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CoMath Update for April 9, 2021

Recap: CoMath Conversation on High School Learning and Recovery

More than 25 math teachers and leaders from across Colorado came together on March 26 for a fast-paced discussion of current issues and struggles in high school math. The day began by generating a series of "How might we…?" questions, which we combined and refined into these three:

  1. How might we be more flexible in terms of what we consider as part of a body of evidence of student learning (expanding the body of evidence) and the timeline in which students need to demonstrate evidence of student learning (demonstrating in a later semester/course - even short time periods)? How might we change the grading system to celebrate mathematical thinking and promote a growth mindset?
  2. How might we elicit out of the box thinking of teachers? What permissions would we need to give teachers and administrators to help them move beyond the past? How might we support our leaders and teachers to think differently about Math instruction, support, scheduling...?
  3. How might we identify the essential content and come to agreement on what to teach and what to let go of by focusing on bridging the gaps in learning rather than fill in holes? How might we change the grading system to celebrate mathematical thinking and promote a growth mindset?

Next we moved on to an independent solution brainstorming phase, and then we identified the most promising solutions and worked in small groups to think through how they might work. The agenda was (too?) ambitious to come up with polished proposals at the end of 3 hours, but two groups headed in the following directions at the end:

  • A "Think Differently" group listed a bunch of assumptions we make about math and suggested ways to work with school leaders to question those assumptions. The assumptions included grading policies, covering the scope and sequence, graduation credits, traditional courses and course structures, scheduling, seat time, isolation of skills, teacher evaluation models, teacher course assignments, and teaching to the test.
  • A "Body of Evidence" group proposed focusing on new ways of thinking about learning and credit, especially at the unit level, rather than the course level. Organizing pathways and credit-earning opportunities at the unit level could offer students the flexibility they need to recover credits while being manageable for schools and districts to deliver.

Both groups stressed their desire to share and collaborate across the state. Some of these reforms will be easier with more contributors, and it's also easier to push back against certain traditions when more schools are willing to take risks and try new things.

Colorado Math Leaders

The next meeting of the Colorado Math Leaders is Tuesday, April 13 from 10:00 to 12:00 at You can join the CML mailing list at to get meeting reminders and to engage in discussions with other math leaders from around Colorado.

CDE Math + Special Education PD

Veronica Fiedler in CDE's Exceptional Student Services Unit will be offering two live webinars to address the use of digital tools to design accommodations to enable struggling learnings to access grade-level content. A certificate for 1 hour will be provided following the webinar and completion of an event evaluation.

  • Elementary Focus: Wednesday 4/21 from 4:30 to 5:15 (register)
  • Secondary Focus: Thursday 4/22 from 4:30 to 5:15 (register)

Performance Assessment PLC

CDE invites you to join a Performance Assessment Professional Learning Community (PLC) for high school teachers, building leaders, and district personnel. The PLC will help districts across the state develop the systems and practices needed for high-quality implementation of the performance assessment option from the Graduation Guidelines Menu. This opportunity is convened by CDE and facilitated by 2Revolutions and will run from April through July of 2021. Participating districts will get free access to OSCAR Classroom, an online collaborative scoring platform designed to ensure validity and reliability across classrooms. You can express your interest in the PLC by completing this brief online form by Friday, April 16th. Please share with your colleagues! More details about the schedule and commitment can be found here, and please reach out to Meaghan Foster ( or Angela Landrum ( with any questions.

NCTM Virtual 2021 Annual Meeting

NCTM is kicking off its next 100 years with a virtual conference to be held this year between April 21 and May 1 (and not every day in-between). The schedule is set up to help more teachers access the live sessions, even if they're still working with students during most of the day:

  • Wednesday, April 21: 4:00 - 5:30 pm Keynote
  • Thursday/Friday, April 22-23: 1:00 - 6:30 pm Live Presentations
  • Saturday, April 24 9:00 - 3:45 pm Live Presentations
  • Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, April 28-30: 1:00 - 6:30 pm Live Presentations
  • Saturday, May 1: 9:00 - 3:30 pm Live Presentations

In addition to live presentations, the conference features on-demand presentations, a virtual exhibit hall, roundtables, and other social features. All sessions are recorded and available after the conference. (For more on this arrangement, listen to our recent podcast episode with Michelle King of Western Colorado University). To learn more about the NCTM Virtual 2021 Annual Meeting and to register, see the conference webpages on NCTM's site.


NCTM's next grant application deadline is May 1 and 13 different grants are available, including ones for prospective teachers, action research, Annual Meeting attendance, technology, and tuition expenses. Funding amounts range from $1500 to $24,000 and details are available on the NCTM website.

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