Regional Educational Lab (REL) Midwest partners with key stakeholders in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin 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.
REL Midwest is led by AIR with support from the following partners:
The REL Governing Board helps REL Midwest 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 Midwest Governing Board members represent diverse expertise and experience.
The DILE approach will incorporate professional learning in culturally responsive practices as well as training and tools specifically designed to support the systemic use of data to act on racial and other group inequities in student experiences and outcomes in middle school. The DILE approach will include four components: Action-based monitoring (ABM) to facilitate the monitoring of students’ sense of belonging and engagement (i.e., attendance, discipline) over across time; a protocol to guide school leaders and staff in identifying and addressing the school policies, practices, and initiatives that might be leading to differences in student sense of belonging and engagement; training for school leaders and staff in culturally responsive practices, ABM and the protocol; and coaching to support implementation.
REL Midwest will partner with Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) and other Iowa districts to develop, pilot, and refine the DILE approach, which aims to support educators with knowledge and skills to use real-time data and make decisions that lead to the reduction of disparities between student groups in sense of belonging, disciplinary actions, and attendance. The research team will conduct interviews and stakeholder feedback surveys to address research questions related to the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of the components for the approach. The study will provide information that improves the implementation of the DILE approach.
REL Midwest will develop the Teaching Fractions Toolkit to support teachers to enact evidence-based practices summarized in the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade. Drawing on the recommendations and implementation steps outlined in the practice guide, the toolkit will address both teacher understanding of fraction computation, rates, and ratios as well as implications for classroom practice related to fractions content for grade 6 teachers. The Teaching Fractions Toolkit will include teacher supports for grade 6 teachers—six professional development modules as well as tools to monitor instruction—and supports to develop the knowledge of leaders who support these teachers, including informational videos, infographics, and checklists for monitoring conditions for successful use of the toolkit.
REL Midwest will work with Indianapolis Public Schools to strengthen the career pathways and programs of study offered to students in the district, with the goal of increasing the percentage of students engaged in high-quality work-based learning (WBL). Planned activities include gathering information through surveys and process mapping to inform the development of action plans to increase WBL offerings and student participation.
REL Midwest will conduct an efficacy evaluation to rigorously test the efficacy of the Teaching Fractions Toolkit in improving teacher self-efficacy and practices for fraction computation and rate and ratio instruction as well as student learning outcomes in grade 6 mathematics. The evaluation will use a blocked randomized controlled trial (RCT) design in which schools within each district or within each block of similar schools will be randomly assigned to receive the toolkit. The evaluation will be conducted in 40 Illinois schools during the 2024/25 school year.
REL Midwest staff provided coaching to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to build on existing supports and help district leaders, school leaders, and educators develop knowledge and skills. REL Midwest designed and implemented a workshop model for IDOE state leaders as a train-the-trainer model on how to develop a theory of action and logic model that they could ultimately deliver to district teams and educators. REL Midwest also created an accompanying facilitator's guide.
No upcoming events at this time.