• 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.

  • 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.

  • Common Core State Standards, Factors Influencing Student Achievement, Responsive Coaching, Teacher Evaluation, Autism
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ESSA: Quick Guide on Top Issues

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December 2015, is the latest reauthorization of one of the most influential pieces of federal education legislation, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The law had not been reauthorized since 2001 when the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed, and ESSA is the result of significant bipartisan effort to move beyond temporary waivers from NCLB’s provisions. The new law maintains many of the same basic components as past iterations, such as state plans and report cards, but the bipartisan bill also responds to many of the common complaints about NCLB by offering states greater flexibility and control over education policy. Many questions remain before states can fully take advantage of ESSA. This report addresses the areas of the law where Education Commission of the States has heard the most questions and concerns from education leaders and policymakers.


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Growth Mindset: Clearing up Some Common Confusions


A growth mindset is the understanding that personal qualities and abilities can change. It leads people to take on challenges, persevere in the face of setbacks, and become more effective learners. As more and more people learn about the growth mindset, which was first discovered by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, we sometimes observe some confusions about it. Recently some critiques have emerged. Of course we invite critical analysis and feedback, as it helps all of us learn and improve, but some of the recent commentary seems to point to misunderstandings of growth mindset research and practice. This article summarizes some common confusions and offers some reflections.

Confusion #1: What a growth mindset is

When we ask people to tell us what the growth mindset is, we often get lots of different answers, such as working hard, having high expectations, being resilient, or more general ideas like being open or flexible. But a growth mindset is none of those things. It is the belief that qualities can change and that we can develop our intelligence and abilities. The opposite of having a growth mindset is having a fixed mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and abilities cannot be developed. The reason that this definition of growth mindset is important is that research has shown that this specific belief leads people to take on challenges, work harder and more effectively, and persevere in the face of struggle, all of which makes people more successful learners. It is hard to directly change these behaviors without also working to change the underlying understanding of the nature of abilities.

Confusion #2: To foster a growth mindset, simply praise children for working hard

body of research has shown that telling children that they’re smart and implying that their success depends on it fosters fixed mindsets. When these children later experience struggle, they tend to conclude that their ability is not high after all, and as a result they lose confidence, so our praise has the opposite effect of what we intended. On the other hand, praising hard work or strategies used, things that children control, has been shown to support a growth mindset.

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New Research Shows Nearly Half of American Parents Underestimate the Harm of School Absences

U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council Partner on Absences Add Up campaign to help parents keep their children in school and on a path to success.


A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.

New research released today by the Ad Council found that an overwhelming majority (86%) of parents understand their child’s school attendance plays a big role in helping them graduate from high school. However, nearly half (49%) of parents believe that it is okay for their children to miss three or more days of school per month – and that they won’t fall behind academically if they do. In reality, missing just two days of school per month makes children more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.

To combat chronic absenteeism, the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council have partnered to create a public service campaign, Absences Add Up. The campaign features a series of digital and out of home PSAs that drive parents to AbsencesAddUp.org. On the website, parents are empowered with information and resources to help ensure their children attend school each day.

“Ensuring kids actually make it to school is a vital part of leveling the playing field. Just missing a couple of days of school a month can mean the difference between dropping out and graduating on time. Absences add up. That’s why eliminating chronic absenteeism is a critical part of our work at the federal, state, and local level to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

“A good education provides the best pathway to opportunity,” said Mott Foundation President Ridgway White. “But to succeed in school, students have to be in school. That’s why we’re pleased to support a campaign that will help families and communities keep kids in the classroom.”

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ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education

As questions regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) flow in to Education Commission of the States, one frequent inquiry is about the concept of a “well-rounded education,” referenced more than 20 times and included within the majority of Titles in the Act. State education leaders want to know what constitutes a well-rounded education, how can they ensure students across their state have access to it, and how, if at all, the U.S. Department of Education plans to hold their state accountable to it.

Although concerns surrounding a well-rounded education have not received the same degree of attention as hot-button issues like equitable funding and accountability indicators, it could be considered a foundational element of the new federal law.

This paper provides a brief overview of what is included in a well-rounded education and the opportunities that ESSA opens for states and districts to provide such an education to their students.


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Professional learning communities bring benefits for teachers, students

PLCs embrace collaboration among teachers to improve student achievement — and they get results


Working teachers rarely have an opportunity to see their colleagues in action. They are either teaching or preparing for their next classes and observation time is minimal or nonexistent.

That’s a big reason why Gamble Rogers Middle School in northeastern Florida became a professional learning community.

“We had a lot of teachers who had a lot of strengths that were not necessarily being tapped into,” said instructional literacy coach Michelle Davis, who has spearheaded the school’s embrace of the PLC.

Heading into the fifth year of collaboration and focused learning that comes with PLCs, Davis can see the benefits. Educators were grouped in cross-curricular pairs so math and science teachers come together by grade, as do English language arts and social studies teachers. A schoolwide common vocabulary helps teachers of different subjects talk about cross-disciplinary concepts in the same way. It is clear to students now that they use the same formulas in math and science classes for different purposes, deepening their understanding.

Beyond these benefits to students, there are important schoolwide benefits of bringing educators together.

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  • Grant-writing
  • Strategies for serving students with Autism
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