October 2023: MTCs were recently included in a report by WestEd on “Innovative Mathematics Programs That Promote Curiosity and Joy.” The report presents WestEd’s findings from high-level studies of five out-of-school mathematics programs that created opportunities for students and teachers to build confidence, enjoyment, and skill. The other programs included in the report were Almost Fun, Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, Math for Love, and NBA Math Hoops. According to the report, “Out-of-school learning opportunities can improve student academic achievement and support social–emotional learning by providing learning contexts that promote creativity, safe risk-taking, and a tolerance for ambiguity and failure.” Highlights of the findings on MTCs included that they promote teachers’ mathematics confidence, create empathy for students through giving teachers opportunities to be learners, and have a positive impact on the pedagogical strategies teachers report using in their classrooms. The full report can be accessed on WestEd’s website.
July 2022: The Math Circle Network was selected as one of eight participating organizations in a community of practice funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on centering equity and supporting practitioners of color within education networks. Other participating organizations include the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Benjamin Banneker Association, Beyond100K, the Black Principals Network, the California Mathematics Project, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. According to the community of practice website, “Education networks (e.g., professional associations of education professionals) have long been a source of knowledge and support for education professionals, but for many networks, it has been difficult to ensure their resources are reaching those who need it most. To address this challenge, eight education networks are coming together to form a community of practice to learn new ways of working so they can help their members support better outcomes for Black and Latino students and students experiencing poverty. The community of practice will provide a space for networks to learn from peers, pilot new approaches, and inspire further learning and collective action.”
Upcoming Equity Learning Grant Opportunities: Participation in the community of practice includes an award of $100,000 that the Math Circle Network will be using to support community engagement programs and equity-focused Math Circle grants. Please stay tuned for details in early 2024 about how your Math Circle can participate!
February 2022: Connecting Mathematics and Social Justice: Lessons and Resources for Secondary Math Teachers is an open-access book designed to be a resource guide of detailed lesson plans that bring together social justice themes and secondary mathematics content. The lessons and themes generally focus on issues in the state of Connecticut but are adaptable to any local context. Kyle Evans (Trinity College) and Megan Staples (University of Connecticut) are the co-founders of the Math Teachers’ Circle 4 Social Justice and serve as editors of the book.
Six chapters, each with lessons and resources, were written and designed by 14 secondary mathematics educators in the state who participated in the first Summer Stars cohort during the summer of 2021. A seventh chapter was contributed by master’s students engage in a related project. Each of the lessons from the book is also being featured in one of the monthly MTC4SJ workshops during 2021–2022.