When it comes to advancing the personalized education experience, Hope College and Career Readiness Academy teacher Matthew Drexel says it’s all about the data.
Yet it wasn’t always that way. Drexel, who has been teaching for 12 years, graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at a time when the use of data in education wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today.
“The emphasis on data management has been a major shift since I entered the field of education,” Drexel said. “Obviously with the normalizing of computers as staples in developing curriculum and administering curriculum, there is a lot more access to data points for teachers to analyze and really individualize instruction.”
To keep up with that shfit, Drexel didn’t end his education with his bachelor’s—he’s gone on to earn his master’s degree and has kept himself up-to-date with the latest technological advances in education through professional development opportunities provided by the district.
In his current role, Drexel utilizes such data to educate students in grades 9 through 12, with a particular focus on transition courses and preparing students for post-secondary education and careers. He also manages individual internship projects and credit recovery scenarios.
While the metrics related to educational sophistication may not look the same as they did when Drexel was a student, the principles of teaching and education have not changed. He learned those principles from his father, who was the director of a charter school in Southern Arizona.
“He was pretty inspirational in being the caring adult in my life, but also allowing me an inside look at the education system from a few different viewpoints,” Drexel said.
Drexel also credits the coaches who supported him throughout his own experience as major influences in his life.
As for his current role, Drexel gets his motivation from student success.
“The thing that really motivates me every day is student success, and it really does motivate me to be better in my profession and take that extra care in planning and the extra steps in communicating the expectations to the team of people, including the parents and administration as well as colleagues district-wide,” Drexel said. “I think when it comes together, from an organization standpoint, it really has the ability to affect meaningful change and set people up for success.”
Drexel, who lives within his district, regularly sees his students around the community—and for him, that’s a great part of the overall experience. He believes that student success equals success for the entire community.
“Ultimately, a rising tide lifts all boats,” Drexel said.