December 2021 NCSM Insider


Message from NCSM President, Paul Gray

Experiencing a Survival Year
December 20, 2021


I do enjoy the winter holidays as they bring time with friends, family, and peaceful reflection at home. My family and I have our holiday traditions, some new and some old. We have our annual screenings of "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we gather with different parts of the family, or enjoy our annual Christmas meal with close friends. As we turn toward New Years Day, we spend time watching college football games, engage in reflection on the year that is just ending, and turn toward the new year with optimism and hope. And in the case of the last two New Years Days, a sense of concern amidst the ongoing uncertainties we continue to face.

Earlier in December, I read a Washington Post story about some of the specific struggles that schools, teachers, and leaders are facing in this pandemic school year. The authors interviewed educators from coast to coast and told some of their stories that I’m willing to bet resonate with some of yours. Teachers picking up extra classes and students as their colleagues are quarantined. Principals who clean bathrooms and drive school buses. Students who wait for buses that never arrive.

One part of the article that really resonated with me was a quote from a superintendent in Vermont. When we began the 2020-2021 school year, we thought it was going to be a recovery year. But as this superintendent pointed out, it is not. “This is a survival year,” she said.


A survival year, indeed.


You’ve probably seen the meme going around on Facebook: “Nobody claim 2022 as ‘your year.’ We’re all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. Don’t touch anything.” For me it captures the trepidation that I think most of us are feeling as we cautiously change calendars in the midst of this survival school year. The only thing magical about January 1 is that it’s like the odometer on your car, flipping the ones digit over to the next in a completely arbitrary way to mark one human construct of time. That said, I’m also going to bow to American Southern superstition and make darned sure to have black-eyed peas, for luck, on my plate on New Years Day. I’m gonna need all the luck I can get moving into 2022. Partaking in that annual ritual connects me to a greater rhythm in life, anchoring me in line with my ancestors and those who will follow me.


I see reasons to be hopeful as we tiptoe into the new year. January kicks off the time when many school leaders begin thinking about plans for the next school year. We engage in intentional reflection and revision of campus and district improvement plans. We begin thinking about staffing and budgets knowing that in 2022, the staffing picture is much less clear than ever before. We begin thinking about what our kids need and how we can best serve them. Fortunately, NCSM has several resources you’re going to want to consider as you move into that season.


In 2020, we worked with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to produce Moving Forward: Mathematics Learning in the Era of COVID-19 to provide guidance for structures, teaching practices, and important ideas for advocacy as we dealt with learning interruptions induced by COVID. These ideas are still valid and helpful today and will be again next school year.


In 2021, we worked with NCTM and the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM) to produce Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning in 2021 and Beyond to provide ongoing guidance for teaching in the midst of a pandemic. We know that with two school years of interrupted learning, what students know about mathematics in any one classroom is going to be all over the map. So, in Continuing the Journey, we provide long-term guidance for how to think systematically about getting all kids back where they should be. The key thinking here is that we are in this for the long haul and there are no quick fixes. Now is the time to be dubious of anyone who claims to have one.


If you’re looking for help in developing a vision for mathematics teaching and learning and then turning that vision into action through a school or district improvement plan, then NCSM’s Essential Actions: Instructional Leadership in Mathematics is a great resource for you. Many of the protocols and templates used in this book are available as free PDFs online. You can use these tools to guide the work of your mathematics instructional leadership team in creating and working a plan of action.


As you are reflecting on 2021 and thinking toward the future in 2022, please take some time to think about your own professional learning and professional networks. I hope to see you at an in-person NCSM event soon and look forward to learning alongside you in the coming new year. Until then, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season from my home to yours.


Y’all be careful and we’ll touch base again in January.
From Paul Gray, NCSM President (2021-2023)

NCSM Conference in Anaheim - September 26-28, 2022

In 2022, NCSM celebrates its 54th Annual Conference, continuing its dedication to the life-long learning of bold mathematics education leaders. NCSM is committed to supporting leaders’ work in inspiring high-quality mathematics teaching and learning every day for each and every learner.


