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Brooke Fischels - Former President of the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brooke FischelsI formerly served as the President of the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which represents hundreds of PreK-16 math educators across our state. ICTM has worked hard to build a quality conference around the central tenets of the Iowa Core for many years.  We are always encouraging educators to present their work to help the community of Iowa math educators align their content and instructional practices to the Iowa Core.

On a personal level, I have taught for 17 years, and the advent of the Iowa Core has provided our district a collaborative framework to build our content and instructional pedagogies in line with schools on a national level.  Virtually every educational resource is aligned to the Iowa Core, thus opening so many more ways for us tap into resources to develop student learning and conceptual understanding.  This contrasts from the days when we “crosswalked” our district standards to state assessments, local assessments, and other state’s standards.  Those were excellent tasks, but the time to do that work was extraordinary.  Now, we can focus our efforts to ensure that all students are receiving the rigorous Iowa Core standards.  The time to plan for implementation can and should not be underestimated.

I believe the Iowa Core to be more comprehensive and ambitious than our former district standards.  We have worked locally to map out the courses that will introduce, develop, or master the Iowa Core math standards, and continue to review of those decisions.  Earlier in my career, there was never an emphasis placed on whether every student received meaningful instruction on all of our standards.  So, the Iowa Core has gone a long way to enhance equality and quality of the content we teach.

The prevalence of mathematical modeling in the Iowa Core is also very exciting.  It is a passion of mine to have students use mathematics meaningfully, and the Iowa Core places a high importance on representing data and patterns in our work.  I’m pleased to see how much power that has brought to our lessons and feel the enrichment of the content with modeling is one of the Iowa Core’s greatest achievements.