Proud to be a Sponsor – ASSM, NCSM, BBA

CIMG3737I and the Casio Education team just got back from San Francisco where we were part of the Association of State Supervisors of Math (ASSM), National Council of Supervisors of Math (NCSM) and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conferences. Each conference and experience was different, and gave us a broad perspective on what is happening in math education around the country and the hard work education leaders and teachers are doing to support the teaching and learning of mathematics. I am going to do a IMG_2635NCTM specific post later this week, and would like to devote this post to the three events where Casio had the privilege to support ASSM, NCSM and the Benjamin Banneker Association (BBA). Each event/sponsorship provided a unique opportunity to learn about the mathematics community and all these educators do to ensure students are getting a quality mathematics education.

CIMG3731We started our time in San Francisco hosting the opening reception for ASSM. After the Keynote speaker, Gail Burrill, I was honored to be able to say a few words regarding the state of technology in mathematics classrooms. This was my first time meeting and getting to know some of the current and former state supervisors of mathematics from all over the United States. It was clear, from their great questions during the Keynote and engaging conversation and sharing of information at the reception, that they are focused on ensuring their schools districts, educational leaders and teachers are getting the support they need. One thing I learned was how incredibly busy these ASSM members are, and, in fact, many of these were retired supervisors still working with their states and teachers – now that’s dedication! While I am still finding out more about ASSM, I know that they are a CIMG3743group of math leaders dedicated to ensuring that mathematics education is getting needed funding, math teachers are getting the support and training, and schools are getting a clear understanding of both state and federal expectations for students to learn math effectively.  It’s a big job, a very political job, but clearly a very dedicated and focused group of educators willing to do the job.

IMG_2633Our next adventure was in Oakland, CA for the NCSM conference. I have to say it was pretty cool walking around and seeing all the volunteers wearing Casio t-shirts and everyone carrying a Casio bag, both part of Casio’s sponsorship.  (If you were there and got a bag, don’t you just love the water bottle holder!!!??!) This was the first year NCSM was not in the same location as NCTM (which was across the bay in San Francisco), which was a little concerning, knowing there might be fewer attendees as a IMG_1987result. However, there quite a few participants at the conference, and I know as I popped into several sessions, the rooms were full with math educators ready to learn. As part of our sponsorship, we hosted a Sponsorship Showcase the first morning, presented by one of our fabulous mathematics teachers, Mike Reiners. It was a fascinating workshop, based on the game show, Wheel of Fortune, which Mike was an actual contestant on. It was fascinating to learn and calculate the probabilities of landing on certain values and the probability of things like losing your turn or hitting the million dollar wedge. I, like many others in the room, thought that the probabilities remained constant, since each spin of the wheel is independent from the others, but apparently, not the case!  It was also great to actual see real video footage of Mike’s actual appearance on IMG_1989the show and make predictions about what he (and the other contestants) should have done, and then see the real results.  It was also hilarious to see the teachers in our workshop trying to guess the word/phrase themselves – there were some pretty quick responses! Mike used both the fx-991 Scientific Calculator, with it’s natural display and spreadsheet capabilities as well as the Prizm graphing calculator, to show the statistics and probabilities. All the participants had hands-on with the calculators as well, so they could do some of the calculations themselves. That’s always fun to see everyone’s reaction to these calculators and how excited they get about their functionality (yes – we are math teachers!). All the attendees walked away with a free Prizm, which was exciting….some new Casio users!!

After a busy few days in Oakland, we ended back in San Francisco, ending our week with the NCTM conference at the San Francisco Conference Center. This wasCIMG3868 so much fun with so many math educators over the course of three days.  In fact, it was such a great time I am going to devote an entire post to just NCTM later this week.  What I would like to focus on from NCTM here is the Benjamin Banneker Reception Casio had the privilege of sponsoring on Thursday evening. It was BBA’s 30th year celebration and we were so excited to be able CIMG3880to be a part of this great group of leaders who dedicate so much time, resources, and support to ensure equitable educational opportunities for African American students. At the reception there were several outstanding local area educators honored for their outstanding efforts on behalf of their students. Hearing their stories, where they work diligently, tirelessly, and at all hours of the day giving of themselves to ensure their students succeed in school and have support was inspirational. There were also three students honored, two of whom relieved a $250 Book Award from BBA to support them as they went on to college, and one student received a $1,000 scholarship from Casio towards their college endeavors. It brought tears to my eyes as I listened to these three students talk about their struggles and perseverance, encouraged to “make a plan and see it through” along with the the support they received from their principal and their parents. To top it off, there was a great musical group that had everyone clapping along. It was a lovely to meet, support and get a sense of the powerful work the BBA is doing to support equitable education opportunities and resources for students. Casio is certainly excited to be a part of their work in the continuing years.CIMG3861

