Jennifer Nakamura

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Senior Researcher, SRI Education

Jennifer Nakamura specializes in mixed methods formative research and evaluation studies of education programs in preK–12 schools. Her areas of expertise include digital learning platforms, support for students with disabilities, early literacy and tiered systems of support. Her goal in her work is to contribute to the development and evaluation of strong learning products and platforms that are designed with students, educators and families at the forefront.

At SRI, Nakamura leads research studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). She is currently the research co-lead for an IES grant to develop and evaluate Amira for Families, a personalized intervention designed to strengthen home–school connections around early literacy. In partnership with Amira Learning, the research team is engaging in a co-design process with parents and educators, conducting a short-cycle feasibility study of the program in school settings and executing an experimental evaluation of the program in first-grade classrooms. Nakamura is also the research co-lead for an IES Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant that includes partnering with Alchemie Solutions to develop Kasi, an online system that increases the accessibility of chemistry content to high school-age students who are blind or have low vision. She was previously the research co-lead on another SBIR grant to develop and evaluate Sound Town, an adaptive early literacy program targeting phonemic awareness in prekindergarten children.

Nakamura is skilled at translating research for practitioners. She has published numerous blog posts about her research and evidence-based educational practices. She has also co-authored technical reports on rigorous evaluations of digital learning programs, a peer-reviewed Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) research report on states’ approaches to measuring response to intervention and multi-tiered systems of support and a book chapter on effective instruction as the basis for classroom management in the Handbook of Classroom Management (3rd ed.). She regularly presents at national conferences, including the American Educational Research Association, the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness and the National Research Conference on Early Childhood. Before joining SRI, Nakamura supported children and families in various roles both within and outside of the school system. She was a school psychologist intern in Manassas City Public Schools, a qualified mental health professional at Health Connect America, a learning strategist for the Mason Autism Support Initiative and a clinician at a Lindamood-Bell Learning Center. Nakamura earned a certificate of advanced graduate study in school psychology, an MA in school psychology and a BS in psychology from George Mason University.

Key projects

  • Reading Together: Building family literacy through AI-enabled tutoring, U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences
  • Kasi Learning System: Accessible Science Diagrams through Multisensory Augmented Reality, Small Business Innovation Research Phase II, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
  • Interactive Audio Technology to Build Phonological Awareness and Early Childhood Literacy, Small Business Innovation Research Phase II, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
  • Tools for Getting Along Effectiveness Study, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
  • Formative Research to Support Sesame Workshop and UnitedHealthcare’s Healthy Habits Initiative

Recent publications

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Other publications

  • Scott, T. & Nakamura, J. (2022). Effective instruction as the basis for classroom management. In Sabornie, E. J., & Espelage, D. L., (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management (Third Edition) (pp. 15–30). Routledge.

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