I'm curmudgeonly in terms of showing appreciation. A flaw. I think I still owe a few cards from my bar mitzvah in 1982. Sorry Mom. Our calc teacher Chris, on the other hand, bursts with gratitude. Always. Here's a thank you note he wrote after his kids took the AP exam last month.
If we ever cobble together a course called Teacher Professionalism, this could be Exhibit A. Sure, maybe a bit heavy on the !!!'s. But if you ever met Chris, you'd know they were authentic. He wrote:
Good Morning Team MATCH,
Yesterday was the Big Day! Being somewhat broken and slow at most of what I do right now, I am a day late sending out my Thank You notes.
Seniors finished plugging away at their AP calculus exams, while students all over the country engage in the same task. What made yesterday and our students unique at MATCH (and this is very painful for me to type what’s next) is that the majority of our seniors would not have been allowed admittance into the AP calculus track as 9th graders in most high schools (given their low math skills upon arrival). Our school is different. We’re one of a small group of schools driving this charge toward equity and having some success doing it.
For this, I want to take this opportunity through email to Thank those who are involved in this great work. (Yes, the list is long…)
1. Brian Persaud and Hakim Walker, my TAs—The two of you were the life force of this course. You are both INCREDIBLE!!! Thank you for enduring the hurricane named Dupuis (without great support from me), while spending countless hours teaching, tutoring, pushing, grading, listening, and taking risks every day we came to this great work in calculus. You built a team this year that jumped seemingly insurmountable hurdles. We owe so much of our success to you both!!! I can’t thank you enough!!!
2. Sara Gussin – for helping me with everything short of doing my laundry this year, as we took on work in math at so many different fronts. You are a math genius, and I am so thankful to have had the fortune of working with you in another year of great strides toward a MATCH Calculus Empire of success. Our kids 6-12 owe so much to you for the brain power you have put into the courses that we teach!
3. Meg McDonough, Sheila Bharucha, Joanna Sanborn, Christie Paul, Dionte Henderson, and Siobhan Atkins—for handling the logistics for all of these AP Exams and supporting us with a million small pieces, from breakfast to signs to paperwork to smiles. Yesterday’s Calculus Exam was the smoothest exam morning we have ever experienced. Your support afforded us the perfect relaxed mindset to begin yesterday’s exam.
4. Alia Smith, Sandy Little, Paul Leonard, Meg McDonough, Joanne Liu, Sabrina Benedict, Matt Higger, Kiernan Joyce, Whitney Buckholz, Gina DiVito, Mary Ripple (so sorry if I forgot someone)--for being the ultimate supportive proctor team yesterday. It’s no easy job, especially in the absence of anything electronic!
5. The Math Department Folks (both current and former) who work so steadily not just to teach math to our students but also to prepare them for all that is so much larger than just the scope of a one-year course! (Jared, Kirsten, Collins, Nedra, and the countless Math TA’s we’ve worked with through the years at MATCH—YOU ROCK!!)
6. MATCH Corps VI—for the sacrifices you make in so many ways to support our students in the difficult work we lay before them each year and you each day! The investment you make is invaluable, inspiring, and humbling! Without you, this wouldn’t work!
7. MATCH Corps V (and former Corps as well) – for planting the seeds and continuing to water them even now so many months and years later. The relationships you built with our students are such a significant part of what got us here today!
8. Alan Safran and Mike Goldstein – for the constant support you’ve given us all these years and for the many conversations along the way that have given us the courage and inspiration to aim higher and think outside the box. It’s a difficult skill to set a high bar for teachers. It’s a delicate skill to help them set that high bar for themselves! You two are such great leaders!
9. Charlie Sposato—for teaching me the humility that this profession begs of us, knowing that every moment in the classroom is about the needs, growth, and success of our kids. Your work as an educator is present in each of us who strives to carry on the wisdom you imparted to us, both in and outside the classroom. Thank you for everything Charlie!
10. The MATCH high school teachers, both former and present (ELA, Spanish, History, Science) – no success here at MATCH is earned by a single person, a single class, or a single department. Every time each of you pushes our kids to think harder, work more efficiently, write better, articulate more clearly—you name it—this is what brings our students to points of success in life, in college, and yes, even on exams. Whatever success our students find is a result of the work by all. It certainly does “take a village.”
11. Joanne Liu—for all that you do to support the needs of our students. Your work is such a gift to all of us here at MATCH. P.s. Vatana nailed calculus this year!
12. Joanna Sanborn—for the blood, sweat, and tears that went into supporting the road to college acceptance and financial support for each of our seniors. Your coming to MATCH was such a blessing, and the calm and thoughtful way you tied up all the loose ends is a gift to each of us who work with you. Thank you for all your support this year!!!
13. The staff in all of the offices – from Catherine at the front desk to Richard, Kristina, Julia, and Kim in the offices upstairs, you support us in so many ways behind the scenes, and this support keeps us and this complex place running so smoothly! Any note here in an email would never sufficiently thank you for all the thankless work you do day-in and day-out.
14. The Corps Staff—for the million and one things you do to support the operations of our school to make our journey as smooth as possible. The investment you show in our community coming back for Round 2 of MATCH is nothing short of humbling. Thank you!!!!
15. Lisa Hwang—for your unending personal support AND for the courage you show each day you work with the Middle School team to prepare your students for their high school work down the road. You and your team are planting the seeds right now in those who will be taking their AP Calculus exam 5 years from now. That time will go by fast, as we all know! From the bottom of my heart, Lisa, Thank You!
16. The Middle School team – for the insane amount of work and dedication it takes to educate your students while also trying to build a middle school from the ground up! You are brave, courageous pioneers! We can’t wait to celebrate your successes through all the years ahead.
17. Fernando Acosta, Sean Koebley, David Bloom, and Marilyn Yorgey – For driving math at the Middle School in a way that will allow every single MATCH student to have access to AP Calculus by the time they are seniors here at the High School. It is no easy task, but your willingness to set such a high bar will pay off in the end. Know that YOU are the key to success for your students in high school. Thank you so much for your dedication!
18. Our School Board—who work behind the scenes to uphold all that is MATCH! Few of us have any idea how hard you work to keep this school running while also reaching outward and forward to further the cause for which we fight today in education. Without your work, this school would not have survived!
19. Jorge, Meg, Alia, and Mike Larsson – for all the leadership support you give us to see our work through to the end of the year in the smoothest way we know how. Thank you for the countless and thankless hours (blood, sweat, and tears) that come with the work you do each day here at MATCH. Few know what it really takes to run such a wealth of programs in such a small school setting.
20. And to our Seniors—not just for surviving this year through crazy amounts of demanding work, but for thriving in so many ways. What an awesome job this class has done! It was one of our best years ever, and they navigated through this year with much grace!
Hats Off to our MATCH community,
(P.s. Please chime in if there is anyone I did not include here….)
Isaac Newton, maybe. Leibniz, too. Plus these guys. But that's it.