In a Financially Conservative Year
Ted H. Hull, Southern 2 Regional Director
Fall 2010

The school year is up and running. With it, comes some unusual challenges and opportunities. Many schools are facing significant challenges this year, usually financially based. These financial challenges might overshadow opportunities if educators are not careful. For this reason, I offer a different type of report.

As is often the case, significant challenges require educators to pull back to the fundamentals. If this is true, then what are the fundamentals, and how can they also be opportunities?

The first fundamental is equity. Equity means planning for a better tomorrow rather than spiraling into a cycle of failure. Ensuring every student successfully learns mathematics establishes future, positive employment opportunities.

Equity is not a line item in the budget. Equity is a belief, supported by actions. Working actively to achieve equity is an investment in the future with a supporting attitude that things will be better for everyone.

Talk is cheap, so why not use this idea in classrooms? Student discussions, discourse, explanations, and justifications serve as the cornerstone for meaningful learning. Students must actively engage in thinking in order to learn mathematics. Their thinking must be carefully articulated and shared. Through the process of sharing their ideas, students learn to self-monitor and self-reflect. These actions encourage and promote student self-belief and effective effort.

In these difficult financial times, leaders and teachers must conserve. Conservation is important for both time and energy. The most effective, research-based way to conserve both time and energy is through purposeful collaboration. The power of a collaborating group-synergy-is much greater than the sum of individual efforts.

Every day in every classroom, teachers and leaders are not looking into the faces of the past, but rather visions of the future. Seek out opportunities to join and share with other mathematics leaders. Future outcomes, positive or negative, are set today. The opportunity, as well as the challenge, is to ensure every "today" is filled with hope.

^ Top