WaToToM Letter to OSPI

February 26, 2002

Dr. Terry Bergeson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Old Capitol Building
PO Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504-7200

Dear Dr. Bergeson:

As a result of discussions at the annual retreat of the Washington Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics (WATOTOM), we are writing to propose that OSPI lead an effort to establish a primary and supporting endorsement in mathematics for elementary teachers and to enhance the mathematics within the current elementary education endorsement.

WATOTOM is an organization that was created to facilitate dialogue among college/university faculty who are responsible for the mathematics components of teacher preparation programs. Our retreats are attended by representatives from community colleges, four-year colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. This year Bob McIntosh from your office was planning to attend, but not able to because of an illness. Fortunately, Pat Trefry and Joyce Stevens of the North Central Educational Service District were able to step in and help facilitate some of our discussions about teacher preparation.

We feel that the implementation of the Essential Academic Learning Requirements has created both an opportunity and a need for significant enhancement of the mathematics preparation of our future elementary teachers. We would like to propose two ways to address this:

1. Enhance the requirements for the K-8 Elementary Endorsement so that they match the demands of the EALRs for teaching competencies in number sense, problem solving, geometry, and probability/statistics.

2. Design and implement a primary and supporting endorsement in mathematics that specifically meets the needs of elementary teachers.

We believe that the current requirements for the K-8 endorsement will not provide future elementary teachers with the mathematics background necessary to teach in an EALRs-based curriculum. As just one example, most future teachers will not be provided with competencies in geometry and probability/statistics even though these are significant components of the new curriculum. This first recommendation will help all future elementary teachers.

Our second recommendation for a new primary and supporting endorsement would further enhance the mathematics curriculum by providing the opportunity for many elementary teachers who wish to build an even stronger foundation in mathematics. The only option available to these teachers now is the 4-12 endorsement in mathematics. This endorsement is not appropriate for elementary teachers because it does not address the components of mathematics specific to elementary teaching, especially teaching an EALRs-based curriculum. Many of our students with a strong interest in mathematics shy away from the 4-12 endorsement.

We believe that with the leadership of OSPI curriculum specialists, working with other stakeholders in teacher preparation, we can have a significant impact on the ability of elementary school children to succeed in mathematics. The improvements in the mathematics preparation of all future elementary teachers along with options for specific endorsements in mathematics for elementary teachers will provide a strong foundation for the success of the Essential Academic Learning Requirements in mathematics.

We end this letter by offering our assistance. Members of WATOTOM are very willing to participate in this effort. After you and your staff have had an opportunity to review our proposal, we invite you to ask us for help with the next step in this process. You may reach our group through Ginger Warfield in the Mathematics Department at the University of Washington by email (warfield@math.washington.edu) or phone (206-543-7445).

Thank you for your consideration of our proposal. We look forward to hearing from you.


Members of WATOTOM

Alana Althaus, Univ of WA     
Teresa Anderson, Univ of WA
Diane Azim, Eastern WA U
Pete Bloomsburg, Bellevue CC
Patty Chastain, PLU
Larry Curnutt, Bellevue CC
Duane DeTemple, WA State U
Holly Dison, Univ of WA
Christie Gilliland, Green River CC
Wynne Guy, Seattle Univ
James Hallam, Spokane Falls CC
Donnie Hallstone, Green River CC
Joyce Hammer, Green River CC
Laura Hathaway, Seattle Univ
Gloria Heier, Lake WA School Dist.
Elham Kazemi, Univ of WA
Steve Kinholt, Green River CC
Jim Regan, Cleveland HS
Pam Reising, Green River CC
Amy Ryken, Univ of Puget Sound
Lynne Sage, Bellevue CC
Debra Seidell, Univ of WA
Debby Smith, Garfield HS
Grisha Stewart, Univ of WA
Kathleen Sullivan, Seattle Univ
Kimberly Vincent, WA State Univ
Sunshine Walker, Shorewood HS
Ron Ward, Western WA Univ
Ginger Warfield, Univ of WA
Dominique Wiest, Univ of WA
Linda Bolte, Eastern WA Univ                  Sherry Renga, Eastern WA Univ
James R. King      . Univ of WA                        Michael Gilbert, Univ. of WA
Celine Dorner, PLU                              Judith Arms. Univ of WA
Mark Oursland, Central WA Univ                   Michael A. Lundin, Central Wa Univ
Apanakhi J.Buckley, Heritage College             David Slavit, WA State U Vancouver
Mark Roddy, Seattle University

Cc: Robert McIntosh, OSPI

Send mail to: warfield@math.washington.edu
Last modified: 2/4/2004 11:24 pm