COMET • Vol. 6, No. 01 – 19 January 2005


(1) SchoolProfiler: Free Website to Easily Access Comprehensive School Data

Source: Lane Rankin, President, Achieve! Data Solutions, LLC

Contact: Linda Ricchiuti, Project Manager – 909-883-8001 –


Achieve! Data Solutions, LLC announces the SchoolProfiler website–a free service providing easy access to school assessment data and including questions and answers needed to complete the “Single Plan for Student Achievement.” The reports can be printed or viewed online.

Each free report includes the following:

= AYP and API data on all subgroups for multiple years

= Participation rates

= Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs)

= CAHSEE data

= Multiple-year comparisons of CST percentage bands for ELA and Math

= CELDT data

= SAT and ACT summary data

To build your custom report, go to and click the link to “Register for a new Account” on the left bar. If you have previously registered, simply enter your user name and password and click “Submit.”

Illustrated instructions for the SchoolProfiler can be downloaded at (PDF file).


(2) Subject Matter Authorizations–Update from CCTC

Source: Sam Swofford, Executive Director, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)


On January 18, CCTC posted Coded Correspondence (05-0001) entitled “Approval of Addition to California Code of Regulations, Title 5 Sections 80089.3 and 80089.4, Pertaining to Introductory and Specific Subject Matter Authorizations.” The text of this correspondence can be found at the above Web site. Excerpts follow immediately below:

The addition of Title 5 Sections 80089.3 and 80089.4 pertaining to Introductory and Specific Subject Matter Authorizations has been approved by the Office of Administrative Law and is effective January 1, 2005… These regulations outline the requirements and the authorizations for introductory and specific subject matter authorizations that are aligned with the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) subject matter competence requirement. Subject matter authorizations are add-ons to a credential to allow an individual to teach a class or classes in a subject outside the area in which he or she earned a credential.


NCLB requires that teachers hired to teach in Title I schools after July 1, 2002 and all teachers by July 1, 2006, be “highly qualified” or NCLB compliant in NCLB core academic subject areas (English, reading/language arts, math, science, foreign language, civics/government, economics, arts, history, and geography). NCLB compliance requires that teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, state certification, and achieve subject matter competence in the subject area(s) being taught. NCLB subject matter competence may be met by passing an examination (for elementary this is the only means of meeting subject matter competency), a Commission-approved subject matter program, or a major or units equivalent to a major. The California State Board of Education has defined a major equivalent as 32 semester hours.

The Commission currently issues and will continue to issue two types of supplementary authorizations, introductory and specific, that may be added to teaching credentials in the federal core and non-core academic subject areas. In addition to the basic teaching credential, a supplementary authorization requires the completion of 20 semester units or 10 upper division semester units, or equivalent quarter units, of coursework in the subject requested. Another option is for the individual to hold a bachelor’s or higher degree in the subject area requested. Since supplementary authorizations do not require an individual to hold a degree in the subject area of the supplementary authorization, teachers qualifying for the supplementary authorization in federal NCLB core academic subject areas are not NCLB compliant. Only those who qualified for the supplementary authorization by holding a degree in the subject area are NCLB compliant. Thus, the Commission developed a new authorization that meets the NCLB subject matter competence by requiring either a degree or a minimum of 32 semester units of course work in the subject area.

Subject Matter Authorizations

Subject matter authorizations are modeled after the supplementary authorizations… Subject matter authorizations may be issued to holders of Multiple Subject, Single Subject, Standard Elementary, Standard Secondary, and some Special Secondary Teaching Credentials. The Commission has developed a guide for the authorization and requirements for subject matter authorizations. It may be found on the Commission’s web site at The guideline book will be updated as the Commission begins issuing these new authorizations and as new questions arise.

