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A message from our director: REL Midwest’s COVID-19 response

Message from our director: COVID-19 response

By Julie Kochanek, Ph.D.
April 28, 2020

Like many of you, we here at REL Midwest have been working from home for more than six weeks. And like you, we have continued to work at a relentless pace to respond to the new challenges we are all facing as we work to serve the educators, students, and families in our seven-state region.

In March, we focused on bringing evidence-based resources to teachers, principals, and district administrators on providing access and high-quality instruction in a remote learning environment. Our “quick chat” webinar on shifting to virtual learning and follow-up webinar on research-based resources and strategies for remote learning are two examples. We also have taken the lead in coordinating efforts across the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) to quickly provide resources on topics such as serving English learner students, adapting remote instruction for students with disabilities, and engaging students in early grades. You will find these resources compiled on a new REL Program website devoted to the emergent needs of educators, students, and parents and caregivers in this crisis.

During April, we have been meeting one-on-one with REL Midwest’s governing board members to better understand the challenges they face in the near and long terms. These members include district administrators; state education agency staff; and directors of principal, superintendent, and school board associations in our region. We already have identified places where we can redirect resources to support our partners in the months ahead.

We’ve heard from some of you that your concerns and planning are broadening beyond the immediate care and education of students under quarantine to include fall re-entry and the transition back to in person instruction. Some of you also are creating contingency plans for continued or sporadic periods of school closures. There are a lot of questions: How do educators allocate funding without spring test scores to support those students most in need? How do educators meet the needs of students who will have experienced uneven and unpredictable learning loss due to the current school closures? What should educators prioritize so that potential school closures in the future provide equitable learning opportunities for all students? At REL Midwest, we are prepared to help you find research-based solutions to these questions by providing analytic support, evidence-based trainings, and access to subject-matter experts.

As always, we want to hear from you about how we can provide relevant support for the education challenges ahead. Please reach out to me and the REL Midwest team with your questions or concerns. Otherwise, we will continue to stay in touch on Twitter, through our newsletter, and on our website.

Stay safe and healthy!



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Author Information

Julie Kochanek Director REL Midwest Picture

Julie Kochanek, Ph.D.

Director | REL Midwest


Beating the odds (2)

Charter Schools (2)

College and Career Readiness (41)

Data Use (31)

Discipline (4)

Early Childhood (30)

Educator Effectiveness (36)

English Learners (10)

Literacy (10)

Math (1)

Online Courses (7)

Research Tools (2)

Rural (14)

Teacher Preparation (23)

Teacher Recruitment (1)

Teacher Retention (1)

Teacher Workforce (13)

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