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A message from our director: REL Midwest’s equity work

Message from our director on equity

By Julie Kochanek, Ph.D.
June 25, 2020

It has been an incredibly difficult month in our country as we process the untimely deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and address issues of racism and injustice. At the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest, we are committed to pursuing equity in our work and are grateful for the opportunity to work with educators across our region to address achievement gaps and expand opportunities for students.

Over the past three years, our Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance has been working with partners on projects to address opportunity gaps for Black students in Wisconsin. You may be interested in our systematic literature review on evidence-supported interventions associated with Black students’ education outcomes, as well as the companion infographic [348 KB PDF icon ] and a video that highlights how teachers and administrators in Wisconsin’s Racine Unified School District are working to improve Black students’ outcomes. A REL Midwest documentary, High Hopes and Higher Education: Honoring Black Students’ Aspirations, highlights additional examples of programs that use evidence-based strategies to support Wisconsin students of color in the transition between high school and college. To promote equity at the policy level, we provided training to Wisconsin school board members and district superintendents to raise their awareness of the opportunity and achievement gaps that the state’s Black students face and of strategies that can help narrow these gaps. We also have a new report, slated to be released later this year, focused on the implementation of a program on culturally responsive practices that is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

REL Midwest continues to do meaningful work with partners across our region to support racial equity. We have an active project with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights focused on reducing disparities in student discipline in school districts and charter schools in the state. And in Illinois, REL Midwest staff are providing in-depth coaching and consultation to district leaders in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 around culturally responsive instruction as a way to improve outcomes for students of color and students with disabilities.

We want to hear from you if there are specific ways we can support your needs. Please do not hesitate to email us at We look forward to sharing more resources focused on equity in the upcoming months to support our region in this important work.



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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 (42)

Data Use (32)

Discipline (4)

Early Childhood (31)

Educator Effectiveness (36)

English Learners (10)

Literacy (11)

Math (1)

Online Courses (7)

Research Tools (2)

Rural (14)

Teacher Preparation (24)

Teacher Recruitment (2)

Teacher Retention (2)

Teacher Workforce (14)

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