The Saskatchewan Innovation Network: 24 pages, $11
Introduction The Innovation Network was established by the SSTA in 1995 to support the efforts of boards of education in making the best use of available resources. This catalogue of ideas represents a sample of innovative efforts volunteered by Saskatchewan school systems.
Examples of Innovation In: Teaching and Learning Innovation in teaching and learning includes: 
  • Organization of the School Day / School Year
  • Grouping Students for Instruction
  • Transitions: School-to-School / School-to-Work
  • Program Expectations /Standards /Student Assessment
  • Differentiated Staffing: Staff Roles and Responsibilities
  • Training and Professional Development/ Educational Technologies and Distance Education
  • Alternative Program and Service Delivery
Examples of Innovation In: Governance Innovation in governance includes:
  • Parent and Community Involvement
  • Shared Decision-Making
  • School-Based Management
  • Board Reorganization
  • School Division Consolidation/ Amalgamation
Examples of Innovation In: Administration Innovation in administration includes: 
  • New Roles and Responsibilities
  • Employee-Management Relationships
  • Electronic Tools for Administration
  • School Policies
  • Strategic Planning
Examples of Innovation In: Resource Allocation Examples of innovation in resource allocation include:
  • Staffing
  • Program Budgeting
  • Transportation/ Entrepreneurial
  • Energy conservation and Environment
  • Facility Use
Examples of Innovation In: Partnerships Examples of innovations in partnerships includes:
  • Parent and Community Involvement
  • Community- Province Relationship
  • Integrated School-Linked Services
  • School-Business Partnerships
  • Shared Service /Consortium Agreements
  • Contracting Out
Click Here to Enter Information About Innovation in Your School Division What is your school division doing to make better use of existing resources? Enter your information here.
 * The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of participants in the Innovation Network. This Network is established by the SSTA:

· to provide a forum and opportunity for school systems to explore and collaborate on innovative approaches to program delivery,
· to identify driving and restraining forces for enhancing program delivery, and
· to report and make recommendations to boards of education and the Association on approaches to enhancing program delivery in Saskatchewan.

Support for the Network is provided by the SSTA Research Centre. Supporting school boards are encouraged to duplicate this report for use within the school division. Each copy should acknowledge the SSTA Research Centre as the source.

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The SSTA Research Centre grants permission to reproduce up to three copies of each report for personal use. Each copy must acknowledge the author and the SSTA Research Centre as the source. A complete and authorized copy of each report is available from the SSTA Research Centre.
The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.


Saskatchewan school boards and educators have faced the challenge of meeting high expectations with limited resources for some time. A 1993 Association Convention resolution encouraged boards of education to continue to advocate for increases in funding for education but to also seek greater efficiencies and innovation in program delivery.

‘The challenge is to make better use of current resources for our children’s education.’
A recent SSTA Research Centre Report entitled Public School Finance in Saskatchewan: An Introspection (#95-01) reviewed the financing of elementary and secondary education in Saskatchewan and found that there has been a significant shift in the source of educational resources away from the province to the local tax base over the past decade, and school boards have made significant efforts to reduce their spending. The report concludes that education funding is at a crossroads and actions must be taken to streamline governance and administrative structures, teaching and learning processes, and administrative systems to achieve maximum efficiencies.

How has your school system responded?
The following list of categories of innovations has been adapted from Restructuring: New Realities, New Beginnings (1994) by the Ontario School Boards Associations. What is your school board doing in each of the following areas to make better use of existing resources?

How can we do better? A recent public opinion survey (SSTA Research Report #95-07) indicates that while a majority of people (78%) believe that schools are effectively using available resources; there is strong support (86%) for greater flexibility to achieve improved efficiency and effectiveness by using technology, and involving parents and others to work with teachers for the best use of available resources.

