Drawing Lessons from the Studio to School Initiative
As the Studio to School Initiative unfolded, we evolved together as a learning community, sharing challenges and successes, and applying what we learned to improve programs and better serve students.
At OCF, we focused on building trust and relationships with project teams, thinking critically about the space and support the projects needed to grow and learn, and adjusting some initial expectations. In this way, we learned a lot about what was possible in arts education and about many of the underlying issues that prevent arts education from thriving across Oregon.
Our key realizations
We recognize that the kind of support provided by Studio to School—both in its learning community and in its longer-term funding—is rare. As Studio to School came to a close, we reflected on how it brought lasting change to some schools, organizations and communities, and how fragile the progress made was in others. Regardless of where projects stood at the end of the Initiative, the lessons we learned along the way apply to ongoing and future arts education efforts.
Orchestra practice at Agnes Stewart Middle School in Springfield (John G. Shedd Institute).
Over the five years of Studio to School, we saw the power of grassroots arts education programs firsthand: how students, schools, organizations and communities can create, innovate and grow when they are adequately resourced, encouraged to take risks and given the space to think big. We witnessed the transformative impact of arts education programs on students and arts educators and were awed by the visionaries who drive arts education in their communities.
The story of arts education in Oregon has been long centered on what is lacking: resources, in-school arts electives like band or theatre, equitable opportunities, and so on. But through Studio to School, we watched arts education flourish in across the state. We learned that in many communities, arts education was vibrant and treasured long before this grant. We saw arts educators, community-based organizations and school leaders provide incredible arts education opportunities in a wide range of community-specific ways, shapes and forms. This would not be possible without people championing and building on the strengths of communities, centering students and families, and getting creative to make it all work.
Early on, we expected the place-based, community-responsive and specific arts education programs developed by the Studio to School projects could be expanded locally or replicated in other communities. This was a tall order, and we soon realized it was unrealistic. Instead, we decided to develop principles that would articulate the key elements of the projects: the drivers of their desired impacts. The principles could serve as guideposts to help the projects and others design and deliver high-quality, sustainable, community-supported arts education.
This change was driven first by our growing appreciation for the place-based nature of the projects and the challenges of preparing for sustainability beyond the Initiative, let alone replication or expansion. Second, reading and reflecting on Disseminating Orphan Innovations shifted our thinking about whether it is possible to replicate program models at all.
“The most important lesson we have learned after 19 years of work is that it is not possible to simply replicate an innovation from one location to another. Instead, one needs to customize the innovation for each particular site.” (Evans & Clarke, 2011)
Although some Studio to School projects were able to spread, scale and adapt their arts education programming beyond the Initiative, many struggled to sustain programming without the dedicated resources and support of the learning community, especially when there was turnover in school or arts organization leaders, or key teachers and teaching artists—i.e., the team members who drove each project’s success.
Further efforts to share and scale what we learned and accomplished through Studio to School would require continued investment either in the implementation or adaptation of the Studio to School principles, or in support of customizing successfully sustained Studio to School programs for new communities.
Learn more about our endeavors to support use of the principles in Studio to School Principles.
This was proposed as a highly experimental push—a "what might happen if?" sort of question, as opposed to "here’s a program, now go do it." That’s very different [from] the dominant culture in education.
Because Studio to School was a five-year initiative, we had space to adapt and apply what we learned both across and within projects. We also asked projects to think big and take creative risks in order to build and expand arts programming in new ways. This kind of innovation and creativity was only possible through a multiyear initiative and with active encouragement. It took time for this approach to take hold in the learning community, because it was so different from what many had experienced in implementing grant-funded programs.
The long timeline also allowed for flexibility. When something didn’t work as expected in a particular month or year, there was time to keep trying or take a different approach. Projects had room to respond when big changes occurred, such as turnover of school administrators or key team members. Five years was sufficient time for teams and projects not only to weather big changes, but also to forge ahead in new and sometimes better ways.
American Music Project at Vernon students perform in Portland.
During the Studio to School Initiative, OCF’s attention to equity grew tremendously. The OCF board established its equity commitment in 2014, at the same time the Studio to School Initiative was forming. In 2016, OCF took up the opportunity gap frame to guide our proactive grantmaking, and this provided new language to think about how arts education can narrow opportunity gaps for students. Over the past few years, the national conversation about how arts education can promote equity, inclusion and social justice has deepened. This is shifting the way we think and talk about arts education and revealing how vital it is that equity be at the center.
