By Zaynab Mohammed, The Nelson Daily
The Heritage City is going to see a lot more teachers roaming around in the downtown core after the West Kootenay Teacher Education Program decided to move its operations from Castlegar to Nelson in September.
For the past 26 years the WKTEP has been located at Castlegar’s Selkirk College.
Starting in September, the program is calling the former Nelson Daily News building home after inking a lease with the current owners this past week.
“The time felt right to branch out on our own,” said Wendy Carr, Associate Dean of Teacher Education.
“We are a completely separate university from Selkirk College. This gives us the opportunity to make some changes to the program. We have partnered with UBCO (University of British Columbia Okanagan) and will be sharing the facility, coming this fall.”
The WKTEP offers the full complement of University of BC BEd coursework and practica, with both a two-week and a 10-week practicum hosted by the four local area school districts — in Boundary (Grand Forks), Kootenay-Columbia (Castlegar, Trail, Rossland) Arrow-Lakes (Nakusp, New Denver) and Kootenay Lake (Nelson, Creston, Kaslo).
“We are doing a lot of work with the surrounding districts in Nelson and Castlegar,” Carr explained.
“We love to work with the community here and are excited to be in the heart of Nelson’s creativity.”
“This is a golden opportunity for us,” Carr adds. “WKTEP is very excited and happy for this new chapter.”
The program, which has a three-week community-based field experience in non-formal settings, offers exciting education opportunities for teachers wanting to be located in small communities.
Each year, approximately 30 teachers graduate from the program. During its time in Castlegar, the WKTEP graduated more than 800 teachers from the program.
Most have stayed in the region, while some have relocated around BC and Alberta. The teachers are certified in BC and are recognized around the world, if they chose to teach overseas.
The outlook for this program emphasizes on community, collaboration and innovation. Many of these communities live off the land and hold strong values tied with community, which requires a different approach then urban living.
Teachers become professionally qualified with effective practices to withhold the values of the rural communities and land.
“We are proud of this move! It is a new era for WKTEP,” Carr said. “We love to work with this community and are excited for new and close connections.”
Blye Frank, Dean of Faculty of Education at UBC and Wendy Carr, Associate Dean of Teacher Education will unveil the new location of the WKTED at 266 Baker Street in Nelson during a Grand Opening ceremony September 24th.
UBCO will also be offering a creative writing course on Friday and Saturday evenings at the 266 Baker Street location.