The 'Indigenous Innovation that Sticks' School District Case Study Program

For last year's finalists, please click here.

Apply for the $10,000 CEA Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Program

What makes your Indigenous learning program successful? What factors contributed to your success? What got your innovation to ‘stick’?

Investigating and sharing detailed case study research that answers these crucial questions will provide important insights into how educators can address the significant challenge of ensuring that all Indigenous students succeed in school.

This is why CEA is implementing this case study research program with an on-reserve/off- reserve Indigenous school, group of schools or with public school districts offering specialized programs to a significant Indigenous student population. 

Based on the sense of urgency to decrease the number of Indigenous students who are tuning out – and dropping out – of school, on-reserve and off-reserve educators are implementing bold new programs that merit attention. The 2016 CEA Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Research Program is a significant and timely initiative that serves to recognize successful and replicable First Nations-focused learning programs.

The Goals of This Case Study Program

CEA knows there are on-reserve/off-reserve schools where tremendous innovation is happening by taking risks and implementing culturally relevant, community-supported, innovative programs that connect deeply with Indigenous learners and their way of learning and coming to know. We want to learn about, understand, and promote how one successful program for Indigenous learners has grown beyond one classroom. The case study research produced through this initiative will help support other educators in getting their own ‘innovations to stick’ and achieve their goals.

The purpose of this case study program is to: 

  • Identify how the selected program was successfully replicated beyond a classroom to throughout a school and/or several schools and/or throughout a school district.
  • Recognize educators who are committed to making a difference in the lives of Indigenous students by achieving optimal benefits for them in school.
  • Showcase learning environments that engage the hearts, hands and minds of Indigenous learners, integrate Indigenous Worldview perspective (Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning), and enabling them to develop 21st century skills while engaging their communities as a significant learning resource.
  • Demonstrate how Indigenous students can be vocal, active partners alongside educators in designing classroom and school innovations that shape learning environments that invite engagement, increased achievement and retention.
  • Provide a framework for building the capacity of on-reserve/off-reserve schools with significant Indigenous student populations to create conditions for increased engagement, retention and success. 
  • Spread knowledge of how educators are increasing student engagement and achievement while working in extremely challenging socio-demographic environments.
  • Recognize, affirm, legitimize and share the benefit of educators’ experiences with other educators, rather than working in isolation.

This case study program will help CEA understand and promote how programs for Indigenous learners are finding success in growing their transformative program beyond a classroom to throughout an entire school or school district to meet the needs of all 21st century learners so that other Indigenous education leaders can better determine how they can get their ‘innovations to stick’.


On-reserve/off-reserve schools and school districts, a set of schools or a school on a reserve or a declared education organization working in conjunction with a Band Council, or with public school districts offering specialized programs to their significant indigenous student populations are eligible to apply for this case study research program. 

The application should feature a K-12 classroom, a group of classes, a department, a whole school, or several schools that have undertaken a successful, sustainable and replicable initiative to deeply engage Indigenous students in their learning. Projects that are strictly extracurricular will not be considered. The Selection Committee will be looking for projects and programs that have expanded (or have the potential to expand) beyond a classroom throughout a school, influence the life of the school, enhance school success plans, and demonstrate the potential to be implemented systemically.

If your program is already receiving implementation support from university researchers or consultants, the CEA researcher would want to integrate feedback from these individuals into the case study. 



In 500 words or less, introduce your successful program for Indigenous learners, why you think it works and how it has been replicated – or has the potential to be replicated – in other on-reserve and off-reserve schools 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) April 14, 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 Selections Committee, which will include Indigenous education leaders, who will then choose one program to participate in an in-depth ‘Innovation that Sticks’ case study research process.

If your program is shortlisted to participate in a Stage 2 case study application process, the criteria that will be used by the Selection Committee members will be sent to you for review.

Other important dates in the selection process: 

April 22, 2016 -
Shortlisted Stage 2 candidates will be contacted
May 26, 2016 - Deadline to receive Stage 2 applications
September 2016 - Representatives from the selected program for the case study will be contacted.

The CEA Selections Committee will choose one learning program to be featured in the 2016 Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Research Program. CEA staff and a contracted researcher will work closely with the key players from the chosen program to identify: 

  • How the learning program can be replicated in other schools or school districts.
  • Strategies employed to ensure long-term buy-in and support of the innovative practices by Indigenous community leaders, Band Councils, and other stakeholder groups.
  • Programs and practices that strengthen the teaching of Indigenous history, cultures, traditions, languages, values, ceremonies and unique worldviews.
  • Issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of education for Indigenous learners and to ensure that Indigenous knowledge is included in educational systems in respectful and meaningful ways. 
  • Policies and programs in schools to develop more culturally inclusive classrooms for Indigenous learners.
  • Potential for bridging cultures by delivering hands-on applied learning that benefits both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

Click here to apply.


As a mobilizer of best practices in education, this case study research program produces critical knowledge for CEA in order to learn about what policies and practices enable Indigenous student success in schools and classrooms across Canada. CEA will document these ‘lessons learned’ through a case study research report, and videos, to share with other educators across Canada.

If your program is selected for the Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Program: 

  • Your learning program will receive a $10,000 bursary to be used to continue to support the growth of your innovative practice.
  • The educators and community members that help drive your learning program will share their expertise with a CEA case study researcher between September-December 2016.
  • The CEA researcher will package the ‘lessons learned’ from your successful learning program and publish a case study report to share with other change leaders across Canada.
  • Your leadership team will have the opportunity to work with a professional editor to share your program in a feature-length article for Education Canada Magazine.
  • Your team will be invited to present your innovative work at a CEA national conference in October 2016.  
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Further Information

Requests for further information should be sent by e-mail to Cynthia Liberbaum at:

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Contact Information:

Cynthia Liberbaum
Executive Coordinator

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