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Blog: Friday, July 5th, 2019

Thank you Clearbrook Elementary from VP Victoria Lorieau!

"New in Town"

A new school, a new community, a new teaching assignment and a new district; January 2019 came with a lot of change for me and naturally, lots of excitement and a little apprehension.

But from the get go, and consistently, over and over, any worries I had were quickly set aside because of the support, the positivity, the warm welcome and the clear and strong sense of community of the Abbotsford School District.  

I was initially welcomed into the district by two different Assistant Superintendents, who took the time to chat with me via phone, raving about the district, and answering the myriad of questions I fired in their direction. Their patience and caring were so valuable during my initiation into my new academic adventure and career path.

And my first connection at Clearbrook was no different. Feeling intimidated at the thought of teaching a primary French Immersion class for the very first time, I entered my new classroom and I was greeted by the TOC who had been working in the class for the past two weeks. She was not even a permanent member of the Clearbrook community and yet she took the time to talk with me, to support me in getting to know the students and to familiarize me with the primary world.

Soon after my arrival at Clearbrook, I learned that I was part of a “revolving door” of Vice Principals that seemed to come and go so quickly, and expecting my second child in July, I knew that I would be no different. I wondered if this might make it more of a challenge to connect with staff and students at the school, and frankly that is what I expected, which would be understandable. But what really happened, was that I came to the realization that École Clearbrook Elementary is a deeply kind, caring, empathic,
resilient, passionate, hardworking, inclusive and collaborative community, who regularly reaches out and welcomes all others in.

I have been so fortunate to have been accepted into such a gem of a group of people, because in this short period of time, I have grown to love and appreciate them all and I feel proud to be a part of this outstanding school.

Students and parents say, “good morning” and “hello” with a warm smile, and parents volunteer and contribute regularly in meaningful ways to enrich our learning environment. They make popcorn, coach basketball, dance at Vaisakhi, sell baked goods, come and watch our assemblies, accompany us on fieldtrips, run the PAC, help out in classrooms and so much more.

Our teachers are passionate, collaborative and kindly welcome everyone into their rooms for learning.  But Clearbrook teachers teach so much more than academics; it is so clear that each and every one of them understands and deeply values the relationships that they build with the children and the families that they work with. Our teachers take care of the students that come into their classrooms every day, and they help build capacity and resilience in both their minds and their hearts.

Clearbrook Educational Assistants offer their specialized skills, their patience and their true kindness to the students that they work with, as well as the rest of the student body. An integral part of the team, our E.A.’s support teachers, families and students, and they do it with such a profound positivity, one unlike anything I’ve seen in any other school community that I have worked with. Our E.A.’s can face some very challenging scenarios in their daily work, and their resilience and ability to cope with the stress that these challenges cause is inspiring. Our School Secretary mirrors this resilience, juggling staff, students and families and their needs, along with so many other administrative tasks, all with a positive attitude and with kindness to all.

Overseeing all that Clearbrook has to offer and taking the helm of the of this ship that can face some rocky seas is our school Principal. She guides the Clearbrook team effortlessly. With years of experience behind her and a vast knowledge and clear understanding of school district policy and procedures, she is able not only to run a complex school with ease, but she is also able to thoroughly mentor fellow administrators and teachers and support students and their families.

Clearbrook, thank you so much. Thank you for your kindness, your openness and your acceptance of yet another Vice Principal. Thank you for collaborating with me and for teaching me, and for showing me what a school community can be, the type of community that I would love to have in my own school one day. I truly appreciate and deeply value the time that each staff member has taken to get to know and to connect with me. I am so proud of the respect, kindness and dedication that Clearbrook students have demonstrated during my time in the school as well. Clearbrook is a unique and wonderful place to be, and in a short time, I have managed to feel as though I have become a part of the community. I feel so fortunate to have been welcomed into the Abbotsford School District in such a caring way; my time at Clearbrook has been short, but oh so sweet, and I look forward to meeting up with my colleagues,friends and families in the coming years, wherever our paths choose to take us.

Victoria Lorieau