What Will Be Our Next Steps in Offering Students the Best in Mathematics Education?
Susan Birnie, Southern 1 Regional Director
Fall 2010

As we start another school year, many of us are putting final touches on curriculum documents to be sure that we have high standards in mathematics for each and every student. Given the publication of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) this summer, we have a new and exciting resource to assist us as math leaders in our school division. The standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels-rather than the current practices by which many students learn enough to get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review again the following year.

On the CCSS website, the mission states that the Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

The support for the CCSS is growing quickly. Of the five states in our Southern I Region, four have adopted the new standards. Nationally, only 14 states have not adopted. In a New York Times article, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called the quick action a "Race to Adopt." She made the point that adopting the common standards won't amount to much without careful, deliberate plans to implement them so that teachers know how to teach them and students can meet them. This is so true. As math leaders in our school districts and states, it is our challenge to be sure that implementation proceeds thoughtfully and consistently. We are fortunate to have support in this process. Four national mathematics educational organizations, NCSM, NCTM, ASSM, and AMTE have united to support teachers and other education stakeholders in implementing the Common Core State Standards.

What will this support for the Common Core State Standards look like? To begin, NCSM has Fall Leadership Seminars scheduled to address these issues. Participants who attend a leadership seminar will:

  • Examine the impact of the Common Core State Standards on your mathematics program.
  • Learn research-informed strategies for achieving equity and excellence in task selection and assessment decisions.
  • Develop skills that will influence adult actions guaranteed to improve student achievement in mathematics.
  • Recognize the importance of navigating relationships in your work as a mathematics leader.
  • Interact with colleagues and NCSM leaders as you build your knowledge for real school transformation.

Now is a crucial time for us to collaborate and help each other proceed as confident and informed math leaders. Looking forward to working with you as we consider our next steps in offering our students the best in mathematics education.

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