|Frontier School Division
Social Studies/Native Studies (SS/NS) Department
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This analysis is a follow-up to the September 2006 statistical analysis of the SS/NS Divisional Survey completed by Adele Ledoux. (35 out of 41 schools reported).
a. The elementary schools appear to be following the provincial timelines for the teaching of SS in Grades 1-6. However adherence to the timelines falls in Grades 7-12. According to the responses submitted in the 2006 report, only 54% of the schools were following the provincial timelines in Grades 9-12, a pattern similar to that reported in the 2002 and 2004 surveys. This may reflect what is really happening in our schools; on the other hand, it may indicate confusion about the question itself. Since most of our schools are some combination of early, middle and senior years, and administrators are often new to the job, it may require a more careful wording of the question in future surveys to ensure accurate responses.
b. It appears that SS/NS is an agenda item more often at staff meetings than in 2004. However, it still receives the same attention (14%) in sectional meetings as in 2004, which was itself a decline from the 31% in 2002. As we have indicated in previous reports, SS/NS appears less of a priority at the classroom level.
c. The administration of the school is placing more emphasis on SS/NS through its regular meetings with the library specialist (increase from 8% to 43%). About half of the schools report that library specialists are able to promote SS/NS themes in staff meetings, which has remained consistent over the past three survey years. Library specialists are giving greater attention to updating maps and atlases - up 8% from 2004 to 66%. SS/NS is of greater significance in meetings between the school committee and administration - from 6% in 2002 to 31 % in 2006.
d. More schools are designating someone to create lists of local resource people available to volunteer in the school - up 15% since 2004 to 49%. However only 43% of the schools report that they have such a list. Evidently, follow-up will help to make these percentages more consistent with each other. This list may be partly responsible for the increased use of community members in classroom instruction (66% as compared to 58% in 2004).
a. There has been a slight decline in the availability of SS/NS materials created by Frontier School Division in our schools (80% as compared to 83% previously). Since extra supplies are available at Library Services in Winnipeg, this can be remedied easily.
b. Most schools are now aware that budget allocations should include the purchase of SS/NS materials (97% as compared to 92% on the 2004 survey).
c. More teachers are making use of Interlibrary Loan (71% as compared to 67% in 2004), and the use of SS/NS resources from outside the school has actually gone up from 36% in 2004 to 71% in 2006.
d. After P.E. Consultant Heather Lowe's distribution of North American Indigenous Games and promotion of the traditional games and activities described there, we still only had 14% of the schools in 2004 reporting that their P.E. programme was using them. It is now 37%, which is a big improvement, but indicative of the need to go much further.
3. Classroom Activity
a. More schools involve the community in SS/NS classes (66% as compared to 58% in 2004 and 41% in 2002).
b. One hundred percent of the schools surveyed report that SS/NS is a regular part of instruction. This is exactly the same as on the previous survey.
c. There appears to be an increase in the visible celebration of heritage in the schools, up from 86% to 91%.
d. Fifty-four percent of the schools now report that students are being taught to respect and care for heritage sites in the community (up from 33% in 2004). Only 23% of the schools report that they actually translate knowledge into action within the community (See "Community Outreach," question 3).
e. In 2006, we included a question on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in SS/NS activities. The results indicate that there is much to be done in this area.
4. All-School Activity
a. Almost all the categories improved, which appears indicative of the importance of SS/NS themes within the school. This is most encouraging.
b. The only area of decline was "heritage fairs" (31% to 29%). One of the biggest problems with extending then is the perceived notion that heritage fairs are an "add-on" rather than a part of the regular SS/NS programme. This we hope to alleviate through a promotion of heritage fairs on the SS/NS website.
5. Professional Development
a. Seventy-one percent of schools indicate that they encourage teachers to become involved in SS/NS workshops, a decline of 4% over 2004.
b. For the first time, we obtained some information on the numbers of teachers involved in such workshops - above 35. Only Area 1 PD included a SS/NS workshop with the teachers in 2005-2006.
6. Community Outreach
a. There is a small percentage decline (4%) in the number of schools involved in community events having a heritage component. If this is accurate, it appears that Remembrance Day observance is more often confined to the school, as 94% report activity around this event.
b. Various strategies for community outreach appear to be under-utilised, particularly through media sources. At the same time, efforts to get the community into the classroom have increased from 56% to 69% of the schools.
Insights on the health of SS/NS instruction within Frontier School Division can be gleaned from additional comments that some of the schools have shared with us.
Genuine effort is being made in most schools to increase historical and cultural awareness, but teachers do have difficulty finding resources on their specific community to help them to do this. Frontier School Division has done more than most in this regard, but the task of documenting the history of our communities is an enormous one. The SS/NS Department is small, but it is conscious of the need to create more such materials. That is the primary reason for the development of its own website, which is designed to provide teachers with online resources in SS/NS in a timely manner. The site should become increasingly useful as more resources become available, and that will be our focus in the next two years. When the 2008 survey is completed, we hope to obtain feedback on the success of our efforts.
Last updated : 16 May 2008