Keyano College’s Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) program has been awarded Gold in the Program Excellence category at the Colleges and Institutes of Canada’s 2016 Awards of Excellence. A major reason for the program’s success over the last decade is because of the hard work of students like Lacey LeBlanc. Lacey is a 28-year-old born and raised Fort McMurrayite, who completed her B.Ed at Keyano College in 2011.
“Keyano was the perfect fit for me primarily because of the location of the school,” says Lacey. “I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to complete my Bachelor of Education Degree in my hometown. The transition into post-secondary education was so smooth because I didn't even need to leave home!”
The Bachelor of Education is a collaboration with the University of Alberta. Students complete the first two years of university transfer programming at Keyano College and then apply to the B.Ed through the University of Alberta (UofA) for their final two years. The small class sizes give the College and students a unique approach to this degree while completing it here in Fort McMurray.
“It was very easy to get to know my classmates and work together on assignments or in study groups,” says Lacey. “I was extremely impressed with the quality of the courses offered in the program. The course material was interesting and catered to the diverse needs of the population in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas.”
Students in the program have the opportunity to complete a practicum in a rural community. These placements are sponsored by Shell Albian Sands, helping students afford accommodations and transportation to these rural regions. Lacey chose to go to Fort Chipewyan for a practicum period and describes the experience as invaluable.
“I learned so much about meeting the needs of diverse learners,” she explains. “There was a focus on First Nation, Métis, and Inuit learners at Keyano. I think learning more about some of the cultures in our community is so important! I have gained better understanding and maybe a greater appreciation of some of the different perspectives on education.”
Over the past 10-years the B.Ed at Keyano College has trained over 100 students to work in local schools. Keyano alumni can now be found in teaching across the region.
“While I was completing my degree I was able to work as a substitute teacher. It was such a great way to prepare for my own class, plus earn a bit of cash,” she says. “Once I finished my B.Ed I was hired right away to fill in for a maternity leave for part of May and the month of June. I was then hired for a full-time position for the fall. It couldn't have worked out any better!”
All-in-all, Lacey’s experience with the Bachelor of Education has been a gateway to her career and her passion.
“I really liked the atmosphere of Keyano College. It was an ideal place for me to learn. Friendly staff in the classroom and in other areas of the campus made me feel safe and comfortable.”
Five years later, post Keyano College, Lacey and her husband Matthew are loving their role as brand-new parents, and she continues her career at St. Martha’s Elementary School, where she has been teaching the Early Entry Program (EEP) since graduation.
“I absolutely love teaching. It has been such a fulfilling experience, each day at work has been a blessing. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to help young children thrive, learn, and grow. It's a pretty big deal! I see myself staying in this profession for the rest of my life.”
Learn more about Keyano College’s Bachelor of Education Collaborative Degree HERE