News from the Central 1 Region
Gwen Zimmermann, Central 1 Regional Director
Fall 2015

Regardless of your official role or title, I am probably safe in assuming that your school year begins pretty much like mine … organized chaos! As I was scrambling to make sure everything is ready in regards to hundreds of teacher schedules and thousands of student schedules, I came across this quote from racecar driver Mario Andretti that seemed apropos, "If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough." (Was I wrong to take some level of comfort in this statement?)

The beginning of a school year is filled with lots of excitement and requires attention to many details and tasks. A new school year is also a time to set goals and refocus energies. As a leader in mathematics education, our work is never done. At the same time, we know all too well that we suffer from initiative overload and fatigue. Although we may not be able to control some of the endless demands for new programs, curricular changes, and standardized testing, we can and must filter the message through lens focuses on the meaningful work of student learning. The NCSM fall leadership seminars are here to help us focus!

I am very excited to share with the theme for the fall leadership seminars, IT'S TIME: Using Imperatives to Support and Motivate Leaders in Mathematics Education: Shifting Beliefs and Mindsets. As we are constantly challenged to stay the course focused on what will best support teachers and result in student learning of mathematics, It's Time begins to layout the roadmap for implementing important changes. The learning embedded in the seminar will help to concentrate our work as mathematics education leaders in essential areas. In particular, the seminars will have us examine the beliefs and mindsets of not just our students, but those of teachers that support or hinder progress toward meaningful change.

Although we don't have a leadership seminar scheduled for our region, I would encourage you to consider attending the seminar in Atlantic City, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, or Nashville, TN.

In addition to the NCSM Fall Leadership Seminars, I know there are many opportunities for professional learning in our region. We try to keep these events posted on our regional calendar. If we are missing one in your area, let me know, and we'll try to get it put on our regional calendar. Email me the name of the event, the date, and, if possible, a web-link to the event.

Below are some events in our region that our team leaders wanted to make sure to highlight:

  • Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference will be held on November 7, 2015 at Cousino High School in Warren, MI.
  • ICTM (Illinois) Annual Conference is scheduled for October 23 and 24 in Tinley Park, IL. Jo Boaler is headlining the conference on Friday where she is speaking on teaching mathematics for a growth mindset. Eli Luberoff (Creator of Desmos) will also be speaking on using technology to develop an intellectual need in the mathematics classroom during Saturday's keynote.
  • OCTM Annual conference will be in Columbus, OH, October 15 and 16th.
  • ICTM (Indiana) Annual conference, "Putting the 'M' in STEM" will be October 4th and 5th in Indianapolis, IN.
  • KCTM Annual Conference will be held October 10th in Shelbyville, KY.

Go to the respective organization websites for more information on these great opportunities.

In other news:

Michigan has adopted the SAT and will be administering it to all 11th graders this spring. There will be several statewide and local initiatives to raise awareness about the SAT administration and content. Professional learning will be provided by both the College Board and regional service agencies. So the chaos of the beginning of the school year can lead us into a rut of managing the day-to-day smoke and fires. How will you ensure that you stay focused on the important leadership work and don't succumb to crossing things off the proverbial checklist? I began with a racecar quote, so it seemed appropriate to stay with the theme. When it comes to staying the course of the critical work of leadership in mathematics education, it seems that racecar driving can remind us of one way to avoid the potholes and detours.

"Race-car drivers know that whatever they look at is where their race-car aims itself. If they look at dangers and walls they will smack right into them. Think like a race-car driver. Don't focus on what you don't want."

(author unknown)

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