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CoMath Update for November 20, 2020

I thought I'd use this space to write about last week's NCTM Virtual Conference, but there's so much to cover this month that I'll spare you from long comments now and maybe write about that elsewhere over my Thanksgiving break. In short: It was good, and NCTM deserves credit for pulling off a well-organized, relatively affordable, well-attended event with strong themes and a strong technology platform to support different kinds of engagement. If you missed it, I'm guessing you won't have to wait long before NCTM offers another virtual conference. Keep reading below for all kinds of news and opportunities, including my desperate pleas to get districts to apply for a RISE grant with a math focus.

Funding Opportunities

Colorado RISE Education Fund

The first round of awardees for the Governor's RISE Education Fund has been announced and, as I feared, there aren't many awards with a math component.

You can do this! In the first round awardees, there's a school district with a not much more than 200 students that is getting more than $850,000 to incorporate local history into their curriculum. An 1100-student mountain district is getting almost a half million dollars to repurpose a school bus to turn it into a mobile learning lab. There's a 600-student eastern plains district getting more than $850,000 to partner with higher ed to develop a new postsecondary and workforce readiness program. These districts should be congratulated for coming up with an idea, submitting an application, and getting funding. Are you going to join them in round two? We know almost every school and district needs to improve their math programs. Maybe you want to write social justice-infused math curriculum units. Or maybe you want to develop an innovative credit recovery system for students who fall behind because of COVID-19. Or maybe you want to work with bilingual specialists to create summer math programs. Or maybe you want to go really big and spearhead an EngageNY-scale curriculum design project involving 100+ teachers, dedicated higher ed staff, and many hours of paid work over the next two summers. (I've even sketched out a budget for that one. I think you could do a great HS curriculum project for about $2.5 million.) I'm long on ideas but short on leverage and I can't apply for you -- but I'm itching to help any way I can, so talk to me!

Head now to the RISE website and see that it doesn't take that much work to apply. The 2nd round grant application deadline is December 19 at 5 pm, which will be here before you know it.

Safe Schools Reopening Grant

This one-time, $15 million grant program is an opportunity for school districts, charter schools, and BOCES that are struggling to return to in-person learning and need additional resources to safely reopen when possible.

PD and Collaborative Opportunities

CCTM Taking Action Book Study

In December, CCTM will move on to Chapter 4 of their Taking Action book study, Procedural Fluency to Conceptual Understanding. Sessions are available late afternoon on Tuesday, December 1, the evening of Thursday, December 3, and the morning of Saturday, December 5. 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

Colorado Math Leaders

The next CML meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8 from 10:00 to noon. We'll continue our Catalyzing Change book study and learn from math specialists around the state about how things are going in their schools and districts. To join the CML mailing list, create an account at and join the comathleaders group.

WestEd Graspable Math Study

Are you an Algebra 1 teacher? WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, invites teachers of 8th grade Algebra 1 to participate in a study using the online Graspable Mathematics software. Teachers will get access to Graspable Mathematics during the approximately four-week study in the Spring of 2021 and upon completing the study, a year of access along with $550. To receive more information, please fill out WestEd's interest survey or contact with questions.

Job Openings

CDE has an opening for the position of Policy Advisor in K12 Education. Policy advisors report to the Director of Policy and provide strategic policy and legislative analysis and recommendations, project management, press guidance, and general policy support for the Governor's agenda. Applicants should have public policy analysis and development skills, as demonstrated by professional and/or academic experience, as well knowledge and/or experience of K12 education.

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)

  • November 6: Best, First Instruction (part 2 of 3) - Harnessing the Power of UDL
  • November 20: Standards Implementation, Assessment, and Graduation Guidelines Town Hall
  • December 4: Best, First Instruction (part 3 of 3) - Disciplinary Literacy
  • December 18: Stories from the Field in 2020

Podcast (usually recorded and published every Monday)

  • November 2: Hosting the NCTE Convention with Jacqueline Smilack of CLAS
  • November 9: Principal Pandemic Perspectives
  • November 16: MTSS Online Academy with Adam Collins
  • November 23: Thanksgiving Thanks

MoneyWi$er Awards

Math teachers are often financial literacy teachers, too, so they should take note of the MoneyWi$er Awards, which recognize districts, schools, educators, and students that have demonstrated a priority in personal finance education throughout their school and community. The 2021 awards are the third and final year of this initiative to promote and increase financial literacy education in Colorado. Awards include:

  • Student Scholarship Honorees -- $1500
  • Educator Honorees -- $3500
  • School Honoree -- $10,000
  • District Honoree -- $15,000

The MoneyWi$er Financial Innovation Awards application is open until March 1, 2021.

Standards Review and Revision

This doesn't include math, but some of you may still be interested. The Office of Standards and Instructional Support is seeking applications for review and revision committee membership in social studies, dance, drama/theatre arts, music, and visual arts. A new law, C.R.S. 22-7-1005(6), requires approximately a third of the standards to be revised every two years, instead of the previous cycle of revising all content areas together every six years. More information about the Colorado Academic Standards review and revision process and applying for committee membership can be found on our website.

Office of Learning Supports Webinar

CDE's Office of Learning Supports welcomes presenter Eric Moore, the senior officer of Accountability, Research, and Equity for the Minneapolis Public Schools, for a webinar to explain how Minneapolis Public Schools took comprehensive actions that transformed their district infrastructure to support systematic change at the policy, school, and individual level. The webinar is Friday, 12/11 from 11:00 to noon. Learn more and register here.

P-3 Office Webinars

CDE's P-3 Office has two webinars that may be of interest to those who work in the early grades:

  • Changing Contexts: Building Skills for Social Emotional Wellness and Recovery During Transitions In and Out of In-Person Learning -- Friday 12/4 from 10:30 to 11:45 (register here by today, Friday, November 20)
  • Changing Contexts: Supports for Temporary Transitions and Rolling Closures -- Friday, 12/11 from 10:30 to 11:45 (register here by Friday, November 27)

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