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.”)
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.
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:
- What career and educational paths do students take after high school?
This REL Northwest study tracked the paths of 40,000 Alaska students and shed light on how their high school experiences and educational achievements relate to their postsecondary education and employment.
- How long does it take English learner students to exit services?
Building on previous research,this study found that kindergarten English learner students in Washington took a median of 3.8 years to be reclassified (that is, pass a language proficiency test and exit English learner services). The study also found that students who entered kindergarten with advanced English proficiency were more likely to be reclassified than those with lower levels of English proficiency. In a blog post, the authors discuss how they arrived at their findings.
- Are grades better at predicting students’ college academic performance than standardized tests?
This study found that high school grades were more predictive of University of Alaska students’ success in college English and math courses than SAT, ACT or ACCUPLACER scores. The study also looked at which groups of students had the highest rates of developmental education (that is, remedial, noncredit-bearing courses), with findings that might help direct college-readiness resources and programs to the students who need it most.
- What is the potential of online credit recovery courses to help struggling students get back on track to graduation?
This study examined online credit recovery at the Montana Digital Academy through an analysis of course enrollment and passing rates during the 2013–14 school year. The results of this study suggested students would benefit from additional supports from schools and districts. A blog post by the assistant director of the Montana Digital Academy described other key takeaways.
To learn more about these and other studies, visit the REL Northwest website.