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Connecting Mathematics Education Research and Practice: Ensuring English Language Learners Achieve

Cathy Kinzer, New Mexico State University; Maricela Rincon and Ricardo Rincon, Las Cruces Public Schools

An overview of the university/school district partnerships focused on mathematics teaching and learning for English language learners sets the stage for videos exemplifying equitable instruction in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Participants gain a greater understanding for the essentials of (1) building a language learning culture for all students and (2) implementing instructional and environmental methods that promote active student discussions and develop confidence and competence in using academic content vocabulary to communicate mathematical ideas.


About the Presenters:
Cathy Kinzer, Mathematics Educator, New Mexico State University
Cathy Kinzer is a mathematics educator in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at New Mexico State University (NMSU). She serves on the postsecondary team for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, the emerging issues committee for National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Common Core State Standards’ Educator Leadership Cadre. She is the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-sponsored research project, Scaling up Mathematics Achievement (SUMA). This research grant was designed to test a building-capacity model for improving K–8 mathematics teaching and learning. The project focused on the ways in which the systemic SUMA model should be modified to ensure its effectiveness in a large urban district with relatively high numbers of English language learners. Kinzer also serves as the lead mathematics educator for LIFT, the Leadership Institute for Teachers. She collaborates with math educators, research mathematicians, public school administrators, and teachers in the LIFT research project. LIFT provides participating teachers with a two-year program involving intensive coursework, and includes applying their learning in their school or district settings. Kinzer coordinates learning opportunities for district mathematics leadership teams throughout New Mexico with Mathematically Connected Communities. The MC2 team of NMSU mathematicians and math educators are engaging in systemic ongoing professional learning with educators in over 50 districts across the state. Kinzer was a coordinator for the Gadsden Mathematics Initiative (GMI) that has resulted in increased student achievement for a school district with a majority of English language learners.

Maricela Rincon, Teacher, Las Cruces Public Schools
Maricela Rincon is a national presenter for the National Education Association (NEA), specializing in culture and equity issues and education of English language learners (ELLs). She has been a teacher in bilingual, inclusion, and regular education classrooms for the past nine years and is also a provider of statewide professional development in New Mexico and for New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She holds a BS in Business Management, and master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading, and Teaching Mathematics. Rincon is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in Teaching Science.

Ricardo Rincon, Teacher, Las Cruces Public Schools
Ricardo Rincon is currently a high school teacher in Las Cruces Public Schools. He has taught in the dual language program in Las Cruces, New Mexico, for 12 years. Rincon has also facilitated graduate courses on ELL best practices, diversity, and closing the achievement gap for ELLs. As a member of the National Education Association (NEA), he serves in the ELL CADRE, is on the ELL advisory online committee, and a member of the Content Quality Review Board (CQRB) for the NEA academy. Other works and affiliations include ELA Common Core State Standards Review Committee, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and National Governors’ Association (NGA) review committees, and Project Learning Tree Steering committee. Rincon has collaborated with other respected leaders and members of NEA to present workshops and trainings locally and nationally. His presentation topics have included best ELL practices, math instruction, science instruction, and integration of technology. In his work, Rincon focuses on research-based instructional methods, theory, and applications that address the specific learning needs of ELLs. Rincon holds master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, and Education with an emphasis in Mathematics.