Session Information

Session 1: 10:15 - 11:00 am CST

Presenter:
Jacquelene Gibbs
Organization: 
South East Cornerstone Public School Division 
Abstract: 
Children who are reading at grade level by Grade 3 have a higher chance of graduating from high school than those who don’t. Through our work with the Early Years Evaluation (EYE), we know that children who enter Kindergarten with fewer readiness skills are much less likely to read a grade level in Grade Three. As Kindergarten entrance scores stagnate and drop across the province our ability to get children reading at grade level by Grade Three is further challenged. 

We recognize a need to support Early Childhood Experiences, especially in rural areas where distance and low income can present insurmountable barriers to quality health and education services.  

This session will present key issues, work already being done to change the trajectory in one school division, and engage participants collaboratively to identify and overcome barriers to quality early childhood experiences in rural Saskatchewan. 

Presenters:
Scott Tunison & Dawn Wallin  
Organization:
University of Saskatchewan 
Abstract: 
In this presentation, we describe Following Their Voices (FTV) an initiative implemented in Saskatchewan schools to meet the educational needs of Indigenous students. Inspired by a program from Aotearoa (New Zealand) called Whanaungatanga, but reframed for the Saskatchewan context with the guidance of Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers, FTV is designed to raise the educational achievement and participation of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous students.Teachers are expected to learn about and implement culturally sustaining pedagogy with observational support from colleagues; set goals to enhance instructional improvement; and participate in regular collaborative reflection meetings to build on successes and address areas that require improvement. We will share findings from our appreciative inquiry with 11 schools in their second year of FTV implementation.The research builds upon existing school-based perceptual data (from students, parents, and teachers) and extends those data to draw deeper understandings about school climate, classroom instruction, and student learning.
Presenters:
Leyton Schnellert, Donna Kozak, Mehjabeen Datoo and Miriam Miller 
Organization:
University of Toronto and University of British Columbia
Abstract: 
Research demonstrates the inadequacy of top-down change efforts in supporting educators’ development of impactful and leading-edge classroom-, school- and district-level change. In particular, reform efforts have little impact if they fail to engage educators in generating and mobilizing knowledge about and for their own practice and contexts.
We investigated whether and how professional learning networks (PLNs) can invigorate pedagogical innovation and school/system change for educators working in rural communities. 
To investigate rural/remote PLN processes and their link to advancing outcomes for learners and supporting school/system change, we conducted a case study spanning 16 regionally-distributed rural hubs within the Growing Innovation in Rural Sites of Learning PLN in BC, Canada. Participants at each site included teachers and school level administration. Data was collected through site reports, focus groups, and interviews. Iterative analyses revealed several themes which articulate significant openings, serendipitous alignments, and generativity and agency.
Presenters:
Tenneisha Nelson, PhD 
Organization:
University of Saskatchewan
Abstract: 
There is a growing call for schools to be “reconceptualized as learning organizations that can react more quickly to changing external environments, embrace innovations in internal organization, and ultimately improve student outcomes" (Kools and Stoll, 2016, p.1). Drawing from the findings of a qualitative study conducted in a rural Saskatchewan school, this presentation will explore the extent to which this rural school operated as a learning organization during the implementation of a school improvement initiative. The initiative aimed to empower students to become 21st Century learners and saw the school engaging in several systemic changes that resulted in several structural modifications in the school's operation.
Presenter:
Elaina Guilmette  
Organization:
Sun West School Division and University of Saskatchewan  
Abstract: 
