Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest at SEDL, an affiliate of American Institutes for Research
REL Southwest Spotlight Vol. 2, No. 3: Fall 2014 // Vol. 3, No. 1 // Spring 2015
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Note from the Director
The first quarter of 2015 has been a time of exciting change for us. On January 1, SEDL, which operates the REL Southwest, joined forces with American Institutes for Research (AIR). The combined organization not only provides new and enhanced capabilities in conducting research and technical assistance, but also strengthens the collaboration between REL Southwest and REL Midwest, run by AIR. Read more below.

This has been a busy period for us as well. In this issue, we highlight some of our research alliances' recent activities, a new study, and our new set of data inventories, which we developed to help policymakers and researchers locate and use relevant sources of education data. We also have two upcoming bridge events, one focused on one of our featured resources, the Teaching Math to Young Children practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse. The events are free and open to the public—we hope you'll attend.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.

Vicki Dimock, PhD, REL Southwest Director

female teacher standing at blackboard in front of full classroom of elementary students, with several students holding up their hands

Join Us
Interested in joining our work? Contact us to learn more.

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We serve the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. If you reside in one of these states, you may send us your research-based questions about education policies, programs, and practices by completing our Ask REL Southwest form.

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 // OUR WORK //

Working primarily through research alliances, we collaborate with educators, policymakers, researchers, and others to help states and schools use data and research to address high-priority education needs.

SEDL Joins Forces with American Institutes for Research
The future looks bright! On January 1, 2015, SEDL, which operates the REL Southwest, joined American Institutes for Research (AIR). The combined organization has enabled us to work more closely with the REL Midwest, run by AIR. REL Midwest serves Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. We are already seeing the fruits of the integration, as our two RELs share capabilities, expertise, and resources.  Learn more

New Inventories Pinpoint Education Data Sources
Local, state, and federal agencies collect a wealth of data that can inform education policy and research. To help educators, policymakers, and researchers locate and use the data available, we created data inventories for six topic areas related to our research alliances. Each inventory provides information on relevant data sources and the data they contain.  Learn more

New Study: Improving Feedback to New Mexico's Teachers
New Mexico, like many states, has changed its approach to evaluating public school teachers' performance. A critical part of the state's new teacher evaluation system, called NMTEACH, is the feedback conversation that school leaders must have with teachers after formal classroom observations. REL Southwest is conducting a study intended to improve the quality and content of these feedback conversations.  Learn more

photo of REL Southwest's five-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Our Research Alliances


Louisiana Charter Schools Research Alliance Hosts Over 50 for Workshop on Common Core and PARRC
Our Louisiana Charter Schools alliance hosted a workshop on the state's new Common Core assessments for more than 50 educators in New Orleans. Speakers at the February 10 event included national experts and representatives from the Louisiana Department of Education.  Read more

South Texas Alliance Members Attend Logic Models Workshops
REL Southwest alliance members from across South Texas convened at the Region One Education Service Center in Edinburg, Texas, in February and March for a two-part workshop series on developing and using logic models. The series has increased alliance members' capacity to use logic models to plan, implement, and evaluate education programs.  Read more

Alliance Members from Byng Public Schools Host Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Members of our Oklahoma Rural Schools alliance were pleased to host a tour for Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma's newly elected superintendent of public instruction. The tour, held at Homer Elementary School in Ada, Oklahoma, included work the school is doing with REL Southwest.  Read more

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We encourage you to follow @relsouthwest on Twitter to keep abreast of our latest news, events, and resources. We look forward to connecting with you!

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Teaching Math to Young Children Educator's Practice Guide

Explore evidence-based strategies for helping children ages 3–5 build a strong foundation in math with this practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse. The guide describes five recommendations, with steps and examples for implementing each one as well as solutions for overcoming common roadblocks.


  • Teach number and operations using a developmental progression
  • Teach geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis using a developmental progression
  • Use progress monitoring to ensure that math instruction builds on what each child knows
  • Teach children to view and describe their world mathematically
  • Dedicate time each day to teaching math, and integrate math instruction throughout the school day

Download the practice guide

Teaching Math to Young Children Practice Guide cover

Related Webinar

April 15: Teaching Math to
Young Children Practice Guide: Introduction
3:30–5:00 p.m. CT

A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America

More than 2.5 million four-year-olds do not have access to publicly funded preschool programs, and roughly 6 in 10 four-year-olds are not enrolled in such a program. This new report, published by the U.S. Department of Education, outlines the nation's unmet need for high-quality early learning programs. The report finds that federal and state investments in early learning have fallen short of what is needed to ensure that all children have access to a high-quality early education.  Read more

Download the report

Map of early learning unmet need, caption-More than 2.5 million four-year-olds don't have access to publicly funded preschool programs; accessible version of map available in report on page 4


April 15: Bridge Event Webinar: Teaching Math to Young Children Practice Guide: Introduction
This free webinar provides an overview of the Teaching Math to Young Children practice guide, with a focus on teaching children to view their world mathematically. The event is open to the public. (3:30–5:00 p.m. CT)  Register

TBD: Bridge Event: The Role of Charter Schools in Improving Student Achievement
Join us in New Orleans for a research-to-practice bridge event on the effect of charter schools on student achievement. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact Darlene Brown at or 800-644-8671. (Time TBD)  Register to receive updates on the time and date of the event.

Miss a Bridge Event?
Go to our archived bridge events online to access videos, presentations, handouts, and resources.

View all upcoming events
View archived event resources
View related regional and national events

About REL Southwest
REL Southwest is one of 10 Regional Educational Laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. These labs provide applied research and evaluation, analytic technical support, and services and products to address pressing regional education needs, inform practice and policy, and improve student outcomes.

About SEDL
SEDL, an affiliate of American Institutes for Research, is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. Visit SEDL’s website for more information.

Our Partners
  • American Institutes for Research (AIR)
  • Chesapeake Research Associates LLC
  • Decision Information Resources Inc.
  • Empirical Education Inc.
  • Gibson Consulting Group
  • RAND Education

About REL SW Contact REL SW

The REL Southwest Spotlight e-bulletin was developed under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0012 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

Questions or comments should be directed to:
REL Southwest at SEDL, an Affiliate of
American Institutes for Research
4700 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723
Tel: 800-476-6861
Twitter: @relsouthwest

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