While concerns about inequitable access to arts education were part of the original impetus for Studio to School, equity was not named explicitly in the Initiative’s goals, nor did we hold or develop a shared understanding of what “equitable arts education” meant. As our thinking evolved as a foundation, we shared what we were learning about access to arts education in Oregon and encouraged conversations about equity challenges within and across communities.
Learning community activities, especially in the later years of the Initiative, did incorporate or focus on equity. Shadiin Garcia’s session on asset-based communication for project leaders was particularly impactful for many projects, and the Initiative team worked to diversify the artists and presenters featured at rendezvous. We also used the Studio to School principles to explore how arts education programming could be more equitable and asked projects to reflect on what they were learning about equity through the evaluation.
Still, we struggled to promote equity at the Initiative level, and this was related to a lack of clear or specific equity goals, shared understanding or common focus. We didn’t come to a broad agreement about what we meant by “equity,” or what it should look like. As a result, we weren’t able to make the kind of progress that we would have liked to see as a group.
Project teams discuss challenges at a learning community rendezvous.
Concerns about inequitable access to arts education were always at the core of Studio to School, but if we had prioritized equity differently, and better reinforced its importance along the way, project partners and teams would likely have been more diverse and more focused on advancing equity. While attention was paid to student served during project selection, that process could have better prioritized culturally specific or culturally responsive arts organizations, or arts organizations led by leaders of color or with a history of working in or with marginalized communities.
Without an emphasis on equity, some of the structure of the Initiative reinforced existing barriers and unequal distribution of resources. For example, the time and resource expectations of the learning community favored established organizations and people with sufficient capacity to participate without making room for BIPOC arts educators and others who have less capacity given their roles and responsibilities in schools and communities. Therefore, leadership of Initiative projects mirrored leadership in arts organizations and schools more generally and was mostly white and often older.
This lack of diversity meant that many perspectives—specifically those of students and families of color—were not adequately represented. Especially in the early years of the Initiative, learning community activities were often not culturally sensitive, responsive or welcoming, or otherwise felt inapplicable to some project teams given their context and student populations. The room wasn’t always comfortable for BIPOC team members, and at times even felt unsafe.
Through learning community and evaluation activities, projects were often asked to consider equity and think about the relationship between their work and equitable access to arts education. Because OCF’s expectations around equity were not explicit, this left projects to address equity (or not) in ways that best suited them.
Studio to School project teams often strived to advance equity. Some diversified student participation in the arts or brought diverse arts experiences into the school (e.g., through culturally specific arts learning opportunities and by hiring artists of color). Project teams specifically invited students who did not have prior arts experience and gave them multiple ways to participate, depending on their interests and availability. They built systems to ensure that every student, regardless of family income, had access to high-quality materials and instruments, transportation, and/or private tutors and instruction. Strides were made within projects, and rich insights came from those who engaged in and shared details about that work. But by the end of Studio to School, the failure to clarify expectations for equity within the projects led to a palpable sense of missed opportunity.
Studio to School showed us how access to arts education varies across communities, and how school and community-based arts education programs are addressing equity. We know that students in communities across the state lack access to arts education, and we suspect that this echoes patterns of resource allocation more broadly, wherein highly resourced schools have far more opportunities for high-quality arts education than schools with fewer resources. We’re a long way from realizing the equitable outcomes for students that participating in high-quality, responsive and culturally specific arts education has the potential to support.
Our 2019 report A Snapshot of K-12 Arts Education in Oregon illustrates available data about statewide access to arts education. The report notes that more arts education is currently available through Oregon schools than in the past and describes the important role that community-based arts organizations play in providing arts education in most Oregon communities. The report also describes how access varies across the state.
But we still don't have clear data to help us understand or address disparities statewide. Existing educational data doesn’t tell us enough about how much or what kinds of arts education students are accessing through their schools. Better data would allow us to identify and address gaps in arts education opportunities. Local efforts in the Portland metro area and Lane County are carving a path forward and providing insight about how to do this work statewide.
The sustainability of arts programs has long been the greatest challenge artists face on their journeys of keeping art present and relevant in people's lives.
