From the NCSM President
Diane J. Briars
Winter 2010/2011

Building Our Mathematics Education Leadership Community

This fall, while attending the three NCSM fall leadership seminars and the associated NCTM regional conferences, I was struck once again by how many mathematics education leaders-district leaders, department chairs, mathematics coaches, elementary mathematics specialists, school administrators-had never heard of NCSM, much less were NCSM members.

This raises the question, what are we doing as mathematics education leaders to identify, nurture, and mentor emerging leaders? What are we doing to build our capacity to provide professional learning and support teachers? In particular, what are we doing to reach out to those in leadership positions who might not consider themselves "leaders"-such as elementary mathematics specialists, grade level or course team leaders, mathematics coaches, department chairs, or classroom teachers who lead through their knowledge, performance, and influence?

NCSM is working hard to reach out to provide resources and professional learning experiences to support leaders in various positions. We could, however, use your help in making the new and experienced leaders that you work with aware of NCSM and the resources and opportunities available, e.g., newsletters, journals, position papers, PRIME Leadership Framework, conferences, seminars, and academies. Have the leaders you work with read the latest NCSM position papers? Are they familiar with PRIME? Have they visited the NCSM Website and listened to a podcast from a previous annual conference?

Wednesday of our Annual Conference has a special focus on emerging leaders. If you know of a leader who has not attended an NCSM annual conference for the past three years, you can encourage him or her to apply for an Iris Carl Grant-see the NCSM Website [] for details. Working together, we can increase the leadership knowledge and capabilities of our colleagues to support and sustain high levels of mathematics achievement for all students.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Update: NCSM, NCTM, the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM), and the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), are continuing to collaborate on efforts related to the CCSS. The Boards have identified five priority actions stemming from the organizations' Joint Task Force Report on the CCSS.

  1. Organize and launch a major outreach project, Advancing the Vision of High Quality Mathematics Education: Supporting Implementation of the Common Core State Standards, with two primary foci: (a) develop and disseminate a core set of resources (Toolkit) which consolidate and highlight key messages of our organizations with regard to the CCSS; and (b) organize and host regional meetings of leadership teams to review the resources and plan local strategies for utilizing the CCSS to elevate mathematics teaching and learning.
  2. Appoint a Joint Committee of AMTE, ASSM, NCSM, and NCTM to serve as an ongoing advisory group regarding the CCSS. This Committee will serve as a professionally grounded oversight and advisory group that could, over a period of time, suggest needed actions and inform revisions of the CCSS based on their review and analysis of its implementation and impact.
  3. Convene a group of respected teacher development professionals and scholars to conceptualize and develop a professional development system at the school, district, and state/provincial levels that will connect our organizations' messages with the CCSS.
  4. Convene an Assessment Working Group to coordinate the field's best guidance on assessment development and ensure that new student assessments address the priorities (e.g., mathematical practices) articulated in the CCSS. This includes collaboration with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and SMARTER Balanced Assessment State Consortia.
  5. Develop and launch a research agenda focused on implementation of the CCSS that includes systematic study of the instantiation and implementation of the standards, monitors the impact on instruction and student learning, and informs revisions of the CCSS. Horizon Research, Inc. has already received National Science Foundation funding for a project to address at least part of this recommendation. See the NCSM Website [] for the Joint Task Force Report, along with the latest CCSS information and resources.

In addition, NCSM is collaborating with Bill Bush, University of Louisville, and a team of mathematics educators and mathematicians to develop a tool for analyzing 1) instructional materials in light of CCSS, and 2) professional development activities on effective use of this tool. The target release date is spring, 2011. NCSM is also creating professional development materials to help teachers understand and implement the Mathematical Practices standards.

Finally, Suzanne Mitchell, NCSM President Elect and I will be doing an NCSM Webinar, Getting Started with the Common Core State Standards: First Steps for Mathematics Education Leaders, Tuesday, November 30, 3:30 to 4:30 pm EST. Register for the Webinar, sponsored by Carnegie Learning, at

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