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SFU to attract more teachers in northeastern B.C. with a new regional approach

November 03, 2020

By Jess Collins

The Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU) hopes that a revitalized, regional, teacher-training approach will increase northeastern B.C.’s teachers by at least 16.

Under the new plan, the Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education (AHCOTE) will adopt a more flexible delivery model that allows student teachers to complete their training in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

Often touted as one of the best ways to recruit and retain teachers, AHCOTE is a partnership between SFU, Northern Lights College (NLC), School Districts 59, 60, 81, and local teacher associations. Delivered at NLC’s campuses, the program has developed hundreds of teachers over the past two decades.

It is hoped the changes will see more people apply to the 16-month teacher education program, which is now accepting applications for fall 2021.

“AHCOTE is a program with a long history of preparing certified teachers for northeastern B.C, an area in which certified teachers remain in short supply,” says Paul Neufeld, director of professional programs in the SFU Faculty of Education.

 “Our goal is to make it easier for students to complete the AHCOTE program in their home communities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John by offering parts of the program in both communities,” he says, adding that the full-time program will likely use a combination of in-person and distance learning.

Under the new regional delivery model, SFU’s faculty associates (a combination of master teacher and program coordinator/instructor) will be situated on both the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John campuses of Northern Lights College (NLC).

“This arrangement will give AHCOTE students maximum in-community guidance and minimize travel requirements,” says Steve Roe, dean of academic and vocational programs at Northern Lights College.

“At the same time, all students in the September 2021 cohort will have opportunities to learn together through various forms of online delivery, so we’ll be able to retain the rich benefits that emerge when a full cohort of 16 students are able to interact with each other.”

Interested in learning more, or applying to the program? Don’t miss a virtual information session on Nov. 5, 2020. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ahcote-virtual-information-session-november-5-2020-tickets-125403458119