Five of the six students enrolled in the full-time Waldorf Teacher Education class of 2021 at the RSCT.
“Say not the struggle nought availeth.”
Since 2014, when RSCT was required by the government to stop accepting Waldorf teacher candidates who did not have prior paid teaching experience, it has been a dream of RSCT leadership to obtain Private Career College (PCC) status. This would enable the Centre to once again enroll students who have been inspired by Waldorf education to make a career change.
This goal of qualifying for PCC status was included as objective #3 in the RSCT’s 2018 Strategic Plan. It reads: “Secure approval from The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) to become a Private Career College in 2018/19. Begin operating as a Private Career College in 2019/20.”
Now, two years and hundreds of work hours later, that goal has been mostly achieved, only one year behind schedule. It’s “mostly” because so far only RSCT itself and the grade-school stream of Waldorf teacher education have been granted PCC status.
The next step will be to apply for the full-time early childhood program to be included under the PCC. Now, however, with one program and the Centre itself already recognized, getting a second program approved should go more quickly.
The Approval Process
As an example of how thorough the review process is for these approvals, the RSCT was required to hire two independent consultants, one to review the content of the program, and the other to review the method of course presentation. These reports then had to be approved by the Ministry.
RSCT also was required to provide audited financial statements for the past year, including balance sheets, statements of income and expenses, and cash flow, as well as financial projections for the next two years.
The eight directors on the RSCT board were required to fully disclose their personal finances, including mortgages, investments, references and net worth right down to the current value of their car, as part of the application process.
James had to submit a comprehensive student handbook detailing RSCT policies on subjects like anti-harassment, sexual violence, anti-bullying, and student rights and responsibilities. The completed handbook is 40 pages. Most of the document submission and review process took place online, with the next step being revealed only after the current step was completed and approved.
It was only in the final two months that RSCT was put in telephone contact with the inspector who was tasked with reviewing the application documents for approval. The current PCC status is good through 2022 and must be reviewed every three years.
It has taken two years to collect, develop and submit the required documentation and to go through the complete review and approval process. Miraculously, the final approval came through on Monday September 14th, the opening day of the 2020-21 full-time Waldorf Teacher Education program! RSCT executive director James Brian, who has been carrying the process, received many congratulatory messages.
Once the RSCT has been operating successfully as a PCC for two school years, students will be able to apply for OSAP student loans to attend the program.
Previously RSCT had completed another approval process to be recognized by Immigration Canada as a Designated Learning Institute in order to enable international students to obtain a study visa when they apply to RSCT.
Waldorf Teacher Education Class of 2021
In spite of the current pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, RSCT was able to launch this year’s full time program with six students, five students attending in person, and a sixth joining online, until RSCT’s Covid institutional readiness plan is approved. A smaller number in the classroom makes it easier for each person to each have their own six-foot table, and remain physically distanced.
The current draft version of RSCT’s eleven-page Covid institutional readiness plan is based on Canada’s federal guidelines, Ontario’s re-opening plan, and documents from York Region Public Health. Until that plan is approved by the federal government, this year’s one international student, Li Shan Chu, is joining the class at 9 pm (her local time in Taiwan) each day on Zoom, and following along with them through the night until 3:30 am, so she can be “together” with her classmates in Thornhill. A live video feed of Li Shan’s face can be seen by the other students, on a large screen at the side of the seminar room.
Once the Covid institutional readiness plan is approved, Li Shan will travel to Canada where she will continue to participate in the class via Zoom while she completes her required two weeks of quarantine. She will then join the class in person for the rest of the school year.
Photo above: James Brian with the Teacher Education class, October 2020.