Oklahoma Rural Schools Projects

Analytic Technical Support

Oklahoma Rural Schools Data Inventory (completed)

REL Southwest has completed a data inventory for the Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance. This inventory provides information on data sources, the data elements contained within those sources, and the applicability of the data to inform and advance the alliance's research agenda. Sources include data collected and maintained by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation, the U.S. Department of Education, and other organizations. Data elements included in the inventory focus on students, teachers, and administrators in Oklahoma, with a particular interest in educators and student outcomes at rural schools.

In addition, the data inventory is linked to census tract data to provide more variables related to rurality, thereby expanding the information available for research on rural districts and schools in Oklahoma. Staff also calculated the rates of change for variables reflecting social and economic conditions in a district, thus creating additional quantitative information about challenges that Oklahoma rural districts may face.

Educators and Data Use Pilot (completed)

REL Southwest piloted a series of in-person workshops to train educators on identified best practices for data use and to determine which of those practices are adaptable to rural schools in Oklahoma. This project supported alliance members in their ongoing and consistent implementation of identified best practices and recommendations for using data to improve practice in rural schools.

Oklahoma State Department of Education Technical Assistance Evaluation Designs (completed)

REL Southwest provided technical assistance to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to build staff knowledge and capacity related to rigorous evaluation designs. The technical assistance supported OSDE in providing training and assistance to Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) grantees.

Promising Practices in Professional Development: Literature Review and Teacher Survey (completed)

REL Southwest has completed a project to provide technical assistance on promising professional development practices in rural settings, a topic the alliance identified as a priority for the state. The first phase of the project involved conducting a review of the research literature on this topic. The second phase involved developing a survey to measure Oklahoma teachers' access to promising professional development practices by school locale. The intent was to identify the types of professional development that teachers commonly access and challenges to that access. This survey will serve as a data collection instrument for a second study, Measuring Teachers' Access to Professional Development Practices in Oklahoma by School Locale: A Descriptive Analysis (see below).

Building Capacity to Improve Professional Learning

This technical assistance project will help inform the Oklahoma State Department of Education's statewide implementation of the new Oklahoma Professional Learning Standards for educators. The project will leverage the results of the survey analyses from the alliance project Measuring Teachers' Access to Professional Development Practices in Oklahoma by School Locale: A Descriptive Analysis.

Research and Evaluation Studies

Measuring Teachers' Access to Professional Development Practices in Oklahoma by School Locale: A Descriptive Analysis

REL Southwest is conducting a descriptive study to determine how Oklahoma teachers' perceptions of and access to promising professional development practices, as indicated through the related survey, differ by school locale. The findings will assist alliance members and state policymakers in establishing effective professional development practices and materials for the state's rural schools.

Indicator Study to Identify Promising Predictors of Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Oklahoma Rural Schools

REL Southwest is conducting an indicator study to examine potential predictors of the recruitment and retention of teachers in rural schools. Oklahoma is facing a serious teacher shortage, and the state's rural schools in particular face distinct challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. The findings will inform future policy decisions or human capital strategies to assist rural districts in recruiting qualified teachers and retaining them once hired.