COMET • Vol. 5, No. 14 – 12 May 2004


(1) Curriculum Commission May Meeting Agenda

URL (location):

URL (agenda):

The Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission is an advisory body to the California State Board of Education. Excerpts from the Commission’s May agenda are included below:

The Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission will hold a two-day meeting on Thursday-Friday, May 20-21, 2004… The meeting will include some activities involving the Curriculum Commission as a whole and others involving one or more of the Commission’s various committees… Timing and order of activities may change.

Thursday, May 20, 2004 (9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)

1430 N Street, Room 1101, Sacramento, California

…5. Science Subject Matter Committee (2:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.)

A. Preparation for the 2006 Science Adoption (Information/Discussion)

B. Other Matters/Public Comment…

Friday, May 21, 2004 (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.)

11. Mathematics Subject Matter Committee (9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.)

A. Report on Framework Field Review (Information)

B. Mathematics Framework Timeline (Action)

C. Other Matters/Public Comment…

13. Special Meeting of the Mathematics Subject Matter Committee, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

A. Publisher Responses to the Algebra Readiness and Mathematics Intervention Materials Survey (Discussion)

    B. Seminar on Algebra Readiness and Mathematics Intervention Materials (Information)

1. Testimony from the Field

a. Pat Duckhorn, Director K-12 Mathematics, Sacramento County Office of Education (COE)

b. Chris King, Assistant Superintendent, Stanislaus COE

c. Nancy Balhorn, Mathematics Department Chair, Mira Loma High School (MLHS), Sacramento

d. Pat Bergen, Mathematics Teacher, MLHS, Sacramento

e. Jodie Thayer, Mathematics Teacher, MLHS, Sacramento

C. Public Comment

(2) Professional Development Opportunity: Algebra Institute for Teachers of English Language Learners/English Language Development (ELL/ELD)

Source: Phyllis Chinn ( or 707-826-4131)

The goal of the California Mathematics Project (CMP) is to enhance the quality of K-12 mathematics education by increasing teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and their pedagogical content knowledge and by supporting and developing teachers’ leadership skills.

CMP regional sites offer high quality, standards-based professional development for K-12 teachers through summer institutes and academic year follow-up events.  Visit for links to the regional CMP sites.

This year, at least one CMP site is opening its summer institute to teachers living outside the site’s usual service region. The Redwood Area Mathematics Project (RAMP) is co-hosting a two-week intensive institute on June 21-25 and June 28-July 2.  The application deadline has been extended to June 1, 2004. Additional information follows:

Location of the Summer Institute: Humboldt County Office of Education, 901 Myrtle Ave., Eureka, CA

Follow-ups: Five days during the school year (dates to be determined by participants).  Out-of-area participants may be able to complete this portion of the program closer to their homes.

Audience: Teachers of algebra–grade 6 through Algebra I

Benefits and details:

— Resources and classroom activities will be provided.

— The first 25 accepted participants will receive a $75 per day stipend, up to $1500.  Participants may also be able to secure stipends from their districts under Title I, Title II or Title III funds

— Acceptance priority is the following: Eureka City Schools and Humboldt County Office of Education (1st); Del Norte, Mendocino, and Trinity counties (2nd); remainder of California (3rd)–first-come, first-served within tiers.

— Mathematics units are available.

— Housing and dining are available on the Humboldt State University campus: (Families are welcome; call 707-826-5028 for more information. All guests must register.)

School or District Commitment:

– $100/person co-payment via purchase order/check made payable to NMSI

– Letter of support from an administrator describing the plan for using the knowledge the teacher gains from this institute.

Other institutes are also available at this site. For more information and applications, go to


(1) New Online Compilation of Math and Science Resources

Source: Thomas Gadsden, Associate Director for Collaboration, Eisenhower National Clearinghouse


The National Network of Eisenhower Regional Consortia and Clearinghouse (the Eisenhower Network) has developed a new Web page of products and resources for educators interested in improving mathematics and science teaching and learning. This Web page provides links to a wide range of products developed by the Network in mathematics, science, assessment, equity, using data, professional development, lesson study, technology, and special populations, as well as journals and newsletters.

