What’s Growing in the Basement of the Ashern Elks Hall?

This article is over 10 years old.

ITEP students with Professor Carolyn Creed and Brandon University Dean of Education, Dr. Heather Duncan
Starting in July 2009, a group of people started a journey in the basement classroom of the Ashern Elks Hall. Today, they are headed into the final leg of that journey with the finish line in their sights. Who would ever have believed that a basement space would grow a qualified troop of local teachers? In two short years, this dedicated and resilient cohort will graduate from Brandon University with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from their basement classroom.

The Interlake Teacher Education Program (ITEP) is a unique pilot community-based education program which has enabled learners to stay in their home communities and hold down jobs while getting their degrees. In conjunction with Brandon University, Fieldstone Ventures Education and Training Centre Inc. initiated this project in partnership with local school divisions and First Nation education authorities to “grow their own teachers.” The program was originally conceived for teacher assistants working in local schools to further their studies and continue to work while getting their degrees. As it evolved, it was opened up to any individuals wishing to further their education, and the momentum has grown to attract individuals to choose a career in education. Students come from the Northwest Interlake, from as far as Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations in the north to Lundar in the south.

Brandon University professors have been traveling to this unique basement classroom in order to accommodate the project. The learners attend classes on weekends through the months of September to April, with homework to carry them through the week. During May, June and July, they attend class full-time. During the final three years, their program allows them to receive full-year campus-equivalent credit hours. It was initially planned as a seven-year program but has evolved, and will now enable these dedicated students to obtain their degrees in a six-year span. As a result of the success of ITEP, these teachers-in-training will be ready to go to work in your local schools by 2015.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Heather Duncan
Dean of Education
Andrea de Delley
Administrative Assistant


Student comments:

“We can still work part time while taking courses to get our Bachelor’s degree.” – Michelle

“I am picking up from where I left off 10 years ago! Everybody has a bump in the road. Every class we take gives us more knowledge, a reason to change the way we think and act, and the power needed to one day help empower our children and students to accept new ideas with open minds. It’s amazing how after you take a class, there is a change in the way you look at the world around you.” – Darla

“It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.”- Carrie

“The smaller class size is great because there’s more one-on-one instruction and the Professors are very helpful.” – Desiree

“We truly are changing our lives and our futures – one course at a time.” – Stephanie



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