eNEWS Newsletter
Summer 2011

Message from the NCSM President

I just returned from a working conference in Washington DC on issues related to mathematics curriculum and assessment under the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Forty-four states have adopted CCSS-M, launched by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association in June 2010. 

Two assessment consortiums were funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop assessment instruments for the CCSS-M. These consortia are Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. All states that adopted the Common Core will implement the assessments in 2014-2015.  

As a leader, you must study and be ready to implement the changes in curriculum at all grade levels. Be sure to pay particular attention to the transition points for grades 2 to 3, grades 5 to 6, and grades 8 to 9.  Many concepts have shifted to different grade levels including high school concepts to grades 6 through 8. If you are just now unveiling the CCSS-M, pay particular attention to the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Student mastery of both the content and the practices will be assessed.

A group of professional development experts met in early May at the University of North Carolina to discuss systems-level professional development. The goal of the meeting was to create a list of recommendations for what should be considered when creating, sustaining, and assessing professional development in light of the CCSS-M. The importance of this meeting for us as leaders is the articulation of research ideas that support the implementation of the professional development needed to make the CCSS-M a reality for K-12 teachers and for higher education faculty that work with pre-service and in-service teachers. Be watching for more information on effective professional development practices.

Suzanne Mitchell
NCSM President


The NSCM Board recently approved joining the Mathematics Common Core Coalition (MC3), a group of eight organizations dedicated to promote the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M). The additional organizations are the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Governors Association (NGA), Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC).


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams

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eNEWS Editor

Mike Hall is NCSM's eNEWS Editor. Please feel free to contact Mike at with news, feedback, or suggestions.
Welcome to the ‘new’ NCSM e-Newsletter!

Welcome to this edition of the NCSM e-Newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is somewhat different than the regular newsletter and the journals you normally receive with your NCSM Membership. The NCSM e-News is intended to be an informational guide to the happenings in mathematics leadership as they occur. You can expect this newsletter to arrive approximately once a month and contain information that can be quickly accessed for any of your needs.

In addition to the new format of the e-news, the e-news will also contain regular sections of interest for each of our members. For instance, each issue will contain a section focused on the Common Core State Standards. This section will have relevant information as it relates to current issues with the CCSS. There will also be a regular feature on leadership. Our new President, Dr. Suzanne Mitchell, will offer the first bits of advice for everyone. In the coming editions, I am asking past-Presidents and Presidents-elect to offer sound advice as well. I hope you enjoy the re-vamped e-news and if you have any ideas to add, please feel free to contact me at


Common Core State Standards

Mathematics Leadership at Work: Moving the Common Core State Standards from Vision to Action

Aspiring and seasoned mathematics education leaders, teachers, coaches, and administrators will gather for our 15th annual Leadership Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, June 21-23, 2011.
Our Summer Leadership Academy will focus on:
  • The CCSS Standards for Mathematical Practice including actions to support implementation in your school, district, or region.
  • Mathematics Specialists, Instructional Coaches, and District Coordinators with strategies to support your professional growth and work with teachers and administrators.
  • Actions to Address the Vision and Expectations of the CCSS with strategies to guide every colleague, faculty member, and school learner. 
Registration for this academy is now closed. Please plan to participate in one of our Fall Leadership Seminars:
  • Atlantic City, NJ: October 19, 2011
  • St. Louis, MO: October 26, 2011
  • Albuquerque, NM: November 2, 2011 

Members Only—It’s a Good Idea

The members-only section of the NCSM website will be ready late June!! Be sure to join or renew your membership to NCSM at so that you can take advantage of this awesome and personal benefit. As an NCSM member, you will be able to access back issues of the NCSM journals and newsletters, position papers needed by mathematics leaders to influence school and district personnel, and NCSM products and resources.

