech learning opportunities at four parks per week throughout the summer, providing youth with access to e-readers, laptops, robotics and more.</p><p>The Urban Libraries Council continues to find ways to support the essential role of libraries in the&#160;&#160;education ecosystem. Over the past year and half, ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/going-forward-from-the-pandemic/action-team-school-partnerships" target="_blank">Partnering with Schools</a> action team has been researching and working on tools to help libraries across the nation rethink and recommit to partnerships with their local school districts, including aligning library work to efforts to help children and teens accelerate their learning after the instructional losses caused by the pandemic. In June, the Urban Libraries Council supported the development of the National Summer Learning Association’s <a href="https&#58;//discoversummer.inplay.org/" target="_blank">Discover Summer</a> web app, which is designed to help families nationwide locate accessible summer learning opportunities in their local communities, including public library programming.</p><p>“Public libraries are uniquely positioned to help all kids rise and close … [education] gaps,” said the National Summer Learning Association’s president and CEO, Aaron Dworkin. “It’s going to take the enormous energy and heart of us all, working together to make a meaningful difference.” Luckily, many tools and models to activate these opportunities already exist. The Wallace Foundation has given out-of-school and summer providers a <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">toolkit</a> to develop vigorous summer learning programs that help build equity and develop strong outcomes. Libraries can play a critical partner role through each phase of this toolkit—from recruiting youth, strengthening academics and enrichment opportunities, offering safe and resource-rich learning sites, filling staffing gaps and supporting program planning. Together with libraries, summer learning program providers can drive deep, meaningful and equitable outcomes for youth that will last a lifetime.<br></p><p> <em>Photos courtesy of Urban Libraries Council and Chicago Public Library.</em><br></p>Elizabeth McChesney1172021-07-28T04:00:00ZPublic libraries have long been poised to help strengthen learning opportunities and equitable outcomes for youth7/28/2021 7:17:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success Public libraries have long been poised to help 735https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program9774GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​It’s been said thousands of times but bears repeating&#58; the summer of 2021 promises to be a most unusual one as schools, districts, nonprofits, parents and others roll up their sleeves to help counteract some of the learning losses of the pandemic—and simply bring children together again safely. Then again, what could be more normal than corralling a group of children in summer, whether to learn how to multiply fractions or swing a bat? <br></p><p>As Summer Learning Week begins, we’ve pulled together an unofficial list of Wallace’s Top 5 Summer Learning Publications. A majority of the research stems from the experiences of five urban school districts and their partners who formed Wallace’s <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/summer-learning.aspx">National Summer Learning Project</a> (NSLP) from 2011 through 2016. While the most current findings and popular tools headline the list, there is much more to be discovered in the <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning section</a> of Wallace’s Knowledge Center, all of which can be easily downloaded free of charge.<br> <br> </p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" alt="Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;286px;" /></a> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span> <div><strong>1.</strong><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">The </a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">First Stop for Summer Learning Practitioners</a>&#160;</div><p>Based on the RAND Corporation’s evaluations from the NSLP, <em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed </em>addresses questions about how to implement a high-quality summer learning program and offers evidence-based recommendations around such topics as timing, hiring and training, and how to recruit students. For example, do you know the recommended month to begin planning a summer program? (If you guessed January, gold star.) Many more specific recommendations and guidance await your perusal. <br><br></p> ​ <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" alt="Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;287px;" /></a><strong>2.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">Running a High-Quality Program Shows Meaningful Results</a><br> <em>Every Summer Counts&#58; A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project </em>also stems from RAND and the NSLP and finds both short-term and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary five- to six-week summer learning programs. The largest and longest study of its kind, the research confirms previous studies finding that after the first summer high-attenders outperformed control group members in math, and after the second summer, high-attenders saw advantages in math, language arts and social-emotional skills. This report shows that even three years after the second summer, while academic benefits had decreased in magnitude and were not statistically significant, they remained educationally meaningful. All of this suggests that summer programs can be an important component in how school districts support learning and skill development, particularly for children from low-income families who may face widening achievement and opportunity gaps in any summer, let alone this one post-COVID.<div><br><p></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" alt="toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;200px;" /></a><strong>3.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">A Hands-On How-To Guide for High-Quality Summer Learning</a><br> This online resource hub houses more than 50 evidence-based tools, templates and resources used successfully by NSLP’s districts and their partners. Additional resources created by field experts round out the offerings, all of which are aligned to RAND’s key research findings and contain guidance for how to use them. Each section of the toolkit includes a timeline for when you should start thinking about the various components of planning and design. Maybe you’re late to the toolkit for this summer, but fear not, you can begin many of the pre-planning and logistical steps for next summer this fall. <br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Out-of-School-Time-Programs-This-Summer.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" alt="Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;113px;" /></a><strong>4.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Out-of-School-Time-Programs-This-Summer.aspx">What Parents Want from Out-of-School Programs This Summer</a><br> For this recently released study, Edge Research and Learning Heroes surveyed parents of K-8th grade children, out-of-school-time (OST) professionals, field leaders and others to explore the unique role OST programs play in youth development compared with home and school as well as the impact of COVID-19 for this summer and beyond. Among the many nuggets, the researchers found that parents were indeed concerned about the impact of the pandemic, with many expressing fears that their children were struggling academically, socially and emotionally. Overall parents identified three priorities for what they’d like to see summer programming address for their children&#58; their social and emotional health, providing them with physical outdoor activities and helping them discover their passion and purpose. ​​<br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" alt="Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;278px;" />​</a><strong>5.