As we lead into 2020 and beyond, we are flush with tools, resources, and strategies designed to help our teachers create meaningful mathematics learning experiences for their students. We have decades of research-affirmed practices at our disposal and technology that makes those practices more accessible than ever. In the face of an ever-changing national and global landscape, it has rarely been more necessary to employ bold leadership in order to ensure that our students have equitable access to deep and meaningful mathematics.

NCSM introduces a new framework for leadership in mathematics education. Building on our previous work with The PRIME Leadership Framework: PRinciples and Indicators for Mathematics Education (NCSM, 2008) and It's TIME: Themes and Imperatives for Mathematics Education (NCSM, 2014)1, our new Essential Actions for bold mathematics education leadership focus around four guiding principles and four foundational elements of mathematics leadership.

The guiding principle is a belief or ideal that defines the work of an organization and transcends changes in circumstance, leadership, or any of the other working parts of that organization. Through that lens, the four guiding principles identified in the NCSM Essential Actions: Framework for Mathematics Leadership include clarity and focus for how to lead PreK-12 mathematics. The combination of the foundational elements and the guiding principles provide structure for defining the role of any individual who finds themselves leading mathematics instructional programs in a school, district, or institute of higher education.

Ultimately, the success of a mathematics education leader resides in the impact the leader leaves on the next generation of mathematics education teachers, leaders, programs, and impact on student learning. Leaders that make a difference take a stand and commit themselves, and those they lead, to a complex, yet crystal-clear set of leadership actions. Bold leaders consider their guiding principles and take a stand in ways that support enacting those principles. The NCSM Framework for Mathematics Leadership identifies key essential actions, the twelve imperatives that bold mathematics education leaders use to identify ways in which they can take a stand in support of teachers and students in their organization. Every leader is capable of making commitments for things that matter and giving meaning to values that will significantly impact student learning. This is what it means to live a courageous and bold leadership life.

Read the Executive Summary

NCSM Essential Actions: Instructional Leadership in Mathematics Education

School-based administrators wear many hats as the primary instructional leader to the students, teachers, and community they serve. The latest book from NCSM in the Essential Action Series is a go-to resource for principals as they work toward increasing mathematics learning for each and every learner. This hands-on resource details the essential actions for mathematics leadership and includes:

  • Designing effective school improvement processes
  • Leading and managing systems of change
  • Developing and activating the school's mission, vision, values, and goals
  • Leading through a lens of equity, cultural responsiveness, and social justice
  • Creating and sustaining a culture of high expectations for learning
  • Building the professional capacity of school staff
  • Creating and sustaining effective professional communities of reflective practitioners

With voices from the field and a comprehensive set of resources for leading mathematics, this book provides practical and actionable research-affirmed strategies that will improve mathematics teaching and learning.

Free reproducibles from "NCSM Essential Actions: Instructional Leadership in Mathematics Education"

Chapter 1

  1. Figure 1.1 School-Based Mathematics Program Needs Assessment Tool
  2. Figure 1.2 Essential Actions Reflection Tool

Chapter 2

  1. Figure 2.3 Productive Beliefs About Access and Equity in Mathematics Tool
  2. Figure 2.4 Mathematics Teaching Practices School Leadership Team Reflection
  3. Figure 2.9 EA1: Define and Develop a Shared Vision for High-Quality Mathematics Teaching and Learning (Self-Reflection)

Chapter 3

  1. Figure 3.4 Principal Reflection on Plan, Do, Study, Act Cycle
  2. Figure 3.6 EA2: Continually Monitor the Implementation of the Vision and Provide Feedback to Teachers in Meeting the Vision (Self-Reflection)

Chapter 4

  1. Figure 4.3 Instructional Process Reflection
  2. Figure 4.5 MTP Continuum Tool
  3. Figure 4.16 EA3: Require Consistent High Expectations for All Students and Teachers (Self-Reflection Tool)
  4. Figure 4.17 EA4: Provide Opportunities and Resources to Develop Knowledge of Relevant Meaningful Mathematics (Self-Reflection Tool)

Chapter 5

  1. Figure 5.1 Four Critical Actions for Structures for Teacher Learning
  2. Figure 5.2 Four Critical Actions for Structures That Support Student Learning
  3. Figure 5.9 EA5: Develop Structures for Continual Job-Embedded Professional Learning (Self-Reflection)
  4. Figure 5.10 EA6: Develop Structures and Systems to Support Intensification and Extensions to Meet the Learning Needs of All Students (Self-Reflection)
  5. Learning Trajectories - Online only

Chapter 6

  1. Figure 6.3 Data Analysis Protocol
  2. Figure 6.4 Data Chat Reflection Guide
  3. Figure 6.8 Team Response for Intensification
  4. Figure 6.11 EA7: Create Structures to Collectively Collect, Analyze, and Celebrate Evidence of Student Learning (Self-Reflection)
  5. Instructional Roadmap - Online only

Order a copy of NCSM Essential Actions: Instructional Leadership in Mathematics Education today for yourself or colleagues for further discussion and planning.

Mathematics coaching has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to increase teacher effectiveness and student learning. The book Coaching in Mathematics Education, from NCSM's new Essential Action Series, will serve as a guiding reference for coaches, teachers, administrators, and others as mathematics coaching programs become more prevalent throughout schools worldwide.

