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REL Pacific

Supporting Collaboration in the Pacific

REL Pacific
Max Altman
June 25, 2018


At REL Pacific, we don't push any particular priorities of our own—rather, we identify and then support the priorities of those we serve. But sometimes this isn't as simple as it appears—for example, while it may be fairly straightforward to identify the priorities of a single individual, and often of a single organization, it's not always as easy to identify an agreed-upon list of priorities among multiple education stakeholders and systems, who may all have their own agendas and their own beliefs about the purposes of the work they do. So how does REL Pacific—and indeed, the entire Regional Educational Laboratory System—sift through varied and sometimes conflicting priorities and create a coherent plan of action, let alone one that results in real, lasting improvement?

Educators collaborating in informal meeting.

Educators collaborating in informal meeting.

The answer is, we can't—at least, we can't do it by ourselves. The people we work with are talented educators who have great ideas and are already intimately familiar with their own systems. So what can we contribute? How can we actually help our partners identify priorities?

In my opinion, at least, the answer is collaboration. At REL Pacific, we strive to translate external research into useful supports that are relevant in the Pacific. We facilitate collaboration between the many individuals and groups who influence and support education in each of our jurisdictions. We don't try to talk to all of those teachers, leaders, community members, and create a magical list of priorities and action plans. Rather, we bring them together to talk to each other. We don't tell stakeholders what their priorities are or should be; instead, we facilitate discussions in which they discuss their priorities and, together, identify shared goals. And we provide these groups with evidence-based tools and strategies to work toward their goals.

If you're interested in joining an existing Partnership or creating a new one based on your priorities, feel free to contact us at relpacific@mcrel.org!