Many of the resources are free and available on the Web. Others can be ordered by following the links on the site.


Related announcement:

Staff from the Eisenhower Network have selected a variety of resources useful for the professional development of middle school math teachers. A table that can be used to locate books, web sites, CD-ROMs, and kits is located at

(2) Meeting the NCLB Challenge

Source: Debra Gingerich, Research for Better Schools (RBS)


The Spring/Summer issue of RBS “Currents” takes another look at the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. The articles discuss some of the challenges of NCLB and suggest resources for meeting those challenges, including articles on special education and English language learners.  Another article outlines the What Works Clearinghouse and how it plans to provide information on effective education programs.  Additional articles take a look at some of the professional development programs sponsored by RBS that are intended to offer tools to educators to help students achieve academically. And as always, programs in the mid-Atlantic region are spotlighted for their work to help eliminate the achievement gap. Contact RBS for hard copies at or visit for an online version.

(3) President Bush Speaks On NCLB In Van Buren, Arkansas

Source: “No Child Left Behind Extra Credit” (U.S. Department of Education) – 11 May 2004

The following are excerpts from President George W. Bush’s remarks today at

Butterfield Junior High School:

On supporting schools: “In 2003, we spent $234 million to assist underperforming schools to make sure people aren’t left behind. In other words, we said, here’s a problem, and here’s some extra money to help you fix it. In 2004, we’ll at least double that amount. In other words, the federal government is saying, measure, and, oh, by the way, when we find mediocrity, we’ll help. But the local people have got to change. You’ve got to change what you’re doing in order to make sure that children can learn. We expect schools to do their job and we’re helping them do their job.”

On new options for parents: “The attitude in this bill says, no child should be trapped in a school that does not teach and will not change. In other words, there is time to change. There is time to change, but if you refuse to change, and somebody is still trapped in the school that is not meeting standards, then something has to happen. Parents need options to help their child. Federal dollars will follow the child. For example, if a school–a child is trapped in a school for several years that is –that’s not meeting standards, the federal government will pay for after-school tutoring, and the parent can choose all kind of tutoring options, whether they be public or private.”

On preserving local control: “The No Child Left Behind Act raises expectations, but leaves control where it belongs, at the local level. See, you can’t provide people excuses. There’s no better excuse than saying, I would have done it this way, but the federal government told me to do it this way. I fully understand that. In order to make sure that there is an accountability system that works, you not only measure, but you then say to people, it’s up to you to chart the path to excellence.”

On testing and accountability: “The whole point is this: It is not enough to hope that students are learning. I mean, that’s just, to me, an excuse why not to measure. We need to know the ones who are learning and the ones who are not learning. Some believe that the standards of No Child Left Behind are too high. They say that if you raise expectations, all you’re doing is setting up children to fail. Yet this law requires students to perform at grade level, which doesn’t seem like it’s too high a bar to cross. … [That is] the standard that we must hold true to if we want to make sure every child has a chance to succeed in our great country.”

On closing the achievement gap: “[T]here’s an achievement gap here in America today that we’ve got to close. There’s an achievement gap between the test scores of white and minority students. Nationally, on reading tests, black and Hispanic 4th graders score at least 26 percentage points lower than white students in the same grade. We’ve got to do something about that. If we want this country to be a hopeful country for every citizen, if we want to make sure every person can realize the American Dream, we’ve got to close this gap.”

On the new flexibility provisions of NCLB: “This No Child Left Behind Act is a good law. It’s a good, solid law. But I understand some adjustments need to be made, even in the best laws. So we’ve listened to schools and teachers, and we’re responding in practical ways. We’re making sure that the progress of special ed students is judged by standards appropriate to their development. …We’re giving schools more time to bring students who don’t speak English as a first language into the accountability system. ….We’re giving schools in rural areas more latitude in meeting teacher qualification standards. In other words, we’re flexible in the application of the law. Yet I will never compromise on this goal: Every child can learn the basics, and every school must teach the basics.”

