Blog: Visits with District Leaders

  • Blog: Visits with District Leaders

    May 31, 2023

    Over the past 9 months, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with mathematics leaders from some of the largest districts in the Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Chicago; and Seattle areas. I am grateful for the time they spent sharing with me the successes they are having in meeting the needs of all students as well as the ways they need additional support. One of my goals in meeting with them was to encourage them to submit proposals to upcoming NCTM conferences so that all can learn from leaders of districts local to the conference site, and many are interested in sharing their stories!

     Each district had its own stories of the journeys its members are taking in changing mathematics education to better meet the needs of students, but I heard several common messages. I was encouraged to hear how many are using Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All as well as the Catalyzing Change series in the work they’re doing. These common tools allow for increased collaboration between districts, and they help teachers hear the same messages about high-quality equitable mathematics instruction no matter what school and district they work in or what textbook series they use.

     A second common message was the need for additional strategies and support in meeting the needs of students who are not currently experiencing success in mathematics. Two particular growing needs I frequently heard was how to meet the needs of multilingual learners and to provide additional strategies for teachers. Folks from many districts mentioned that the number of multilingual learners is rapidly increasing and the number of different languages being spoken is increasing.

     A final common message was the need to continue to educate building and district administrators on what high-quality equitable mathematics instruction looks like. Not all administrators have a background in mathematics education, nor should they. As a mathematics education community, we need to find better ways to educate and work with administrators so that teachers hear common messages from their principals and district and building mathematics education leaders.

    Having these conversations with district leaders will help shape the future work and initiatives of NCTM as we all continually look at ways to improve mathematics education for each and every student. I’d love to hear additional stories of successful change as well as what is needed to continue supporting your efforts. Please feel free to email me ([email protected]), and we can set up a time to meet.

    Kevin Dykema
    NCTM President