Category Archives: Math Updates

Math Common Core Update

It is official! New York State has adopted the national Pathway A from Appendix A of the Math Common Core Standards verbatim. Pathway A is the Traditional courses (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II) and is the one that is the most similar to the current NYS course setup. The current plan is that next year (2012 -13) Integrated Algebra would be replaced by Algebra I. The following year (2013-14) old Geometry would be replaced by new Geometry and then Algebra II Trig would transition in 2014-15. This plan is similar to the role out that has been used for the last two redesigns of the NYS math courses. The biggest difference, is that there will not be any overlap where multiple exams for the same level will be offered. As an example the last Integrated Algebra regents exam will be next January 2013 and that spring will be the first Algebra I regents exam. This piece is important for any students that are taking a pre-algebra or accelerated 7th grade course this year because they will end up taking the Algebra 1 course next year not the Integrated Algebra course. It also becomes important next year with students that do not pass the Integrated Algebra exams as there will only be an August and January chance for retakes before they have to take the new Algebra I exam.

Middle school teachers it will be important for you to note that in Appendix A there are even courses defined for 7th and 8th grade acceleration that have students ready to take the Algebra 1 exam at the end of 8th grade and still prepare students for 7th and 8th grade assessments.


Common Core Math Standards

Although there is nothing final as far as what the common core math standards will look like at the high school level, some things have been released that give us a taste of what we should expect.



  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.


Bill McCallum is one of the writers of the common core standards. His blog is found at On his blog, you will find news about tools that are being developed to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards. He often asks for feedback and comments on what is being created. This is a great opportunity to voice your opinion.

2011-2012 Goals and Objectives

The focus of the coaching efforts at Athena Middle and High School for the 2011-2012 school year will be on improving the mathematical achievement of both general and special education students, specifically in algebra.  Algebra is often considered a gateway for students from all backgrounds to greater opportunities by facilitating achievement in upper level mathematics courses, acceptance into college, and economic equity in the workforce (Ladson-Billings, 1997; Tate & Rousseau, 2002).  Unfortunately, algebra is also an area where many Athena students struggle.

As a math coach, I would like to improve the strength of quarter grades, state assessment scores, student engagement, and teacher professional development.  Some of my specific coaching objectives are as follows:

  1. Maximize the passing rate and the growth of algebraic understanding of all students in middle and high school math courses and state assessments
  2. Maximize the number of all students reaching mastery in middle and high school math courses and state assessments
  3. Early identification of struggling students
  4. Identifying strategies to target struggling students
  5. Using research-based best practices in mathematics instruction
  6. Integrating technology (SMART boards, clickers, aleks, wikis, calculators, etc.)
  7. Minimizing transition issues between middle and high school
  8. Increasing the effectiveness of our AIS programs

I am available in any way possible to help students and teachers to achieve their goals and maximize the effectiveness of the learning process at Athena.


References: Ladson-Billings, G. (1997). It doesn’t add up: African American students’ mathematics achievement. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(6), 697-708.

Tate, W., & Rousseau, C. (2002). Access and opportunity: The political and social context of mathematics education. In Handbook of international research in mathematics education, 271-300. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

What is a Math Coach?

“Instructional coaching is basically advice and counsel designed too meet the needs of a specific teacher.  On-site coaches work one-on-one with teachers to help them understand what data to collect, analyze, and use to improve instruction.  Intensive collaboration and planning occur between coach and teacher before, during, and after a teacher’s lesson, to ensure high-quality instruction appropriate to meeting the needs of all the students.  Coaches provide regular, ongoing professional development to a school’s entire faculty, which encourages staff members to become part of a community of learning and practice” (Eisenberg, 2010, p. 30).

What Coaching IS

  • Observing teachers and providing feedback
  • Co-teaching and co-planning with teachers
  • Facilitating professional development
  • Helping teachers find ways to use data to drive instruction

What Coaching IS NOT

  • Acting as a teacher’s aide
  • Evaluating teachers
  • Working as a substitute teacher


References: Eisenberg, E. (2010). Personalizing professional development: Why instructional coaches make a difference. Education Week, 29(32), 30-31.

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