School Name: Match Next
Grades Served: 5-8
Location: Boston, MA
Operator: Match Education
Operator Type: Charter
Students at Opening: 50
Students at Capacity: 200
Blended Model Type: Flex
Key Features: Next Generation Staffing Model, Flexible Learning Spaces
When Match Next opens in inner-city Boston in fall 2014, it will build on the success of the “no excuses” charter’s existing schools, Match Charter Public School (6–12) and Match Community Day (currently PK-5; eventually K–12).
Match Next builds on one of the most successful practices of the original Match schools – high-dosage tutoring. In the original Match model, each student receives two hours of supplemental tutoring each day in addition to traditional classroom instruction. In the Match Next model, students will not spend any time in a traditional classroom, and instead will work directly with tutors, and targeted technology, for all of their instruction. Master teachers will closely supervise tutors and develop and manage the overall curriculum and instructional model. During the school day, students will work through digital content (matched to their level of understanding and mastery) and participate in small group discussions and activities.
The small-group approach allows a tutor to get to know students on a more intimate level, understanding their unique learning styles and potential challenges. The tutors can leverage those connections to design engaging activities—discussions, debates, and problem-solving sessions—that match students’ interests and skill levels. Technology is used to maximize the quality of instruction. The model also frees a master teacher to circulate through the room, pulling aside students who might need more intensive remediation or observing the tutors to generate feedback for the next day’s morning strategy session. Each master teacher will have access to a real-time data dashboard to pinpoint students who might be struggling with a specific lesson or concept.
The goal is to provide students with a high-touch, deeply personalized experience that still fosters a sense of collaboration and engagement with their peers and instructors. By leveraging tutors for instruction, a single master teacher can provide support to a much larger number of students. This model allows a given school to leverage the talent of a smaller number of exceptional teachers – a rare commodity.
The use of digital content will provide high-quality instruction and data monitoring tools that supplement the work of tutors. Match envisions its new school as a technology research platform that can generate reality-based knowledge about which technology and tools work best with low-income, inner-city students—kids who must make rapid academic gains to reach grade-level proficiency (and then excel further).
The organization has built a strong relationship base to share its knowledge, including regional partnerships in Newark, Houston, Denver, and New Orleans. By disseminating “what works” about its model and training processes, Match hopes to serve a growing community of blended learning schools, rather than simply multiply its own.
This year, Match Next is piloting its model with the fourth grade class at Match Community Day. Fifty fourth-grade students spend half of their day in traditional classes and the other half of the day in a Match Next pilot classroom. This pilot is a tremendous opportunity to test their model and iron out any issues before they open with a full-time school in the fall of 2014.