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Summer—From the “Wild West” to a “Center of Success”4198GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>“My high school basketball coach used to say, ‘No one gets better once the season starts. If you really want to get better, you put in time and effort over the summer.’” Aaron Dworkin took that lesson to heart. In June, he was named chief executive officer of the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), which helped put summer on the map as a time for young people to sharpen their academic skills and discover new interests. Dworkin, a veteran of the nonprofit youth development field, is stepping into his new role at an exciting time for NSLA. The organization recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and is preparing to move its headquarters to Washington, D.C., where it will seek to persuade policymakers that providing a high-quality summer learning experience to every child is, in Dworkin’s words, “something we can cross off America’s to-do list.”</p><p>We talked to Dworkin about the journey that got him where he is today, how the conversation about summer learning has changed over time, and the work NSLA is doing now.*</p><p><strong>How did you get interested in youth development? How has your background prepared you for this new position? </strong><br> <br> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="AaronDworkin.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Summer-From-the-Wild-West-to-a-Center-of-Success/AaronDworkin.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;231px;" />I’ve always been passionate about education and closing opportunity gaps. As a young person, I was in a range of schools and settings where I saw what some kids had and some didn’t. When you see that, it stays with you. I had a great appreciation for the opportunities I was given and a great commitment to making sure all young people have similar opportunities. I started a youth leadership program in New York City called Hoops and Leaders to recruit mostly men of color to be big brothers and mentors to teenage boys. That led me to study education and public policy formally at Harvard and Columbia, where I learned more about the broader nonprofit and education landscape. When I was a grad student, I was part of the team that helped start a sports-based youth development coalition called Up2Us Sports, which focuses on training youth sports coaches in youth development. I gained a national perspective to go with my local grassroots experience, and all that brought me to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s charity After-School All-Stars, first as their inaugural national program director and then as president of their national network of 20 chapters. When I was at After-School All-Stars, we created and scaled lots of different summer learning programs. They were great for the for kids but doubled as terrific professional development for staff. Summer has always been one of these spaces where you can innovate and partner more to better serve kids and communities.</p><p><strong>How is NSLA helping organizations connect their priorities to summer learning?</strong></p><p>In the American education system, we make a commitment to kids from September to June. Then, you get to summer, and I’m not going to say it’s the wild west, but it’s a quarter of the school year, and some kids are going to camp and museums and traveling and learning around the world, while too many have little or nothing to do besides sitting on the couch or looking at their phone. There’s research to prove that over the summer months low-income students fall behind academically. They’re not as physically active, they gain weight and eat less healthily. They may not have access to meals. There are safety issues. And the effects of this are cumulative from summer to summer. </p><p>So we partner with lots of different organizations, from funders like The Wallace Foundation to school districts, libraries, housing authorities, parks and recreation centers, nonprofits and CBOs. We want to make sure they have whatever evidenced-based resources they need, whether it’s staff training, best practices for running a program, or research so they’re able to make the case locally that this matters. We work with people to draft legislation. We have a national conference every year with 500 to 700 education leaders. We also give national recognition to model programs with our Excellence in Summer Learning Awards, which are very rigorous. Hundreds of groups apply every year, and we only honor three to four programs as examples of what’s possible.</p><p><strong>NSLA has reached a 25-year milestone. How has the field of summer learning evolved in that time? </strong></p><p>For one thing, we’ve broadened the focus&#58; We’re not just closing academic achievement gaps but also opportunity gaps—opportunities such as field trips, mentoring, social-emotional learning, career exploration, internships, all of which we know matter to a child’s education and development, too. If you’re taking a standardized test and there’s a question that refers to a museum or place you’ve never heard of or visited, it’s very hard to answer that question without context even if you can read it. </p><p>We’ve also expanded our notion of what summer learning is for and for whom. Summer learning isn’t just 12 weeks, it’s the center for success for the whole school year. And it’s not just for young people. It’s for adults, too. One thing I’ve really been inspired by is how much training and re-invigoration is happening among teachers and staff, so they’re fired up to go back to school. There are lots of reasons for that&#58; They have the ability to be more creative. The ratios are smaller, so they can get to know students. There are different settings and activities. It’s less bureaucratic and reminds them why they love and got into teaching in the first place. </p><p>We’re also seeing summer learning in the workforce-readiness space. There’s been an evolution to say that summer internships are a form of summer learning. And NSLA is going to do more to advocate for paid summer internships for low income youth because unpaid internships lead to jobs but are inherently off limits to many. </p><p>People are also thinking about the power of summer in critical life transition moments. For those worried about high school dropout rates, for instance, there’s a big emphasis on the summer between eighth and ninth grade as the critical time to intervene and get kids excited. If you wait until high school, it’s too late. Similarly, in the summer between high school and college, there’s a phenomenon called the summer melt when students have gotten into college [but no one prepares them for what they’re about to experience] or even calls them to tell them when orientation is, and they do not arrive on campus for their freshman year. That’s a horrible wasted opportunity which can be prevented. </p><p><strong>In the past, NSLA has focused on policy at the national level. Your new strategic plan puts more emphasis on the states. What can states do to promote summer learning?