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Ontario Association for Mathematics Education
Ontario Association for Mathematics Education

President's Message - September 2019

Paying Attention to Leadership in Mathematics

Welcome to another school year and to the first issue of volume 58 of the Gazette! Those are the exact same words (except it was volume 53) that led off the President's Message during my first term as OAME/AOEM President. I now have the honour of being OAME/AOEM President for a second term, and despite the regular rhythms of a school year, much has changed in the mathematics community across the province in that short passage of time.

Personally, five more years have been added to the total number of years I have been teaching, bringing the grand total to 23. I am the department head of mathematics at Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School in Brampton and am fortunate to work with a dynamic group of educators who are always willing to push their practice forward. Like so many departments and schools across the province, my department has changed over the past year. Some of those changes were voluntary, but others were not. These changes point to what could be a challenging year for many across the province as changes to program and personnel in school boards take affect and we adjust to a new reality. Regardless of the challenges that we may face personally and collectively this year, I am comforted to know the OAME/AOEM will provide stability during these times as it has in the past. During my previous term, my vision was to expand the overall scope of OAME/AOEM and to ensure that we served this expanding base of members. Pondering this second term, my vision is to sustain the growth of the organization over the past few years and honour the work of my predecessors, as well as advocate for the renewed mission and vision of the organization.

Anticipating the challenging climate of this year provided the theme for the OAME/AOEM Leadership Conference: "Paying Attention to Leadership in Mathematics." The conference will be taking place on November 1 at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton. The goal of the conference is to look at how we lead and sustain the excellent work that has been done in the past that has made Ontario's education system a model for many across the globe. The day will be kicked off by Marian Small with a talk titled "Making a Difference." Delegates will then be able to select from sessions that address the different aspects of leadership and how we can maintain the positive strides and move forward during this school year. Natasha Henry and Hiren Mistry will address equity, access, and empowerment. This is an area of growth and learning for me during the past few years, and I wanted to ensure that the focus on equity was not lost during a time when we are most likely doing the same if not more with less. Doug Duff and Nat Banting will speak to instructional leadership and how to ensure that we are embedding research-informed practices in our schools. Em Del Sordo will address how to push teacher practice in all areas by looking at the instructional core. Brian Aspinall will provide delegates with an opportunity to consider how we can move beyond the curriculum and look at learners in the twenty-first century. The day will be capped off with "cracker barrel" roundtables. This will provide delegates with an opportunity to network and share their learning from the day. My hope is to continue the learning as the year progresses by providing online learning opportunities for those who attended the leadership conference.

In addition to the Leadership Conference, there will be quite a few learning opportunities available through other OAME/AOEM activities. A good place to start is with your local chapter. Many chapter volunteers are busy planning events for chapter members to provide learning close to home. Go to the chapter directory on the OAME/AOEM website and check out your local chapter's website for more information. If you are not sure which chapter you are a member of, just log into the OAME/AOEM website and go to the Member Links on the left side. You will see your account information and be able to check for your chapter affiliation.

A date that you can mark on your calendar right now is the OAME 2020 Annual Conference, taking place May 7-8, 2020 at UOIT/Durham College in Oshawa. Congratulations to the organizers of the 2019 conference in Ottawa. It was a highlight for me last year, with so many inspiring sessions and enjoyable events (I took in my first baseball game in the nation's capital), as well as the opportunity to co-present with a new teacher in my department. This year's conference will build on the momentum of last year's conference and preceding years. Just check out the speaker list that has been published up to this point: Dr. Valerie Camille-Jones, George Couros, Fawn Nguyen, Dan Meyer, Ian Vanderburgh, Kamau Bobb, Mary Bourassa, Richard Van Camp, and Marian Small. Add to this lineup the great program of sessions, exhibitors, and other events, and OAME 2020 looks to be another "not to be missed" conference! If you are interested in submitting a proposal, submissions will be opening up this Fall. Speaking at the conference is an opportune way to share the amazing work that happens in schools and boards across the province, as well as a professional learning opportunity.

I want to acknowledge the work of now Past President, David Petro. I read through his President's Message from this time last year, and he mentioned that he wanted to make sure that OAME/AOEM members see value in being a member of this organization. I would say that he did substantial work in ensuring that his vision was fulfilled. During his term, he was the primary force behind the OAME Talks podcast. Try listening if you haven't checked them out already. A link to all past episodes can be found on the right-hand side of the OAME/AOEM homepage. In addition, David hosted webinars with some of the podcast guests, which provided a closer exploration of some of the topics discussed in the podcast. These were all free to OAME members. If you missed one or all of them, you can find them in the Member Links section of your account. Behind the scenes, David was instrumental in guiding the organization through a year of change and growth. There were new committees, including the Ad Hoc Advocacy Committee, of which I was a member. This committee is charged with looking at ways to advocate and support the mission and vision of OAME/AOEM. One of the first products is the Access, Equity, and Inclusion OAME/AOEM Position Statement , which is published in this issue and can be found online. I want to thank David, on behalf of all members, for his leadership during the past year.

In addition to thanking David, I also want to congratulate him as well as Mark Bouwmeester as the recipients of the OMCA Awards of Excellence. The awards are given to educators to recognize excellence and innovation. Speaking of awards, OAME/AOEM handed out its annual awards at the annual conference. The following were recognized for their outstanding work: Cathy Hall (OAME Lifetime Membership Award); Kerri Evershed (Award for Exceptional and Creative Teaching in Elementary Mathematics); Matt Anderton (Award for Exceptional and Creative Teaching in Secondary Mathematics); and Liisa Suurtamm (Award for Leadership in Mathematics Education). All are deserving winners of their respective awards. If you know an outstanding educator and would like to nominate him or her for one of the awards, visit the Awards page on the OAME/AOEM website to view the descriptions of each award and to access the nomination page.

I also wish to congratulate our new President-elect, Judy Mendaglio. One of the challenges of being President is trying to learn what you are doing and trying to do it in one year. This prompted the organization to change the term of the presidency to two years. I am very happy to know that Judy will be the first President to serve a two-year term. So my presidency marks an end, to a certain degree, as I will be the last President to serve a one-year term. This is a testament to one of the things I value most about being a member of OAME/AOEM - its continual evolution to meet the needs of its members and the challenges that confront it. And so I am not pessimistic about the unknowns that the coming year may present, knowing that collectively, this organization, comprised of dedicated educators, will continue to flourish and stand for what is best in mathematics education in the province.

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