COMET • Vol. 12, No. 22 – 19 December 2011


Common Core State Standards Resources for Teachers of Mathematics


The California Mathematics Project, in collaboration with the California Department of Education, the California Mathematics Council, CCSESA’s Mathematics Subcommittee of the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC;, and the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, established five task forces to collect, design, and organize resources that could be used in professional development that will strengthen teachers’ mathematics content knowledge to teach California’s version of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CaCCSS-M). The task forces have compiled online resources (e.g., articles, books, videos, technology, problems, existing curriculum, and outlines of presentations) that professional development providers can use. These resources will be updated on a regular basis. Visit for links to the Web pages for each task force.

All users are invited to provide feedback to the Leadership Team. Of particular interest are the following: how you used the resources, how effective the resources were, how you modified or adapted the resources that you used, and how useful you found the resources Web site. A feedback link can be found on the navigation menu.

Related Articles

The Illustrative Mathematics Project

( The Illustrative Mathematics Project will provide guidance to states, assessment consortia, testing companies, and curriculum developers by illustrating the range and types of mathematical work that students will experience in a faithful implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and by publishing other tools that support implementation of the standards.

[The Illustrative Mathematics Project] website is currently under development. On completion, it will provide a process for submitting, discussing, reviewing, and publishing tasks. It will also display the standards in multiple views and provide easy access to tasks associated with individual standards and tasks associated with higher order structures in the standards, such as such as those described in “Examples of Structure in the Common Core State Standards’ Standards for Mathematical Content” ( by Jason Zimba. It will provide context for some tasks with artifacts such as related student work and links to classroom lessons. Eventually, it will provide workspace where individuals or groups can create and react to tasks in either public or private forums.

…The website is launching with sets of tasks at the K-8 grade levels that illustrate various points in the standards: domains, clusters, and standards. Additional sets of tasks will be added on a weekly basis. [Visit to view the currently available tasks.]


Next Generation Science Standards


The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve are the lead partners in the process to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The heads of each of these organizations form the Strategic Partners Group, and meet as required to review the progress of the project and provide on-going guidance. [For more information on the partners, see]  The major sponsor of the NGSS development work is the Carnegie Corporation of New York, with additional support provided by the Noyce Foundation and DuPont.

California is one of the lead states working with Achieve to develop the K-12 science standards based upon the National Research Council’s recent publication, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (download free from The first draft of the science standards is scheduled to be released early in 2012. The California Department of Education Web site contains an informative page dedicated to the development of the Next Generation Science Standards for California:


Tony Quirante Joins the STEM Office of the California Department of Education

Source: Jim Greco – California Department of Education

Jim Greco, Education Administrator for the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Office, announced that Tony Quirarte has joined the STEM Office as the Education Programs Consultant (EPC) for mathematics. Tony previously served as the EPC for mathematics in the Curriculum Frameworks Office at the CDE. In that office, his assignments for mathematics included working on California’s Common Core State Standards (CaCCSS), State Board adopted and supplemental instructional materials, and professional development.

Prior to joining CDE, Tony taught computer applications, business applications, physical education, and high school mathematics. He has served as a principal and assistant principal, as a Mentor Teacher, and as a consultant for the Inland Area Mathematics Project. He currently conducts sessions for the CDE on the CaCCSS.

Tony’s primary assignments include working with the California Mathematics and Science Projects, the CaCCSS, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the Algebra Forum, as well as serving as a liaison to the California Mathematics Project and the California Mathematics Council. Tony can be reached by phone at (916) 319-0198 or by e-mail at

(As a footnote, Jim Greco announced that he retired from state service on November 30 but is working part-time until his position is filled.)


California is Awarded a Federal Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Grant



Although California was not a finalist in the third round of Race to the Top funding to support K-12 education, the White House announced on Friday (December 16) that the state has been awarded a $52.6 million federal Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Grant ( California joins eight other states (Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington) in receiving a portion of the $500 million earmarked for this program. The states’ applications, scores, and amounts awarded are available online at

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. stated, “Local education leaders have developed solid proposals for improving early childhood education, which have now been recognized by the Obama administration.”

