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About REL Northeast & Islands

Regional Educational Lab (REL) Northeast & Islands partners with key stakeholders in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virgin 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 partnership aims to build the capacity of Connecticut teachers to use research-based instructional strategies to facilitate mathematics learning for middle grade multilingual learners (MLLs), with the long-term goal of increasing middle grade MLLs’ mathematics achievement. Learn more
This partnership will address the need to understand original and inventive approaches to persisting problems of practice to help ensure that all students have access to rich and rigorous learning opportunities to improve student absenteeism, engagement, and social-emotional learning. Learn more
Through this partnership, district leaders are seeking ways to bolster students’ mathematics learning by providing intervention in addition to core instruction. Learn more
This partnership aims to improve kindergarten readiness and early elementary outcomes for students by supporting the adoption, scale-up, and evaluation of play-based learning practices in kindergarten classrooms across the state. Learn more
This partnership strengthened partners’ capacity to collect data on personalized learning programs to monitor progress and drive continuous improvement. Learn more
This partnership aims to improve student outcomes by building educators’ capacity to design and implement clear, data-driven communication with families about students’ academic and behavioral progress. Learn more
This partnership aims to reduce opportunity gaps among historically and currently underserved student groups in terms of the number of high schools offering early college opportunities and the percentage of students earning college credits and participating in early college opportunities. Learn more
This partnership aims to improve kindergarten readiness and elementary outcomes for all PreK–3 students—particularly in literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning—by strengthening the early childhood educator workforce. Learn more
This partnership aims to identify and address opportunity gaps in access to and participation in career and technical education and work-based learning, particularly for students in underrepresented groups and those in rural locations. Learn more


REL Northeast & Islands is led by EDC with support from the following partners:

  • Abt Associates
  • AIR
  • Analytica, Inc.
  • Civilytics Consulting
  • Pemberton Research
  • SRI International
  • WestEd

Learn more


The REL Governing Board helps REL Northeast & Islands 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 Northeast & Islands Governing Board members represent diverse expertise and experience.

This applied research study is focused on the Visual Access to Mathematics professional development program (VAM PD), an eight-month online and face-to-face professional learning experience designed to support middle grades mathematics teachers who have both multilingual learners and monolingual students in their classes. Specifically, the study will investigate how VAM PD impacts teachers’ ability to analyze students’ mathematical thinking and their content knowledge related to proportional reasoning and the impacts of teachers’ participation in VAM PD on their students’ proportional reasoning problem-solving ability, facility in using visual representations in the problem-solving, and mathematics attitudes.
REL Northeast & Islands is developing a toolkit to build educators’ knowledge of and ability to implement recommendations from the new What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades.The toolkit will provide extensive resources to support districts in providing in-depth professional development to educators on how to implement the recommendations using specific instructional practices. Educators will learn to use these evidence-based practices effectively, helping them to optimize intervention time to improve student learning.
This project will enhance the knowledge and skills of Connecticut district and school leaders so they can make plans and enact strategies to strengthen middle grade math instruction for multilingual learners (MLLs)—sometimes labeled English learners—in their districts. Through a series of workshops during the 2022/23 school year, mathematics coaches, MLL specialists, math department heads, curriculum directors, and other leaders with responsibilities for supporting middle grade math teachers will create logic models, analyze district data, learn about evidence-based practices, and create district action plans to support improvements in the mathematics learning experience for middle grade MLLs.
Maine launched the Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) program in 2020 to develop innovative learning models to ensure that all students have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities aligned with their needs. Through this project, REL Northeast & Islands will support eight districts participating in RREV, helping them better understand how to use research and data to assess and improve innovation implementation.
This study will use data generated by the implementation measurement project to describe the implementation of play-based learning practices in kindergarten classrooms across the state. The study will also explore patterns in implementation by region, urbanicity, student, and teacher characteristics.
REL Northeast & Islands will work with the Virgin Islands Department of Education to design three evidence-based modules that will allow early childhood and elementary teachers to earn micro-credentials toward certification in early childhood so they will be eligible to teach in PreK–3. The micro-credential modules will be online, self-paced, evidence-based learning experiences for educators. REL Northeast & Islands is partnering with USVI to gather input from educators and administrators to ensure that the modules are responsive to the local context and meet the needs of USVI early childhood educators.