This presentation will discuss the impacts and outcomes of Mental Wellness 30L (MW30), which is an innovative online and face-to-face high school curriculum designed to foster knowledge and improve mental wellness in Saskatchewan adolescents.  Through research, collaboration, and student and teacher feedback we are learning from teachers and students what supports adolescents need to gain mental wellness and balance in their lives. Students are gaining self-awareness and empowerment to seek health care resources available to them and interventions to promote overall wellbeing. MW30 is unique because the course is co-designed by adolescents who have lived experience with mental illness. The curriculum and online program have been endorsed by RBC, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Saskatchewan Division (CMHA-SK), the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, and Whitecap First Nation.
Presenters:
Kathy Sanford and David Monk 
Organization:
University of Victoria and University of Gulu (Uganda) 
Abstract: 
This session will focus on a research project between educators and teacher educators in BC and Gulu, Uganda. Teachers in Gulu were working on developing technology skills with their students when COVID hit. Rather than waiting until the children could travel to the city for school, the teachers traveled to the rural communities with their laptops and phones, teaching them in the open air. Maintaining educational continuity, the teachers continued to build relationships and foster excitement of learning in new ways. In addition to collecting photos and posting them on their digital portfolio site, the students have begun learning how to type simple messages in English that they can share with the BC-located researchers. This rural community has modeled authentic learning for all teachers and learners. 
Presenters:
Morag Redford and Lindsay Nicol 
Organization:
University of the Highlands and Islands 
Abstract: 
This session will present the findings from a qualitative analysis of a one-year Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Program, established to recruit primary teachers to rural areas in Scotland. 
In the study we examined the ways in which ‘being rural’ was integral to the identity work of becoming a teacher and how being a ‘rural teacher’ can be worked with as a place-based resource during ITE. Analyzing the structures of the program we found that collaborative agency (Engestrom, 2008) is developed where all contexts for engagement, including practicum, provide opportunities for accessing professional capital (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012) as part of understanding existing local identities. In this way the program enabled students to place their ‘possible teacher self’ locally, and draw on their rural and teaching influences as empowerment.  This challenges views in literature that rurality needs prepared for as ‘add-on’ content or contexts in ITE programs. 
Presenters:
Elaine Fournier, Shelleyann Scott and Donald E. Scott 
Organization:
Western University, University of Calgary 
Abstract: 
This presentation explores the approach of a rural, Canadian principal and her educator-team to support the learning of all students within the challenges presented in the COVID-19 pandemic. It also explores the suitability of the Inclusive Leadership Framework (ILF) in informing this leader’s decision-making in support of appropriate inclusion. The ILF has been found to be useful in guiding principals’ approaches to leading inclusion and has been used in graduate programming to support the development of essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes/beliefs of leaders of inclusion; however, the ILF to date has not been tested under the level of challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation presents a case story which describes the issues the principal and her educator-team faced, their instructional approaches, and how the ILF informed their inclusionary efforts at this difficult time.
Presenter:
Anna D'Addio 
Organization:
UNESCO 
Abstract: 
The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report published by UNESCO addresses inclusion in education, drawing attention to all those excluded from education, because of identity background or ability. Location is also among the factors increasing the risk of exclusion of quality public services including education. This presentation will explore the key challenges holding us back from effectively upholding the right to education for learners living in remote and rural areas. The presentation will describe the impacts of rural school closures on learners and communities, and the types of training and support required to equip teachers to teach in multigrade and inclusive classrooms. The presentation will draw upon the 2020 GEM Report’s global findings and PEER education profiles to provide policy examples from countries and communities managing to tackle these challenges with success. 

