What is the Harvard Ed Portal Mentoring Program?
What is the Harvard Ed Portal and what community does it serve?
Where is the Harvard Ed Portal?
Who are mentors?
What does the Mentoring commitment entail?
What training do Mentors receive?
How are Mentors scheduled?
Are Mentors financially compensated?
What is the application process and timeline?
Each semester, approximately 25 Harvard College undergraduate students serve as Mentors at the Harvard Ed Portal at 224 Western Avenue in Allston. Mentors fulfill an important community outreach role by working with Allston-Brighton children and teens from a variety of backgrounds, encouraging their exploration of science, writing, public speaking, math, technology and the arts.
Mentors are committed to the vision of the Ed Portal as a community of learning without limits, and strive to instill in local youth the understanding that learning is a lifelong endeavor, making a difference in the lives of students who struggle in school, and offering inspiration and enrichment to all students. In addition, Mentors are committed to consciously developing their own skills as educators and learners.
The Mentoring Program resides jointly with the Harvard Ed Portal and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning on campus. Under the direction of Faculty Director Professor Robert A. Lue, and the Assistant Director for Socially Engaged Learning, Susan L. Johnson, undergraduate Mentors create original activities and curricula, actively contribute to group discussions, and submit reflective writing about their experiences.
Most accepted undergraduates find the program to be personally rewarding and stay for many semesters, forming a meaningful community around teaching and learning.
The Harvard Ed Portal is an innovative collaborative partnership involving Harvard University, the City of Boston, the Harvard Allston Task Force, and the Allston-Brighton community. Located at the crossroads of the North Allston-Brighton neighborhood and Harvard’s campus, the Ed Portal serves as a physical place for members of the Allston- Brighton and Harvard communities to come together to share ideas and learn from one another. The Ed Portal fosters innovative ways of learning and provides programming in creative and performing arts; science and technology; wellness and recreation; and economic, workforce, and professional development for learners of all ages.
Mentors comprise a thoughtful, creative and dedicated community of undergraduates from across all concentrations, focused both on serving their mentees and developing themselves as better educators, community leaders and communicators.
Harvard freshmen and sophomores in all concentrations are eligible to apply. Juniors may apply, but because of the training required of undergraduates, we prioritize applicants who can remain with us longer than a year.
Becoming an Ed Portal Mentor represents a substantial time commitment. Accepted undergraduates are expected to prioritize the Mentoring Program ahead of other extra-curricular activities, committing fully to:
- Several on-campus orientation sessions (for new mentors only)
- One afternoon per week at the Ed Portal in Allston (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) from approximately 2:45 – 7:20 PM which includes clean-up, note-taking and dinner
- Weekly individual time devoted to activity research and preparation
- One full-day Saturday retreat each semester
- 5 to 6 on-campus 8AM meetings (with breakfast)
- Individual reflective writing about the teaching and learning process
- Participation with mentees in the end-of- semester community showcase
- Semester-end reporting on mentees
- Participation in undergraduate community-building and recruiting.
In their first semester, new mentors complete or attend:
- An online Youth Protection module
- several on-campus morning orientation meetings (with breakfast)
Each semester, all mentors must participate in:
- An afternoon of preparatory work at the Ed Portal before mentoring begins
- weekly individual preparation of learning goals and activities for mentees
- Regular group breakfast meetings at Quincy House where we share ideas, discuss issues around behavior and teaching and learning, and complete reflective writing about our own mentoring
- One Saturday retreat that includes workshops by guest educators or on specific educational resources and strategies in the arts, science, writing, math and more.
At the beginning of each semester, Mentors are asked to identify an afternoon when they can fully commit to being at the Ed Portal by 2:45pm and staying until 7:20pm or so. Mentees (the children and teens) are scheduled to meet weekly with Mentors one-on-one or in pairs for 50-minute slots beginning at 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm.
Frequently, teams of Mentors have opportunities to lead more structured, curriculum-based clubs for larger groups on topics such as Science, Science of Cooking, Computer Coding and more.
Returning Mentors who have demonstrated their commitment to the program and are facing schedule difficulty in a given semester can sometimes opt to come to the Ed Portal for one or two evenings of 5:00pm and 6:00pm slots rather than a full afternoon.
Upon completion of their responsibilities, Mentors receive an award stipend of $1000 for the semester.
Recruitment of new Mentors takes place during the spring semester for the following academic year. After submitting an application form, cover letter and resume, applicants are interviewed by current Mentors. Susan L. Johnson, Assistant Director of Socially Engaged Learning conducts final interviews. Accepted applicants come from across all concentrations and are confirmed before the spring semester’s end. Final placement on the Mentoring Program schedule does require a match between an accepted candidate’s afternoon availability and the needs of the program.
We do occasionally accept off-cycle applicants. Please email Susan Johnson to inquire.
We look for demonstrated creativity, an ability to connect with and communicate to children and teens of all ages, an eagerness to break down barriers between academic subjects, the arts and technology, and a desire to be an active member of our undergraduate community.
Please direct questions about the program to Susan L. Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org