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson added, “This grant will help more California children get good care and a good start at learning, which we know is key to their long-term success, at school and beyond. I’m proud of the teamwork that led to this win for California, and I’m grateful to President Obama for recognizing the potential of regional partnerships to improve child care programs across our state.”

The California grant will primarily fund local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) being developed by Regional Leadership Consortia–voluntary groups of local First 5 commissions, county offices of education, and county governments. These Consortia will work with licensed child care programs, school districts, and child care partners.

The local QRIS are meant to make information about the quality of child-care programs readily available to parents and policymakers though simple, independent, and publicly available ratings. Using the QRIS, each participating child development agency would receive a rating score based on common standards regarding the learning environment, teacher effectiveness, and parent engagement…


Mathematics Teacher Retention Symposium to be Held in Los Angeles on March 22-24, 2012

Source: Susie Hakansson – Executive Director, California Mathematics Project

Registration is now open for the “Mathematics Teacher Retention Symposium (MTRS): Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned.” This national symposium will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport on March 22-24, 2012. The 2012 MTRS is funded through a California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) Improving Teacher Quality grant to the California Mathematics Project (CMP), which has funded the statewide CMP Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention (CMP STIR) project since The fundamental goals of CMP STIR (California Mathematics Project Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention) are to increase the retention of high-quality teachers of mathematics and to promote mathematics teacher leadership in the profession and within the school.

Visit for more information on MTRS, including the MTRS strands, problem statement, guiding principles, guiding questions, featured speakers, symposium schedule (, list of presenters and presentations, and registration information.


Hawley and Janicki Retire from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing


At the December 8 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, CCTC Executive Director Mary Sandy announced the retirement of two members of the Professional Services Division. Helen Hawley, who has served the Commission for 16 years, and Terry Janicki, who has served the Commission for 32 years, will be retiring at the end of this month. Both have been very active on committees related to the credentialing of teachers, and are well known among faculty involved in program development and accreditation.


Nominate an Elementary School Teacher for a 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States…

Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions… The teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science.

In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.


Anyone can nominate an exceptional elementary school (grades K-6) teacher of math or science for the 2012 Award Year. Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominations for those teaching in grades 7-12 will be accepted in 2013.

The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2012. The nomination form should be completed early enough to ensure that the nominated teacher is given enough time to thoroughly prepare an application that reflects exemplary teaching prior to the application deadline. Applications are due by May 1, 2012.

Recipients of the award receive the following:
– A citation signed by the President of the United States.
– A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
– A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

In addition to recognizing outstanding teaching in mathematics or science, the program provides teachers with an opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation. This growing network of award-winning teachers serves as a vital resource for improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and keeping America globally competitive.

Who Is Eligible?

Awards alternate between elementary and secondary teachers (K-6 teachers are eligible in even-numbered years; teachers in grades 7-12 are eligible in odd-numbered years).

The following are eligibility criteria for nominees:
– Teach mathematics or science at the K-6th grade level (2012 deadline) or 7-12th grade level (2013 deadline) in a public or private school.
– Teach in one of the 50 states or the four U.S. jurisdictions.
– Hold at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
– Be a full-time employee of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, and teach at least 50% of the time.
– Have at least 5 years of full-time, K-12 teacher experience prior to the 2011-2012 academic school year (2012 deadline) or prior to the 2012-2013 academic school year (2013 deadline).
– Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.

Visit the PAEMST Web site for more information:


State Coordinators for California:

Diana Herrington is the PAEMST contact for mathematics:

James Miller is the PAEMST contact for science:


Calendar of Education Events for 2012

Source: California Department of Education

CalEdFacts is a compilation of statistics and information on a variety of issues concerning education in California. This useful resource is available online at One of the items contained in this collection is a 2012 calendar of education events, available at


SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Releases Revised Content Specifications for Mathematics — Input is Welcomed


On December 9, the revised Content Specifications for Mathematics were released by the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). “This draft reflects revisions based on feedback from more than 200 individuals and organizations,” said Joe Willhoft, SBAC Executive Director. “Once finalized, the content specifications for mathematics and ELA/literacy will serve as the basis for the SMARTER Balanced system of summative and interim assessments and formative assessment support for teachers.”

