Jessica Thompson is a research assistant professor in the UW College of Education. She is the Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF Tool Systems grant and the Principal Investigator on the Knowles Science Teaching Mentoring grant. Her research focuses building networks to support novice and experienced science teachers work collaboratively on ambitious equitable practices.
Dr. Jessica Thompson has served as Co-PI on the NSF-funded Tool Systems grant for the past four years, and on a previous Carnegie Foundation grant, during which time she took the lead on designing tools and routines for induction supports for novice teachers and led the data collection and analysis in the field. She and Dr. Windschitl developed the core practices and suites of tools found on this website. She has co-authored articles based on this work and has written the article that documents the trajectories of early career teachers, and theorizes about the conditions under which novices take up ambitious practice. Dr. Thompson was awarded a fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation that has supported research and development of tools and routines for mentor teachers supporting novices in learning ambitious practices. This work included the development of summer institutes for mentors and for science instructional leaders in six major school districts. She is currently working with the Institute for Systems Biology and the North Sound LASER Alliance TOSA network (a group of instructional leaders in districts in the Puget Sound Region) to design instructional supports for science kits used in these districts and develop professional learning communities in schools and across districts—these projects aim to build local capacity for ambitious and equitable science teaching. As a part of this work she founded a video club, Lenses on Learning, with Melissa Braaten to support in-service teachers in developing a learning community that works toward ambitious equitable practices. Dr. Thompson also has expertise in working with underserved students in secondary science classrooms and developing interventions that learn from, and support ethnic minority girls' engagement in scientific inquiry (dissertation fellowship from the American Association of University Women; 2007 Selma Greenberg Dissertation Award). She has a background in Biology and Chemistry and taught high school and middle school science as well as a drop-out prevention courses for eight years in North Carolina and Washington State. She has taught secondary and elementary science teaching methods courses and Culturally Responsive Math and Science Teaching at the UW.