The Canadian Innovators in Education Awards

This year's deadline:
18 May 2016

CEA and Reader’s Digest Canada Launch the 2016 Canadian Innovators in Education Awards

$40,000 in prizes available to school districts that have influenced lasting change in their education systems.

The Canadian Innovators in Education Awards will celebrate and promote educators who are leading lasting and system-changing initiatives at all levels of K-12 education in Canada.  

FIRST PRIZE IS $25,000. THE SECOND AND THIRD PRIZES ARE  $10,000 AND $5,000, RESPECTIVELY. 

These awards will recognize and showcase the work of teachers, principals and administrators who are developing innovative teaching and learning programs throughout their school districts with a particular focus on improving student engagement and learning.

 The cash prizes will be presented to the winning schools/school districts to continue to support and grow the innovative programs and initiatives that are being recognized by these awards.

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Reader’s Digest feature article on the winners of the 2015 Innovators in Education Awards. 

ELIGIBILITY

This award is available to publicly-funded and private elementary, middle, and secondary schools in Canada, including Quebec CÉGEPs.

The application should feature a group of schools (and/or all schools) in a school district that have implements a successful, sustainable and scalable initiative to deeply engage students in their learning. Projects that are strictly extracurricular will not be considered. The jury will be looking for established districtwide programs that have influenced the school cultures, enhanced school success plans, provide deep learning environments for both students and teachers, and demonstrate the potential to be implemented systemically by other school districts. 

Applicants whose initiative has received any monetary contribution(s) from prizes, awards, bursaries, grants, etc. between March 1, 2015 and May 18, 2016 are not eligible for this award.

The recognition

Beyond the significant prize money, representatives from the award-winning programs will profiled in a Reader’s Digest Canada feature length article, will be honoured at a national CEA/Reader’s Digest Canada event and be profiled nationally to the CEA network through its various communications channels to encourage continued learning and sharing among educators.

Application information

In 500 words or less, introduce your successful program, why it’s innovative and has the potential to heighten student success in other school districts across Canada.
The deadline to submit your online application form, which will include a 500-words or less executive summary is 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) May 18, 2016.

The Stage 1 Selection Committee will shortlist the top ten (10) applications to request a more detailed Stage 2 application, which will be reviewed by a jury that will include representatives from both CEA and Reader’s Digest Canada.

If your program is shortlisted to participate in a Stage 2 application process, please consult the awards selection criteria further down this page.

Other important dates in the selection process: 
  • May 27, 2016 - Shortlisted Stage 2 candidates will be contacted
  • July 8, 2016 - Deadline to receive Stage 2 applications
  • September 12, 2016 – Award winners will be contacted.

DEADLINE FOR AWARD APPLICATIONS IS WEDNESDAY MAY 18, 2016 at 5:00pm PST.

Winners will be announced publicly in October 2016.

2015 Winners of the $40,000 Canadian Innovators in Education Awards

Courageous leaders who have provoked deep meaningful change throughout their schools honoured.

First Prize - $25,000

Instructional Leadership Team (ILT)
Central Okanagan School District
Kelowna, BC  

Second Prize - $10,000

A district-wide blended learning system
Sun West School Division
Rosetown, SK 

Third Prize - $5,000

Leadership for Literacy (L4L)
South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC)
Fort Smith, NT

This feature-length article featured these three award winners in the December 2015 issue of Reader’s Digest.

First Prize - $25,000 

Instructional Leadership Team (ILT)
Central Okanagan School District
Kelowna, BC

The Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), comprised of a District Principal and six teachers, was established to improve student learning in all 43 schools. Teachers have the freedom to act more like their students, collaborating to solve problems, and this district has seen teacher and student engagement flourish as a result.

Few districts have gone to this length for teachers’ professional learning. It has impacted all of the teaching staff and has led to a dramatic change in how this school district looks at learning and how professionals work together. The best thing that we can do is to help teachers improve their practice. This is about investing in teachers in a really thoughtful way that has everyone on side.

Second Prize - $10,000

A district-wide blended learning system
Sun West School Division
Rosetown, SK

In order to infuse 21st Century skill development in all aspects of learning within the division, the SWSD Board established a $1,000,000 innovation fund for a 3-year period as a lever to encourage schools to develop innovative projects focused on improving student learning and teaching. This focus on 21st Century Competencies (21CC) coupled with the Distance Learning Centre’s digitized supports and added financial incentives have created a real appetite for enhanced PD opportunities.

