REL West in the News

REL West Study Shines Spotlight on Future Need for Teachers in Riverside County

Report: Riverside County to need 10,000 new teachers, S.B. County 7,000, by 2015
The Press-Enterprise—September 18, 2008

Trends in California Teacher Demand: A County and Regional Perspective (PDF), a groundbreaking REL West report funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, projects California's teacher demand county by county. While previous teacher demand studies have recorded statewide trends and projections, this report highlights the regional differences when projecting teacher retirements and student enrollment by 2015/16. The Press-Enterprise covered the projected challenges that two counties, San Bernardino and Riverside, will face in their local teacher labor markets.

REL West Study On the Air

Local News: Study Finds San Diego County Needs More Teachers
KPBS (National Public Radio affiliate)—September 18, 2008

Melissa White, REL West Senior Policy Associate, was interviewed on KPBS, San Diego, California's local National Public Radio affiliate. The station covered the release of a new study, Trends in California Teacher Demand: A County and Regional Perspective (PDF), which projects statewide teacher demand county by county based on expected teacher retirements and student enrollment over the next ten years.

REL West Study Says Ninth Grade Critical for College Eligibility

Preparation for College
Education Week—September 17, 2008

REL West's Neal Finkelstein and Tony Fong found that many California high school students "fall off the college-preparatory track" because they are not taking the key math and science courses they need in 9th grade. The report, Course-Taking Patterns and Preparation for Postsecondary Education in California's Public University Systems Among Minority Youth, shows that students who complete those courses in 9th grade, instead of postponing them, are more likely to complete the courses required for admission to the state’s two university systems. The report also shows that white and Asian students are more likely than Hispanic and African-American students to meet the eligibility requirements.

REL West Study Featured in Article

Taking sink or swim out of 9th grade
Los Angeles Times—September 15, 2008

A REL West report, Course-Taking Patterns and Preparation for Postsecondary Education in California's Public University Systems Among Minority Youth (PDF), was referenced in an article about the transition from middle to high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The report, prepared by REL West, found that the high school program for college preparation begins in the 9th grade and that making up missed preparatory courses and academic content is likely to be difficult for students who put off college-preparatory work until later in their high school career.

REL West Study Hits the Airwaves

Morning News: High School Dropout Study
KPBS (National Public Radio affiliate)—September 08, 2008

BethAnn Berliner, lead author of the REL West study, Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District (PDF), was interviewed by San Diego's KPBS Morning News. Berliner noted, "The field needs longitudinal studies to document dropout and reenrollment patterns, and [California's] San Bernardino City Unified School District provided a unique opportunity to, for the first time, track the high school trajectories of dropouts over the four or five year conventional time frame for completing a high school diploma."

"Eye on Research" Focuses on REL West Study

Returning High School Dropouts Said to Face Too Tough a Road to Graduation
Education Week—August 27, 2008

Education Week's "Eye on Research" series provided in-depth coverage of a REL West study regarding reenrolling high school dropouts. REL West conducted the study, Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District (PDF), in response to requests to REL West from policymakers and education administrators, who identified an information gap in the dropout literature. While the spotlight has focused on calculating dropout rates and identifying predictors, no attention had been paid to the numbers and graduation outcomes of dropouts who returned to school, and to the effects this "revolving door" of students has on district resources.

REL West Report Cited in High School Dropout Reenrollment Article

New Class Gets Kids in School
The Press-Enterprise—August 20, 2008

A REL West report, Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District (PDF), was cited in an article regarding Riverside County, California's efforts to convince dropouts to reenroll. While much media and research literature focus on high school dropouts, little is known about those who reenroll and the obstacles these students face to graduate. The REL West report is among the first to examine this overlooked population.

Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West) Study Shines Spotlight on Reenrolling High School Dropouts

Study: Dropout Recovery Not Enough Without Support
Education Daily—August 19, 2008

BethAnn Berliner, lead author of a REL West study, Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District (PDF), was quoted at length in an Education Daily feature. WestEd researchers found that both reenrolling students and district staff face significant obstacles in getting dropouts back in school and on track for graduation. The study also reports what the district's students and staff say about policies and practices that could improve student graduation outcomes.

