Journey Ahead

Fall 2014: Volume 3, Issue 1

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Inspire. Greatness. Together.

It’s been almost two years since we launched our journey to make equitable hiring and promotion a reality in Peel.


As someone who likes to “check-off” the progress boxes, I am excited that we have met so many objectives in our work on The Journey Ahead. But what excites me more, as someone committed to the core principles of equity and inclusion, is to see the real and genuine progress teams are making together, across the system, to engrain these principles in our workplaces and in our schools.


On Oct. 16, I had the opportunity to see this first-hand as I addressed mentors and mentees participating in the Peel District School Board’s Aspiring Racialized Leaders Mentoring Pilot Program.


As I looked out at the group, I reflected on the path the board has taken to create the program, the entire team who contributed to it and worked on it, and the journey that each mentoring pair has embraced by participating.


As you'll see in this issue of Roadmap, the mentoring program is just one of many initiatives underway, including:


  • Count Me in Peel!: The Peel board's 2015 Workforce Census
  • Peel board hires new instructional coordinator for equity and inclusive education
  • professional development opportunities
  • equity and inclusion training programs for administrators and business leaders
  • Tell us what you think! Job Satisfaction Survey to be sent to all Peel board employees on Nov. 24


We look forward to inspiring greatness together as our Journey Ahead continues.


Scott Moreash

Associate Director, Instructional Support Services

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Count yourself in the Peel board picture

With more than 22,000 employees working in schools and sites across Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, the Peel District School Board is the largest employer in Peel Region. To paint a picture of who we are as a workforce, we will conduct a system-wide employee census in the fall of 2015. The census was announced in our June edition of Roadmap.


Once we obtain this picture of our workforce, we will use it to best serve the needs of Peel staff by identifying the depth, talent, skills and experiences that can collectively enhance our workforce and ultimately, support student success.


The initiative—which directly supports the Journey Ahead Research Report: Finding 28, as well as several commitments in the Report Card for Student Success—is led by the Workforce Census Steering Committee, comprised of Peel board trustees and senior administration, as well as representatives from Peel employee groups, unions, federations and associations.


Throughout the 2014-15 school year, the steering committee will meet monthly to collaboratively develop the voluntary, anonymous and confidential census. To date, the steering committee has worked to set clear objectives for the census and approved the Count Me In Peel! logo.


The next task is to determine the breadth and scope of appropriate self-identification questions to be included in the census. Representatives will reach out to employee groups in early 2015 to fully communicate the Peel board's census objectives and to address any questions about the census to encourage wide participation when then census launches in fall 2015.


Stay tuned – and be sure to include yourself in the Peel board picture.

Doing it right! Peel board hires Instructional Coordinator for Equity and Inclusive Education

After an extensive search, the Peel board is excited to welcome Hiren Mistry as the board's new Instructional Coordinator for Equity and Inclusive Education. In this role, Mistry will continue the work of the late Mary Samuel, former staff development officer - equity, and her work surrounding The Future We Want.


“Hiren brings extensive experience in the development of teaching and learning practices that value diversity and foster inclusion,” says Scott Moreash, Associate Director, Instructional Support Services. “I’m excited to welcome Hiren to our team and know he will play an important role as we continue Mary’s work and our mandate to ingrain equity and inclusion practices across all areas of Peel board, including the classroom.”


Key responsibilities in the role include:


  • facilitate the connections between teaching and learning and equity and inclusive education for academic staff system-wide

  • develop and coordinate Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (TDSJ) professional development program


“I am thrilled to take on the role of Instructional Coordinator for Equity and Inclusive Education and am particularly honoured and grateful to continue Mary Samuel’s legacy,” notes Mistry. “My mandate is to bridge theory and practice by viewing all that we do at the Peel board through equity and inclusive education. I’m looking forward to working to implement the policy on paper into tangible action.”


A Peel board alumnus, Mistry earned his teaching degree at Queen’s University before pursuing a master’s degree in Cultural Diversity and Law at the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies).