Imagine a future of powerful mathematics education! Be one of the speakers who Inspires colleagues through bold leadership so that they may Influence educators through structures and ideas like coaching and Impact systems for equity and social justice.  





IMAGINE a Future of Powerful Mathematics Education:  Imagine the possibilities and innovations that make a difference in powerful mathematics teaching and learning! How do we provide bold leadership at all levels that develops and commits to a shared vision for teaching and learning for each and every learner, helps to create culturally responsive spaces, and provides the support necessary for risk-taking? 



INSPIRE Colleagues Through Bold Leadership:  In what ways do we inspire colleagues and those we lead to reflect the NCSM framework for leadership?  



INFLUENCE Educators Through Coaching:  How do we use our influence to create meaningful learning experiences? 



IMPACT Systems for Equity and Social Justice:  What systems need to be adapted, adjusted, or dismantled to create authentic learning environments for both students and adults? In what ways can we use bold leadership to impact mathematics learning for all students with an emphasis on equity? 


From Sharon Rendon, NCSM First Vice-President

Regional Director Blog

Did you know that each NCSM Regional Director maintains a blog to keep members in their region informed with events and ideas that are happening in their region? Fall updates are in progress, so visit the Regional Director Locator page on the NCSM website, find your Regional Director, and then read the latest news from your region!

NCSM Annual Report

NCSM is proud to release the 2020-2021 NCSM Annual Report for each member to read. In our annual report, you will learn more about the work of the board – from our newest publications, current membership information, regional director and treasurer reports, to a preview of leadership events coming in 2022. 


NCSM continues to respond to mathematics leaders’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and strives to build a better and more equitable education system for each and every child. We look forward to a shift from a pandemic world to an endemic world while we work together to create a better, more just “new normal.”


Latest NCSM Podcast

New episodes for the Learning with Leaders: The Game Changers series podcast will be released on the 11th of each month. More information on how to listen to the podcasts can be found on the NCSM website.  


You can listen on your favorite podcast platform using the links below.  

From Mona Toncheff, NCSM Past President, and John SanGiovanni, Regional Director for Eastern Region 2


Register Now for the NCSM One-Day Virtual Seminars

Ready to make a real difference in the teaching and learning of mathematics for each and every learner? BOLD mathematics leadership and coaching is recognized as one of the most powerful ways to build teacher capacity and increase student learning outcomes.  

To meet the vision of all students learning mathematics at high levels, understanding the framework for leadership and leading strong mathematics coaching programs is key.  

Join us virtually to:

  • EMPOWER mathematics leaders and teachers using the guiding principles and four foundational elements of the Framework for Leadership in Mathematics Education
  • DESIGN a shared vision for mathematics instruction through an equity lens
  • ADVOCATE for high leverage teaching strategies for mathematics including culturally relevant practices
  • MONITOR and learn practices to ensure a system for coaching to build collective efficacy   

NCSM is offering one-day virtual seminars to expand your professional learning network while working side by side using the wealth of materials provided to enhance your leadership. 

  • February 7, 2022 - Bold Mathematics Leaders: Coaching Practices that Promote Equity and Access
  • March 7, 2022 - Bold Mathematics Leaders: Leadership Actions for Culturally Relevant Teaching in Mathematics Education

For additional information about the seminars including agendas and registration fees, click HERE.


To register for one or more of the events, visit HERE.


From  Jenny Novak and Pam Seda, NCSM Professional Learning Directors

Beyond the Conference 2021 

Beyond the Conference 2021

The live sessions for Beyond the Conference 2021 just concluded up on December 14.  All of the recordings will continue to be available until January 9, 2022.  

If you have registered and have been meaning to watch on-demand sessions, now is the time to log in at:

If you had intended to register, but had not yet registered, access to the recordings of 32 live sessions as well as over 60 recorded sessions from the Atlanta 2021 conference program is still available and a tremendous value for your professional learning.  

Register today to access all recorded sessions until January 9, 2022.


New Joint Position Paper from NCSM and TODOS

We are excited about our new joint position paper with TODOS: Mathematics for ALL, Positioning Multilingual Learners for Success in Mathematics. In this paper we prioritize policies and practices that position multilingual learners so that they can access, engage, and thrive in mathematics education. Accomplishing this will require a systemic approach and investments that influence policies and practices. These include professional development, infrastructure, curriculum, family/community engagement, language development, and mathematics teaching, learning and assessment.


