Informational and Community Discussion Sessions on the Madison Mathematics Task Force

Date: January 6th, 2009

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Where: LaFollette High School – LMC

Date: January 7th, 2009

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Where: Memorial High School – Wisconsin Neighborhood Center

You are cordially invited to attend an information session and discussion about the findings and recommendations of the Math Task Force which recently completed a review of the MMSD K-12 Mathematics program. Please also share this information with others who may be interested in attending.
At each session, there will be a brief informational presentation followed by an opportunity for discussion. The Executive Summary and complete Task Force Report can be found at
We are looking forward to sharing this information with you and learning about your reactions to the research and recommendations included in the report. Your thoughts are important to us as we work to improve the MMSD K-12 Mathematics program.
Questions/comments? Please contact Brian Sniff at
Looking forward to seeing you on January 6th or 7th.

6 thoughts on “Informational and Community Discussion Sessions on the Madison Mathematics Task Force”

  1. Brian, I am delighted the community will have an opportunity to give feedback regarding the recommendations of the Math Task Force. I was very much looking forward to attending one of these meetings. Unfortunately, they have now been rescheduled to occur on dates that conflict with the Annual National Joint Math Meetings being held Janury 5-8 in Washington, DC. Could at least one of these feedback sessions be rescheduled to another week so interested members of Madison’s university math community can attend? Thanks.

  2. Janet, this was brought to my attention by Dick Askey as well on Friday. We are working with UW Math and UW Math Ed. chairs to set up a presentation directly with those departments. Would that address your concern or do you think additional work would be necessary? Thanks.

  3. Brian, I imagine community members may want to hear what these mathematicians have to say, which would not be possible if you set up a separate hearing for them. Please try to move one of the community sessions, in order to better integrate the University community into the larger Madison community. Thanks.

  4. I’d be interested in learning how many people from the community attended each meeting – 5, 50, 100. Also, I’d be interested in learning about what the format was for the evening and how those who attended thought it worked – what presentations, types of opportunities for input, next steps and follow up opportunities for community input, etc.
    I’m working with a small planning group at the District to put together similar sessions regarding community input about the fine arts recommendations made by that task force to the school board in October 2008, and I’m interested in learning about what attendees thought worked, did not work or could have been done differently, was missing from the sessions, if anything.
    Thanks for your help and all the hard work.

  5. I attended the math meeting at Memorial. I think there were around 50 people there (I didn’t count them so I’m really not sure but the room was full.) As we went in, we were handed a 16 page summary of the math task force report. We were also given a sheet of 5 “Small Group Discussion Questions”.
    The 16 page summary included the purpose of the task force, the composition of the task force, and the findings and recommendations.
    The small group questions were (I’m giving a shortened version):
    1. Identify and rank the three most important recommendations in the report from your perspective. Discuss reasons for choices.
    2. What are the benefits and/or drawbacks of selecting a consistent district-wide curriculum vs. allowing individual teachers or buildings the choice of curricular materials?
    3. What are the best ways to reach parents with information about their student’s math program? What are good ways to provide suggestions to parents for helping their children at home?
    4. Hiring math “specialists” may require middle schools to move away from the current middle school model which keeps students with fewer teachers who teach multiple subjects. What are the benefits for students of improved math instruction from a teacher who is able to specialize in the subject vs. the benefits of the middle school model?
    5. Join table #5 if yo would like to make general comments about the Math Task Force findings and recommendations or talk about some other aspect of the report in more detail.
    Brian Sniff, district math coordinator, opened the meeting by presenting the findings and recommendations of the math task force. Participants then went to tables with a number corresponding to the small group question which they were interested in discussing. After twenty minutes of discussing, participants went to another table to discuss another question.
    Each table had a district person who took notes of the discussion. At the end, the note-takers presented a summary of the discussion at their table.
    I wish I could give you a better break-down of the participants but I think it was approximately 2/3 teachers or other district people and 1/3 parents.

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