Session 2: 11:00 –11:45 am CST

Presenters:
Gabrielle T. Lee, Xiaoyi Hu, and Shumei Hu 
Organization:
Western University, Beijing Normal University, Beijing Normal University 
Abstract: 
The sought to evaluate teacher implementation of a computer-assisted instructional system (CAIS), which was devised to teach bi-directional naming (BiN), an ability to learn incidentally, for children with exceptionalities. Three special education teachers in China participated in this fully online study. A single case experimental design with multiple probe across three participants was used. At baseline, we conducted a 1.5 to two-hour online training regarding BiN and its teaching procedures and followed by the evaluation of teacher implementation using picture cards. In the intervention condition, we provided access to the CAIS and its accompanying manual for the teachers to learn the system and evaluate their implementation using the CAIS. Compared to baseline, all three teachers implemented the BiN instruction with greater accuracy and in less time when the CAIS was used. Implications for training special education teachers and teaching BiN for students with special needs in rural areas are discussed
Presenter:
Mrs. Suzie Dick 
Organization:
International Professional Development Association (Scotland); Arran High School  
Abstract: 
Exploring what professional learning means in a remote setting and the challenges it can pose in terms of isolation, access to opportunities and small cohorts of staff to work collaboratively with.The dilemma with a small staff and a small budget of balancing the needs of the school and the needs of the teacher to ensure their development and career progression is not limited by location. What appears to be coming out of research in Scotland and the OECD is that though the perception of professional learning opportunities is one that is manly urban based and conducted from a more urban viewpoint, there is also recognition that each island and remote community has its own disparate needs.The presentation would be to examine the above, while also serving to look at professional learning in a different context and to challenge some of the current practices and assumptions.
Presenters:
Raquel Oberkirsch and Curtis Bourassa
Organization:
South East Cornerstone Public School Division 
Abstract: 
South East Cornerstone Public School Division is committed to teaching Treaty Education in meaningful, authentic ways and teaching students 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. SECPSD has a team of curriculum consultants and instructional technology consultants who support teachers to teach this content and these skills in their classrooms.  
In this presentation, we (a curriculum consultant for Indigenous Education & Treaty Education and an instructional technology consultant) will share a collaborative project we engaged in with a Grade 7/8 teacher and her students. After co-constructing expectations for using Minecraft Education Edition to demonstrate learning, we taught a series of mini-lessons on the Grade 7 Treaty Outcomes and students represented their learning in Minecraft. We will discuss the structure of the project, how we scaffolded this process for students, and our reflections on improvements for future use.  
Presenters:
Mary Jane Harkins, Zhanna Barchuk, and Jonathan Grant 
Organization:
Mount Saint Vincent UniversityNorthumberl and Regional High School 
Abstract: 
The goal of this interactive session will be to draw attention to the rapidly changing trends in students' accessibility to learning.  The presenters will share and discuss teaching exemplars of experiences that highlight the benefits and challenges of using Universal Design for Learning in everyday practice in rural schools. This presentation is based on two qualitative studies developed by the researchers to examine educators' perceptions of their experiences using UDL principles to support the learning variability of a wide range of technologically immersed learners. The findings of the studies demonstrate the importance of a UDL framework for meeting the diverse needs of all students and moving the local into a global context. Now is the time for administrators and educators to assess how best to utilize UDL in the twenty-first century as we seek to create educational pathways that are inclusive and promote resilience and global opportunities for all learners.
Presenters:
Tumendelger SengedorjNemekhjargal Taisaa 
Organization:
Mongolian National University of Education 
Abstract: 
Although Mongolia spends over a fifth of its education budget but disparities still exist. Rural herder children in Mongolia often have limited access to early childhood education as they live in 10-55 km in average, from local kindergarten. According to the World Bank (2017)’s study only 14 percent of children who attended pre-schools, aged 2-5 years old, are from herder families and these families are often socially and economically disadvantaged.  At present approximately 70 percent of children aged 3-5 years are in formal pre-school facilities with an extra 10 percent of children accessing alternative pre-school provision. The alternative ECE provision for nomadic children consist of visiting teachers, home based education and ger (yurth) kindergartens. Although preschool enrolment has increased for all children in last 10 years, but some studies prove there still exist worse results in school readiness among the nomadic children. This presentation will discuss which alternative is better in effective provision of early childhood education for rural children. 
Presenter:
Anna Grumbly 
Organization:
Ministry of Education 
Abstract: 
The Ministry of Education developed an online portal titled, Deepening the Discussion: Gender and Sexual Diversity Toolkit. This portal contains professional development modules that will help to increase understanding of gender and sexual diversity. The session will review the portal and include information on emerging trends, provide an understanding of gender and sexual diversity, help answer questions such as Where do I begin? How can I support students? Where can I go for resources? Awell as offer information on facilitating critical conversations. 
Presenters:
Alicia F. Noreiga-Mundaroy and Elizabeth A. Sloat 
Organization:
University of New Brunswick 
Abstract: 
In Education in the British West Indies (1968), Williams expressed grave concern toward T&T’s elitist Colonial education system and its negligible contribution to the lives of the nation’s predominantly rural population. He argued that the country's success and citizens’ empowerment lay in meaningful, relevant education that meets communities’ social, education, and economic needs. Later, as President, Williams's ideologies pioneered a transformation of the country's education through his national development vision.   
Regardless of improvements since, the country's 37% rural population continues to receive inferior and misaligned education. Williams’s assertion in 1968 that "The intelligentsia are not interested in rural education" (p.11) remains a matter of significant influence and concern today.
Presenters:
Raylene Forseth and Cheryl Anderson 
Organization:
South East Cornerstone Public School Division 
Abstract: 
When the pandemic turned our world upside down, South East Cornerstone Public School Division joined educators around the world to focus our energy on staying connected while protecting the mental health of students and staff.  We accelerated plans for a division wide Trauma Sensitive Initiative in all schools – urban, rural and remote – because we believed the worst possible time to start something “new” was also the best opportunity to make the mindset shift of trauma sensitive education.  

In this session we share a “made in SECPSD” trauma sensitive education model, which draws on established research and best practice. The model promotes enhancement of existing educator skill sets, through shared language and school specific planning to support students who have experienced ACEs or toxic stress as well as those who have not. Participants will be inspired to consider similar opportunities to establish trauma sensitive education practices in their own schools. 

