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MET Legacy Series: Iris M. Carl

NCTM’s Mathematics Education Trust (MET) relies on contributions from Council members and other individuals, Affiliates, and corporations. Gifts to the Iris Carl Fund, in recognition of NCTM Past President Iris M. Carl, help support the Equity in Mathematics Grants (6-8). These grants provide funds to teachers in grades 6–8 to incorporate middle school classroom materials or lessons that will improve the achievement of student groups that have previous records of underachievement.

Extraordinary Vision and Leadership 

iris_carlIris Carl’s moral compass and vision of school mathematics were complemented by her strong, purposeful leadership style. She believed in the ideals of equity in every facet of her life and in every aspect of the Council, especially as it affected children’s access to high-quality mathematics content. She was a tireless champion of the NCTM Standards and worthwhile changes created by Standards-based curricula. Indeed, Carl became the voice of NCTM in the public debate on establishing and adopting national academic standards, and she helped establish the Council as the leader in the national Standards-based reform movement. Moreover, she saw the growing body of research on teaching and learning as a resource for eliminating major impediments to change. In terms of school improvement, Carl recognized that best practices must be identified, valid research findings must be accessible to teachers and properly implemented in classrooms, and service to the profession involves meeting the needs of all children.

During her career, Carl was an elementary and secondary mathematics teacher; a college instructor; an elementary mathematics instructional specialist; an elementary school principal; a mathematics instructional supervisor, K–12; and director of mathematics, K–12 for the Houston Independent School District. She served as president of the Houston Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), and NCTM; she was also  vice-chair of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council. Always the mathematics teacher, she was an outspoken supporter of mathematics curricula reform and frequently made her case before the United States Congress and via the national news media. Carl left no doubt that providing all children with access is a cornerstone of NCTM’s mission of “. . . supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students through vision, leadership, professional development, and research.”

Among her many awards, Carl was honored with NCSM’s 1992 Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award and MET’s 1997 Lifetime Achievement Medal for Leadership, Teaching, and Service. She also received  the added distinction of having two grants given in her name: the Iris Carl Grant (NCSM) and the Equity in Mathematics Grant (NCTM). The Iris Carl Equity Address at the NCTM Annual Meeting was also established in her honor. Carl died in January 2004, but her legacy continues...

This Year’s Grant Recipients 

The 2010–2011 recipients of the Equity in Mathematics Grants (6–8) are Rhonda Wade of Lake Jackson Intermediate School, Lake Jackson, Texas, and Carrie Malinowski of Deer Creek Middle School, Littleton, Colorado.

WadeWade will use her grant to purchase eInstruction Mobi®s and the Classroom Performance System™ for her eighth-grade power-math class, which is composed  of students who were unsuccessful in meeting the state standard on the seventh-grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Mathematics test. The Mobi, an instant assessment tool, is a wireless handheld tablet that allows interactive whiteboard functionality between teacher and students. 

Principal Danny Massey at Lake Jackson Intermediate School wrote this about the product choice: “We believe that the Mobi boards will allow math to come alive for students and help motivate students to learn, so that we can close the achievement gap we see.”

MalinowskiMalinowski will use her grant to provide individual lessons for each student, based on their needs and goals, to help prepare them to return to a regular math class. The students in her math intervention class have placed below proficient on the Colorado Student Achievement Test and failed the school math placement exam.

“My goals include teaching my students to enjoy math success, to increase their fluency and retention of number sense and computation standards, and to transition them out of the math intervention class while having them retain these new skills for continued success in the regular classroom,” Malinowski said.

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