Mark Silva is Vice Principal and Special Education Administrator at the Harvard-Kent School of Boston Public Schools in Charlestown, serving local students as well as special education students from across the city with emotional/behavioral needs. Mark came to the school 14 years ago to administer that special education program, now regarded as one of the best in the city. Previously, Mark worked for 15 years as an administrator, social worker and youth worker in Chelsea, South Boston, and Jamaica Plain.
As part of the Harvard-Kent’s administrative team, Mark has contributed to the school’s ongoing improvement. The school was awarded the most recent Edvestors’ School on the Move award – the most prestigious school award in the city, annually recognizing one school using innovative strategies and achieving positive results for all its student groups.
Mark has found that a universal need all students possess is to understand the world of careers and individual finance. With this understanding, students can develop a true “future focus,” and can see themselves concretely achieving their dreams. Yet he also has found that this need it not sufficiently met in our schools and youth programs.
To better address this need, Mark first accessed Junior Achievement’s JA in a Day seven years ago. JA Day is now a valued tradition at the Harvard-Kent. The caring of the professional volunteers leads the students to care about the lessons. Students not only enjoy the day. They also retain the core lesson objectives, developing their financial literacy. As students understand better the “game of life” the “game” of careers and finance, they become more motivated students. Believing that they can be successful they are willing to work harder to get there.