Presenter:
Judge David Arnot 
Organization:
Chief Commissioner, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission 
Board Chair, Concentus Citizenship Education Foundation
Abstract: 
Racism, discrimination and the lack of respect for laws, people, and property are compounded by ignorance about difference, race, and gender. These are real and present threats to our society. Meaningful inclusion and belonging in every community requires a respectful, understanding, and engaged citizenry. Saskatchewan needs fully engaged citizens who critically examine, advocate, respect others, and defend responsibilities and democratic rights. The education system plays a central role in this endeavor. Broad-based citizenship education is a meaningful solution to address these concerns and the threat they pose to democracy. The desire by educators to support and improve our communities is unequivocal. Teachers and schools are ready and willing to do the work. What are needed are academically sound classroom-ready resources and supports. 
Presenter:
Katie Morigi-Eades 
Organization:
University of Huddersfield, UK 
Abstract: 
Previous international studies suggest that rural and remote school leaders do not feel included or heard by policy makers or wider society (Miller, 2015; Preston et al., 2013; Schafft, 2016; Starr, 2016; Surface & Theobald, 2014). In response, this presentation focuses on the prospective, novel use of the ‘transformative paradigm’ (Mertens, 2009) to uncover potential injustices in education policy for rural and remote schools leaders in England, raising awareness of how they practice school leadership in their unique and challenging contexts. 
In order to provide a picture of how primary school leaders in these contexts practice leadership, it argues that employing the critical (or descriptive/exploratory) dimension of Mertens' transformative paradigm allows for a thorough exploration of power, privilege and relationships between policy makers and school leaders. In doing so, the application of this paradigm may prove to be a powerful tool in bringing visibility to leaders in these contexts. 

