The Innovation that Sticks: Call for Applications

2017-2018 Application Information

Stage 1 Application – 500-word description

In this first stage of a two-stage application process, in 500 words or less, we want you to introduce how your learning program has successfully improved graduation rates and prevented students from dropping out.


If your preliminary application is shortlisted, your team will be asked to produce a more detailed description of your innovative work. A jury of student retention/early school leaver experts will review these Stage 2 applications and select one Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Dropout Prevention Case Study Program to showcase.


  1. You will receive a $5,000 bursary to be used to continue to support and expand your dropout prevention program, presented to your team at a public recognition event in your community.
  2. Your program delivery team will provide time and expertise in meetings with a CEA researcher at your school between September-December 2017, who will then publish a case study report and videos that tell your story to other change leaders across Canada.
  3. Your team will also have the opportunity to write a feature article in Education Canada Magazine about your innovative work and could be invited to present your dropout prevention program at a future CEA professional learning event.

This case study program represents a golden opportunity for you and your program delivery team to be recognized nationally as evidenced-based pioneers and to play a lead role in informing, inspiring, and impacting colleagues facing similar student retention challenges.


Stage 1 program applicants must demonstrate:

  • Evidence that the program has been in operation for at least one full academic year.
  • Evidence that it’s an alternative program that focuses on student retention and/or dropout prevention.
  • Evidence of knowledge of and support for this program from your school district or declared education organization working in conjunction with a Band Council

Stage 2 program applicants must demonstrate:

  • Evidence of innovation in program design and assessment rubrics.
  • Evidence that the innovation is, or has the potential to be replicated in other classrooms, schools and school districts.
  • Evidence of positive impact on preventing students from dropping out.
  • Evidence of openness to working with CEA throughout the year and publicly sharing lessons learned, including challenges and barriers.

A Selections Committee comprised of student retention/early school leaver experts will refine selection criteria and choose the 2017 Indigenous ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Dropout Prevention Case Study program. CEA staff and a contracted researcher will work closely with the key players of one alternative school, public school or school district with a successful alternative Indigenous dropout prevention program to identify:

  • Systemic issues within education systems and how specific alternative programs cater to a plurality of learning styles.
  • The ways in which student well-being, socio-economic background and parental engagement influence school success.
  • Strategies employed to ensure buy-in and support (financial and in-kind) of the program by school leaders and administration, as well as other stakeholder groups.
  • Policies, programs, and/or incentives provided to teaching staff to attract and retain qualified teachers.
  • The creativity used in programs and practices to strengthen student engagement and retention through meeting diverse learner needs, including teacher-student ratios.
  • A cost-benefit analysis of the alternative school or program in relation to a traditional public school within the school district.
  • Practices that strengthen the teaching of Indigenous history, cultures, traditions, languages, values, ceremonies and unique worldviews.

[1] Ferguson, Sarah Jane, and John Zhao. “The Educational Attainment of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.” The Educational Attainment of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Statistics Canada, 23 Dec. 2015. Web.