Three Things to Know About the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is a professional organization is dedicated to excellence in mathematics education. It awards a variety of grants to teachers in support of K-12 education through its Mathematics Education Trust.

No graphing calculators are required to apply for a grant, but here are three things to know before applying to NCTM for funds. 

1. Put Your Trust in the Trust. NCTM's Mathematics Education Trust is led by its very own brain trust, in the form of its board of trustees. They are a group of four volunteers, appointed by NCTM’s president. They each serve a four-year term and act as chair of the trust in their final year of appointment. NCTM’s executive director also serves as a more “permanent” member of the group. This is the team that manages the grant programs and selects its awardees, so it’s good to know who they are. Unsurprisingly, they all come to the gig with impressive mathematics and educator backgrounds.

2. Their Awards and Deadlines Form a Complex Matrix. Well, complex for some, but most likely less so for the math teachers pursuing this funding. The matrix comes has a purpose. NCTM grants fund such objectives as teacher professional development, curriculum development, and classroom projects. The council also breaks down its funding into four classroom categories: Pre-K to Grade 5; Grades 6-8; Grades 9-12; Prospective Teachers. Each type of funding within each classroom category has its own deadline or series of deadlines. It could be convoluted, except it's not. The former math teachers running things put together an excellent chart for you to keep it all straight.

3. Math Teachers Like the Arts and Social Sciences, Too. At least that's what NCTM is assuming (or encouraging), and therefore rewarding. A Pre-K to Grade 5 grant is specifically earmarked for educators to use music to teach mathematical principles. A Grade 9-12 grant encourages teachers to develop curriculum around the history of mathematics. Another Grade 9-12 grant is dedicated to "showing the connectivity of mathematics to other fields or to the world around us." So know your geometry, but feel free to think outside of the box.