‘A body continues in a state of rest or in a state of motion unless compelled to change that state by a net force.’
Isaac Newton
Schools change. Change is inevitable and perhaps even necessary for schools to grow and best serve the needs of children. But change is never comfortable. Some people fear change. Others seek out simple solutions. We must learn to manage change, to consider new issues as a challenge rather than a threat. Change is inevitable, but frustration and conflict are optional.
‘Men believe that a society is disintegrating when it can no longer be pictured in familiar terms. Unhappy is a people that has run out of words to describe what is going on.’ by Thurman Arnold, quoted in Managing Transitions by William Bridges
Leadership: Like the pioneers of past eras, we are being challenged to explore new approaches. Leadership begins with a clear vision of the desired future. Schools and communities work best when they work together. Involving all stakeholders in seeking creative solutions will result in better solutions and greater commitment.
Organizations that develop a culture of innovation and thoughtful practice develop the capacity for excellence.
'The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.' by Alfred North Whitehead quoted in Managing Transitions by William Bridges

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Teaching and Learning

Saskatoon R.C.S.S.D. No.20
Innovation Network
Contact Person: Randy Warick, E.D. Feehan High School

Project Purpose: Alternative Program and Service Delivery

Project Description: Change To School Year Calendar

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:



1994 - 1995

E.D. Feehan High School is operating on a modified school year for the 1994-95 and 1995 - 96 school years. Classes begin shortly after August 15 and end during the first week in June. First semester exams will be finished before Christmas vacation. Second semester will begin the second week of January. Classes in the first semester are slightly longer to ensure adequate time to cover course materials.

E.D. Feehan is a Catholic school of about 1,000 students offering a wide range of programming to the students on the west side of Saskatoon.

Planning for the pilot school year project took about two years. Consultation with many groups took place; these included the parents, students, staff, C.U.P.E. (representing service and support staff), the school board, the Department of Educaiton, the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. Arrangements had to be made with various groups and agencies such as the Saskatoon Transit system and the High School Athletic Association (to provide some flexibility in scheduling our sports teams).

We are attempting to monitor the situation and we are actively seeking means by which we can evaluate the effects of the change. There has been significant interest in the project evidenced by the many calls and esquires we have received from all across Western Canada.

Project Title: 1/4 Classes

Saskatoon S.D. No. 13
Contact Person: Phyllis Fowler, Nutana Collegiate

Project Purpose: Alternative Program and Service Delivery
Innovation Network

Project Description:

A four year study involving students at Nutana Collegiate indicated some structural changes to programs were desired. In particular, the study seemed to indicate a need to offer classes in some alternative arrangement.

A decision was made to offer a number of "1/4 classes" in two hour blocks. This would allow students to finish the classes in a half semester. The 1/4 classes have a number of benefits for students. Because they could finish their classes in a half semester, they could take time away from school without losing credits. The resultant four entry points (one at the beginning and middle of each semester) doubles the opportunity for students to enrol for classes. Students can take from one to four classes each semester.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Staffing might be difficult, depending on the numbers of students wishing to take 1/4 classes, and the numbers wishing to take "regular" classes. Courses might have to be redesigned or adjusted to accommodate the longer classes in shorter amounts of time. Numbers of students interested in 1/4 classes would have to warrant the provision of such classes.

Project Title: Academic Credit and Career Training (ACCT)

Saskatoon (East) School Division No. 41
Contact Person: Denis Averill, Principal
Allan School

Project Purpose: Alternative Program and Service Delivery

Project Description:

The Saskatoon (East) School Division's Academic Credit and Career Training program is a response to the need for some form of Stay-in-School program in the division. Saskatoon (East) has had work experience programs operating in their various schools for nearly ten years. All Grade Twelve’s at Allan School are placed in work experience situations during the first or second semester. Success at Allan School prompted the division to house the ACCT program at Allan.

There are currently about twenty students in the program. Many of the students in the program cannot handle the pace of regular high school classes. Some are high-risk students with difficulties at home. Most have had attendance problems related to their difficulties with high school work as well as their lack of interest in school.

The program is staffed with three adults: one teacher, one contract worker or teacher assistant, and one youth care worker who is presently working with three to six girls in the program. Half the students spend a day in a work placement situation while the other half are in the classroom. The two groups alternate between days in the workplace and days at school. Students have a say in the type of work experience in which they participate. Vans transport students to and from their workplaces, all of which are located in Saskatoon.

