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WVCTM Supports Common Core

The Executive Committee of WVCTM sent the following letter to the members of the legislature on March 2, 2015 in support of the Common Core State Standards:

“As members of the Executive Committee of the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics, we ask that you consider the ramifications of a repeal of the West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives. These standards were developed over several years by a large group of informed professionals with the goal of identifying the core knowledge and skills students need to master at each grade level in order to graduate career and/or college ready. They are based upon learning progressions that have been researched and provide the foundation for learning. Expert West Virginia educators, from kindergarten through college, have invested over five years in the study and implementation of these standards.
We realize that there is still more work to be done. Teachers continue to need ongoing professional development to understand content and to learn instructional strategies that will reach all West Virginia students. Our teachers are aggressively seeking out this information as shown by the fact that nearly three hundred teachers plan to attend our annual conference this month. As this is the first year of full implementation of these standards, it is too early to see the effects at all grade levels, however a repeal of the standards has the potential to destroy the gains that have been made in student growth and understanding.
As a group of professional mathematics educators, many of whom have more than thirty years of teaching experience, we implore you to make a decision that is in the best interest of the mathematics education of the students of West Virginia. We ask that you do not repeal the West Virginia Next Generation Mathematics Content Standards and Objectives. 
Endorsed by the Executive Committee of the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics”

During the WVCTM Annual Conference, members were invited to a “Conversation on Common Core” to discuss the events that were literally unfolding in the WV State Legislature that very day. A panel of teachers from elementary through college shared ideas, rebutted misinformation, and answered questions from the membership. Those in attendance also shared their opinions and personal experiences with teaching the Common Core State Standards. Members were encouraged to express their views to House and Senate members. The final day of the WVCTM conference was also the closing day of the state legislative session. The House Bill (HB 2934) which would have repealed the Common Core State Standards in West Virginia was amended by the Senate to include a study of the standards rather than a repeal. The bill was then sent to a conference committee, but the report was never taken up in the House, so it died for lack of action.

WVCTM Salutes the 2015 Award Recipients

The most prestigious award given by WVCTM is the Distinguished Service Award, presented to the individual who has done exemplary work statewide in mathematics education. The award includes a Captain's Chair with an engraved plaque, hence it is often referred to as "The Chair" Award. The 2015 recipient is Holly Plunkett, currently a mathematics teacher at Tucker County High School. Although Holly's path traversed many states including Delaware, California, and Pennsylvania, she finally arrived in West Virginia and has proven herself not only to be a passionate mathematics teachers, but also a valued member of WVCTM. Holly agreed to assume the position of treasurer of the organization five years ago and readily embraced all that it encompassed. With a wealth of change occurring including a new venue for the annual conference and use of internet registration and payments, Holly rose to the challenge dedicating countless hours to WVCTM. A former State Mathematics Coordinator stated, "Holly Plunkett has been a leader among high school mathematics teachers in West Virginia for the entire eight years I served as mathematics coordinator. She led statewide professional development for hundreds of teachers over a period of five years during our Teacher Leadership Institutes. She presented on formative assessment strategies and content-specific sessions for county level professional development as well. She served on the review team for the Common Core State Standards and created curriculum units for both the 21st century standards and the Next Generation Standards. She served in an advisory capacity for the state math coordinator on a number of related topics including the integration of technology in the math classroom. Her influence and effects on teaching and learning of mathematics in West Virginia are everlasting." Holly has been recognized as a Presidental Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching, as a WVCTM Secondary Mathematics Teacher of the Year, and as a National Board Certified teacher. Few high school teachers are truly prepared to respond to those fleeting opportunities in a classroom that must be sensed and seized by the teacher. Holly is one of those teachers who can utilize those moments to capture the collective interest of the students and cause them to realize the beauty and power of mathematics.

WVCTM Mathematics Teachers of the Year are those who exemplify the highest standards of mathematics teaching and provide a role model for their colleagues.

Other Recognition

At the annual WVCTM meeting, grants were also presented to both a deserving practicing teacher and a pre-service teacher. Named for Dr. Boyd Holtan, a retired professor from West Virginia University, the Golden Holtans are grants for practicing classroom teachers for development of a particular project in their classrooms. These projects must reflect the state standards in mathematics. This year's Golden Holtan Grant recipient is Janice Hirst, a teacher at Kingwood Elementary School in Preston County, for her project entitled "Fact Fluency/Problem Solving Challenge." She was awarded $400 to facilitate her project.

Sheila Ruddle, a mathematics teacher from Pendleton County and current WVCTM president, presented the Walter Regula Mathematics Teacher-in-Training Grant to Tyler Gunnells, a student at West Virginia University majoring in secondary mathematics education. This award is given in honor of Walter Regula, Sheila's father, who was a mathematics education professor at Marshall University and who also served as president of WVCTM. One of Tyler's college professors made the following comments: "As a part of the Benedum Collaborative Teacher Education Program at WVU, Tyler moved through a rigorous set of coursework and a rich set of field-based experiences during which he has observed and analyzed the work of mathematics teaching and has also gained significant experience actually doing the work. He sought out additional professional opportunities as a "Supplemental Instruction" leader for the Calculus I course on campus, and he partnered with a faculty member in the mathematics department as an undergraduate research assistant on a project looking at the use of active learning and other instructional strategies across calculus classes." From the small town of Hanover in southern West Virginia, Tyler possesses a passion for mathematics and a deep commitment to the teaching profession.


Also recognized was the 2014 West Virginia Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Cynthia Evarts from Orchard View Intermediate School in Berkeley County.

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