Regional Priorities

The West Region—Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah—spans nearly 500,000 square miles and is home to eight million diverse K-12 students. They are served in nearly 2,000 districts and 14,000 public schools, ranging from the very remote to the densely urban. As the region’s economy continues to falter, education is at the center of political and economic debate. In the face of significant budget cuts, regional educators must make difficult decisions about resource allocation, and they need reliable data and evidence to inform these choices.

Roll over a state to see related statistics.
California Nevada Utah Arizona
  • California: 6,226,989 Students, 9,955 Schools, 1,038 Districts -- (CDE, 2012-13)
  • Nevada: 439,128 Students, 663 Schools, 17 Districts -- (NCES, 2011-12)
  • Utah: 612,551 Students, 1,044 Schools, 41 Districts -- (USOE, 2012-13)
  • Arizona: 1,078,180 Students, 2,378 Schools -- (NCES, 2011-12)

Tom Torlakson

The initial issues that REL West intends to examine and address are all priority topics for schools and districts in California: increasing college readiness and success; strengthening educator effectiveness; accelerating learning for English language learner students; and improving school climate, including student engagement and health.

Tom Torlakson
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction

REL West State Liaisons

How We Identify Regional Priorities

REL West engages in systematic, ongoing assessment of regional education needs, employing an integrated set of strategies to stay current on needs for research- and evidence-based information, data analysis, and technical assistance to use data for decision making and policy development. Our approaches include:

  • Soliciting regular input from research alliance participants
  • Conducting systematic outreach to state and local decision makers
  • Analyzing data and policy trends
  • Examining educator and policymaker requests for assistance
  • Collaborating with regional Comprehensive Centers
  • Reviewing our service coverage

These needs-sensing activities resulted in identification of four key issues of importance to the region:

  • Increasing college and career readiness and success
  • Strengthening the effectiveness of teachers and principals
  • Accelerating the achievement of English learners
  • Improving school climate and student achievement in low-performing schools

Click on each priority in the column to the left to learn more about the issue and how REL West work is addressing it.

Rigorous standards and high quality assessments is a key part of the conversation associated with each of these priorities, and the understanding and use of data and evidence underlies the work of all research alliances.