EDLM 525: Developing Leadership Capacity through Reflective Practice
Royal Roads University
August 17, 2019
From Classroom Notes to Practice
During Residency when we were discussing our papers and research, I heard Frederic say “Dig Deep”, in regards to research papers. He also mentioned that when you find a secondary source, look to find the original source. I have been attempting to do this and found this practice particularly handy when tackling EDLM 510’s final paper. I also made some other curious discoveries. For our paper in Brian’s class, I chose to collect data on Graduation Rates at our local Metis school. Rossignol High School is unique in that, there is only one High School in the school division and only two schools in the whole division. (ICSD#112). As there are only 380 students, I thought that I had better research neighboring divisions as well.
The Initial Research
I chose to look at Northern Lights School Division #113 (NLSD#113, n.d.) for local comparison and the Calgary Board of Education (CBE, n.d.) for inter-provincial comparison, mainly because we had looked at it briefly in class discussions. Since I do not have access to firsthand data, such as attendance records, surveys, etc. as a soon to be employed instructor, I had to research for information online.
Searching the Ile A La Crosse School Division’s Annual Report, Grade 12 Handbook (n.d.), and the Northern Lights School Division’s Annual Plan, referred to alignment with the Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education, Education Sector Strategic Plan (n.d.). This was the beginning of the searching for primary sources and the digging deeper part. It was like uncovering a mystery. Where are the school boards getting their goals from? All these reports referred to increasing the graduation rates of First Nation/Metis/Inuit students over a set number of years. They had goals for attendance, as well as literacy and math rates. There was vague mention of Student First’s Following Their Voices as the “go to” program to implement the recommended changes. This reference meant researching for Following Their Voices program.
In searching for Following Their Voices and reviewing their website, I found that The Joint Task Force, Final report (2013) was one of the inspirations behind the initiative. So, remembering Frederick’s words, I dug deeper. I researched The Joint Task Force, read the report and had an “Ah -Ha” moment.
The Primary Source
The Joint Task Force published their report in 2013. They based their work on three “foundational understandings”. They pertain to: “dignified mutual relationships, poverty reduction and the prevalence of racism; and Recognizing First Nations and Metis cultures and languages”. From these understandings, there were twenty-five recommendations pertaining to education, including literacy, credit attainment, building relationships, student engagement, etc.
These recommendations appeared to be adopted by Saskatchewan Ministry of Education as part of the ESSP. The local School Boards then aligned their annual plans with the provincial plans (ICSD #112) (NLSD #113).
Clarifying My Assumptions
I had to make sure that The Joint Task Force’s document was one of the original sources, so again, following Frederic’s advice, to contact authors, I contacted one of the contributors of document and asked if I was correct in my thinking that some of the recommendations from the final report were used in the ESSP. Again, thinking of Frederic’s advice that claims, need to be backed up with evidence, I needed to be sure that my claim was true. Her response was that yes, “some were implemented immediately” others would become “embedded in policy” (R. Bouvier, personal communication, August 15, 2019).
Discovering the Process
I was excited by my research. I found the local document that listed a secondary source, which led me to another secondary source, which led me to the primary document!. I also discovered how active research can lead to valid recommendations that lead to important changes within the educational system! This was the most exciting part for me. The research that we are doing may one day be of use to someone else and have direct influence in creating positive change in the classrooms.
The Importance of my Discovery
This realization on the importance of research and digging deeper, to discovering policy change in action, was my “aha” moment. This moment showed me the value of research. It showed me how the work that we do as researchers can make a difference and directly impact the educational system. I am looking forward to reading my cohort’s future works!
Bouvier, R. (2019, 08 15). [Facebook Messenger Letter to N. Lavoie]. Copy in possession of Nicole Lavoie
Final Report of the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Metis Peoples. (2013). Voice, vision and leadership: A place for all.
Ile A La Crosse School Division #112 (n.d.). Annual report 2017-18.
Ile A La Crosse School Division #112 (n.d.). Education sector strategic plan:2014-2020.
Northern Lights School Division #113 (n.d.). Annual Report 2017-18.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. (2018). Plan for 2018-19).
Student First. (n.d.). Following Their Voices