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Wallace’s work in K-12 education: Evidence on school leadership, summer learning, and afterschool

Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation; Kenneth W. Austin, vice president of policy engagement; and Rotunda Floyd-Cooper, vice president of education leadership, presented this briefing to the U.S. Department of Education on the significance of Wallace's work in fostering effective school leadership, summer learning initiatives, and afterschool programs.
September 6, 2023


  • The briefing began with an introduction to Wallace's work as an independent, non-partisan private foundation, as well as addressing the foundation's strategic approach by understanding environmental context, building promising new approaches and evidence bases, and catalyzing broad social impact.
  • The speakers then addressed the pivotal role effective principals play in overall school improvement (including student achievement, attendance rates, and teacher retention) before introducing the Equity-Centered Principal Pipeline Initiative (2021-2027), a six-year plan meant to prepare and support principals in select districts.
  • Missouri and Wisconsin were pinpointed as two successful examples of the crucial collaboration of states and districts to better address principal development, such as setting aside ESSA Title II-A funds for school leadership improvement training and forming collaborative principal improvement initiatives.
  • The briefing further discussed the importance of high-quality afterschool and summer programs, as programs of sufficient duration and attendance were shown to foster academic achievement, life skills, and career readiness.
  • Research from a RAND Institute study of summer learning programs in five different school districts identified several key characteristics of high-quality programming, including a program duration of five to six weeks, attendance for at least 20 days, early planning, and continuous improvement.
  • The briefing concluded with a list of forthcoming reports from partner institutions nationwide, whose work was expected to expand upon Wallace's previous research findings.
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