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McDowell Salon Series Conversations: Exploring School-Related Anxiety Among High School Students

November 2, 2017

“There really aren’t times that I don’t experience anxiety. For me personally, it’s a constant issue when I’m at school.” -Student participant

“I experience anxiety at school on a daily basis I would say . . . There’s almost always this knot I feel in my stomach when I’m at school.” -Student participant

For researchers Dr. Jennifer de Lugt and Jennifer Chan, the need to provide high school students a voice in relation to school-related anxiety compelled them to develop their research project. Funded by the McDowell Foundation, the purpose of the project was to further the understanding of school-related anxiety as well as how these anxieties can be mitigated.

The project took place in the community of Moose Jaw and included both confidential journal entries and focus groups aimed at getting students to share not only their experience with school-related anxiety, but how their teachers could help.

The top five anxieties identified by students were final exams or tests, social situations, class presentations, homework and pressure from parents. The students also identified a number of ways teachers could support students in mitigating their anxieties including building a caring school or classroom culture, building strong relationships with students, talking openly about mental health concerns and providing resources, being observant to student’s reactions, and providing options for class presentations.

For de Lugt and Chan, the importance of talking with students about school-related anxiety and providing the student a space to talk openly was an important starting point in supporting youth mental health.

A followup conversation to the research is planned for November 22, 2017, at 7 p.m. at Riverview Collegiate in Moose Jaw. The conversation will be the first in a series of salons or panel discussions aimed at sharing McDowell research projects in communities and will bring together teachers, the Prairie South School Division, community stakeholders and students to discuss how communities can collectively address youth mental health concerns. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information on the salon series or any of the McDowell research projects, please visit www.mcdowellfoundation.ca.

Volunteer Opportunity: Foundation Board Members Needed!

November 1, 2017

The Foundation is currently accepting expressions of interest to sit on our Board of Directors.  Directors are appointed for a three year term and provide strategic direction, fiscal oversight and risk management leadership for the Foundation. The board meets approximately 4 times per year.

Serving on a non-profit board can support the development leadership skills, encourage professional research in the province and be a great way to meet others who are passionate about public education.  No previous research experience is necessary and both teachers and those external to the professional are welcome to apply.

If you are interested, please submit a resume to mcdowellfoundation@stf.sk.ca by November 15, 2017.

SAEA donates $17,000 for research into visual art education

SAEA donates $17,000 for research into visual art education

October 13, 2017

Visual art teachers see the importance of supporting and promoting quality arts education in the province. The Saskatchewan Art Educators Association, a professional growth network of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, has donated $17,000 to the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation to support visual art education research in Saskatchewan. This directed gift will provide resources for exploring classroom-based research examining the importance of visual art in PreK-12 classrooms.

The SAEA executive voted unanimously to direct the gift to visual art education research in the province. As teachers, who are also artists, the importance of ensuring all children have access to a quality arts education is reflected in this generous donation.

As part of this year’s Notice of Intent process, a special call for research projects in visual art education will occur. Teachers and other educators interested in pursuing a research project should contact the Foundation for more information and clearly state in their Notice of Intent that their project will focus on visual art education.

The Foundation accepts directed gifts from individuals or organizations to fund research in target areas that fit within the mission and mandate of the Foundation and enhance teaching and learning in the province.

The SAEA executive members included in the photo are: left to right, upper row first: Merv Kuzminski, on computer: Ed Edmonds, Kaleah Balinski, Roberta Ross, Ann Donald, Kellie Bell, Sarah Gerrard, Suzy Schwankes, second lower row: left to right: Lila Kallstrom, Erin Haight, Pam Ollenberger,  and Karen Robinson.

Call for Research Grant Applications – Notice of Intent 2018-19 Funding

August 31, 2017

The McDowell Foundation is inviting PreK-12 teachers and other educators to submit a Notice of Intent to begin the grant application process for research projects funded in the 2018-19 school year. Foundation grants provide funding, guidance and release time to support recipients’ project goals and activities.

Prior research experience is not necessary. The Notice of Intent and overall application process assists applicants in developing a meaningful and achievable research project which supports professional development through reflective practice. Grants totaling $85,000 are available.

Applications to the Foundation require a three-step process:

  • Notice of Intent (due November 14, 2017).
  • Draft Grant Application (due January 29, 2018).
  • Final Grant Application (due April 23, 2018).

The Notice of Intent is the first step in the process.  Once the Foundation receives the Notice of Intent the staff can support applicants in developing a full research application.

