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Women in Educational Leadership: A Conversation

Women in Educational Leadership: A Conversation

January 7, 2021

Join the McDowell Foundation’s virtual Salon Series, Women in Educational Leadership: A Conversation, on January 21, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. to hear and discuss the experiences of women in educational leadership in Saskatchewan. Two female researchers, Amy Orth and Amy Korver from the Prairie Spirit School Division, will share their experiences along with highlights and challenges from nine other female administrators in education. They will identify trends in female leaders, the barriers they face as they enter administration positions, and the impact it has on their school culture.

The researchers will also be joined by guest panelists: Angela Banda, STF Senior Administrative Staff; Samantha Becotte, STF Provincial Executive; and Lori Jeschke, Director, Prairie Spirit School Division to further the discussion and encourage more women to pursue leadership in Saskatchewan.

Directed Call for Research 2020 – COVID -19

June 17, 2020


No single event has impacted teaching and learning in the history of the province like the 2020 global pandemic. Given that we don’t know when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available or when restrictions around large public gatherings will be fully lifted, the fall return to school will likely present challenges and opportunities for Saskatchewan educators.

Like many of you, McDowell Foundation is curious about the fall and the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on Saskatchewan classrooms and pedagogy. The Foundation wants to continue to support teacher-led research the best way we know how, by providing access to funding, research and networking opportunities. As such, the Foundation has developed special research grants to support teacher-led research to explore this specific topic.

Saskatchewan PreK-12 teachers and other educators are invited to submit an application for McDowell Foundation’s directed call for research 2020. Grants of up to $5,000 per project will be awarded for research projects to explore the impact of COVID-19 on Saskatchewan classrooms.

Call for research applications for the 2021-2022 school year will occur starting in September and are separate from the Directed Call for Research – COVID-19 process.

Learning From Practice 2020: What is an Inclusive and Diverse Classroom?

January 6, 2020

In thinking about our theme and the projects that will be presenting at this year’s Learning From Practice conference, it is important that we continue to build on other conversations occurring throughout the province about the role of public education.

Conversations about inclusion and diversity and what that looks like are occurring at a number of tables in the province. When thinking about what an inclusive classroom might look like for Saskatchewan students, the report Education Re-Imagined: 12 Actions for Education released in the fall of 2019 provides the basis for this year’s conference theme in Recommendation One:

Learning spaces must be resourced so that teachers can create a safe and effective learning environment for the diversity of student learning.

What does a safe and effective learning environment look like for all students in the province; and how can the work of the McDowell Foundation support this recommendation?

You do not have to look far in the province to find teachers hard at work supporting inclusion and diversity in the classroom. The McDowell Foundation is fortunate to have Chris Scribe, Nakota/Nehiyaw (Assiniboine/Cree) from the Carry the Kettle Nakoda Oyade provide the keynote address at the annual Learning From Practice (LFP) conference. Chris is the director of the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) at the University of Saskatchewan and the founder of Think Indigenous, a conference designed to inspire educators to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the everyday practices of teaching. In addition, Chris co-created the Red Talks – a series of podcasts designed to create understanding and knowledge of Indigenous ways of knowing in education. Chris has become an advocate for Indigenous knowledge in education and will be sharing his passion with all of us.

At lunch we will be joined by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty and Her Honour Donna Mirasty. His Honour will bring greetings and present the McDowell Foundation Research Award for the 2019-20 year. The McDowell Foundation was chosen as a patronage by the Lieutenant Governor as part of his commitment to focus on reconciliation and education in his five-year term.

In addition, a number of other McDowell researchers will also be in attendance to share what they have learned from their research projects including presentations on the following:

  • Catholic School Teachers Enacting Papal Encyclical Laudato si’ (Praise Be To You – On Care For Our Common Home)
  • Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Belonging in an Islamic School
  • Exploring Reconciliation and Understanding Through Art
  • History Underground: The Road to Conciliation
  • Indigenous Culture-Based School Mathematics for Reconciliation and Professional Development
  • Navigating Elementary Schooling Across Borders: Refugee Children’s Pre- and Post-Migration Experiences
  • Promising Practices for Meaningful Family Engagement
  • Stumbling Towards Enlightenment: How Diverse Lead Learners Helped Develop a System-Wide Instructional-Support Approach to Improve Indigenous Students’ Achievement

Learning From Practice is an annual conference hosted by the McDowell Foundation to support teacher-led research in the province. The one-day event is being held in Saskatoon on January 31, 2020 at the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation building. Register at



October 17, 2019

A McDowell Salon Series will take place in Saskatoon on Saturday, November 2 at 11:40 a.m. at Circle Drive Alliance Church (3035 Preston Avenue South). The conversation will include:

  • Sharon Meyers (Educator, First Nations and Métis Education Consultant and Lead Researcher).
  • Glen Aikenhead (Curriculum Studies, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan).
  • Ruth Beatty (Undergraduate studies in education, Lakehead University).
  • Christina Ruddy (Knowledge Keeper, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation).

Through a roundtable conversation, the participants will be exploring ideas developed through a research project entitled Culture-Based School Mathematics for Reconciliation and Professional Development that was funded by the McDowell Foundation. The conversation will focus on three key areas:

  • The importance of including Indigenous and Western ways of knowing on mathematics curriculum.
  • The need to unlearn ideas in order to create space for learning.
  • The importance of collaboration and support in professional development.

The Salon Series is designed to provide research teams with an opportunity to share their research and to engage community stakeholders in ongoing conversations about next steps. The McDowell Foundation has provided close to $2 million in funding supporting more than 300 teacher-led research projects for the benefit of Saskatchewan students.