This initiative has introduced new ways of thinking about learning and teaching by capturing the current innovative practices in classrooms through the use of technology, in a wise manner, and is spreading these new approaches in classrooms throughout the school district.

Third Prize - $5,000

Leadership for Literacy (L4L)
South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC)
Fort Smith, NT 

In 2006, standardized testing revealed that fewer than 50% of students were meeting neighbouring Alberta’s standards. Not content with this reality, the SSDEC Board issued a challenge to the Superintendent and teachers – improve results and exceed the Canadian average in literacy. Thus began a rewarding initiative called Leadership for Literacy (L4L).

In less than five years, student achievement rates have soared to 79% in reading at or above the Canadian average. Most schools, including some of the smallest and most isolated with full Aboriginal enrolment, are approaching and even exceeding the Canadian norms in literacy and numeracy. Based on these stellar results, the same drive and commitment was transferred to Indigenous languages and cultural programming. Linguistic fluency has risen by 18% and there is now hope that these endangered languages can survive and thrive.

2016 SELECTION CRITERIA

These awards will recognize and showcase the work of teachers, principals and administrators who are developing innovative teaching and learning programs throughout their school districts with a particular focus on improving student engagement and learning.

The following criteria will be used by the jury members to determine the three cash prize winners. There are the two focus areas in the selection process:

a. The process used to initiate and scale the program throughout the applicant’s school district.
b. The critical factors that led to a positive impact on students and student learning.

Process: The key factors that facilitated the successful rollout and acceptance of the initiative.

The following points will be considered in reviewing each submission:

  1. The program/initiative has been in existence for more than one year.
  2. Evidence that the initiative is replicable in other districts.
  3. Evidence of the district’s public declaration to sustain the initiative across the school system for a minimum 3- to 5-year commitment, including a resolution passed by the school district’s Board of Trustees in support of the program beyond any pilot project phase.
  4. Evidence of the district’s financial commitment to sustain the initiative across the school system. For example, evidence of funds allocated to the initiative in the school district’s annual financial report. 
  5. Evidence of across-the-board school district staff support for the initiative. For example, letters of support from unions, non-teaching personnel, administrators, parents, etc. 
  6. Evidence of a district’s openness to publicly share lessons learned, including challenges and barriers. For example, evidence that the results of any research conducted about the innovation has been made public.
  7. Evidence that the initiative has expanded throughout a school district and provoked systemic changes (for example: provision of technologies in classrooms that has created shifts in teaching practices and observable adjustments in evaluation rubrics).
  8. Evidence of teamwork, which includes peer-to-peer collaboration during the process of expanding these programs from a single classroom throughout schools and school districts. 
  9. An outline of the stages used throughout the change process with examples of the lessons learned – both positive and negative – at each stage.

An outline of the stages used throughout the change process with examples of the lessons learned – both positive and negative – at each stage.

Student Impact: The key indicators that the program was having the desired impact on student learning.

The following points will be considered in reviewing each submission:

  1. Evidence of how this program/initiative has had positive results on student and teacher success.
  2. Evidence of innovation in program design and assessment rubrics, including comparisons to past practices.
  3. Evidence that students are actively engaged in their own learning and are supported to create new perspectives and new knowledge.
  4. Evidence that students’ exploration of individual interests, passions and talents is an ongoing part of classroom learning.
  5. Evidence that student learning is real and relevant to their lives now with learning activities that engage them in inquiries, problem solving and critical thinking. 
  6. Evidence that young people are motivated and engaged – socially, institutionally and intellectually.
  7. Evidence that teachers are motivated and engaged in their practice.
  8. Evidence of the development of learning environments inside and outside of school where teaching and learning is a truly reciprocal process.

About the Canadian Innovators in Education Awards

The Canadian Innovators in Education Awards will celebrate and promote educators who are leading lasting and system-changing initiatives at all levels of K-12 education in Canada.  

These awards will recognize and showcase the work of teachers, principals and administrators who are developing innovative teaching and learning programs throughout their school districts with a particular focus on improving student engagement and learning.

The current award holder:

  • Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) - Central Okanagan, A district-wide blended learning system - Sun West, Leadership for Literacy (L4L) - South Slave

Previous winners:

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