In the summer of 2019 ConnectED: The National Center for College and Career joined forces with Envision Learning Partners, Callahan Consulting, UCSD CREATE and San Diego Unified School District to launch the San Diego Enhanced Mathematics initiative. San Diego Enhanced Mathematics initiative, or SDEM, is a district-wide community of educators working together to enhance and modernize mathematics, so all students can:

  • Apply their mathematics to personal, civic, and professional contexts
  • Solve non-routine problems creatively and collaboratively
  • Communicate their mathematical reasoning and explanations, and
  • Connect mathematical ideas through projects


Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Professional Learning Partnerships program, our partnership with San Diego’s SDEM initiative provides teachers, coaches, and district administrators with training, resources, and curriculum enhancements to increase use and impact of the Mathematics Language Routines embedded in the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum for emergent English learners.  Given the critical importance of mathematics as either a bridge or gatekeeper to pathway success, postsecondary admissions, and career options — especially in STEM fields — we have welcomed the opportunities afforded by this project to learn, design, and pilot new ways to “do math” in pathways, as well as to improve the middle school experience in ways that increase pathways access and success for all students.


As we all returned to school and work in the new year, we were delighted to learn that the Gates Foundation had extended their support for our partnership to allow two more Linked Learning  school districts — West Contra Costa Unified, in Northern California; and Colton Joint Unified, in Southern California — to join San Diego Unified as members of the Effective Implementation Cohort (EIC), a new initiative designed to determine what it takes to effectively implement middle school mathematics curriculum in a coherent, systemic, and equitable manner.  ConnectED and Envision Learning Partners will support our three district partners to engage in a rigorous six month process, culminating in strategic action plans to take Illustrative Mathematics curriculum and embedded supports to scale.  We welcome this new opportunity for partnership and look forward to sharing what we’re learning along the way.