Project Team Member
In many communities, the funding and resources needed to sustain–let alone grow—arts education programming is simply not available. Expecting local communities to support this programming financially reinforces existing inequities. Many schools and districts lack the resources to support arts programs. Families can’t be expected to fill in the gaps. Nor can nonprofits, which need ongoing funding by their nature. Many rural communities have no large, local private companies or other foundations to draw on for additional support.
That said, in some cases, communities are independently supporting arts education that is not recognized by established education or funding systems as such.
Arts education programs—even when popular and beloved—often remain precarious. Even when school leaders value it, arts education is often the first thing cut when school budgets are stretched thin, as schools struggle to meet mandatory federal and state requirements. This precarity will likely continue until schools are adequately funded and/or the arts are prioritized with long-term federal, state and local funding.
The work we were trying to do through Studio to School and its projects—to change schools, community systems and cultures—does not happen quickly or easily. It requires long-term commitment, intense focus, ongoing dedication and endless patience, balanced with an eagerness to learn and a willingness to adapt to changing community priorities and needs. It requires champions who are adept at building relationships and ready to share equally in both the workload and the celebration of success—even when it’s incremental.
Applying what we’ve learned
What we have learned together is already shaping our work as well as that of the arts organizations and schools involved in Studio to School, as we all strive to improve the equity, quality and sustainability of arts education in Oregon.
Here’s what we’ve been up to since Studio to School ended in fall 2019.
We are supporting discussions among art education champions throughout the state, including participants in the Studio to School learning community. These champions deserve ongoing support as they strengthen arts education in Oregon. We are deepening existing relationships and cultivating new ones, bringing arts advocates of all ages to the table, making connections across the state, and supporting leadership development. We are also exploring how to convene arts education leaders and support advocacy efforts led by these champions, and relying on the arts education community to guide our strategies to support systems change.
This grantmaking program built on the lessons of Studio to School by funding nine arts education programs in several dozen schools statewide. The Initiative’s goal was to further explore how arts organizations and schools can improve school-based arts education programs and how the Studio to School principles might aid in this work.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic began before these programs had a full school year to work on improvements. Thus, we adjusted our expectations for what these programs can accomplish and what we can learn about applying the Studio to School principles in the hopefully unique context of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we have been continually impressed with the dedication of the project leaders and arts educators, and the willingness of this group of programs (and others) to share what they are doing and learning. Many were able to continue providing arts education programming remotely and learned as they innovated. As this Initiative wraps up later in 2021, we’ll share more about what we’ve learned.
More generally, we are placing trust in communities, arts organizations, schools and artists. They know what they need, and we are operating from that understanding by honoring their expertise, leadership and guidance. We recognize the value in locally developed and locally driven arts education programming. Rather than looking for arts education “program models” to replicate or scale statewide, we are appreciating and celebrating the reality that what works in one community will not work the same way in another. Studio to School illustrated the value of acknowledging and working to shift power differences, of working with humility and empathy, and of supporting those with lived experience and expertise as they lead the way.
We are also working to center students and lift up their voices and perspectives as arts champions, leaders and advocates. In Studio to School, we often relied on the educators and artists who work closely with students to bring their voices forward. But we missed opportunities to center students in the work at every level. Because of this, our approach is now evolving. We have included students in our network-building for arts education, and their perspectives have been essential to shaping the work and our priorities. We are supporting efforts such as Oregon House Bill 3363—which would establish a Racial Equity and Justice Student Council, giving students a greater role in shaping their own education—and we are exploring how the arts can support these legislative goals.
Our understanding of the statewide arts education landscape continues to evolve. We can see that the lack of statewide vision for arts education, and for a strong and supportive arts education infrastructure, undercuts the health and sustainability of programs throughout the state. These structural weaknesses also make it more difficult to advocate for policy or other systemic changes.
The Studio to School Initiative demonstrated the value of long-term funding and highlighted the precarity of arts education programs. Well-established programs that produce positive outcomes and are treasured by communities still struggle with sustainability. This is a systems issue related to how arts education is prioritized at the local and state level and to insufficient funding for schools and the arts in general. As long as schools face impossible budget decisions, nonprofits remain overburdened and communities struggle to meet basic needs, it seems likely that arts education will remain precarious.
