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Delaware Educators Promote Culturally Responsive Equitable Practices

On October 14th, more than five hundred educators and community members from across the state came together to participate in this year’s Delaware Math Equity Conference. This was the seventh year the Delaware Mathematics Coalition has hosted the event and year two of collaborating with leaders at the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware STEM Council, and the Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education around the conference. The conference was part of the broader Delaware Equity Summit organized by leaders at the Delaware Department of Education. 

 

Across the day, conference attendees engaged in keynote sessions presented by national and international leaders of equity reform and selected from more than twenty breakout sessions organized around three equity-focused strands that were facilitated by educators from Delaware and beyond. This year’s conference theme, Cultivating and Promoting Equitable Climates for Learning was inspired by the opening keynote speaker, Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall (Ed Trust). Dr. Marshall’s inspiring message included challenging the audience to “empower every learner with the highest quality education through shared leadership, innovative practices, and exemplary services.Dr. Marshall was introduced by Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Mark Holodick, who along with other leaders at the Delaware Department of Education, has been instrumental in working with educators in Delaware schools to ensure that every child in the state has access to high quality instructional mathematics materials and all teachers are afforded the opportunity to engage in sustained content and curricular focused professional learning in order to maximize the impact of those resources with their students.


 

The second spotlight speaker for the day was Stanford University professor and co-founder of youcubed Dr. Jo Boaler. Dr. Boaler’s keynote, Ideas for Equitable Outcomes and Strategies for Leading Change was organized around three big ideas: changes in mathematics that need to happen, efforts to create a new mathematics framework, and strategies for dealing with resistors to change. Jo shared a compelling  story about Sue, a former student who had been relegated to the bottom track in her school. The message included “How important it is to keep fighting for the students who have been written off in the math system. This matters for these kids’ lives” said Boaler. Dr. Boaler ended her keynote by providing seven strategies for dealing with resistors to change. The final keynote speaker for the day was Dr. Pam Seda, co-author of the book “Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom.” Dr. Seda engaged the audience members in ideas related to the ICUCARE framework written about in the book and used several illustrations to show “how releasing control is an equity Issue.” Following the conference nearly three hundred participants requested a copy of Dr. Seda’s book. 

This year’s conference would not have been made possible without the generous support of the following sponsors: Labware, DuPont, Croda, Mountainaire, Ashland, The Math Learning Center, Delmarva Power, Verizon, Bloom Energy, Heinemann, the Delaware Afterschool Network (DEAN), ACS Delaware, Science is Fun, Amplify, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

A few statistics from the day’s program:

  1. Math Equity Keynote Speakers Engaged More than 500 Participants Across the Day [Dr. Jo Boaler: 505; Dr. Pam Seda 503]
    We believe the high retention rate speaks to the value the community placed in the messages provided by these speakers.
  • Nearly 300 Attendees Requested a Copy of Dr. Seda’s Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Mathematics Classroom book
    We are thrilled with this response rate and very excited that we will be providing these books to the members of the community. We will subsequently invite the stakeholders to participate in a study of the book.
  • More than Half the Participants Rated the Day 5 Stars and Nearly 85% Rated the Day 4 or 5 Stars Hosting a conference of this magnitude is no small endeavor. We are grateful to the incredible collaborators, generous sponsors, and behind the scenes helpers who supported the event! You were key in making the experience a positive one for our participants. We could not have done this without you!
  • More than 90% of respondents rated their breakout sessions a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1-4
    We are incredibly fortunate to have such inspiring facilitators join us and lead sessions related to the three equity-focused strands.

Participants' Reflections About the Day:

Appoquinimink High School Mathematics Teacher Jamal Barnes shares his impressions about the two most powerful sessions from the day.

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