President's Report - Fall 2011


From the NCSM President
Suzanne Mitchell
Fall 2011

As you launch into a new school year, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics is the professional organization that can provide you with leadership resources to help you succeed as a mathematics leader. A Carnegie Institute of Technology study of 10,000 people concluded that 85% of success is based on the ability to influence people. The knowledge that leaders bring to the leadership process must be accurate and current as we struggle to influence teachers, administrators, students, mathematics peers, parents and emerging leaders. This ability to influence includes the knowledge of resources, research, and strategies that you have available to you through the NCSM position papers, research journal, summer Leadership Academy, fall Leadership Seminars and Common Core State Standards resources that are easy to find, assemble and use. The knowledge that, when you are trying to persuade people to act in a certain way and logic fails, you must give them a reason that not only nourishes their egos but also moves them to a positive change. Five strategies to use to influence people are:

  1. Attention - To influence constituents, be a good listener and do not keep people waiting. A leader must show attention to the people they wish to influence.
  2. Acceptance - Listen without judging. Develop a safe place where people can risk being themselves, knowing that you will be supportive. When you listen, people want to spend time with you, and your influence will grow.
  3. Appreciation - Many studies show that people respond more positively to praise and recognition than to almost any other incentive, including money and titles. As a leader, you must be sincere and specific with praise.
  4. Assumptions - People with the power to influence know the importance of possessing a positive attitude which is based on knowledge of self, belief in the abilities of others, and confidence in the message.
  5. Acquiescence - To influence people, you must be willing to acquiesce to some degree and to negotiate your position. Our ability to influence increases when we do not have to win one hundred percent of the time.

The interpretation and implementation of CCSS will continue to be a major focus of NCSM's work this year as described in our strategic plan. The NCSM Board met in July 2011 in Chicago and voted to work on the following long-term initiatives and short-term projects:

Initiative 1 - Marketing and Membership through increased benefits to members and expanded resources such as the eNews. This also includes opening membership to affiliate mathematics leadership groups of like purposes to NCSM.

Initiative 2 - Leadership Learning Experiences which includes increased opportunities at multiple summer Leadership Academies, fall Leadership Seminars, increased number of webinars and the annual NCSM meeting.

Initiative 3 - Leadership Learning Resources which will include interpreting and implementing the CCSS including expanding the Great Tasks project, developing professional develop modules using the Inside Mathematics website, and partnering to develop materials from the Illustrative Mathematics Project.

Initiative 4 - Collaboration on Policy and Implementation of CCSS with other national organizations.

Project 1 - Coaches Corner which will be highlighted prominently on the website and articles within the newsletter with special attention to supporting coaches in their work.

Project 2 - Developing Partnerships with other educational organizations to develop and disseminate resources and products of value to mathematics education leaders.

Project 3 - Coordination of a Comprehensive Communications Plan which includes establishing an editorial board, committees to support the communications work and finding an associate journal editor.

The Board approved joining with seven other organization to form the Mathematics Common Core Coalition, MC3: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), the Association of State Supervisors (ASSM), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Governors Association (NGA), the Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition (SMAC), and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC).

The MC3 strives to ensure the successful communication, interpretation, implementation, and assessment of the CCSSM.

Rationale: Among the priority recommendations in the report of the Joint Task Force of NCTM, NCSM, ASSM, and AMTE on necessary action for successful implementation of the CCSSM was the formation of an ongoing coalition of organizations (September, 2010). Such a coalition is needed in order to:

  1. Provide a means to review, research, nurture and communicate common messages throughout the implementation and assessment of the CCSSM
  2. Include the expertise and advice of the mathematics education content and mathematics education assessment communities in the development and review of the items and instruments that are being developed by the two assessment consortia for the CCSSM
  3. Collect information about the implementation and assessment processes of the CCSSM that will inform future revisions of the CCSSM
The initial goals of MC3 are to
  1. Set up a 'go to' website for the Coalition that contains or links to all the information and resources that our various organizations are providing the public and our members about the CCSSM.
  2. Seek funding from an educational foundation to provide support for web development, meeting travel, and (eventually) support or a part time Executive Director for a period of from 3 - 5 years.

Selecting the best curriculum materials for instructional use is a prime consideration for all mathematics teachers and leaders. Be sure to find (go to and use the Curriculum Analysis Tools created by a team of educators and mathematicians, lead by Bill Bush of the University of Louisville and supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Brookhill Foundation and Texas Instruments.

The three tools and the professional development guide include:

Tool 1 - Mathematics Content Alignment rubrics for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12

Tool 2 - Mathematics Practices Alignment rubrics

Tool 3 - Overarching Considerations in Equity, Assessment, and Technology rubrics

Facilitators Guide - Professional Development Facilitators Guide and PowerPoint slides

Enhance your mathematics leadership potential with NCSM resources: Please look for three modules on the NCSM website, Illustrating the Standards for Mathematical Practice, with tasks, student work and video. Each module supports a 1.5 -to 3-hour session that focuses on one or two mathematical practices. These are anchored by a high demand mathematics task, situated in classroom practice, presented in PowerPoint format with slide annotations, and designed to be used individually or in combination with other modules. Also look for Great Tasks resources which include teacher notes, an activity launch, the core task, and suggested extension activities.

Other NCSM News:

  • The Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) will hold its fourth national forum -a review of the Mathematics Education of Teachers, Part 2, on October 2-4, 2011 in Reston, VA. Go to the CBMS website ( for details.
  • Fall NCSM Leadership Seminars, "Tools and Strategies for Implementing the Common Core State Standards," in Atlantic City October 19, St. Louis, October 26, and Albuquerque, November 2. Be sure to register early at
  • Please review the list of candidates for the fall NCSM elections. Voting will be through our website. Just go to the website, read the candidate information, use your id number on your NCSM Election postcard, and make your choice. Remember, your vote is your voice in NCSM!
  • Begin making plans NOW in your budget process to attend the 44th NCSM Annual Conference, April 23-25, 2012, in Philadelphia. The conference will focus on "Life, Liberty, and Mathematics for All: NCSM Leads the Way."

(Suzanne Mitchell, NCSM President, is also a mathematics professor at Arkansas State University and Executive Director of the Arkansas STEM Coalition. She can be reached at 501-690-1518 or )

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