Session 3: 12:00 –12:45 pm CST

Presenter:
Gregory R.L. Hadley 
Organization:
Faculty of Education, St. Francis Xavier University 
Abstract: 
Drawing on doctoral research that explored the extent that youth who possess, or who learn, the various knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) associated with the entrepreneur learn, and use, those attributes in their communities, this presentation will argue that developing entrepreneurial capacities in young people is a worthwhile educational pursuit, with benefits that extend well beyond the classroom. In an age where many youth retention initiatives, economic development programs, and sustainability campaigns emerge from exogenous sources (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003), entrepreneurial youth stand as a unique, endogenous opportunity. When entrepreneurial KSAs are cultivated, youth can become more involved in their respective hometowns, enhance their entrepreneurial intentions and hold a willingness to support their rural communities, through residency, later in life. Schools play a pivotal role in this process, serving as the focal point for the introduction, and development, of entrepreneurialism.
Presenters:
Michael Nantais, Ph.D, and Jaqueline Kirk, Ph.D. 
Organization:
Brandon University 
Abstract: 
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an upheaval in education at all levels across the country. In Manitoba, in person schooling made a dramatic shift to remote learning with little warning in March 2020. As the closure wore on, we became interested in how educators were using social media in their practice. Data was collected through an anonymous survey consisting of 15 mostly open-ended questions.  Surveys were analyzed in terms of three roles: teachers, technology coordinators, and school administrators’. A total of 78 responses were obtained. In addition, we scanned the public Twitter streams for five educators from each category. Not surprisingly, results indicate a variety of reasons for using social media and platforms utilized. In this session we will present and discuss the findings of our study. 
Presenter:
Dr Jennifer Tatebe 
Organization:
Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland, New Zealand 
Abstract: 
A new phenomena is occurring across regional Aotearoa New Zealand. Previously small and rural towns are experiencing unprecedented, rapid urbanization as a result of immigration and population change, a lack of available affordable housing, and skyrocketing housing prices. In turn, rural schools have been thrust into unknown territory, navigating the complexities of constantly changing school populations in response to new housing developments in their communities. This presentation challenges the traditional view of the rural-urban divide from a school governance perspective. Focus group interviews with elected board members at six schools across two of the fastest growing regions in Aotearoa New Zealand indicate a range of political, social and economic dilemmas which reflect wider community tensions. Study findings contribute to constructions of the rural school context and will be of interest to schools and educators, local community interest groups, government officials, and housing developers. 
Presenters:
Malle Schilling, Jacob Grohs, and Jordan Laney 
Organization:
Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech 
Abstract: 
This presentation will share a conceptual framing of culturally responsive pedagogy in rural engineering education. The need for this framing stems from an existing community-based partnership between middle school teachers, local industry partners, and university affiliates in Appalachia to provide rural students with hands-on engineering experiences. Participants will engage in discussions around practicing culturally responsive pedagogy in rural classrooms and how this could inform engineering education efforts. Discussion will focus on the unique contexts of rural places, including dimensions related to culture, capital and assets, and how these dimensions can be utilized in continued efforts to provide rural students with opportunities to explore engineering. 
Presenter:
Shelley Stagg Peterson and Laureen McIntyre 
Organization:
OISE/University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan 
Abstract: 
Focus groups with 25 remote northern Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers and early childhood educators provide insights into rural teaching and rural students’ experiences of initial teacher education and early childhood educator programs. All but one of the participants had grown up in rural communities before attending postsecondary programs. Participants talked about a strong sense of togetherness and support from students' parents/caregivers and from colleagues. They felt there was an expectation of reciprocity, where teachers and community supported each other. Their teaching was constrained by having inconsistent/limited access to material and human resources.  