You can read the full paper here: Positioning Multilingual Learners for Success in Mathematics.


All NCSM Position Papers can be found HERE. Look out for future learning opportunities! 



From Cory Bennett, NCSM Position Paper Editor


NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership Available ONLINE

The current NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership is available to all members and can be found HERE. 


The purpose of the NCSM Journal is to advance the mission and vision of NCSM by: 

  • Strengthening mathematics education leadership through the dissemination of knowledge related to research, issues, trends, programs, policy, and practice in mathematics education
  • Fostering inquiry into key challenges of mathematics education leadership
  • Raising awareness about key challenges of mathematics education leadership in order to influence research, programs, policy, and practice.

Highlights from this issue of the NCSM Journal include the following articles:

  • Curricular Reform in Schools: Secondary Leaders' Perceptions by Amanda Bauer, Erin Lehmann, Kristine Reed, and Gwendolyn Zimmermann
  • Design and Impact of Flexible, Asynchronous Online Video-Based Mathematics Professional Development by Nanette Seago, Angela Knotts, and Catherine Carroll
  • An Interdisciplinary Coaching Approach to Data-Based Individualization: A Year-Long Partnership Between Mathematics Teachers and Special Education Researchers, by William S. Walker, III

The NCSM Journal is available quarterly with NCSM membership


From Erin Lehmann and Paula Jakopovic, NCSM Journal Co-Editors


Fall 2021 NCSM Inspiration! Available ONLINE

The Fall 2021 NCSM Inspiration! is available to all members and can be found HERE. It is currently available in PDF format. 


The current issue contains articles for:

  • Bold Mathematics Leadership: Reflections On and Ideas for Leading During These Critical Times
    • What's Your Legacy by Mona Toncheff
    • On the Shoulders of Giants by Paul Gray
    • Supporting Ambitious Teaching in the Mathematics Classroom by Dr. Tina Moore
  • Board Members at Work:
    • Beginning a New School Year Following the Pandemic Challenges by NCSM Regional Directors
  • Empower Mathematics Leaders: Connect, Learn, and Honor
    • NCSM's 2021 Annual Conference - Atlanta, Georgia
    • Recognizing Our Members: NCSM's Ross Taylor/Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Awardee - Jonathan Wray
    • NCSM Affiliate: Bold Leaders Tackle the Challenges

For non-members, there is a FREE PREVIEW from the Summer 2020 Inspiration! to provide a taste of what kind of articles are included in the quarterly NCSM Inspiration! To access the free preview on the NCSM website, click on the LEADERSHIP RESOURCES tab and the preview will be available on the right side of the menu.


The NCSM Inspiration! is available quarterly with NCSM membership


From Kim Romain and Luis Lima, NCSM Inspiration Co-Editors

Of Interest to Our Members 


Call for Manuscripts for Investigations in Mathematic Learning

Investigations in Mathematics Learning is publishing a special issue on mathematics specialists and mathematics teacher leaders. Additional information can found on the Call for Manuscripts and on the website.


Please consider submitting a proposal to this special issue by November 30, 2021. Authors should submit proposals to the editors of the special issue at[email protected]. 


Notification of a proposal acceptance will be made by December 30, 2021 with full articles due February 28, 2022. Please feel free to share this call for manuscripts with others you believe would be interested.


From Guest Editors, Courtney Baker, Margret Hjalmarson, and Skip Fennell

The NCSM INSIDER is published monthly.

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NCSM...Where Mathematics Leaders 

Go To Learn




NCSM is a mathematics education leadership organization that equips and empowers a diverse 

education community to engage in leadership that supports, sustains, and inspires high quality 

mathematics teaching and learning every day for each and every learner.






When you become an NCSM member, you join a network of leaders in mathematics education from around the United States, Canada, and abroad, which works to ensure every student in every classroom has access to effective mathematics teachers, relevant curricula, culturally responsive pedagogy, and current technology.








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