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Top 7 facts about REL Midwest in 2017

Top 7 facts about REL Midwest in 2017

By Meredith Lukow
November 20, 2017

Download our infographic [ 232 KB PDF icon ] for a by the numbers look at REL Midwest in 2017 using final year-end data points.

Wondering what the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest did to support evidence-based education this year? In 2017, REL Midwest formed new research partnerships, conducted research, provided technical assistance, and shared resources. Although many of the fruits of this labor will be realized in the future, there is still much to celebrate. For a by-the-numbers overview of the year, check out these top seven facts you should know about the work of REL Midwest and our wonderful partners in 2017.

Five major partnerships with 73 members from across the region

REL Midwest conducts its work through collaborative research partnerships with Midwest education stakeholders. In 2017, REL Midwest formed four research alliances and one networked improvement community that will guide its work for the next five years:

There are 57 individual members of the research alliances, including state education administrators, district superintendents, principals, university professors, and staff from other youth-serving organizations. The networked improvement community’s membership includes 16 individuals representing three school districts and one area education agency.

Eight research proposals and work on two reports

REL Midwest researchers collaborate with the partnership members to develop research agendas. In 2017, REL Midwest facilitated agenda-setting workshops with its major partnerships, and those conversations resulted in eight proposals for research projects this year, with more on deck for 2018.

REL Midwest also responds to requests for immediate assistance from state and local education agencies, which has resulted in work on two “just in time” research projects this year. These include forthcoming reports on predictors of early college success at the K-12 level in Indiana and a systematic literature review on interventions associated with the academic achievement of Black students.

Eleven trainings and 11 coaching sessions

REL Midwest provides technical assistance to education stakeholders across the region. As of the end of October, REL Midwest had facilitated six trainings and nine coaching sessions, with another five trainings and two coaching sessions planned for the remainder of the year. This work ranges from a coaching project on continuous improvement cycles in Iowa to a two-part training exploring the potential for clinically oriented teacher preparation programs in Michigan and workshops on research methods for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Seven videos, including four short vignettes and three public television programs

By the end of 2017, REL Midwest will have produced seven videos. As of the end of October, the three then-published videos had garnered a total of more than 600 views on YouTube. REL Midwest’s video work in 2017 includes two short explanatory videos and a 30-minute documentary about academic supports for English learners, which included examples from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and was created in partnership with WVIZ/PBS ideastream. Keep an eye out for two more public television programs—highlighting the research on teacher preparation and the integration of education technology in K-12 schools with examples from Michigan and Iowa, respectively—and two more short videos on developing collaborative research agendas and the REL Midwest research alliances still to come later this year.

Eight in-person or virtual events, reaching hundreds of participants

REL Midwest has planned eight events this year, ranging from in-person events or screenings to virtual webinars. The in-person events include a discussion about culturally responsive practices to close the achievement gap, which was cohosted with Wisconsin’s Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 1, and screenings for each of REL Midwest’s three public television programs.

REL Midwest also hosted or plans to host four webinars in 2017 on topics including how childcare providers can help parents prepare their children for kindergarten, college and career readiness for American Indian students, and teacher movement between districts. Still to come in December is REL Midwest’s final webinar of the year, which will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in rural areas. REL Midwest’s first three webinars of 2017 boasted 192 real-time attendees, including 55 researchers, 34 education/public policy organization staff, 29 state-level education staff, and 23 superintendents or other district-level staff. Recordings of the webinars were later viewed more than 300 times on YouTube.

Thirty-four Ask A REL responses, with two more in progress

The Ask A REL collaborative reference desk service provides referrals and references for education questions posed by policymakers and practitioners from the field. As of the end of October, REL Midwest had answered 34 Ask A REL queries on a variety of education topics, with two more currently in progress. New questions can be submitted anytime on the Institute of Education Sciences Ask A REL page.

One new website, which has been viewed more than 10,000 times

In July, REL Midwest launched a brand-new website, which houses a plethora of resources about integrating education research, practice, and policy. From July through October, the REL Midwest website has been viewed more than 10,000 times. The website also features 28 blog articles (including this one) written over the course of 2017. REL Midwest’s blog posts include a roundup of resources on career readiness, an explanation of REL Midwest’s current and previous networked improvement community experience, and profiles of several REL Midwest alliance members.


Stay tuned for more from REL Midwest in 2018 as the collaborative research gets under way! Keep in touch by signing up for the REL Midwest newsletter or following @RELMidwest on Twitter.

Note: All data points in this article were current as of October 31, 2017.

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Author(s) Information

Meredith Lukow Picture

Meredith Lukow

Communications Associate | 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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