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REL Northwest: Our Guiding Principles

Northwest | April 14, 2022

A group of 3 children involved in a school project

In our third and final blog of this introductory REL Northwest series, we’ll discuss our guiding principles for how we’ll be an effective, high-performing Regional Educational Laboratory, one of 10 in the nation.

Our first blog in this series described who we are and what we do. Our second blog covered how we are approaching our work during this new 2022-27 contract cycle. We welcome you to read those to learn more about us.

Our guiding principles provide the foundation for how we identify partners and propose our work with the goal of improving learner outcomes. Read more about our guiding principles below:

Focus on results

Our work must be change- and action-oriented. We want to address the last-mile issue by helping partners adopt continuous improvement processes and implement specific evidence-informed changes to policy and practice to improve student outcomes. The work aims not to describe problems, but to solve them.

Prioritize high-leverage and equity-focused activities

We balance opportunities to support initiatives and improvement efforts that already have momentum with opportunities to focus on overlooked and marginalized students and communities.

The work cannot be generic or too broad

Capacity building and research need to be attuned to the local context and culture. We can only be effective by developing authentic, more focused partnerships to help solve issues.

The work is more powerful when it is integrated

Partnerships that integrate applied research, TCTS (Training, Coaching and Technical Support), and strategic communication are more likely to positively impact student outcomes. We design and staff projects with this integrated approach in mind.

Authentic partnerships are asset-based

Our partnerships assume that practitioners are best positioned to identify solutions that will work for their students and communities. In many cases, our role may be to help our partners identify, amplify, and accelerate locally developed solutions.

Capacity building is an individual and organization process

Our approach to capacity building elevates practitioners and focuses on individual and organizational capacity that is sustainable and resilient to turnover. We look for opportunities to improve the ability of practitioners to use data and evidence to solve their own problems, to learn from peers, and adapt evidence-based solutions to meet the needs of their communities.

Our community strategy focuses on engagement and action

Our goal is not to spread knowledge, but to create resources that make knowledge actionable by educators, administrators, and policymakers.

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Katie Drummond is the director of REL Northwest and is responsible for overall project and direction. She brings over 20 years of experience in education research, research-based technical assistance, and practitioner partnerships designed to improve learner outcomes, especially for underserved populations.

Jodi Davenport is the deputy director of REL Northwest. She brings substantial experience leading large-scale research projects focused on novel approaches to improving student outcomes, particularly for students underserved in STEM fields.


Katie Drummond

Katie Drummond

Jodi Davenport

Jodi Davenport

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