Partnering to Improve Student Education

March 26, 2018
Partnership signing ceremony at the Harvard-Kent School
(l-r) Robert Consalvo from Boston Public Schools, MGH Institute President Paula Milone-Nuzzo, Harvard-Kent Principal Jason Gallagher, and Rep. Dan Ryan celebrate the creation of the partnership.

MGH Institute of Health Professions and Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown have created a formal partnership intended to improve pupils’ literacy skills and health while increasing opportunities for MGH Institute graduate students to learn about the needs of elementary school children.

The collaboration will strengthen the existing relationship between the Charlestown health sciences graduate school and the K-5 public school. For the past several years, students from the MGH Institute’s speech-language pathology program have done clinical rotations at the Harvard-Kent, assisting pupils with reading skills.

“While we are excited about the ways we have collaborated to date, we know there is so much more these two great educational organizations can achieve together because we have similar missions,” said MGH Institute President Paula Milone-Nuzzo. “This is just the beginning.”

For Harvard-Kent Principal Jason Gallagher, developing a stronger association with the MGH Institute is welcomed. “This partnership recognizes the importance of what the MGH Institute can do to help our students become better learners,” he said. “We’re very excited about it.”

Other anticipated benefits of the partnership include impacting the health and well-being of the Harvard-Kent community, and building an educational bridge that serves the Charlestown and Greater Boston community. To assist in this effort, the Institute announced it will hire a part-time coordinator to oversee the various activities and look for new opportunities in which the schools can collaborate.

“Partnerships like these are the glue that holds our schools together,” said Robert Consalvo, chief of staff for Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang. “It’s crucial that the Institute is willing to invest in Harvard-Kent to bring it to new heights. It’s what makes our schools and the city of Boston so strong.”

Dr. Emily Zeman, an instructor of occupational therapy at the MGH Institute, during the past year has taught mindfulness techniques to many Harvard-Kent teachers and pupils. Dr. Joanna Christodoulou, an assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, led a summer literacy program in 2017 that she will continue this summer using a grant from the school department. Also, for the past several years, Harvard-Kent has hosted students during the IHP’s annual Community IMPACT Day of service, while the graduate school has made several donations of books, games, and other supplies.

“The MGH Institute is a great resource for the community, and this is an example of what it does,” said state Representative Dan Ryan, whose district includes Charlestown. “This partnership will help to break down the walls in communities by teaching the next generation of learners.”