tools for administrators

On the School Learning Community

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At our school, we keep the focus on student learning through collaborative learning teams and by participating in lesson study. Teachers regularly engage in conversation about the work that they’ve done, seeking and receiving feedback on their practice. We engage in whole-staff development every week, and regularly have meetings among a smaller group of faculty focusing on mathematics teaching. This math focus group began during summer inservice meetings, when teachers decided which focus group they would join. For the faculty who decided to devote their professional learning to mathematics, they decided to focus on the problems of the month, because they can be linked to the critical thinking that is a major focus of our school. This group has also helped drive our thinking around performance assessment, particularly through working with the MARS tasks and having students explain their thinking.

On the School Learning Community

Deb Negrete Videos

Jaguanana Lathan Videos

Resources for Leadership and Change: Building a School Culture of Mathematical Thinking

Theory of Action

The First in Math Consortium is a subset of districts in SVMI that was chosen to work deeper and more systemically in changing learning experiences for students with the ultimate goal of improving students’ access to and success in higher mathematics. The theory of action is the frame for the comprehensive approach to working in concert with all the district-employed stakeholders. Download

Pathways of Influence

This graphic shows the stakeholders within a school system and how learning is influenced. The math department is positioned in a very influential location to address and support teacher and student learning. This graphic communicates the importance of developing a math department into a learning community. It also illustrates how others can influence the work. Download

Tracking and Assessing Cultural Shifts Ver. 1 & Ver. 2

A major emphasis of the initiative is to develop, support, and sustain professional learning communities as a structure for improving teaching and learning. This tool assists principals in assessing how their teachers are moving from traditional independent agents to learning communities that focus on student learning. There are two versions. The first has a more comprehensive view of the school, while the second is designed to focus primarily on the work of the math department. Download Ver. 1 + Download Ver. 2

Resources for Developing Faculty Capacity in Mathematics

Role Group Expectations

The document describes the roles and expectations each district stakeholder must meet to function in a systemic approach to improve math instruction. Making the expectation explicit is at the heart of working cohesively in a district organization. Download

Tasks for Role Groups

This checklist accompanies the Role Group Expectations. It lays out the duties and jobs for the stakeholders. In this manner, everyone knows what they are expected to accomplish and how their duties align with the other stakeholders – where jobs/duties overlap and where they reside in relation to other work. Download

Planning for Site-Level Work – Continuum of Roles

This instrument assists principals in planning their strategy and work in promoting professional learning communities within their school. It helps them look at the different change agents and assess where they are on the continuum. Utilizing personnel to support change is a critical leverage point for promoting change. Download

Resources for Mathematics Engagement and Intervention

Re-Engagement Protocol

Use the steps outlined in the file linked here to re-engage students in the mathematics of a particular lesson. Download

Intervention Worksheet

This instrument is built on Phil Daro’s work to describe the different levels that students struggle in school, in this case specifically in math class. The chart includes columns that describe what students need and suggest some interventions. There is space for principals to add information about intervention activities at their school. It works both as a needs assessment and for planning for the future. It supports principals in analyzing their school's intervention programs.Download


This tool helps principals and site administrators reflect on observing mathematics classroom and department meetings. The classroom tool was designed to encourage the observer to focus more on students, their thinking, and mathematics. This tool is one device to make observing a classroom more than a mere “walk-through.” It shifts the focus away from examining artifacts (bulletin boards, students' seating arrangements) or evaluating teacher moves to a focus on student thinking and learning. Similarly, the department tool is used to gauge what the math department’s discussion is focused on. Download