How It Works:
1. Identify and Train a MATCH School Coordinator: A MATCH School Coordinator (most often a physical education or science teacher with interest in wellness) is identified and trained by MATCH Administrative Staff to oversee MATCH implementation in the school.
2. Organize School and Staff Setup: The MATCH School Coordinator meets with school administrators and teachers to identify subject-matter 7th grade teachers responsible for implementation of lessons and activities and also teachers or staff responsible for fitness testing.
3. Train School MATCH Team: The MATCH Team at the school watches an introductory video (12-minutes) on MATCH implementation. The video briefly explains overview and sequencing of key lessons and activities during the Kick-Off. Teachers also are taught to login, access curricula, customize their classes, access data for lessons, and record lessons taught in their checklist. Additionally, the team determines a schedule for the Kick-Off Interdisciplinary Unit and data collection.
4. Implement the Kick-Off Interdisciplinary Unit: The Kick-Off Interdisciplinary Unit includes the delivery of lessons that address important wellness concepts, administration of online surveys (SEAT and PANT surveys) that provide baseline self-assessments of student health behaviors, fitness testing, and initial measurement of height and weight for BMI computation. Findings from these initial assessments are used by the students in developing personalized S.M.A.R.T. goals around weight management, fitness, and/or technology usage that together comprise individual Action Plans. These plans outline strategies for reaching goals and are referenced throughout MATCH implementation.
5. Deliver Core Lessons and Student Activities throughout school year: Core Lessons and activities are to be delivered by subject-matter teachers, and the MATCH School Coordinator ensures timely implementation of these lessons and activities.
6. Monitor Progress and Achievements: Using the online Curriculum Management System, the MATCH School Coordinator can monitor lesson delivery by subject-matter teachers. Additionally, students are encouraged to take the PANT survey throughout MATCH implementation (at least 30 days in between) in order to monitor individual progress and goal-setting for health behavior changes.
7. Conduct Post-Data Collection: Following the completion of the MATCH curriculum, students are to complete the post-SEAT online survey. Fitness testing for all students is also conducted and measurements of height and weight are done for BMI calculation. Using the data collected pre- and post-implementation of the MATCH curriculum allows the MATCH team and school officials to examine changes in students’ health behaviors, fitness, and BMI and evaluate MATCH’s effectiveness and public health benefits
Keys to Success:
- Support and involvement by the school principal is important, and support of higher level of school administration (e.g., School Superintendent) is also very helpful.
- Selecting a MATCH School Coordinator who is well-respected, energetic and skilled to manage program roles and responsibilities is critical to success.The MATCH School Coordinator must closely monitor and track progress around lesson delivery. Using the online Curriculum Management System, the Coordinator can examine when and what lessons were taught by the subject-level teachers, which can provide school administrators with feedback for transparency and accountability. The school principal also has access to the Curriculum Management System and should support the School Coordinator as needed with low performing staff members to insure fidelity.
- Enacting frequent teacher “check-ins” via email communication can help to prompt timely lesson delivery.
- Starting the program each year with the Kick-Off Interdisciplinary Unit helps to assure key content is provided in optimal sequence. In all, the curriculum provides access to up to 88 lessons; however, results have shown consistently that if approximately 25 lessons are taught in appropriate sequence then results are achieved
Barriers to Implementation:
- Insufficient teacher training and inadequate lesson planning can interfere with the delivery of key lessons and disrupt the sequence of lesson delivery.
- Staff turnover (i.e., school administration and/or teachers) could affect the maintenance of MATCH within the school.
- Subject-level teachers may see their involvement in MATCH as taking away from other class instruction, so efforts must be taken to assure teachers that lessons have already been developed and are embedded within national curriculum standards.
- Use of the Student Dashboard may be underutilized by students, thus limiting the effect of positive feedback and peer recognition on reinforcing good nutrition and PA choices.