</strong></p><p>States can do a lot to create policies that articulate the importance of having these programs in place. They can say we’ll give money to these programs but they have to meet standards of quality, structure, ratio, curriculum, training, data collection and supervision. They also have convening power to bring together business leaders, the nonprofit community and elected officials to make it a priority to take care of all kids all year round. </p><p>We can work at the federal level, and we are. We have a bi-partisan bill with Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon called the Summer Meals and Learning Act that would keep schools and libraries open over the summer. But because the political process is arduous at the federal level, you can be more nimble at the state level. We’re seeing a lot of governors and mayors and legislatures saying this is something we can do. There are so many resources in our communities, and they’re sometimes underleveraged. At the state level, people know what they have and what they’re good at and what their needs are. That localized control and responsiveness is what people want to see. We’re helping state departments of education think about how summer can be a solution to a lot of different problems. </p><p><strong>What can organizations do to make the case for summer learning to parents?</strong></p><p>Again, a lot. We do want summer learning experiences to feel different from school. We love our summers because they give us a chance to explore things we haven’t had a chance to do. If you go to a new summer program, and all of sudden there’s an arts experience you’re turned on to that you’ve never had before, then you’re finding a new skill set and a passion. What families with resources know is that every opportunity is a learning opportunity. You can play basketball, but you can also add in an article or lessons on leadership, or tie it into math in a fun way. Families are trying to find—and programs are now creating—experiences that connect arts <em>and</em> literacy, math <em>and</em> baseball, sports <em>and</em> social emotional learning. </p><p>It’s important to recognize not all kids live in the stereotypical two-parent household. There are incarceration trends and opioid crisis effects. It takes a village. I meet people all the time who say my kid is going to live with his grandparents for the summer. How do we make sure grandparents know what resources there are to use? Thanks to the internet there are a lot more tools you can activate than there used to be. Even if you don’t have a museum across the street, there are a lot of online resources we can direct you to. </p><p><strong>Your annual conference is coming up in October. Can you give us a preview of the agenda?</strong></p><p>It’s going to be in Atlanta. We’re still confirming some high-profile guests and speakers. We have three themes&#58; One is programmatic, if you’re in direct service with kids. One is systematic if you’re coordinating all the programs in your city and state. The third is leadership if you’re the executive director or C.E.O. of an organization, working in fundraising, marketing and research. It all starts with our preconference tracks. There’s a group representing leaders of school districts who are trying to maximize the summer school experience. We have a group for librarians setting up citywide summer reading and learning experiences. For the first time, we’re bringing together summer pipeline programs, many affiliated with health institutions, that are working to get low-income or minority kids more interested in health careers. If you’re someone who’s trying to start and run a summer program for the first time, we have a professional development training called Summer Starts in September, so you can learn best practices and plan for continuous program improvement. We’re issuing a report in partnership with the United Way looking at the landscape of programs in Georgia, what’s working well, where there’s room for improvement. We’ll be putting a spotlight on our award winners. There’s something for everyone who cares about kids and leveraging summer to help them.</p><p><em>*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792019-09-17T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/17/2019 1:54:50 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer—From the “Wild West” to a “Center of Success National Summer Learning Association CEO Aaron Dworkin on making summer 228https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Means Opportunity…for Students and Cities4051GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Eighteen-year-old Michael Berthaud studies computer science at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he has a full scholarship. He plans to become a video game designer. Looking back on the path that brought him to where he is today, Michael reflects on one of the crucial stops along the way—the summer between middle- and high school, which he spent at a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics program offered by the nonprofit organization Sociedad Latina. </p><p>“I realized there is more to your summer than just staying at home,” Michael says. “In English, we read short stories, and the emphasis was on articulating yourself as a person through writing. I had never looked at school that way. I had a very closed-minded view of what school is supposed to offer you.”</p><p>Sociedad Latina’s summer program is part of 5th Quarter of Learning, a citywide initiative co-managed by Boston Public Schools and Boston After School &amp; Beyond (Boston Beyond), a public-private partnership. This summer, 5th Quarter of Learning is celebrating its 10th anniversary—and to get an idea of its impact, one need look no further than Michael, whose time in the program helped him set his course toward a career that combines technology and the arts. </p><p>“I started to yearn to express myself,” he says. “I like to write, I like to draw, things of that nature. That’s probably why the Sociedad program really stuck with me.”</p><p>There’s a lesson for all of us in Michael’s story&#58; Summer is a time of opportunity. For young people, it’s an opportunity to experience enriching activities and ways of learning they may not be exposed to during the school year. For school districts, it’s an opportunity to try out new approaches to instruction and help students gain or make up ground in core academic subjects. For cities, it’s an opportunity to unite the education, nonprofit, philanthropy and business worlds to work toward a common goal.</p><p>That’s where Boston Beyond comes in. Founded in 2005, Boston Beyond is an intermediary or “backbone” organization. Its job is to bring government agencies, funders, program providers, business leaders, colleges and universities, and other players to the table and coordinate their efforts to create new and better learning experiences for the city’s students. It also serves as a go-to source for research and policy proposals.</p><p>At first, the school district viewed Boston Beyond primarily as a conduit to the city’s hundreds of community-based programs, but the relationship has developed into a partnership of equals—a “strategic leadership initiative” jointly run by the school system and intermediary, in the words of Arianna Wilson, the district’s program manager for expanded learning time.&#160;“Together, we set goals, then divide and conquer the work based on our different focuses and strengths, and our programs see the benefits,” she says. <br> <br> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="CJS-headshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Summer-Means-Opportunity-for-Students-and-Cities/CJS-headshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Chris Smith, president and executive director of Boston Beyond, describes the organization’s role this way&#58; “We see ourselves as the conscience for collaboration and continuously thinking about how to do together what none of us could do alone.” </p><p>Collaboration requires courage because everyone involved will be called on to do things they’ve never done before, Smith says, whether it’s “taking a group of kids you wouldn’t normally serve or sending teachers to a place they wouldn’t normally teach.” It can take time to build trust, but Smith is convinced that trust comes from diving in and getting to work.