Governor Patrick Visits Match Community Day School to Celebrate “Smart Cap” Charters and Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap
New MATCH school focuses on serving English Language Learners
BOSTON – Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today visited students and teachers at the newly opened MATCH Community Day School (MCD) in Jamaica Plain to congratulate the school for its work in helping all students achieve at high levels. During his visit, Governor Patrick discussed the important role this school and others like it play in supporting the Administration’s efforts to close the achievement gap.
The school serves primarily English Language Learners (ELLs), with the highest proportion of ELL students in Boston. More than 85 percent of the school’s students speak a language other than English at home, including: Cape Verdean Creole, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Somali and Vietnamese.
“MATCH Community Day is helping some of our neediest students chart a path to educational success,” said Governor Patrick. “I commend their leadership in taking on this challenge and I look forward to seeing more innovative schools like MATCH open across the Commonwealth.”
MCD opened in August and serves just over 100 pre-K and 2nd grade students. Over the next five years the school will grow to a pre-K through 6th grade school. MCD’s charter was approved last year under the “smart cap” provision of the Achievement Gap Act of 2010. This “smart cap” allows the best performing charters to replicate in regions of the state with the most student need. The cap on district net school spending for funding of charter schools will be raised from nine percent to a maximum of 18 percent through incremental steps. The cap lift only applies to districts with academic performance in the lowest 10 percent as measured by MCAS and applicants under the cap lift must have a proven track record of success in increasing academic attainment and commit to working with a diverse population of students. Sixteen charter schools, including MCD, were approved last year after the cap was raised, bringing the total number of charter schools across the state to 79.
The “smart cap” also requires these charter schools to recruit and make efforts to retain students from high-need populations, such as low-income, limited English proficient and special education students. MCD has responded to the call to serve these high-need students, explicitly seeking students that do not speak English as a first language.
MCD is also a collaborative effort of two proven providers: MATCH Charter Public School in Boston and Lawrence Community Day Charter Public School. Both organizations bring particular expertise to this new school. MATCH in Boston has a proven track record of positive academic results for students achieved through a highly structured program with a culture of high expectations for all, and Lawrence Community Day Charter School has been successful with English Language Learners.
“We are deeply committed to providing every child with a pathway to success regardless of the challenges those students may face,” said Secretary of Education Paul Reville. “MATCH Community Day is a wonderful example of a school that’s reaching kids at a young age and leveraging key partnerships to build a platform of high achievement for its students.”
The school uses a number of tools to meet each student where he or she is at, most notably with its tutoring corps program, MATCH Corps, which is a year of service program for recent college graduates. Corps members provide one-on-one tutoring sessions with each MCD student, assist in classes, run homework sessions and engage in intensive outreach to families. Every MATCH student received two hours of tutoring per day. MCD also operates under the premise that parent engagement starts at the teacher level. Rather than waiting for parents to become involved, each teacher and tutor at MCD calls parents individually and proactively, to give regular updates on student progress, translating where needed.
"I was honored to join Governor Patrick at MATCH Community Day School today and I commend the administrators and staff at MCD for their phenomenal work so far this year," said Representative Alice Peisch. "The state legislature and the Patrick-Murray Administration are continuing to invest in new education strategies that will help students who are most in need and MCD serves as an example of how to successfully use those resources to improve the quality of education for students from all backgrounds."