This is a sponsored post for MATCH Charter Public School.
Think back to your first day of middle or high school. If you went to a school with invested faculty, then there’s a chance that you were personally greeted and welcomed by a teacher, administrator, or maybe even the Principal. By the second day, this would have seemed pretty strange. Not at MATCH Charter Public School in Boston, MA. Every morning the school’s Principal greets each of the 450 students at the door with a handshake while asking, “Why are you here?” The students respond, “I’m here to learn.” The Principal then asks, “What will it take?” And the students answer, “Courage, Discipline, and Perseverance.” Then the students enter the school. This isn’t a military or reform school, but it is a unique place where education is treated as a life and death matter. Students who enter MATCH often start a few grade levels behind where they should be, but by the time they graduate they’re headed to a 4-year college or university. It’s an amazing feat, and MATCH has proven the ability to do it year after year; in fact, 99% of their graduating classes from 2004 to 2010 were accepted to four-year colleges.
The MATCH High School opened in 2000 with the goal of preparing “inner-city Boston students to succeed in college and beyond–including those who have no family history of college attendance.” MATCH’s results would be impressive for an elite private school in a ritzy suburb, yet they’re doing it with more than three-quarters of their students living in poverty. In 2008 MATCH opened up a Middle School in Jamaica Plain, MA to expand their reach and get an earlier start at helping students break through the “Achievement Gap.” Both MATCH schools are public and tuition-free while admitting students through a lottery program. You’re probably wondering how MATCH can get such great results given their situation, and the answer is an amazing staff with a family level commitment to success. Not only does MATCH select the best of the best, but they also invest heavily in providing meaningful training that prepares their teachers and tutors to succeed on Day One.
A large portion of MATCH’s staff consists of new and recent college graduates, and these new hires (from all majors) usually enter into one of two programs: MATCH Teacher Residency or MATCH Corps.
This is the most selective teacher prep program in the United States (even above Teach For America). New hires get an entire year of intense training to prepare them to be at the front of a high-needs classroom. It’s like the Navy SEALS of teacher prep. The new grads who are selected for MATCH Teacher Residency are already some of our nation’s highest performers. Then they’re given the tools and training needed to take their talent and translate it to education. That way, when they start teaching, they’re 100% ready to deliver the kind of results that the administration, parents, and students at MATCH expect. In addition to the training, MATCH Teacher Residents also participate in MATCH Corps (which you can read about below).
MATCH Teacher Residency accepts applicants from all majors, and no prior teaching experience is required. You just need an extreme passion for education and the willingness to give your students everything that you have. If you’re interested in MATCH Teacher Residency, you can read about the application process and apply here.
MATCH Corps was the first program of its kind when it launched in 2004. It is a yearlong tutoring fellowship for 90 top recent college graduates. MATCH Corps members work one-on-one with six to eight MATCH High School or Middle School students each day for an entire academic year. Corps members live together in apartments nearby the Middle School and in a dorm on the top floor of the High School. This is a full-time position, and it gives Corps members the opportunity to develop meaningful personal relationships with students in a way that classroom teaching never can. In addition to teaching, Corps members also undertake secondary projects such as serving as teaching assistants, coaching teams, or leading extracurricular programs. This is a grueling program that requires an average of 60 hours per week, but it’s worth it. Through MATCH Corps, MATCH Charter Public School is able to ensure that every student receives at least 2 hours of individual tutoring every day. It’s a big part of the “secret sauce” that makes MATCH special.
MATCH Corps also accepts applicants from all majors, and once again no prior teaching experience is required. If you’re not sure if teaching a class of 25 is for you, but you want to work face to face with students who are hungry for success, then you can read about the application process and apply for MATCH Corps here.
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My roommate went through this program and it was interesting to hear the types of students and work she had to do throughout the year. From tutoring to coaching a sports team, the work is truly 60 hours a week (weekends, nights, mornings). Most of the people in the MATCH Corps do not come from an education background interestingly enough.