Slice of the Pi

June Edition

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break, and all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”

-L.R. Knost, Author and Social Justice Activist

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Sweet Summer!

As long as some of the days have been, these last few months have flown by in a blur of Zoom calls, Google Meets, subcommittee meetings, tech exploration, and district-wide collaboration! At the literacy and numeracy reflection meetings this past week there were many times I looked at the thumbnail view of all of you in total admiration. I humbly thank you for allowing me to be part of your math and school communities this year. We made it!

Perhaps better than just survived- in many ways we flourished. Emergency Distance Learning, a pandemic, and a country in strife forced us to consider what we value most in our classrooms and our communities. We had to evaluate what we teach, how we teach, and how we live. We searched our curriculum and ourselves- and in many cases redefined what it means to be a teacher, a learner, a colleague, an ally, a citizen.

And no matter what the fall looks like in terms of space and place- I know we will all say I am a Teacher and continue to blaze forward bravely together. Speaking of together- we have two guest authors this month who will be thought partners with us on all things 5th grade and equity!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

May you have a peaceful, joyous, safe, summer!

“When we have no relevant experience or expertise, the vulnerability, uncertainty, and fear of these firsts can be overwhelming. Yet, showing up and pushing ourselves past the awkward, learner stage is how we get braver.” -Brene Brown

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Warm Welcome to Javier Perez: 5-8 Math Coach

Greetings Staff,

I hope this message finds everyone in good health. My name is Jay Perez. I am formerly Memorial Middle School's 7th and 8th grade mathematics teacher. Today, it is with great enthusiasm that I share with you that I have accepted the position of the new math coach for grades 5- 8 in Region 15.

As a highly motivated and passionate educator, I am excited to extend my role in a school district that sets high standards in mathematical instruction and pedagogy. The district's commitment to continuous refinement of curriculum and assessment, dedication to a collaborative climate, and devotion to the community of learners in the classroom parallels my own vision of mathematical instruction and pedagogy.

As your math coach/co-teacher I know together we can:

  • impact every student in every classroom,

  • build the capacity of our teachers and students,

  • instill a guiding mantra that this call to action is a joint effort and we can make a difference together,

  • recognize the systemic nature and interrelated components of elementary and middle school math education, and

  • recognize that change of this magnitude takes time.

The way I see myself in this coaching role is really as a collaborator to help you look at your practice and use the lens of a coach to help you identify areas for growth. My role is not to tell you what to do but to help guide you through the process of gathering data, identifying opportunities for growth, and brainstorming specific strategies to try. Talking about practice is always inherently interesting and insightful for me, and I know that I always learn something new along the way. I look forward to learning so much from all of you as you will hopefully learn from me.

I look forward to meeting all of you and learning about your classroom instructional practices and styles. I am excited about the conversations we will have and share. Please know that I am not your evaluator, nor do I see myself as one. I am here to support you and to help all of us create an environment where mistakes are welcomed and the common core mathematical practices are something that we live, not just a poster in our rooms.

I look forward to working with all of you and sharing my passion and experiences with you to further develop the mathematical dispositions of your children.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime. My email is


Mr Perez

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AND a Warm Welcome to Dr. Birden!

It is with joy and gratitude that I get this fancy feature in the Slice of the Pi newsletter and get to introduce myself as the Teacher in Residence for Diversity and Cultural Competency for the 20-21 school year! My name is Erin Birden, and I am currently a grade 2 teacher at LMES. I graduated this spring with my doctorate in Instructional Leadership, and the focus of my research was on the nature of courage in the classroom. As educators, we find ourselves in a time where continuously working to create informed, culturally competent, brave spaces in our schools is arguably more important than ever before.

I'd love to take this opportunity to share a little bit about how I will serve Region 15 in this capacity. For the purposes of this newsletter, I just elaborated on what this role means for supporting you, colleagues, with more information to come in the future!

  • Support PK-12 teachers and staff:

o Uplift and amplify the work that colleagues in the Region are doing in the areas of diversity and cultural competency

o Serve as a resource for classroom teachers in ever-developing in these areas and in delivering lessons with students to understand, honor, and advocate for all people

o design and implement professional development sessions to facilitate adult learning in these areas

o provide ongoing and follow-up assistance

  • Cultivating community focus: with a "capital C," within and beyond Region 15 schools, with the towns of Southbury and Middlebury
  • Curriculum & Instruction, including in terms of equity in light of Covid-19
  • Data Analysis
  • Structures, systems, strategies
  • Thought leader in modeling lifelong journey around learning in the areas of diversity, cultural competence, social justice, anti-bias, and anti-racism

I can’t pass up this opportunity to share a resource with you! There are so many amazing materials to turn to right now as educators for both ourselves as adults and in working with children. I’ve selected this Podcast episode from Life Kit, on talking about race with even our youngest children.

In this role, my most sincere hope is to collectively and energetically take on this truly lifelong endeavor with you as humans to impactfully and thoughtfully cultivate awareness, knowledge, and skills in these areas.

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Slides From Our Meetings

Many of you expressed wishing we had more time together in our math reflection. I've included the slides I used at each grade level in the event you want to revisit the information, links, etc. If there is something we did that you don't see included- just ask!

  • Kindergarten Slides
  • 1st Grade Slides
  • 2nd Grade Slides
  • 3rd Grade Slides
  • 4th Grade Slides
  • 5th Grade Slides

EstiMystery Slides

Open Middle Jamboard

Which One Doesn't Belong / Would You Rather Jamboard



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Dear Family,

Be on the lookout for the Commissioner's Summer Math Program to share with families. I was part of a team working on a summer math passport (originally intended to take back to our own districts) and the state adopted it as part of their summer materials. It allows kids to get off the screens and explore real life math!

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Miss a previous issue?

May Edition: Slice of the Pi

April Edition: Slice of the Pi

Special Edition: Slice of the Pi

March Edition: Slice of the Pi

February Edition: Slice of the Pi

January Edition: Slice of the Pi

December Edition: Slice of the Pi

November Edition: Slice of the Pi

October Edition: Slice of the Pi

September Edition: Slice of the Pi

Questions? Comments? Curiosities?

I'd love to hear what's on your mind!