</p><p>“I hate the idea of sitting around a conference table for two years and not getting off the dime to do something together,” he says. “I can name the people from the first two years [of 5th Quarter of Learning]. I can picture the smiles on their faces and the look in their eyes. They brought different perspectives from different situations, but they came to agreement on how our model would roll out.”</p><p>One of those people was Eric Arnold, executive director of Hale Reservation, a nonprofit that has been around for more than 100 years, offering camp experiences in a 1,000-plus-acre woodland preserve about 15 miles outside the city. As Arnold tells it, “I was involved in a separate work group that had to do with environmental education in Boston. I was at a meeting, and Chris came in and said, ‘By the way, we’re exploring how we look at summer learning,’ and I said, ‘I think I’d be interested. Tell me more.’ It speaks to Boston Beyond’s ability to put people together in the right place at the right time.”</p><p>Hale Reservation has been a 5th Quarter of Learning program provider ever since. Hale students take math and English classes in the great outdoors, challenge themselves with ropes courses in the trees, and discover the surrounding wildlife on a pontoon boat known as the “floating classroom.” Other programs chosen and overseen by Boston Beyond give students the chance to learn tennis or lacrosse, write for a teen newspaper, even sail from Boston Harbor to Ellis Island.</p><p>The students aren’t the only ones who are getting something invaluable from their 5th Quarter of Learning experience. Boston Beyond offers program providers professional development, rigorous research on the effectiveness of their work, and connections to potential partners, funders and families who could benefit from their services. Arnold says that being a part of the initiative has helped validate something Hale Reservation’s supporters knew intuitively—that its work was making a difference for kids. </p><p>“It put us on the map in a different way with families that participate and the greater Boston community,” he says. “You spend your summer working with Boston Public Schools, you build capital with the district, so then when you start to propose other things, it validates your work. And it’s done that for many other organizations, as well.”</p><p>Word of this win-win-win arrangement (for students and families, for program providers, and for the school system and city as a whole) has gotten around. In 2010, the initiative served 232 students at five sites. This year, it will serve 14,000 students at 160 sites. In 2018, the Massachusetts legislature passed a $500,000 line item in the state budget to expand 5th Quarter of Learning to 19 other communities across the state. In keeping with its role as a hub of information and ideas, Boston Beyond is sharing what it’s learned with these communities.</p><p>Chris Smith is focused less on Boston Beyond’s accomplishments, however, than on the road ahead—just like Michael Berthaud. He won’t be satisfied until every child in Boston (and beyond) has access to a high-quality, horizon-expanding summer experience. To Smith, keeping the eyes of an entire city turned toward a brighter future is just part of an intermediary’s job description. </p><p>“An intermediary can’t just manage the status quo,” he says.</p> Wallace editorial team792019-08-06T04:00:00ZLooking back on 10 years of summer learning with Boston After School & Beyond8/6/2019 12:00:41 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Means Opportunity…for Students and Cities Looking back on 10 years of summer learning with Boston After School 166https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Making Sure Every Student Succeeds…In the Summertime4150GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​Summer has long been thought of as a break from the rigors of school. Increasingly, though, summer is becoming a time for programs&#58; academic programs, sports and arts programs, programs that enable young people to explore their interests or build new skills. Policymakers, educators and others see summer programs as an opportunity to move the needle on academic and other outcomes and to help close the gaps in opportunity and achievement between students from low-income families and their more affluent peers. But with so many different types of programs out there, they may find themselves wondering which are worth investing in.</p><p>A new Wallace-commissioned report from the RAND Corporation has answers for anyone who needs help navigating the world of summer programs. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx"><em>Investing in Successful Summer Programs​​​</em></a><em> </em>looks at the available research and offers detailed descriptions of 43 programs—some commercially available, some locally developed—that meet the top three of four levels&#160; of credible evidence of effectiveness described by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The rigor of the research behind these programs makes them eligible for certain significant sources of ESSA funding.&#160;</p><p>We talked by email with the lead authors of the report, Catherine Augustine and Jennifer Sloan McCombs, about how the evidence on summer learning stacks up and how providers and funders alike can put it to use.*</p><p><strong>What is the need that this report is intended to fill?</strong></p><p>Policymakers and practitioners all want to select evidence-based programs and approaches in order to maximize benefits for children and youth. Further, federal and state grant opportunities increasingly require practitioners to demonstrate that their proposed programs are evidence-based.&#160;Now, practitioners can use this report to demonstrate that their programs are evidence-based or to add evidence-based features to their programs, which should improve them. Funders can also use this report to get a better understanding of the types of summer programs that are evidence-based. This guide doesn’t just focus on academic summer programs—it contains information about programs promoting social and emotional well-being and career-related outcomes, as well.</p><p><strong>Why does summer programming matter?&#160;</strong></p><p>First, summer is an opportune time to provide programming that supports positive developmental outcomes or meets particular needs of certain children and youth, such as mental health needs. Second, summer programming may be particularly important to mitigate the opportunity and achievement gaps that exist between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers. We know from other research that lower-income children and youth are less likely to engage in sports, join clubs, or take private lessons. They are also more likely to stay indoors, and they have reduced access to healthy meals during the summer. We want all children to have access to enrichment during the summer for its own sake but also because participating in sports, clubs, lessons and the like leads to outcomes we care about such as identifying skills and interests that can be pursued throughout one’s life. Summer programming also matters because children and youth from lower-income families fall behind their wealthier peers academically over the summer. Finally, we want children and youth to have safe places to be during the summer, with healthy meals.&#160;</p><p><strong>​What are the headlines from your review of the evidence on the effectiveness of summer programs?