Students can gain six work experience credits in three years while participating in the ACCT program. A further eighteen classroom credits are required. Students who gain the twenty-four credits necessary are awarded a Grade Twelve certificate.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Placing students in work experience programs is sometimes difficult, depending on the number of students involved. The ACCT program involves work placement over the course of three years which could cause some difficulties in smaller communities. The logistics of placing students is time consuming and some resources might have to be made available to free the teacher to make necessary arrangements. The three adults involved in the program require additional resources to be allocated to the program.

Project Title: Developmental Centre

Moosomin School Division No. 9
Contact Person: Judy Cormier

Project Purpose: Alternative Program and Service Delivery

Project Description:

A developmental centre had been situated in a secondary school in Moosomin, due to the age of the students. Younger children, though, had to be transported to the elementary school for activities with their age group. As more of the younger students were enrolled in the program, staff noted the desirability of moving the centre to an elementary setting. Parents of the children in the developmental centre were supportive of the proposed move.

Now located at the elementary school, students are integrated in regular classrooms full time during the afternoons. Some morning activities are also integrated with regular classrooms.

No renovations to the elementary school were required for this move, although some environmental changes, such as carpeting, were made to accommodate students who have hearing impairments.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Some additional renovations may be necessarily, depending on the nature of students' disabilities. As these children get older, what changes, if any, will be necessary to accommodate them at an elementary school?

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Project Title: Project Child

Regina School Division No. 4
Contact Person: Dave Mumford, Principal,
Kitchener School

Project Purpose: Consortium/Cooperative Agreements

Project Description:

The Regina School Division No. 4 and the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina entered into a partnership agreement intended address needs experienced in both organizations. The School Division saw a need to provide support for early childhood teachers in implementing child-centred programs that complemented the Core Curriculum. The Faculty of Education saw a need to replace their Children's Centre that had served as a laboratory school for teacher education programs. The Centre had been closed due to reduced funding. Eight specific objectives were detailed to guide the project. The objectives dealt with core curriculum, cross-cultural education, child-centred education, parent involvement, staff development, and student evaluation.

Resources were provided by both partners in the agreement. The School Division provided teacher release time, funding for equipment and materials, video and television equipment, building modifications, supplies, and equipment. The Faculty of Education provided some funding along with equipment, games, and materials. A Faculty member was given time to make regular visits to the school. Individual Faculty members committed to attend staff meetings and provide professional development sessions.

Project Child ran over the course of five years, beginning in 1989-90 and ending in 1993-94. The project was launched in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. In each subsequent year, another grade level was added as the students moved on to the next grades and a new class of children joined the pre-kindergarten.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Project Child was an idea generated by members of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. However, cooperative ventures that make use of the expertise of Faculty members and of teachers in the field may well stem from the ideas of classroom teachers. As this project indicated, support can be found when projects have benefits for both parties.

Reduced funding, especially in the light of the 1995 federal budget, may limit the abilities of Faculties of Education to help underwrite such projects.


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Project Title: E-Mail System

Northern Lakes School Division No. 64
Contact Person: Denis Tetu, Director

Project Purposes: Electronic Networking -- Administration
Electronic Networking -- Education/Instruction

Project Description:

All schools and central office are now networked via computers. Communication around the school division is accommodated through the network. Forms and mail are among the documents that are presently being transmitted electronically.

Central access to the library is available to students, allowing them to conduct research at school or from home. Through the network, students can search any of over one hundred full text articles. The School Division is presently exploring the possibilities of extending this access to the community in general. In addition, a number of community members are currently utilizing this system for various bulletin board services and communications.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Staff members are currently being provided with in-service to use the network to its potential. Transmission costs are a barrier and we will be attempting to resolve this with SaskTel.

Project Title: Curriculum Services

Cupar School Division No. 28
Contact Person: Wayne Dahlgren, Director

Project Purpose:: Contracting Out

Project Description:

The Cupar School Division decided it was necessary to down-size their central office. As a result, the Assistant Director and School Division Guidance positions were eliminated. Since that time, curriculum services have been contracted out. The person providing curriculum services is currently contracted for two days per week. The division has found the contracting arrangement to be very successful and plans to continue with the arrangement.

