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CoMath Update for October 23, 2020

This week I wrapped up a 3-day virtual conference for the Association of State Mathematics Supervisors, a small yet interesting group of people like me who hold state-level math leadership positions. On Day 1, Frances Su gave an updated version of his "Mathematics for Human Flourishing" talk, which was a wonderful reminder that there's more value in learning mathematics than just college and career readiness. I also got to spend some time in a breakout session with Theresa Wills, who had the most organized system of templates and routines I've seen in an online environment. If you've ever wondered what it might look like if a math teacher/coach who is also a technology specialist spent about a decade teaching in mixed and tech-rich environments alongside getting a Ph.D. and teaching math methods courses, then Theresa is worth checking out. We finished the day with Mona Toncheff, President of NCSM, as she talked about NCSM's recent position paper about detracking mathematics. That led nicely into Day 2, which started with more talk about detracking before a session by Jo Boaler, Steve Levitt, and Evan Shieh about the need for data science in the math curriculum. I plan on following that topic closely and, as always, welcome conversations with anyone interested in new and improved things with high school math. NCTM President Trena Wilkerson gave us updates about their Catalyzing Change series and Robert Berry closed with a session very similar to the one he did for CCTM back in early August. Day 3 included a variety of ASSM business and thinking about our special interest groups. All in all, it was an informative and engaging three days and I hope what I gained from it can be used to benefit anyone teaching math in Colorado. If you have questions or interests in any of this, let me know!

Professional Learning Opportunities

CCTM Taking Action Book Study

The next chapter in CCTM's Taking Action book study is Chapter 3, Implement Tasks that Promote Reasoning and Problem Solving. Sessions are available late afternoon on Tuesday, November 3, the evening of Thursday, November 5, and the morning of Saturday, November 7. All are welcome! It doesn't matter if you missed earlier chapters, if you don't have the book yet, or if you're a CCTM member. More information and registration links are available at

NCTM Virtual Conference

NCTM will be holding a NCTM Virtual Conference from November 11-14. If you've never had the opportunity to attend an NCTM conference, I can't say this will be exactly like being there in person, but the program and schedule looks really solid and I hope to see a lot of my fellow Coloradans there.

Funding Opportunities

Colorado RISE Education Fund

The Governor's $32.7 million RISE Education Fund Round 2 application window is open! The deadline for applying for the first round has passed, but the second deadline is coming December 19, 2020, with those awards to be announced in January of 2021. Previously, I had asked people to share with me if they planned any math-specific proposals, and (sadly) I have not yet heard of any coming from districts or BOCES. C'mon, math community, let's not let this opportunity pass us by! I've been able to talk with leaders in CCTM and to math leaders at CML about the possibilities of what could be done at a large scale with the size of these grants, and I'm happy to talk to anyone else about these ideas. The first deadline came and went quickly, but if schools are looking to join together and partner on something big and math-focused, I'm available to help coordinate that collaboration.

Balance the Equation - A Grand Challenge for Algebra 1

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a grant program that seeks applicants to design and pilot new approaches to Algebra 1 that significantly improves the opportunities and outcomes for students without histories of success in high school mathematics. Grantees would get $100,000 to plan and prototype their ideas in Spring 2021, in cooperation with the American Institute for Research (AIR). At that point, they would apply for $1,000,000 to conduct a larger pilot and implementation study. The Phase 1 application window is now open and closes November 6, 2020, at 1:00 pm MT. Just as with the RISE grants, let me know if you're thinking of applying for this. There might be some synergies or shared ideas that strengthen your application!

Student Opportunities


Registration for the MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is open and the early bird registration rates end on October 30. See the MATHCOUNTS website for more information.

Math Madness

Math Madness, a joint initiative between AreteLabs and the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC), is entering its 8th season and is open to teams of students from Grades 3-12. Some competition has already started, but late registration is open until November 6. The competition is online and designed to be as flexible as possible to accommodate schedules and issues related to COVID-19.

CDE Opportunities

Setting the Standard Podcast and Webinars

CDE's Office of Standards and Instructional Support has a podcast and a webinar series to keep you informed about teaching, instruction, policy, and more. Here's a look at recent and upcoming episodes:

Webinars (usually 1st and 3rd Fridays from 11:30 - 12:30, participants encouraged to join live but can watch recordings later)

  • October 2: Best, First Instruction (part 1 of 3) - Building Relationships in Diverse Learning Settings
  • October 23: Social and Emotional Learning in Response to COVID-19
  • November 6: Best, First Instruction (part 2 of 3) - Supporting the Needs of All Learners
  • November 20: TBD

Podcast (usually recorded and published every Monday)

  • September 28: Overbooked With Book Studies
  • October 6: Building Relationships and the STS Webinar Series
  • October 12: Don't Be Boring
  • October 19: Getting Social with Stephanie Hartman

Educator Talent Rules Feedback

If you'd like to give CDE feedback about proposed rules concerning the renewal of educator licenses, please visit for more information. Feedback is due Friday, November 13.

CLDE PD on Teaching, Learning, and Trauma

The Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education is offering a five-session course beginning November 5th about the intersection of teaching, learning, and mental health in areas of understanding adolescent learners with chronic stress and trauma, foundations of effective practice, healthy relationships in complicated times, and conflict resolution. For more details, see

MTSS By Design, UDL, and the MTSS Online Academy

CDE's Office of Learning Supports has a number of PD opportunities coming up. On November 6 they will be hosting a webinar about Universal Design for Learning and how it integrates with MTSS. They also have a self-paced, nine-lesson online academy covering MTSS, team-driven shared leadership, family and community partnering, implementation science, and more.