Winnipeg School Division launches unique Indigenous teaching program

WATCH: A Winnipeg School Division program - Build From Within – Ozhitoon Onji Peenjiee - will train Indigenous students to become teachers. Program participant Ayla Laforte said she wants to do for kids what one of her teachers did for her.

Winnipeg’s largest school division launched a new program Tuesday aimed at developing Indigenous teachers.

Build From Within – Ozhitoon Onji Peenjiee is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Winnipeg School Division, the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education, and Indigenous charity Indspire.

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“The Build From Within program is a unique approach to transitioning Indigenous students through high school and into university,” said Pauline Clark, the division’s chief superintendent and CEO.

“Our intention is clear – to provide the pathway and opportunities for Indigenous students within the division to become education leaders in our community.”

The program will create a bridge for 60 Indigenous high school students who have indicated an interest in a career in education.

Beginning in Grade 11, they’ll be able to work on an Education Assistant Diploma Program (EADP) while continuing to take high school courses.

Once the students are in university, they’ll work part-time as educational assistants within the Winnipeg School Division. The program also involves cultural, familial and financial supports.

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“This opportunity gives my family and me a chance for a better future and a chance for me to become a community leader,” student Raedan Bricklin said.

“I want to be able to say I did something with my life and help out my community and lead our future youth to become outstanding men and women through education and sports.”

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