Regional Education Associations (REA) unite school districts to improve their educational programs and services through cooperation and pooling of resources, working in collaboration with state and local agencies including the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and institutions of higher education, local businesses, and other organizations. North Dakota’s eight REAs serve 97 percent of all public school districts and more than 100,000 students in the state.
REAs support initiatives, programs, and activities that serve students and education professionals. REAs secure financial support from local funding, memberships of school districts within the designated regions, state funding, and at times, grants. Oversight of each REA is provided by a governing board composed of representatives of member districts. REAs also submit an annual report of student and professional activities and/or services to the superintendent of public instruction.
State funding to REAs has increased over the years to reflect an increasing number of students in the state, as well as the growing roles, influence, and expectations that school districts have of REAs. The 2011 Legislative Assembly solidified the REAs’ role in supporting North Dakota schools, teachers, and students as a vital component of the education system. Facilitation, collaboration, coordination, and assistance are provided by the REAs in five areas: (1) professional development, (2) technology and technology support, (3) school improvement, (4) student achievement data collection and analysis, and (5) curriculum enrichment.