The complete transcript of President Bush’s speech is available at:

(4) Results of the 2003 AWM Essay Contest: Biographies of Contemporary Women in Mathematics

Source: Cathy Kessel, on behalf of the Association for Women in Mathematics


To increase awareness of women’s ongoing contributions to the mathematical sciences, the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) sponsors an essay contest for biographies of contemporary women mathematicians and statisticians in academic, industrial, and government careers.

The essays are based primarily on an interview with a woman currently working in a mathematical sciences career. The contest is open to students in the following categories: Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, and College Undergraduate.

Below are the winners of the 2003 contest, which was sponsored by Sandia Labs. I encourage you to go to the above Web site and read these interesting and well-written essays.


*  1st Place: “Elizabeth Stanhope: Overcoming Silent Barriers” by Jessica John, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon

Grades 9-12

*  1st Place: “Dr. Harpreet Chowdhary: The Mathematician As Executive” by Esther Feldblum, Maimonides School, Sharon, Massachusetts.

*  Honorable Mention: “Dr. Marsha Davis: Defying Statistics” by Sarah Tracy, Notre Dame Academy, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

*  Honorable Mention: “An Accomplished Woman in Mathematics: Dr. Evelyn Silvia [UC-Davis]” by Amber Durrell, Loretto High School, Auburn, California.

Grades 6-8

*  1st Place: “I Seek an Answer to the Question ‘Why?’ – Dr. Helen Moore” by Sergei Shubin, Joaquin Miller Middle School, San Jose, California.

*  Honorable Mention: “When Flexibility is the Rule–Dr. Magnhild Lien [CSU-Northridge]”–A Biographical Essay by Christie Onzol, Nobel Middle School, Northridge, California.

*  Honorable Mention: “Shapes with No Boundaries: The Life of Krystyna Kuperberg” by Maja Wichrowska, Northwestern Middle School, Alpharetta, Georgia.

(5) President Bush Honors Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

Source:  National Science Foundation


Last Thursday, President Bush announced nine individuals and eight institutions to receive the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Each award includes a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work.

Each year the president recognizes the people and institutions that have provided broad opportunities for participation by women, minorities and people with disabilities in science, mathematics and engineering in elementary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate education.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education programs across all fields of science and engineering, administers the awards on behalf of the White House. In the eight years the awards have been made, 78 individuals and 62 institutions have been recognized. The program allows for an annual maximum of 10 awards each for individuals and institutions.

Recipients of this year’s individual awards include a range of professionals from biology and chemical engineering to computer science and medicine.  Their innovative approaches include comprehensive programs and enrichment activities for K-12 students to initiatives aimed at reaching a continuum of students from early childhood through undergraduates, using such community resources as schools and churches.

Recognized in a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were: Chellu S. Chetty, professor of biology, Savannah State University; Denice D. Denton, dean of engineering, University of Washington; Christine S. Grant, professor of chemical engineering, North Carolina State University; Linda Bailey Hayden, professor of computer science, Elizabeth City State University; Rudolf E. Henning, professor of electrical engineering, University of South Florida; Ellis Ingram, University of Missouri-Columbia; Calvin Mackie, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Tulane University; Lisa Pruitt, professor of biomedical engineering, University of California-Berkeley; and Margaret Werner-Washburne, professor of biology, University of New Mexico.

The institutional awards recognize organizations that have developed mentoring approaches that encourage improved achievement, keeping young students in the “pipeline” of science, engineering and mathematics education, and creating peer mentoring programs.

The institutional honors went to: American Physiological Society; Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science & Engineering Education; Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, Computing Research Association (CRA-W); CONNECT, University of California at Riverside; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s “Increasing Ph.D.s for Underrepresented Minorities;” National Society of Black Engineers; Science and Technology Programs, New York State Department of Education; and Women in Engineering Program (WEP), Pennsylvania State University.

For more information on the presidential mentoring awards

program, see