Matthew Pietrafetta founded Academic Approach in 2001 and has since supervised the organization’s one-on-one tutoring and school programs instructional services as well as its curriculum and technology development. Whether working with lead trainers to provide the highest-quality support to Academic Approach’s tutors or collaborating with school leaders to deliver the instructional support that helps teachers drive higher student achievement, Matthew is committed to constantly improving the quality of Academic Approach’s instructional practices and services.
Matthew earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English Language and Literature at Columbia University in New York City. After teaching in Columbia’s Core Curriculum for several years, while at the same time preparing New York City high school students for college entrance exams, Matthew wanted to define a model of test preparation based less on strategy and more on skills-development. Academic Approach views test preparation as a means to an academic end: teaching vital college readiness skills that help not only raise scores but also prepare students for academic success both on and beyond the test.
What achievement or success story at Academic Approach are you most proud of?
“I remember receiving a letter from one of Academic Approach’s first alumni, a hard-working student, who had learned through tutorial to compensate for her learning differences with extra effort, disciplined methods, and careful strategic approaches to problem solving. The result? Great growth in her academic performance and ultimately admission to her first-choice school. Enclosed was a copy of her first graded essay from freshman seminar. She received an A, and her professor had written some effusive praise about her impressive command of the argument. Under those comments, she wrote, ‘I learned these skills and how to apply them successfully from Academic Approach! Thank you!’, and next to this note she drew a giant smiley face. I felt useful, happy, and proud as a teacher and mentor. That experience–and many other rewarding ones like it over the years–helped shape Academic Approach’s mission: Teaching Beyond the Test™.” -Matthew Pietrafetta