He joined the Peel board as a teacher in 1999 working at Bramalea Secondary School and then Erindale Secondary School, before taking on the role of Curricular Head of the Canada World Studies and Social Sciences program at Stephen Lewis Secondary School. Prior to accepting the position of Instructional Coordinator for Equity and Inclusive Education in Peel, Mistry spent three years as the Course Director for York University’s Peel IS site. He is currently pursuing a PhD from McMaster University, examining teacher practice and student experience of teaching Indian cultural traditions as religions.


To learn more about equity and inclusion practices for teaching and learning in Peel, follow Mistry on Twitter @hirenbmistry1.

Remembering Mary Samuel

Join the Peel board on Thursday, Nov. 20 as it celebrates the life of the late Mary Samuel, Staff Development Officer - Equity, who passed away suddenly in January 2014. The evening will honour Samuel's memory and reflect on her contributions as an educator, mentor, pioneer in equity, and advocate of social justice - both in Peel schools and across the wider community.


The event takes place at the HJA Brown Education Centre and begins with a reception in the Atrium at 4:30 p.m., followed by celebrations and reflections in the boardroom at 5:30 p.m.


For those interested in making a contribution in Samuel's name, donations will be accepted throughout the evening in support of the Mary Samuel Memorial Scholarship. Tax receipts will be issued.

Coordinating equity and inclusion

In October, Associate Director of Instructional Support Services, Scott Moreash initiated the Inclusion Council, an informal forum with the purpose of providing those mandated to address issues of equity and inclusion with the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, share effective practices, and ensure that the many arms of the board’s efforts in equity and inclusion are working in tandem in support of the Journey Ahead and the board's Report Card for Student Success.


“When, as a board, we talk about inspiring success, confidence and hope in each student, we’re talking about the important work of creating equitable and inclusive climates for learning and working. A natural next step in the evolution of this work is to ensure that our efforts across the system are aligned and coordinated,” notes Moreash. “Our work on the Journey Ahead has touched every corner of the board and we are at a stage where the philosophy behind the shift in hiring practices must now permeate to other work that we are doing. The Inclusion Council will play a vital role in bridging this work, through sharing information and brainstorming initiatives for equity and inclusion.”


The council includes representation from the following portfolios:


  • equity and inclusive education
  • English as a Second Language/English Literacy Development programs
  • human rights
  • accessibility
  • climate for learning and working
  • First Nations Métis and Inuit equity
  • workplace equity
  • communications and community relations


Over the course of the year, the council will meet to ensure that system-wide equity and inclusion initiatives, messaging and practices are consistent and responsive to the evolving context of equity and inclusion in our work. Stay tuned for an update from the Inclusion Council in early 2015.

Professional development, equity leadership continues for 2014-15

The Peel board continues its commitment to provide professional development and training for employees surrounding equity and inclusion. Programs are not intended to convey isolated or discreet knowledge and skills, but rather to promote principles, policies and practices to embed equity and inclusion into the work and vision across the system. In fact, a vision and commitment to equity is fundamental to success in a leadership role at the Peel board.


This issue of Roadmap highlights the following professional development and leadership programs:


  • Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice Speakers' Series- 2014-15
  • Aspiring Racialized Leaders Mentoring Program
  • Equity and inclusion training for Peel board administrators

Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (TDSJ)

The Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (TDSJ) professional development program offers a trio of learning opportunities for Peel board employees. Through Curriculum Instruction and Special Education Support Services (CISESS) and under the umbrella of equity and inclusive education, programs include:


TDSJ One — Speakers Series


Open to all employees, the TDSJ One — Speakers Series offers Peel staff the opportunity to hear and learn from individuals whose narratives reflect the reality of diversity of social justice in Peel and beyond. Speakers include:


  • Chris D’Souza, renowned author and equity expert focusing on connections between identities, power and education – Dec. 9

  • Peter Ittinuar, community leader, Ontario provincial negotiator, and the first Inuit MP, will unpack Inuit way of life and colonization as a way of forming ideas for curriculum development and teaching – Jan. 29


In the new year, PhD Candidate Gerri Gunthorpe (OCT) will lead a session on Social Justice, Inclusion and Math. All presentations are held at the HJA Brown Education Centre. To learn more or to register for a session, visit MyLearningPlan.


