August 8, 2019

NYC, REL Team Up for Research Forum

Educators and researchers examine connections between research, policy, and practice.

Though their day-to-day jobs may look very different, educators and education researchers are often trying to answer the same question: what works in the classroom?

On July 29, more than 200 policymakers, researchers, and program staff from the New York City Department of Education came together to examine education research initiatives going on in the city, as well as the potential implications of this research on policy and practice. The event was co-sponsored by the NYC Department of Education and EDC’s REL Northeast & Islands.

The forum was an important event because program staff seldom have an opportunity to learn about the kind of educational research that is being done in their district, says EDC’s Julie Riordan, director of REL Northeast & Islands at EDC.

“For central office leaders to take a day and think about the work they are doing from a research perspective—for example, what do we know about English learners or administering a district-wide survey about school climate—was enormously helpful,” Riordan said.

The day-long forum featured breakout sessions on topics such as career and technical education, social and emotional learning, early reading instruction, and achieving equity in computer science education. The event was valuable for many reasons, says June Mark, who was one of seven presenters from EDC.

“I had a chance to share our work, connect with Department of Education staff, and meet other people who are doing research in New York City,” Mark said.

Making those connections is important, says Riordan. “The best outcomes happen when educators, researchers, and Department of Education staff collaborate. The forum helped program staff think of researchers as partners.”