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Resource Allocation

Project Title: Adapting Computer Technology

Meadow Lake School Division No. 66
Contact Person: Larry Zemlak, Director

Project Purpose: Electronic Networking -- Administration
Electronic Networking -- Education/Instruction

Project Description:

Through the purchase of modems for all schools and a server located at central office, an E-Mail system is being used in the division. The networking has been in place since the beginning of the 1994-95 school year. Office staff can send messages, board minutes, forms, statistics, demographic information, course information, etc. to any and all locations in the division. A computer scanner will be used to digitize forms and other items not already on computer.

Because of the relative newness of the system, many staff members have not yet grown accustomed to features such as E-Mail. As a result, some E-Mail messages are not read promptly.

Some discussion is taking place regarding the possibility of making the network available to students in the evening. This would provide students with home computers access to the electronic library, including CD-ROM.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

The modems and server cost the division about $10,000. Some resources might have to be made available for staff in-service if the networking is to be used to its potential.


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Project Title: The Bridges Project

Melfort School Division No. 100
Contact Person: Bob Kroeker, Director

Project Purpose: Community Participation and Consultation

Project Description:

The Bridges Project was begun as a way of addressing programming at the Melfort and Unit Comprehensive Collegiate (M.U.C.C.) in the areas of apprenticeship, partnerships, transition, mentoring, cooperative work training, job shadowing, modified programming, and Stay in School programming. Elements dealing with public relations and communications with all parties was built into the process.

An "Operations Committee," consisting of representatives from the Melfort School Division, post-secondary institutions (Cumberland Community College), community members, and business and industry, serves an initiating group. This committee functions as a intermediary to provide services for the project's sub-committees. It also acts as a intermediary between the sub-committees and the Board of Education. Each of four sub-committees are responsible for certain areas of the project: school-based programs, transition programs, cooperation/public relations, and research and planning. These sub-committees present proposals and representations to the Operations Committee.

The School-Based Programs sub-committee focuses on life transitions, tech-voc education, and career education. The Transition Programs sub-committee focuses on apprenticeship, youth internship, job shadowing, work experience, alternative education, two days on the job, university programs, and mentorship. The Cooperation/Public relations sub-committee focuses on communications, liaison services, and career education resources. The Research and Planning Committee focuses on research and data, long range planning, and evaluation.

A "Round Table" was established to provide feedback to the Operations Committee about possible initiatives. The Round Table also provides a way to provide for public communications and input. Members of the Round Table are drawn from the School Division, SIAST, the two universities, the Chamber of Commerce, the City, the Health Region, Social Services, Industry, and arts groups, among others.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Operational guidelines must be early established. The Board of Education retains responsibility for formulation of policy and for all actions taken based on recommendations from the Bridges Project.

Project Title: Behavior Modification Social Skills Program

Northern Lakes School Division No. 64
Contact Person: Denis Tetu, Director

Project Purpose: Consortium/Collaborative Agreements

Project Description:

A behaviour modification/social skills program has been in operation in the division for the past two years. The program is being delivered in collaboration with the Parkland Regional Health Board. A family services coordinator hired by Parkland will be training parent leaders and co-ordinating the parenting skills process which is part of this program.

A ‘Prevention and Support’ grant was received and is being used to supplement the Regional Library(s) with parent support materials; and local school district boards to further support and inservice each school community.

The Northern Lakes School Division and the Parkland Regional Health Board are currently drafting a protocol agreement for the sharing of other services, programs, personnel, etc..

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

Project Title: Union Catalogue

Tisdale S.D. #53
Contact Person: Dwayne Brownridge

Project Purpose: To provide all schools within the Division electronic access to the resource centres of every other school.

Project Description:

Using McGraw Hill’s Columbia Library Software, the schools of the division have their collections electronically catalogued. A union catalogue will (by 1996) enable schools immediate access to the collections of either schools. Resources will be borrowed and lent involving the school collections. This will facilitate the efficient acquisition of resources, thereby permitting a greater number of resources afforded through reduced duplication of purchases. As well, the Regional Library system is co-operating. Presently, we have three school-housed collections and are negotiating for more. This opens the entire Regional Library collection for student use.

Ideas regarding project leadership, resources, evaluation, and issues for consideration:

This is a long term project because it is costly to properly catalogue and ”datafy” school collections. It requires vision and commitment on the parts of Boards. School-housed regional library branches require the support of the community and the local library board. These agreements require considerable effort and patience.

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