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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Southwest: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, & Texas

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The REL Southwest serves the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The high-priority needs identified for this service region include charter school effectiveness, closing the achievement gap, early childhood education, Hispanic achievement in STEM, and rural school performance. These priorities represent compelling regional and state education needs that can be informed by research evidence as well as each state's expanding longitudinal data system.

The REL Southwest carries out much of its work through six research alliances. These alliances bring together educators, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to collaborate and use data and research evidence to address high-priority regional needs. Each research alliance focuses on one of the five priority areas that the REL Southwest has identified for the region.

  • Arkansas Prekindergarten Research Alliance
    Formed in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, this alliance focuses on questions of quality and effectiveness in the state's prekindergarten programs. The goals are to identify critical factors in the implementation of high-quality preK programs and to determine the impact of the programs on school readiness, grade 3 success, and other longitudinal outcomes. Other members include district, regional, state agency, and university staff.
  • Louisiana Charter Schools Research Alliance
    In keeping with the federal priorities of improving low-achieving schools and adopting and implementing rigorous academic standards and assessments, this alliance seeks to identify indicators of program quality and effectiveness among Louisiana charter schools. Members consist of charter schools, including the Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools and the New Beginnings Schools Foundation, as well as practitioners and university staff.
  • New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance
    This alliance seeks to identify obstacles to success and reduce achievement gaps among American Indian and Hispanic students. Additionally, the alliance seeks to address the needs of underachieving schools as well as increase students' college and career readiness, access, and completion throughout the state. Alliance members consist of staff from district, regional, state, university, and nonprofit groups.
  • New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance
    This alliance addresses the need for a comprehensive statewide preK–12 data system to inform and support prekindergarten policy and practice decisions. Members include staff from the New Mexico Public Education Department; New Mexico Voices for Children; the State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department; the Center for Education Policy Research at the University of New Mexico; T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood NEW MEXICO; and United Way of Santa Fe County.
  • Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance
    This alliance seeks to investigate and define the characteristics of rural schools in the state as well as effective professional development for these schools. This focus will be applied to identify and address the factors that contribute to or impede school performance in rural areas, with particular attention to challenges and solutions for strengthening college and career readiness among rural students. Members include school district staff, practitioners, state agency and university staff, and other interested stakeholders.
  • Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance
    This alliance seeks to improve instruction and educational outcomes for Hispanic students in the STEM disciplines. Members include staff from Texas school districts, the state's Education Service Centers, the American STEM Alliance, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the University of Texas and Our Lady of the Lake University.

Corporate Experience

Established in 1966 as one of the original RELs, SEDL works with educators, parents, policymakers, and other researchers to bridge the gap between research and practice. SEDL is home to the REL Southwest, the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers, the Knowledge Translation Center for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, two national cluster randomized controlled trials of reading and mathematics curricula, and other research, development, and dissemination projects designed to improve outcomes for all learners.

Lab Director:
Vicki Dimock, PhD
Governing Board

REL Southwest at SEDL
4700 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78723
(800) 476-6861
Key Subcontractors/Partners:
  • American Institutes for Research (AIR)
  • Chesapeake Research Associates LLC
  • Decision Information Resources Inc.
  • Empirical Education Inc.
  • Gibson Consulting Group
  • RAND Education