Leadership Corner

Specialist/Coaches News

The leadership corner will be a featured place in each issue to find motivational ideas for leaders of mathematics. I hope to get past-president’s of both NCSM and NCTM to be featured in this section. This issue’s Leadership Corner is adapted from

Leadership is a tough quality to define since many of the attributes we attribute to leadership are “intangible.” Leadership is definitely a quality, while tough to define, is a trait that you’ll able to distinguish whether a person has “it” or not.
When you take a look around you and throughout history, there have been some pretty unbelievable leaders from Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What made these people such great leaders? Were they particularly great public speakers? Martin Luther King, Jr. undoubtedly was a great speaker, but what about Gandhi and FDR? The one thing that is true of all leaders is their ability to inspire others to persevere through difficulty to accomplish goals. This is never truer than at this time in education.
While leadership is certainly difficult to DEFINE, there are attributes that we can associate with signs of being a leader.
1. Visionary: A leader brings a vision to the group. It’s a plan by which others can FOLLOW. This vision brings the followers the emotion of hope and something the followers can strive to achieve. The vision should be clear and the leader should stand up for what the leader believes in.
“A leader is a dealer in hope” – Napoleon Bonaparte
2. Reliable: You don’t want to follow someone that shows up late or doesn’t do what they say they are going to do. In a leader, you want someone that’s reliable, with a message that people can follow. If leaders aren’t consistent in their efforts and their actions, it causes followers to begin to doubt the dedication of the leader to the cause. Doris Kearns Goodwin was recently stated that during the Great Depression and during FDR’s tenure, a citizen once said something to the effect of “I don’t have any money, don’t have a job, and I don’t have a reason to live, but I keep on going because I know FDR is there.”
“Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.” – Robert Half
3. Audacity: It takes guts to be a leader. It’s not for everyone. Some people would prefer to tag along for the ride and that’s fine. Not everyone can or should be a leader.
4. Empowering People: Inherently, people want to do a good job. They want to succeed and make others happy. As a leader, you need to allow people to succeed. By empowering people, the leader isn’t doing the task for the person following the leader, but instead gives them the tools necessary to succeed.
5. Positive: Nobody wants to follow a person who is “doom and gloom.” A leader doesn’t need to be all about rainbows and sunshine, but there definitely needs to be a boost of positivity especially when tackling a difficult project or the “going gets tough.”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” - Winston Churchill
6. Motivating: If you don’t have the previous characteristics, it certainly isn’t very motivating for the follower to follow the leader let alone do a great job. A leader needs a vision; otherwise people don’t have a map and tend to get lost.

Resources & Opportunities

-The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education bulletin is a valuable resource for STEM education. Check out the latest issue at
-The UCLA Mathematics Project provides professional and leadership development for K-12 teachers of mathematics in Los Angeles County and will host the 2012 CMP STIR (California Mathematics Project Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention) Mathematics Teacher Retention Symposium (MTRS): Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned, a national symposium to be held March 22-24, 2012, in the vicinity of Los Angeles International Airport. To apply to speak at the conference, please contact: Kyndall Brown. Ph.D., Director, UCLA Mathematics Project Faculty Advisor at or (310) 825-1112
-USDE Video Released: A Teacher’s Guide to Fixing No Child Left Behind
Test obsession, narrow curricula, blaming teachers—these are a few of the problems created by the No Child Left Behind law that are unpacked in an animated video available online now.
The video details some of the problems created by NCLB and describes President Barack Obama’s proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and solve them. Written by a teacher at the U.S. Department of Education, the video offers a vision that strengthens teaching, narrows achievement gaps, raises standards, and prepares all students for colleges and careers in a global economy. It includes video clips of Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Watch the video and weigh in with your thoughts at the USDE blog.
-Working with ELL Students
A free webinar about a new report, Teacher Voices: Immigration, Language and Culture, produced by College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, the National Writing Project, and PDK, was broadcast on May 11. In this webinar, you will hear from three teachers featured in the report as they discuss how our schools are serving ELL and immigrant students, the strengths these students bring to our classes and society, best teaching practices, and policy recommendations. You may watch the recorded webinar online anytime.
The full report, which provides an on-the-ground view of educating immigrant students and second language learners through the lens of six classroom teachers, was also released on May 11. For more information, visit

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