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Three Questions About Education Leadership Research5456GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​R<em>ecently, </em>Education Week<em> columnist Rick Hess handed over the reins of his blog for a </em><a href="http&#58;//blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2018/08/three_questions_about_education_leadership_research.html" target="_blank"><em>post </em></a><em>on current research in education leadership. We were happy to see the piece refer to&#160;our University Principal&#160;Preparation Initiative, among other sources,&#160;and received permission&#160;to republish the post. The authors are Anna Egalite, assistant professor of leadership and policy at North Carolina State University, and Tim Drake, who's also at NC State. The two are collaborating on a project (supported through the Wallace initiative)&#160;to redesign NC State's principal training program and share lessons learned with others.</em> <br></p><p>A commonly cited <a href="https&#58;//hechingerreport.org/why-school-leadership-matters/" target="_blank">statistic</a> in education leadership circles is that 25 percent of a school's impact on student achievement can be explained by the principal, which is encouraging for those of us who work in principal preparation, and intuitive to the many educators who've experienced the power of an effective leader. It lacks nuance, however, and has gotten us thinking about the state of education-leadership research—what do we know​ with confidence, what do we have good intuitions (but insufficient evidence) about, and what are we completely in the dark on? With this in mind, we've brainstormed three big questions about school leaders. The research in this area is incomplete, but a recent development makes us hopeful that better data are on the horizon.</p><p> <strong>1. Do principals impact student performance?</strong></p><p>Quantifying a school leader's impact is analytically challenging. How should principal effects be separated from teacher effects, for instance? Some teachers are high-performing, regardless of who leads their school, but effective principals hire the right people into the right grade levels and offer them the right supports to propel them to success.</p><p>Another issue relates to timing&#58; Is the impact of great principals observed right away, or does it take several years for principals to grapple with the legacy they've inherited—the teaching faculty, the school facilities, the curriculum and textbooks, historical budget priorities, and so on. Furthermore, what's the right comparison group to determine a principal's unique impact? It seems crucial to account for differences in school and neighborhood environments—such as by comparing different principals who led the same school at different time points—but if there hasn't been principal turnover in a long time, and there aren't similar schools against which to make a comparison, this approach hits a wall.</p><p>Grissom, Kalogrides, and Loeb carefully document the trade-offs inherent in the many approaches to calculating a principal's impact, <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0162373714523831?journalCode=epaa" target="_blank">concluding</a> that the window of potential effect sizes ranges from .03 to .18 standard deviations. That work mirrors the conclusions of Branch, Hanushek, and Rivkin, who <a href="https&#58;//www.educationnext.org/school-leaders-matter/" target="_blank">estimate</a> that principal impacts range from .05 to .21 standard deviations (in other words, four to 16 percentile points in student achievement).</p><p>Our best estimates of principal impacts, therefore, are either really small or really large, depending on the model chosen. The takeaway? Yes, principals matter—but we still have a long way to go to before we can confidently quantify just how much.</p><p> <strong>2. What skills are needed to ensure success as a modern school leader?</strong></p><p>The fundamentals haven't changed, as a quick read of Dale Carnegie's classic<a href="https&#58;//www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034" target="_blank"> text</a> will reveal—smile; don't criticize, condemn, or complain; show appreciation. Specific applications to the field of education administration are obvious&#58; Be a good manager, be organized, and follow the policies you set. These are concrete skills that can be taught in a preparation program and their value has been quantified. See, for instance, <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0002831211402663?journalCode=aera" target="_blank">Grissom and Loeb</a>, who point to the importance of practical managerial skills; <a href="http&#58;//www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=12742" target="_blank">Hess and Kelly</a>, who write about the principal's role in supporting curriculum and instruction; and <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0013189X13510020?journalCode=edra" target="_blank">Grissom, Loeb, and Master</a>, who demonstrate the value of teacher coaching.&#160;</p><p>But there are also intangible skills that cannot be easily taught—being visionary and motivating, showing compassion, being a force for good, keeping children at the center of the work, and being cognizant of whether civil rights are being advanced or inhibited by the culture you build. This latter list highlights the skills that principal candidates need to bring to the table before their preparation program even begins, and it's this latter list that matters the most in our current context.</p><p> <strong>3. What are the characteristics of high-quality principal preparation programs?</strong></p><p>Principal preparation programs have two primary responsibilities&#58; Identify and admit the most promising candidates, then provide them with concrete skills that will equip them to be successful upon graduation. <a href="https&#58;//www.amazon.com/Preparing-Principals-Changing-World-Leadership/dp/0470407689" target="_blank">Studying</a> exemplary programs offers a roadmap for how to do this well, but data limitations restrict how closely we can actually monitor their success in meeting these responsibilities.