Blog Post: How REL Appalachia at SRI is Working to Include Educators in Mental Health and Trauma Support for Schools

Head shots of Woodbridge and Perez

Michelle Woodbridge and Nancy Perez

In this Knowledge Alliance (KA) blog post, KA’s summer intern, Julianna Collado, met with Michelle Woodbridge and Nancy Perez from SRI International to discuss their work identifying and implementing better mental health support for educators. Please read the full blog post on the Knowledge Alliance’s site.

Collado: The example KA highlighted from SRI International in our Issue Brief was from the REL Reference Desk also known as “Ask a REL.” Can you explain what the REL Reference Desk is?

Woodbridge: While leading REL Appalachia from 2017–2021, we offered the “Ask a REL” service. “Ask a REL” was a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs)1. The “Ask a REL” service was for anyone seeking a research-based, quick-turnaround response on an education topic: this includes parents, practitioners, district-level leaders, and state agency staff. It was like a librarian’s reference desk from the olden days. For example, in October of 2020, when many educators were in the throughs of the COVID-19 crisis, a respondent asked REL Appalachia “What does research say about measuring teacher well-being, stress, and burnout after a crisis event?”

Continue reading this blog post on the Knowledge Alliance’s site.


[1] IES sunset “Ask a REL” in 2021. IES now offers a new service through the RELs’ called “Ask an Expert.” The “Ask an Expert” service provides rapid-turnaround methodological expertise and evidence-based thought partnering to SEAs and LEAs. RELs’ “Ask an Expert” services help SEAs and LEAs succinctly answer research-related questions through their evidence-based subject matter expertise. SEAs and LEAs can also use “Ask an Expert” services to build their own capacity to design research to answer pressing questions of policy or practice. “Ask an Expert” supports can be written and/or be provided through meetings with requestors. “Ask an Expert” services are designed to provide answers to requestors in a matter of weeks, not months or years. The RELs stand ready to provide more intensive training, coaching, and technical supports in cases where an “Ask an Expert” request may not be feasible to complete within 4-5 weeks.

Posted October 2022.

Topics: News