supporting Cambridge public school students

Meet Sally Peterson (Again!)

Sally Peterson traces her love of reading and literacy to her early days. “My house was in the woods,  and we had few neighbors. So I would go to the library every week and get a big bag of books.” 

Peterson rejoined Cambridge School Volunteers this fall as CSV’s elementary literacy program manager. She comes to CSV from a position as family liaison at the Capuano Early Childhood Center in Somerville, where she worked for the last two years, beginning a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic. She has a significant history with CSV, serving as both an elementary literacy volunteer and as a member of the board of directors from 2011–2019. She was president of the board from 2013 to 2018. 

Prior to earning a master’s degree in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Peterson was a toddler teacher, a Pre-K teacher, a children’s advocate within a transitional housing program for domestic violence survivors, a coordinator of programs for teen girls. 

School-based elementary literacy, Peterson’s  wheelhouse at CSV, is very close to her heart. Her fourth-grade teacher encouraged this Connecticut native’s love of books. “After recess we would all sit on the rug and she would read to us—for a long, satisfying time— the best chapter books.”  

Her experience with home visit programs has emphasized to her the power of relationships in supporting children’s learning. It’s one reason she has returned to CSV, which is also “about meeting people where they are, and building on the strengths of that person. In a tutoring relationship, the volunteer is trying to build on that student’s strengths.”  In addition to her elementary literacy role at CSV, this year Peterson is also the CSV Putnam Ave Upper School Learning Center coordinator, working with Grade 6–8 students who have been referred by their teachers for one-to-one academic tutoring—with a hefty dose of mentoring—once a week. “I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know CSV from a different perspective,” says Peterson. ”I especially enjoy connecting with students and their families.”

woman in tan scarf knitting with magenta yarn and smiling at the camera

Experience with Families and Literacy

Prior to her role at the Capuano Early Childhood Center, Sally Peterson’s experience included

• Harvard Graduate School of Education, at the Early Learning Study at Harvard, a long-term research project that examines children’s development in the context of their early education and care settings. 

•Crittenton-Hastings House, an emergency shelter for women and children, where she coordinated a family literacy program for residents. The organization operating the residence is a well-known Boston anti-poverty agency now known as EMPath.