The Massachusetts Dyslexia Guidelines were published in 2021 to support districts’ development of screening procedures for identifying dyslexia and other neurological learning disabilities. After their publication, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) received feedback from stakeholders that the guidelines do not adequately address considerations for multilingual and bidialectal learners. In response to this feedback, this project will gather stakeholder and expert feedback, review existing state dyslexia guidelines for content on dyslexia screening for these student groups, and review additional research to revise and expand the chapter of the guidelines which focuses on multilingual and bidialectal learners. A slide deck based on the new chapter will be created to support Massachusetts DESE in training its staff and state stakeholders on the new chapter content. The project will also provide training to DESE staff on the content and resources of the revised chapter.

In this series of training, coaching, and technical support activities, REL Northeast & Islands is supporting the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) in building the capacity of leaders and educators to design and implement clear, data-driven communication with families about students’ academic and behavioral progress. The REL Northeast & Islands team is supporting PRDE in developing goals and identifying evidence-based strategies to effectively involve families in their students’ learning and incorporate those strategies into action plans. These action plans will include the district’s professional development needs (such as teacher planning time), family engagement practices, the infrastructure needed to support the new practices, and ways to monitor these practices.

REL Northeast & Islands is collaborating with partners to inventory available data elements and how they can be used to address policy decisions about Vermont’s career and technical education (CTE) and work-based learning (WBL) pathways. This project is helping the partnership achieve its goals of assessing the quality and completeness of data currently collected about CTE and WBL access, participation, and success, and using those data to identify inequities and barriers. The project also aims to develop policies and guidance to support improved data collection about student CTE and WBL participation and success. Through a series of workshops, this project is bringing together a small working group consisting of Vermont Agency of Education staff from the divisions of Data and Analysis and Student Pathways, as well as several WBL Coordinators based in comprehensive high schools and regional CTE Centers around the state.
This coaching project is intended to support districts with effective implementation of Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approaches to support student wellbeing and mental health. In five sessions, participants from school districts across the Northeast & Islands Region will meet virtually to learn about, identify, and share best practices for implementing such a framework, as well as to work together to address common problems of practice.
This project brings together key stakeholders from the state, districts, and schools to improve students’ access, participation, and success in early college programs. This project is broken into two different strands: (1) workshops on effective use of early college data, and (2) technical support on collecting and implementing data dashboard feedback. The purpose of the effective data use workshops is to introduce participants to the data inquiry cycle through which they will review available data sources and identify action steps to address barriers to access and participation in early college programs for historically marginalized groups of students. The dashboard feedback sessions aim to provide the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) with a better understanding of how different audiences are interacting with the dashboards. Subsequent training for the RIDE team will build RIDE’s capacity to use a structured process to gather and implement user feedback.
This study examines the cost per outcome for each of Rhode Island's three early college programs separately—dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and Advanced Placement. Rhode Island K–12 and higher education leaders expressed a need for this type of information to provide an additional source of evidence as they make decisions about investments in the specific resources needed for each of the three early college programs.
This project supports the implementation of New Hampshire’s play-based kindergarten legislation by developing a strategy and tools for measuring kindergarten teachers’ familiarity with and implementation of play-based learning. The team will first conduct a review of the literature on measuring play-based learning practices in kindergarten classrooms. Then, in collaboration with partnership members, they will identify relevant data that is already collected in New Hampshire and support the development and administration of new instruments and data collection processes. In addition, the team will assist with the analysis of existing and new data to better understand kindergarten teachers’ familiarity with and implementation of play-based learning practices.

This project included a series of meetings to lead the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and partner districts through a process to identify learner outcomes of interest and related indicators and measures of personalized learning. REL Northeast & Islands researchers, along with district staff, inventoried data systems, assessed the availability of student indicators, identified gaps, and discussed action steps to address these gaps. The data catalog documents administrative data, assessment data, and digital platform data. The final catalog is a flexible-use Excel workbook that provides a shell for organizing and tracking student data relevant for measuring learner outcomes related to personalized learning which could be used across other districts and states.

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