Participants told stories about significant lifestyle adjustments and identity transformations that they, as rural students, had to make when moving from their communities to urban centres to complete their teacher/early childhood educator preparation. Our presentation will include implications for administrative support of teachers in remote rural Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and of rural students in initial teacher education programs.
Presenter:
Reg Leidl 
Organization:
Saskatchewan Physical Education Association (SPEA) 
Abstract: 
This session will examine the changes in K-12 physical education brought on by instructional adaptations implemented due to interruptions in school delivery models during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The emphasis on outdoor risky play, engaged active learning, individual pursuits, and family involvement will be examined.  If you are interested in the benefits of life long active living and learning this is the session for you! 
Presenters:
Randy Constant, Karen Carriereand Michael Cottrell 
Organization:
East Central First Nations Education Alliance 
Abstract: 
This presentation will provide a case study of the formation of a First Nations education system in north eastern Saskatchewan. Based on insights from key individuals involved in driving the process, the presentation will document the various steps in establishing the East Central First Nations Education Alliance (ECFNEA). This includes a consideration of community aspirations and Indigenous Services Canada policy around First Nations school aggregations; initial community consultations and engagements with First Nations elected officials; the creation of a third level services organization, including Board formation, senior administration hiring and establishment of a mission and vision; and launching the organization to support schools in two First Nations communities in the middle of a pandemic. The presentation concludes with future plans and strategic directions of the ECFNEA. This presentation will be of interest to Indigenous communities considering educational reform and provincial school divisions serving large numbers of Indigenous students. 
Presenter:
Lisa Greig 
Organization:
Lisa Greig Wellness, University of Saskatchewan 
Abstract: 
Grief lives in your classrooms, but it can be so hard to know what to do, what to say and how to acknowledge it. Let us talk about loss. Let us talk about grief. Let us talk about mourning. Let us talk about all the things that are so hard to talk about. Our teachers encounter grief and loss, daily, when working with students; this can range from the grief due to a death loss, due to divorce, due to a pet or a breakup as well as to the loses experienced because of the pandemic. Let us spend time unpacking what grief is, a brief understanding of some theories and then the practical component of what to do and what to say, in your classrooms.
Presenter:
Seema Saroj 
Organization:
Ministry of Education 
Abstract: 
This session will create an increased awareness of the provision of programs, services and supports for EAL learners, resulting from ongoing collaboration between the provincial and federal governments, non-government organizations, and school divisions. The session will include information on emerging trends in immigration, increasing EAL population in our schools and provide an opportunity for discussion on critical topics including: welcoming school and classroom environments; the challenges of a multi-cultural/multi-lingual classroom; and resources and supports available to school and school division level professionals, including educators and administrators, in addressing the needs of EAL learners in small rural communities. 
Presenters:
Yvette Arcand, Lori-Ann Daniels, and Elizabeth Gardipy 
Organization:
ITEP, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan 
Abstract: 
This presentation describes the Wahkohtowin Professional Development School (PDS) model offered through the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan.  The Wahkohtowin PDS was created in partnership with public, Catholic and First Nations school systems in order to decolonize teacher education and support Indigenous teachers and learners. The model is premised on a Nehiyawak (Cree) worldview centered around relationality, ceremony, language and child-centredness.  This session will provide an overview of the conceptualization and objectives of the Wahkohtowin Professional Development School, and describe how it has been implemented in school systems to support the creation of safe space, Indigenous identity development, and teacher professional practice. 