</p><p>We can show that there is sufficient <a href="http&#58;//journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013161X18785865?journalCode=eaqa" target="_blank">systematic variation</a> between programs in terms of test-score growth, for instance, that allows us to sort them into high, medium, and low performance categories. But we know too little about differences in the actual training received across programs. Administrative datasets rarely allow us to link principals to the specific program from which they graduated. Most programs can't even self-evaluate because they don't have data systems to track their graduates.</p><p>So what are we doing about all this?</p><p>With support from the Wallace Foundation's <a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/wallace-announces-seven-universities-to-participate-in-47-million-dollar-initiative.aspx" target="_blank">$47 million initiative</a> to improve the quality of principal preparation, NC State has been engaged in redesigning our program to train principals who are ready to meet the demands of a constantly changing job. We joined forces with local school leaders to identify the skills and attributes of effective school leaders. We then developed our program selection criteria, curricula, assessments, and internship to align with this framework. We're now partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and SAS to develop a leadership-development dashboard that tracks the career pathway and performance of our graduates, with a vision of scaling the system state-wide to include all North Carolina-based principal preparation programs and school districts.</p><p>The data don't exist yet to answer the most pressing questions about the relationship between principal preparation and leadership effectiveness. It's our hope that's about to change.</p><p>—<em>Anna Egalite and Tim Drake</em></p>Wallace editorial team792018-09-11T04:00:00ZWhat we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions about and what we still need to learn about education leadership.9/11/2018 6:11:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Three Questions About Education Leadership Research What we know confidently from evidence, what we have good intuitions 454https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Talking to Parents about Social and Emotional Learning9894GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Whenever we publish a blog post or report in our Knowledge Center on <a href="/knowledge-center/social-and-emotional-learning/pages/default.aspx">Social and Emotional Learning</a> (SEL), our digital channels buzz with interest. Much of the insights and information we’ve gathered has centered around in- and out-of-school programs that help children build the skills they need to succeed academically and in life. Now, an organization called Learning Heroes is bringing parents into the equation. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Bibb-Headshot.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Talking-to-Parents-about-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-/Bibb-Headshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;280px;" />Founded by communications and policy veteran Bibb Hubbard, Learning Heroes seeks to inform and equip parents and guardians with tools and ideas, so they can support their children’s educational and developmental success. A big part of the organization’s work to date involves connecting parents and others in the field to resources, which can be found at the nonprofit’s website&#58; <a href="https&#58;//bealearninghero.org/" target="_blank">www.BeALearningHero.org</a>. </p><p>Learning Heroes recently published a report to help schools and organizations communicate with parents about SEL. The report<em>, </em> <a href="https&#58;//bealearninghero.org/parent-mindsets/" target="_blank"> <em>Developing Life Skills in Children&#58; A Road Map for Communicating with Parents</em></a>, has a lot to say about the language of SEL, or what parents more comfortably call “life skills,” and draws on findings from Edge Research, the same firm that conducted Wallace’s 2016 research on the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-feedback-and-communications-insights-from-the-field.aspx">linguistic landscape surrounding SEL terminology</a>. In addition to the current Learning Heroes report, Hubbard says, the organization is co-developing with the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development a communications playbook that will help translate the findings and offer additional tools for people in the field. We spoke to Hubbard about the research and the important role parents play in SEL development. </p><p> <strong>The&#160;​new report focuses on research you recently conducted to help practitioners communicate with K-8 parents about the development of social, emotional, cognitive and academic skills in their children.&#160; Why is the focus on parents important? </strong></p><p>We’re now entering a unique moment, where there is greater awareness and acceptance of the fact that learning has social, emotional, cognitive and academic dimensions. As a result, school systems and out-of-school programs are thinking in explicit, intentional ways about how to teach these skills at home, at school&#160;and in after-school settings. But if these efforts are to succeed, practitioners need to join forces with parents, who see themselves as primarily responsible for their children’s education. In particular, our hope is for practitioners to seek guidance and input from parents, as they are the experts on their own children. Further, as practitioners orient parents to instructional approaches that might be new or different from what they experienced as students, it underscores the impact these approaches will have on their children.