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx">Federal Funds Are Now Available for Summer Learning</a><br> Complementing parents’ concern for their children’s academic, social and emotional well-being, the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act has made funds available to states and districts to speed up recovery from the effects of the pandemic, including addressing learning loss. In <em>Evidence-based Considerations for COVID-19 Reopening and Recovery Planning&#58; Summer Learning with Academic and Non-Academic Activities, </em>Wallace has distilled evidence from our summer-learning work that may be helpful in informing choices about how to spend those funds, as well as how to implement key strategies. The paper includes an annotated bibliography with links to resources and tools (more than we could fit in this Top 5 list, so it’s a bonus!). ​<br><br></p></div>Wallace editorial team792021-07-09T04:00:00ZEverything from planning district-wide summer programs to maximizing resources available under the American Rescue Plan Act—and Wallace’s popular summer learning toolkit7/9/2021 1:56:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program Everything from planning district-wide summer programs to 394https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for Youth9939GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the summer of 2021 begins, many students and families are struggling to recover from the isolation, disruption and instructional loss of the pandemic. Summer programs could help. But according to a recent study that looks in-depth at summer learning in 2019 and 2020, student participation in programs remains low, despite some recent growth and soaring parent satisfaction. For every child in a summer learning program in 2019, another was waiting to get in, according to a recently released report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-time-for-a-game-changing-summer-with-opportunity-and-growth-for-all-of-americas-youth.aspx">Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth</a><u>.</u></p><p>Commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, the study is based on responses from more than 29,500 U.S. families and builds on household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. It also includes national findings from smaller surveys of parents and program providers conducted in summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, and offers a snapshot of how children and youth spent their summers before and during the pandemic.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" alt="NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;183px;height&#58;222px;" />The Wallace Blog caught up Nikki Yamashiro, vice president of research at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implic​ations of the survey and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world. </p><p><strong>In the summer of 2019, participation in summer programming was at the highest level ever recorded by </strong><strong>America After 3PM, but the demand is far from being met. Can you talk more about this? </strong></p><p>This is a great place to start—these are two of the key findings from our report. It’s true, <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-Time-for-a-Game-Changing-Summer-2021-Executive-Summary.pdf">we found that between 2008 and 2019, participation in summer programs was on the rise</a>, but despite this increase, for every child in a summer program in 2019, there was another who would have been enrolled if a program were available. Similar to what we found regarding unmet demand for afterschool programs in our America After 3PM report, “<a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-National-Report.pdf">Demand Grows, Opportunity Shrinks</a>,” the number of children who are missing out on the opportunities that summer programs offer is immense. Overall, 13.9 million children, nearly 1 in 3 not in a program during the 2019 summer, would have been enrolled in one. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" alt="AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>What this tells us is that not only is there a tremendous demand for summer programs in the U.S., there is an overwhelming need for increased access to affordable summer programming in the U.S. When we take a look at who’s participating in programs, we found that higher income children are nearly three times more likely to participate in a structured summer experience than children from lower income families.</p><p><strong>Why are kids from families with low incomes missing out on summer programs? What barriers are they facing and what kind of support/funding can help?</strong><br></p><p>To sum it up in one word, cost. The cost of summer programs is by far the largest hurdle for families with low incomes. Our study found that more than two in five parents with low incomes who didn’t have a child in a summer program (44 percent) report that cost was an important reason why they chose not to enroll their child, nearly 10 percentage points above that of higher income households (35 percent). Transportation and not knowing what programs were available are also notable barriers, with more than one in five parents with low incomes reporting these as a factors keeping their child out of a summer program. </p><p>Unfortunately, this disparity of who can and who can’t afford programs isn’t exclusive to the summer—we found that families in the highest income bracket spend more than five times as much on out-of-school-time activities for one child annually than families in the lowest income bracket.</p><p>A bright spot is the infusion of funding through the American Rescue Plan to state and local education agencies that is being used to support summer enrichment, comprehensive afterschool and learning recovery programs. Through this investment in summer, as well as in afterschool programs, our hope is that more children and families will be able to connect to programs in their community. </p><p><strong>How have parents’ priorities when it comes to summer programs changed since COVID-19? What is the impact of the pandemic on future demand?</strong></p><p>This most likely isn’t a surprise to parents who are reading this, but for families who wanted a structured summer experience for their children, we didn’t find a significant shift in the leading factors parents said were most important to them in 2019 and what was most important to them in 2020. Outside of safety and cleaning precautions against COVID-19, which were new priorities for parents in 2020, the key drivers behind parents choosing their child’s summer activity, both before and during the pandemic, were a safe environment, knowledgeable and caring staff, and opportunities to build social skills. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>A <a href="https&#58;//mercuryllc.app.box.com/s/wse3fs55ll635j7oi92gsv3a0uyw6uwz/file/817680950770">recent survey of parents</a> asking about plans for this summer found that most families are prioritizing outdoor, physical, social, and/or non-traditional enrichment programs (62 percent). </p><p><strong>According to the survey, 79</strong><strong> percent</strong><strong> of summer programs plan to offer in-person and/or virtual activities for kids this year. What are some of the new challenges the providers face this summer due to COVID-19?