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REL Appalachia and the Virginia Middle School Research Alliance Justin Baer, Director, REL Appalachia Virginia School-University Partnership Steering Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "REL Appalachia and the Virginia Middle School Research Alliance Justin Baer, Director, REL Appalachia Virginia School-University Partnership Steering Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 REL Appalachia and the Virginia Middle School Research Alliance Justin Baer, Director, REL Appalachia Virginia School-University Partnership Steering Committee February 6, 2014

2 Introductions Name Role Division Previous involvement with the REL program 2

3 Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences RELs provide regional support for: – Applied research and evaluation – Technical support and information sharing to build capacity to use data for improved educational outcomes 3

4 REL Appalachia’s Mission Meet the applied research and technical support needs of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Bring evidence-based information to policy makers and practitioners: – Provide support for a more evidence-reliant education system – Inform policy and practice for states, districts, schools, and other stakeholders. – Focus on high-priority, discrete issues and build a body of knowledge over time. 4

5 How We Work: Research Alliances What is a research alliance? – A partnership between education stakeholders and REL Appalachia What is the purpose of a research alliance? – As partners, REL Appalachia and alliance members develop and carry out a research and analytic technical assistance agenda on priority topics. Who are the education stakeholders in an alliance? – May include representatives from one or more schools, divisions, state education agencies, and other organizations (e.g., colleges and universities). 5

6 REL Appalachia’s Role in a Research Alliance Works closely with alliance members as a collaborative partner. Facilitates the processes of defining an alliance’s purpose and goals. Works collaboratively with alliance members to: – Develop and deliver technical assistance related to using data and evidence to improve educational outcomes. – Conduct research and evaluation studies aligned with the alliance’s goals and research agenda. – Disseminate information on the alliance’s efforts to local and state stakeholders through events such as webinars and workshops. Provides funds for approved project activities.* * funds cannot be used for alliance member travel or meals 6

7 Alliance Member and Stakeholder Roles Alliance core planning group (CPG): – Define the purpose and goals of the alliance. – Determine projects and audiences, and work directly with REL Appalachia staff to develop and implement projects. Alliance members: – Participate in meetings, providing input to frame projects and increase relevance to a larger audience. – Provide input while projects are being carried out (e.g., relate to local needs, contribute data, provide feedback during report development). – Serve on project advisory committees. – Help recruit attendees for REL AP events and disseminate REL AP products. Stakeholders outside of the alliance may attend events and meetings to learn from alliance activities. 7

8 Virginia Middle School Research Alliance Goals and Projects

9 Alliance Development Based on Stakeholder Feedback VASS Annual Meeting (May and November 2013): – Presentation by REL Appalachia on formative assessments. – Follow-up conversations with attendees about their division’s needs related to formative assessment and data use. Using Data to Inform Middle School Improvement (June 2013): – REL Appalachia workshop hosted in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Improvement (OSI). – Participants expressed interest in teachers’ capacity to use data to inform instruction, early warning indicators, and tiered interventions. – Alliance listening tour and interviews with principals and division-level staff (Summer and Fall, 2013). – Virginia Middle School Research Alliance kickoff meeting in (December) – Monthly calls with the Core Planning Group began in January,

10 Educators Across Virginia Shared That They…. Want to be able to more effectively: – Identify struggling students. – Identify student’s needs. – Identify whether supports are working. Are looking for ways to improve their school. Need help finding research-based answers to questions about education policies, programs, and practices. 10

11 Goals of the Virginia Middle School Research Alliance Assist middle school practitioners in using data to inform instructional decision-making and improve student outcomes by: – Identifying struggling students who need additional support. – Selecting, implementing, and monitoring interventions to support students. REL Appalachia’s work with the alliance will focus on expanding the state’s early warning system to middle schools. Implementing an early warning system will take place beginning with four interrelated projects in 2014/15. 11

12 Planned Projects in 2014 What data do you have? – Catalog data currently being collected in schools: How do you use data? – Document how data are currently being used in schools, and what supports and barriers are in place to help or hinder use. What are the best data to examine? – Identify the most powerful data to track student readiness for high school. Hold workshops on using data efficiently and effectively to: – Identify and target resources to struggling students. – Monitor each student’s progress. 12

13 Alliance Membership Open to any Virginia middle school, district, or state officer: – Principals and central office staff are greatly encouraged to join. Choose a membership level (core or general) at your discretion; time commitment varies: – Core group will participate in monthly phone conferences with REL Appalachia and discuss project progress, receive information, or offer feedback. – General members will participate in quarterly meetings to receive information and offer feedback on alliance projects. All members may choose to participate on alliance project teams or advisory committees. REL Appalachia staff will coordinate and manage all REL work. 13

14 Current VMSRA Members Buena Vista City Chesterfield County Louisa County Norton City Page County Pulaski County Russell County Staunton City Tazewell County

15 Interested: Please provide Name and contact information Involvement – What membership level (core group or general member)? – Which projects interest you? Who else should we provide information to? (From your school, division, or elsewhere)? 15

16 Contact Us! Justin Baer, Director


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