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Home REL Mid-Atlantic About REL Mid-Atlantic Using Data to Foster Supportive Learning Environments and Social-Emotional Wellness in Pennsylvania Schools

Using Data to Foster Supportive Learning Environments and Social-Emotional Wellness in Pennsylvania Schools

The overarching goal of this partnership is to 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. Initial work of the partnership will focus on strengthening the data systems and providing an evidence-based structure for the work of regional liaisons with district and school leaders. Over the life of the partnership, we will work with Pennsylvania education leaders at the state, regional, and local levels. Specific goals of this partnership include:

  1. Providing analytic and technical support to help PDE staff understand (1) the quality and limitations of Safe Schools data and options to strengthen those data and (2) the validity and reliability of school climate data and approaches to communicating survey results to schools;
  2. Building PDE’s capacity to support regional liaisons and local school leaders in using valid and reliable data to assess the supportiveness of learning environments and identify needs; and
  3. Building regional liaisons’ capacity to support LEA and school staff in using these data to identify and implement promising interventions or strategies to improve the supportiveness of school learning environments and boost social-emotional wellness.

Partnership organization: Pennsylvania Department of Education

Current Projects

The project will consist of three components that aim to make school climate data in Pennsylvania more useful and actionable. For this study, school climate refers to student and school staff perceptions of the quality of the school environment, specifically the quality of educator-student and peer relationships, support for learning and academic engagement, and the degree of safety and respect experienced within the school environment. First, REL staff will assess the psychometric properties of the elementary school climate survey, which was updated based on recommendations from analyses under the last REL contract. Second, to better understand the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and school climate, REL staff will assess changes in student and staff perceptions of school climate for middle and high schools before and during the pandemic. REL staff will also examine the association between the percentage of remote and hybrid instruction during the 2020–2021 school year and school climate in the 2021–2022 school year. Third, REL staff will work with PDE to develop a consistent scoring approach for the school climate reports that are generated for individual schools from elementary through high schools. REL staff will also help PDE modify its computer programs that analyze school climate data and provide score reports to schools. One of the goals of this project is to build Pennsylvania Department of Education’s capacity to support local education agencies (LEAs) and schools in using school climate data to understand needs and identify programs to improve the supportiveness of the school learning environment. The project also aims to increase the likelihood that LEAs and schools view the climate survey as useful, so REL staff will track school participation in the climate survey as a medium-term outcome.
The project team is working with Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)’s Office for Safe Schools to provide research-based support in building (1) a logic model to connect initiatives that foster supportive learning environments with measurable outcomes, (2) accessible materials, such as an infographic or fact sheet, on evidence-based practices for fostering supportive learning environments for students and staff and 3) a toolkit to support the Intermediate Unit (IU) social emotional wellness leads to assess, plan, and measure social-emotional initiatives and the impact towards creating more supportive learning environments and better social-emotional wellness for students and staff.The goals of this project are to (1) increase PDE staff’s understanding of how to support Intermediate Unit (IU), local education agency (LEA), and school staff in building supportive learning environments for students and staff; (2) deepen PDE staff’s and IU liaisons’ understanding of evidence-based practices and interventions that can support student and staff social-emotional wellness; and (3) build all partners’ understanding of Pennsylvania’s initiatives about supportive learning environments, including how the initiatives relate to one another and the extent to which current evidence suggests they may foster supportive learning environments. The logic models and information on evidence-based programs and practices will be important tools for PDE and other partners when making decisions about how to use resources (including identifying initiatives to add, adjust, or scale).
This project will provide technical support (TS) to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of School Safety (OSS) to build a clear and evidence-based statewide strategy to improve the reporting and utility of Safe Schools data to improve school climate and student and staff wellness. The REL will support OSS to (1) align on a shared definition of “school safety” (2) assess the accessibility and availability of Safe Schools data, (3) identify approaches to improve the accuracy and efficiency of collecting and reporting Safe Schools data, and (4) develop recommendations for data elements and reporting formats to use in school and district reports to best support decisions about policies and programs to improve school climate and student and staff wellness.

No completed projects at this time.

Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: May 23, 2024
Time: 12:00-12:30 pm EDT Location: Virtual Description: This community conversation on school safety session will take place virtually and is statewide. It is an interactive discussion about school safety hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Educations...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: May 15, 2024
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm EDT Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will debrief Intermediate Unit Leads’ experiences with Steps 3 and 4 and gather Leads’ feedback about ways to improve these resources. REL staff will support Leads in planning for Step 5: Monitor the...
Partnership | Approved Date: May 14, 2024
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.
Partnership | Approved Date: May 14, 2024
This partnership worked 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.
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: April 25, 2024
Time: 5:00-7:00 pm EDT Location: McGuffey/Sullivan Room, 475 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety will take place in Pittsburgh, PA. It is an interactive discussion about school safety hosted...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: April 17, 2024
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm EDT Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will continue to support Intermediate Unit Leads in Step 3: Create a Plan as well as Step 4: Implement the Plan. In this session, REL staff will support Leads in creating an action plan to boost socialemotional...
Product Type: Descriptive Study | Publication Date: April 2024
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) Office for Safe Schools partnered with REL Mid-Atlantic to conduct a study analyzing the validity and reliability from PDE’s school climate survey for elementary school students. This survey, which is...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: March 20, 2024
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm EDT Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will debrief Intermediate Unit Leads’ experiences with Steps 1 and 2 and gather Leads’ feedback about ways to improve resources in Steps 1 and 2. REL staff will coach Leads to use the information from...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: March 12, 2024
Time: 9:00-10:00 am EDT Location: Pennsylvania Department of Education Data Summit, Hershey Lodge, 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033 Description: This session will provide an overview of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Office for Safe...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: March 11, 2024
Time: 4:00-6:00 pm EDT Location: Delaware County Intermediate Unit 200 Yale Avenue, Morton, PA 19070 Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety will take place in Delaware County, PA. It is an interactive discussion about school safety...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: March 05, 2024
The social-emotional wellness of students and school staff has been a longstanding concern—a concern that schools across the country have been working to address with an unprecedented sense of urgency since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In the Pennsylvania...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: February 29, 2024
Time: 4:00-6:00 pm EST Location: Training and Conference Center, 1020 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety session will take place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is an interactive discussion...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: February 15, 2024
Time: 3:00-4:30 pm EST Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will coach Intermediate Unit (IU) Leads to use resources in Steps 1 and 2 of the IU Guide on their own and with districts (Step 1: Set the Direction and Step 2: Assess Needs). During the session, the...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: February 10, 2024
Time: 10:00-11:30 am PST Location: Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR Description: The Regional Education Lab (REL) and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education (PDE) will share our research-practice partnership's systems...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: January 29, 2024
Time: 2:30-3:30 EST Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will walk through the resources in each of the six steps in the Accelerated Learning cycle to show Intermediate Unit (IU) Leads how the resources connect with and build on one another. REL staff will support...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: January 26, 2024
Time: 1:00-3:00 pm EST Location: Schuylkill Technology Center South Campus, 15 Maple Avenue, Mar Lin, Pennsylvania Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety session will take place in Mar Lin, Pennsylvania. It is an interactive discussion...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: January 04, 2024
Time: 9:00-11:00 am EST Location: Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5, 252 Waterford Street, Edinboro, Pennsylvania Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety session will take place in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. It is an interactive...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: December 14, 2023
Time: 2:30-4:30 pm EST Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety session will take place virtually. It is an interactive discussion about school safety hosted by Intermediate Unit 17 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: November 14, 2023
Building an Evidence Base for a Statewide Strategy for Fostering Supportive Learning Environments, B4 Convening Description: The REL team will reconvene all Intermediate Unit (IU) leads to walk through the final planning guide. We will use a shared virtual...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: November 02, 2023
Time: 4:00-6:00 pm EDT Location: Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit 27, 147 Poplar Avenue, Monaca, Pennsylvania Description: This Community Conversations on School Safety session will take place in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It is an interactive discussion...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: August 31, 2023
Earlier this month, we released our report from a study of school climate in Pennsylvania, conducted in partnership with the Office of Safe Schools at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The report examined a handful of Pennsylvania schools...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: August 29, 2023
The REL Mid-Atlantic team will present findings to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office for Safe Schools from their analysis of changes in school climate before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of Pennsylvania schools.
Product Type: Fact Sheet | Publication Date: August 2023
This fact sheet shares key findings from a study that assessed how school climate changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) Office for Safe Schools partnered with REL Mid-Atlantic to conduct a study using...
Product Type: Descriptive Study | Publication Date: August 2023
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) Office for Safe Schools partnered with REL Mid-Atlantic to conduct a study using data from PDE’s school climate survey. This survey, which is available on a voluntary basis to any school in the state...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: May 09, 2023
Description: Building on two earlier session with Intermediate Unit (IU) leads, the REL team will present the second draft of the IU planning guide. They will provide participants with the opportunity to give written and oral feedback and will have small...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: April 18, 2023
Description: Continuing the work completed in two earlier coaching sessions on the topic, the REL team will present the second draft of the system-level logic model. They will provide participants with the opportunity to give written and oral feedback...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: April 03, 2023
Time: 3:00 pm EDT Description: REL Mid-Atlantic will assist the Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) Office for Safe Schools to better understand the legislative origins of the Safe School Data system in Pennsylvania and best practices for structuring...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: February 21, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm EST Location: Virtual Description: The purpose of this session is to present the first draft of the system-level logic model, including research evidence. We will provide participants with the opportunity to give oral and written feedback...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: February 14, 2023
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm EST Location: Virtual Description: The purpose of this session is to present the first draft of the IU-facing logic model planning resource. We will provide participants with the opportunity to give written and oral feedback and will...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: January 10, 2023
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm EST Location: Virtual Description: The purpose of this session is twofold: (1) REL staff will introduce the purpose of the logic model and Intermediate Unit (IU) facing planning resource and (2) REL staff can gain a better understanding...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: November 08, 2022
The purpose of this session is to support all meeting attendees in gaining a better understanding of how PDE’s social-emotional wellness initiatives fit together. We will facilitate discussions to better understand participants’ roles, the core components...
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: November 03, 2022
The purpose of this session is to allow REL staff to gain a better understanding of Pennsylvania social-emotional wellness initiatives and their intended outcomes for students and educators that help foster supportive learning environments. REL staff...
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A

This partnership will work with the Maryland Department of Disabilities to support and improve the coordination and tracking of services for students with disabilities, to increase connection to career readiness and post-school career services and to post-secondary education opportunities. This partnership will also collaborate with the Center for Transition and Career Innovation at the University of Maryland, and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division of Rehabilitation Services, and Charles County Public Schools.

Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
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.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
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.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
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.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
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.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
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.

REL Mid-Atlantic Logic Model (72 KB)

REL Mid-Atlantic Logic Model