Session 4: 12:45 –1:30 pm CST

Presenters:
Roberta Campbell-Chudoba, Charmain Laroque, and Bob Bayles 
Organization:
University of Saskatchewan and Prairie Spirit School Division 
Abstract: 
In Prairie Spirit School Division, positive leaders at multiple levels are promoting authentic relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, groups, and communities in the spirit of reconciliation, with the goal of the success and well-being of all students. A school division priority is for learners to possess intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect with and for Indigenous peoples, aligning with a recommendation from the TRC. A culture camp lodge, Askiy-Kamik (Cree for ‘learning from the land’) provides space for land-based learning by students, teachers and staff, championed by a leadership team of Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and division personnel with passion for sharing First Nations and Métis teachings and worldviews. We share how reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can be prioritized and enacted in a school division, and how educational leaders might learn more about positive leadership from Indigenous ways of knowing and being. 
Presenters:
Janet Kotylak, Lorrie Anne Harkness, and Lorrie Rogala 
Organization:
Prairie Valley School Division 
Abstract: 
During the 2019-20 school year, the traditional model of student services in Prairie Valley dramatically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The need for continued mental health services was identified and therefore Prairie Valley was determined to quickly pivot and reimagine our resources.  Our social workers and psychologists embarked on an online journey with students, teachers, and families to continue to provide necessary social, emotional, and behavioral supports and services during the six month shutdown of schools. This session will focus on the mental health impact the pandemic had on students, staff, and families as well as the creative ways that the Prairie Valley mental health team carried on through this time.  Small group discussions will focus current challenges, lessons learned, and sharing new ways of serving students and how we are all "carrying on" through COVID. 
Presenter:
Kelsey Shields 
Organization:
Athabasca University; Good Spirit School Division; McDowell Foundation 
Abstract: 
Distance education has and will continue to augment Saskatchewan Kindergarten - Grade 12 (K-12) education by reducing the barriers and challenges currently presented in public education, which was intensely experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of my research supported by the McDowell Foundation, the experiences and perceptions of public school educators in Saskatchewan provide an insider insight into the current state of distance education. A force field analysis (FFA) identified helping and hindering forces in Saskatchewan K-12 distance education derived from interviews of experiences and perceptions of public school K-12 educators in Saskatchewan. These FFA results suggest possible next steps to aid future distance education design and delivery in Saskatchewan K-12.  This study contributes to what is currently a relatively small research base and will provide inspiration for change in the field of K-12 distance education. 
Presenters:
Dr. Candy Skyhar and Dr. Cathryn Smith 
Organization:
Brandon University 
Abstract: 
Rural communities often struggle to attract and retain educators with the ability to lead educational change. Experiencing leadership vicariously through play has the potential to pique interest and develop capacity. In the educational game board simulation that we researched the PD committee is tasked with strengthening the pedagogical effectiveness of teachers. Our qualitative multiple case study aimed to answer the question: How does participation in a professional development board game simulation serve as a catalyst for developing leadership capacity in rural educators?  Multiple data sources included online questionnaires, semi-structured participant interviews, PD artifacts and recorded debriefing sessions between the PD facilitators/researchers. Key elements of the simulation provided players with insights into the change process and pathways to facilitate change. Players made connections between the simulation and their own rural educational contexts, noting that the game strengthened their skills, knowledge and competence as leaders of change and enhanced leadership capacity.
Presenters:
Katherine Oviatt and Darrell Paproski 
Organization:
Horizon School Division 
Abstract: 
In 2018/19 Horizon School Division undertook a community screening project.  The intent was to collect data around the development needs of children in our rural communities that do not have access to ministry-funded preK.  Over 600 children were screened for developmental milestones in 37 rural communities, including four First Nation communities.The date we found was shared with the Ministry Early Learning Branch through a proposal for universal access to prekindergarten under alternate funding models. 
Presenter:
Tiina Kukkonen  
Organization:
Queen’s University 
Abstract: 
Mobilizing resources to support community and school-based arts education in rural areas requires strategic planning and collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Research has identified the need for intermediary organizations (IOs) whose job it is to aid these partnering entities in developing joint visions and sustaining aligned activities. The aim of this presentation is twofold: 1) to provide an overview of the types of IOs that exist to support arts education and engagement in rural Ontario and Quebec and, 2) present early findings from a multi-case study examining how five organizations operate to support rural arts education initiatives involving multiple partners. Implications for the sustainability of arts education in rural communities will also be discussed.
Presenter:
Michelle Lam
Organization:
Brandon University’s Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies CARES 
Abstract: 
Rural schools are becoming more diverse, yet supports for diverse students, and professional development for rural teachers are often based on urban settings. Three years ago, I created an interactive board game, Refugee Journeys, which allows players the opportunity to experience settlement and integration from the viewpoint of a randomly generated refugee identity. I used the game as a way to launch conversations and educate educators, volunteers, and community members about integration. In this presentation, I detail the methodological choices made during project development along with the outcomes of using the game in a rural setting. Using a tool like Refugee Journeys allows rural residents to share their own knowledge and experience while simultaneously engaging with literature, policy, and relevant research.
Presenters:
Jayne Downey, Sarah Schmitt-Wilson, and Tena Versland 
Organization:
Montana State University
Abstract: 
This study reports the findings from a survey of 201 recent teacher education graduates regarding the factors that influenced their decision to take a teaching position in a rural or urban community following graduation. Results indicate that clinical field experiences in rural areas, being close to family and the size of school influenced new graduates' decisions. Other factors such as school culture and administrative support were also found to be important to new graduates' decision making.   The presentation will also share insights that can help to inform state and local educational agencies about strategies in attracting new graduates and in retaining new teachers in rural schools.
Presenter:
Michael Link  
Organization:
University of Winnipeg 
Abstract: 
In the post-pandemic world, people living in rural and remote communities will be less likely to accept the absence of high quality professional and academic programs, such as teacher education. Preservice teachers across the globe will have been at least partially educated through this online mode of learning. The quality of teacher education approaches, however, will have no doubt varied. This workshop demonstrates a participatory learning approach for facilitating preservice teachers in discussion and collaboration in an online synchronous setting. In the spirit of the workshop, there will also be opportunities for participants to share their own approaches for engaging students.
Presenters:
Dr. Patricia Danyluk, and Dr. Amy Burns 
Organization:
Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary 
Abstract: 
The role of a teacher in a rural or remote community is often accompanied by respect and positional power (Alberta Teachers Association, 2003).  However, this social positioning is not necessarily held by educational assistants where issues of gender, including traditional expectations for women, further complicate the transition from educational assistant to teacher.  This research examines the experiences of former educational assistants now working as teachers in rural and remote communities in Canada.  Drawing on transformative learning theory (Mezirow, 1978; Mezirow, Taylor, 2009), the researchers examine how the experiences of these beginning teachers impact their sense of personal identity and social positioning (Johnson-Bailey 2012).