</p><p> <strong>When the research came back what was most surprising about the way that parents viewed SEL? And can you give a couple of examples of how this influenced your report?</strong></p><p>Parents think the development of these skills and traits are important for their child’s overall development. I was not surprised that parents do not understand some of the “edu-jargon” used to describe different skills and traits, even though they support many of the underlying concepts. I was surprised, however, to find that even words practitioners may think of as innocuous, like “curiosity” or “resilience,” can have negative connotations for parents. For example, middle school parents, in particular, worry about their children being curious about the wrong things, especially because of peer pressure. And many parents want to shield their children from the types of negative experiences that might require resilience. So how we talk about social, emotional and academic learning in ways that translate for parents became a big focus of our report.</p><p> <strong>The report speaks not just about SEL but addresses a wider range of “social, emotional, cognitive and academic” skills or traits. Why did you broaden the scope?</strong></p><p> <a href="https&#58;//www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/evidence-base-learn/" target="_blank">Research has found</a> that the social, emotional, cognitive and academic dimensions of learning are deeply connected. Moreover, in focus groups, parents prioritized a wide range of skills across these dimensions and that was confirmed in the nationally representative survey of parents. We wanted to be true to both what the science tells us, as reflected in the range of skills incorporated into various frameworks, and to what families want for their children.</p><p> <strong>Talking about language, what did you learn about the language people use to describe SEL skills? What does this mean for communication with parents?</strong></p><p>“Life skills” is the term parents prefer to describe the skills and traits that they identify as most important for their children to develop. They prefer this term (31%) over “social, emotional and academic development,” “character development” and “social and emotional learning,” by at least 2-to-1. Some of the reasons they give are that it’s “simple,” “all encompassing” and describes the skills people use “every day in life, schools, jobs and family.” Our advice is to use language parents understand to build bridges to more technical terms. We also found that parents respond very positively to videos that provide real-life examples of what integrating social, emotional, cognitive and academic development can look like in practice.</p><p> <strong>It seems from the research that parents, for the most part, believe SEL skills are essential but many think they should be taught at home with reinforcement from schools, which leads to a lot of concern about schools rating or assessing their children on SEL. How should schools, districts and others talk to parents about this concern? </strong></p><p>Two important findings from our survey are that parents view home as the place where these skills should primarily be “taught” and schools as the place where they are “reinforced.” Second, while they fully expect to partner with schools, they don’t want schools to overstep their role. The line in the sand is around measurement and accountability. More than a third of parents worry about their child being labeled for life (35%) or graded (34%) on skills that they view as too subjective or personal to measure. In fact, only 16% indicate it would be helpful to get a separate grade on their child’s report card to understand their progress on these skills. Instead, parents are eager to hear from teachers about how their child is doing in the form of parent-teacher conferences, folder notes, emails and more regular communications, particularly if there’s a problem. </p><p> <strong>What does an effective partnership between teachers and parents look like? What are some pitfalls teachers and schools should try to avoid? </strong></p><p> Because parents feel deeply responsible for their children’s well-being and success in school and in life, it’s important to respect their authority as their children’s primary advocates—after all, parents know their children best. If practitioners approach this work as a true partnership by sharing new ideas and approaches, eliciting the specific skills that matter most to parents&#160;and understanding what those skills might look like in the context of local communities and cultures, rather than trying to convince parents certain skills are more important than others through a communications campaign, they’ll get much farther.</p>Wallace editorial team792018-07-19T04:00:00ZNew report from Learning Heroes seeks to help schools and organizations better communicate with parents7/24/2018 8:59:32 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Talking to Parents about Social and Emotional Learning New report from Learning Heroes seeks to help schools and 1456https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Interest in Social and Emotional Learning Heats Up9846GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>There is growing consensus among educators that children must develop skills beyond academics to succeed in the classroom and in life. Often grouped under the term “social and emotional learning,” (SEL), these skills, when nurtured and developed, can ​help kids manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and navigate social situations, among other things. </p><p>As the field of social and emotional learning continues to build momentum, our work at Wallace has begun to focus on helping teachers, afterschool educators and others define what SEL skills are, why they matter, and how practitioners can incorporate them into their programs. Late in 2016, we gleaned a sense of the curiosity on this topic when we held <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-feedback-and-communications-insights-from-the-field.aspx">a webinar</a> with insights from the field collected by Edge Research. The researchers found that practitioners and policymakers were familiar with the term social and emotional learning and that educators in both K-12 schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs considered building SEL skills a priority.