Jessica Newman provides research, evaluation, and technical assistance support to promote continuous improvement across a variety of national, state, and local afterschool and expanded learning initiatives with a focus on youth development and social and emotional learning (SEL) in out-of-school time (OST) settings. She specializes in the development and dissemination of research-to-practice tools that support the implementation of high-quality programming for both in- and out-of-school time initiatives. She is co-author of the fourth edition of the popular afterschool resource, Beyond the Bell®: A Toolkit for Creating High-Quality Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs and is currently leading the development of an online Beyond the Bell Toolkit. Newman also serves as the coordinator for multiple projects including Beyond the Bell and a statewide needs assessment of the Oregon 21st Century Community Learning Center program. She currently serves as the project manager for an evaluation of the School’s Out New York program operated by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. The goal of this project is to understand how well the initiative serving middle school youth across the city has been implemented as well as its effectiveness in improving the social and emotional outcomes of young people to better support their success in school and life. Newman has provided evaluation consultation to large, national youth-serving and intermediary organizations such as YMCA of the USA and Every Hour Counts. She has authored multiple briefs, tools, and chapters on topics related to social and emotional learning.
Prior to joining AIR, Newman served as the senior research specialist at the University of Illinois, Chicago in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She played a strategic role in the development and dissemination of Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs (Preschool and Elementary School Edition), a review of nationally available, universal social and emotional learning programs (2013) and she also conducted a review of policies and student learning standards across the United States to determine the extent to which social and emotional learning was promoted.