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Expanding Social and Emotional Learning Beyond the School Walls in Boston: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.This case study features the Russell Elementary School in Boston and its OST partner, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. The two collaborated to expand Russell students' access to enrichment by using the Clubs' ample facilities and linking the enrichment activities to the school-day curriculum through a shared focus on SEL. The goal was to provide students with important enrichment activities that they otherwise would not get in their normal school day as well as the opportunity to learn social-emotional skills in new settings and contexts.The case study details how the partnership overcame challenges, including early financial obstacles and disruptions to the learning schedule in both settings. For example, consistent communication between the principal and the OST program director helped to solve problems as they arose and to develop the partnership at the leadership level. Providing formal and informal opportunities for program staff members and Russell teachers to collaborate and see each other's work built trust and strengthened relationships, increasing staff and teacher buy-in to the effort.

Engaging Teachers, Staff, and Parents in Social and Emotional Learning in Palm Beach County: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.The piece features Diamond View Elementary School in Palm Beach County, Fla., and its OST partner, Diamond View Afterschool. The two collaborated to promote consistent and positive student experiences with adults across the day. After strengthening the use of similar SEL practices in the school and OST setting, the effort engaged noninstructional staff members as well as families in SEL—an important step intended to enable students to experience positive interactions outside the classroom: in the cafeteria, on the bus, and at home.The case study describes how the school and afterschool program overcame challenges such as finding time for coordination across school and OST staff members. It also explains how the two actively involved students in guiding SEL activities—seeking out students' input and providing opportunities for student choice in SEL activities and rituals.

Learning to Focus on Adult Social and Emotional Learning First in Tulsa: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.This case study features Whitman Elementary in Tulsa and its OST partner, Youth at Heart. The two collaborated to aid adults in building their own social-emotional skills so they could support social and emotional learning for their students. The idea was to help adults prioritize their own mental health to reduce burnout, effectively model SEL competencies for students, and build strong and healthy relationships with students.This case study finds that by focusing on adult SEL: The effort saw corresponding declines in teacher burnout and turnover. Students experienced consistent SEL resources and best practices.The school and OST staff members noted improvements in students' social and emotional skills as well as the overall school climate.

Strengthening Students’ Social and Emotional Skills: Lessons from Six Case Studies of Schools and Their Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This report presents cross-cutting lessons from a set of case studies detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have worked together to build students' social and emotional (SEL) skills. The communities are participants in a Wallace initiative that has supported elementary schools and their OST partners in incorporating SEL activities and instruction into both the school and OST parts of the day.For five of the case studies, researchers selected a partnership in each community that has done an exemplary job of addressing one of a series of challenges widely shared by participants in the initiative. In one of the cases, the partnership between the school and its OST programs was in an early stage of development, so the researchers focused on what took place during the school day.The case studies explore:developing a brand-new school-OST partnership focusing on SEL (Boston),developing an effective SEL committee that includes a school and OST partner (Dallas),finding and jointly prioritizing time for SEL in the school and afterschool schedules (Denver),engaging teachers, staff members and parents in SEL (Palm Beach County, Fla.),incorporating equity into SEL (Tacoma), andfocusing on adult SEL first (Tulsa). The report summarizes the case studies and discusses nine factors that facilitated progress in carrying out SEL programs and practices, each of which was common to at least two of the cases:Committed school/OST program leaders were the foundation on which SEL work was built.SEL committees guided and supported implementation.Prioritizing time for SEL in school and OST schedules was important to making implementation routine.Starting the efforts by building adults' social and emotional skills proved central.Short SEL rituals were often the first and most widely adopted strategy, setting the stage for more extended SEL instruction.Establishing trusting relationships enhanced the collaboration on SEL in school-OST program partnerships.Formal, written SEL resources facilitated a consistent approach within and across settings.Distributing "ownership" of SEL across staff members and students increased people's buy-in to the effort and its sustainability.Experience with SEL before the pandemic helped schools and OST programs adapt to COVID-19 disruptions.

