In February and March 2015, REL Southwest staff delivered a two-part workshop series titled Understanding Logic Models to the members of the English Learners and Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliances who live in South Texas. Members hope to use the knowledge they gained to inform principal effectiveness evaluations, develop more structure for federal program evaluations, improve and update current logic models, and inform planning of new programs.
During this quarter, the alliance liaison also conducted a series of site visits in four school districts in Central and South Texas. In the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District (ISD), the liaison visited four schools and met with alliance members at the central office to learn about the district's successful school programs targeting newcomer English learners (ELs). In Pharr, Texas, the liaison visited Valley View ISD, where she met with an alliance member, district staff, students, and parents to learn about the district's Spanish Medical Minor program and other successful school programs targeting ELs. In the El Paso area, the liaison visited a school in Fabens ISD to observe its multilingual program and gifted and talented dual language program. While there, she also met with a small group of area alliance members representing multiple districts. In Houston ISD, the liaison visited two elementary schools and met with central office staff to learn about the district's dual language and newcomer programming. These site visits provided outreach and engagement for members and served as informal needs sensing. Lessons learned about EL programs, models, and services in Texas districts will be shared with all alliance members at future meetings, as these topics relate to the alliance's research focus.
Also during this quarter, the alliance's Academic Trajectories Study Working Group met via teleconference in March and April to discuss and provide targeted feedback on the proposed study Academic Trajectories and Risk Indicators for English Learners in Texas. The liaison met with an alliance member at Education Service Center (ESC) Region 1 in Edinburg, Texas, to continue discussions regarding plans for an October EL event. And in March, the liaison networked with multiple alliance members in individual and small groups at national conferences.