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New Work, Same Mission: REL Northwest in 2017 and Beyond

By Christopher Mazzeo | March 29, 2017

Christopher Mazzeo
Christopher Mazzeo jointly serves as the director of the Center for Research, Evaluation and Analysis at Education Northwest and as director of REL Northwest.

Partnership is at the core of all Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest work—we are committed to collaborating with stakeholders to determine goals and activities, as well as situate our work in locally defined needs.

Accordingly, to prepare for our newest contract, REL Northwest reached out to regional education stakeholders to learn about their most critical challenges and how we can partner to use data and evidence to address them. We also worked closely with our REL Governing Board to prioritize needs in the Northwest region as a whole.

After reviewing all of the conversations, we identified the following focus areas:

  • Equitable start in learning
  • Appropriate supports for English learners
  • High school graduation and postsecondary education success
  • Supply and development of effective educators
  • Accountability and system improvement

To tackle these five areas, we will work side by side with stakeholders through a diverse set of research-practice partnerships.

Research-practice partnerships involve collaborative, long-term, mutualistic relationships between researchers and educators that help educators more regularly use research evidence in their decision-making.

These collaborations vary in size and structure, but they all engage in the same three activities: convening, collective inquiry, and collective action.

Another trait all REL research alliances share is their dedication to improving education outcomes, which we support by building stakeholders’ capacity to work with and use data and evidence.

All of this will help us achieve our ultimate goal: promote equitable outcomes, as well as contribute to ensuring access to high-quality learning opportunities and experiences, for all students in our region.

Although our work for the next five years will center on the five focus areas mentioned earlier, we will also address other important issues stakeholders identify going forward.

(For example, we will provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and technical support, and we are prepared to provide technical support to help both local and state education agencies meet the evidence requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.)

In the meantime, we are excited about our newest REL contract, and we are thrilled to work with both longtime and new partners in 2017 and beyond.

To identify our specific scope of work for the next five years, we are talking to stakeholders in the field and listening to your concerns.

I would like to extend an invitation to all of our REL Northwest stakeholders to contact me with any questions. I can be reached at 503-275-9505 or via email.

Thank you for your partnership. Let’s get to work!