August 2022 NCSM Insider


Message from NCSM President, Paul Gray

I Gotta Go Back, Back, Back to School Again


Two of my favorite high school movies are the Grease movies. Both movies portray the exuberance that students and teachers can feel on the first day of school. The original shows a group of well-dressed and excited students making their way into the building, catching up with friends, and (well, most of them at least) getting to homeroom just as the bell rings. Principal McGee makes a few announcements, then students burst out in song over lunch as they talk about Danny and Sandy’s summer romance. As high school students do on the first day of school. Everyone’s excited to be back and a new life cycle at Rydell High begins again.

Now that said…I’m among friends so I’m going to make a confession. I never liked the first day of school. The other 176 days? Big fan. Loved all of them. But Day One was just too high stakes for my comfort. You set the tone of the entire school year the first five minutes that the kids are in the room. If you do it well, then you begin building relationships and nudging kids toward a better relationship with mathematics itself. But if you slip, it ain’t gonna be pretty. You’re likely to spend most of your energy with that class on anything but finding the joy of mathematics. Or the joy of anything else, for that matter.


The beginning of a new school year is important for everyone, including students, teachers, campus and district leaders, and mathematics leaders. We’ve spent all summer getting teachers and principals ready for a new cycle of teaching and learning. COVID interrupted that rhythm the past few years and we are beginning yet another school year that will be unlike one we’ve ever seen.


I don’t need to tell you about the challenges that you are living. You probably already know that every school, every district is facing unprecedented staffing shortages. And not just in mathematics but in every aspect from the front office to the classroom, from the cafeteria to the bus barn. We remain entrenched in our efforts to accelerate student learning as we attempt to make up for time lost during the COVID pandemic.


Heading back to school this year, let us remind ourselves that it is important to stick together. Personally, I keep rereading the Continuing the Journey document that NCSM, NCTM, and ASSM put together. The key part of that title is “Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond.” We knew last year that our plans to accelerate students’ learning from the COVID experiences would be a long-term commitment. It still is. And while we are working on that acceleration, we have new challenges being hurled at us. Your bold leadership, in concert with your colleagues, is what will get us through.

  • We must begin by teaching on-grade-level content. Of course, there will be skills and concepts that students need to learn in order to engage in this year’s on-level learning. Successful teachers teach those skills when they are needed as a support for this year’s learning. Successful leaders guide teachers through how to do that using just-in-time intervention structures.
  • We must remain steadfast in our commitment to equitable, effective teaching practices. All of our students are competent, capable learners of mathematics. Likewise, all of our teachers are competent, capable teachers of mathematics. Successful leaders position their teachers and students as such and grow teachers and administrators in our care by building from their assets, not thinking about their deficits.
  • We must commit ourselves to advocating for resources and structures that support our students and teachers as they engage in high-quality, meaningful mathematics experiences. As I look at some things we do in schools, I am fully aware that Momma did it that way and we’ve always done it that way, but this is a different world and our students have different needs now. As the song in Grease goes, “conventionality belongs to yesterday.” Successful leaders identify barriers like those things we’ve always done without thinking about it and work with colleagues to remove them and adjust policies and structures to align with today’s reality and our shared commitment to equitable access to powerful mathematics.

And speaking of learning about new ideas to bring back to your school or organization, it's not too late to register for our Annual Conference in Anaheim on September 26-28, 2022! Browse through our online program and you’ll find some math rock stars you love and some you don’t yet know. Either way, take three days and tend to your own learning needs. Get together with colleagues from around the continent and swap solutions to our common problems. Not to mention a generous helping of hugs and handshakes as well as admiration and affection from a distance.


We’ve been apart far too long. In this back to school season, let’s be intentional about our thankfulness to be together, learn together, and work together for the benefit of the students, teachers, and administrators we find in our care.


Y’all be careful and we’ll touch base again in September.



You won’t want to miss the 54th Annual Conference after you see the lineup of speakers.

The full program is now available!!!

Check out the NCSM 54th Annual Conference website for an update on all of the major and spotlight speakers who will be speaking at our 54th NCSM Annual Conference in Anaheim, California!  This amazing slate of math leaders will be leading the way as we imagine, inspire, influence, and make an IMPACT!  Be sure to register and book yourhotel room so you don’t miss any of these powerful sessions.  Early Bird registration is open -  register TODAY!


Share with us on social media who you are most excited to hear speak!

Tag us @MathEdLeaders  #NCSM22CA  #NCSMBold 


The editors of the NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership (JMEL) are interested in manuscripts!


The editors are particularly interested in manuscripts that bridge research to practice in mathematics education leadership. Manuscripts should be relevant to our members’ roles as leaders in mathematics education, and implications of the manuscript for leaders in mathematics education should be significant. At least one author of the manuscript must be a current member of NCSM.

Categories for submissions include:

  • Case studies and lessons learned from mathematics education leadership in schools, districts, states, regions, or provinces
  • Research reports with implications for mathematics education leaders
  • Professional development efforts including how these efforts are situated in the larger context of professional development and implications for leadership practice
  • Other categories that support the NCSM vision will also be considered.
    Submission Procedures

Each manuscript will be reviewed by two volunteer reviewers and a member of the editorial panel. Manuscripts should be emailed to the Journal Editors, currently Drs. Erin Lehmann and Paula Jakopovic, at [email protected] 


Submissions should follow the most current edition of APA style and include:

  • A Word file(.docx) with author information (name, title, institution, address, phone, email) and an abstract (maximum of 120 words) followed by the body of the manuscript (maximum of 12,000 words)
  • A blinded Word file (.docx) as above but with author information and all references to authors removed.

The editors from the Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership (JMEL) would like to send a huge thank you to all of the authors who take the time to research, study, and share their findings about mathematics leadership. Also, we would like to send a huge shout out to our reviewers as they provide thoughtful feedback, make suggestions for improvement, and recommend next steps for publication. We appreciate all of your help informing leaders as they support mathematics education. If you are interested in publishing with us or would like to be a reviewer, please email [email protected].


Click on any image below for more info!!!!.

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