Teacher Tribute
Never underestimate the power of student voice

Jennifer Malloy, 5th Grade Teacher, Bache-Martin School, 1st Year with Need in Deed

Jennifer Malloy was a little uncertain about how things would go when she began her journey with Need in Deed this year. Her nervousness was perfectly normal for a new Network teacher – Need in Deed’s emphasis on student voice can be daunting for a teacher who has students with a variety of learning styles and behavioral challenges.

However, once Jennifer asked the students what they thought of their community, their classroom discussions became much richer. “Our class had been discussing big ideas like empathy, perseverance, and gratitude,” Jennifer said. “Experiencing Need in Deed’s ‘My Voice’ framework has supplemented our Morning Meeting discussions in an authentic way. The class decided that they would like to do their project on bullying …(and) they wanted to learn about the struggle of homeless students at school.”

Working with community partner Al Quarles, Regional Coordinator of Homeless and Emergency Services for the School District of Philadelphia, helped the students understand what it means to experience homelessness. This was a turning point for the class. Jennifer continues, “The students – even those with behavioral challenges – are transformed. They are attentive, respectful, and clearly engaged. They are witnessing their classmates demonstrate true interest in finding ways to make school more accessible to everyone. This has enabled me to give positive feedback, and opened the door toward more substantial conversations. The students look forward to Need in Deed time…. I’m looking forward to seeing these students’ leadership skills emerge over the next several weeks.”

And Jennifer isn’t the only person seeing impact. Need in Deed Program Manager Julia Chrestay, who supports Jennifer and her students as they make their way through the service-learning process, reflects on Jennifer’s efforts. “In her first year as a Need in Deed teacher, Jen has shown consistent dedication to making sure her students have a sense of ownership and investment in their service-learning project. From helping the class make authentic compromises when choosing their service-learning topic to preparing them to present their action plan in a proposal to the principal, Jen has found an impressive balance between pushing them to grow in their thinking and letting their interests and curiosity guide the process.”

Congratulations to Jennifer, and best wishes for continued success!