Webinar on March 9: Having the Chance to Learn & Grow: Closing the Gap to Advanced Math Classes

In a May 2021 paper by Learning Policy Institute (LPI) titled Inequitable Opportunity to Learn: Access to Advanced Mathematics and Science Courses, LPI shared that “research has consistently shown that students’ ability to thrive and their achievement are improved when they have sufficient access to advanced curricular opportunities,” such as Algebra II, advanced math, calculus, chemistry, and physics. The paper went on to say that college “enrollment, retention, and degree completion rates are higher for students who have taken larger numbers of advanced high school mathematics and science courses compared to students who have taken fewer or less rigorous courses.”

However, equitable access to advanced courses remains out of reach for many students, particularly students of color and students from low-income families; the classes are not offered in their schools due to the lack of faculty who can teach these classes; a lack of resources, such as appropriately equipped classrooms; and, as stated in the report, “biased assumptions about what curriculum would benefit different groups of students.”

Join us at 3:00 pm EST on March 9 as we discuss this issue in the area of mathematics. What are schools and school districts doing to ensure that all students can access higher level math classes? What supports are offered at the classroom level for teachers who need support with content and pedagogy? And what can be done in terms of policy to increase the availability of advanced high school math classes for historically underserved students?

Participants will be

  • Andrea DeVico, math and special education consultant
  • Dr. Peter Eley, professor, mathematics education, College of Education, Fayetteville State University, NC
  • Melanie Leung-Gagne, research and policy associate, Learning Policy Institute
  • Dr. John Seelke, 6-12 content specialist, secondary math, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD
  • Governor Bob Wise (moderator), former governor (WV), member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and state legislator

Click here to register.

Coaches’ Corner: Meet ISA Leadership Coach Nancy Mann

Nancy began teaching at Central Park East Secondary School, a progressive public school founded by Deborah Meier and known for its focus on performance assessment and a restructured school day. In 1994, she was a founding teacher at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, one of the first small schools in the Bronx and part of the Annenberg Challenge. She served as its principal from 2002–2014. The school uses advisory block programming, performance assessment, and conflict mediation to serve 500 students. From 2015–2018, she was deputy superintendent at the New York City Department of Education for a citywide district of performance assessment schools and continued her work in performance assessment as a co-creator and co-instructor of the 2013 Summer Principals Academy, a competency-based program at Columbia University’s Teachers College. In her work with ISA, she focuses on leadership in middle and high schools and continues to be  a mentor to educators and school leaders in New York City.

Which teacher of yours do you feel most impacted your coaching approach? Why?

It was not a single teacher, but a team of collaborating teachers. Our work at Central Park East was based on small teams of teachers who worked together with the same students. I taught 7th/8th grade humanities and met with that team each week for two hours to plan curriculum and review student work. With mixed-age, interdisciplinary classes, each teacher was responsible for two classes and an advisory, and we collaborated to plan curriculum, instruction, events, and celebrations. We worked on building school culture and relationships with students and families, and this model of collaboration and shared responsibility meant that we coached and mentored each other.

What do you enjoy most about your coaching work?

I love to visit schools and talk to people about their work. I love to see the many different ways that teachers and school leaders reach out to students and families. I am fascinated by the differences between schools, their cultures, and traditions. I am always interested in the questions people formulate about their work, and I am always interested in the next step.

What was your most memorable moment with a student or students when you were teaching?

I helped found a school named after Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights leader who led the Mississippi Freedom Party to the 1964 Democratic National Convention at Atlantic City with the demand that her integrated delegation be seated instead of the all-White regular party delegation. We named our school after Fannie Lou Hamer because education is a democratic right. Although I was retired from the school, I was invited to join a group of Fannie Lou Hamer students and teachers at the 2019 women’s march in Atlantic City that was dedicated to Mrs. Hamer. We had a wonderful time together and marched with the other participants on the boardwalk. I was able to take the group into the empty Atlantic City Convention Center, and we imagined what it meant for her and for us to be there.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate chocolate chip—more is more!

From FutureEd: The Future of American Education

FutureEd is an independent, solution-oriented think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. For this recent set of essays, called The Future of American Education: Next Generation Ideas for the Nation’s Schools and Colleges, FutureEd’s director Thomas Toch wrote, “in the wake of the pandemic and the other upheavals, FutureEd asked a number of leading education thinkers, activists, and entrepreneurs to take stock of the education landscape and propose steps that would help policymakers continue the climb toward a stronger, more equitable education system. The result is a series of fresh perspectives on the future of American education, some re-conceptualizing old agendas, others staking new ground.”

Click here to read these essays.