Building an Effective Social and Emotional Learning Committee in Dallas: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.This case study features Webster Elementary in Dallas and its OST partner, Thriving Minds Afterschool. The two worked together to make SEL sustainable, even in the face of staff turnover and other challenges, by forming an effective steering committee that became the driving force behind their SEL work. With an eye toward sustainability, the committee prioritized particular strategies to cultivate an SEL-focused climate across campus, provided training to school and OST program staff members, and monitored and documented implementation of these efforts.This case study finds that by focusing on sustainable social and emotional learning: The effort saw improvements in attendance, school climate, and student behavior. Staff members beyond the steering committee began sharing responsibility for SEL on campus. Short SEL rituals became embedded in the campus's daily schedule before the onset of the pandemic, which helped ease the transition of SEL to hybrid learning.

Jointly Prioritizing Time for Social and Emotional Learning in Denver: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.The piece features the work of Cowell Elementary School in Denver and its afterschool partner, the Discovery Link program, which is located in the school. The school and program aimed to prioritize time for SEL by making social-emotional instruction and rituals part of the daily routine. The two accomplished this by investing in joint planning, collaboration, and professional development about SEL; dedicating time for SEL in each of their respective schedules, activities, and events; and sharing a social-emotional learning curriculum and rituals.This case study showed that by jointly prioritizing social and emotional learning: Explicit SEL instruction became more frequent. Staff members from both the school and OST program became part of the decision-making about SEL implementation. School and OST program staff members developed common goals and terminology about SEL.

Prioritizing Racial Equity Within Social and Emotional Learning in Tacoma: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.The piece features Lister Elementary School in Tacoma and its efforts to build a schoolwide commitment to SEL. It describes how, over time, Lister school leaders and staff members integrated a focus on racial equity and restorative practices into its SEL approach. The school used four key strategies as its work evolved, including gaining and maintaining staff buy-in to the effort, building racial equity and restorative practices into its SEL resources, designing and delivering a range of professional supports to build staff members' SEL and equity capacity, and reframing SEL and equity work as complementary to (rather than competing with) academic priorities.

Energy Efficiency as a Tool for Preservation of Affordable Rental Housing: Evaluation of the Efficiency Emphasis in the MacArthur Foundation’s Window of Opportunity Initiative

December 7, 2018

Note: This evaluation is accompanied by a blog post by the RAND Corporation about the initiative. Access these related materials here: https://www.macfound.org/press/grantee-publications/evaluation-investments-energy-efficiency-through-window-opportunity-initiative.In the late 1990s, there was growing concern that the significant portion of subsidized rental homes that were coming to the end of their initial subsidy period would not obtain renewed subsidy and that the amount of affordable rental housing for low and middle-income families in metropolitan areas would fall to even lower numbers. Responding to this escalating concern, the MacArthur Foundation identified preservation of the existing stock of affordable multifamily rental housing as a pressing need. Consequently, the Foundation launched the Window of Opportunity: Preservation of Affordable Rental Housing initiative in 2000. The initiative would expand to become a 20-year effort, during which the Foundation awarded $214 million in grants and loans to a wide range of organizations including non-profit owners of affordable rental housing, state governments, researchers, financial institutions, industry associations, and advocates.By 2011, the Foundation and its Window of Opportunity borrowers and grantees had increasingly recognized that energy costs of multifamily rental properties could be better controlled. To this end, the Foundation opted to extend Window of Opportunity with an explicit focus on increasing the energy efficiency of subsidized and unsubsidized multifamily affordable housing. Between 2012-2015, the Foundation awarded $27.5 million through 39 grants or loans as a part of what we term the Window of Opportunity - Energy Efficiency. The loans were Program-Related Investments, which were low-interest loans to create new business models or grow mission-oriented businesses. The Window of Opportunity - Energy Efficiency activities comprised a little over 10 percent of the overall $214 million Window of Opportunity initiative.

