JULY 2021 NCSM Insider


July 2021 Message from NCSM President, Mona Toncheff

With the 2020-2021 school year in my rear-view window, I am eagerly anticipating the coming school year. I have had the opportunity to work with teacher teams this summer and focus on how to meet the needs of students who will be walking into their classrooms this fall. During our planning, team members have shared stories of resilience and examples of how their students went above and beyond last year to continue to learn, in spite of both personal and academic challenges. Teachers also shared concern that when the end-of-the-year data comes back, their students’ data will not truly represent what the students learned. As I listened to the stories, I heard teachers describe what they value in student learning and what they have seen in their students, and it has not always been a match to what is measured on the end-of-the-year assessment. 

This summer, I have also been reading a new book, Street Data: A Next Generation for Equity, Pedagogy and School Transformation, by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan. As I reflected on the stories from the teachers this summer, I realized they were using street data from their students to identify the students’ strengths to plan next steps. They wanted to know more about their students mathematical thinking than an end-of-the-year assessment would tell. Street data is defined as:

“…qualitative and experiential data that emerges at eye level…Street data is asset based, building on the tenets of culturally responsive education by helping educators look for what is right in our students, schools and communities instead of seeking what is wrong”   -Safir, Dugan, 2021

As we head into the coming school year, let’s rethink how we assess students and find more productive ways to identify students’ strengths so we can build upon those strengths. Instead of a creating a deficit view of students revealed in satellite data, we need to look at street data to drive instructional decisions. Satellite data is quantitative data like test scores, attendance, and graduation rates, where we can determine trends, but the data does not paint a complete picture (Safir, 2017). Street data tells us more about our students and helps educators understand what barriers are getting in the way of learning (Safir, Dugan, 2021). 

How can we build more equitable assessment systems? Consider how to build assessment processes where we value students’ knowledge, listen to student voice, allow for multiple problem-solving strategies and continuously observe students mathematical thinking (NCSM, 2020). The following reflection questions may initiate some next step planning ideas for you in the 2021 – 2022 school year: 

  • What structures are needed to support teachers and teams reflecting on student work?  
  • What opportunities do teachers and teams have to intentionally listen to student thinking?  
  • How can teachers and teams get to know their student’s cultural wealth and community experiences and make connections to their mathematical experiences?  

NCSM has partnered with Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) this summer to present considerations, questions, and potential solutions when addressing the challenges highlighted by the pandemic, titled Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond. Watch for emails about the release information. As we move forward into the 2021-2022 school year, it is more important than ever that we analyze current systems using street data in addition to satellite data to ensure we honor the knowledge that students and teachers bring with them as they continue their mathematics learning journey.


Safir, S. (2017). The listening leader: Creating the conditions for equitable school transformation. Josey-Bass: San Francisco, CA 

Safir, S. & Dugan, J. (2021) Street data: A next generation for equity, pedagogy and school transformation. Corwin: Thousand Oak, CA 

NCSM. (2020). NCSM essential actions: Framework for leadership in mathematics education. Englewood, CO: NCSM

From Mona Toncheff, NCSM President


Robert Q. Berry III - The 2021 Kay Gilliland Lecture Awardee

Our 2021 Kay Gilliland Equity Lecture Awardee is Dr. Robert Q. Berry III. Currently, Dr. Berry serves as the Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Mathematics Education, and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia.

In addition, Dr. Berry is the immediate past president of NCTM, where much of his work focused on the Catalyzing Change series which centers on access, equity, and empowerment for each and every student and aims at developing and implementing policies that will support every teacher of mathematics. His expertise, vision, voice, and understanding of the range of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion were foundational to these publications, which are now providing a framework and catalyst for systemic change across the United States and Canada.

Dr. Berry has provided strong and bold leadership in addressing current equity challenges in mathematics teaching and learning. He has worked diligently to broaden the conversations around equity, access and inclusion, and to guide others in taking actions to increase equity and access in the classroom. This is a clear theme in his publications, his speaking, and in his leadership. He has worked with policymakers, teachers, students, and leaders across multiple states and at the local levels in mathematics education to not only educate the community but as he notes on his CV, “to challenge the spaces of marginality by bringing the authentic experiences and knowledge of marginalized people to the attention of the broader community.” He has also been instrumental in collaborations with multiple professional organizations such as NCSM, AMTE, NCTM, TODOS, and the Benjamin Banneker Association, to continue a focus on equity as a lens for mathematics teaching and learning.

As the 2021 recipient of the Kay Gilliland Equity Lecture Award, Dr. Robert Q. Berry will deliver the 2021 Kay Gilliland Equity Lecture titled “Addressing Racism and Antiblackness in Mathematics Education” on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the 53rd NCSM Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.

From Samantha Wuttig, NCSM Awards Chair 

53rd NCSM Annual Conference, Atlanta, September 20-22, 2021


Online registration is open until September 18th. Onsite registration will be available starting on Sunday, September 19, at 2pm at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

You can view all sessions HERE. Search by Strand, by Speaker, by Day, by Audience...have some fun looking for those special bold leadership sessions that you just have to go to!

Our 2021 Keynote Speaker is Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings. Check out all the speakers. There is quite a line-up of Major and Spotlight Speakers. We are sure you will find your favorite BOLD LEADER in the line-up. Or, you might plan to meet a new favorite one!

Consider registering for and attending one of the two Pre-Conference Sessions happening on Sunday, September 19, 2021, from 1-4PM.

We thank our Elite Sponsors for their support of the 53rd Annual NCSM Conference.

  • Platinum Sponsor:  Texas Instruments
  • Gold Sponsors:  Big Ideas Learning, Amplify Math, Savvas Learning Company, ST Math, Imagine Learning
  • Silver Sponsor: Casio
  • Bronze Sponsor: EdGems Math

Latest NCSM Podcast

Check out the newest NCSM Podcast in the Learning with Leaders: The Bold Mathematics Leadership series. In this month’s podcast, co-hosts, Mona Toncheff, NCSM President, and John SanGiovanni, Regional Director, Eastern Region 2 interview Dr. Tim Kanold, the author of SOUL!: Fulfilling the Promise of Your Professional Life as a Teacher and Leader, and former past president of NCSM.  

In this episode, they talk with Dr. Tim Kanold about his upcoming session at the 53rd NCSM Annual conference, titled, “Attending the Heart and Soul of Your Leadership Life.” He shares thoughts on what it means to lead mathematics with your heart and soul. Leading mathematics is not just a career, it is a calling.

New episodes for the Learning with Leaders: The Bold Mathematics Leadershipseries 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 President, and John SanGiovanni, Regional Director for Eastern Region 2


Summer 2021 NCSM Inspiration! Online for Members

The Summer 2021 edition of the NCSM Inspiration! is available online to all NCSM members. In this issue, NCSM provides reflections on and ideas for leading with Bold Leadership during these critical times of equity conversations and actions. In addition, there are articles highlighting our NCSM Board Members at Work and articles featuring ideas to empower our mathematics leaders by connecting, learning, and honoring.

Members can access the Summer 2021 NCSM Inspiration! as well as archived editions HERE

From Gwen Zimmerman and Kim Romain, NCSM Inspiration! Co-Editors

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