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Peter V.

Jana June 22, 2018

The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High
(619) 206-7755 - cell

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to enthusiastically support the career aspirations of Matthew Patrick. I have been teaching for
14 years and have worked with Matt in several capacities: as his mentor when he was my student teacher
and as a colleague on the Humanities faculty of High Tech High. Matt is a highly valued and trusted
member of our community. His dedication to students, his colleagues, and to the teaching profession is
of the highest caliber.

I have had many student teachers over the years and it did not take long for me to recognize Matt as a
stellar individual and teacher. Our project that semester was ambitious and its success would not have
been possible without Matt. Students studied Latin American revolutions, wrote original plays based on
history, and gave public performances of those plays. Matt played an integral role in developing and
implementing history lessons, working one-on-one with students, managing rehearsals, and implementing
a wide-range of best practices. Matt was deep in the trenches, doing challenging work. His talents and
dedication did not go unnoticed by students, faculty, and administrators.

Matt made such an impression he was hired as a full-time member of the faculty. The admiration and
respect that he earned as a student teacher only grew. Matt is the kind of person who empathically
connects with a broad range of people and age groups. He is quick to lend a helping hand and to
collaborate on the design and implementation of projects. He takes peer feedback seriously and is
professional and kind in providing it.

Matt is additionally admired for providing rigorous and academically challenging curriculum that is
meaningful and engages a broad range of students. These qualities were exemplified in ​Immigrant
Stories - a project developed by Matt that challenged students to write historical fiction based on the
history of immigration. Translating a deep engagement with history into compelling fictional stories is no
mean feat. Matt prepared his students for success through skillful planning and teaching. The writing
goals were scaffolded in a way that supported students without limiting their creativity. Matt additionally
modeled good writing and implemented a structure for peer editing.

Matt takes advantage of opportunities to connect with the local community. During the immigration
project he partnered with the Border Angels, a local immigrant rights organization. Separated by the
fence that divides the U.S. from Mexico, his students had conversations with deported veterans and
parents who had been separated from their children. Providing these kinds of opportunities for students
is one of the things that sets Matt apart. History, literature, and current events become more meaningful
than they otherwise would because Matt develops these partnerships and thoughtfully plans curriculum.

Matt will be greatly missed. He will undoubtedly contribute to your learning community the way he has to
ours - with compassion to others and a dedication to the craft of teaching.


Peter V. Jana, M.A.