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About REL Pacific

Regional Educational Lab (REL) Pacific partners with key stakeholders in American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands 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.


This REL Pacific partnership is supporting a hui (partnership) of schools developing a networked improvement community (NIC) engaging in critical action research around the development and implementation of high-quality ‘āina-based, place-based, and project-based instruction and assessment in Hawai‘i charter schools. Learn more
REL Pacific is partnering with the Palau Ministry of Education, Palau Community College, and local private schools to expand school leaders’ knowledge of effective teaching and strategies for supporting teacher recruitment and retention. Learn more
REL Pacific is partnering with the American Samoa Department of Education to reach their goal of developing a stronger culture of data use at all levels of the system, including strengthening data-driven decision making around teacher retention and attrition, and providing supports for teachers who directly influence student learning. Learn more
REL Pacific is partnering with the CNMI Public School System to address its high-leverage need of building a stronger culture of data use at the classroom, school, and systemwide levels, particularly regarding K–3 student literacy instruction and learning outcomes. Learn more
This partnership with the Federated States of Micronesia's (FSM) national and state departments of education seeks to improve student academic outcomes by developing systemwide structures and processes to support the creation and use of evidence-based, culturally sustaining models of instruction in all schools across FSM's four states. Learn more
This REL Pacific partnership is supporting Guam Department of Education's systematic efforts to increase students' math proficiency. The partnership is providing professional learning to increase educators' use of evidence-based math instructional strategies and is analyzing students' math course-taking patterns to better inform educators' decisions about course recommendations and intervention support services. Learn more
This partnership aims to improve student engagement, school connectedness, and academic outcomes in the Republic of the Marshall Islands by developing a culturally relevant and sustaining education framework that is grounded in Marshallese culture, language, context, and ways of knowing. Learn more
REL Pacific has convened a Community of Practice (CoP) for educators from across the Pacific region to discuss shared concerns and problems of practice related to the collection, use, management of, and ethics regarding education data. A central goal for this CoP is to collaboratively explore resources that make the use of data more relevant and impactful for educators in the Pacific region. Additionally, this CoP provides an opportunity for individual members to address unique concerns related to data quality or culture in their jurisdiction.


REL Pacific is led by McREL International with support from the following partners:

  • Abt Associates
  • Center for Assessment
  • Laura Corinna Designs
  • Magnolia Consulting
  • My House of Design
  • NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Seneca Consulting
  • Sharp Dimensions
  • The Tactile Group
  • WestEd

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The REL Governing Board helps REL Pacific 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 Pacific Governing Board members represent diverse expertise and experience.

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This project is supporting educators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Public School System (PSS) in improving their data-driven decision making when assigning students to Tier 2 reading interventions, as well as identifying potential areas of improvement for Tier 1 literacy instruction. By the end of this project, CNMI PSS central office staff and principals will develop and launch a plan to address early literacy intervention, while building their knowledge of evidence-based data practices within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) to support early literacy. This project will comprise six sessions taking place from October 2022 to November 2023.

REL Pacific is working with national and state education leaders in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to improve systemwide teacher planning and instruction by developing state-specific instructional models that can build a shared understanding of how learning works in their educational context and identify effective strategies teachers can use to support student learning. The goal of the project is to create instructional models for each state that elevate and sustain cultural practices and ways of knowing while achieving academic standards and dual-language policies that are currently in development across FSM. Pohnpei State DOE participated in this project from October 2022 and June 2023, and Kosrae State DOE began their participation in this project in October 2023.

This project supports efforts of the Yap Department of Education (YDOE) in the Federated States of Micronesia in improving the quality of Indigenous Yapese culture education in K–12 schools across Yap. The REL Pacific team is supporting YDOE as they update their Indigenous culture curricula and plan to train YDOE culture teachers about the new curricula.

This project that spans SY2022/23–2023/24 is providing Guam teachers with training and coaching on evidence-based teaching strategies for mathematics. Through the professional learning sessions, REL Pacific is helping teachers build their capacity to apply recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8. The project is also helping principals and instructional coaches increase their capacity to support teachers as they implement the teaching strategies.

REL Pacific is developing a toolkit of resources for middle school (grades 6–8) teachers to help them incorporate recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively into their own classroom practices. The toolkit will include professional learning resources and activities for teams of teachers to use to explore the recommended instructional strategies and guide their lesson planning, as well as videos showing the strategies being used in actual classrooms. The project’s goal is to support teachers in strengthening their knowledge and use of evidence-based practices for teaching writing and, ultimately, increase their students’ efficacy as writers.

This coaching project is supporting the Hui schools to collaboratively engage in Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) inquiry cycles to test and refine the networked improvement community’s common working theory of improvement. Coaching topics include the identification of what to measure; reviewing existing instruments; planning data collection routines and building school-level data teams, processes, and structures; evaluating and refining practical measures; and planning for data discussions.

