Get to know the vast leadership resources of the nation's regional educational labs.
Whenever educators seek research-based education information to develop, implement or evaluate a new curriculum, design a staff development program, or prepare proposals for funding, they probably overlook one of their best resources. Although each state is served by a federally supported Regional Educational Lab, most educators have limited contact with their regional lab and are unable to describe its services. But the programs of the educational labs can benefit every school.
WHAT ARE THE REGIONAL LABS? The Regional Educational Laboratories were established by Congress more than three decades ago to tackle the difficult issues of education reform. They are supported by contracts with the U.S. Department of Education, www.ed.gov, and the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, www.ed.gov/ offices/OERI. Each of the 10 labs serves specific geographic regions to ensure that those involved in educational improvement have access to the best available information from research and practice; each lab also emphasizes a leadership specialty area such as school change processes, technology or curriculum, learning and instruction. But when the labs were first established, there was no convenient way to search for new information. Now each lab has its own Web site, so connecting with these vast resources has never been easier or more effective.
TAPPING INTO RESOURCES The online network of regional labs, www.relnetwork.org, offers a wide range of products and services, including publications, workshops, seminars, tutorials, research reports, funding opportunities and links to related sources of information. The concerns, issues and attributes of its target area shape the work of individual laboratories. Each lab conducts activities and applied research that result in models for school reform; provides information, training and technical assistance; promotes widespread access to information on educational research and best practices; and maintains communities of educators to assist in development and dissemination to improve education. Get to know the leadership resources at these labs.
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