REL Southwest Alliance Members Come Together for Final Meetings and Celebrations
Over the past few months, each of REL Southwest's eight research alliances met for the last time to review and celebrate the work they accomplished during the 2012–17 contract. The meetings covered a myriad of topics to wrap up the alliances’ last five years of work together. REL Southwest staff shared published reports for the alliances' studies, updates on upcoming reports, and best practices for disseminating the results. For example, the Arkansas Prekindergarten Research Alliance held a technical assistance workshop to discuss the results of an alliance project, while the English Learners Research Alliance and New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance devoted time to discussing the role of alliance members in engagement, outreach, and promotion of alliance reports.
Some alliances held events. In October, the Louisiana Charter Schools Research Alliance hosted a professional development workshop on new state science standards. Forty-four science teachers attended the two-day event, which was conducted in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools and the Louisiana Department of Education. That same month, the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance conducted the final workshop of a series aimed at assisting alliance members in incorporating report findings into the T-STEM (Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Blueprint Benchmarks. These benchmarks are used by 124 T-STEM Academies across the state.
Finally, two alliances spent time looking back on their work. The Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance reflected on how the alliance was formed and the progress members have made over the course of the last five years. The Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance revisited the goals of the alliance and its accomplishments.
Each alliance also provided members with certificates of recognition for their service to REL Southwest over the past five years. The Arkansas Prekindergarten Research Alliance and the Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance gave special recognition to four alliance champions for their exceptional contributions of time and resources, which contributed greatly to the success of each alliance.
With REL Southwest's current contract ending in November 2017, the alliance members discussed what was next for their partnerships. For example, members of the New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance voted unanimously to transition their alliance. Alliance member Doug Rogers, executive director of Dual Language Education of New Mexico, stated, “Although the alliance may change in form moving forward, I must say that . . . this [approach] is the way it should be [because] these are our kids and these are our families, so it should be our research. We should also be the ones [investigating] the questions that remain unanswered.”
From 2012 to 2017, the members of REL Southwest's eight research alliances gave of their time as they worked together to produce and share quality research and technical assistance that served priority education needs in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. REL Southwest would like to thank all the research alliance members for their commitment and dedication to this important work. We could not have done it without you!