Learning From Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth

September 6, 2016

The largest-ever study of summer learning finds that students with high attendance in free, five to six-week, voluntary summer learning programs experienced educationally meaningful benefits in math and reading.The findings are important because children from low-income families lose ground in learning over the summer compared to their more affluent peers. Voluntary, district-run summer programs could help shrink this gap and have the potential to reach more students than traditional summer school or smaller-scale programs run by outside organizations. Yet until now little has been known about the impact of these programs and how they can succeed. Wallace's $50 million National Summer Learning Project seeks to help provide answers.Since 2011, five urban school districts and their partners, the RAND Corporation and Wallace have been working together to find out whether and how voluntary-attendance summer learning programs combining academics and enrichment can help students succeed in school.Starting in 2013, RAND conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in five districts—Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Rochester—to evaluate educational outcomes, focusing on children who were in 3rd grade in spring of that year. The 5,600 students who applied to summer programs were randomly assigned to one of two groups—those selected to take part in the programs for two summers (the treatment group) and those not selected (the control group). The study analyzed outcomes for 3,192 students offered access to the programs.Researchers found that those who attended a five-to-six-week summer program for 20 or more days in 2013 did better on state math tests than similar students in the control group. This advantage was statistically significant and lasted through the following school year. The results are even more striking for high attenders in 2014: They outperformed control group students in both math and English Language Arts (ELA), on fall tests and later, in the spring. The advantage after the second summer was equivalent to 20-25 percent of a year's learning in math and ELA.These findings are correlational but controlled for prior achievement and demographics, giving researchers confidence that the benefits are likely due to the programs and meeting the requirements for promising evidence under the Every Student Succeeds Act.High-attending students were also rated by teachers as having stronger social and emotional competencies than the control group students; however, researchers have less confidence that this was due to the programs, given the lack of prior data on these competencies.About 60 percent of students attending at least one day met the 20-day threshold that was defined as high attendance.Separately, the study also examined the impact of the programs on all students who were offered access, whether or not they actually attended. Because many students did not attend at a high level, and some didn't attend at all, the average benefits for all of these students were smaller and not statistically significant, with the exception of a modest but educationally meaningful boost in math scores in the fall after the first summer equivalent to 15 percent of a year's learning. These findings are causal, meaning that researchers are confident that they were due to the programs, and meet the standard of strong evidence under the Every Student Succeeds Act.For students to experience lasting benefits from attending summer programs, the report recommends that districts: run programs for at least five weeks; promote high attendance; include sufficient instructional time and protect it; invest in instructional quality; and factor in attendance and likely no-show rates when staffing the programs in order to lower per-student costs.

An Evaluation of MacArthur's Window of Opportunity: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing Initiative

June 6, 2016

In this report, we describe the seven strategies by which the MacArthur Foundation sought ambitious changes in the preservation of affordable rental housing. In brief, these strategies were to* support a cadre of large nonprofit owners of affordable rental housing to both preserve rental housing and act as spokespersons for preservation* increase capital for preservation by investing in special-purpose vehicles, such as preservation-themed loan funds* invest in regional interagency partnerships to retain affordable rental housing* develop business practices, tools, and research for or about preservation* provide loans and grants directly to state and local government agencies that themselves fund preservation transactions* promote low-income tenants' rights to remain in and advocate for affordable rental housing* improve the funding, regulatory, and legislative context for preservation through the foundation's combined investments in nonprofit owners, networks of nonprofit owners, special-purpose vehicles, state and local government agencies, and advocates.

Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students' Learning Opportunities and Outcomes

December 8, 2014

This report is the second of five volumes from a five-year study, funded by The Wallace Foundation and conducted by the RAND Corporation, designed as a randomized controlled trial that assesses student outcomes in three waves: in the fall after the 2013 summer program (reported here), at the end of the school year following the program, and after a second summer program in 2014 (to show the cumulative effects of two summer programs). The goal of the study is to answer one key question: Do voluntary, district-run summer programs that include academics and enrichment activities improve student academic achievement and other outcomes, such as social and emotional competence?

Expanded Measures of School Performance

April 26, 2011

Examines issues and trends in broadening school quality measures beyond those required by No Child Left Behind, including alternative factors states are using, trade-offs in adopting new measures, and how the federal government can support such efforts.