• JP brings together several critical factors in the development of an effective school.

  • JP partners with schools and districts across the country to provide intensive professional development for scientifically-based programs.

  • JP Associates offers our sites grant writing assistance. Take advantage of our experience writing successful grant requests.

  • JP works with schools providing training on how to ameliorate teacher weaknesses brought to light through the process of teacher evaluation.

  • Common Core State Standards, Factors Influencing Student Achievement, Responsive Coaching, Teacher Evaluation, Autism
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A Case for Finger Counting

Photo of a girl’s hands as she uses her fingers to do math


New research suggests that young children may make gains in math by counting with their fingers.

Teachers generally start telling children to stop counting on their fingers around the end of first grade—they’re learning to do math in their heads, and finger counting is sometimes seen as a crutch or even a sign of weak math ability.

A new British study published in Frontiers in Education suggests that this may be a mistake because finger counting seems to boost math learning when paired with number games.

In the four-week experiment, 137 6- and 7-year-old children were split into five groups. One group participated in finger-counting exercises such as counting from 1 to 10 using each finger, showing the correct number of fingers when told a specific number, and doing simple addition or subtraction problems using their fingers. The second group played number games (e.g., dominoes and card games). The third and fourth groups did both—they performed finger-counting exercises and played number games. The final group was the control and didn’t participate in either the exercises or the games.


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4 ways teachers can supersize Hattie effects

hattie effects


According to Hattie, different teaching practices have different effect sizes—here’s how to supersize visible learning.


In 2015, researcher John Hattie updated his seminal research Visible Learning. Hailed as “teaching’s Holy Grail,”1 Hattie synthesized 15 years of research on more than 800 meta-analysis about what works in the classroom. His goal was to focus educators around the idea that all students should make at least a year’s worth of progress for a year’s input.

Hattie found that most of the classroom activities we engage in have some effect on student achievement and even memorably noted “perhaps all you need to enhance learning is a pulse!”2 but he was also able to determine the average effect of classroom practices.

Hattie argues that unless a factor provides more impact than the average teaching activity, it shouldn’t be used to make decisions about what happens in classrooms.

Effect Size in Education

For those of us who aren’t statisticians, effect size works like this: Imagine you’re taking a road trip from Boston to Chicago. If you drive an average of 60 MPH, you’ll spend about 17 hours covering those 1,000 miles. Now imagine you can drive as fast as you like; 85 MPH cuts the trip down to 12 hours. Double it to 120 MPH and you’re rolling into Chicago in about eight hours.

Teaching practices work the same way. Cooperative learning, providing enrichment and afterschool programs have an effect size around the average of 0.4 (average impact). Things like charter schools, student gender and teacher’s level of education are around 0.1 (almost no impact,) while feedback, acceleration and formative assessment are around 0.7 (better impact).

Hattie’s goal was for us to use his research to develop practices that drive improved instruction and results.

Best of the Best

The 2015 update to Hattie’s original research uncovered some interventions that eclipse every other classroom activity with their effect on student achievement.

Conceptual change programs, self-reported grades and collective teacher efficacy all have effect sizes greater than 1.15. To put that into perspective, if you compared collective teacher efficacy at 1.57 to student control over learning at 0.01, 95 percent of your students in the “control” group would perform worse than the average student in the efficacy group.

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Booker T


July 19, 2017

Booker T. Washington—A Bright Spot and Beacon!

 “Schools like Booker T. Washington—its leaders, teachers, students and families—are a beacon to other schools,  pointing the way to success. Their results shout out, ‘Success with all students is within our reach.”  Congratulations to an exceptional school!”  Janie Feinberg, President, JP Associates.

Far too many students in our cities are not getting the education they need to succeed. More than two-thirds of children who attend schools in our cities like New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport are not on track for postsecondary readiness in either math or ELA.  (ConnCAN-Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now).

Bright Spots:

Seven districts with a higher percentage of Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch that the state overall outperformed the state average in ELA and math. Three are traditional districts: Griswold, Montville, and Groton. Four districts are state charter schools (individual charter schools are considered districts in Connecticut): Booker T. Washington Academy, Brass City Charter School, Elm City College Preparatory School, and Side by Side Charter School.

Of the 186 districts with available data, New Haven’s Booker T. Washington Academy is the highest performing overall in math and 33rd highest-performing district in ELA: 87.1% of Booker T. Washington Academy’s students are on track be ready for college and career. 86% of students who attend Booker T. Washington Academy are Black or African American, and 82% quality for free and reduced-price lunch.

“We must do more, faster, to ensure that our children are ready to succeed. Our students and our economy cannot wait decades,” said ConnCAN’s Alexander. “Fortunately, we know what it would take to deliver a quality public education to every student in Connecticut. The bright spots in these scores point to a way forward. We call on our state and local leaders to accelerate progress and make bold strides to deliver a high-quality education to all children.” 

“We are already getting a lot of attention from folk who want to know what we use to get our results.  JP Associates is a significant part of our success,” states Booker T. Washington’s Executive Director, John Taylor.

“When you enter the school, the culture is so present you can feel it. Leadership provides a clear vision coupled with effective support.  Teachers are engaged with students and each other.  They share information.  They are open and eager to work with us to identify both challenges and solutions.  They are just a pleasure to work with,” says Dan Link, JP School Improvement Specialist.

JP is honored to be working with Booker T. Washington’s leaders and teachers.

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Why writing doesn’t just prove learning, it improves all learning-including STEM

writing education

Writing is used to assess student learning more often than it is used to facilitate learning. We talk about writing as a product for assessment, a subject where paragraphs and commas are taught, or a skill that one either has developed or lacks. Rarely do we hear people, even teachers, discuss writing as a process for learning.

Imagine if a teacher said, “Go write on it and see what you come up with,” after a student asked a question. “Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts,” writes William Zinsser in Writing to Learn: How to Write–And Think–Clearly about Any Subject at All. “Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know—and what we don’t know—about whatever we’re trying to learn.”

Simply put, writing is our critical thinking made visible.

Through the process of writing, writers put nascent thoughts into comprehensible language for others to read. In their pursuit of self-expression, they often find themselves challenged to find new words or motivated to develop academic vocabulary.

Because it is a critical thinking process, writing isn’t merely an act of jotting down what you have in your head. Once the initial thoughts in your head start to flow, you naturally begin iterating on them.

In academic writing, this leads back to the text, where writers rethink, re-evaluate, and understand a detail or main idea more deeply. As Robert Frost points out, “All there is to writing is having ideas. To learn to write is to learn to have ideas.”

Learn More how writing improves stem learning

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