</strong></p><p>That’s an excellent question. We have a survey in the field right now to ask summer program providers exactly that. The purpose of the survey is to gain an understanding of the supports and services they’re providing this summer and the challenges they’re encountering in this second summer of the pandemic. Based on anecdotal stories from the field about plans for this summer and what we found in <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-2-Brief.pdf">last year’s summer provider survey</a> and a <a href="https&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/covid/Ongoing-Look-at-Afterschool-in-the-Time-of-COVID-19.cfm">recent spring 2021 provider survey</a>, we anticipate that staffing issues will continue to be a challenge, specifically hiring enough staff for in-person programming and the programs’ capacity to provide in-person services to every young person who would like to attend. Together with the recent survey of parents mentioned earlier, where more than 3 in 5 parents report that they feel comfortable sending their child to in-person summer experiences (63 percent), signs point to an increased demand for summer programs compared to the summer of 2020, but only time will tell. We’re looking forward to reporting back what we uncover. </p><p><strong>What would you like policymakers to take away from this survey?</strong></p><p>It’s my view that the findings from the survey all boil down to one fundamental premise—to meet the need for summer programming among families, in particular families with low incomes, greater investment in summer learning is critical. We found that parents value the time during the summers for their children to discover new interests, build connections, and be active and outdoors. Parents have increasingly wanted more structured summer opportunities for their children. And, during the pandemic, families counted on summer programs for supports ranging from helping their child stay connected to their peers to connecting families with community resources. Yet for many children and families, summer programs are out of reach. Taken together, these findings paint a picture of the importance of more opportunities for summer learning. With nearly 14 million children who would be enrolled in a summer program if one were available to them, the need for additional investment in summer programs to make certain that all children are able to access quality, affordable summer learning opportunities is undeniable.</p>Jenna Doleh912021-06-23T04:00:00ZDespite high demand, especially with the pandemic, summer programs are still out of reach for too many children.6/23/2021 5:00:25 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for Youth Despite high demand, especially with the pandemic, summer 705https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning11652GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify s4-wpActive" style="margin-bottom&#58;500px;"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/embed/2FfSODepxdg?enablejsapi=1&amp;origin=http&#58;//admin.wallacefoundation.org" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" data-gtm-yt-inspected-2194631_46="true" id="935418708"></iframe>&#160;</div> <br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-06T04:00:00ZCo-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings, including benefits for kids who attend frequently4/6/2021 2:51:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning Co-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings 380https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs?11622GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool<p>N​​onprofits that work with young people are always looking for ways to assess their effectiveness, and randomized controlled trials—which <em>randomly</em> place eligible young people into&#160;“treatment” and “control” groups to draw comparisons between them—are generally considered the most rigorous approach. Implementation studies, by contrast, examine how an effort is carried out, pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in operations. </p><p>In tandem, randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, and implementation studies can help organizations answer two major questions&#58; What is the impact of our work? What can we do to improve?&#160;&#160; </p><p>As informative as such studies can be, they are also challenging to pull off and act on. Just ask Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, one of the organizations that took part in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>. Higher Achievement, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for more than 1,000 middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore and Richmond, Va., has participated in two RCTs, the most recent one accompanied by an implementation study.</p><p>The first RCT, which was partially funded by Wallace and ran from 2006 to 2013, showed statistically significant effects for Higher Achievement students—known as “scholars” within the program—on math and reading test scores and in high school placement and family engagement. The second, completed last year (also with some Wallace support), found positive results, too, with the implementation study revealing some program delivery issues to be addressed in order for Higher Achievement to reach its full potential. (Readers can find the research and more information <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/impact/">here</a>.) The organization was in the process of making changes when COVID-19 hit and turned everything upside down, but as the pandemic eases, the hope is to use the findings to help pave the path forward. </p><p>This is part two of our interview with Jeffries. See the first post on <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/creating-safe-spaces-for-young-people-during-the-pandemic.aspx">running an afterschool program during a pandemic</a>. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Why did you decide to participate in the second RCT, especially having already done one? </strong></p><p>There were two main reasons. One is that the first study only focused on what has been our home base in the D.C. metro area. So, it showed statistically significant positive impacts on academics for D.C. and also Alexandria, Virginia. But since that study was conducted, we have expanded to other locations, and our effectiveness hadn't been empirically proven in those places. That was important to understand. A number of programs may be able to show impacts in their home base, but replicating that through all the complications that come with expansion is a next level of efficacy. </p><p>Second, it was suggested to us that the way to be most competitive for the major federal <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-inaugural-education-innovation-and-research-competition">i3 grant</a> we ultimately won was to offer an RCT. It's the highest level of evidence and worth the most points on the application.</p><p> <strong>Were there risks versus rewards that you had to weigh in making the decision to go ahead with the second RCT?</strong></p><p>We very carefully considered it because we knew from past experience the strains an RCT puts on the community and the organization.</p><p>The reward is that if you win the dollars you can learn a lot and serve more students. Our grant application was about adapting our academic mentoring to help accelerate learning towards Common Core standards. That's something we wouldn’t have been able to do, at least not at the intensity we wanted, without a multi-million-dollar investment.</p><p> <strong>Were there any results of either the RCT or the implementation study that caught you by surprise?</strong></p><p>The positive effect size for report card grades was greater in this second study than it was for test scores in a previous study. And that level of confidence did surprise me frankly, because I’ve lived and breathed Higher Achievement every day for many years now, and it's been messy. It hasn't just been a simple expansion process. There have been lots of questions along the way, adaptations to local communities, staffing changes, and more. So, to see that positive effect size for our scholars was encouraging.</p><p> <strong>You mentioned the strain an RCT can put on community relationships and the organization itself. What does that look like?