What is the purpose of the REN?
The Regional Educator Network (REN) was implemented to help create more equity across Oregon’s school districts by providing more educator support processes across the board. The REN affords every school district more opportunities for their educators leading to better outcomes for their students.
In the past, Oregon has offered competitive grants to fund programs for school districts, such as mentoring and professional learning opportunities. However, this often left smaller, rural school districts at a disadvantage, creating a lack of equity within the state. In response to that, Oregon did away with the competitive grant model, and instead, created Regional Educator Network. Through the REN, using an equity lens, decisions are made focusing on opportunities and outcomes that reflect the needs of the whole region, rather than just one district.
This process will prevent districts from working in isolation from one another, and instead promotes collaboration, creativity, and innovation within today’s education system. The goal is that this work will be centered around improving systems that support educators within five key parts of the educator advancement continuum:
- Educator recruitment pathways
- Educator preparation
- Support for new educators
- Professional growth and development
- Career advancement
How were the Coordinating Body Members selected?
Coordinating Body members were nominated by superintendents, principals and teachers. Nominees were asked to submit an application to the REN Coordinator. Applications were evaluated to ensure adherence to SB-182(2017) and create a Coordinating Body that is linguistically, culturally, racially and geographically diverse, at least 51% school based teachers, includes members representing state agencies, school districts, education service districts, early learning providers, education-focused nonprofit organizations, education-focused philanthropy organizations, professional education associations, community-based education organizations that represent families and students, post-secondary institutions of education and federally recognized tribes.
It was determined that each member district should have a teacher representative on the Coordinating Body, to ensure perspective from all locations in the region. District and school leadership was selected to provide perspective from all levels of school district leadership (superintendent’s office, human resources, teaching and learning, and building principals from multiple levels). In addition to the requirements outlined in SB-182, considerations were made based upon district size, geographic location, and ESD for the “At-Large” seats.
What is the REN Coordinating Body?
Each Regional Educator Network (REN) has a coordinating body or council consisting of educators, community partners, and other stakeholders. This council and its members will help create a regional REN plan, make decisions about funding uses, oversee regional implementation, and document outcomes. The mission behind the creation of the REN Coordinating Body is to represent as many perspectives, demographics, and districts as possible within the region so that we can better serve educator needs that have a positive outcome with student performance. This will be executed in a way that utilizes an equity lens to ensure that all districts, regardless of size, location, or other factors have access to resources that help increase students’ success.
In order to ensure that a variety of perspectives are included in the decision making process, the REN Coordinating Council is required to include:
- ESD Representative
- Early Learning Professional
- School Board Member
- Educator Prep Program
- Education Focused Non-Profit
- Education Focused Philanthropic
- Professional Education Association Member
- Community Based Education Organization
- Post-Secondary Institution
- Tribal Representative
- State Agency Representative
- 51% Majority Classroom Teachers
Within those requirements the coordinating council will include representation from a variety of districts and locations, as well as demographics that are representative of the student body within the region.
How does the network function?
We developed a four committee structure to support decision making, data collection, communication and professional learning. Each committee has specific and essential responsibilities to create a cohesive and functioning improvement network. The committees include: improvement team, Improvement Science Specialists, Data, Measurement and Analysis, and Communications. These committees are current coordinating body members as well as other educators from across the region. Each committee meets monthly to review data, collect input from other educators, and review the progress of the tests. The committees share their learning and make recommendations to the coordinating body regarding possible improvements and growth toward the AIM.
How are we funded?
Utilizing Educator Advancement Funds which are resources that were identified by the Oregon Legislature and voted into law through Senate Bill 182(2017), a public/ non-profit partnership created the Educator Advancement Council and 10 Regional Educator Networks (REN) . The funds are distributed through the Educator Advancement Council (EAC) and based upon a formula that takes into account the size, diversity and attrition rates of the member districts. This funding is separate from education funding provided by the Oregon Department of Education and all resources are distributed based upon the plan that was created by the REN Coordinating Body. The REN also collaborates with non-profit organizations and philanthropic groups to provide additional funding and resources to support our goals.
What is the MCREN Timeline?
Sept: Develop technical support structures and content, Develop teaming structures and site logistics, Develop change ideas, Communicate with districts: Open recruitment / Intentional recruitment of high leverage leads in functioning sites
Oct: Frontload site leads and coaches with equity, improvement, and empowerment training, Build community and trust between coaches and leads, Operationalize change ideas, Research existing capacity, Study existing systems
Nov-Dec: Begin Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycles (PDSA), Begin networking/analyzing results, Fine-tune practices
Jan-Mar: Professional learning refresher for site leads, Continue Rapid Improvement Cycles, Continue networking results, Scale up initiatives at functioning sites, Launch pilot initiatives at promising sites
Apr-Jun: Scale up pilot initiatives, Reflection and insight process
+Monthly presentations with selected artifacts by site leads and coaches to the REN: Providing content for regional communication updates
Jargon and Definitions
Improvement Science Jargon
- Change Idea Team members have an idea for solving a problem or improving something. These ideas come from research and educator’ experience. Also called “solutions” by people who aren’t in the trenches.
- Plan, Do, Study, Act / PDSA. Team members test out a change idea like a scientific experiment, with a prediction and a plan for collecting data over time. AKA: Rapid Improvement Cycle
- Site Lead An educator based in a district who is leading a team’s work.
- Pilot Initiative A new series of Rapid Improvement Cycles launched at a site with little or no prior work in the area.
How can I help?
You can help by signing up for our newsletter, volunteering to run a change idea, or joining a committee. Please fill out the information below and we will be in contact.