&#160;What have you learned about what benefits summer programs can generate for children?</strong></p><p>This review affirms that many types of summer programs can benefit children and youth. We found evidence of effectiveness for academic learning, learning at home, social and emotional well-being, and employment and career summer programs.&#160;Also, we found programs can be developed that benefit youth at all grade levels.</p><p><strong>How can program providers use the report to guide their decision-making?</strong></p><p>First, they can see if any of the 43 programs we highlighted as evidence-based contain the same features as their programs. If so, they can use the guide to argue that their program is evidence-based if they are applying for state or federal funding. Second, if their programs do not look like any of the programs in this guide, they can consider augmenting their programs to more closely resemble the ones we have identified as evidence-based. Third, if they do not want to change their program, but would like to have it rigorously evaluated, they can use this report to design an evaluation that could meet the highest three evidence tiers of ESSA, providing them with greater grant writing opportunities in the future. In addition, providers can use it to consider the range of programs that are available to meet particular needs of children and youth.&#160;</p><p><strong>What advice do you have for a provider who may be seeking federal funding for a program that isn’t in the report and which doesn’t already have established evidence of effectiveness?</strong></p><p>The provider should first check to determine if their program contains the same design features as any of the evidence-based programs we found to be effective. If that is not the case, providers should check to see if the funding stream they’re pursuing allows evidence at the Tier IV level. The programs described in this report meet the highest three evidence tiers defined in ESSA, but there is a fourth tier.&#160;Tier IV allows program providers to argue that their program is evidence-based if there is rigorous research underscoring at least part of the program’s logic model or theory of action. Tier IV also stipulates that the program (or one just like it) is currently being evaluated. If the provider can demonstrate that at least part of the program’s logic model is supported by rigorous research and that the program is currently being evaluated, the provider could apply for federal funding streams that allow Tier IV evidence.&#160;</p><p><strong>What lessons does your review of the evidence have for state and federal policymakers?&#160;What can they do to promote effective summer programs?</strong></p><p>State policymakers can share this review with practitioners in their state to raise awareness of the types of summer programs that have been found to be evidence based. They could encourage practitioners to design or amend programs to be similar to those described in the review. They can use this review to determine if programs proposed for state funding are indeed evidence-based. Federal policymakers can do the same when reviewing proposals. Finally, if they are allocating research funding, they can use the information to target research funding towards under-studied programs or populations.&#160;Most of the rigorously studied programs are academic learning programs offered in schools, focused on reading, and targeting elementary students. There were far fewer rigorous studies conducted for other types of programs or outcomes.</p><p><em>​*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p>​<br>Wallace editorial team792019-07-01T04:00:00ZRAND researchers on using evidence to build, and secure funding for, summer learning programs7/1/2019 7:16:19 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Making Sure Every Student Succeeds…In the Summertime RAND researchers on using evidence to build, and secure funding for 462https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
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 690https://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 592https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Getting Ready for Summer in the Deep South3506GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It’s late March, and in many U. S. cities, the chill hasn’t yet left the air. But in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where you can already go out of the house in short sleeves, the message is clear&#58; Summer is right around the corner. That’s why a group of teachers, school administrators and enrichment providers has convened at Tuscaloosa Career &amp; Technology Academy—to solidify their 2019 summer learning offerings for students and learn how the &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a> can help them in their work.</p><p>The toolkit, developed by The Wallace Foundation, is a free online compendium of more than 50 evidence-based resources, including tip sheets, customizable tools like planning calendars and budget templates, and sample documents like staff handbooks and enrollment forms. The resources grew out of research and on-the-ground insights from communities involved in the Wallace-sponsored National Summer Learning Project. Wallace launched the project in 2011, commissioning the RAND Corporation to study five large-scale, voluntary summer learning programs led by public school districts&#58; Boston; Dallas; Duval County (Jacksonville), Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Rochester, N.Y. The goals of the project were to provide a summer mix of academics and enrichment to thousands of children in low-income communities; help the districts improve their programs; and understand what impact, if any, they have on participating students—as well as what factors influence results. </p><p>Now, to ensure that the lessons of the National Summer Learning Project benefit cities and districts across the country, Wallace—along with the National Summer Learning Association, a non-profit organization, and The Learning Agenda, a consultancy—is taking the Summer Learning Toolkit on the road. First stop&#58; Tuscaloosa.</p><p>In Alabama, summer learning has historically been a local concern with philanthropy playing a major role. For example, SAIL (Summer Adventures in Learning)—a partnership of funders, program providers and community stakeholders—has been making grants to support rigorous summer learning in Birmingham and elsewhere since 2012. “Alabama is a state with a real tradition of philanthropy, so we’re used to trying to solve our problems in a community way,” says Jim Wooten, board chair of the organization. “We like less government and more citizen-based ownership.” Things may be changing, however, as the state government looks for new ways to improve academic performance, particularly in reading. Last year, the legislature added $4 million to the state’s Education Trust Fund, part of which was used to establish a pilot summer reading program. This is a moment of opportunity for Alabama’s summer learning leaders. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Andrew-Maxey.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Getting-Ready-for-Summer-in-the-Deep-South/Andrew-Maxey.