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Blog Posts and Beyond: Looking Back at the Best of 2016


Thursday, December 22, 2016


Our year

This year started shortly after the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

It is closing with the transition to a new presidential administration (and with it, signals to changes in federal priorities for public schools).

Somewhere in the middle, Education Northwest turned 50.

Through it all, we remained committed to doing everything we can to ensure all children and youth in our region have the opportunity to reach their full educational potential.

We will continue to work toward this goal in 2017—and beyond.

We will also continue to partner with schools and communities, offering data-driven approaches and other information they can use to optimize students’ success.

Here are some examples from 2016:


Our Northwest Matters blog (which reached nearly 40,000 school leaders, policymakers, teachers, families and community members this year) covered everything from how to build students’ sense of social belonging to methods for reducing discipline disparities in schools to ways districts can increase their data literacy.

In addition, the Oregon Leadership Network’s blog focused in large part on strategies related to the presidential election, culminating in a post that included eight actions schools can take to ensure both student safety and constructive dialogue.

On the Facebook page of the 6+1 Trait Writing program, we featured blog posts that offered practical tips for educators—including this Q&A on how to help English learner students improve their writing.

We also offered strategies and provided information in partnership with other organizations, including the Center for American Progress (“Better Evidence, Better Choices, Better Schools”) and the Albert Shanker Institute (“Building A Professional Network of Rural Educators from Scratch.”)

Online resources

This year, we continued to provide free, online resources aimed at improving educational outcomes for all students.

For example, the revamped Oregon Leadership Network LEAD Tool provides school teams with 10 high-leverage, research-based practices designed to promote equity and eliminate disparities.

Other equity-focused resources included an illustrated guide for parents of English learner students (in both English and Spanish); reference guides for registering students with non-English names; and a revamped anti-bullying resource for teachers, students and families.

In addition, we offered an easy-to-read, research-based primer on social-emotional learning for teachers, coaches, afterschool staff members and employers who want to learn more about ways young people can reach their full potential by developing nonacademic skills.

More free resources are available on our website.

Research findings

In 2016, REL Northwest released the results of several studies focused on topics ranging from postsecondary readiness to English learner students to developmental education to rural schools.

Based on research from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, these studies have both local and national implications.

Some REL Northwest studies published in 2016 include:

To learn more about these and other studies, visit the REL Northwest website.