Candidate Statement for the Office of Director

Kyndall Brown

I began my teaching career in south Los Angeles at the height of the drug/gang epidemic. Despite the media stereotypes of the residents of south Los Angeles, I found my students to be very bright and willing learners who had gaps in their learning due to circumstances beyond their control. I also found that my academic training, while giving me a strong background in mathematics content, did not adequately prepare me for teaching in an urban context. Instead of blaming the students for my shortcomings as a teacher, I sought out educational opportunities that would help me make mathematics more understandable for all students.

In that regard, I enrolled in a university program to obtain a single subject teaching credential, I attended district sponsored professional development, I went to local, state, and national mathematics conferences, and I participated in professional development institutes sponsored by the California Mathematics Project (CMP).  All of these activities occurred prior to the current emphasis on bilingual certification and strategies for English learners in all content areas.

What I took away from all of these learning experiences was the need to engage all students in rich mathematical tasks, to allow students to collaborate with each other, to use different modalities to teach and assess students, and to use technology as a tool in mathematics instruction. After attending a leadership institute sponsored by CMP, I was invited to a training that focused on SDAIE strategies in mathematics. I spent the following two years as a mathematics teacher consultant for CMP, presenting SDAIE in mathematics workshops at schools in the Los Angeles area.

When I became a full time employee of CMP, one of my tasks was to design and implement leadership institutes for mathematics teachers. I made sure that each institute spent a substantial amount of time on strategies for English learners in mathematics. After the 2000 textbook adoptions in California, funding was provided by the state for mathematics professional development. CMP used the funding to develop the first ELD/Mathematics professional development institute I am aware of. Part of my responsibility in CMP was to set up the ELD Institutes in southern California.

In more recent times, I have been a part of the Region 11 California Mathematics Network. Among the projects we have undertaken in our region is the development of a training entitled Teaching Mathematics to English Learners (TMEL). The focus of TMEL is connecting the Common Core standards in mathematics to the California ELD standards. The goal of TMEL is to provide teachers of mathematics with strategies to develop English language while building mathematical understanding.

I believe that the work I have done over the span of my career is in line with the goals of TODOS; making mathematics accessible to all students regardless of their racial or ethnic background, gender, language proficiency, or academic abilities.

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