October 4 meeting recap

There is a 3-hour recording of the meeting, but to save you some time I watched it at 2x speed and took the following notes. If you have questions or need clarification, ask!


Invited attendee: Danen Jobe, Director of Academic Programs and Curriculum, Colorado Community College System

Attendees: Lisa R. (FFC8), Kim S. (Mesa 51), Marci H. (Jeffco), Katie J. (Englewood), Raymond J. (CDE), Monica G. (BVSD), Paige W. (BVSD), Susan H. (27J), Courtney G. (27J), Lori C. (FFC8), Amanda F. (Adams 12), John F. (Greeley), Cheryl T. (?), Rachel S. (CC of Denver), Jennifer L. (CO Northwestern CC)

We welcomed Danen, who made a case for pathways: college algebra and calculus have been the default even when it didn't make sense for a student to take them. The CC system has looked at what math is really needed, and removing these courses where they aren't needed has opened access and increased degree completion, especially for traditionally disadvantaged students. Higher ed is making moves, some big, some small. But higher ed needs stronger connections to K-12 so incoming students are prepared for the right math class depending on your major and interests. In the Q&A, advising came up as an issue. At both K-12 and higher ed, we need counselors who help students get into the right classes for the right reasons. Also -- something most of us in K-12 didn't know -- the CC system has a unified curriculum across their institutions, so the gateway math courses (math for liberal arts, statistics, college algebra) you take at one college has the same objectives and desired outcomes as all the others, and now they're getting on the same page with all the corequisite math support courses, too. There are still some "developmental" courses for students whose skills are far behind, but the corequisite courses have shown to be a better form of support for students in gateway courses. Rachel and Jennifer are both part of a math leadership group that is looking at prerequisites to add more uniformity there, too.

Danen left after 30 minutes, but Rachel and Jennifer, both of whom are CC math faculty, used the time to answer more questions. Rachel talked about using assessment to determine how much support a student is likely to need, and the advising they do with students to try to help set them up for success. Jennifer added that because statistics is so different from what's typically the focus of assessments, she doesn’t find scores to be a very reliable predictor, which gives her more time to focus on the placement and support for students in college algebra. Amanda F. asked for clarification about how much of this extends to 4-year institutions, and Rachel and Jennifer know of some similarities with corequisites and pathways, but they aren't super knowledgeable about those schools. Raymond said we'd have guests in the future representing CDHE and 4-year schools. Raymond also explained for Rachel and Jennifer's benefit that as a state matter, we have no K-12 math course requirements or course descriptions, so every district or school can choose their own. This gives a lot of latitude for local decision-making, but we've reached the point where districts are risk-averse with math because they don't want to be the only district to make a change and inadvertently do something that other schools and higher ed won't accept. Kim took the last part of the hour to lead us through a recap of prior CML discussions about pathways, and to share the official announcement that we are joining the Launch Years Initiative. It was a poorly kept secret by this point, but her presentation helped people understand the history of the initiative and the other players that we'd be working with over the next three years. Raymond listed our Launch Years leadership team, but explained that this work is going to take all of us, so don't feel left out if we didn't include your name in this initial list:

Leadership team: Danen Jobe, Director of Academic Programs and Curriculum, CCCS; Carl Einhaus, Senior Director of Student Success & P20 Alignment, CDHE; Chris Rasmussen, Senior Director of Academic Pathways & Innovation, CDHE; Rachel Sefton, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Community College of Denver; Jennifer Lamanski, Colorado Northwestern Community College; Lisa Rogers, Mathematics Coordinator for Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, President of CML, and Secretary of CCTM; Kim Smith, Mathematics Specialist for Mesa County Valley School District 51, Past President of CML, and Vice President of the CCTM; and Raymond Johnson, Mathematics Specialist for CDE, ex officio board member of CML and CCTM


Attendees: Lisa R. (FFC8), Kim S. (Mesa 51), Marci H. (Jeffco), Katie J. (Englewood), Raymond J. (CDE), Monica G. (BVSD), Paige W. (BVSD), Susan H. (27J), Courtney G. (27J), Amanda F. (Adams 12), Rachel S. (CC of Denver), Jennifer L. (CO Northwestern CC), Dani N. (MIND), Greg G. (SVVSD), Jennifer K. (27J), Anne B. (Steamboat), Felicia C. (Mesa 51), April S. (GOAL), Stephanie T. (Adams 12)

