Last week, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) welcomed 17 guests, including three representatives from REL Northwest, to participate in a focus group on the usability, relevance, and accessibility of Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) and What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) products and services.
Deputy Superintendent for K-12 Education for Washington state Alan Burke, who serves as Secretary-Treasurer for the Education Northwest Board of Directors, was in attendance representing REL Northwest, as were Steve Underwood and TJ Bliss from the Idaho State Department of Education.
“I appreciated the opportunity that IES gave for us to provide feedback on how they might better meet their vision for bridging research and practice,” said Underwood, now an Education Northwest employee. “I see the new focus of the RELs and the research alliances as an excellent platform for matching existing research with the needs of practitioners as well as expanding the capacity of state leaders to use research and data for decision-making. I think this is a great long-term strategy for IES.”
Participants reviewed issue briefs and upcoming IES publications, which are being designed with educators in mind. IES representatives also asked for feedback on the recent changes made to WWC products and how to best let their stakeholders know how to access these resources.
“It was a great opportunity for us to hear directly from people with a variety of different perspectives and experiences with the RELs and the WWC,” said an IES representative present at the focus group. “We heard many positive comments about our work, and also identified some folks who could be good REL connections moving forward.”