For many, the summer months bring a time of respite and re-energizing. AMTE members are active in professional activities, teaching summer courses, conducting in-service teacher professional development, working on research and articles, attending summer conferences and writing curricula and lessons for the upcoming academic year. Similarly, as an organization, AMTE is very active in the summer months, and particularly so this year!
One of the major concerns of the Board this summer has been the upcoming conference in Houston. As communicated by President Randy Philipp, the Board did consider the location in light of recent political activity and reaffirmed that we would indeed hold the conference as planned in Houston at the Westin Galleria. The hotel has worked with our Conference Director to assure AMTE that they are a welcoming location. AMTE is a diverse organization committed to equitable practices in all that we do; President Randy Philipp and a Special Task Force have been hard at work to identify ways that we can focus on both of AMTE’s 2017 priorities at the Conference—equity and the AMTE Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics—in meaningful ways as well as show support for colleagues and local community organizations that support the rights of all, including our LGBTQ colleagues and neighbors.
In recent weeks, we have all been saddened at the amount of weather damage that the Houston, Texas and surrounding area have suffered. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the extended storm, and we hope that the recovery will be swift, although we know it will take time. AMTE encourages each of us to do what we can to support our neighbors affected by natural disasters such as these hurricanes. As the time of the conference draws closer, we will know more of the needs in the Houston area and if there are ways we can be of support as a community. Our conference hotel, the Westin Galleria, has been in communication with our Conference Director Susan Gay, letting us know that the hotel has weathered the storm with little damage. We send our very best thoughts to the employees of the hotel, who have been impacted by the storm, and we appreciate knowing that, in the midst of very trying circumstances, they are still working to be prepared to host our meeting in February.
In June, the full Board met for a special called budget meeting to consider the fiscal state of the organization and to approve a budget for the 2017–18 fiscal year. Starting a new tradition, the June meeting focused on budget education for the Board of Directors so that we all understand the financial structure of the organization. The Board approved an operating budget of $164,000 in operating expenses if fully realized. As the organization has grown, and as the many endeavors in which we are involved have increased, so are the expenses to operate. We are looking at ways to share more about the budget throughout the year with the members at large, beyond our annual report of the finances at the Annual Business Meeting. Reporting the budget approval in the newsletter is one of those ways!
The Board also approved support expenses for our Conference Director and Assistant Director to travel to explore and inspect potential locations for future conferences, and approved the appointment of Jennifer Chauvot as the Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for our 2018 Conference in Houston.
Another motion approved by the Board was a newly developed AMTE Initiatives Review Form. Many times, AMTE members have great ideas for new AMTE initiatives or activities. They send their ideas to the President, Executive Director, board members, or committee chairs. We realized that we did not have a process to consider all such suggestions equally and vet them properly. A new committee, the Publications Review Committee, will take the lead on receiving and vetting such ideas, and the Board approved a form that can be used to submit suggestions for new initiatives.
During the summer, many items arose related to the upcoming conference, and the Board considered those via email correspondence. In summary, the Board voted to raise the cost of an exhibitor table to $700 from $600; to have an opening day session focused on the AMTE Standards, organized by the Standards Dissemination Task Force and the Conference Program Committee; to reaffirm the conference location of Houston, while highlighting our stance of equity and a commitment to stand with LGBTQ colleagues (the Board will consider a policy about location of future conferences vis-à-vis the discriminatory policies of the city or state under consideration); and to support the 2017 California STaR Fellows to meet their commitment to attend the 2018 Annual Conference in the event that the California state travel ban will not allow their institution to support their travel to the conference. In addition, the Board voted to host an all-conference reception on Thursday of the conference to show support for local community LGBTQ partners; to combine the Early Career and the President’s Reception on Friday; and to set the conference rate at $400 early registration for members (and $320 for graduate student members). Lastly, the Board was delighted to approve the Conference Director moving forward in negotiations for the location of the 2019 conference—look for an announcement this fall!
The Board met again on August 29. In addition to hearing updates from the various work of each division, the board considered a motion from the Standards Dissemination Task Force to issue a call for supplemental materials to support the AMTE Standards. Look for the announcement of the call to appear soon.
I know that this is a lot of information, but the Board is committed to sharing with AMTE members the various issues they consider and the actions that we take on behalf of the organization and its members—YOU!
As we navigate the waters of a restructured AMTE framework, we are learning both how powerful the creation of divisions can be to focus our energies and initiatives and how complex it can be to maintain and administer all of the various activities of the organization. We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of elected officers on the Board of Directors, and an outstanding cadre of divisional Vice-Presidents. They, along with the many Associate Vice-Presidents are doing a tremendous job helping AMTE to be vital and relevant. I would like to offer my sincere appreciation to all of these volunteers for their service to AMTE.
A special word of thanks to the Conference Leadership Team—Conference Program Chair Farshid Safi, the past conference program chair Holt Wilson, the next program chair-elect Dana Cox, our Conference Director (AVP for Conferences) Susan Gay, and Assistant Conference Director, Carol Lucas. With support and guidance from the Vice-President for Professional Learning, Lynn Breyfogle, and Board Liaison, Mike Steele, they have worked hard to address the challenges of planning for the Houston Conference to ensure that we will have a meaningful and substantive conference in 2018. For their tireless energy and dedication, we say THANK YOU!!