Success coach at Lorelei School helped numerous students

When Julie Zelinski, principal at Lorelei School, learned that several Syrian refugees would soon attend the school, she contacted us. Julie was familiar with the success coach role at The Family Centre, but she didn’t need just any coach – she needed a success coach fluent in Arabic to support and connect with these students.

We didn’t have an Arabic speaking success coach but found and hired Mireille (Miss A to her students). “I remember seeing the relief on parents’ faces when they learned that I speak Arabic and will support their children as they are adjusting to the school and their new lives in Canada,” she says.

“We couldn’t have survived the year without Mireille. Having someone with her skill set right at our school was crucial. The students have so much to learn in Canada besides English. Things were certainly bubbling up throughout the year as news from Syria would emerge, and students would remember the trauma they went through,” Julie says.

Trust between Mireille and the parents and students developed quickly. At the start of the school year last September, Mireille called all Syrian families and invited them to attend the meet the teacher night – and every single family attended. “I wanted to connect with everyone and make it easy for the families to reach out for help,” she says.

And that she accomplished. In the 2016/17 school year, she connected with 152 students on a short-term basis. For a handful of students, she was providing supports on a weekly, if not daily basis.

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