TDSJ One — Facilitator's Series

This four-part series is designed to help academic staff explore the provincial legislative framework and board specific policies and mandates for Equity and Inclusive Education. Using the resource document The Future We Want, this series aims to assist participants to reflect on their experiences, raise questions, and develop solutions to issues of equity, diversity and social justice in their classrooms and school communities. The series is conducted by eight teacher facilitators to help guide the group and promote self-exploration.


TDSJ Two — Action Research Series

The TDSJ Two — Action Research Series runs the course of the year and engages academic participants in eight full-day and two half-day session with an in-depth focus on equity and inclusion in education. Participants commit to forming, researching and reporting a question that connects equity to pedagogy in their own practice. During the series, the group will learn how to develop their research question, pursue action research and report their findings with the intention of transforming their own practice.


For many people, the TDSJ Two — Action Research Series becomes a platform for further education, such as pursuing a master's degree or completing the Principal’s Qualification Program (PQP), or to help support the participant's own understanding as leaders of equity within the Peel board.


Watch MyLearningPlan for more information and to sign up for TDSJ professional development opportunities. Information will also be shared about these upcoming opportunities on your MySite/Broadcast page.

Aspiring Racialized Leaders Mentoring Pilot Program: Year two

Individuals participating in the Peel board’s Aspiring Racialized Leaders Mentoring Pilot Program gathered on Oct. 16 to kick off the second school year of the initiative and participate in leadership development activities with their mentee or mentor.


The seminar – Deep Diversity: Exploring Bias, Tribes and Identity— was facilitated by Anima Leadership and is the first in a series of workshops that mentoring pairs will take part in over the school year. The pilot also provides ongoing support and tools to enhance participants' personal and collective leadership skills.


Launched in April 2013, the Aspiring Racialized Leaders Pilot Program connects 25 self-identified racialized educators, aspiring to enter the vice-principal promotion process in the next two to five years, with an experienced vice-principal or principal mentor.


For more information about Aspiring Racialized Leaders Mentoring Pilot Program, visit the Journey Ahead chiclet on your MySite page. The pilot continues until June 2015.

Equity and inclusion training continues

In May 2013, the Peel board announced its commitment to support equitable hiring practices and inclusive working environments by providing school and business administrators with equity and inclusion training. To date, more than 700 employees have completed the program.


“We remain committed to equity in all of our employment practices. This training is key to creating a common understanding of equitable practices throughout all our human resource systems,” notes Scott Moreash, Associate Director, Instructional Support Services.


The two-part training, which consists of an on-line component and day-long workshop, is now required for all employees hired or promoted to a leadership role.

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie shares danger of a single story

"Our histories cling to us. We are shaped by where we come from. Our art is shaped by where we come from."

Chimamanda Adichie


Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. The Peel board is reflected by a collection of stories. What are yours?



Watch Adichie's TED Talk.

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Peel board partners with the Canadian Institute for Diversity and Inclusion

The Peel District School Board is the newest of 50 organizations to partner with the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), a national non-profit organization that provides innovative and proven strategies, research, tools, and educational support for leaders, and all employees in organizations across Canada, with the goal to help improve the overall inclusivity of the Canadian workforce.


Learn more about the CIDI here: http://www.cidi-icdi.ca

Tell is what you think: Peel board to conduct Job Satisfaction Survey

In support of the Report Card for Student Success (RCSS) – the Peel board’s strategic plan – and its goal to attract, develop and retain a highly qualified, diverse staff, the board will conduct a system-wide Job Satisfaction Survey from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5. The purpose of the survey is to determine the overall level of employee job satisfaction.


The anonymous and confidential online survey will ask employees to answer six questions, and takes just three to five minutes to complete.


All employees (permanent and occasional/casual) will receive an email with a link to the survey and a FAQ on Monday, Nov. 24. While the survey is completely voluntary, employees are encouraged to share their thoughts. This valuable feedback will be used to help develop appropriate, system-wide supports for all staff in the future.


The survey data will be analyzed by the Peel board’s research and accountability department and results will be reported as group summaries. Individual responses cannot be identified. A final report will be released in the spring of 2015.

Follow us on Twitter @PeelEquity

The Peel board is committed to engaging employees in its work on the Journey Ahead and workplace equity. Follow @PeelEquity to learn about new programs, participate in important dialogue and access the important updates.