Supporting School Administrators in Leading Towards Racially Just and Ambitious Mathematics Instruction

This project focuses on developing anti-racist mathematics teaching and learning practices that have led to inequitable school experiences for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students. This study is a partnership with school and central office leaders from one district and educational researchers from three universities with expertise in both educational leadership and mathematics education. Partnership activities include documenting how leaders learn and develop anti-racist leadership practices and then measuring the impact on teachers’ instruction and students’ experiences.

Full Description

School and district leaders play an important role in supporting teachers to learn new practices, especially those related to equity.  Both researchers and educators have often treated educational leadership that promotes racial justice as separate from mathematics teaching. This project focuses on developing anti-racist mathematics teaching and learning practices that have led to inequitable school experiences for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students. This study is a partnership with school and central office leaders from one district and educational researchers from three universities with expertise in both educational leadership and mathematics education. Partnership activities include documenting how leaders learn and develop anti-racist leadership practices and then measuring the impact on teachers’ instruction and students’ experiences. This project will result in a refined set of leadership practices that support anti-racist, ambitious teaching and learning by fostering Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students’ positive racialized mathematical identities, positioning students as central members of their mathematics learning communities, and affirming their home and cultural assets. Moreover, the tools, routines, and leadership moves developed and used by the partner educators will help researchers and educators better envision and advocate for anti-racist leadership in the areas of school systems and policies, mathematics teaching and learning, and supports for teacher learning.

This mixed-methods study aims to document how leaders learn and develop leadership practices to support anti-racist and ambitious mathematics learning opportunities for students, and measure the relationship between these practices and a) teachers’ instruction and b) students’ experiences. In a research-practice partnership (RPP), both educational leadership and mathematics education researchers from three universities and leadership practitioners from three elementary schools and a central office team in one district will collaborate to understand how and if leadership for anti-racist, ambitious mathematics teaching and learning is a key lever to create more racially just schools. Qualitative analysis of observations, interviews, documents, and artifacts from the RPP and from leaders’ practices will demonstrate leaders’ developing understandings and practices. Mixed-methods analyses of classroom video recordings and artifacts, teacher interviews, student focus groups and student surveys will describe the relationship between leaders’ actions, teachers’ practices, and students’ learning experiences. Findings will contribute to both the fields of justice focused leadership and mathematics education by explaining how this type of leadership shapes content-specific instruction and will provide much-needed guidance for practitioners looking to cultivate anti-racist teaching, learning, and leadership in schools.

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