Philanthropic dollars cannot solve this issue alone, and Oregon’s arts education sector currently lacks cohesive statewide leadership or strategy. Because of these gaps, we have shifted our attention to promoting statewide, systemic changes that will ensure students benefit equitably from arts education, including:
- Building on existing structures and leveraging opportunities to align with other systems-change efforts in education, such as movements around social and emotional learning, mental health, and student voice. Specifically, we support the inclusion of arts leaders and student artists in those conversations.
- Advocating for more arts leadership at the statewide level.
- Educating and encouraging local school districts to consider arts education when planning for use of Student Success Act dollars. Though the pandemic caused hiccups in planning for Student Success Act implementation, we are optimistic that great opportunities remain to deploy funds to restore arts education in many communities.
We are continuing to explore the best ways to use our voice and resources to increase access to high-quality arts education. We recognize a continuing need for more and better data on current arts education opportunities, which would help us better identify existing assets and opportunities for improvement. We also recognize the inherent tension between promoting clearer, stronger statewide support for arts education, and supporting communities as they determine their own needs and make plans to meet them. Finally, we recognize that we cannot do this work alone: Relevant efforts to improve arts education require leadership from students, arts educators, and arts education champions in communities throughout our state.
How can you move arts education in Oregon forward?
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to strengthening arts education in our state. For arts education to thrive, it needs support from families, students, teachers, school administrators, community organizations, artists and leaders at all levels and in all types of communities.
Public officials, funders, education leaders, arts leaders & students can:
The arts provide opportunities for all students to drive their learning and to engage differently in their education. The arts can provide opportunities for otherwise unheard or unseen students to connect with education in new and deeper ways. Students can take leadership at the local, regional, and statewide level to determine what arts education should look like in Oregon. Infusing arts education into existing student leadership efforts will shape the future of arts education while lifting up students as creatives and leaders.
Research on the value of arts education abounds, and the takeaway is clear: Not only does arts education develop artistic and arts-related skills and knowledge, but it also builds social and emotional skills like critical thinking, perseverance and self-esteem (Worcel et al., 2017; Americans for the Arts, 2013). Engaging in the arts is vital to our collective well-being. The arts support healing and connection, helping students reach a better understanding of themselves and each other. Through the arts, we can examine, question and upend inequitable systems, building toward a better world.
Arts education supports student learning and educational success. Participating in arts programming leads to higher grades and graduation rates, as well as greater civic engagement as adults (Worcel et al., 2017). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic; racial injustice and widespread protests; increasing attention to students’ social and emotional needs; and many other factors, education is in a state of upheaval—and possibility. We have an opportunity to rethink how we serve students, what they need to operate in the world and how they become full participants in a civic society. Arts education is one of the tools that can help lead us there, and a wide coalition of advocates is needed to make that happen.
There is a need for shared language and framing regarding the value of arts education in Oregon and how it can promote inclusive, equitable schools and communities. Students, arts educators, education leaders and arts organizations need to be included in creating a collective vision of how we want arts education to look in the future. These stakeholders will need adequate support to lead and collaborate in this work. Ultimately, this will help move the arts education sector and education system beyond a scarcity mindset to one that embraces abundance, dreams big, and furthers statewide goals in equity and inclusion.
The Studio to School principles support this work by providing a definition of high-quality arts education developed collaboratively by arts organizations and schools. The principles will likely need to evolve as this vision takes shape and priorities clarify and shift and clarify.
We have opportunities to connect arts education with other educational priorities and workforce development efforts. In many districts, educators focus on supporting students’ social and emotional learning and mental health, as well as the mental health needs of educators and administrators. Education leaders at the state, district and school level are also incorporating and elevating culturally specific and culturally responsive learning opportunities and trauma-informed care to better serve historically marginalized students. Arts education can help us meet these priorities, but its champions—especially students—must advocate for its value and inclusion.
The arts are also a valuable addition to career technical education (CTE), and can be better integrated and promoted in science, technology, engineering, arts and math education (STEAM). Local examples, including some of the Studio to School projects, demonstrate that relationships between the business sector and schools can be cultivated through arts education. There is great opportunity to enlist many more arts education champions who are connected to other sectors (e.g., technology, public health, economic vitality).
