During this period, the Louisiana Charter Schools Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to discuss alliance projects and to plan for sunsetting the alliance when the current REL Southwest contract ends in November 2017.
In the fall, REL Southwest hosted two events to provide resources and strategies to Louisiana charter school educators. Both events were conducted in partnership with alliance members, the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools (GNOCCS), and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).
The first event was a back-to-school workshop on August 3–4 at Edward Hynes Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Workshop sessions focused on improving instruction in the areas of special education, science, and mathematics as well as on ways to nurture and protect students' social, emotional, and physical welfare. Approximately 450 participants, including principals and their school staff, attended the first day, and approximately 175 attended the second. Participants increased their working knowledge of the following topics, which reflected alliance members' priorities as well as federal and state accountability requirements and standards:
- Research and state policies related to special education in charter schools
- Task-driven strategies to differentiate instruction and improve learning in mathematics
- Louisiana's new science standards and practical methods for increasing knowledge, literacy, and competency in science
On October 16–17, REL Southwest again partnered with alliance members, GNOCCS, and LDOE to hold a follow-up professional development workshop at the Orleans Parish School Board Office. This event focused on Louisiana's new science standards, building on the session provided at the back-to-school event. Forty-four science teachers attended over the course of the two days. The presenter was Jean-May Brett, former LDOE director of science.
On November 7, the alliance met for the last time to celebrate the accomplishments of the Louisiana Charter Schools Research Alliance over the past 5 years. REL Southwest staff reviewed project highlights and then presented the preliminary findings of the alliance's two studies: the Special Education Longitudinal Enrollment Study for Louisiana Public Charter Schools and the Key Indicator Study to Identify Promising Operational, Organizational, and Instructional Features of New Orleans Charter Schools. The reports for these studies will be published on the IES website late this year or early next year. Last, alliance members and their affiliate organizations received certificates of appreciation to recognize their participation in and commitment to the alliance.