Feedback is invited to help improve the design of the assessment system. To participate, please access the survey at (print version:

The survey will be open until 11:59 p.m. PT on 3 January 2012 and should be used in conjunction with the SBAC Mathematics Content Specifications Document that can be found at (direct PDF link:

A webinar regarding Evidence Based Design and the Content Specifications may be streamed or downloaded from

Willhoft stated, “SMARTER Balanced is committed to keeping our partners and stakeholders informed about the Consortium’s work and to providing opportunities for input… Thank you for your support and feedback as we continue to collaborate on the development of our assessment system.”

Related Notes

Related Note 1 (“A Primer on the Common Assessments”):

On November 29, EdWeek sponsored a webinar where the leaders of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) were interviewed. Catherine Gewertz provides an informative overview of the webinar (which is available online) in her blog, “A Primer on the Common Assessments,” at 

Related Note 2 (Assessment in California):

Visit the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) Assessment Information website for a comprehensive overview of the state’s educational assessment system: Of special note is the link to program presentation files (agenda, meeting materials, webcasts) for the 2011 North/South Information Meetings on assessment and accountability:

To view CDE’s SBAC Web page, visit

To join the CDE’s SBAC electronic mailing list, send a blank e-mail to


New Math Assessment Test Launched” by Jonathan M. Hicap

Source: Manilla (Philippines) Bulletin

Math experts from the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Canada and other countries launched a new world-class math assessment test to develop and measure students’ performance in different countries…

Called the International Mathematics Assessments for Schools (IMAS), the test will assess students on three cognitive aspects: knowing, applying, and reasoning to enrich the universal teaching of math.

The IMAS was founded by Prof. Zhu Hua Wei of the Guangzhou University in China, Prof. Sun Wen Hsien of the Chiu Chang Math Education Foundation in Taiwan and Dr. Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines, and one of the founders of IMAS.

IMAS, whose participants will be upper primary and lower junior high school students, emphasizes on the tests…the use of scientific, explorative and creative approaches to solve problems, Chua said…

Chua said the IMAS is comparable to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“The difference is that IMAS is not a one-off test. It has two rounds and a summer camp. It focuses on developing students’ mathematics ability and creativity,” Chua said…

[Visit the Web site above to read more about this new assessment.]


Results of the 2011 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA)

Source: Institute of Education Sciences
URL (Summary) 

URL (Report)
URL (Buckley)

Data released from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that students from large cities nationally have made gains since 2009 at both grades 4 and 8 in mathematics and at grade 8 in reading. The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2011 TUDA (Trial Urban District Assessment) and The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2011 TUDA present results for public school students from 21 participating urban districts and from large cities nationally.

Eighteen of the districts participating in the 2011 NAEP TUDA participated in earlier assessment years, while three districts participated for the first time in 2011. Between 1,000 and 2,700 students in each district were assessed at grades 4 and 8. Three participating districts are in California (Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego).

Key results from the 2011 NAEP TUDA mathematics assessment include the following:

–  Only one of the 21 participating districts (Atlanta) saw higher scores for both fourth- and eighth-grade students in 2011 than in any previous mathematics assessment.

– Three districts have made gains since 2009 at grade 4 only (Austin, Baltimore City, and Philadelphia) and five districts have made gains since 2009 for grade 8 only (Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, the District of Columbia, and Jefferson County).

– Six districts recorded higher scores at both grades 4 and 8 than the averages for large city schools nationally: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Hillsborough County (FL), Houston, and San Diego.

Find complete results and sample questions, and download copies of the reports at

The Nation’s Report Card is a product of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education.

