California Online Mathematics Education Times (COMET)

COMET is a weekly publication designed to keep mathematics teachers and educational leaders on the cutting edge of news and information regarding professional issues, events, and opportunities. COMET is produced by Carol Fry Bohlin and supported by the California Mathematics Project. Back issues of COMET (2000-2014) are available in a searchable archive at


National News as of 2/5/16

“With Math I Can” Initiative Unveiled



On Tuesday, February 2, a coalition of non-profit education organizations (e.g., the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Teaching Channel) launched a national initiative to transform student attitudes about math. Developed under the leadership of Amazon Education and TenMarks, “With Math I Can” challenges the nation’s more than three million teachers and their students to take the pledge to replace the notion of “I’m not good at math” with “I am working to get better at math” by embracing a “growth mindset,” the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed.


“Students become discouraged and feel they aren’t good at math as soon as they encounter challenges or struggle with solving problems, and this is precisely what we want to change,” said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager of Amazon K-12 Education. “By collaborating with the education community, we are taking a bold step to transform society’s approach and mindset toward math so all students can reach their full potential and have equal access to career and economic opportunities. Our ambitious goal is to drive a change in attitude–from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can and I will’–for every student in the country.”


Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford is a key supporter of this movement. She is also the co-founder of, a website dedicated to providing free resources to teachers, parents, and students to help students develop mathematical mindsets.


Boaler said, “If you ask most students what they think their role is in math classrooms, they will tell you it is to get questions right, and when they inevitably struggle, most decide they are not a ‘math person.’ When students are in math classrooms where they are given growth mindset messages, as well as encouraged to appreciate the beauty of mathematics, to ask deep questions, and to explore the rich set of connections that make up the subject, they develop a growth mindset. ‘With Math I Can’ is an extraordinary opportunity to help students all around the country transform their thinking about math and develop a growth mindset.”


The initiative is supported by a website (, a video that highlights the need for a growth mindset around math, and a set of free resources for teachers to use with their students ( 




Related Links:


(a) “We Need to ‘Revolutionize’ How We Teach Math, Says Stanford’s Jo Boaler”

Source: National Public Radio

URL (audio archive):


(b) “Stanford Professor Urges Teachers to Rethink Math Instruction” by Theresa Harrington (Interview with Jo Boaler)

SourceEdSource – 24 January 2016





Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School Settings

Source: National Academies Press



More and more young people are learning about STEM in a wide variety of afterschool, summer, and informal programs. At the same time, there has been increasing awareness of the value of such programs in sparking, sustaining, and extending interest in and understanding of STEM. 


To help policy makers, funders, and education leaders in both school and out-of-school settings make informed decisions about how to best leverage the educational and learning resources in their community, the National Academics Press published Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School Settings. The volume identifies features of productive STEM programs in such settings and provides guidance on evaluating and sustaining these programs.  The report is a resource for local, state, and federal policy makers seeking to broaden access to multiple high-quality STEM learning opportunities in their community.


Next Friday, February 12, members of the authoring committee and other experts will discuss the report’s recommendation. This presentation, which will be held in Washington, DC, will be webcast at between 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. PST at  The agenda is available at    

To download the book free of charge, visit   




President Obama Announces Computer Science for All Initiative

URL (Video):   


Last Saturday (1/30/2016), President Obama announced his Computer Science for Allinitiative, pledging $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming budget to increase access to K-12 computer science by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. 


Numerous companies and school districts are expected to support this effort. Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand computer science, and is announcing plans to offer computer science training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year. The Computer Science Teachers Association will pilot a digital badging and portfolio program to capture and track the professional development that a teacher obtains, mapped back to K-12 computer science content standards ( Read more about the more than 50 organizations responding to the President’s call to action at




Related Resource:


Computer Science is for All Students

Source: National Science Foundation


This webpage contains information about NSF-supported computer science programs, projects and resources.




Illustrative Mathematics and MSRI Present a Mathematics Virtual Lecture Series for Teachers, Coaches, and Professional Development Providers

Source: Jenn Murawski –



MSRI is partnering with Illustrative Mathematics to bring educators the 2015-2016 Virtual Lecture Series: Speaking of Mathematics Education: Productive Conversations with Families.


The intended audience for this series consists of classroom teachers, mathematics coaches, district and state level math experts, and math teacher leaders that develop or facilitate professional learning experiences. 


Four hour-long (4:00-5:00 p.m. PT) webinars will be presented on selected Thursdays: February 25, March 24, April 28, and May 19, 2016. Each session will commence with a short video from the 2015 National Mathematics Festival (, followed by a 20-minute speaker presentation and then 15-20 minutes of live, interactive discussion.


Presenters and topics:

– February 25, 2016 – Bill McCallum, President and CEO, Illustrative Mathematics; University of Arizona Distinguished Professor: “Standards and Curriculum: What’s the difference?”


– March 24, 2016 – Suzanne Wilson, Neag Endowed Professor of Education, University of Connecticut: “How can we learn from the history of efforts to improve U. S. mathematics education?”


– April 28, 2016 – Deborah Ball, Dean, School of Education, University of Michigan“The Mathematical Work of Teaching


– May 19, 2016 – Peggy Brookins, President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and Mathematics Instructor: “Educating All Students”


To register for the series, please visit