It’s only March, and at the same time, it’s already March! I’ve definitely been feeling the impacts of living in a global pandemic lately, and others that I’ve have told me that feelings of isolation and loneliness are weighing particularly heavily on them too.

But, spring has definitely arrived in East Tennessee, and the dogwoods and magnolias are starting to bloom. With the turn of the seasons and with my first dose of a COVID vaccine, I’m choosing to focus on the positives. HOPE seems like an appropriate word to meditate on for 2021. Here are some exciting new developments that have me feelings especially hopeful.

I’m excited to announce that my NSF CAREER grant was officially awarded! The project will start in July this year, and I couldn’t be happier to launch this project. The project, CAREER: Black and Latinx Parents Leading ChANge & Advancing Racial Justice in Elementary Mathematics, aims to increase Black and Latinx parents’ engagement in solidarity with community organizations and teachers to advance racial justice in PreK-5 mathematics education. You can read a little more about the project here, and I’ll be sharing more details as the project starts to come to life.

I’ve also had three new publications come out this year. Each of these emerged from different collaborations, and I’m excited to see our work out in the world. Two of the publications are open access (meaning they are freely available to read/download), and for the other, the first 50 downloads are free if you follow the link. Here’s a little bit about each piece:

#Mathathome during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring and Reimagining Resources and Social Supports for Parents

For this article, I collaborated with my UTK colleague Josh Rosenberg and an amazing team of undergraduate researchers to explore the experiences of parents and caregivers during the earlier transition to emergency remote mathematics instruction in spring 2020. Findings come both from a survey of parents and data we generated from Twitter.

When Robots Invade the Neighborhood: Learning to Teach PreK-5 Mathematics Leveraging Both Technology and Community Knowledge

This article emerged out of the collaboration among local elementary and pre-schools, the East TN STEM Hub, and the students in my elementary mathematics methods courses. This partnership supports the facilitation of integrated STEM activities developed by the methods students at informal family STEM events as local schools. For this research, I worked with Zachary Stumbo and Nick Kim, two UTK doctoral students, to understand how the experience of integrating robotics into mathematics lessons supported the learning of the prospective elementary teachers in my courses.

Whiteness as a Stumbling Block in Learning to Teach Mathematics for Social Justice

For this collaboration, Eryn Maher, Hyunyi Jung, and I worked together to look at some older data I had in a new way. We looked back at teachers’ efforts to enact social justice mathematics lessons in their own classrooms following a professional development I offered in 2013. In particular, we looked at how whiteness operated to limit teachers’ efforts to teach mathematics for social justice and how teachers were able to disrupt whiteness through their attempts to do so.