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;220px;" />In many ways, Tuscaloosa is ahead of the game. Its district-run summer learning effort is entering its third year with programs in nine schools. Enrollment is already up for 2019, from 800 elementary students in 2018 to 1,000 so far signed up for this coming summer (out of a total of about 5,000 in the district). The district also provides grant funding and other forms of support to a number of independent programs. Andrew Maxey, the district’s director of special programs, who oversees its summer work, says he initially looked to Dallas, one of the districts in the National Summer Learning Project, for ideas. Last November, he attended the National Summer Learning Association’s annual conference, which is where he first discovered the Summer Learning Toolkit. Maxey welcomed the chance to incorporate the toolkit into a regularly scheduled planning meeting. “The tools in there are ridiculously powerful,” he says. “They’re solutions to issues every summer program needs to solve.”</p><p>Tuscaloosa may not be as big as Dallas or the other cities in the National Summer Learning Project, but it has big ambitions, Maxey says, aiming to bring every major player in town to the table and provide summer learning experiences to every student in the district who could benefit. He sees the toolkit as a means of facilitating that growth. “With just nine school-based programs, I’m able to give them very close coaching attention,” he says, “but when you scale, that’s just not practical.”</p><p>The program directors and teachers in the room—coming from both the district’s school-based programs and independent programs run by nonprofits like the Y and Boys &amp; Girls Club—were curious about how the toolkit could help them with the challenges they face in the here and now. During one part of the presentation, a sample schedule of a typical day in Pittsburgh’s Summer Dreamers Academy appeared on the screen, and several attendees took out their phones to get a snapshot. </p><p>Juerrette Thomas, lead teacher for one of the district’s summer programs, operated by the 21st Century Community Learning Center at The Alberta School of the Performing Arts (TASPA), says that building partnerships with high-quality enrichment providers is foremost on her mind. “Our first year, we were a half-day program, and we did all the enrichment in-house,” she says. “But now that we’re going to a full day, we want that outside support. There are people who know about things we don’t or may have a way of presenting material to the students we haven’t even thought of. We’d like to have those partnerships, but they’re not solidified.”</p><p>Sure enough, the toolkit features a section with guidance on vetting and setting expectations for enrichment partners, including sample documents like a request for proposals and a memorandum of understanding. Making the trip to Tuscaloosa to talk about putting these resources into action was Kathryn Vargas, director of Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time, the nonprofit “intermediary” organization that works with Pittsburgh Public Schools to connect community-based enrichment providers with the district’s Summer Dreamers Academy. Thomas, who, in addition to her summer responsibilities, is a full-time teacher at TASPA, commented that she and her colleagues could use the support of an intermediary to take on the enrichment part of the summer learning equation. </p><p>She may eventually get her wish&#58; Maxey told the group that he is exploring the possibility of bringing on a “backbone organization,” separate from the district, to coordinate Tuscaloosa’s summer learning activity, including the cultivation of enrichment partners.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Mike-Daria.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Getting-Ready-for-Summer-in-the-Deep-South/Mike-Daria.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;224px;" />The opportunity to learn and draw inspiration from someone like Vargas may have been what Mike Daria, superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools, had in mind when he kicked off the day by saying he was excited about “who was in the room together.” Daria says the district’s goal is to “recalibrate” what it’s doing in the summer, so that teachers and families alike think of it as “not just summer school.” Lesley Bruinton, the district’s coordinator of public relations, sees Daria’s vision of summer as a time when “learning is real <em>and</em> really fun” starting to become a reality. As an example, she mentions a summer teacher who created a class called “It’s a Piece of Cake,” in which students built their math skills by participating in a baking project and took a field trip to visit a local donut shop. </p><p>Summers in Tuscaloosa have always been sweltering, but when it comes to summer learning, it looks like things are really heating up.</p><p><em>Photos by C. W. Newell. Top&#58; Closing exercise at the event; middle&#58; Andrew Maxey,&#160;district director of special programs;&#160;bottom&#58; Mike Daria, superintendent,&#160;Tuscaloosa City Schools.</em></p><p> &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792019-04-16T04:00:00ZEducators and enrichment providers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, explore Wallace’s summer learning toolkit4/16/2019 1:30:33 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Getting Ready for Summer in the Deep South Educators and enrichment providers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, explore Wallace’s 279https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning12651GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​All the leaves have fallen from the trees. There’s a chill in the air. ’Tis the season…for planning your district’s summer learning program?</p><p>That’s right, district leaders. Decide in the fall to offer a program and begin the planning process by January and you’ll run into fewer roadblocks when summer rolls around. That’s just one of more than 60 recommendations in the second edition of <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success</em>.</a> This report from the RAND Corporation updates guidance to districts interested in launching a summer learning program or improving an existing one. It’s based on evaluations of five urban school districts participating in the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP), a Wallace-funded effort to understand whether and how voluntary district-run summer learning programs can help promote success in school. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="heather-schwartz.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Now-Is-the-Time-to-Get-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning/heather-schwartz.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;241px;" />The report answers such questions as when districts should begin work on their summer program, how they should hire and train teachers, what they should consider in choosing or developing a curriculum, which actions can help boost attendance and keep students on task, how to create a warm and welcoming environment&#160;and how to provide engaging enrichment experiences. Heather Schwartz, one of the authors of the report, guided us through some of the highlights.*</p><p><strong>How did you arrive at the recommendations in the guide? </strong><br> To develop our recommendations, we drew from over 900 interviews with summer teachers and administrators, 2,000 hours of observations of summer classes and 1,200 summer staff surveys that we collected over four summers. We believe this is the most comprehensive data currently available about voluntary, academic summer programs run by school districts and their community partners.</p><p><strong>What's new in this second edition? How has your thinking evolved since the first edition?