With the start of 2023, we begin the second year of REL Midwest's current five-year cycle of work. During our first year, we launched six partnerships and designed the first project of what we see as a future seventh partnership. It was a busy year for our teams and our partners! Do you remember January of 2022? Omicron was in full swing. Our partners were dealing with yet another wave of the pandemic while also facing massive staffing shortages from bus drivers to teachers to school leaders. While school districts received Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding for services intended to improve student outcomes, it was difficult to recruit staff to provide those services.
In the midst of these stressors, champions in our partner organizations remained committed to working with REL Midwest staff on the development, implementation, and testing of research-based approaches to address education priorities. In the spring and summer of 2022, our partners identified collaborators to work with our teams to develop these approaches. We then began implementing the approaches in August for four of our partnerships. Development continued into the fall for the other two partnerships with implementation launching this month.
There have been many high points to celebrate over this past year:
As we learn from this first school year of implementation, we will expand our partnerships to include parents and students, who are on the receiving end of these approaches but often are not included in the discussions. We have long benefitted from working in partnership with teachers, principals, and administrators to better understand the context of their work. We are excited to hear from students and their families, and we are certain that their voices will inform our work and that of our partners in important ways.
We will keep you updated on our progress through our newsletters, but if you want to learn more, please don't hesitate to reach out directly.
REL Midwest Director