Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camosun College offering courses at Belmont Secondary School

January 6, 2016 by Adam Marsh, student editor

Camosun College is offering courses at Belmont Secondary School starting this January. The courses will count for credit at both Belmont and Camosun.

According to Camosun vice president of education John Boraas, talks between School District 62 and Camosun College have been going on for years.

“This conversation started about four years ago with the Sooke school district,” says Boraas. “When the building of the two new schools in the Sooke district was announced, I began attending the community meetings, because there’s an opportunity for what they call a neighbourhood learning centre space.”

Camosun’s involvement with Belmont will, says Boraas, serve the expansion of education well, which he says is really exciting, adding that School District 62 has the lowest percentage of students who go on to postsecondary in the Greater Victoria region.

“We knew we wanted to do something to get out into that school district,” he says. “Depending on who wants to be there, they can increase the size of their school by a certain amount, so what we’ve done is create a relationship where we have a separate space of two full classrooms, seminar rooms, and office rooms. And that allows us to do what we intended, which is a full first year of all the courses available.”

Camosun’s John Boraas says the college wants a West Shore presence (photo by Camosun College A/V Services).

Camosun’s John Boraas says the college wants a West Shore presence (photo by Camosun College A/V Services).

Boraas says Camosun’s space at Belmont is separate enough that it will feel like the college’s own, which has not always been the case in previous partnerships.

“One of the other reasons we explored being out there is the reality that within the next five years, the West Shore is supposed to be bigger than Nanaimo. So it’s time we have some kind of presence as well. We really want to make a difference and support the community.”

Sooke School District assistant superintendent Dave Betts says that they’ve been offering neighbourhood learning centres in their schools for some time now, which showed Camosun that the partnership would be a good idea.

“We’ve offered them in a number of our schools,” says Betts. “We had some at the West Shore learning centre, some at Spencer [Middle School], and some at Belmont. We have been doing it for years depending on demand, and that demonstrated to Camosun that there is a need in this community.”

Both Vetts and Boraas acknowledge that the process of getting Camosun in to Belmont was far from short or easy; Betts says meetings took place over a four-year period.

“We had a number of public meetings to determine what would be the best use of that space,” says Betts. “One of the people that came forward was Camosun, who said, ‘We’d love to have space in the new Belmont school, which is kind of close to the core of Langford and Colwood.’”

Courses being offered include Math 108, Sociology 100, Psychology 130, and English 151, among others. All courses start at 3 pm, five days a week, with an evening class that starts at 5:30 pm. Betts says that students finishing high school are 50 percent more likely to enrol in postsecondary courses if they utilize the dual-credit system, where the course counts as both a high-school credit and a postsecondary credit.

“It’s a great opportunity,” says Betts, “for students and teachers in the school as well to work hand in hand with a Camosun instructor.”

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