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CoMath Update for June 4, 2021

If your last day of school is behind you, congratulations on making it through a challenging year! If it's not over, just hang in there a few more days. I've compiled some guidance here about accelerating learning and credit recovery, added more coherence gap workshops, and I have a couple resources in the works that I hope to share in the coming weeks. I'm available for most of the summer to work with districts and schools on their plans for next year, so if you need something (even just someone to bounce ideas off of), let me know!

Mathematics Pathways, Accelerating Learning, and Credit Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted a lot of math learning this year, and I fear that these interruptions will lead to students not earning math credit on schedule, which will lead to students not graduating on time, or not graduating at all. I don't want a math credit crisis to turn into a graduation credit crisis, so I've been asking myself the same question you've surely been asking. How do we catch these kids up?

These questions have converged with conversations I frequently have about high school math pathways. When I look at the pathways described by other states, they're almost all built with the assumption that courses and credits are full-year experiences. But for all of those kids whose learning was interrupted, I don't think year-long opportunities are flexible enough for them to get back on track.

This week I posted some recommendations to the CoMath website on a page called Mathematics Pathways, Accelerating Learning, and Credit Recovery. This page gives some background information about pathways, tries to distinguish between pathways vs. tracking, and then outlines an approach for accelerating learning and recovering credits based on two big ideas:

  • Mathematics learning experiences can be much shorter than year-long or semester-long courses, and students' progress can add up to full credits.
  • Mathematics learning can follow multiple pathways at once, which can help students earn credit at an accelerated rate.

The thing I hope most to avoid is a situation like where a student just finished their freshman year but they failed Algebra 1 and their school says they have to take the whole class over again. What if that student failed because their learning was interrupted during the quadratic functions unit, but they did fine during the exponential functions unit? Those aren't units that necessarily depend on each other, so there's an opportunity to keep going down one path while catching up on the other. Instead of repeating whole courses, I'm encouraging districts, schools, and teachers to be innovative and offer students like this opportunities to earn and recover credits in unit-sized pieces with opportunities to work on more than one unit at a time.

I hope to keep developing these ideas and engaging others in conversations about them. Although Colorado leaves decisions about courses and credits to local districts and schools, I know there are people who would like to find collaborative solutions, so reach out to me if you're interested in being part of that.

Coherence Gap Workshops

Registrations and attendance have stayed strong for my Coherence Gap Workshops, so I added two more:

  • Tuesday, June 8 from 3:30 to 4:30
  • Wednesday, June 9 from 3:30 to 4:30

These workshops give you a guided tour of the Coherence Gap Spreadsheet, a tool I put together to help you consider the numbers of lessons and amount of instructional time that may be involved with teaching each standard. That could be useful information here as you plan for summer school or the next school year. To register, head to the Coherence Gap Spreadsheet page on CDE's CoMath site.

Job Openings

  • Aurora West College Preparatory Academy (6th grade through 12th) is hiring a math teacher leader for the 2021-22 school year. The math teacher leader position is an instructional expert and lead learner in mathematics instruction and they will receive intensive support to develop their practice and create a demonstration lab classroom and support the department in developing teachers' practices while building their own capacity as an instructional expert and leader. If interested, contact Garrett Douglas at or Ken Jensen at (Thanks, Ken!)
  • Montrose has a 7th grade math teaching position available for next school year. Apply at and send your questions to Danice Kindall, HR, at or Ben Stephenson, Principal, at

COVID-19 Learning Impacts Toolkit Introduced

CDE created a COVID-19 Learning Impacts Toolkit to help district and school leaders plan and implement strategies to address the impacts of lost instructional time on the learning and wellbeing of students over the past school year. The key themes of the toolkit are Reflect, Reset, and Reimagine, and CDE will continue to add resources to the toolkit over the next year. Additionally, the toolkit is aligned with the Equity and Excellence Learning Series, an online event this summer spread out over June 16-17, June 23-24, and August 4-6. The E&E event is free and the registration deadline is 5 pm on Wednesday, June 9.

PSAT in Grades 9 and 10 and SAT in Grade 11 Planned to Continue Through 2023

If you haven't already heard from your superintendent or district assessment coordinator, the state contracts for 9th and 10th grade PSAT will be extended through Spring 2023, which is when our contract ends for the SAT. CDE is expected to release a new request for proposals in the 2022-23 school year to evaluate Colorado's state high school assessments beyond that date.

Managing Your CoMath Subscription

Are you changing email addresses for next year? Be sure to update your CoMath subscription!