Math Educator Update: February 2021

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Math Educator Update :: February 2021

Black History Month

February is Black HIstory Month, and while we honor the history and contributions of the Black community throughout the year, we want to highlight a few resources for you this month. While a bit dated, the Mathematicians of the African Diaspora is devoted to showcasing the brilliant Black mathematicians who have influenced mathematics and the mathematical sciences. For a more recent compilation that includes mathematicians from around the world, check out the Mathematician Project. Celebrate a Black mathematician with your students and tag the experience with #OregonMathProject on social media!

Named for a famous Black mathematician, the Benjamin Banneker Association’s (BBA) Equity in Education Series features many notable Black mathematicians and educators working to create a more equitable system for Black students.

Finally, in collaboration with our science colleagues, we want to share an article from Drs. Okhee Lee and Todd Campbell that calls us to address systemic racism throughout the STEM disciplines to Create a New Normal for STEM Education.

Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction

A Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course

Are you or your Professional Learning Team looking for a deeper dive into equity work? Our friends at the Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction are offering a virtual micro-course beginning February 25, 2021, titled “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course 2.0: Valuing and elevating student discourse in the math classroom.” The course consists of five synchronous sessions.

In this online course, educators will learn key tools for engagement, develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, and join communities of practice. View the micro-course flyer and register here. For information about "A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,"  visit

Oregon Mathways

Draft K-12 Standards Posted on January 21st

Oregon has taken on work to re-imagine math experiences and statewide policies to remove systemic educational barriers in math. The vision of the Oregon Math Project is to transform instruction by attending to student choice, agency, and belonging in mathematics so all learners experience the joy, beauty, and wonder of mathematics. The periodic review of the Oregon K-12 mathematics standards scheduled this school year, is an opportunity to focus content and align to the vision of transformed math instruction. 

Draft standards for K-12 mathematics were introduced to the State Board of Education on January 21st. All files were posted on the ODE math standards website that same day, including instruction on how to provide feedback. Please contact Mark Freed if you have questions about how to review and provide feedback on the draft standards by the end of February.

Focus on microphone

K-8 and High School Feedback Sessions

Online informational sessions have been set up in February 2021 to give participants an opportunity to learn more about the K-12 math standards review and revision. Feedback sessions will be held virtually by Education Service Districts across the state and each session is open for statewide partner attendance. You still have time to sign up with additional sessions still available with the following ESDs: High Desert, Multnomah, Lane, and South Coast.   

Feel free to join a meeting hosted by your regional ESD, or join a different session if a particular date works for you. Please sign up through the host ESD which dates and times can be found on the ODE math standards page. Questions can be directed to Mark Freed if you have questions about any of these events.

Photo credit: Ilyass SEDDOUG on Unsplash.

Oregon Open Learning Logo

Oregon Open Learning on OER Commons

For this newsletter, we had hoped to shine a light on some interesting Open Educational Resources in mathematics related to Black History Month. Much to our dismay, our search came up pretty empty. A search of the internet revealed a number of lessons and biographies linked to black mathematicians. These might check the box for a Black History Month activity, but is this enough?

Our math team at ODE has been thinking about the four Essential Actions from The Mo(ve)ment to Prioritize Antiracist Mathematics: Planning for This and Every School Year. Two of the essential actions relate to connecting math to issues of social justice -- which is something we should be doing much more frequently than a lesson or two during Black History Month. This brings us back to Oregon Open Learning (OOL). What we find in Oregon Open Learning is not just a list of lessons. It is also a reflection of the creativity, focus, and identities of Oregon math teachers and students. What we don’t find in Oregon Open Learning is also important. If we see a gap in available resources, we need to act and fill that gap.

Our call to anyone reading this newsletter is to help build our collective resources in a way that helps students understand the intersections between mathematics, social justice, and people of color. If you have materials you have developed and would like to share or have found openly-licensed materials please reach out to the ODE math team for help in adding to OOL.

Tools for Teachers Logo

Tools for Teachers Resource of the Month

Similar to our observation above, we are working with Smarter Balanced to diversify the Tools for Teachers resources. This month, we are highlighting two practices that not only increase flexibility of thinking, but allow for the voices of all students to be heard. Many educators already engage students in Number Talks, and there are a number (ha!) of resources available on the Internet. As a Formative Assessment strategy, you can read about Number Talks here

We’re also very excited that the Youcubed team has begun publishing Data Talks, which are similar in format: 5-10 minute classroom discussions to help students develop data literacy. Try one out, and tag your experience with #OregonMathProject on social media.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching logo

2020 - 2021 PAEMST Grade 7-12 Nominations Due March 1

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.

Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional STEM teachers who are currently teaching grades 7–12 for the 2020–2021 award year. Teachers may also apply directly at

The nomination deadline is March 1, 2021, and the application deadline is April 1, 2021, for secondary teachers (grades 7–12). Elementary teachers (grades K–6) will be eligible to apply during a future cycle.

Desmos Icon

Desmos Workshop Recording

The Oregon Math Leaders Network was joined in January by Faith Moynihan of Desmos who shared her passion and expertise with over 80 Oregon educators. A recording of her workshop -- “What is Brilliant Here? Using Student Thinking and Identity as the Center of a Classroom Experience” -- can be viewed on YouTube. Not an Oregon Math Leader? Yes you are! Sign up to receive the Zoom link to our monthly meetups. We meet on the second Thursday of each month from 3:00-4:00pm PT.

Teachers Development Group Icon

Our friends at TDG have assembled an amazing Leadership Seminar that will take place March 10, 11, and 13. Over 40 speakers and facilitators will lead around the theme “Lessons Learned from an Extraordinary Year: Insights about How to Enact More Equitable & Inclusive Prek-12 Mathematics Teaching & Professional Learning”. Registration is $99 per person -- click here!

Stock Market Game

 The Spring Competitive and Enrichment sessions of the Stock Market Game are fast approaching! If you’re looking to get started, we have added some very short videos which explain some basics regarding the Stock Market Game. The dates are:

  • Spring Enrichment session I: March 8th – May 28th
  • Spring Enrichment session II: April 5th – June 4th

These games are FREE to you, your school and school district. Register here, or contact us at

Economics Challenge

The Econ Challenge starts at the beginning of March 2021. Alex Roshcer, Econ teacher at Ashland HS and OCEE teacher of the Year 2020, says this about having her students participate in the competition: 

  • “The Economics Challenge incentivized my students to work hard outside of the classroom to learn topics we did not cover in my Macro only course. Students were excited by the challenge to compete against other bright minds in the state, felt proud of their accomplishment and talked enthusiastically about how much they knew. We are excited to participate again this year.” 

In 2019 – 2020, Oregon had one team which finished 19th out of 30 teams in the national semifinal competition.  The first four teams in the national competition receive a cash prize of up to $1000 per team member. Click here for more info on the competition or contact us at