</strong></p><p>Only accepting 50 percent of the students you recruit strains community relationships; it strains relationships with families and scholars most importantly but also with schools. It also fatigues the staff, who have to interview twice as many students as we can serve. They get to know the students and their families, knowing that we have to turn away half of them.</p><p>Here’s are example of how an RCT can distort perceptions in the community&#58; I'll never forget talking to a middle schooler who had applied for our program but was assigned to the control group. She said, &quot;Oh, yeah, I know Higher Achievement. It's that group that pays you $100 to take a test on a Saturday.&quot; [As part of the first RCT] we did pay students to take this test, and so that’s what we were to her.</p><p>Additionally, when you’re recruiting for an RCT, you have to cast twice as wide a net [because you need a sufficient number of students in both the treatment and control groups]. Because there was such a push for a larger sample, the interview process for Higher Achievement became pro forma, and our retention rate ended up dipping because the overall level of commitment of the scholars and families recruited for the RCT was lower than it would be otherwise. And both studies showed that we don't have statistically significant effects until scholars get through the second year. So, when scholar retention dips, you're distorting the program.</p><p> <strong>Did you approach the second RCT differently in terms of recruitment or communications to try to avoid or address that potential for strain?</strong></p><p>We were very cognizant of our school relationships the second time. Principals really value the service we provide, which makes it quite hard for them to agree to a study, knowing half the students won’t actually get the benefit of that service. So, we gave each of our principals three to five wild cards for particular students they wanted to be exempt from the lottery process in order to make sure that they got into the program. That hurt our sample size because those students couldn’t be part of the study, but it helped preserve the school relationships. We also deepened training for the staff interviewing potential scholars, which helped a bit with retention. </p><p> <strong>How did Higher Achievement go about putting the research findings into practice? In order to make changes at the program level, were there also changes that had to be made at the administrative level? </strong></p><p>The implementation study was really helpful, and I'm so grateful we were able to bring in $300,000 in additional support from Venture Philanthropy Partners [a D.C.-based philanthropy] to support it. One of the things we took away from the implementation study was that there was more heterogeneity in our program delivery than we desired. We knew that internally, but to read it from these external researchers made us pause, consider the implications, and develop a new approach—Higher Achievement 2.0. </p><p>Higher Achievement 2.0 consisted of a refined program model and staffing structure to support it. We shifted our organizational chart pretty dramatically. Previously, program implementation was managed by the local executive directors [with a program director for each city and directors of individual centers within each city reporting to the executive director]. Program research, evaluation and design were under a chief strategy officer, who was not in a direct reporting line with the program implementation. It wasn't seamless, and it led to inconsistencies in program delivery. </p><p>The big change we made was to create a new position, a central chief program officer who manages both the R&amp;D department, which we now call the center support team, and the local program directors, with the center directors reporting to those program directors. What that does functionally is lift the local center directors a full step or two or three, depending on the city, up in the organization chart and in the decision-making process [because they no longer report to a local executive director or deputy director]. Everything we're doing as an organization is much closer to the ground.</p><p> <strong>What were the main changes at the program level as a result of the implementation study?</strong></p><p>One of the key takeaways from the implementation research was that our Summer Academy, which was a six-week, 40-hours-a-week program, was important for culture building but the academic instruction wasn’t consistently high quality or driving scholar retention or academic outcomes. That prompted us to take a very different approach to summer and to make afterschool the centerpiece of what we do. The plan was to focus on college-preparatory high school placement and to expand afterschool by seven weeks and go from three to four days a week. That’s a big change in how we operate, which we were just beginning to actualize in January 2020. Then COVID hit, and we had to pivot to a virtual, streamlined program, but now we’re exploring how to go back to a version of Higher Achievement 2.0 post-COVID.</p><p>High school placement has always been part of Higher Achievement’s model, but we elevated it to be our anchor indicator, so all the other performance indicators need to lead back to high school readiness and placement. While our direct service ends in eighth grade, we have long-term intended impacts of 100 percent on-time high school graduation and 65 percent post-secondary credential attainment. [Therefore], the biggest lever we can pull is helping our scholars choose a great fit for high school and making sure they’re prepared to get into those schools. Instead of running programs in the summer, we are referring scholars to other strong programs and spending much more time on family engagement in the summer to support high school placement. This starts in fifth grade, with increasingly robust conversations year after year about report cards and test scores and what different high school options can mean for career paths and post-secondary goals. We are building our scholars’ and families’ navigational capital. That discipline is being more uniformly implemented across our sites; it had been very scattered in the past. </p><p>The other thing we set out to do, which has been delayed because all our design capacity has been re-routed to virtual learning, is to build out a ninth-grade transition program. We know how important ninth grade is; the research is undeniable. The individual data from our scholars says sometimes it goes smoothly and in other cases it's really rocky. Students who’ve been placed in a competitive high school may shift later because they didn't feel welcome or supported in that school.</p><p> <strong>What challenges have you faced as you’ve gone about making these big changes? Were there any obstacles in translating the decisions of your leadership team into action?</strong></p><p>The biggest obstacle is COVID. We haven't been able to put much of our plan into action in the way intended. The other obstacle we’ve faced is what any change faces&#58; emotional and intellectual ties to the way things have always been done. I was one of the staff members who had a great emotional attachment to our Summer Academy.</p><p>​There are rituals that have been a part of our Summer Academy that are beloved rites of passage for young people. We are building these rites of passage, college trips and other culture-building aspects of Summer Academy into our Afterschool Academy. That way, we can focus in the summer on intentionally engaging our scholars and families to prepare them for college-preparatory high schools and increase our overall organizational sustainability and effectiveness.</p><p> <strong>What advice would you give to an organization that’s considering participating in an RCT and implementation study or other major research of this kind?</strong></p><p>Proceed with caution. Before undertaking an RCT, review the studies that already exist in the field and learn from those to increase the effectiveness of your program. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. If you do decide to proceed with an RCT, be really clear on what your model is and is not. And then be prepared to add temporary capacity during the study, particularly for recruitment, program observation and support. It takes a lot of internal and external communication to preserve relationships while also having a valid RCT. </p><p>There's a larger field question about equity—who is able to raise the money to actually conduct these very extensive and expensive studies? It tends to be white-led organizations and philanthropic dollars tend to consolidate to support those proven programs. Too few nonprofits have been proven effective with RCTs—for a host of reasons, including that these studies are cost-prohibitive for most organizations and that they strain community relations. And most RCT-proven models are difficult and expensive to scale.</p><p>However, just because an organization has not been proven effective with an RCT should not mean that it is prohibited from attracting game-changing investment.&#160; If there were a more rigorous way for organizations to truly demonstrate being evidenced-based (not just a well-written and research-cited proposal paragraph), perhaps there would be a way to bring more community-based solutions to scale.&#160;With that approach, we could begin to solve challenges at the magnitude that they exist.<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-31T04:00:00ZAn afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of intensive program evaluations4/5/2021 8:18:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs An afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of 264https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic10599GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>T​​he best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, according to the poet Robert Burns. For a nonprofit organization serving young people in the midst of a pandemic that has forced them to stay at home and take on a raft of additional worries and responsibilities, the best-laid plans don’t so much go awry as get adapted on the fly. At the beginning of 2020, Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va., was all set to promote the impressive results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) it had recently wrapped up as well as roll out new programming to better serve its students. </p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-Safe-Spaces-for-Young-People-During-the-Pandemic/LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" alt="LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;174px;height&#58;174px;" />Then, COVID-19, along with an overdue racial reckoning and a wildly contentious presidential election, flipped the script. Through it all, Higher Achievement, a participant in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>, has continued serving its students, known as “scholars” within the program. The intent is to respond, CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries says, “with both urgency and gentleness.” <div> <br>​In this interview, the first of a two-part blog post, Jeffries discusses what it’s been like for one youth-serving nonprofit to face the great unknown—a topic on the minds of many this month as we mark the first anniversary of the declaration, by the World Health Organization, that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. In part two, scheduled to be published later this month, Jeffries talks about the challenges that can come along with the benefits of research, the steps Higher Achievement took to put the research into practice, and considerations for other nonprofits contemplating an RCT.&#160;<br></div><p> <strong> <br>Has the pandemic caused you to view the role that Higher Achievement plays in a different way? </strong></p><p>The pandemic has forced us to prioritize what matters most. This pandemic has devastated traditionally marginalized communities and exacerbated health disparities and economic instability. Too many of our scholars are shouldering additional burdens, whether it’s worry about the health of family members or responsibility for childcare for their younger siblings because their family members are essential workers. </p><p>With these realities at home, and Zoom fatigue from virtual school, we had to radically adapt our high-dosage afterschool program to focus on where we could be most effective in this context of trauma, extra responsibility, learning loss and isolation. </p><p> <strong>You had these really positive RCT results to share right when the pandemic hit. Did that change the way you went about communicating the results of the research?</strong></p><p>We had plans to highlight the results of the study with our funders and our school partners in 2020, but those plans got overtaken by events. The study was published three weeks after George Floyd was murdered. We weren’t going to do a virtual roadshow on our study when it felt irrelevant. That was what was in the hearts of our staff. </p><p>Now the conversation is beginning to move towards what we can do to recover what's been over 12 months of learning loss, according to McKinsey's estimates, for kids who've been in virtual learning. As school districts and funders are considering “high-dosage” tutoring as one of the solutions, the RCT is elevating Higher Achievement’s position as a potential part of that solution. When we think about the results, particularly the positive effect on Black boys’ math scores, we’re asking how does this encourage us to be bolder in this racial reckoning work, in the achievement gap work?</p><p> <strong>How exactly has the pandemic affected the services that Higher Achievement provides?</strong></p><p>We’ve narrowed our program down to three things for now. The newest is virtual math tutoring pods, in which small groups of scholars review and practice what they’re learning in school. Second is mentoring, including high school placement mentoring. Third is community meetings. All those happen throughout the week. The virtual math pods are the biggest play we made. We realized our scholars were really slipping in math, and families are largely unprepared for that. Our school partners and school teachers have also asked us to support math instruction in these small groups. Scholars have wanted to be able to ask questions and have that person over their shoulder to help work through these concepts. We’ve had to re-skill our staff to be able to deliver. We did four rounds of pilots from March until August, then we rolled out a full program in September based on those pilots. With math, first semester grades are seven percent higher in December 2020 than in December 2019, pre-pandemic. </p><p>Math instruction by our volunteer mentors did not work well in the pilots of spring 2020, so we switched approaches in September, and the math pods are now led by our paid staff members.&#160; Humanities mentoring is working, however, and serves as a critical vehicle for tackling relevant social justice topics. We build on the curriculum and materials of a group called <a href="https&#58;//youthcomm.org/">Youth Communication</a>. They produce a youth-written online magazine about relevant topics from identity to the presidential election to activist movements to relationships, and it builds in reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Mentoring is consistently the most popular element of our program, with scholars and mentors so eager to deepen their relationships, combat isolation and dive into social justice together. </p><p>The high school placement mentoring looks radically different this year. Even though many of our eighth graders have not learned eighth grade content in school, we expect most of them will be ninth graders next year. And we want to make sure we’re supporting them in the transition. Family engagement throughout this year, starting with one-on-one outreach the week after COVID closed schools, has been critical to our high school placement efforts. </p><p>Community meetings have been a wonderful time for scholars, staff and mentors to all come together to process current events. There have been a lot of conversations about the election and now about figuring out how to support our communities through the recent assaults on democracy.