There are two types of subject matter authorizations: introductory and specific. Subject matter authorizations are limited to the NCLB core academic subject areas: English, reading/language arts, math, science, foreign language, civics/government, economics, arts, history, and geography…

Introductory Authorizations

Subject matter authorizations require an individual to complete 32 semester units of non-remedial course work or a collegiate major in the subject… Introductory subject matter authorizations require a minimum of three semester or four quarter units of course work in each content area across a subject area. One exception is in the area of science which requires six semester or eight quarter units in each of the four science content areas. The introductory subjects authorize the holder to teach the subject matter content typically included in curriculum guidelines and textbooks approved for study in grades 9 and below. This allows an employer to assign a teacher with an introductory subject matter authorization to teach a class in which the curriculum is for grades 9 and below but the students in the class may be in grades K-12…

Supplementary Authorizations

Nothing in these new regulations changes the status or requirements for supplementary authorizations. The Commission will continue to issue supplementary authorizations in both the federal core and non-core academic subject areas. A guide to the authorizations and requirements for supplementary authorizations may be found on the Commission’s web site at

Converting a Supplementary Authorization to a Subject Matter Authorization

Holders of supplementary authorizations may convert their documents to a subject matter authorization in the same subject, if available. The Commission will start the evaluation on the basis that the individual has completed the equivalent of twenty semester units in the subject area regardless of the method the individual used to qualify for the supplementary authorization. For individuals issued supplementary authorizations based on ten upper division units, this conversion process will only be for supplementary authorizations issued prior to January 1, 2005. Individuals issued supplementary authorizations based on ten upper division units after January 1, 2005, will need an additional twenty-two semester units to earn a subject matter authorization…


If you have further questions concerning this regulation change, please contact the Information Services Unit toll-free at (888) 921-2682 between 12 noon and 4:45 p.m., weekdays or by e-mail at


(1) “Albert Einstein and the World Year of Physics 2005”

Source: University at Buffalo (SUNY) Library


2005 is the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s “miraculous year.” In 1905 he published three seminal papers describing ideas that have since influenced all of modern physics: special relativity, the photoelectric effect, and Brownian motion. In Germany several major scientific outreach events are planned for the “Einstein Year,” and the United Nations declared 2005 the International Year of Physics.

Celebrate the life and achievements of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) by viewing manuscripts and papers, scientific articles, related news and events, photographs and AV, and sites for kids [visit the above Web site for links].


(2) “Einstein = mass celebrations”

Source: MSNBC – 19 January 2005


Today Germany kicked off celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the 50th anniversary of his death, honoring the legendary native son whose books were once burned by the Nazis.

The “Einstein Year” of 2005 is being marked with tours, a scientific conference and a major exhibition about Einstein, whose theories about space, time and relativity revolutionized science and also helped make him a pop icon.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder began the celebration Wednesday evening at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, calling on his fellow Germans and scientists to embrace innovation and political debate as Einstein would.

“He revolutionized science and changed the world through his thinking. He has become a cult figure for the youth of the world through his moral incorruptibility,” Schroeder said.

“And to the end, Einstein–who again and again set himself against the most evil anti-Semitic hatemongering–fought against the strengthening of the Nazis and for the defense of democracy”…


(3) Einstein Year


Einstein Year is the UK and Ireland’s contribution to the World Year of Physics (… Activities throughout Einstein Year will explore ideas in contemporary physics as well as showing how our everyday lives are influenced by Einstein’s legacy.

[For more information about the topics of Einstein’s 1905 papers, visit: and ]


Einstein Birthday Party Pack


To mark Albert Einstein’s birthday on the 14th of March (during National Science Week), the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Physics have put together a special Challenge Pack full of “weird and wonderful” physics experiments to be performed at a party or in schools. [This 12-page PDF document can be downloaded from the above web site.]


(4)  Mathematically/Scientifically Gifted Children: Call for Conference Proposals

Source:  Linda Sheffield, Northern Kentucky University


The National Association for Gifted Children (United States) will feature a special strand on “Advanced Math and Science” at its annual convention to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 9-13, 2005.

Mathematics and science educators from around the world with expertise in serving students who are mathematically or scientifically gifted, talented and creative are invited to submit proposals to present in this strand. Registration fees will be waived for accepted international speakers.

The Call for Proposals and information on the organization and its conferences can be found at  Applications for speakers will be accepted through February 11, 2005. Be sure to mark your proposal for the Special Strand on Advanced Math and Science. For more information, contact Linda Sheffield at


(5) “Tune in to ‘Numb3rs’ on CBS, January 23”

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics – January 2005 “Member Update”

“NUMB3RS” is a new television series that will attempt to accurately depict practical uses of mathematical thinking to solve challenging real-world problems.

The special effects and the dialogue used in the pilot episode help viewers understand, in an informative and entertaining manner, the basic concepts behind sophisticated mathematical thinking.

