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Through the Partnerships in Education program, the School of Education sends students into community organizations to tutor and mentor children. Here, Venecia Lewis-Mumford, a supervisor at the St. James Educational Center, talks with NU students about what they will be doing in the field.

Special Programs Extend School of Education's Urban Mission

Northeastern's School of Education was established in 1999 with a unique mission: to prepare community dedicated educators who can foster the academic achievement and personal success of children in diverse urban settings. Toward that end, the school has developed several innovative programs.

To date, community partners have benefited from an astounding 26,000 hours of mentoring, teaching, and tutoring provided by 875 Northeastern students.

Partnerships in Education (PIE) is a collaboration with eleven community organizations — such as America Reads, Cape Verdean Community UNIDO, and SquashBusters — that provides enrichment programs for children in Roxbury and Dorchester, and hands-on experience for Northeastern students in the communities in which they may eventually teach.

Similarly, the Community-Based Literacy Development Initiative advances the school's efforts to increase literacy through community after-school programs.

The program sends upper-level education students into city programs to tutor children in reading and writing; provides on-site professional development consultants; and establishes or expands site libraries.

To date, community partners have benefited from an astounding 26,000 hours of mentoring, teaching, and tutoring provided by 875 Northeastern students. The success of these partnerships earned the university a 2004 Higher Education Partnership Award from Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino.

According to Susan Spurlock, associate director for school and community relations, these partnerships have a broad influence on the School of Education. "PIE, in particular, informed the way we think about training urban teachers. It helped shape our mission," she notes.

Recognizing the critical role guidance counselors play in the lives of school children, the school recently created the new Gilbert Fellows program, which will bring guidance counselors to campus to share ideas, best practices, and trends.

Ten counselors will be selected annually to present workshops to Northeastern teachers and counselors-in-training, as well as fellow guidance counselors and educators.

"We are delighted to be able to provide our students with exposure to and insight from professionals who can talk about the rewards and challenges of counseling schoolchildren, especially in the urban environment," says Carol Doherty, director of the school's Professional Development program.

All three programs are supported by private gifts. PIE was funded by a grant of $1.25 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The literacy initiative received a $499,000 anonymous grant.

The Gilbert Fellows program is supported by a generous gift from Joy S. Gilbert, UC'69, Med'72, and Richard J. Gilbert. The idea struck a chord in Joy, a guidance counselor at Lexington High School for twenty-five years. "I loved every minute," she recalls. "Counselors carry students through four years, from acclimating freshman to college applications. It's an important relationship."

School of Education
Partnerships in Education
This article was published in the March 2005 issue of Northeastern University Magazine.

Copyright 2006 Northeastern University. All rights reserved.