Marci led us through introductions and asked people to share a win they've had: Susan H. (common assessment buy-in), Katie J. (shift to Eureka Math Squared), Greg G. (elementary common assessments), Dani N. (time in Milwaukee schools), Amanda F. (training for principals and coaches), Rachel S. (working statewide for common prerequisites), Jennifer K. (HS interventions), Felicia C. (smart assessment use in Bridges), Jennifer L. (redefining readiness for gateway courses), Courtney G. (detracking 9th grade teaching), April S. (more math teachers on staff), Stephanie T. (principal training), Raymond J. (grant award letters), Lisa R. (increased student discourse), and Kim S. (work with Geoff Krall).

Raymond led a math task called "Squarable Numbers" that you can get from Dan Finkel's site. After that 20 minutes, we moved to business. Kim shared about CCTM's work on upcoming webinars and their newsletter, and how CCTM is taking organizational memberships that can be purchased to cover groups of teachers in addition to a principal and support staff. Marci shared NCSM news, including the recent NCSM conference in California. Raymond shared his conference experiences, which he blogged about each day. Anyone who has questions for Raymond about sessions he attended are encouraged to contact him. Lisa closed out this portion of the meeting by explaining that November's meeting has been moved to Tuesday, November 8 due to Launch Years travel conflicts.


Invited Attendees: Veronica Fiedler (CDE), Megan Rogers (CDE)

Attendees: Lisa R. (FFC8), Kim S. (Mesa 51), Marci H. (Jeffco), Katie J. (Englewood), Raymond J. (CDE), Dani N. (MIND), Greg G. (SVVSD), Jennifer K. (27J), Anne B. (Steamboat), Felicia C. (Mesa 51), April S. (GOAL), Stephanie T. (Adams 12)

Marci started with an overview: There are a lot of aspects to interventions, but people are thinking about tools for progress monitoring and intervention, who does the work, how to ensure grade-level access, and altering approaches as we understand the reasons who students are behind. Katie shared that this is a topic that's important to CML, and it's a case of, "If we don't do it, who will?" Lisa and Raymond then shared a proposal for where this intervention work might go. There are so many questions to consider, but so many opportunities, too. As some guiding principles, Lisa suggested that we focus on ensuring access to grade-level content, providing just-in-time supports, making our resources accessible and useable by anyone, and that we focus on the math that matters most. We'll probably need to break into some grade-level teams, perhaps starting with 1st and 6th grade, and then focusing on the skills that most often need our attention with interventions. Raymond asked that people note that what we're trying to get away from is not having answers when people ask us for "blanket" solutions, as if we could purchase one thing that "cures" all of our students. Instead, we might want to make a sort of "recipe book" that's easy to follow and explains what ingredients and conditions are needed in combination for an intervention to be successful.

One thing we wanted to do with this meeting was to broaden our perspectives on intervention. We invited two guests: Veronica Fiedler, a specific learning disability specialist in CDE's Exceptional Student Services Unit, and Megan Rogers, who focuses on school readiness in CDE's Preschool to Third Grade Office. Megan talked about the importance of intervening with students early, even as they enter kindergarten. Veronica explained that while she's not a math specialist, she does support special educators in the state with math-specific content, but knows that people need more than a few documents and webinars. Felicia shared some about Math Recovery and her training to intervene with elementary students, and how there are assessments but not everyone is knowledgeable about them or uses them wisely. Raymond made the point that it's difficult to think and talk about this work without using a deficit mindset, as we seem to focus on "gaps" and "misconceptions" and other ways of describing things students don't have. Veronica tried to dispel some myths about how MTSS and RTI work, and how people still work on the assumptions that they are just paths to special education. Megan talked about support for early learners, especially when students' primary language doesn't match the primary language used for instruction. Dani shared concerns about tracking that leads to growing divides as students move through the grades, and how the amount and effectiveness of support students seem to get decreases as they move through middle and high school. Marci and Raymond talked about the need to support conceptual understanding, and our tendency to provide support that focuses on procedural fluency. We finished up by discussing some cautions, like wanting to avoid narrowing the curriculum to only the things we name as needing intervention, and also being too punitive with students needing interventions and doing things like holding them back a grade or limiting their access to Tier 1 instruction.