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Build From Within-Ozhitoon Onji Penjiiee is a teacher development program established in partnership between the Winnipeg School Division, Faculty of Education at University of Winnipeg, and Indspire. The program, which launched in Winnipeg, is being hailed as an opportunity for Indigenous students, “To become education leaders within our community.” The program begins when students are in Grade 11 where they work towards earning an Education Assistant, scheduled for completion by the students’ first semester of Grade 12 – this allows to students to graduate with both their high school diplomas and education assistant diploma program certificate. After graduating high school, Program Manager Shane Bostrom, says students, “Being paid employment with Winnipeg School Division as half-time educational assistants while they begin their journey to complete their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees.”

Bostrom says, “Our primary goal is to build on Indigenous students’ own strengths and experiences to create competent and motivated teachers who want to give back as teachers in the division they graduate from.” Although the program has just launched, it is already creating a positive impact in the community. One of the program participants says that being accepted into the program, “Makes me really happy and proud of myself. Coming from the North End, lots of people really don’t think that we could do it, but it’s really inspiring and I’m proud.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/indigenous-teacher-development-program-winnipeg-1.4903669