The Collegian
Sunday, May 31, 2020

Match Corps takes aim at student learning achievement gap

Every school day, Lauren Camuso, WC'12, meets with a small group of middle school students to tutor and help them with homework.

Camuso is a dedicated member of Match Corps, a full-time professional tutoring fellowship that focuses on closing the achievement gap between students and ultimately helping them find college success, said Sara Parr, recruitment manager for Match Corps. This goal applies to all students, whether they are English Language Learners, are generally falling behind, have learning disabilities or are straight-A students, Parr said.

The Boston-based program operates at a high school, a middle school and a K-12 school, Parr said. Camuso is a tutor at the Match Charter Public Middle School.

On an average day, Camuso tutors her six students in English and math. English tutorials include vocabulary exercises, journal writing, practice for standardized tests and guided group readings, Camuso said. Math sessions require her to work closely with the middle school's math teachers to prepare packets of practice problems.

During her undergraduate career, Camuso majored in sociology with a minor in elementary education, in preparation for a teaching career. "During my junior year I realized that being a classroom teacher wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, so I started pursuing other options," she said. "I liked the idea of working with kids in an academic setting, just not as a classroom teacher."

The Match Corps allows her to use her education background, but also allows her to be involved in the behavioral and emotional aspects of her students' lives, she said.

Camuso was unsure of what she wanted to do after graduating, so she began job searching in the Boston area, where she is originally from, she said.

The Match Corps is only a one-year program, which intrigued Camuso, as well, she said. She interviewed for the tutoring position last spring and started working with the Corps at the beginning of August, she said.

The program also prepares Corps members for their future plans. Tutors learn important teaching skills and classroom management, but also gain a sense of responsibility for community, Parr said. Once the tutors finish their one-year commitment to the Match Corps, many go on to successfully teach, attend graduate school or become involved in public policy, Parr said.

Camuso has been applying to graduate programs for social work and is waiting to hear back, she said.

As she continues her life after graduation, Camuso imparted a few words of wisdom for college students: "Enjoy it! Spend time with friends while you still live a short walk away from each other. You will always have work to do but your friends won't always be so close."

Contact reporter Mia Webber at mia.webber@richmond.edu

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