Arts education ignites the creative spirit of young people, helping them find a place within their communities and connect to what makes us human. It develops future performers, musicians, writers, painters, stagehands and audience members. Without arts education, there would be no museums, musicals, or theater performances. Arts education is a critical precursor to a robust, healthy creative economy. For this reason, some arts education champions are framing arts education as a vital human or civil right. From this perspective, inequitable access to arts education diminishes students’ well-being and limits their future career paths. If all students have the basic right to receive a well-rounded education, and this is necessary for them to fully participate in the economy as adults, then their education must include robust arts education.
Though the Oregon Department of Education is beginning to take action (e.g., by seeking to hire a state arts education specialist), Oregon has been largely without a central entity responsible for developing and advancing a strategy for statewide equitable arts education. This creates challenges within the field, leaving a shared vision difficult to craft or enact. Without this leadership, there is a need to push the work forward collaboratively across many parts of Oregon’s complex arts ecosystem. In order to do so, we need better information collection and data transparency to identify resources, gaps and opportunities. Public officials and funders can prioritize and adequately resource better data collection, leaning on the experience of local and regional groups that have worked to better understand the arts education opportunities in their communities. Education and arts leaders can ensure that high-quality data is collected and shared within local communities and at the state level to support strategic investment in arts education.
There is power in convening educators, providing opportunities for peer learning, and investing in networks and fields. Arts education has long been under-resourced, and many artists, arts champions and educators work in silos. Part of strengthening the field entails supporting collective work, learning, professional development, and convening. Public officials and funders can provide resources to bring people together. Leaders of educational and arts organizations can ensure staff have the time and support necessary to engage in these opportunities. Students should be included—not only as valuable contributors to learning communities but also as advisors—to ensure that arts educators meet student needs.
Arts organizations—especially those working in partnership with schools—need ongoing and flexible support from funders. Existing avenues for funding are limited at best, which has created a scarcity mindset and competition between the arts and other subjects. Adequately supporting arts education requires long-term, generous funding that takes into account the operating and administrative costs needed for schools and arts organizations to collaborate. This work should start, but not end, with funders making more grants to arts programs. There is also a need to think more deeply and creatively about funding creative programs at the state and local level. The arts are a good place to start these conversations, experimental approaches and paradigm-shifting thinking.
- Honor local priorities, needs and strengths. Avoid a top-down, prescriptive statewide approach to art education. The Studio to School projects—and local arts education efforts throughout Oregon—demonstrate that place-based, locally responsive arts education programs can be incredibly impactful. There is little appetite or need for a blunt approach or an unfunded (or underfunded) mandate.
- Look to the leaders in regional and discipline-specific arts organizations for their expertise in improving arts education. While Oregon lacks strong statewide leadership for arts education broadly, we do have discipline-specific arts organizations (e.g., Oregon Music Education Association) that play important statewide roles, as well as regional organizations like Lane Arts Council. In addition, many awe-inspiring organizations are providing arts education throughout the state; the arts administrators and teaching artists engaged in this work have incredible expertise and passion for improving arts education in Oregon, and their insights and talent should be nurtured.
- Bolster classroom teacher training to better incorporate arts learning. We learned through Studio to School that training for classroom teachers is sorely lacking when it comes to the arts. Outside of arts specialist training, roles and expertise that are vital to well-rounded arts learning opportunities in schools, most classroom teachers are not exposed to the arts as a learning tool. Moreover, many younger teachers did not experience robust or high-quality arts learning opportunities in their own K-12 education. Often, they feel an understandable discomfort when it comes to arts learning, and are not familiar with the role schools can play in supporting the arts. Including the arts in teachers’ education and training can enrich their teaching practice in myriad ways.
- Encourage and support school district efforts to build and improve arts learning opportunities via Student Investment Account funding from the Student Success Act. The Studio to School projects provide many examples of how arts education can support school or district goals. This includes how arts learning can address community priorities like social and emotional learning and the need for culturally specific arts opportunities. Arts opportunities can also enrich learning and student experience; the Studio to School projects demonstrate how artist residencies can support student learning in and through the arts, and how arts experiences can build connection and community within schools and between schools and their local communities.
- Build trusting relationships with grantees. Studio to School is just one example of the value of funders building strong relationships with community partners and connecting, learning and growing together. Working with grantees over multiple years, and supporting them beyond providing funding—such as by building networks or learning communities—are just a few ways to help strengthen these relationships. Funders can look to frameworks like trust-based philanthropy for more guidance on how and why to build stronger relationships with community organizations.