</strong><br> Although most of the lessons from the first edition still stand, the second edition provides further and more detailed recommendations. For example, by the second edition we had learned that students who received a minimum of 25 hours of mathematics instruction and those receiving 34 hours of language arts in a summer performed better on the subsequent state math and ELA tests. These findings informed our recommendations in the second edition about the duration of the summer program, the number of hours of academics&#160;and ways for instructors to use intended instructional time more productively. </p><p><strong>You provide a wealth of recommendations in the guide. Could you briefly highlight one or two of the most important?</strong><br> Our most emphatic recommendation is to commit in the fall to a summer program. This means dedicating at least half of the time of a summer program director to actively start planning the summer program no later than January. The early planning should include attention to enrichment as well as to academics.</p><p><strong>What did you learn about the cost of a high-quality summer program? What can districts to do to make their summer programs cost-effective?</strong><br> The cost per student who attended at least one day of a program in summer 2014 ranged from $1,070 to $1,700 with an average of $1,340. Since staff is the largest component of a summer budget, an important way to control costs is to hire staff to achieve desired ratios based on projected daily attendance, not the number of enrollees. Of course, program designers should weigh the savings from cost-cutting measures against potential negative impacts on program quality. Other ways to lower costs include partnering with community organizations for enrichment activities, reducing the number of summer facilities since each carry fixed costs to operate them, centralizing some planning activities to avoid duplicated work, extending school-year curricula for use during the summer and continuing the program over time to capitalize on initial start-up investments. </p><p><strong>Can you give a preview of what's still to come from the National Summer Learning Project?</strong><br> There are four more reports coming out of the NSLP. In the first, we examine how district, city, state and federal policy support and constrain summer programming and we offer recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on navigating this policy landscape. In the second, we examine how student learning unfolds over the course of a calendar year, taking a close look at summer learning, in two urban school districts. In the third, we follow the students in the randomized controlled trial to see if those who went through the NSLP programs have different outcomes in seventh grade than the students in the control group. And, finally in the fourth report, we report on the efforts of NSLP communities to improve access to quality summer learning programming. The case studies in this final report should prove useful to other community leaders across the country.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed. </em></p><p><em>For additional hands-on tools and guidance, including a sample program calendar, see the online </em><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Toolkit</a><em>. </em></p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div> Wallace editorial team792018-12-11T05:00:00ZTalking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful summer learning program12/11/2018 3:00:53 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Now Is the Time to Get to Work on Summer Learning Talking to RAND’s Heather Schwartz about what makes for a successful 843https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Books, Research and Beloved Pigs of Children’s Literature16119GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>The idea seems simple—give low-income kids books over the summer and their reading will improve. As Harvard education professor <a href="https&#58;//www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/james-kim" target="_blank">James Kim</a> knows, there’s a lot more to it than that. </p><p>Kim is the key person behind READS for Summer Learning, a school-run, home-based program shaped by 10-plus years of research and experimentation. Over time, Kim and his colleagues developed a program which, through a combination of instructional support, family engagement and books carefully matched to the reading levels and interests of young readers, helped its participants in high-poverty elementary schools gain nearly 1.5 months of reading skills on average compared to non-participants. A <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/reads-helping-children-become-summer-bookworms.aspx">new Wallace report</a> describes READS, which received support from the foundation.<em>&#160;(Click on the thumbnail below to view the infographic.)&#160;</em></p><p> <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/READS-Helping-Children-Become-Summer-Bookworms-infographic.pdf"> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Asset_Infographic.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/summer-books-research-beloved-pigs-of-childrens-literature/Asset_Infographic.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;290px;" /></a>The READS research was all-consuming. Kim even packed and hand-delivered boxes of books to schools participating in his studies. Still, the hard work was worthwhile, considering its purpose, according to Kim. “READS is designed to impact a child’s head, heart and hands,” he says. “It helps kids read for understanding, inspires their love of reading and causes them to want to get their hands on more and more books.” <br> <br> Now, educators want to get their hands on READS. Kim has fielded inquiries from school district leaders to classroom teachers. This past year, he conducted webinar training with a group of school literacy facilitators in Michigan. A colleague ran a similar workshop with librarians in Massachusetts. Interest has also come from nonprofit organizations that bring services to schools, such as tutoring and book fairs. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="jk2-cropped.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/summer-books-research-beloved-pigs-of-childrens-literature/jk2-cropped.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;210px;" />Kim’s work follows him home&#58; His three kids are entering second, third and fourth grade. What’s one of their favorite books to read together? Kate DiCamillo’s <em>Mercy Watson</em> series, starring a hilarious pig. “While we’re on the theme of pigs, I love <em>Charlotte’s Web</em> too!” Kim adds. </p><p>Below, he talks more about his research and summer learning.<br><br><strong>You started your career in education as a middle-school history teacher in the 1990s. How did that experience spark your interest in researching summer reading loss and possible solutions?</strong></p><p>At my school, kids learned about colonial history to the Civil War in sixth grade. I covered Reconstruction to the present in seventh grade. When kids returned to school in September, some clearly knew a lot about history and some seemed to have forgotten much of what they learned about the Civil War, which was covered just three months ago. As I probed, it became clear that many of my disadvantaged students did not have enriching summers. They read few books and lost a lot of ground academically. This first-hand experience gave me the initial burst of inspiration to think of a low-cost solution to summer learning loss.</p><p> <strong>Your research on READS spans more than a decade. There was a trial-and-error approach to your work as you figured out the key components of the program. What surprised you most</strong>? </p><p>I call the trial-and-error approach the fusion of “strategic replication” and “heroic incrementalism.”