Presented by Henry Kepner, President of NCTM
In his presentation, Mr. Kepner gave an update of the Council’s promotion of mathematics teaching through its focus on curriculum, the dissemination of teachers’ and researchers’ reflective professional experiences, professional development, and the creation of community and policy support for change. He reinforced the overall theme of this year’s conference: “Equity: All Means All”. In addition to sharing how NCTM is working to promote equity for all students, he was also careful to include not only minority and impoverished students, but also gifted learners. One compelling statistic that he shared, in which I was unaware of, is that 20% of students who “drop out” of school have been labeled as gifted at some point in their schooling. “All Means All” certainly reflects both ends of the learning spectrum as this point proves.
Mr. Kepner emphasized that the NCTM Curriculum Principles guide teachers in the important mathematical ideas that NCTM recommends be taught at the varying grade levels. In addition, the focal points also guide teachers on when closure of big ideas are expected for particular ideas and concepts. What a vital resource in guiding our educational systems throughout the country. These principles also emphasize the need for simultaneous preparation for algebra, and the development of conceptual understanding, fluency, and problem solving skills.
Mr. Kepner announced an upcoming resource (book series) known as Essential Understandings, currently being developed by NCTM, which will serve as helpful professional development tools for teachers. This should be a fantastic resource.
In addition, NCTM Topic Books, which will be available Fall 2009, will provide details and examples to support teachers in how to teach the NCTM Focal Points.
Another valuable resource for educators that Mr. Kepner shared during his presentation is a link called “Briefs and Clips” which can be accessed at the NCTM website: www.nctm.org. This link provides educators with quick access to useful and practical research. One topic example is “Effective Homework Assignments”. There are also many other topics for educators to explore and this resource will continue to grow and develop over time.