Leveling the Playing Field in Math - Online Summit

Free Online Event: Leveling the Playing Field in Math

Download a PDF of the key takeaways

It’s common to hear students say that they’re just not “math people.” But the idea that math is an innate ability can limit kids’ prospects and reinforce racial and gender stereotypes. In this summit our reporters and their guests will explore ways to support all students in math classrooms in elementary, middle, and high schools.

This afternoon’s discussions will also include a look at the potential of math coaches to improve instruction and the benefits of students talking together about their math thinking processes.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on May 20, 2020.


May 20, 2020
1-2:30 p.m. ET*

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*Agenda and times subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

Education Week can only provide 1 hour of professional development credit for online summits if the educator attends live. On demand viewing cannot be provided credit in your state because of the summit platform functionality. We look forward to seeing you live at the next summit.

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | Discussions Open
    Education Week journalists and their special guests provide practical takeaways about leveling the playing field in math.

    Room 1: Teaching English-Learners and Students With Disabilities
    Moderator: Corey Mitchell, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ How do teachers develop and deliver meaningful, challenging math lessons for English-learners and special education students? Part of the challenge lies in confronting the broad labels attached to these students. The labels often fail to focus on their strengths and particular needs.
    Bradley Witzel, Professor and Special Education Program Coordinator, Winthrop University College of Education
    Cathery Yeh, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, Chapman University

    Room 2: Developing Your Student’s Math Identity
    Moderator: Sarah Schwartz, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ In this discussion, our guests from the Howard County School District in Maryland will discuss math curriculum that’s designed to help students examine and reshape their math identities and see themselves as a “math people.” Find out how the program is being implemented both in class and remotely in this large school district.
    Molly Schaefer, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Murray Hill Middle School, Howard County Public Schools, Md.
    Jon Wray, Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics, Howard County Public Schools, Md.

    Room 3: Math Talk: Tool for 'Productive Struggle'
    Moderator: Catherine Gewertz, Senior Contributing Writer, Education Week
    ‣ In this discussion, our guests will explore the push to get students doing the talking and reasoning in math class. What does that look like both in class and remotely? How can it contribute to a more inclusive classroom and greater equity in math learning?
    Robert Q. Berry III, Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Mathematics Education, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, and Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
    Amanda Jansen, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Delaware, and author of Rough Draft Math: Revising to Learn

    Room 4: Math Coaching
    Moderator: Madeline Will, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Just 18 percent of public schools had a math coach in the 2015-16 school year, according to federal data, and yet research suggests that math coaching is one of the most effective forms of teacher professional development available. Our guests include a middle school math coach and a researcher who has explored what it takes for a math coaching program to be successful.
    Adrianne Burns, Math Coach, De Pere Middle School, De Pere, Wis.
    Aimee Ellington, Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

    Room 5: Utilizing Math History to Embrace Equity, Failure, and Authentic Problem Solving
    Moderator: Megan Hunter, Senior Marketing Manager, Amplify Math
    ‣ Infusing math instruction with history and storytelling can contribute to more equitable and exciting experiences for students. Join the discussion with author Sunil Singh to learn more about building connections through storytelling and how it allows students to see themselves in math.
    Sunil Singh, Author, Math Recess and Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics

    Room 6: How to Make Classrooms Come Alive With Student Thinking
    ‣ We believe that the students doing the talking are the students doing the learning. That’s why we’re celebrating the launch of Ready Classroom Mathematics, a K-8 discourse-driven core mathematics curriculum with free access to our library of top mathematics discourse resources. Featuring top teacher moves as well as actionable classroom tools, resources teachers use today to help get students engaged in their learning and deepen their conceptual understanding.
    Join the discussion to learn more!

    Room 7: Leveling the Playing Field at Every Level
    Moderator: Joanie Funderburk, Strategic Alliance Director, Texas Instruments
    ‣ Equitable access and outcomes in math classrooms have long been an issue. Alignment across all stakeholders in the system—classrooms, schools, districts, states, and professional organizations—is imperative for improvements in this area. Educators in all of these groups can, and should, be empowered to effect change that results in positive student outcomes. Join us for a conversation and Q&A with special guests on how we address these challenges and opportunities at every level.
    Katey Arrington, Manager of K-12 Services, The University of Texas at Austin
    Marian Dingle, Grade Level Chairperson and 4th and 5th Grade Teacher, Briar Vista Elementary School, Atlanta, and Heinemann Fellow
    Lya Snell, Mathematics Program Manager, Georgia Department of Education

    Room 8: Future-Proofing Math Instruction: Teaching Math in Remote Learning Environments at Every Grade Level
    ‣ Join Texthelp’s Louis Shanafelt, EquatIO Product Manager, and former math teacher, and a panel of math educators as they discuss strategies to help move math instruction to the digital learning environment.
    In this discussion, these guests will uncover best practice for engaging with math students remotely, as well as how they are facilitating and assessing math outside of the classroom environment. They will also share their own personal experiences and expertise as well as exploring technologies that have been helpful at all grade levels.
    Marilu Deal, Grade 7-12 Mathematics Consultant, Ottawa Catholic School Board, Ottawa, Canada
    Dan Lyons, Math Teacher, Lakeview-Ft Oglethorpe High School, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
    Megan Mongelli, Technology Integration Specialist, Fort Mill School District, Fort Mill, S.C.
    Louis Shanafelt, EquatIO Product Manager, Texthelp, and Former Math Teacher

