FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District 60 is teaming up with other schools and their representatives in northeastern B.C., in order to come up with better ways of recruiting more teachers to the area.
The Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education is comprised of the Northern Lights College along with area School Districts including 59 and 60. Its training program is run out of NLC in association with Simon Fraser University.
“The Consortium has always had representatives from Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John,” said Superintendent Dave Sloan. “In the past few years the cohorts have gotten smaller and there are fewer teacher candidates. Cohorts have gone to 18 months of intake every other year instead of every year as both districts north and south of the river are facing a teacher shortage.”
SD 60 and 59 are currently facing a teacher crunch after the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that introduced hundreds of new jobs across the province, resulting in the districts competing with other regions of the province in regards to teacher prospects.
“How do we enhance growing the strategy of growing teachers locally?” added Sloan. “AHCOTE is a great strategy and is a high yield strategy in that regard because it takes in people who are already familiar with the area that want to teach here. It’s the best way to try to produce more teachers in the immediate future to help deal with the shortages.”
Even though the school year is nearly 75 percent complete, the district still has teacher vacancies, Sloan stated he is very confident with the support from everyone involved that more people will be drawn to northeast B.C. to help deal with the shortage. In the meantime, the district is signing off on a lot of letters of permission for people who have the necessary college degrees in the required fields, as a temporarily fill.