&#160; </p><p>Still nothing prepared us for the keen interest in what’s become our runaway hit&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Navigating-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-from-the-Inside-Out.aspx"><em>Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out</em></a>. This in-depth guide to 25 evidence-based programs—aimed at elementary schools and OST providers—seeks to help practitioners make informed choices about their SEL programs. Using the guide, practitioners can compare curricula, program features and methods across top SEL programs, based upon their own needs. Users can also see how programs can be adapted from schools to out-of-school-time settings, such as afterschool and summer programs. </p><p>The apparent need for what is, in effect, the first consumer guide to SEL cannot be overstated&#58; In just several months the 349-page publication has been downloaded almost 10,000 times from our website, and practitioners have been sharing it widely across social media. The guide was written by noted SEL expert Stephanie Jones at Harvard. Complementing the SEL guide is a special edition of <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/The-Future-of-Children-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.aspx">The Future of Children</a>, a compilation of articles showing that SEL skills are essential for kids and that teachers and OST staff need professional development to help children develop them. Multiple authors, all preeminent voices in the field, urge a greater focus on outcomes at the classroom level and age-appropriate interventions. They also begin to wrestle with the complicated question of how to measure SEL skill development. </p><p>Taken together, these products are helping to build a&#160;canon&#160;for social and emotional learning. We have more publications currently in the works to keep up with new insights and knowledge in this ever-growing field. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZWallace Foundation products help inform the emerging field of social and emotional learning, focusing on what we know about SEL programs and practices4/4/2018 7:24:38 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Interest in Social and Emotional Learning Heats Up New products help inform the emerging field of social and emotional 101https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Summer Learning Programs Benefit Youth with High Attendance9893GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>At first the conclusion seems almost too obvious to state&#58; Voluntary summer learning programs benefit low-income youth in both math and reading…if children attend. </p><p> But unpack it a bit further and you begin to see both the groundbreaking nature of the research leading to this conclusion, as well as the real barriers that often keep young people, particularly those in under-resourced areas, from attending summer programs. </p><p>&#160;Research on summer programs has largely been confined to&#160;mandatory &quot;summer school&quot;&#160;or voluntary opportunities that many families are not able to afford. But what might happen if children elected to attend summer programs run by the school district, so educators could ensure a level of quality and continuity with the school year? Would this make an impact for kids? </p><p> We created the <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/VIDEO-Ready-for-Fall.aspx">National Summer Learning Project </a>to help answer these questions. As part of the project, we commissioned the RAND Corporation to study five districts with large-scale voluntary summer learning programs to help them improve their programs and then survey the impact on participating students. RAND published its cumulative findings in a 2016 publication&#58; <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Learning-from-Summer-Effects-of-Voluntary-Summer-Learning-Programs-on-Low-Income-Urban-Youth.aspx"> <em> Learning from Summer&#58; Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth</em>. </a>The big eye-opener was that kids who attended the five-to-six week programs for 20 or more days benefitted in both reading and math. </p><p> Other key findings thus far include&#58; </p><ul><li> Early planning is key&#58; According to RAND schools need to begin the planning process by January at the latest. <br></li><li>High-quality instruction matters&#58; Ideally, teachers should have subject matter and grade-level experience to make connections between the summer and what students are learning throughout the year. <br></li><li>Attendance must be nurtured and tracked&#58; It’s important that kids feel welcome in the program so they’ll attend, and we now know how essential high attendance is to success. </li></ul><p> Future publications from the project will include an operational guide, hand-on tool kits and resources, as well as an online recruitment guide. All research and tools link back to the primary conclusion&#58; Good results are possible if you can get children in the door and keep them there. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZThe Wallace Foundation’s National Summer Learning Project and RAND Corporation provide evidence that summer learning programs bring academic and other benefits4/4/2018 4:58:22 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Summer Learning Programs Benefit Youth with High Attendance Study provides evidence that summer learning programs bring 82https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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