All in all, sponsoring such great organizations is something Casio is excited we have the opportunity to do. ASSM, NCSM, and BBA are dedicated groups of educators who are striving to improve mathematics education and education in general. Being able to meet and support these groups was a rewarding experience in itself and for me personally, inspired me and made me more aware of the hard work these groups of educators are out there doing every day to make a difference in students’ lives. Hopefully this gave you a small glimpse.  Next post I will talk about the fun we had at NCTM – lots of pictures to come!

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Benjamin Banneker Association & NCTM

imagesNCTM San Francisco is fast approaching (April 13-16) and among the many things I am looking forward to is the opportunity to connect with the Benjamin Banneker Association (BBA) members at their 30th-year anniversary celebration. Casio is proud to help support this group that does so much work ensuring mathematics education equity and quality for students, in particular African-American students, through their work with leadership and professional development for teachers. For those of you unfamiliar with the BBA, they are a non-profit organization that strives to help provide the highest quality mathematics education so all students develop self-confidence, enthusiasm and perseverance in their own mathematical abilities. They have been supporting math education and teachers for 30 years, which is impressive, and we at Casio are excited to have the opportunity to support their endeavors a little more, as we believe strongly in quality math education and leveling the playing field for all students, something we strive to do by putting affordable technology into the hands of all students.

When I found out that I would get to be a part of the 30th-anniversary P.E.A.R.L. Reception and Celebration (Pursuing Excellence, Advocacy, and Revolutionary Leadership) I wanted to find out a bit more about who Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was and how this person represented what the BBA stood for – advocacy for math education. Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was a free black man, a self-educated mathematician, scientist and astronomer. He was well-known for the almanacs he published between 1792 – 1797, where he posted about medicines and medical treatment, astronomical calculations as well as opinion pieces, literature and tidal information used by fisherman. Here are several links that give more details about Benjamin Banneker and his accomplishments:

  1. http://www.biography.com/people/benjamin-banneker-9198038#synopsis
  2. http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/colonial/jb_colonial_banneker_1.html
  3. http://www.black-inventor.com/Benjamin-Banneker.asp

The accomplishments that stood out the most for me were the following:download

  • Banneker invented America’s first clock in the 1752. Wow! The story goes that he borrowed a pocket-watch from an acquaintance, took it apart to study it’s parts and how it worked, put it back together and returned it. Then he built a clock, based on what he had learned from the watch, made completely out of wood. The clock was precise and worked for more than 50 years. And it was made out of wood!
  • He correctly predicted the 1789 solar eclipse, and his correct prediction contradicted those of well-known mathematicians and astronomers.  This from a self-taught man.
  • He wrote to Thomas Jefferson, while Jefferson was Secretary of State, in support of civil rights for African-Americans and to dispel the beliefs about the intelligence of the black man and to push for viewing African-Americans as more than slaves. His letter chided Jefferson and others for thinking slaves and blacks as “less” , and included a copy of his almanac to prove his point. He also called the leaders hypocritical, when they were fighting oppression and enslavement by England when they themselves were enslaving African-Americans.  It was a powerful letter, and one that Jefferson was so moved by, he actually responded and also forwarded Banneker’s almanac to the Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences “because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them.”
  • Banneker was recommended by Jefferson to be part of the surveying team that laid out Washington, D. C., our Nations Capital. (which is depicted in the picture I put at the top of this post).

The BBA has chosen a person who valued education, so much so that he taught himself much of what he learned and then passed it along to others through his writings and almanacs.  He fought for equality and recognition for the African-American, standing up to powerful leaders like Thomas Jefferson at a time where he could have been at great risk. He helped build our nation – from the first clock to the laying out of our Nations Capital. A powerful leader, always learning, always sharing his knowledge to help others, and always striving to bring equality and recognition to African-Americans. The BBA is celebrating 30-years of continuing Benjamin Banneker’s vision. Congratulations! I know I speak for Casio when I say we are glad we can be a part of this and hope that our continued support will help BBA, and the teachers and students they touch, reach their goals going forward.