*Note: The following are beliefs that underlie the training and support that we provide to teachers in the Mississippi region of Teach For America.*

**Students learn through exploration, challenge, and dialogue.**Real learning happens when we think deeply. That kind of deep thought is encouraged through communication and exploration.

**My students are able to solve problems, given the opportunity**. All students are sense-makers. They may not know the prescribed ways of solving a problem, but they all have ways of thinking mathematically.

**Math is based on concrete principles made abstract**. Math uses symbols and logic to describe relationships. Even the number “2” is an abstract thing—but we can make it concrete by thinking about 2 apples, 2 houses, 2 people, etc.

**Math is a body of knowledge, not a checklist of skills.**Deeply understanding math requires being able to see the connections between various ideas, and move back and forth between representations. When we reduce math to just a list of different kinds of problems students should be able to complete, we’re taking away their chance to make connections*.*

**Math is beautiful, useful, and exciting.**We don’t just teach this because it’s a class, and there are tests align to it. The process of abstracting the world allows us to make fascinating, even beautiful, conclusions about the world.

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