President's Report - Summer 2009

 

From the NCSM President
Diane J. Briars
Summer 2009

What are the top five words or phrases that come to your mind when you think about NCSM? Take a minute to think about it... Did "leadership" and/ or "professional learning" come to mind? How about "network," "communicate," "support," and "motivate"-the four components of our Vision statement? Or did you think of recent NCSM publications-PRIME and/or our position papers? How about "equity?" Did that come to mind when you thought of NCSM?

If you said "no" to the last question, unfortunately, you are not alone. In Washington, D.C., attendees of the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM) conference were asked to do this same task (obviously, a convenient, not scientific sample!). Although almost all included something related to leadership and/or professional learning, not one person listed "equity" or an equity-related phrase.

The extent to which NCSM is viewed as an equity organization is an important indicator of the visibility of NCSM's commitment to equity, access, and high achievement for all students. Although our Mission and Vision statements, the PRIME Leadership Framework and our position papers clearly articulate NCSM's commitment to equity, and equity is an important on-going initiative in our strategic plan, we have more work to do to broadly communicate this message and take actions that make equity visible as a core value of our organization and our work.

I'm extremely honored to be president of this wonderful, important organization and have the opportunity to keep NCSM moving forward. Over the past years, we've made enormous progress with the publication of the PRIME Leadership Framework and Improving Student Achievement position papers. As president, one of my major goals is for NCSM to be recognized as an equity organization-that is, one that is actively working to ensure that all students experience high quality mathematics curriculum, teaching, assessment, and technology, along with other supports that contribute to high achievement-as well as one that promotes and supports mathematics leadership and provides high quality professional learning opportunities.

I'm committed to working with the Board to strengthen NCSM and support its mission to provide professional learning opportunities for mathematics education leaders that support and sustain improved student achievement.

First, NCSM must "go beyond the S" in our name and actively reach out to individuals who are mathematics education leaders, but would not automatically think to join an organization for "supervisors" or "leaders," such as, mathematics coaches, teacher leaders, and administrators at all levels with responsibilities for mathematics teaching and learning (e.g., principals, curriculum coordinators). In particular, NCSM is committed to becoming the primary professional organization for mathematics coaches and those who support and prepare them. First steps along these lines are the new "Coaches Corner" in this newsletter and the "Coaches Corner" pages of our redesigned website (to go live on June 15) which will provide materials, resources, and discussions specifically related to coaching.

Second, NCSM will expand its networking and collaboration with other organizations, especially other mathematics and mathematics education organizations, to improve the quality of mathematics education. This includes specific efforts to work with the US Department of Education in their educational improvement efforts.

Third, we're improving and expanding our web-based communications. NCSM is now subscribed to Twitter, Linked In, RSS, and Delicious. Take advantage of these online social networks to communicate with other mathematics education leaders and keep up-to-date on new developments.

Last, but certainly not least, we will continue to communicate the latest research and implications for practice through our journals, conferences and position papers. A number of new position papers are in development, including ones on technology and early childhood education, the latter in conjunction with the new National Research Council report, Mathematics in Early Childhood: Learning Paths Toward Excellence and Equity.

I'm very much looking forward to working with and for all of you over the next two years. NCSM is your organization. Please get involved and help NCSM become a stronger and better support to you as a mathematics education leader. Finally, please remember to vote in the upcoming NCSM election.

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