Ready News: June 11, 2021

Design Principles for Schools: Putting the Science of Learning and Development Into Action

The Design Principles for Schools is a new playbook published by the Learning Policy Institute and Turnaround for Children in partnership with the Forum for Youth Investment and in association with the SoLD Alliance. The playbook aims to support K-12 educators and youth-serving professionals in transforming all learning settings to meet the acute needs we are facing right now and also provide a solid down payment on the better, more equitable education system we need for our kids and their futures. The playbook provides the scientific principles, structures, and practices that will serve as the foundation for learning environments and experiences that enable all young people to thrive. Grounded in the science of learning and development and its implications for practice, the playbook reveals the creativity and ambition of educators, practitioners, and families through extensive case studies, videos, and resources elevating some of the many ways in which field leaders have been initiating this work.

To achieve the transformation we need today, education systems must be willing to embrace what we know about how children learn and develop. This knowledge has been well established through the science of learning and development, which shows that the range of students’ academic skills and knowledge—and, ultimately, students’ potential—can be significantly influenced through exposure to learning environments that use whole child design. To facilitate this transformation, this playbook translates and highlights the science, structures, and practices that can become the foundation for a new approach to learning when integrated and implemented. These design principles do not suggest a single design or model but suggest an approach to systemic change that supports equity for all students and the development of the full set of skills, competencies, and mindsets that young people need to live and thrive in their diverse communities.

Please note that a companion playbook for community programs will be released later this summer. 

Read the full playbook.



A Survey on the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs During the Pandemic

This summer will be one for the books. As states begin to lift statewide coronavirus-related restrictions and vaccinations continue to roll out, the public is hopeful for a return to normal in the near future. A recent survey of parents of school-age children found that nearly two-thirds say that they are comfortable sending their child to in-person summer activities.

The Afterschool Alliance is fielding the fifth wave of the Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19 tracking survey. Findings from previous waves have been shared with federal policy makers and featured in publications such as Education Week and Youth Today. By taking Afterschool Alliance’s short survey, you are helping document the ways in which the pandemic continues to impact your program and the supports your program is providing to the children and families in your community, and lift up the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the afterschool field as a whole.

All those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of 50 gift cards in the amount of $50! Five winners will be selected at random each week the survey is open.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time and your responses will be anonymous. The survey will close at 11:59 p.m. PDT, Sunday, June 27.

Take the survey.



All Adults, All Settings! A Conversation with Jill Vialet, Founder and CEO of Playworks and Substantial Classroom

Changing the Odds Thought Leader Interviews Hosted by Karen Pittman   
June 15, 2021 
1:00-2:00 pm ET

Jill Vialet has made a career of founding organizations that stretch the bounds of our learning and development ecosystem. As the founder and past CEO of Playworks, Jill recognized not only the power of play and the potential of untapped time like recess, but of the 50% of adults in schools who are not classroom teachers. In her newest endeavor, Jill is focusing on the power of the substitute teaching field as the co-founder of Substantial Classroom and author of Substantial: Redesigning the Substitute Teaching Experience. Jill, her co-author and co-founder Amanda van Moos, and the substantial team “work with the people who bring their talent, dedication and passion to our education system every day” through direct support to substitute teachers and transforming the schools and systems in which they work.

Join us next week as the Forum’s Karen Pittman speaks with Jill about her commitment to create scalable hacks that increase the learning power of underutilized times and spaces (like recess) and staff (like substitutes). The lessons learned about how substitute teaching works today and the innovations that lie ahead for substitute teaching have relevance for the other professionals and paraprofessionals who, while not certified teachers, contribute greatly to young people’s development. Karen and Jill will consider how a focus on the substitute teaching workforce can both open the door for more fruitful discussion of and help us truly see the broader learning ecosystem workforce.

Register now.


Out-of-School Time Programs This Summer

When it comes to summer—particularly a summer that follows a year of pandemic-induced isolation—parents have three priorities for what they want summer programming to address for their children: tending to their social and emotional health, providing them with physical outdoor activities, and helping them discover their passion and purpose.

A new, national survey by market research firm Edge Research, in conjunction with Learning Heroes, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the voice of parents in education, was commissioned by the Wallace Foundation to explore the unique, differentiated role out-of-school time (OST) programs play in youth development compared with home and school, how parents assess quality in OST programs, and the impact of COVID-19 for summer 2021—and beyond.

Findings revealed substantial worries among parents about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many feeling their children are struggling academically, socially, and emotionally: 40 percent worried that children were missing out on social connections and friendship; 32 percent about too much screen time; and 26 percent about falling behind academically. Similar concerns were voiced among teachers and OST providers, with teachers most worried about students falling behind academically (39 percent) and OST providers most worried about emotional well-being (26 percent).

Read more.



The Networks for Social Impact in Education Series

How do organizations across sectors work together to improve educational outcomes? During this three-year research project, the Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact at Northwestern University investigated how groups of organizations worked together to improve student achievement. Reporting the results of this mixed-method study, the Networks for Social Impact in Education Series reveals previously undiscovered insights into the secret sauce for network assembly, management, and evolution.

Learn more.