New director lauds board’s commitment to equity

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

He stresses he still has much to learn about the community, but the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s new education director says he’s thrilled by what he’s seen during his first two months on the job.

John Malloy said he’s particularly excited by the board’s commitment to ensuring all students are given equal opportunity to reach their full potential, a goal reinforced by an evolving equity policy.

Though some of the policy’s aspects have been controversial – like sexual orientation –it is founded on creating “inclusive and respectful and hospitable environments for kids to learn in and parents to connect with,” he said.

Presently addressing gender equity, the policy has also already tackled racism, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

“It’s not about teaching something that’s contrary to what people might believe,” said Mr. Malloy, 46, who has just moved to downtown Hamilton from Toronto, where he was superintendent of education for the York Region District Board.

“We’re creating an environment where (students) are absolutely able to belong, and why that’s important to us is because without that feeling of belonging, without that feeling of, ‘I’m OK to be here, who I am, my family, my background and so forth,’ they’re not going to feel safe enough to learn,” he said.

“Equity is about facilitating that environment where, as students walk through the door, they know that people care for them, that people honour them and that people respect them and their families and their communities.”

Mr. Malloy said one of his key goals will be to focus on “engagement” with staff, students, parents, social service agencies and community partners to ensure the board is doing what it needs to improve student achievement.

He said he’s been pleasantly surprised by how well diverse elements of the community are already working together toward that goal.

“I’m not sure maybe if people who’ve always been here appreciate that. They may just assume that this is how it’s done, but it’s not necessarily done everywhere,” he said, citing as an example the Hamilton Best Start program, which offers supports and services to children up to age 6.

“That is a wonderful gift to this community.”

An Ohio native, Mr. Malloy moved to Toronto 20 years ago to obtain a masters degree, staying to work as a high-school English teacher and guidance counselor with the public board there.

He is presently working on a thesis to complete a doctorate in education, on a topic he said will inform his work here: how leaders create the right environments for teachers to succeed and students to achieve.

“I’m a constant learner, I ask lots of questions and I listen real closely –and that’s my commitment,” he said. “As long as we stay focused on students, I will listen to any conversation.”

When not on the job or formally learning, Mr. Malloy said he is an avid cyclist, arts buff and travel enthusiast –the latter having taken him throughout North America and Europe.

“I’m somebody who likes to see and experience other places and cultures. It broadens me and expands my horizons,” he said. “I do take every opportunity to experience others.”

New director lauds board’s commitment to equity

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

He stresses he still has much to learn about the community, but the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s new education director says he’s thrilled by what he’s seen during his first two months on the job.

John Malloy said he’s particularly excited by the board’s commitment to ensuring all students are given equal opportunity to reach their full potential, a goal reinforced by an evolving equity policy.

Though some of the policy’s aspects have been controversial – like sexual orientation –it is founded on creating “inclusive and respectful and hospitable environments for kids to learn in and parents to connect with,” he said.

Presently addressing gender equity, the policy has also already tackled racism, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

“It’s not about teaching something that’s contrary to what people might believe,” said Mr. Malloy, 46, who has just moved to downtown Hamilton from Toronto, where he was superintendent of education for the York Region District Board.

“We’re creating an environment where (students) are absolutely able to belong, and why that’s important to us is because without that feeling of belonging, without that feeling of, ‘I’m OK to be here, who I am, my family, my background and so forth,’ they’re not going to feel safe enough to learn,” he said.

“Equity is about facilitating that environment where, as students walk through the door, they know that people care for them, that people honour them and that people respect them and their families and their communities.”

Mr. Malloy said one of his key goals will be to focus on “engagement” with staff, students, parents, social service agencies and community partners to ensure the board is doing what it needs to improve student achievement.

He said he’s been pleasantly surprised by how well diverse elements of the community are already working together toward that goal.

“I’m not sure maybe if people who’ve always been here appreciate that. They may just assume that this is how it’s done, but it’s not necessarily done everywhere,” he said, citing as an example the Hamilton Best Start program, which offers supports and services to children up to age 6.

“That is a wonderful gift to this community.”

An Ohio native, Mr. Malloy moved to Toronto 20 years ago to obtain a masters degree, staying to work as a high-school English teacher and guidance counselor with the public board there.

He is presently working on a thesis to complete a doctorate in education, on a topic he said will inform his work here: how leaders create the right environments for teachers to succeed and students to achieve.

“I’m a constant learner, I ask lots of questions and I listen real closely –and that’s my commitment,” he said. “As long as we stay focused on students, I will listen to any conversation.”

When not on the job or formally learning, Mr. Malloy said he is an avid cyclist, arts buff and travel enthusiast –the latter having taken him throughout North America and Europe.

“I’m somebody who likes to see and experience other places and cultures. It broadens me and expands my horizons,” he said. “I do take every opportunity to experience others.”

New director lauds board’s commitment to equity

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

He stresses he still has much to learn about the community, but the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s new education director says he’s thrilled by what he’s seen during his first two months on the job.

John Malloy said he’s particularly excited by the board’s commitment to ensuring all students are given equal opportunity to reach their full potential, a goal reinforced by an evolving equity policy.

Though some of the policy’s aspects have been controversial – like sexual orientation –it is founded on creating “inclusive and respectful and hospitable environments for kids to learn in and parents to connect with,” he said.

Presently addressing gender equity, the policy has also already tackled racism, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

“It’s not about teaching something that’s contrary to what people might believe,” said Mr. Malloy, 46, who has just moved to downtown Hamilton from Toronto, where he was superintendent of education for the York Region District Board.

“We’re creating an environment where (students) are absolutely able to belong, and why that’s important to us is because without that feeling of belonging, without that feeling of, ‘I’m OK to be here, who I am, my family, my background and so forth,’ they’re not going to feel safe enough to learn,” he said.

“Equity is about facilitating that environment where, as students walk through the door, they know that people care for them, that people honour them and that people respect them and their families and their communities.”

Mr. Malloy said one of his key goals will be to focus on “engagement” with staff, students, parents, social service agencies and community partners to ensure the board is doing what it needs to improve student achievement.

He said he’s been pleasantly surprised by how well diverse elements of the community are already working together toward that goal.

“I’m not sure maybe if people who’ve always been here appreciate that. They may just assume that this is how it’s done, but it’s not necessarily done everywhere,” he said, citing as an example the Hamilton Best Start program, which offers supports and services to children up to age 6.

“That is a wonderful gift to this community.”

An Ohio native, Mr. Malloy moved to Toronto 20 years ago to obtain a masters degree, staying to work as a high-school English teacher and guidance counselor with the public board there.

He is presently working on a thesis to complete a doctorate in education, on a topic he said will inform his work here: how leaders create the right environments for teachers to succeed and students to achieve.

“I’m a constant learner, I ask lots of questions and I listen real closely –and that’s my commitment,” he said. “As long as we stay focused on students, I will listen to any conversation.”

When not on the job or formally learning, Mr. Malloy said he is an avid cyclist, arts buff and travel enthusiast –the latter having taken him throughout North America and Europe.

“I’m somebody who likes to see and experience other places and cultures. It broadens me and expands my horizons,” he said. “I do take every opportunity to experience others.”