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Matthew Ratz

Imagining and implementing game-changing approaches to persnickety organizational challenges since 2006

Work experience

Oct 2014Present

Adult Day Program Administrator

CHI Centers Inc.

CHI Centers, Inc. has been a service provider supporting hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities across three counties in Maryland for over 65 years. As the Adult Day Program Administrator, I supervise a team of managers and instructors who provide training and leisure activities to adults with disabilities like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities so that they can gain job-related skills, gain a sense of accomplishment, and pursue high qualities of life. As a member of the administrative team, I manage the Adult Day Program's fiscal needs within the organization's $16M annual budget, and I also contribute to the strategic planning and serve as an advocate for our participants and other adults with developmental disabilities in Maryland and across the nation.

Aug 2010Present

Adjunct Professor of English

Montgomery College

Montgomery College, despite being recognized as a premier two-year college not only in the region, but across the country, continues to be seen by high school grads as "grade 13." Too many students emerge from Montgomery County Public Schools assuming they "know it all." One of the challenges for two-year college faculty is treading the fine line between being supportive of under-prepared learners without letting them know they are considered "under-prepared." Over the past eight semesters, I have taught multiple sections of the College's composition sequence, English 001 and 002 (developmental), 101 and 101A (introductory), and 102 (research and rhetoric). I have guided students through different modes of academic, reflective, and research-based writing, and have demonstrated not only high levels of engagement and student satisfaction, but also an 85% passing rate so far among students. Students have remarked that I am one of their "best professors" (according to both formal College evaluations and informal feedback such as www.ratemyprofessors.com). Additionally, I have facilitated professional development for staff on the topics of differentiated instruction and assessment in the community college classroom, Millennial students at school and at work, and students with autism in the college classroom. I am often asked to develop trainings for staff because of my reputation as an informed, engaging, and provocative presenter. My differentiated instruction presentation was shared at the 2013 Lily conference for University and College Teaching and received "Some of the best feedback I've ever seen," according to the confernce director, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek. My Millennials presentation was shared at NISOD 2014 in Austin, TX to a stand-room-only crowd.

Jul 2012Oct 2014

Vocational Training Coordinator

CSAAC
The challenge for CSAAC's Supported Employment program, prior to July 2010, was how to engage individuals in productive job-skills training during their non-working hours. Of the 100+ individuals supported by this program, 75% spend some time in community-based employment, but not the full 20+ hours required by the COMAR of the Developmental Disabilities Administration. In order to meet the DDA requirements, and in order to provide high-quality service to the individuals we support, CSAAC needed a solution. Since my arrival, a coordinated, well-maintained, and regularly-updated program of hands-on vocational training has been developed. During their non-working hours, individuals have over 240 options for continued professional development. My office at CSAAC serves as the resource library, and I am "on-call" throughout the day to support individuals and their staff in vocational training. Not only have I built relationships with the 100+ adults with autism supported by CSAAC, but I have nurtured meaningful rapport among the direct-support staff employed by CSAAC. Through coaching, on-time training, and formal and informal instruction, I have shifted the culture of the Vocational Training Center. Also, as the author and facilitator of trainings such as "Autism 201," "Building Collaborative Relationships," and "Coaching and Mentoring Peers," I have begun to develop the next generation of peer-leaders across CSAAC's programmatic departments.
Jul 2010Feb 2012

Learning Specialist, Boys Division

Yeshiva of Greater Washington
As a private, religious school, the Yeshiva of Greater Washington does not have the same Federally-mandated support systems for students with learning differences. At the same time, as an educational institution in the 21st Century, the Yeshiva recognized that not all learners succeed in the same way. As the Learning Specialist for the Secular program, I wrote and facilitated the Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for all of the school's exceptional learners, about 20% of the student population. I worked with teachers on a variety of strategies and instructional approaches to help all students succeed, and I coordinated with administrators, parents, and other stakeholders to ensure that, as a school, the Yeshiva did all it could to include students with learning needs in all of the school's programs. Aside from my administrative responsibilities, I also taught two sections of mixed-ability English Language Arts classes, to 7th graders and 10th graders, both of which required significant differentiation, but both of which were engaging, energized, and meaningful. Students would often remark that they had "never cared about English class before" as much as I inspired them to in my time at the school.
Aug 2009Jun 2010

Middle School English Teacher

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
Truesdell Educational Campus in NW DC was a Title-I school that failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2007 and 2008. The administration and leadership team sought the skill and passion of exceptional educators to "turn the school around" in 2009. Educators were recruited from prestigious universities as well as from the local area. I was among that minted group. As a teacher of English, I developed and delivered lessons in critical reading and writing which elevated students’ reading levels by an average of 1 ½ years in 5 months (i.e. reading level grade 8 to reading level grade 10). I also supported a group of able readers in an advisory program that developed their social skills and professional aspirations. Additionally, as part of a school-wide campaign to prioritize post-secondary matriculation, I spearheaded an experiential learning program to introduce 8th-grade students to high school and college campus experiences throughout the region. With field trips to GWU, Hampton University, and Norfolk State University, as well as visits to magnet high schools like the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts, our middle school team successfully encouraged more than 90% of graduating 8th graders to apply for challenging high school placements and persist in formal education.

Education

20112011

Certificate of Completion

University of Virginia
Actively participated in the week-long conference "Summer Institute on Academic Diversity" led by Carol Ann Tomlinson and the University of Virgina's Curry School of Education faculty.
20052006

Master of Education; Master's

University of Maryland College Park
Seminar Paper Topic: Teaching Literature through the use of dramatic, performance-based classroom activities, titled From the Page to the Stage...& other rhymes, April 2006.
20022005

Bachelor of Arts

University of Maryland College Park
20032004

NA

The University of Sheffield

Skills

Academic Advising
Educational Technology
Volunteer Management
Student Development
Student Affairs
Editing
Differentiated Instruction
Educational Leadership
Training
Program Development
E-Learning
Special Education
Ausitm
Community Outreach
Interviews
Coaching
Program Management
Leadership
Nonprofits
Customer Service
Classroom
Higher Education
Tutoring
Staff Development
Adult Education
Instructional Design
Educational Outreach
Social Media
Blogging
Desktop Publishing
Public Speaking
Research
Writing
Teaching
Curriculum Development
Curriculum Design