COMET • Vol. 12, No. 17 – 7 October 2011


Free Conference Registration and Other Benefits are Available for Preservice Teachers who Volunteer at the CMC-North Conference (Asilomar)

Contacts: Kate Reed and Jean Simutis, CMC-N Pre-Service Teachers’ Committee

The California Mathematics Council (CMC)-North conference will be held in Pacific Grove (Asilomar Conference Grounds) on 2-4 December 2011. Preservice teachers who serve as volunteers for half a day on Saturday, December 3, will receive free conference registration, free one-year membership in CMC, a free copy of the CommMuniCator Special Conference Activity issue, and five $5 vouchers toward materials sold by the vendors in the exhibit hall. Each student volunteer will be assigned to collect evaluation forms and count the number of attendees at two conference sessions.

This offer is limited to the first 55 preservice teachers who register via email. To receive the registration form, please send a request to Dr. Kate Reed at

For more information about the CMC-N conference, please visit


Mary Vixie Sandy Appointed Executive Director of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing

URL(Press Release):
URL(Commission Meeting Video)
 (see 8-minute mark)

At its meeting yesterday, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing announced the appointment of Mary Vixie Sandy as its new Executive Director. Sandy is an education professional with more than 20 years of experience working in California’s education policy community. She will begin her term on 1 November 2011.

After she was introduced by Commission Chair Ting Sun following a mid-morning closed session, Sandy addressed the Commission: “It is really a distinct pleasure and an honor to be here and to have the confidence of this Commission and to have the opportunity to work with you as we forge a new plan and really turn the page and move into the next phase of the Commission’s work. I think the Commission’s work is vital to the state of California and what we do here… really makes a difference. You have a very strong staff and I am really looking forward to working with this group of people to meet your needs and to work with you to set the direction for the future.” She also recognized her husband, Gary Sandy, Director of Local Governmental Relations at UC Davis, who was in the audience.

Since 2007, she has served as the Executive Director of the Cooperative Research and Extension Services for Schools (CRESS) Center in the School of Education at UC Davis. The CRESS Center provides professional development, research, and evaluation services for teachers, schools and community based organizations, and fosters collaboration between university faculty and K-12 educators designed to support teacher development and student success.

Sandy began her career in education as a consultant with the California Department of Education, where she worked on the implementation of the State’s Model Curriculum Standards. She then joined the professional staff of the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), where she worked on a landmark study of teacher professional development, assisted with the administration of the Eisenhower Mathematics and Science State Grant Program, conducted policy research, and engaged in legislative analysis and advocacy.

In 1992 Sandy joined the professional staff of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. While at the Commission, she served as a grant manager, policy analyst and program evaluator. As a senior manager in policy and program development for the Commission, she directed implementation of substantive reforms in teacher credentialing.

In 2004, Sandy joined the management team of the California State University system. As the Associate Director of Teacher Education and Public School Programs for the CSU Chancellor’s Office, she continued to work on policy issues in the realm of teacher development from the vantage point of postsecondary education, working with faculty, education deans and other administrators on program development and policy implementation.


New Subject Matter Competency Assessment Designed for the Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA)

URL(MIA/MILS Background)

Earlier this year, California approved regulations for the Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA) and for the Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist (MILS) credential. These two new credentials will allow the holder to teach mathematics in grades K-12 up to and including either pre-Algebra or Algebra I. The level would depend on the program candidate’s assessed level of mathematics content knowledge. A MILS Credential would require that the applicant possess a MIAA, and the MIAA requires at least 3 years of teaching experience. For more details, view the Program Standards for the MIAA and the MILS Credential at

Part of the Preconditions for the MIAA include the following: “Prior to admission, the program sponsor shall verify the candidate’s level of mathematics content expertise. Full admission to the K through Pre-Algebra or the K through Algebra I program is contingent on candidate mastery of the relevant mathematics standards as determined by the program.”

There is now a new Mathematics Instruction Authorization Examination (MIAE) offered as part of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. This assessment has two test options: (a) the MIAE Pre-Algebra assesses content knowledge for a K through Pre-Algebra authorization, and (b) the MIAE Algebra I assesses content knowledge for a K through Algebra I authorization. See for the MIAE Program Booklet, subject matter requirements, and additional information.

“The MIAE will be offered as a computer-based test (CBT) only. The examination will be offered by appointment, year-round, at Pearson Professional Centers (PPCs) nationwide. Scheduling is subject to seat availability at PPCs. Test appointments are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. A standard calculator will be included in the test.”

Note: Since universities and other educational institutions are currently in the development stages of the MIAA (and not all campuses may decide to develop this program), interested teachers should inquire of their regional UC or CSU, private college/university, or county office of education regarding the anticipated availability of an MIAA program prior to registering for this test.


APLU to Host Forum on the Common Core State Standards and Higher Education

Contact: Kacy Redd, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

In 2008, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) launched an initiative known as the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) to transform middle and high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by preparing a new generation of world-class science and mathematics teachers.  Since its inception, SMTI has grown to include 125 public research universities, including 12 university systems (e.g., California State University and the University of California).  Collectively, SMTI members prepare more than 8,000 science and mathematics teachers annually, making it the largest STEM new teacher initiative in the country.

