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Midwest Alliance to Improve Knowledge Utilization


Jill Bowdon

Partnership Objective

The objective of the Midwest Alliance to Improve Knowledge Utilization is to learn more about effective strategies for increasing the uptake of research results by state and local education agency staff.


  • Jon Bales, Executive Director, Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Heather Boughton, Director, Office of Research, Evaluation & Advanced Analytics, Ohio Department of Education
  • Kirk Hamilton, Executive Director, Buckeye Association of School Administrators
  • Venessa Keesler, Deputy Superintendent, Educator, Student, and School Supports, Michigan Department of Education
  • Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries and Technology, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Chris Wigent, Executive Director, Michigan Association of School Administrators

Training, Coaching, and Technical Support Projects

Evidence-based Intervention Clearinghouse Coaching

While states previously provided direct support to low-performing schools, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) now places more responsibility on districts by requiring them to select evidence-based interventions to help these schools improve. But how will districts know which programs meet this standard? With help from researchers at REL Midwest, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is working to fill this knowledge gap by creating tools to help districts identify evidence-based interventions. REL Midwest is providing coaching to ODE staff and developed a crosswalk that allows practitioners and policymakers to determine the ESSA tier of evidence achieved by an intervention if it meets a particular research clearinghouse’s evidence standard.

Research Methods Training for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Staff

REL Midwest is providing a six-part training series for staff at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The topics cover the fundamentals of research and evidence; the use and development of data collection methods, including surveys, focus groups, and rubrics; basic statistics; and communication of research findings. Workshop participants come from a variety of divisions across the department. The workshop content is developed in collaboration with DPI staff to ensure that the presentations and activities relate to their work. The workshop agenda, presentation slides, and activity handouts will be made available after each workshop:

Workshop to Develop Plans for a Teacher Exit Survey

As part of its work to understand teacher mobility and improve teacher retention, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) wants to provide districts with an instrument to collect data from teachers who are leaving their teaching positions. REL Midwest will conduct a workshop for ODE staff to help them launch the survey project. The workshop will cover clarifying the project’s goals, creating a timeline for survey development, and beginning to define the survey content and administration guidance. The workshop agenda, presentation slides, and handouts—including a survey planning Gantt chart—will be made available after the workshop.