- Reconsider sustainability expectations. Funders often expect community partners to continue programming beyond funding periods. While it is sometimes possible to sustain programming by making it more efficient, this usually requires finding alternative funding sources. These expectations can also deepen disparities, as under-resourced communities are less likely to be able to promise or achieve sustainability through local funding. Releasing these expectations has a range of implications: Funders can consider supporting organizations on longer timelines, strategically deploy more funding to under-resourced communities, and/or advocate for stable, statewide arts education funding. A range of approaches will likely be needed to address this challenge.
- Think deeply about the value and role of arts education. Rather than focusing solely on how the arts can support core subjects, or how to squeeze the arts in around other things, school leaders can think about what students need, and who they are and can be. How can the arts support student growth, and help students feel successful in ways that they might not otherwise? How can the arts make the school more welcoming and promote belonging for students and their families? By thinking about what is possible, rather than approaching arts education with a scarcity mindset, arts education can again flourish in schools, and students can flourish as a result.
- Cultivate a school environment that champions and integrates the arts. The arts can be part of a school’s core identity and curriculum, and a vital part of a whole-child education. But doing this, especially in current school budget climates, requires thoughtful planning and advocacy for adequate staffing and budgeting at the district and school level. This entails making sure teachers have the resources they need to be successful, including time to collaborate and support arts learning whether they are arts specialists or classroom teachers.
- Celebrate your commitment to arts learning vocally and visibly. Through Studio to School, we came to appreciate the importance of school leaders as visible advocates for the arts. Proclaiming your support for arts learning will uplift the students, teachers and artists in your community who care about the arts and will light a path for others who want to see arts learning thrive.
- Engage with arts organizations and teaching artists to co-create arts learning opportunities. In doing so, school leaders can develop partnerships that benefit students, teachers and entire school communities. Many arts organizations and teaching artists are already providing high-quality arts learning opportunities throughout the state and would be willing partners in doing so in schools; many already have expertise in doing so. School leaders can also help ensure that arts organizations and teaching artists are adequately paid for this work.
Learn more about what local and regional school leaders can do to support arts education in Studio to School Principles.
- Get to know the schools and communities. As you enter into school partnerships, learn about school ecosystems and local communities by listening to the priorities, strengths, needs, pressures and other contextual factors in a given school or district. Build relationships with key leaders—including school administrators, teachers and student leaders—who can inform your planning and help you offer the most responsive, beneficial arts learning opportunities possible.
- Build mutually beneficial school partnerships. This requires developing shared goals that center students but also serve the school, community and arts organization. Remember that arts organizations are often more flexible than schools; they can take proactive steps to adapt to student, teacher and school needs.
- Seek ongoing professional development, and develop a network of peers to inform and improve arts learning practice. Opportunities for professional development exist locally, regionally and beyond. Organizations like Young Audiences, Lane Arts Council, and Arts in Education of the Gorge offer professional development opportunities for arts educators, which are also opportunities to build a network of peers who will spur camaraderie, share learning and strengthen one another’s practice.
- Communicate the true cost and value of arts learning opportunities. Arts organizations and teaching artists need to be adequately paid for their hard, important and valuable work. While it is admirable that some artists and organizations can fundraise to volunteer or offer their time and expertise at discounted rates, this can conceal the true cost of the work, which in turn can create unrealistic expectations from school leaders and others. When artists and organizations provide low-priced or pro bono work, it can be helpful to communicate transparently the real cost and value of the work as well.
Read more about what community-based arts organizations and teaching artists can do to support arts education in Studio to School Principles.
- Champion the arts in their local schools and communities. Student perspectives and priorities are essential to the design and implementation of any educational program, including arts education. Student advocacy can be incredibly powerful in determining school and district priorities. Students who care about arts education can seek leadership opportunities, or opportunities to share their voices to champion arts education and talk about its importance in their lives.
- Share and celebrate their creative work with the adults around them. One of the most compelling ways for adults, including school leaders, to understand the value of arts learning is to see students creatively expressing themselves and finding success and joy in the arts. This can involve everything from formal exhibits and performances, to sharing individual successes in completed work, to making the arts learning process visible by sharing progress and work underway.