Please contact the Foundation for more information or to receive printed copies of the Research Call for Notice of Intent document.

McDowell Board of Directors approves $80,000 in research funding projects

July 6, 2017

The end of the school year signals the start of seven new professionally led research projects funded by the McDowell Foundation. In late May, the Foundation board approved over $80,000 in new research money for the 2017-18 school year.

The revitalization and preservation of Indigenous language and culture is the focus of a number of the new projects. In addition, two of the projects recognize the importance of action research in the classroom and includes students as part of the research teams. All of the projects work to strengthen teaching and learning here in the province.

The projects approved for funding for 2017-18 are:

Revitalizing Nêhiyawewin: Our Language, Stories and Perspectives–the use of storytelling in Cree immersion classes.

Parent and Caregiver Voices: Exploring the Experiences of Parents and Caregivers Regarding the Education of Their Child–the role of parents and caregivers in the education of children with exceptional needs.

Language Loss: A Deformity in Education–the benefit of immersion experiences in learning Cree language and culture.

Saskatchewan French Immersion School: A Case Study in Best Practice for Aboriginal Student Success–the benefits of French immersion for Aboriginal students.

Smooth Transitions: Integrating a High School and Pre-Service Teacher Education Program–encouraging high school students to consider a career in education.

Catholic School Teacher Enacting Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’–enacting action research projects on environmental and social justice in the classroom
(year two).

Off the Grid: Students Leading Positive, Sustainable Environmental Change–student leadership and sustainable environmental change.

The scope of the research projects that the Foundation is able to fund is exciting and we look forward to the benefits to students and teachers that will occur because of our dedicated research teams and the hard work they do each year. Sadly, other projects that were identified as fundable in the review process were declined due to limited resources.

In addition to approving next year’s research projects, the board also passed a motion of support and action in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. While the board has been dedicated to making the research application process more inclusive for the past number of years, they felt a clear statement of support and action in relation to the Calls to Action was vital.

Over the next year, prospective research teams will have the option of submitting an oral component as part of their research application, and work will be done to further strengthen relationships within the education sector and beyond. The board has also committed to reviewing plans each year to celebrate the components that respond directly to the Calls to Action.

Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research Into Teaching 25th Anniversary Gala

February 7, 2017

The McDowell Foundation celebrated 25 years of supporting professionally led research on February 3, 2017.  McDowell Foundation donors, present and former researchers, board members and invited guests gathered to recognize the contribution the Foundation has made to the teaching profession and to research in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Jennifer Tupper spoke of her own experiences as a McDowell researcher as well as outlined the importance of teacher-led, locally based research within the province.  Dr. Tupper highlighted the range of research topics the Foundation has been able to support and applauded the Foundation as unique in Canada.

The Foundation also presented Harold Schultz with the McDowell Foundation Builder Award.  Harold has contributed to education in the province for over 60 years and was the first fundraiser and public relations person for the Foundation in 1991.  Harold spoke of the importance of the Foundation’s work as we look to the future in continuing to pursue a more socially just world.

The attached video highlights some of the Foundation’s work over the past 25 years.

Harold Schultz

Harold Schultz

Dr. Jennifer Tupper

Dr. Jennifer Tupper

Learning from Practice – February 3, 2017

December 6, 2016

Registration is now open for this year’s Learning From Practice: An Exchange of Teacher Knowledge and Research. Learning From Practice is an annual conference of the McDowell Foundation that ensures Foundation-funded researchers have the opportunity to share their project experiences and outcomes with their colleagues across the province.

This year’s keynote speaker is Charlene Bearhead, the education lead at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Ms. Bearhead will speak about reconciliation in education. She previously served as the program manager for the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation, the education days co-ordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the national co-ordinator of Project of Heart.

In addition, research teams will present on their work in a number of areas including: physical literacy, mentorship, visual literacy, early years literacy, parental engagement in the primary years, treaty education and more.

Registration is $20 and this includes a continental breakfast and hot lunch. Full-time students can register free of charge. For further information or to register click here!

Learning From Practice Poster

Learning From Practice Conference Brochure

2015-16 Annual Report

2015-16 Annual Report

December 2, 2016

The Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research Into Teaching Inc. Annual General Meeting was held December 2, 2016. The 2015-16 Annual Report was presented to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Executive.

In addition to receiving the report, the STF Executive, as the sole member of the Foundation, heard updates on the work of the Foundation and appointed Jade Bloor, Darren Bird and Tish Karpa to three-year terms on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

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