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News & Events

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.

Volunteer Opportunity: Foundation Board Members Needed!

October 31, 2018

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 four times per year.

Serving on a non-profit board can support the development of 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 by November 15, 2018.


October 23, 2018

A McDowell Salon Series will take place in North Battleford on Wednesday, November 21 at 7 p.m. at John Paul II Collegiate (1491 97th Street). The conversation will include Lindell Gateley (ELA teacher), Jean Fauchon (Student Services teacher), Carlo Hansen (principal), Ashaun Pusey (graduate) and Ian Krips (Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation).

Through a roundtable discussion, the team will be sharing results from their research project funded by the McDowell Foundation. The project, entitled Time, Pace, Place: Using Flexible Design and Delivery to Support Learners, focuses on how adjusting space, time or place of learning can support students in acquiring high school credits. This presentation will move beyond the research project to share the experiences of teachers and students with flexible learning.

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 283 teacher-led research projects for the benefit of Saskatchewan students.



Special Call for Research Applications – supporting middle years teaching!

September 10, 2018

The Foundation is pleased to announce that as part of the 2019-2020 Notice of Intent process, a special call for research projects in middle year’s 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 middle year’s 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. This year a donor provided a gift to support research that highlights the unique opportunities and challenges middle year’s educators experience.

The Ministry of Education defines middle schools education in Saskatchewan as grades 6-9.

For more information about this opportunity or about grant funding in general please contact the McDowell Foundation at

Call for Research Grant Applications – Notice of Intent 2019-2020 Funding

September 7, 2018

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 2019-20 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 13, 2018).
  • Draft Grant Application (due January 28, 2019).
  • Final Grant Application (due April 22, 2019).

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.

News Release – McDowell Board of Directors Reallocates Education Research Funding

August 20, 2018

The McDowell Foundation Board of Directors has approved the reallocation of funding to support two additional teacher-led research projects, set to begin in Regina and the South East Cornerstone School Division this fall. These will replace another project that is no longer able to move forward.

The decision was made as a result of the unexpected death of Susan Greene, one of our teacher-researchers from the La Ronge community. Susan had been approved for research funding to lead a mental health research project called Gathering Strength: Indigenous Mental Health and High School. As the sole researcher, her project is not able to move forward.

“We would like to extend our condolences to the entire community of La Ronge on this tragic loss,” says Ellen Whiteman, Manager of the McDowell Foundation. “Susan was a respected teacher and leader in the community, and a passionate mental health advocate. She will be greatly missed.”

Her research project would have examined the impact of a locally developed mental health course she was planning to offer to her students in Northern Saskatchewan this fall.

“What makes this tragedy even more profound is that Susan’s work in this area will not be continuing,” says Whiteman, adding that the Foundation has a long history of supporting research projects throughout the province, including Northern Saskatchewan.

One of the new projects approved for funding will examine the impact of mental health programs on students in the Regina area. The other project will look at the impact of online education resources for English as an additional language students located in rural areas.

The revised list of 2018-19 projects approved for funding are:

  • Preliminary Steps: Investigating the Potential of Two Proactive School-Based Mental Health Programs in Saskatchewan (Regina)
  • Pursuing Best Practice with Rural EAL Students in the Online Classroom (South East Cornerstone School Division)
  • Culture-Based School Mathematics for Reconciliation and Professional Development (North East School Division)
  • Using Teacher Collaboration in an Islamic Faith-Based School to Nurture Student and Staff Sense of Belonging (Regina)
  • Exploring Refugee Children’s Pre- and Post-Migration Educational Experiences (Regina)
  • History Underground: The Road to Reconciliation (Regina)
  • Promising Practices for Family Engagement (Sun West School Division)
  • Exploring Indigenous Understanding and Reconciliation Through Art (Saskatoon)

For more information, please visit the McDowell Foundation website. If you would like to speak with one of the researchers, please contact the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Communications Unit for assistance.

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