Session 5: 1:45 –2:30 pm CST

Presenters:
Dr. Norma Hafenstein, Dr. Kristina Hesbol, Dr. Lindsey Reinert, Joi Lin, and Fayaz Amiri 
Organization:
University of Denver 
Abstract: 
I-REECCH= Impacting Rural Education through Expanding Culturally responsive curriculum, Computer science training and Higher order thinking skill development is a five-year U.S. Department of Education, Jacob K. Javits funded grant from 2020-2025. The goal of Impacting Rural Education through Expanding Culturally responsive curriculum, Computer science training and Higher order thinking skill development (I-REECCH) is to significantly increase identification of and services to traditionally underrepresent gifted and talented student populations in rural Colorado. The project will focus on rural settings including students eligible for free and reduced lunch, English language learners and students who identify as Hispanic or Native American. Classroom practices will be improved through increasing rural faculty implementation of critical thinking skill development and talent and giftedness recognition and through increasing rural educator’s ability to implement culturally responsive practices. Join us to learn about the implementation of this research project in multiple rural school districts in the state of Colorado. 
Presenter:
Darlene Loland
Organization:
University of British Columbia (Okanagan)
Abstract: 
Rural and urban K-12 education systems across Canada are increasingly recognizing their role in enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of staff and students. However, many stakeholders struggle with the means and ways of promoting, protecting and restoring wellbeing in our educational settings especially when confronted with competing priorities and policy shifts. Using evidence-based research to drive conversation on integrated approaches to wellness in rural educational settings this presentation utilizes a wholistic transcultural framework that engages place, nature and Indigenous ways of knowing to offer ideas and direction on how to shift thinking away from short term initiatives towards embedding mental health and wellbeing in everyday rural school life. 
Presenters:
Stephanie Spence, Natacha Ofwono, Gustavo Moura, Dr. Jacqueline Kirk, Michelle Lam, Dr. Cathryn Smith, Dr. Michael Nantis and Dr. Wayne Kelly 
Organization:
Brandon University 
Abstract: 
This moderated panel discussion will address shifts in rural education during Covid-19.  Each presenter will give a short presentation about their own projects, including an exploration of digital policies and practices in select rural Manitoba school divisions, a study of collaborative teacher teams that developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, findings from a study of a 7-division collaborative consortium on a rural remote learning initiative, and experiences with sharing knowledge from and to rural areas through podcasting.  After the presentations, the presenters will engage in discussions around contextual challenges, unique barriers, and successes of initiatives undertaken in rural areas.  We will discuss the role of collaboration, views of different stakeholders, comparisons of different digital policies and practices in rural locations, and ways to mobilize knowledge from and to rural areas. 
Presenters:
Jonathon Renwick and Darren Kalaman 
Organization:
Ministry of Education 
Abstract: 
Student mental health and wellbeing and inclusive, safe and welcoming learning environments are two of the four foundational pillars in the upcoming Provincial Education Plan. Student mental health and safe learning environments are essential to learning and achievement and therefore the sector is taking action to support the mental health and wellbeing of all students. This session will review data on student mental health and provide an overview of mental health initiatives that are currently being implemented within school divisions.
Presenter:
Michelle Schira Hagerman 
Organization:
University of Ottawa 
Abstract: 
In the spring of 2020, we interviewed 50 Grade 4-6 teachers working in all regions of Ontario about their digital literacies instructional practices. We also asked them to comment on their students' most urgent needs in terms of online reading, writing and participation in digital spaces. In this presentation, we share insights from six educators working in rural schools. We highlight the innovative work these educators are doing to support students' digital literacies learning in communities that are often underserviced in terms of Internet access, and under resourced in terms of the digital tools available in classrooms and homes. As we think about the unique digital literacies needs of rural youth in our province, we use these teachers' understandings to advance a set of urgently needed instructional recommendations that could reduce digital divides. https://equitenumerique-digitalequity.ca
Presenter:
Shelley Kokorudz 
Organization:
Brandon University
Abstract: 
This presentation will focus on the experiences of pre-service teachers who completed their final practicum placement during the arrival of Covid-19 in Manitoba.  The research findings are constructed using pre-service teacher responses to an on-line survey and reflect their ideas related to virtual and home-learning with their students after the closure of all face-to-face classes in the province.
Presenter:
Brandon Needham 
Organization:
Good Spirit School Division 
Abstract: 
Five years after the final report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was issued, the TRC still plays a fundamental role in the development of how Canadians understand the colonial violence perpetrated upon Indigenous peoples. Connecting my doctoral research to my role as a rural school principal, this presentation documents the journey to lead a school-based research inquiry which sought to investigate the role non-Indigenous peoples play in working toward reconciliation. This collaboration represents the culmination of years of work to actualize the goals of the TRC and highlights the important reconciliatory work being done in rural Saskatchewan.  Moreover, this project illuminates the need to (re)story the history of Canada and its relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Presenter:
Alison Nicholls, Raquel Oberkirsch, and Courtney Simpart 
Organization:
South East Cornerstone Public School Division 
Abstract: 
South East Cornerstone Public School Division is committed to infusing Indigenous content, perspectives, and ways of knowing into curricula and teaching Treaty Education in meaningful, authentic ways. The division established a curriculum consultant for Indigenous Education & Treaty Education in 2019 to support teachers by providing resources, co-planning, and team-teaching. 
This year, consultants transitioned from providing in-person to online support due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite these restrictions, we (the consultant and two teachers) had success with ongoing team-teaching using Microsoft Teams. In the Grade 1 classroom, we taught a series of lessons on the Seven Sacred Teachings using the Seven Teachings Stories by Katherena Vermette and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum's Sacred Teachings Video Series. In the Grade 5/6 classroom, we taught a unit on Canadian history, which covered several Social Studies and Treaty outcomes. We will share an overview of these lessons and our reflections on virtual team-teaching.
Presenters:
Shaun McEachern, Ken Okanee, and Dr. Jay Wilson 
Organization:
Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation; Saskatoon Public Schools; University of Saskatchewan 
Abstract: 
Leading to Learn uses a capacity-building professional learning model for provincial school divisions and First Nations education authority leaders. 
This initiative enables educational leaders to make a positive impact on Métis, First Nations and Inuit student outcomes. Leading to Learn has been collaboratively created with input and guidance from Elders, First Nations education authorities, school divisions,  Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Professional Learning, the Saskatchewan Education Leadership Unit and the Ministry of Education.
Through a panel discussion format and delegate participation, research, progress and initiative aspects will be shared.