&#160; That is, I wanted to stick with a program of research long enough to build on what worked and to make changes to what didn’t. This approach yielded a lot of surprises, but that’s what makes science fun—having your assumptions challenged and continually building knowledge.</p><p>One surprise was disappointing. In an early READS study with my colleague Jon Guryan, an economist at Northwestern University, we let kids select their own books rather than matching them with books based on their reading level and book tastes. Too many kids picked really hard books. They did no better on a follow-up reading test than their peers who hadn’t been part of READS. We shouldn’t think of this as a failure, though, because it’s critical to know what doesn’t work. </p><p>A second finding is more optimistic. In our last RCT [randomized controlled trial] of READS, we compared core or traditional READS with adaptive READS. In the core READS program, we instructed teachers to implement the core components with fidelity. In the adaptive READS model, we allowed for structured adaptations so teachers could make changes to help make the program work better with their kids. The adaptive READS program worked better, improved student engagement and ultimately students’ reading comprehension outcomes. We were surprised and gratified to see that the adaptive READs model could work well in high-poverty schools (75 percent to 100 percent of students eligible for free lunch) particularly when teachers had implemented core READs for at least one year.</p><p> <strong>Summer seems to be an under-utilized time for learning. Why is that?</strong></p><p>One challenge is that educators already have a crowded agenda. There’s already so much that a superintendent, principal and teacher have to accomplish during the school year. I think summer is a peripheral concern. In addition, educators typically don’t have the same level of accountability or funding for programs outside school, especially during the summer. My hope is that more educators invest in low-cost and scalable solutions, whether READS or some other program, for stimulating learning outside school in the summer. </p><p> <strong>Mobile technology and usage have evolved significantly since you started your research. According to Pew Research, 92 percent of U.S. adults earning $30,000 or less own a cell phone of some kind. Two-thirds carry smartphones. Can you see READS going digital, with kids reading books and answering comprehension questions via a READS app?</strong></p><p>Great question. I’ve always felt that READS should evolve to meet the needs of educators, parents and children. And one great need today is developing digital solutions that are low-cost and effective in promoting summer learning. A READS app is a promising idea because it could provide parents and children more real-time feedback and encouragement. It might include games and incentives to further stimulate summer reading at home. I’d like to develop and try out some of these ideas. Stay tuned for updates on our website as we develop digital tools.</p><p> <strong>As a father, how have you encouraged good reading habits in your children?</strong></p><p>I think the key word is habit. Most nights, I read aloud to my kids, and I typically choose (or at least try) a book that my kids might not read on their own. One of my favorites is a series of biographies for kids by Brad Meltzer called <em>Ordinary People Change the World</em>. My kids wouldn’t, on their own, pick up a book about Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincoln, but I like to read these biographies to them. In many ways, this is exactly what we do in READS. Educators provide lessons about a narrative chapter book and teach kids a simple routine to engage with fun books about animals, natural science and famous people. Ultimately, to form good reading habits, kids need caring teachers and parents to open up new worlds of knowledge that are engaging and fascinating. </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"> <em>Photos by </em> <a href="http&#58;//www.claireholtphotography.com/" target="_blank"> <em>Claire Holt</em></a><em>. Main photo&#58; James Kim reads with his children.</em></p>Jennifer Gill832018-08-01T04:00:00ZHarvard’s James Kim Chats About the Reads for Summer Learning Program8/1/2018 3:00:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Books, Research and Beloved Pigs of Children’s Literature Harvard’s James Kim Chats About the Reads for Summer 4309https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Ringing in Another National Summer Learning Day10221GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Most summer days, you can find 12-year-old Madison Newman at a camp run through New York City’s Madison Square Boys &amp; Girls Club. She and the other kids enrolled take classes and participate in a range of activities. Sometimes they go on group field trips to libraries or museums. </p><p>But on one hot Monday in July, Madison left her fellow campers in the Bronx to travel into Manhattan, with her mother in tow. She was all dressed up and headed downtown to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to help kick off the National Summer Learning Association’s annual <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-day/">Summer Learning Day</a>.&#160; </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Madison-Newman.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/Madison-Newman.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;256px;" />“It’s really exciting here!” said Madison, who during the year attends the Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx. She was busy soaking up conversations in the gilded halls of the board room at the stock exchange. Earlier she’d given a reading from the book <em>Trombone Shorty</em> backed by an actual trombonist. Her summer group had read the autobiography about a young jazz player, which is the official read-aloud book of this year’s Summer Learning Day. </p><p>Madison was also the lead in a play about bullying earlier in the summer. “We were doing the play so we’d learn how sticking up for each other shows leadership, and how more violence is not the answer,” she said, adding that the program always focuses on “things you can use in life, like respecting people, respecting yourself and taking care of yourself.” </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="stock-exchange.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/stock-exchange.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;242px;" />Just before being escorted downstairs to the iconic floor of the exchange, Madison shared a final thought about summer learning and how it might influence her life. “We were talking the other day about the army and how their budget was $600 billion versus $67 billion for children,” she said. “Imagine if that were the other way around? How much better that would be for kids.” </p><p>In case you’re wondering, her numbers weren’t far off. &#160;Based on <a href="https&#58;//www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_spending_2018USbn_19bs2n_3020#usgs302">2018 projections</a> released by the U.S. government, spending on military defense is roughly $648 billion, while total spending on education comes in at $111 billion, of which about 40 billion goes to pre-primary through secondary education. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="stock-exchange2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ringing-in-Another-National-Summer-Learning-Day-/stock-exchange2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;331px;" />“So for me, what I want to do in five or 10 years?” Madison said. “I want to try and open up a foundation or something to help summer programs and schools get more of the money.”