Systems Leadership for Math Improvement


Educational leaders recognize the need for new approaches that both engage all students in rich learning and actively disrupt practices that create barriers to success for students of color, students from low income households, English learners, and students from other historically marginalized groups. In the field of mathematics teaching, this means creating classrooms in which students from diverse backgrounds see themselves as competent mathematicians, equipped with strategies to solve meaningful problems. 

Transforming schools with equity and instructional quality in mind is an immense challenge. Achieving this vision of socially just schooling requires educators to change how they view and relate to students and families, how they understand and teach mathematics, and how they learn and work together. Yet, unless schools reshape biased educational systems and practices, schools will be unable to create educational opportunities that engage and support historically marginalized and marginalized students.

We believe that educational leaders play a key role in transforming school systems and expanding students' learning opportunities. Strong principals, coaches, teacher-leaders, and central office leaders connect with communities, re-imagine how schools and districts work, and support teachers to learn and implement ambitious and equitable instructional practices in their classrooms. 

We engage with educators in the critical work of reshaping school systems and improving teaching practice to support success for historically marginalized and marginalized students. In partnership with school and district leaders in the Puget Sound Roadmap Region, we explore problems, develop tools, and design processes that support leaders to rethink systems and approaches for implementing ambitious mathematics instruction. We build learning opportunities for educational leaders that address: 1) new ways of working and learning together, 2) inquiry-oriented, ambitious mathematics instruction, and 3) anti-racist leadership practices.

At the same time, we conduct systemic inquiry to develop theory and knowledge related to discipline-specific leadership practices and implementation at scale. Our research examines how educational leaders support teachers to learn about ambitious mathematics instruction and how they disrupt the current systems of racial inequity in mathematics instruction.




This work is funded through grants from the Gates Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the University of Washington Research Royalty Fund.