To view the full mathematics report for urban districts, please visit


Recipients for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) Program Honored at White House Ceremony

Source: National Science Foundation

In a White House ceremony held last Monday, President Obama honored nine individuals and eight organizations as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) for 2010 and 2011.

Administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the PAESMEM is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering, particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators reflect and benefit from the diverse talent of the United States. (See for the original call for nominees.)

Colleagues, administrators and students in their home institutions nominate candidates for the award. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $25,000 from NSF to advance their mentoring efforts.

“Through their commitment to education and innovation, these individuals and organizations are playing a crucial role in the development of our 21st century workforce,” President Obama said when he first announced the awardees. “Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for helping ensure that America remains the global leader in science and engineering for years to come.”

Three of the organizations and one of the individuals honored are from California:
– Amelito Enriquez, Cañada College
– Ocean Discovery Institute
– The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, Stanford University
– University of California San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership High School Intern Program

The full list of recipients can be found at


“Google Awards Grants to 16 STEM Organizations” by Jason Koebler

Source: U.S. News & World Report

URL (Google) 

Last Wednesday, Google announced that it is donating $40 million to groups that support STEM education, girls’ education, access to technology, and oppose human trafficking.

Sixteen STEM organizations will receive a total of $14.7 million, including the Tech Museum of Innovation, the D.C. Public Education Fund, Girl Scouts of Northern California, and the Computer History Museum. Google says the donations will support more than 3 million children.

Shona Brown, senior vice president of, the philanthropic arm of Google, wrote in a blog post that the latest round of donations brings their annual giving to $115 million ( “I’m inspired by this year’s grantees and look forward to seeing their world-changing work in 2012,” she wrote.


Listed below are the STEM organizations that Google is supporting. For links to these organizations’ Web sites, visit

–  Bletchley Park Trust
–  Citizen Schools (Redwood City, CA)
–  Computer History Museum (Mountain View, CA)
–  Concord Consortium
–  D.C. Public Education Fund
–  Generating Genius
–  Girl Scouts of Northern California (Santa Rosa, CA)
–  Girlstart
–  MateFitness
–  Platform Bèta Techniek
–  Roberta Initiative
–  Robin Hood
–  Teach For All
–  The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA)
–  Science Gallery
–  World Wide Workshop


PNC Christmas Price Index On Track with Economic Indicators


A sluggish economy coupled with weak demand has kept the 2011 PNC Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI) to a moderate gain of 3.5 percent in the whimsical economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management based on the gifts in the holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, visit

According to the 28th annual survey, the price tag for the PNC CPI is $24,263.18 in 2011, $823.80 more than last year and less than half the increase seen in 2010….

The results were revealed on an enhanced web site ( that includes an interactive train journey through a “winter wonderland” setting. The web site also reflects PNC’s commitment to education by teaching economic trends through the PNC CPI.

As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. This holiday season is the most expensive year ever: very generous True Loves have to fork over $101,119.84 for all 364 gifts, a 4.4 percent increase compared to last year.

“As the economy continues to struggle, we are seeing weakness in some areas of demand within the Index,” said James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management. “That is illustrated in the costs of the Five Gold Rings. While gold commodity prices are at or near record highs, the demand for retail gold is waning, and thus our Five Gold Rings actually dropped by 0.8 percent this year”…[Visit the Web site above for details on the other gifts.]

Each year, educators across the country use the Christmas Price Index to teach economic trends to middle and high school students. With that in mind, this year’s site includes interactive activities, annual results and PNC CPI trends in a Flash presentation, MP3 downloads and much more.

Educators who visit the site will also find lesson plans on the Christmas Price Index from The Stock Market Game (SMG), a program of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation for Investor Education ( The enhanced activities are specially designed to help students identify economic trends and to project their impact on this year’s Index, giving them the opportunity to make predictions and check their success against actual results. SMG is America’s premier educational stock market simulation. Available in all 50 states for grades 4-12, the SMG program teaches children core academic and investment skills.


And with this, I bid you a very happy holiday season! We’ll see you in 2012!

~ Carol Fry Bohlin