Matthew La Rocque

2012 Rappaport Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 24, 2012

Graduate School:Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: University of California, Berkeley
Areas of interest: Education
Mentors:Tiziana Dearing, Boston Rising Inc.
Placement:Boston Public Schools/Boston Teacher Residency
Supervisors: Shoma Haque, Chief Operating Officer, Boston Plan for Excellence and Marcie Osinsky, Curriculum Director, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston Public Schools
Project description:In his role with BPE and the Boston Public Schools' Boston Teacher Residency, Matthew researched ways in which BPE can strengthen their revenue streams in the years to come. Specifically, he analyzed earned income models and human resource practices of similar organizations across the country, and proposed strategies to BPE's senior leadership team. His research culminated with a presentation to BPE’s CEO and COO on the strategies that he felt they should pursue.

Along the way, he learned that non-profit organizations like BPE need to work in close partnership with their local government counterparts if they hope to be successful. The conventional wisdom is that the non-profit sector is there to address what government cannot. But the non-profit and government sectors don’t have to be siloed – they can work together.

Matthew says that the Rappaport Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity to not only gain insights into state and local government institutions in Massachusetts; it also affords fellows the chance to reimagine their public sector careers. Having worked in federal policy and national politics for several years prior to entering graduate school, I saw the Rappaport Fellowship as a perfect opportunity to learn more about the capacity for change at the local level, and the experience did not disappoint.

In addition to my work with BPE, the fellowship’s co-curricular programming introduced me to a diverse fellowship cohort and showed me the City of Boston in a more revealing way than I ever could have imagined. From a visit at an after-school arts program in South Boston to a tour of a wind turbine blade testing facility, I benefitted from an incredible "insider’s view" into what makes the city of Boston tick.