Building Leadership Capacity to Improve Math Teaching and Learning: Lessons from the Math in Common Initiative
The COVID-19 pandemic required educators to make a seismic shift to distance learning. Many educators are concerned that distance learning exacerbates students’ inability to access and engage in high-quality math learning.
Before COVID-19, there was already a growing awareness that school site leaders’ instructional leadership could be critical to raising student achievement. The pandemic further highlighted the potential for targeted leadership development to improve math teaching and learning in California schools at a moment when achievement gaps could be widening.
Findings from WestEd’s evaluation of the Math in Common initiative may offer some useful insights at this time. Math in Common was organized to support 10 California districts to effectively implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. A key part of these districts’ efforts involved providing leadership development opportunities for many types of district and school leaders — from teacher leaders and instructional coaches to principals and district administrators — to help them understand and support the math content and instruction that teachers are expected to use.
This brief offers three recommendations for how educators in California and beyond should conceptualize new leadership development opportunities to support math improvement — during the COVID crisis and beyond.
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