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the National Research Council’s “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” provide an opportunity to improve K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  A significant challenge to successful implementation and fulfillment of this potential is having a teacher workforce prepared to teach to these higher standards. An important aspect of meeting this challenge is to examine the role that higher education must play.

Next Thursday (13 October 2011), APLU will release a discussion paper, The Common Core State Standards and Teacher Preparation: The Role of Higher Education. A related APLU Forum sponsored by SMTI, “Higher Education and Common Core Standards,” will be held that day from 9:30-11:30 a.m. ET in Washington, DC.

This event will be recorded and webcast live.  The video should be available on the APLU website within a week after the forum (see To RSVP for the live webcast, please email Kacy Redd at

Speakers for this event include the following:

– Gary Martin – Leischuck Distinguished Professor, Mathematics Education, Auburn University
– Stephen Pruitt – Vice President, Content, Research and Development, Achieve
– Nancy Shapiro – Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland
– Suzanne Wilson – University Distinguished Professor and Chairperson, Teacher Education, Michigan State University

Moderator: Howard Gobstein, SMTI Co-Director; APLU Executive Vice President

Discussant: Charles Coble, SMTI Co-Director; Co-Founder and Partner, The Third Mile Group

Related Articles

“Phoenix Rising: Bringing the Common Core State Mathematics Standards to Life” by Hung-Hsi Wu


“The main difference between these standards and most of the others is that the CCSMS are mathematically very sound overall. They could serve–at long last–as the foundation for creating proper school mathematics textbooks and dramatically better teacher preparation…”


Dave Moursund’s Math Tutoring Project and Related Free Online Book

Contact: David Moursund –

Educational technology pioneers Dave Moursund and Bob Albrecht have teamed to produce an online book entitled, Becoming a Better Math Tutor. This 145-page resource is available as a free download from  An extensive References section contains links to additional resources. The Table of Contents, Preface, first two chapters, and two appendices are available online at

Moursund writes, “The intended audiences for this book include volunteer and paid tutors, preservice and inservice teachers, parents and other child caregivers, students who help other students (peer tutors), and developers of tutorial software and other materials.

“Tutoring is a powerful aid to learning. Much of the power comes from the interaction between tutor and tutee. This interaction allows the tutor to adjust the content and nature of the instruction to specifically meet the needs of the tutee. It allows ongoing active participation of the tutee.

“This book was designed to help K-12 math tutors and tutees get better at their respective and mutual tasks. The book includes two appendices. The first is for tutees, and it has a 6th grade readability level. The other is for parents. It provides an overview of tutoring and how parents can help their children who are being tutored.”

Moursund continues, “It appears that there are a lot of people who do math tutoring as school employees, as self-employed people, and as volunteers. I believe they could benefit by getting to know each other at a professional level, sharing their knowledge and skills, and so on. I am looking for people who share a somewhat similar vision and who are willing to put some volunteer time and effort into making such things happen in their local communities.”

If you are interested in participating in a blog or a discussion list on mathematics tutoring that Dave Moursund is creating, please email him at  You may also be interested in perusing Moursund’s developing webpage for the Math Tutoring Project:


K-8 Professional Development Providers Sought for New Fractions Module

Contact: Judith Jacobs –

“Developing Teaching Expertise @ Mathematics (Dev-TE@M)” is an NSF-funded project at the University of Michigan School of Education. The project personnel are building practice-focused professional development modules for in-service elementary mathematics teachers and are currently seeking professional development providers to use the ten-session module, “Representing and Comparing Fractions in Elementary Mathematics Teaching” with groups of practicing elementary teachers during Winter 2012. Please visit for more information (links to F.A.Q., interest form, etc.).

The following are members of the project team:

Deborah Loewenberg Ball
Hyman Bass
Tim Boerst
Yaa Cole
Judith E. Jacobs
Susanna Owens
Terri Ridenour
Meghan Shaughnessy
Kara Suzuka


Free Web-based Contests on Arithmetic Skills for Elementary School Students

Contact: Marissa Warner-Wu –

Sumdog is a Web site that uses a variety of free games to motivate elementary school students to practice arithmetic skills (100 numeracy topics separated into 10 levels: Sumdog is running a series of free inter-school math contests from October 17-October 27 (unless otherwise specified) for students in schools from the following California counties (assisting teachers are listed in parentheses):

– Contra Costa (Hilary Dito)
– Humboldt (Sandi Henry) – running from October 31-November 10
– Kings (Tammy Airheart)
– Lake and Napa (Jan Sabo and Tracy Skeen)
– San Diego (Jameson Rienick)
– San Joaquin (Satinder Singh)
– Santa Clara (Kristen Sarginger)
– Shasta (Chris Dell)

To participate in a contest, please visit


Free MATHCOUNTS Handbook Contains 300 Mathematics Problems Designed for Middle School Students


The 2011-2012 MATHCOUNTS School Handbook will be distributed to every middle school in the United States this fall. The Handbook contains over 300 creative problems meeting National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards for grades 6-8. This year, the problems are also mapped to the Common Core State Standards. The Handbook and problems are available for download from  The problems (e.g., “For how many positive integers containing no digit of zero is the sum of the digits equal
to 5?”) can be incorporated into the classroom or used as an extracurricular activity.

For more information about this handbook, please visit  For more information about the 2012 MATHCOUNTS competition, please visit The registration deadline for the 2012 competition season is 16 December 2011.