Building on the SY2022/23 project that supported school leaders’ in identifying meaningful indicators of effective teaching, this project is grounded in continuous improvement processes, particularly, the “study” and “act” phases of the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. School teams will research their own school’s methods and processes for supporting literacy instruction as it relates to their school improvement plans. REL Pacific will facilitate four coaching sessions with school teams between July 2023 and April 2024.

This applied research project directly supports the Palau Partnership to Support Teacher Effectiveness and the Palau MOE goal to attract, develop, and retain a qualified and effective teacher workforce. In the short term, these analyses will allow the Palau MOE to better anticipate future teacher recruitment needs by using the results to anticipate upcoming teacher workforce changes related to the mandatory retirement age and the associate degree requirement. In the medium to long term, these findings can be used to better understand the reasons teachers exit the profession, which can inform efforts to design supports for teachers considering leaving and can inform future data collection efforts to further refine the plan for improved teacher recruitment and retention. The study is expected to be published in summer 2024.

REL Pacific supported the Yap State Department of Education’s efforts during SY2022/23 as they started to create a unified Yap State Indigenous culture curriculum that combines elements of their existing curriculums, incorporating best practices of curriculum shared by other Indigenous communities, and planning for standards and appropriate means of assessment. REL Pacific supported the YDOE central office development of their first state-wide culture curriculum by facilitating a week-long session with Yap Indigenous culture teachers to help YDOE identify content and measurable student learning outcomes for new curriculum in the summer of 2023.

In this applied research study, REL Pacific will conduct a systematic review of the research literature on Tier 2 literacy interventions. The study products will include an evidence and gap map of existing evaluation research on Tier 2 literacy interventions for students in grades K–3, a supplemental matrix of intervention strategies, and an evidence memo for CNMI PSS and other stakeholders. The results of this study will inform current training and coaching projects that focus on data-driven decision making as well as the descriptive study of early warning system (EWS) implementation and Tier 2 reading interventions. This study will be published in December 2023.

This project supports the FSM partnership and FSM state DOEs in their efforts to develop and implement culturally sustaining instructional models by reviewing research on systems change. In this week-long session, participants will learn the components of education systems, organizational change theory, stakeholder engagement, designing effective professional learning, and monitoring implementation, while developing initial implementation plans based on their local initiatives and contexts. Kosrae State DOE participated in this training in June 2023, and Pohnpei State DOE participated in this training in July 2023.

REL Pacific is supporting FSM state DOEs’ to plan and pilot their implementation of the culturally sustaining instructional models that were developed in a preceding project. The project sessions will focus on using the Team Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS) process to better understand and adapt the DOEs’ pilot implementations of the instructional models with their identified pilot schools. Pohnpei DOE began their participation in this project in September 2023.

To support the development of a culturally relevant and sustaining Marshallese education framework, core partnership members have requested REL Pacific training and coaching support in collecting and analyzing qualitative data on Marshallese students’ ways of knowing. REL Pacific will also provide coaching support in the collaborative interpretation of qualitative findings. Key learnings will be used by partners to develop a culturally relevant and sustaining Marshallese education framework.

The first training and coaching project Enhancing Central Office Ability to Address Teacher RetentionRetention will engage district-level staff from the ASDOE Teacher Quality Office to develop capacity with collecting data on the teacher workforce, to understand factors that may be influencing teacher attrition, particularly new teachers. Over the course of four training sessions, central office staff will learn about how to collect and use data to gain knowledge about the American Samoa teacher workforce, as well as existing research, literature, and frameworks available to develop a process for data collection and analysis. This project began in January 2024.

In this training and coaching project, REL Pacific worked with a cohort of Hawaiʻi charter school leaders and educators to establish and conduct a networked improvement community (NIC) exploring best practices for place-based, project-based, and ‘āina-based instruction and assessment. With REL Pacific facilitation support and resources informed by research, the cohort began establishing their NIC processes, components, goals, monitoring measures, and identifying common design elements and implementation practices that support high-quality place-based, project-based, and culturally sustaining learning. The cohort of five schools completed four training and coaching sessions between July 2022 and February 2023.

This project supported capacity building for Hawai‘i school administrators and teachers as they designed performance assessments that measure standards-aligned student learning outcomes in place-based and project-based tasks. The project is centered on the use of high-quality, curriculum-embedded common performance assessments because of the potential to positively influence teaching and learning. The cohort of educators from four schools completed 10 modules and attended monthly coaching sessions between October 2022 and May 2023.

REL Pacific worked with private school leaders in Palau to create systems to develop, coach, and retain effective teachers. Private schools serve a large portion of the overall Palauan student population, so through training and coaching, REL Pacific supported private school leaders to identify meaningful indicators of effective teaching, collect data to measure each indicator, and use the data for decision-making and continuous improvement. The project goal was to help the schools develop structures that support the development and retention of a qualified, effective educator workforce well-positioned to improve student learning outcomes. REL Pacific facilitated four training and coaching sessions between August 2022 and April 2023.

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