    Room 9: Your Mathematics PLC Unit Planning Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
    ‣ In this discussion, our guests will recognize and explore the urgency caused by limited student access and proficiency toward 4th quarter 2019-2020 pre K-12 school mathematics standards in light of the pandemic. What should the 2020-2021 school year “return-to-learn” plan be? We’ll provide guidelines to the vital reset necessary to embed prior year mathematics standards.
    Timothy D. Kanold, International Educator, Educational Consultant, and Co-Author of the Every Student Can Learn Mathematics
    Sarah Schuhl, NCSM Secretary, Educational Consultant, and Co-Author of the Every Student Can Learn Mathematics professional development series
    Mona Toncheff, NCSM President, Educational Consultant, and Co-Author of the Every Student Can Learn Mathematics professional development series

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Robert Q. Berry III
Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Mathematics Education, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, and Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Berry teaches mathematics methods courses in the teacher education program, graduate-level mathematics education courses and courses for in-service teachers seeking a mathematics specialist endorsement. Equity issues in mathematics education are central to his research efforts within four related areas: (a) understanding Black children's mathematics experiences (mathematical identities and agency); (b) measuring standards-based mathematics teaching practices; (c) unpacking equitable mathematics teaching and learning; and (d) exploring interactions between technology and mathematics education. Berry co-edited the 2020 book High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice which explains how to teach mathematics for self- and community-empowerment.

Adrianne Burns
Math Coach, De Pere Middle School, De Pere, Wis.

Burns is a math coach and interventionist at De Pere Middle School in Wisconsin. In this role, she has led teams in the professional learning community process to improve universal instruction. She is a certified Math Recovery Intervention Specialist and AdVantage Math Recovery Trainer. Her current passion is helping teachers understand how to use grade-level concepts to address students’ unfinished learning from previous years so that intervention and classroom instruction are more connected.

Aimee Ellington
Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ellington is a professor and the associate chair in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has developed and offered an interactive online program for preparing K-8 teachers to be mathematics coaches and teacher-leaders. Ellington's research interests include studying the impact of math coaches on teachers and students in K-8 schools and the impact of reform-based instructional methods in undergraduate general education mathematics courses.

Catherine Gewertz
Senior Contributing Writer, Education Week

Gewertz covers curriculum and instruction. In recognition of her expert reporting on assessment, the National Council on Measurement in Education named her the winner of its 2019 award for Excellence in Public Communication. Since joining Education Week in 1999, Gewertz has been the lead reporter on the common core and assessment and has covered urban schools. Previously, she was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times and United Press International.

Amanda Jansen
Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Delaware, and author of Rough Draft Math: Revising to Learn

Jansen is a former middle school math teacher. She now teaches future elementary and middle school math teachers, and conducts professional development for current math teachers in grades 6-12. Her research interests include investigating instructional practice that motivate and engage students with mathematics learning.

Corey Mitchell
Staff Writer, Education Week

Mitchell writes about the challenges and opportunities in teaching students with distinct needs, including English-language learners, students with disabilities, children who are homeless or incarcerated, and gifted students. A four-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award, Mitchell’s reporting has also won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists. Prior to joining Education Week in 2014, Mitchell worked as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. During his time covering politics and Congress, Mitchell was a 2013-14 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.

Molly Schaefer
8th Grade Math Teacher, Murray Hill Middle School, Howard County Public Schools, Md.

Schaefer is a National Board Certified Teacher and the math instructional team leader at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Md. She has been a math 8 and geometry teacher for the last 8 years. Over the last three years, she has worked with the district offices of mathematics and technology to develop the StoryStrong Mathematics curriculum. This program is designed help students identify their successes, fears, and feelings about the subject. The goal is for students to build their confidence with the subject so they can continue to engage with it despite setbacks.

Sarah Schwartz
Staff Writer, Education Week

Schwartz is a reporter for Education Week who covers curriculum and instruction. Before joining the staff, she was as an Education Week intern, covering education technology. She has also worked at a middle school in East Harlem, New York.

Madeline Will
Staff Writer, Education Week

Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She joined the staff in 2016, initially as the assistant editor for Education Week Teacher, a section dedicated to the firsthand perspectives of teachers. Before joining Education Week, Madeline was the publications fellow for a legal nonprofit, the Student Press Law Center. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science.

Bradley Witzel
Professor and Special Education Program Coordinator, Winthrop University College of Education

Witzel is an award-winning teacher and researcher who works as a professor and program director of the M.Ed. in Special Education Intervention at Winthrop University, the flagship education college for the state of South Carolina. As a classroom teacher he worked in multiple settings teaching mainly math and science to high-achieving students with disabilities and at-risk concerns. Witzel has authored over 60 professional publications, developed over 20 multimedia resources, and delivered over 500 presentations and workshops. In addition to his paper published works, he was selected by Vanderbilt University to develop an IRIS module on Algebra for students with academic difficulties.

Jon Wray
Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics, Howard County Public Schools, Md.

Wray is also the project manager of the Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project, a national-level and grant-funded project designed to support the impact of mathematics coaches and specialists. He is a former classroom teacher, mathematics resource teacher, and past president of both the Association of Maryland Mathematics Teacher Educators and the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Wray has also served as an elected member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Board of Directors. His most recent co-publications include: The Formative 5: Everyday Assessment Techniques for Every Math Classroom and Everything You Need for Mathematics Coaching: Tools, Plans, and a Process That Works for Any Instructional Leader, K-12.

Cathery Yeh
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, Chapman University

Yeh’s research investigates teachers’ sense-making of what it means to be mathematically competent; who is seen as competent; and instructional practices that address disparities in learning opportunities based on race, class, language, and ability status by attending to and leveraging students’ mathematical thinking and reasoning.

Her research has appeared in more than 30 journals. Her co-authored books include Reimagining the Mathematics Classroom and Catalyzing Change in Early Childhood and Elementary Mathematics. Cathery is currently working in collaboration with local school districts to design technology-enhanced professional development programs to increase student access to universally-designed mathematics classrooms.


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