Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest at SEDL
REL Southwest Spotlight Vol. 3, No. 3: Fall 2015 // Vol. 3, No. 3 // Fall 2015
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Note from the Director

As the air grows crisper and the days shorter, another school year is almost halfway over. At REL Southwest, we have a number of education research projects underway. In this issue, we highlight a project in Texas, where we are seeking high schools to participate in a study on the state's new mathematics requirements for graduation. We also are excited to announce a new area on our website that provides archived responses from our Ask REL Southwest reference desk service.

In News from the Field, we spotlight a workshop we presented to the Arkansas Department of Human Services on best practices for receiving and processing data requests. And we are proud to share good news about the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, with whom we work.

In addition, we feature REL resources for supporting English learner students and our upcoming bridge events and presentations. We hope to see you there.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.

Vicki Dimock, Ph.D., REL Southwest Director

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.

Seeking Texas High Schools for a Study on the State's New Mathematics Course Requirements for Graduation
We are seeking Texas public high schools to participate in a research study starting in January 2016. The study will examine whether providing students' families with information about the new Texas high school math requirements has an impact on the math courses students take. Participating schools will be asked to mail prepaid, prestuffed envelopes containing brochures to students' homes. Schools will be reimbursed for their expenses.  Learn more

New! Our Responses to Your Ask REL Southwest Queries
Many of you have submitted questions about education policies, programs, and practices to our Ask REL Southwest reference desk service—and now our responses to selected queries are available online. The responses include reference citations and information referrals. View the archived responses, or to submit a question, complete our online form. We'll be adding more responses over the next few months, so check back to see what's new.

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

Our Research Alliances


Arkansas Prekindergarten Research Alliance Sponsors Data Quality Control Workshop
In April and August, we presented a data quality control workshop to staff at the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. This division manages a large number of data requests annually. Attendees learned best practices for receiving and processing requests and explored ways to improve their processes. The division has already begun applying the practices presented in the workshop to improve its procedures for receiving, tracking, and fulfilling data requests.  Learn more 

Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma Awarded Grant to Improve Students' College and Career Readiness
The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, which has members on both our Oklahoma Rural Schools alliance and our Governing Board, is one of more than 30 tribes to receive grants under the U.S. Department of Education's Native Youth Community Projects program. This new program seeks to improve college and career readiness among Native students.  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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REL Resources for Supporting English Learner Students

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Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English Learner Students in Washington Road Map Districts to Develop English Proficiency?
This report describes the findings of a REL Northwest study examining how long English learner (EL) students take to be reclassified as former EL students in seven low-achieving school districts in the Seattle metropolitan area. The districts, which have the area's highest rates of poverty, have joined with REL Northwest to form the Road Map for Education Results Research Alliance, a cradle-to-career initiative that seeks to increase EL students' academic proficiency and graduation rates.

Download the report

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The English Language Learner Program Survey for Principals
This survey tool was developed to help state education agencies collect school-level data on the education of English learner (EL) students. Designed to be administered to school principals, the survey includes questions related to state- and school-level policies and practices for educating EL students, including professional development and state guidelines and standards. REL Northeast and Islands, in collaboration with its English Language Learners Research Alliance, developed the survey for the Rhode Island Department of Education to help improve the state's collection and use of data about EL students.

Download the report


November 6, 2015: Dual Language Education: A Model for Culturally Relevant Instruction in Our Schools, La Cosecha Conference, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque, NM (8:15–9:30 a.m. and 10:00–11:00 a.m. MT)

  • 8:15–9:30 a.m.  Lily Wong Fillmore, Ph.D., professor emerita, University of California at Berkeley, presents a keynote address on the use of dual language programs to enhance the cultural relevancy of instruction for English learners.
  • 10:00–11:00 a.m.  Members of our New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance present a panel discussion on Dr. Fillmore's keynote address. Panelists will answer targeted questions and engage in dialogue related to the topics presented.  Learn more

November 16, 2015: Bridge Event: Teaching Math to Young Children Practice Guide: Hands-On Workshop, Austin, TX (8:30–4:30 p.m. CT)
This free workshop will provide participants with hands-on experience applying the recommendations in the Teaching Math to Young Children practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse. Sharon M. Carver, Ph.D., director of Carnegie Mellon's Children's School and coauthor of the practice guide, will lead the workshop. The event is open to the public.  Register

November 17, 2015: New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance Presentation, New Mexico Indian Education Summit, Pueblo of Laguna, NM
Members of our New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance, joined by the state interim assistant secretary of Indian education, will present at the New Mexico Indian Education Summit to share information about the alliance's Native education activities. The summit is hosted by the New Mexico Public Education Department, Indian Education Division, in partnership with the South Central Comprehensive Center and New Mexico tribes.

December 10, 2015: Bridge Event: Bridging Research, Policy, & Practice in Early Childhood Education, St. Francisville, LA (8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. CT)
This free event will set the stage for participants to bridge research, policy, and practice in early childhood education, with a focus on early reading and math. Participants will engage in conversations and hands-on activities as well as have an opportunity to tour a high-quality early learning program. The event is open to the public. Registration information to come.

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

View all upcoming events
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.
Our Partners
  • 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
4700 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723
Tel: 800-476-6861
Twitter: @relsouthwest

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