Partnering Across the Central and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the United States to Improve Student and Educator Outcomes Through the Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Partnering Across the Central and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the United States to Improve Student and Educator Outcomes Through the Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Mar 24, 2022
REL Central and REL Mid-Atlantic map

Mathematica has been awarded two new contracts under the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program, continuing its long-standing commitment to help educators and policymakers use research and evidence to improve student outcomes. These new contracts continue Mathematica’s leadership of REL Mid-Atlantic and add a new lab, REL Central, to the company’s efforts. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education, the two RELs support regional partners to make substantive changes to policy and practice through evidence-based technical assistance projects, rigorous applied research studies, and dissemination.

REL Mid-Atlantic, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, will partner with educators to help them generate and use evidence to improve learner outcomes. Each partnership will supervise multiple complementary projects that address a specific educational challenge. REL Mid-Atlantic continues to be led by Brian Gill, a senior fellow at Mathematica and national expert on charter schools, educator evaluation, and school accountability. Gill has worked extensively with state and district officials in the region to improve education. Under his direction, Mathematica and its team members will build partnerships to understand local needs and grow capacity and knowledge.

“Over the next five years, REL Mid-Atlantic staff will conduct our work in tightly integrated partnerships with state and local agencies that ultimately aim to improve student outcomes. We’re looking forward to working with different partners to promote racial equity, improve teacher observations, support social-emotional learning, enhance school climate, increase teacher diversity, and develop better measures of school performance,” said Gill.

Mathematica’s new five-year REL Central contract includes Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. In partnership with state and local education agencies and other education community members in its region, REL Central will form partnerships focused on:

  • Strengthening culture-based education in Indigenous communities
  • Better aligning high school students’ experiences and preparation with what they need to succeed in college and the workforce
  • Increasing the teacher pipeline and the diversity of the teacher workforce

REL Central is led by Phillip Herman, a senior fellow at Mathematica and former director of REL Pacific. An expert in designing, conducting, and leading collaborative technical assistance projects and research studies for education stakeholders, Herman also served as an educational officer and evaluation specialist with the Hawaii State Department of Education. He has extensive experience in K–12 and college systems and with culture-based education in Indigenous settings. Herman’s research and technical support projects, as well as his relationships with system leaders and policymakers, resulted in significant changes to policy and practice in the Pacific region. Under his direction, the REL will build connections with stakeholders in the Central region and foster collaborations with school-based and community partners.

“REL Central will collaborate with focused groups of stakeholders to make progress in addressing pressing education challenges and improving learner outcomes,” he said. “Our approaches, grounded in culture and rigor, will accelerate learning, address inequities, and support educators.”

Each REL is supported by a governing board that helps prioritize education needs and recommend strategies in the region. Board membership reflects diverse expertise and experience from the classroom level to state education agencies, and from parent organizations and teacher associations to higher education.

For more frequent updates from Mathematica and our REL partners across the country, and to receive the latest evidence produced by REL partnerships, please follow us @RELMidAtlantic, @RELCentral, or @MathematicaNow. If you’d like to receive newsletters and other updates about the RELs, please let us know.