The Math Pact: Achieving Instructional Coherence Within and Across Grades

As an elementary mathematics leader, I am always excited to attend the latest NCSM session or read the latest books from renown mathematics educators and NCSM members Karen Karp, Barbara Dougherty and Sarah Bush. One of their latest titles, The Math Pact: Achieving Instructional Coherence Within and Across Grades does not disappoint. In fact, if you are an elementary administrator, instructional coach or district leader this is a must for your summer reading list.

I believe it was the NCSM Washington D.C. conference, when this idea was first presented to me. Several of my district coaches attended a session and were ecstatic to build this into our cohesive embedded coaching model. To no surprise, this piece- this small tweak made all the difference. While we had resources to support high quality mathematics education, a K-5 philosophy for instruction and an embedded coaching model, upon reflection we found that we were failing to begin our work with a whole school conversation at the depth that is necessary. We failed to build what the authors call a Mathematics Whole School Agreement (MWSA).

This book takes the ideas that were presented in that session and expands them into a ‘must have’ resource for elementary leaders (and all Chief Academic Officers) in a manner that connects to the stakeholders in the system.

The authors build their case for high quality instruction, then throughout the book provide readers and ideally site leadership teams with tools, strategies and tips of pitfalls to avoid.

In a year full of 14-18-hour days, I felt too exhausted to even attempt to read a book. Yet, once I started reading, I just could not get enough! The authors take the best from the latest research and publications; in addition to classics and favorites such as “Rules that Expire” and build a case that is assessible to all educators. Suggestions make sense and are actually do-able in a variety of school models moving forward.

This summer consider making room for The Math Pact, it is beach worthy reading and can easily fit into a pack to access on a great summer hike. It is now in my top 10 of “must read” books for leaders new to the mathematics world.