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About REL Mid-Atlantic

Regional Educational Lab (REL) Mid-Atlantic partners with key stakeholders in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to develop evidence that can inform consequential decisions about policy, programs, and practice. Key stakeholders include organizations with decision-making authority and the ability to influence education policy and practice, such as state and local education agencies, school boards, institutes of higher education, and student, family, and community organizations. RELs partner with these organizations on applied research and development; training, coaching and technical supports; and dissemination. Click here to learn more about the REL Program.

PARTNERSHIPS

The REL will develop and test a writing toolkit in partnership with teachers, school leaders, and professional development coaches from four charter schools in Washington, DC, to address the need for improved literacy and writing instructions across DC. Learn more
REL-Mid Atlantic is hosting a community of practice for state education agencies that are seeking to refine and improve school accountability measures in 2022 and beyond. Learn more
COVID both exacerbated pre-existing inequities in student performance and social-emotion well-being as well as brought COVID emergency relief funding. DCPS is leveraging these funds to improve the aforementioned inequities in part through its Multi-Tiered System of Supports, MTSS@DCPS. The REL is conducting both applied research and technical support projects to partner with DCPS in leveraging evidence-based approaches as it embeds MTSS district-wide. Learn more
This partnership will work closely with Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) to create sustained, systematic organizational change by helping DDOE implement a revised teacher evaluation system statewide that effectively helps teachers improve their instructional practice. Learn more
This partnership will work with NJDOE, building on prior REL work, to use research and data to increase the number of teachers of color hired in the state and eventually improve student outcomes. Learn more
This partnership will strengthen supportive learning environments and the social-emotional wellness of students and staff by building capacity in education agencies to use data and evidence to assess needs and to identify and implement promising strategies and programs. Learn more
Acknowledging persistent disparities in student outcomes and a history of structural racism in the district, in 2021 the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) announced its goal to become a more equitable school district by examining and disrupting inequitable processes and practices. Learn more

OUR TEAM

REL Mid-Atlantic is led by Mathematica with support from the following partners:

  • Format Consulting LLC
  • Global Learning Partners (GLP)
  • Manhattan Strategy Group (MSG)
  • NWEA
  • Pemberton Research
  • Quality Information Partners (QIP)
  • Research About Children of Color in Early Education LLC (RACCEE)
  • Tallman Research and Educational Development (TRED)
  • WestEd

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GOVERNING BOARD

The REL Governing Board helps REL Mid-Atlantic prioritize the education needs of the region, provides strategic guidance on REL work to maximize local effectiveness, and leverages members’ regional networks to amplify and disseminate REL products. REL Mid-Atlantic Governing Board members represent diverse expertise and experience.

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The TCTS project will build the capacity of SDP’s Offices of DEI, Research and Evaluation, and Academic Support to monitor the progress of the CLIF initiative as well as improve its design and implementation. The REL’s technical support will begin in June 2022 and continue through July 2023. The project will include the following activities: a review of existing DEI-related data collection instruments, production of a landscape analysis, and collaboratively determining how existing measures could be adopted or adapted to monitor CLIF implementation; co-developing and supporting SDP’s pilot of test measure(s); and co-designing survey items, conducting cognitive interviews, and leading a technical support session to refine survey items.
This TCTS project will include coaching for central office staff involved in leading and supporting the Equity Partners Fellowship. Coaching will begin in August 2022 and continue throughout the 2022/23 school year to help SDP leaders in the DEI office refine the program and strengthen the supports it will offer to future Equity Fellows, particularly around their action research projects. Coaching will also include modeling the data collection process to support ongoing data informed continuous improvement of the program.
The REL and NJDOE are collaborating to develop and facilitate a coaching series for 10 select New Jersey school districts to build their capacity to make data-informed decisions and implement research-based practices that promote increased hiring of teachers of color throughout the state.
This project aims to increase the robustness of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) accountability system to measurement error, thereby improving its accuracy. The REL team will apply a Bayesian model to historical subgroup data and compare the reliability of the stabilized Bayesian proficiency rates to the un-stabilized proficiency rates typically used to inform Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) determinations. If the stabilized subgroup rates prove more reliable than the corresponding un-stabilized subgroup rates, REL staff will then apply the Bayesian approach to 2022 proficiency data, allowing PDE to include those results into the TSI and ATSI determinations in late 2022.
The Accountability Community of Practice is working with NJDOE to ensure that the measures of school ELP used in its ESSA accountability are reliable and valid in the wake of COVID-related assessment disruptions and for the long term. The REL is providing support for the design of diagnostic analyses to assess potential biases in the schoolwide measures of English language proficiency (ELP) due to missing data from testing disruptions in 2020 and 2021, assistance in interpreting the findings from the proposed diagnostic analyses, providing technical specifications to impute missing data and weight existing data on ELP measures to be representative of each school’s full population of English learners, and coaching and dissemination support on how to effectively describe the proposed alternative ELP indicator weights system and the techniques used to handle missing student-level ELP data for a non-technical audience and stakeholders.
The Accountability Community of Practice is working with NJDOE to explore Bayesian methods, and to evaluate whether using Bayesian methods would improve the reliability of the accountability data, especially when applied to smaller subgroups. The project will provide training, code and other coding resources, and an educator-friendly infographic to NJDOE technical program support staff. Short-term outcomes include a better understanding of Bayesian methods and measures, distribution of an infographic on Bayesian stabilization, and improved capacity to implement refinements to the NJDOE accountability system. Medium-term outcomes include an increase in the reliability of school-performance measures used in NJ’s accountability system, and successful communication of the merits of those measures to NJ educators.

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