McDowell Foundation Receives Honourary Patronage of the Lieutenant Governor

August 8, 2019

SASKATOON – The Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research Into Teaching is pleased to announce that His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan will serve as the Honourary Patron of the Foundation during his term in office.

“We are thrilled that the Lieutenant Governor will be continuing his support of the McDowell Foundation in his new role,” McDowell Foundation Manager Ellen Whiteman stated. “During his time as a member of the board of the Foundation, His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty was a valued addition by bringing his knowledge of northern Saskatchewan and serving as our public representative.”

The McDowell Foundation provides funding for teacher-led research in the province through their partnership with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. In their more than 25 years, the Foundation has funded almost 300 teacher-led research projects and awarded over $1.8 million in grants. His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty served as a member of the board for the past year.

The Lieutenant Governor’s service to education has also been shown through helping lead the Student First Engagement Process and as a member of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents.

“We are grateful for His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty’s deep commitment to education and wish him all the best as our province’s Lieutenant Governor,” said Whiteman.

2017-2018 Annual Report

December 6, 2018

The Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research Into Teaching Inc. Annual General Meeting was held December 2018. The 2017-18 Annual Report was presented to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Executive.

McDowell News – December 2018

December 5, 2018

It is hard to believe that it is already December. Season’s greetings from the McDowell Foundation. Please check out our December newsletter for the latest updates from the Foundation.

Learning from Practice 2019

November 29, 2018

Learning From Practice has been scheduled for February 1, 2019 at the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation building in Saskatoon. In thinking about our theme this year and the projects that will be present, we will build on the conversations that will be occurring in the province about the role of publicly funded education (Re-Imagine and the Summit on Education) and explore the importance of locally based research in building community.

Instead of having one keynote speak this year we will host a keynote panel. The panel will be comprised of Patricia Prowse, Jeff Perry, and Diana Jemieff-Hayes.

Patricia Prowse – Associate Director, Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit (SELU)

  • Patricia is also a teacher by training and spent 35 years in the PreK-12 education sector where she was an elementary teacher, school-based leader, and superintendent of education. She was also one of two Student First Advisors appointed by the Ministry of Education in 2013 to lead a provincewide engagement process on how to improve the education system by putting students first. She met with students, parents, caregivers, teachers, and the broader education sector and understands the importance of locally based initiatives and the research that supports it. Patricia will be talking about the experience of engaging in consultations across the province and the importance of public involvement.

Jeff Perry

  • Jeff is the local association president for Regina Public and has provided significant leadership in the Re-Imagine initiative. Jeff has done both teacher and public consultations as well as several media appearances supporting the Re-Imagine project. Jeff will share his experience as a local leader.

Diana Jemieff-Hayes

  • In addition to being the current vice-president of the McDowell Foundation, Diana is a former McDowell researcher. Diana will be talking about the importance of community-based research within the education system and the role the McDowell Foundation can play to ensure ongoing reflection includes a public voice.

To register for the conference visit

McDowell Researchers Share How Flexible Learning Can Support Student Success

November 15, 2018

NORTH BATTLEFORD – On November 21, teachers from John Paul II Collegiate are sharing results of their award-winning research exploring how technology and a shift in teaching approaches can help students to graduate.

“Learning doesn’t start and end when the bell rings,” said Ramona Stillar, teacher and lead researcher of the Time, Pace, Place: Using Flexible Design and Delivery to Support Learners project. She is facilitating a Salon Series, entitled Dreaming Bigger: Personalizing Pace, Place & Time, to share their work. The event will take place at the school from 7 to 9 p.m.

“The ability to provide flexibility around the pace of learning allows teachers to customize the learning experience for our students,” said Stillar. “More importantly, it gives students greater control over when, where and how learning occurs.”

She and her 12-member team received a grant from the McDowell Foundation to test how introducing flexible learning opportunities can impact teacher workloads and student success. As part of their project, the team created interactive, online courses. This allowed students to work independently and at their own pace, while still being able to access face-to-face support and instruction from teachers as needed. Teachers kept a daily log to track student progress, which included student learning plans and goals, challenges and areas for improvement.

“Teachers need time to learn, plan and make changes, but this work requires more than time and technology,” said principal Carlo Hansen. “To successfully implement pace, place and time learning, teachers also need administrative support, strong leadership, a collaborative environment and support from their colleagues.”

Both Hansen and Stillar agree that flexible learning provides many benefits, especially for students who need to work or care for children or other family members during the day; newcomers; students living with physical, emotional or mental health challenges; high-performance athletes; and transient students or others struggling to acquire the credits needed to graduate.

For some students, like Canadian newcomer Ashaun Pusey, flexible learning can mean the difference between graduating or not graduating. Pusey’s family arrived from Jamaica on October 1, 2016. He had to start school mid-semester, which can be particularly challenging for any student. He credits his graduation success to the support he received.

“The school and teachers provided such flexibility and diversity around learning that it helped me keep up,” said Pusey. “The teachers had a great mindset; I really appreciated their approach.” To hear more about his experience, check out Tracie’s Story, The Teacher Project (Season 1), which is accessible on the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation YouTube channel.

Ellen Whiteman, manager of the McDowell Foundation, said Salon Series conversations like these provide a great opportunity for teachers to engage with their communities.

“We host Salon Series events in Saskatchewan communities twice annually,” said Whiteman. “Public education is the heart of many communities. It impacts the entire province. We want the public to know about the important work teachers are doing, and to invite the community to help us create strategies to sustain and spread these classroom innovations.”

To date, the McDowell Foundation has provided approximately $2 million in funding for more than 283 teacher-led research projects for the benefit of Saskatchewan students.For more on the Salon Series, how to access research funding or ways you can support teacher-led research in the province, please visit the McDowell Foundation website.

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