The episode clearly shows the challenges of problem solving and the role persistence and the exploration of alternatives play in analyzing a situation.

“NUMB3RS” premieres on CBS at 10 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 23.

For details, see


(6) “Being the Best Teacher You Can Be in 2005” by Cathy Seeley

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

URL (President’s Message):

URL (Web chat transcripts):

Each school year, we have two chances for renewal–the beginning of the school year and the beginning of the new calendar year. [During 2005], how can you renew your efforts to be the best teacher you can be? I have three suggestions.

Knowing–Being the best math teacher you can be has to be grounded in knowing mathematics. Whether you are an elementary teacher, a middle school teacher, a high school teacher, or a university educator-or whether you play a supervisory or supporting role–committing to a deep and broad knowledge of mathematics should be a priority. Perhaps 2005 is the year for you to find a course that will expand your mathematical knowledge. The better you know mathematics, the better you can recognize where your students are headed when they explain their thinking. The better you know mathematics, the better you’ll be at coming up with questions to push your students’ thinking and deepen their understanding. And the better you know mathematics, the better you’ll be at making sound professional decisions about programs and practices. But to be an effective teacher, knowledge of mathematics also has to be grounded in knowledge of how to teach mathematics–some call this mathematical pedagogy. Only when you know how mathematical ideas develop, how students acquire mathematical knowledge, and what elements of instruction help foster this knowledge will you be fully able to apply your mathematical knowledge to support student learning. For some teachers, even those with a mathematics degree, attaining this kind of pedagogical mathematics knowledge may call for new learning.

Acting–Make 2005 the year to do something with what you learn. Go one step beyond attending a workshop, taking a course, or acquiring knowledge through other means. Make your knowledge personal through real actions that will change and improve your teaching practice. It’s only when we take a step–take a risk–and use what we’ve learned that our learning experience becomes relevant to our students. Think about making a shift in your classroom so that you ask deeper questions and expect students to do more of the talking. Think about teaching the next unit in your innovative mathematics program the way it was intended, not just going through the material, but putting into practice the principles of learning that underlie the materials. Acting on what you have learned can help you become the best teacher you can be in 2005.

Caring–Too often in these days of mandated standards and high-stakes testing it is easy to lose track of the human beings who are our students. Being the best teacher possible in 2005 means paying attention to each of your students, including the ones who are difficult, slow, troubled, absent, or seemingly invisible. It means paying attention to what they do and what they say when we ask them to explain their thinking. It means listening with our informed minds and also with our hearts so that we can recognize the seeds of understanding in what they say. It means looking for the right question to ask to shift a potentially unproductive line of thinking toward something that will help students learn the meaning in what they are doing.

Becoming the best math teacher you can be in 2005 means that your students will develop mathematical knowledge that will allow them to build and extend what they know in years to come. An increasing number of studies show that the quality of teaching, especially the cumulative quality over a period of years, has a tremendous impact on what students learn.

Being the Best Math Teacher Beyond 2005

Being the best mathematics teacher you can be won’t end when this calendar year draws to a close. How can you be the best math teacher you can be for the years to come? Here are three more suggestions to consider for your future.

Growing–Commit to lifelong learning. Even if you have a mathematics degree, are a master teacher, or have advanced teaching credentials, your need for new learning will never end. Not only will there always be more to learn about the nature of mathematics and how to help students learn it, but modeling the attitude and practice of lifelong learning will set a powerful example for your students.

Collaborating–Working with colleagues not only allows us to help students build their learning from year to year but also gives us daily renewal. Working toward common goals in support of high quality mathematics for all students provides tremendous rewards and helps us withstand the challenges of teaching in today’s world.

Actively advocating–Supporting policies and programs that will make it possible for all students to gain a high-quality mathematics education must take priority over discussions and disagreements about what direction to take. If we can go from merely saying “all students can learn” to believing what we are saying and acting on it, our direction will become clear.

Being the best math teacher you can be is really the only way to thrive in this profession. It not only keeps you on a constructive path as a professional but also allows all your students to benefit from your commitment.

What is the most valuable professional learning you have experienced? What challenges do you face in becoming the best math teacher you can be? Have you been part of a learning community whose members worked together to become the best math teachers they could be? Read the transcript from my January online chat at to see how your colleagues answered these questions and for other suggestions for changing and improving teaching practices in 2005.