</p><p> <strong>Do you anticipate any of the changes you’ve made because of the pandemic becoming permanent?</strong></p><p>We will see. We are conducting a strategic review in late March to develop our COVID recovery plan for the next two school years. We expect to continue our math pods in some form, but convert them to in-person settings, and possibly during the school day. We are also involved in advisory efforts to design and scale tutoring efforts in our cities.</p><p> <strong>Any advice for organizations struggling to adapt to the pandemic? A lot of time has passed, but we still unfortunately don't exactly know where we're at in terms of recovery.</strong></p><p>Do not try to do it all. Focus on your towering strengths to meet the extreme urgency of this moment. And then balance that with care for self and team. Try to act with both urgency and gentleness. The stake are high, and humans are fragile. </p><p>These turbulent times are hard, but also potentially transformative. Don’t lose sight of the hope. &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-18T04:00:00ZHow one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness’ for middle schoolers in these difficult times4/5/2021 8:20:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic How one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness 410https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled24117GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​Every year, millions of kids—and, let’s face it, many adults too—look forward to the start of summer. But Summer 2020 is shaping up to be like no other. With summer vacations canceled, camps on hold and schools unsure about whether and how they will reopen, we’re facing a new set of questions, challenges and opportunities. </p><p>As we kick off Summer Learning Week, we had the chance to connect via email with Aaron Dworkin, CEO of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/">National Summer Learning Association</a> (NSLA), a nonprofit organization that has been solely focused on harnessing summer as a time of learning, to see how they are approaching this unprecedented summer. For more in depth information about NSLA and summer learning, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/summer-from-the-wild-west-to-a-center-of-success.aspx">see our interview with Dworkin</a> when he came onboard with the organization last year. </p><p><strong>Let’s start with the big question&#58; How will summer be different this year?</strong></p><p>The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen the already existing opportunity gap between children from rich and poor families. It has illuminated the nation’s inequities in our school systems and communities like never before, shining a spotlight on the significant digital divide, food insecurities, childcare issues and learning losses millions of underserved students and their families face every summer. And the combination of COVID-19-related learning loss combined with the usual summer slide may have a ripple effect for years to come. Nonprofit organization NWEA, which specializes in student assessments, predicts significant learning loss from COVID school closures, especially in math. Their findings project that “students may return in fall 2020 with roughly 70 percent of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, less than 50 percent of the learning gains in math, and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would observe in normal conditions.”</p><p>This means that summer learning programming will be more important than ever in 2020. Across the country, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports, exploring safe ways to reopen, developing virtual and at-home learning experiences that families can do together and securing funding and policy support to expand summer meal programs in communities experiencing an increase in food insecurity due to job losses and school closures.</p><p>Parents, educators, summer learning advocates, business leaders and policymakers each play a critical role to save and expand summer learning opportunities in communities across the country this summer.</p><p><strong>How might families think about summer during this pandemic?</strong><strong> </strong> </p><p>Families are learning how to be hyper-creative when thinking about this summer. They’re thinking about ways to take advantage of available resources in a safe way. While community libraries and museums may be closed to in-person visits, you can explore their summer library programs or museum tours virtually with your children from the comfort of home. Many library and museum websites across the country and around the world have information posted about free virtual learning opportunities. </p><p>Parents can also access other online resources, such as the new <a href="https&#58;//bealearninghero.org/summer-stride/quick-tips-resources/">Summer Stride</a> resource from Learning Heroes, which includes ways to help your child with math and reading at home this summer.</p><p><strong>It seems parents, guardians and others have a bigger role in summer learning this year, in addition to summer programs. In general, why are summer learning programs important?</strong></p><p>Research shows that high-quality summer programs can make a difference in stemming learning loss and closing the country’s educational and opportunity gaps, particularly for our most vulnerable students. Elementary school students with high attendance in summer learning programs boost their math and reading skills. These skills, along with social and emotional learning, help children not only in school but also in their careers and life.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>What is most important for policymakers to know about summer learning programs, especially this year?</strong></p><p>On the federal level, funding is critical. These dollars serve to launch new programs and allow existing programs to serve more students and improve quality. Recent studies have shown that 88 percent of teachers say summer learning programs are important to students’ success and 85 percent of families support public investment in summer programs. </p><p>The House and Senate continue to show strong support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Title IV Part A, and other key funding that supports summer programs in budget allocations. </p><p>On the state level, it is crucial for policymakers to allocate federal funding received toward more quality summer and afterschool opportunities, as well as increase regular state education funding to include financial support for summer and afterschool programs. We are also encouraging local leaders to take advantage of the specific allowable use of funds for summer learning cited in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">CARES ACT</a> [the federal relief act in response to COVID-19]&#160;and to continue to promote additional local funding for summer learning. State policymakers could support summer learning and close the opportunity gap for children in their state by adding or refining language about summer learning and afterschool learning in their state school finance formulas and in statues, describe key components of successful opportunities as principles for which the funding should be spent. </p><p><strong>Given the current context, is NSLA doing anything different for Summer Learning Week this year?