Jessica Newman

Senior Researcher

Jessica Newman is a senior researcher who leads research, evaluation, and capacity-building initiatives in collaboration with a variety of national, state, and local entities. Her work is primarily focused on positive youth development and social and emotional learning (SEL) in supportive learning environments, including out-of-school time and informal learning settings. Newman is driven by her work in translating research and evaluation into practice and then using practice to drive research and evaluation. She currently leads multiple mixed-methods implementation-focused evaluations, including the citywide study of the School’s Out New York City (SONYC) initiative, a regional evaluation of Playworks’ professional development model, Playworks Pro, and the national data collection effort that is part of the Afterschool Tech Toolkit, developed by the National AfterSchool Association and funded by Google.

Newman has partnered to provide ongoing consultation, evaluation materials, and professional development resources focused on SEL and youth development with youth-serving programs and intermediary organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Higher Achievement, National AfterSchool Association, NatureBridge, YMCA of the USA, and Every Hour Counts. She is the coauthor of the fourth edition of Beyond the Bell®: A Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs and has authored multiple chapters and presentations that cover social and emotional learning, youth development, and out-of-school time. 

Prior to joining AIR, Newman led the development and dissemination of Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs (Preschool and Elementary School Edition), a review of nationally available, universal SEL programs published by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She also conducted a review of policies and student learning standards across the United States to determine the extent to which SEL was promoted. Newman received an M.A. in applied developmental psychology from George Mason University, where she focused on social and emotional development and assessment in early childhood.

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M.A., Applied Developmental Psychology and B.A., Psychology, George Mason University