REL West Study on Reenrolling High School Dropouts Sparks Local Coverage

Study Examines San Bernardino City Unified Efforts to Get Dropouts Back
The Press-Enterprise—August 14, 2008

A REL West study, Reenrollment of High School Dropouts in a Large, Urban School District, followed a cohort of first-time ninth graders in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, California's seventh largest, to answer the question: What happens to high school dropouts who reenroll?


Elizabeth Burr Quoted on Summer School Research

School's Out (of Cash): Budget Cuts Force Districts to Cancel Summer Classes
San Diego Union-Tribune—July 02, 2008

Elizabeth Burr, Senior Research Associate at REL West, was interviewed for a San Diego Union-Tribune story on local cutbacks in summer school offerings. Burr noted that while recent research on the effectiveness of summer school is scant, there is some indication that without summer school, the already existing gap between middle-class students and students from low-income households who lag behind them academically grows wider. Burr also said that overall, the research on summer school efficacy yields mixed results.


Changing Nature of Education Research at Labs, Comprehensive Centers

Research Moves Toward Practice, Practicality
Education Daily—March 08, 2007

Nikola Filby, Associate Director of REL West, was quoted on the research and technical assistance roles played by the regional labs and comprehensive centers, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The article noted that the labs attend more to research studies, while the comprehensive centers focus on providing technical assistance to state departments of education.


Catherine Walcott Appointed to Collaborative Advisory Position

Friends of the National High School Center Working Group
National High School Center—January 03, 2007

Catherine Walcott, REL West Director of Fast Response Projects, has been appointed to the Friends of the National High School Center Working Group, as reported by Education Daily. The Working Group provides guidance and direction to the National High School Center, one of five federally funded content Comprehensive Centers that help states meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act by disseminating scientifically based research on school improvement.


REL West and Arizona State University Collaborate: Pathways to Success Symposium

Minority-Heavy Schools Seek Vision
The Arizona Republic —September 29, 2006

Several WestEd staff participated in an invitation-only symposium cosponsored by Arizona State University and the federally funded REL West, the regional laboratory at WestEd. Researchers, high school faculty, and district personnel discussed improving outcomes and raising college-going rates of secondary students in Arizona. Senior Research Associate BethAnn Berliner served as the WestEd liaison for the event.


REL West Co-sponsors Lecture Series

WestEd's WREL Cosponsors Lecture Series—December 01, 2005

More than 50 education leaders recently participated in the annual Edward F. Reidy Jr. Interactive Lecture Series, cosponsored by REL West and the Center for Assessment. This year's topic, “Wrestling with High School Assessment and Accountability,” focused on the challenges of developing meaningful and valid high school accountability systems. Series presenters examined some of the most important aspects of student performance measurement in high school and how to incorporate those results in high school accountability systems. Presentations included:

  • Mark Musick, former Executive Director of the Southern Regional Educational Board: "Building the Foundation: Establishing Our Goals for High Schools"
  • Lauress Wise, President of Human Resources Research Organization: "Assessment Approaches: Which Options Are Best for What Purposes?"
  • Scott Marion, Associate Director of the Center for Assessment, and Brian Gong, Executive Director of the Center for Assessment: "Accountability at the High School Level: Emerging Recommendations for a Multilevel Set of Issues"

Stanley Rabinowitz, Director for WestEd’s Assessment and Standards Development Services, provided panel facilitation and responses.


Garden Project Teaches Low-Income Teens About Nutrition

Contra Costa Times—September 07, 2005

Next to Riverview Middle School, an organic garden grows corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and healthier teenagers in this low-income, gang-involved neighborhood. BethAnn Berliner and Tenley Harrison from REL West partnered with the school district and other agencies to create the model Teen Garden Corps, which provides curriculum enrichment, economic opportunity, and nutritional education.

How can we help you?

Do you want to know the latest research or where to turn for information? This free collaborative service from the 10 RELs provides references, referrals, and brief responses to education questions. To ask a question, visit the national portal and select REL West -- or directly.

Search By State