Virtual School Meanderings

December 1, 2012

REL Research Update Newsletter November 2012

From Thursday night’s inbox…

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research

Research Update

November 2012
Vol. 1, No. 8

WelcomeREL Midwest is one of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and is administered by American Institutes for Research (AIR). Each edition of REL Midwest’s Research Update brings you news of how our scope of work is unfolding in your state and across the region and offers information about resources available from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program and other research and technical assistance providers. Research alliances figure prominently in this REL contract, and REL Midwest has 10 of them that drive our work in research, evaluation, technical assistance, and dissemination. This month, we introduce you to our Rural Research Alliance.
Meet the Rural Research Alliance.

News, Events, and Activities
Learn about people, organizations, and issues in the region.

Resources to Explore

Contact Us
REL Midwest
1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486

Our WorkRural Research Alliance

Thirty percent of schools in the seven Midwest region states are classified as rural. The main goal of the Rural Research Alliance is to provide a forum for the development of a research agenda focused on rural issues as they relate to REL Midwest’s four priority areas of college and career readiness, early childhood education, educator effectiveness, and low-performing schools and school improvement. The alliance functions as a starting point to create new rural-focused, topic-based projects to tailor research and evaluation findings and technical assistance products for use with a rural audience. In addition, the alliance serves as a rural advisory review board for the work of other research alliances to ensure that the needs and interests of rural stakeholders are consistently represented in REL Midwest work. Leading the work of the alliance is AIR Researcher Matt Burke. Alliance members are as follows:

  • Steven Breckon, Ph.D., Executive Director, Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools
  • John Hill, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Rural Education Association
  • Erin Joyce, Ohio Appalachian Collaborative at Battelle for Kids
  • Robert Kellogg, Ed.D., Assistant Director of Special Education, Cooperative Educational Service Agency 8
  • Marsha Lewis, Assistant Professor, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University
  • Michelle Ribant, Director of General Education, Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District

In 2013, this alliance will begin working on a project focused on college readiness and pathways to college for rural students. For more information about the Rural Research Alliance, contact Matt Burke by e-mail.

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News, Events, and Activities

  • Registration is open now for “Connect-Inform-Advance: Promoting Academic Success of Rural Students,” the 2013 national conference on rural education hosted by the IES-funded National Center for Research on Rural Education (R2Ed). Visit the R2Ed website for details about the April 3-4, 2013, event and other news.
  • REL Midwest led a cross-REL presentation at the annual meeting and research symposium of the National Rural Education Association, which was held October 12-14, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Developing a Rural Research Agenda Through Alliances: The Regional Educational Laboratory Network” featured six RELs: Appalachia, Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast & Islands, and Pacific. Each presenter provided an overview of ongoing and proposed work intended to address rural education issues.
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Resources to Explore

The U.S. Department of Education, federally funded technical assistance providers, and other organizations offer resources regarding rural education and a variety of other topics. Check out the following resources:

  • “Rural Education in America,” on the website of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provides access to recent data collected by NCES and the U.S. Census Bureau and is designed for those who are interested in educational changes taking place in rural America.
  • RUPRI (Rural Policy Research Institute), a joint program of Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska, provides information and analysis about issues facing rural America.
  • Ask a REL is a collaborative reference desk service designed to function in much the same way as a technical reference library. Following established search protocols, our researchers provide timely responses to your questions in the form of referrals and references. Submit your question online today.
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Contact Us

For more information about any of the items in this newsletter or to speak with a member of our staff, please contact us by telephone (866-730-6735) or e-mail ( We look forward to hearing from you.

REL Midwest at American Institutes for Research
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486

This material was prepared under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0004 by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, administered by American Institutes for Research. The content of the publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce in whole or in part for educational purposes is granted.
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