</strong></p><p>Summer may look different this year, but it isn’t canceled. Even if we can’t all be together, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p>To that end, we are offering&#160;numerous new resources and launching our national Keep All Kids Healthy and Learning billboard advertising campaign. In addition, with the move to many more virtual programs and events during this pandemic, NSLA is celebrating the week with <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/theme-days-and-resources/">different theme days</a> and by lifting up inspiring program examples and resources with national webinars each day co-hosted with innovative summer learning partners and leaders. </p><p><em>To find out more about NSLA’s daily webinars and other&#160;resources for Summer Learning Week, visit the organization’s </em><a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/"><em>website</em></a><em>.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792020-07-08T04:00:00ZThis Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of Opportunities Still Available to Kids Across America7/8/2020 4:27:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled This Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of 456https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis3631GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It may seem like a truism that, in a time of crisis, the various players and institutions in a community should set aside their individual agendas and pull together for a common cause. But there’s a lot that goes into a true collaboration—one that involves government, schools, businesses, universities, foundations and nonprofits. Collaborators must build trust, develop and state a shared vision, and establish roles. And that’s just for starters.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Cross-Sector-Collaboration-May-Be-Invaluable-in-the-Current-Crisis/Carolyn_Riehl.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;138px;height&#58;207px;" />Carolyn Riehl knows this well. A professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Riehl, along with a team of colleagues, conducted a Wallace-sponsored study of cross-sector collaborations to improve education. The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-impact-a-closer-look-at-local-cross-sector-collaborations-for-education.aspx">final report</a> from this landmark study was published just a few months before COVID-19 changed everything, not only in the realm of education but society as a whole. Riehl says that, as the pandemic exacerbates inequities and the need for services, cross-sector collaborations—sometimes known as “collective impact” initiatives—may become more important than ever, even as their work goes underfunded and unnoticed. We asked Riehl about where the cross-sector collaboration movement stands now and what the future may hold.<br> <em> </em></p><p><strong>What do you see as the contribution of this report to the conversation about cross-sector collaboration? Who are the intended readers of the report and what can they expect to take away from it?</strong><br><em> </em><br> <span><span><strong></strong></span></span>There are many potential audiences for the report, and we tried to provide information relevant to all of them. Leaders of, and participants in, cross-sector collaborations may find it valuable to learn about other programs’ governance structures, service networks and communication strategies. Philanthropies and government agencies who provide financial support for collaborations may be encouraged to learn how others have been generous but patient as these complex enterprises take the necessary time to build towards long-term success. Readers who are considering starting a collaborative initiative will, we hope, be inspired by the efforts and accomplishments of the programs we studied, while also getting a reality check about the challenges and potential pitfalls. We hope citizens and stakeholders in the cities we studied will be proud that their stories can help lead the way, but also that they will use our report to inform their efforts to improve.</p><p><span><strong></strong></span><strong>How do you think the pandemic will affect cross-sector collaboration—both the collaborations you studied and the movement in general?</strong></p><p><span><span><span><span><strong></strong></span></span></span></span>The needs that cross-sector collaborations were established to address—better access to quality early childhood education and afterschool programs, social-emotional learning opportunities, targeted support for boys and young men of color, wraparound health and social services for students—are likely to become even more acute for more children and youth. And school districts and other service providers may be hard pressed to respond, given reduced budgets and increased demand. So collaborations are likely to become more useful than ever, even if it’s hard for them to garner direct attention and funding. We’re learning in the pandemic to appreciate all sorts of people and enterprises that operate mostly out of public view but are clearly essential to keeping things going, and cross-sector collaborations might prove to be another vital background operation.&#160; </p><p><strong>In the report, you and your colleagues say, “While it is still early in the game, we think there are enough indicators of good things happening that the waning of the movement would represent a loss.” What are some of those indicators?&#160;And have any of them taken on new significance in the current crisis?</strong><br><em> </em><br> One positive aspect of cross-sector collaboration for education is an increase in the shared, public recognition that children and young adults often face complicated obstacles keeping them from educational and career success. In the current health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, inequities appear in even more stark relief, and we fear they will reverberate for a long time. Removing obstacles and erasing disparities will require a concerted effort by many organizations and agencies, not just schools. Collaborations have already set the stage for that. Another good thing is that despite some early promises of quick success, many collaborations are taking the time to understand what their local needs are and to craft appropriate responses. This thoughtfulness and care will be even more important as the full impact of the pandemic comes into view. Finally, just the fact that collaborations have established structures and processes for people to work together and trust one another—that’s going to be a huge help, I think. <br> <br> <strong>What are some of the common challenges communities face in launching and sustaining cross-sector collaborations? Does the pandemic present any new challenges? For example, can the hard work of building trust and working relationships still take place when conversations and meetings are all happening online?</strong></p><p>Our report describes in detail the ways communities built collaborations from the ground up. Most depended heavily on relationships and a nascent sense of shared purpose as they got going, and the need for personal connections didn’t disappear over time. In our new reality, it can be hard to get to know new colleagues, to make eye contact and read the subtle signals in a conversation, or to find serendipitous opportunities for sharing and brainstorming in an online Zoom meeting. But I’ve talked with numerous school leaders recently who are astounded that more people are attending school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and professional development sessions online than they did in person. This is an opportunity collaborations can take advantage of. It may be possible to communicate more widely and build even larger constituencies for their work and to enable more people to participate across time and distance in work groups and governance bodies. But it will be crucial to ensure that the community members who are often isolated and marginalized are not prevented from participating in new forms of online engagement.</p><p><strong>What does the future of cross-sector collaboration look like and how has that picture changed in light of the pandemic? Is the movement in a healthy place or is the fate of these efforts more precarious? What factors will be important in the evolution and endurance of the current wave of cross-sector collaborations?