</p><p>Minutes later she stood at the center of the world’s global markets bringing the day’s trading to a close. Her goal seemed entirely possible.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">* &#160; &#160;*&#160;&#160; &#160;*&#160;</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>​For more on the effects of voluntary summer learning programs and other research and reports visit the </em><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx"><em>Summer Learning</em></a><em> section at our Knowledge Center. </em> </p>Lauren Sanders732018-07-12T04:00:00ZSee why this 12-year-old summer student was the perfect person to close out the trading day on Wall Street7/12/2018 2:00:26 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Ringing in Another National Summer Learning Day See why this 12-year-old summer student was the perfect person to close out 374https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How to Get Kids and Parents Psyched for Summer Learning16100GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>The National Summer Learning Project—a collaboration between The Wallace Foundation, the RAND Corporation and five urban school districts—has produced <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Learning-from-Summer-Effects-of-Voluntary-Summer-Learning-Programs-on-Low-Income-Urban-Youth.aspx">promising evidence</a> that voluntary-attendance summer learning programs can help students succeed in school. But “voluntary” means that districts have to entice families to enroll. </p><p>As part of the project, we engaged Crosby Marketing Communications to help the districts participating do just that.</p><p><span aria-hidden="true"></span><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="JRosenberg_V3_2X2_5.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-to-Get-Kids-and-Parents-Psyched-for-Summer-Learning/JRosenberg_V3_2X2_5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;374px;" />Crosby conducted focus groups of parents in three cities and found that, while they are motivated by the idea of preparing their children for the next grade, they also believe summer should be a break from the rigors of the school year. The term “summer learning” was not a familiar one, and “summer school” elicited a negative reaction because it evoked a remedial program. Crosby, a firm with expertise in what is known as “social marketing,” worked with the districts to develop social marketing campaigns that would overcome these obstacles. All five exceeded their recruitment goals.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/recruitment/pages/default.aspx">A new guide, developed by Crosby, and companion website,</a> presents lessons learned from that successful collaboration and advice to districts interested in launching or improving their own recruitment efforts. We talked to Jeff Rosenberg, an executive vice president at Crosby, about the guide and what he’s learned about encouraging students to attend summer learning programs.*</p><p><strong>Why is it so important for school districts to do a recruitment campaign for their summer learning programs?</strong></p><p>There are two main reasons. The first is, of course, to motivate parents and students to register. The second is that districts want to engage with the students who can benefit the most. To do that, you have to be intentional in who you reach out to and how you communicate.</p><p><strong>What is social marketing? How can school districts use it to recruit for their summer learning programs?</strong></p><p>Social marketing refers to using the principles and practices of marketing for the common good, that is, to raise awareness of a social issue or promote positive behavior change. At Crosby we have a lot of experience in social marketing. For example, we developed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national campaign encouraging people to sign up as organ donors. </p><p>By definition, a recruitment campaign for a summer learning program is social marketing. In the case of the National Summer Learning Project, we helped the districts practice what’s known as “community-based” social marketing—using the existing levers in a community to generate behavior change. That involved, for example, relying on the people in the community who are most trusted by parents and students—principals, teachers, and guidance counselors—to deliver the message and promote enrollment.</p><p><strong>What were the most essential/effective techniques that the districts you worked with used to recruit students?</strong></p><p>What the districts found most important was being consistent and assertive in their outreach. One mailing home was not enough to make a connection. The second thing was using several types of outreach. Sending a flyer home by “backpack express” can work, but as all parents know, those flyers don’t always make it to them, so you don’t want to rely on that one approach. The districts also found phone calls to parents to be effective, as well as recruitment events. Third, engaging directly with students is extremely valuable, whether it’s in the form of an event like a pizza party, a piece of mail addressed specifically to them, or a conversation with a teacher. </p><p><strong>Were there any activities that did not prove to be worth the effort or expense?</strong></p><p>A couple of districts conducted home visits, and while they certainly yielded some registrations, they may not justify the intense effort they require. Some districts tried raffles. Parents who sent in a registration form were automatically entered to win a prize. These can work, but we suspect that some parents who registered their children didn’t actually intend to send them to the program; they just wanted a chance at the prize.</p><p><strong>How can districts use the new </strong><a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/recruitment/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning Recruitment website</a><strong> to develop a summer learning marketing campaign?</strong><br> <br> The website is designed so that someone can come in and develop an entire recruitment plan from A to Z. But it can also be a resource for a district that’s already actively recruiting and is just looking for some tips and tools to up its game. There’s guidance on how to develop a written plan. There are also a number of templates from a registration flyer to robocall scripts to talking points that teachers and principals can use when they reach out to parents and students. </p><p><strong>Do you have any final advice for school districts?</strong></p><p>When parents register their children for your summer learning program, view that as the beginning of a relationship. Follow up with a confirmation letter. Consider a “get ready for summer” event in the spring. Schedule robocalls to remind parents and students when your program starts. You’ll find templates in the guide. It’s crucial to use the time between the end of your registration period and the beginning of your summer learning program to get parents and students excited about what’s to come. That will help boost day one attendance.</p><p><em>*This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792018-03-06T05:00:00ZCreator of new online guide offers up advice on recruiting for voluntary summer programs3/6/2018 5:20:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How to Get Kids and Parents Psyched for Summer Learning Creator of new online guide offers up advice on recruiting for 536https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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