The book is structured around sets of Foundational Elements and Essential Actions of mathematics coaching programs (i.e., sets of ideas that are vital to implementing a successful mathematics coaching program).

  • Chapter 1 provides a model for the organization of this book. The building metaphor became our logic model, with students placed at the apex of our construction. We surround students with teachers, as they are the direct link to student learning. Surrounding the teachers, we placed both principals and coaches, each doing their own part to support teachers' efforts to improve and grow professionally.
  • Chapter 2 lays out and describes the four Foundational Elements of coaching - Beliefs, Vision, Equity, and Relationships. These elements, located at the foundation of our building, provide the stability upon which an effective mathematics coaching program is built. These foundational elements permeate all of the Essential Actions in the following chapters.
  • Chapters 3 - 5 focus on the Essential Actions contained in each pillar of our Model. The red pillar is devoted to two Essential Actions for sustainable coaching necessary for building structures for effective coaching. The green pillar contains the three Essential Actions for coaching interactions and how to use them effectively to create change. Finally, the blue pillar details three Essential Actions encompassing the range of knowledge, understandings, and skills that become the focus of a coach's work with teachers to strengthen instruction.
  • Epilogue - summarizes and draws connections among the Essential Actions and Foundational Elements.

With detailed explanations and examples, this book provides sensible and actionable research-affirmed methods and structures that will strengthen and improve your mathematics coaching programs and coaching leading to improved student learning.

For more coaching resources, visit the Coaches Corner.

Order a copy of NCSM Essential Actions: Coaching in Mathematics Education today for yourself or colleagues for further discussion and planning.

Free reproducibles from "NCSM Essential Actions: Coaching in Mathematics Education"


Foundational Elements and Essential Actions
Figure 1.1: Research-informed impact of Coaching Programs

Chapter 2 - Foundational Elements

Figure 2.3g: NCSM Coaching Beliefs
Figure 2.4: Coaching Beliefs Associated with Fixed and Growth Mindsets

Chapter 3 - Building Structures for Effective Coaching

Commitment to Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
Principles of Learning

Chapter 4 - Using Coaching to Create change

7. Figure 4.1: Rules for Assessments and Data Analysis

Chapter 5 - Using Coaching to Strengthen Mathematics Instruction

8. Figure 5.1: Potential Focus Areas for Coaching

Appendix B - Coaching Model Decision-Making Tool

9. Figure B.1: A Comparison of Three Major Types of Coaching in Education

"The NCSM PRIME Leadership Framework identifies specific principles, indicators, knowledge, and skills necessary to lead other adults beyond the current status of student performance in mathematics into a focused, more equitable and successful future. This framework for the professional practice of mathematics education leadership actions can be used to meet the needs of novice leaders as well as to enhance the skills of veteran leaders. It serves as a tool to guide conversations and actions about leadership around indicators of exemplary practice, and it provides the language, focus, and actions for professional conversations with colleagues in the context of the workplace.

The PRIME Leadership Framework aims to describe actions for mathematics education leaders across all settings, preK-12, in all of its complexity. It begins by identifying the key leadership principle in each of four domains of mathematics leadership: equity, teaching and learning, curriculum, and assessment. It goes on to identify three specific indicators of leadership in each domain. Each indicator is further broken down into specific actions that fall on a continuum of three stages of leadership growth ranging from knowing and modeling leadership, to collaborating and implementing structures for shared leadership on a local level, to advocating and systematizing improvements into the wider educational community. The framework concludes with tools for reflection, self-evaluation, and discussion."
NCSM, PRIME Leadership Framework (2008, page 2)

Read the NCSM PRIME Executive Summary from the PRIME Leadership Framework

One of the inherent aspects of the Stage 2 leadership responsibilities of PRIME is the necessity to develop PRIME Teachers and Teaching. We hope you will be able to use PRIME to start discussions in your Department or school around these expectations for action.

Below you will find PDFs of the powerpoint slides used for the opening launch of PRIME, the two breakout sessions on PRIME, the video used during the opening 40th Annual meeting session, presentations for each Principle of PRIME of and a copy of the PRIME leaders' powerpoint used during the caucus sessions. Also included is a PDF of the Presidents message: A PRIME leader's legacy.

PRIME Presentations

PRIME Videos

What is the Voice of a PRIME Leader?

Have a Voice, Make a Difference

It's TIME: Themes and Imperatives for Mathematics Education

A Call to Action for Mathematics Leaders

It's TIME-Themes and Imperatives for Mathematics Education is a mathematics leadership framework that articulates a set of leadership imperatives and presents a systemic framework to convert our shared vision into a reality of consistently high levels of mathematics learning for all students. The framework summarizes the imperatives that constitute the call to action for successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and high levels of student achievement.

This call to action provides the focused leadership strategies, resources, and insights necessary to significantly improve the productivity of the mathematics education system. Our mathematics leadership actions must:

  • impact every student and every teacher in every classroom,
  • build the capacity of both people and systems,
  • follow the guiding mantras that this call to action is a joint effort and we can make a difference together,
  • recognize the systemic nature and interrelated components of the educational enterprise, and
  • recognize that change of this magnitude takes time.

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Prime and It's Time Walk-through

Free Preview! Chapter 1

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