Message from NCSM President Katey Arrington

Happy New Year, BOLD Math Ed Leaders! 

I hope you enjoyed a reflective, restful, joyous holiday season and winter break. You deserve it! 


In the United States and parts of Canada, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day this week. Dr. King is remembered as one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement until his assassination in 1968. He was tremendously successful as an activist because he was a powerful motivator for difficult and complex change. He inspired others to action through his words and his work, speaking to both those who were already fighting for civil rights and for those who were not. 

As we prepare for this important holiday in 2024, we must acknowledge that our school systems are still producing differential outcomes for students that are predictable by race and socioeconomic status. I sincerely believe educators want all students to be successful, and we have work to do to ensure that comes to be reality. As a leader in your system, what goals do you have for the educators and students in your school and district this year and how will you get there? 


"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." 


Dr. King provided us with an exceptional model for how to motivate change. He showed, and research supports, that effective calls to action take on these characteristics: 

Ground simple and focused messages in values – Messages that lead with core values are most effective at convincing people to change. Stay focused on connecting around common values, and you increase the likelihood of enthusiasm to try new things. Investigate and find commonalities in values even if there are differences in how those values manifest in behaviors.


“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” 


Motivate both supporters and skeptics – To be an effective change agent, you must respect and appeal to those on both sides of an issue. We may have disagreements but adopting an “us vs. them” mentality is unlikely to convince anyone new to join in your cause. Work alongside those with whom you know agree and make a special effort to connect with those you either are not sure about or you know have a different perspective. That’s where you have the power to make a difference.


"Let no man pull you so low as to hate him." 


Inspire action and build urgency – It is important to start with values but then to make those values drive changes in behaviors. Are our current behaviors aligned to the values we share? Are the outcomes of our behaviors meeting our common aspirations? If not, let’s act to move closer to living our values. Act now so that our current status quo doesn’t keep us from being who we want to be together.


“If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 


I wish you great success in your goals this year. Thank you for your tireless effort on behalf of educators and students. Your efforts and expertise can and will make a difference!  


"We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."


— Katey Arrington, NCSM President


MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge

2024 NCSM Conference:

Breaking Barriers

Registration opens February 5


Our 56th NCSM Annual Conference will take place in Chicago from September 23-25, 2024. 


Conference registration opens Feb. 5. We look forward to connecting in Chicago!


Stay up to date on the latest conference information on the NCSM website.


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