May 2022 NCSM Insider


Message from NCSM President, Paul Gray

Dust in the Wind


 Sam Rayburn, one of my fellow North Texans, was the Speaker of the U.S. House from 1940 until 1961 with a few breaks based on when different parties held the majority. He holds the record for the longest-serving tenure of anyone as Speaker of the House, serving for just over 17 years. There are lot of things named after Mr. Rayburn in Texas, including streets, freeways, high schools, and a very large reservoir in East Texas. I realized, however, that I didn’t know much

about Mr. Rayburn. So I recently took a day trip to his library and museum in Bonham, Texas. And let me tell you, I learned a lot that day.


The Dust Bowl hit the U.S. Plains hard in the 1930s, devastating farmers and blanketing towns and cities with layer on layer of dust. Many factors came together at once to create this hybrid manmade and natural disaster, including severe drought and farming practices that left a lot to be desired. The way that farmers worked the land left it vulnerable to soil erosion. So when the rain stopped coming, the topsoil dried up and literally blew away in the wind. In order to continue growing food and save the soil they had left, farmers had to change their ways.


Well, as you can imagine, trying to get someone to do something differently after they’ve been doing it just like their father and his father did is a tall order. Like most Texas politicians, Sam Rayburn had a flair for what I’ll call colorful oratory. So when he was asked if he had any advice for farmers who wouldn’t change their farming practices to practice soil conservation, he responded with, “Yes, keep running your straight rows up and down the hill and your harvest will be much lighter and easier, too.”


When I read this Rayburn quote, it immediately made me think of my early years as a teacher. What I felt to be the “tried and true” methods that my math teachers used wasn’t working for my students. Like the Dust Bowl, the conditions in which I was teaching changed from the conditions in which I learned math. And I was, as Mr. Rayburn said, running my straight rows up and down the hill. And sure enough, my harvest, or what my students were learning, was light.


So, like the farmers in the Dust Bowl, I had to change my ways and practice “soil conservation” in my classroom. I was working on my masters’ degree at the University of Houston and decided to try some explorations in my Geometry class. Lo and behold, I saw some results. My students were not only more excited about doing the mathematics but they also remembered it longer and were eager to learn more. Not every student, of course (I did teach in the real world), but enough to where I wanted more. So I asked my colleagues for ideas about other explorations we could do. I brainstormed lesson ideas with my mentor and department chair. I looked for NCTM resources. I went to local and state conferences. And gradually, I worked in more and more lessons, activities, and instructional strategies that helped me to better tend to the soil in which my students were learning mathematics.


As mathematics leaders, how do you help the teachers in your care learn teaching strategies that help them, as Mr. Rayburn might say, keep from running their straight rows up and down the hill where the soil of learning washes away without yielding a full harvest? How might we help them teach more equitably so that all of their students, including students of color and students experiencing poverty, might have rich mathematics learning experiences?

One answer can be found in NCTM’s eight Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices.

  • Establish mathematics goals to focus learning,
  • Implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving,
  • Use and connect mathematical representations,
  • Facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse,
  • Pose purposeful questions,
  • Build procedural fluency from conceptual understanding,
  • Support productive struggle in learning mathematics, and
  • Elicit and use evidence of student thinking.

I do realize that the classrooms of today, emerging from the pandemic world, are significantly different than my own classroom was. Yet, I do believe in the power of NCTM’s effective teaching practices. NCSM, NCTM, and ASSM collaborated to develop a few documents, Moving Forward: Mathematics Learning in the Era of COVID-19 in 2020 and Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond in 2021. In both documents, we talked about how using research-based teaching practices will

go a long way toward helping kids learn the mathematics they need to know and helping teachers keep their sanity. As you’re planning for the 2022-2023 school year, I’d encourage you to take another look at these two documents. I think you’ll find that there is good information in there to help you and your colleagues get the next school year off to a good start.


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


Equity in Action: Leveraging Your Sphere of Influence

June 27-29, 2022, 8:30-4:30 EDT


Who Should Attend? Aspiring PK-16 and/or current mathematics leaders and coaches who want to:

Focus on creating equitable mathematics classrooms and structures.

Advocate for equitable practices in mathematics teaching and learning.

Challenge unproductive beliefs through self reflection and coaching conversations.

Enhance coaching skills and grow as a professional through networking


Click HERE for more info and to register!!



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


COMING SOON!  - Keep an eye out for the entire conference program which will be posted later this month.  


NCSM Membership Rates Update

Beginning July 1, 2022, there will be one tier of membership.  The rate of $85 will include digital versions of the Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership.  The NCSM board decided to combine the digital and individual membership tiers based on member feedback and a comparison of benefits for each.


President Paul Gray and Membership and Volunteers Coordinator Sara Frisbie discuss the new membership tier. 

We are also pleased to announce that anyone who renews their NCSM membership at the current rates between April 1 and June 30, 2022, will be entered into our Regional Raffle!  One member from each of our regions (US and Canada) and international members will win up to $200 off the registration fee of a 2022-2023 NCSM event (e.g., Annual Conference, Leadership Seminar, etc.).  Already renewed earlier in the year?  Renewing now will extend your membership an additional year at the current rates.

Please visit the Membership page of the NCSM website to renew!  We look forward to continuing our bold leadership together!


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

Latest NCSM Podcast - From Mona Toncheff, NCSM Past President & John SanGiovanni, RD for Eastern Region 2


Networking Nights with NCSM - From Jenny Novak NCSM Professional Learning Directors & Georgina Rivera


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

NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership - From Erin Lehmann & Paula Jakopovic, NCSM Journal Co-Editors


NCSM Annual Report


Regional Director Blog


\Joint Position Paper

Ross Taylor Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award

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