Want to use data for decision-making? Interested in learning what the latest research says about an issue in your district? Need help using data to inform policy decisions or identifying evidence-based curricula or interventions? REL Mid-Atlantic can help at no cost to your school or district.
REL Mid-Atlantic has been assisting educators in New Jersey for decades through its research services, technical assistance, and professional development offerings. Mary Reece, director of special projects for the Foundation for Educational Administration, says this about her experience with REL services:
“At NJPSA/FEA, we have had the pleasure of working with Heather Ngoma [the REL state coordinator for New Jersey] in organizing some free Bridge Event offerings for educators… In addition, we have requested research reports on pertinent topics, and we have joined webinars on a variety of subjects, such as Effective School Leaders. NJ educators are fortunate to have such a valuable research organization at our disposal!”
The REL offers several types of research services. For a quick answer to a research question, try Ask A REL at www.relmidatlantic.org. This collaborative reference desk service puts a technical reference library to work for you. Submit a question about an education issue, and you’ll receive an annotated bibliography (including citations for references, referrals, and brief responses). This could be a great way to prepare for your next school board meeting. For initiatives with longer timelines, the REL can also help you conduct research and evaluation studies. For example, the REL is currently working with the state department of education on a multiyear study of the New Jersey principal evaluation pilot, which will support the implementation of an evaluation system for school leaders.
The REL offers technical assistance in developing logic models, designing evaluations, developing surveys, enhancing data use, and interpreting results. The REL also offers professional development opportunities in the form of free webinars open to administrators of state and local education agencies, principals, teachers, researchers, and other stakeholders interested in educator effectiveness.
Research, technical assistance, and professional development offerings are identified through REL Mid-Atlantic’s collaboration with members of Research Alliances at www.relmidatlantic.org/research-alliances. Many representatives from New Jersey agencies are already working with the REL through its Research Alliances, where stakeholders can address issues of common concern with colleagues in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Of particular interest to New Jersey educators is the Professional Learning Research Alliance, which counts three representatives from the state. The Teacher Evaluation and Early Childhood Education alliances also align with the state’s current priorities. By belonging to a Research Alliance, you can see how other districts and states are dealing with challenges similar to yours.
Patrick Michel, superintendent of the Salem City district, says of his participation in the Rural Student College Readiness Research Alliance:
“My experience has been that REL Mid-Atlantic brings with it a full and more complete context for leaders to understand and think about the work, challenges, and aspirations we have for our students. The topics and conversations are grounded in our individual and collective experiences which bring great value in moving the work forward to the benefit of our students.”