</strong><br><em> </em><br>&#160;It’s hard to predict what will happen to cross-sector collaborations for education, whether they will become permanent or end up as yet another promising but short-lived innovation. Several months ago, my colleagues and I might have opined that their future depended most of all on their ability to develop stable, sufficient revenue streams and to demonstrate to their stakeholders at least some success in achieving goals they set for themselves. We saw reasonably strong signs that this was happening in many places. <br> <br> But the coronavirus pandemic has been a major disruption. On the one hand, it’s possible that because of it, education funding will be so dramatically reduced, and philanthropic dollars so thinly stretched, that there simply won’t be enough resources to sustain collaborations. Participating local governments, social agencies, and school systems themselves may have to scale back their expectations for accomplishing anything more than the very basic services they are charged to provide; there may be little reserve energy for the ambitious goals of collaborative enterprises.&#160;</p><p> On the other hand, the pandemic may reveal cross-sector collaborations to be absolutely indispensable. When a community’s needs become comprehensive and intense, the presence of a collaboration that is already accustomed to coordinating efforts and devising innovative solutions could be invaluable. We’ve already seen anecdotal evidence of cross-sector collaborations convening with philanthropies to decide how best to direct funding to meet extraordinary needs, and we’ve heard how at least one collaboration marshalled efforts to help its community adjust when schools were closed and students needed everything from meal deliveries to laptops and iPads for online learning. Cross-sector collaborations were designed to do things that existing systems hadn’t been able to do. If they are able to adapt to the new realities they face, their future may be secure.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-18T04:00:00ZCarolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective impact” can play during pandemic8/27/2020 3:05:51 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Cross-Sector Collaboration May Be ‘Invaluable’ in the Current Crisis Carolyn Riehl of Teachers College on role “collective 520https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
“All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer11027GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summer has always been an important time to keep young people learning and developing in healthy ways. But now that the public health crisis has forced schools across the nation to close for weeks, says the National Summer Learning Association, making the best possible use of the summer months should be at the top of the education agenda.<br></p><p>The association hosted an online event, <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/HEXvbBKJ5Vk" target="_blank">“When Schools Close&#58; Harnessing the Power of Summer for America’s Young People,”</a> to draw attention to research about the importance of summer and to provide innovative examples of state and local efforts to keep kids learning, moving and creating this summer.</p><p>“We hope that this will lead to partnerships and people picking up the phone and emailing and reaching out to one another,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, the chief executive officer of NSLA. “How can I work with you, how can I bring that resource and experience to the families and the kids I serve?”<br></p><p>Karl Alexander, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the report <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/national-academy-of-sciences-report-on-summer-learning.aspx">Shaping Summer Experiences</a>, said the “elevated risk” of food insecurity, learning loss and lack of enrichment activities for students who live in low-income neighborhoods is even more pronounced now. </p><p>“Three months away from school have stretched to six, with practically no time to plan,” Alexander said. “The pandemic has made the issues taken up by our report even more urgent and more challenging.” (The fall 2019 report was supported by The Wallace Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)</p><p>Over the 90-minute event, which drew more than 900 registrants, panels of experts discussed the importance of summer and how everyone from policymakers to parents should think creatively to try to make the most of the time. </p><p>“One thing we know is when the story of this particular summer is told, and this school year is told, it will be a story of inequities,” said Tanji Reed Marshall, the director of P-12 practice at the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group. “The naturally occurring disparities among groups will exacerbate.” </p><p>Marshall called for states and districts to spend money from the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress in late March to address the economic impact of COVID-19, for summer and extended learning.</p><p>Jillian Balow, the Wyoming state schools superintendent and the president of the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers, noted that while every state is different, “Our job is to look at summer learning opportunities and figure out how to leverage them. Removing barriers and being that influencer and broker and connector is a role all state chiefs play.”</p><p>Other panelists noted that summer programming has always been “fragmented” among various actors, all of which are now facing serious budget problems. </p><p>Erik Peterson, senior vice president for policy at the Afterschool Alliance, discussed the CARES Act and other funding sources that can be used to provide summer programming. Noting that the primary source of education funding is from states and localities, which face budget shortfalls, Peterson added that community-based organizations, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and nonprofit and fee-based programs are also struggling. </p><p>“There are a tremendous amount of challenges,” he said, “but the opportunity is there as well and it’s often in these kinds of challenges where everyone will come together to braid and blend resources in a way that hopefully provides quality summer learning for children.”</p><p>Engaging Curious Minds, a nonprofit in Charleston, S.C., that works with about 11,000 students in grades K-8 in six school districts, has already adapted its summer programming, said Executive Director Robin Berlinsky. The program’s focus is to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through the arts. </p><p>This summer, rather than visit school facilities, students will receive “create kits” every week (some hidden by teachers in a scavenger hunt) with arts materials. Campers will do both online and in-person activities. For instance, the group plans to work with partner organizations such as running clubs and cheer teams to have socially distant parades where students receive math challenges and “story starters” to write about, Berlinsky said.</p><p>That’s the type of innovation that’s needed to make summer 2020 work for students, said Dworkin. </p><p>“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said, “and it’s going to take partnerships between parents, programs, policymakers, the business community, nonprofits, the government sector, everyone trying to be as coordinated as possible and as seamless as possible to give kids the experiences they deserve.”</p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-11T04:00:00ZExperts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for students8/27/2020 3:07:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / “All-Hands-On-Deck Moment” for Kids this Summer Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem 1037https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​