Mar. 07, 2023
Students say there are no bad days — only “good vibes” — when they’re in Chantelle Clairmont’s junior high classroom.
Only a year into her teaching career, Clairmont has quickly earned a sterling reputation at
Sir John A. MacDonald School for creating a welcoming environment for everyone who walks through her door.
Clairmont takes a thoughtful approach to everything in her classroom.
Her lesson plans are designed with care. In the room, the lighting choices, co-created music playlists and mix of chairs all contribute to a calm and inclusive space. The walls are emblazoned with positive messages.
Colleagues marvel at her ability to embrace the complex learning needs of students through a culturally responsive approach to teaching. Students and parents say that she’s their “go-to person” at the school.
"It is in Chantelle’s nature to teach children who desperately need her,” said Principal Michelle Hornby. “She is one of those teachers who has an innate ability to make meaningful connections with everyone in her circles. Every day, I am awed by her ability to make a positive impact in the lives of students.”
For her ability to model empathy, understanding and critical thinking while discussing important issues with students, Clairmont has been nominated as the Calgary Board of Education’s 2023 Nominee for the prestigious Edwin Parr Teacher Award. She was selected from the 700 first-year teachers at the CBE and officially recognized as the CBE’s nominee at a public Board meeting on March 7.
The Edwin Parr Teacher award was created by the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) in 1964 to recognize outstanding teaching performance by a beginning teacher — either a first-year teacher or a part-time educator.
If Clairmont is selected as the zone winner, she will be recognized along with five other zone winners from across Alberta at a meeting in November 2023.
Board of Trustees Chair Laura Hack cited a recent visit to Clairmont’s classroom at Sir John A. MacDonald School as evidence for her unabashed support.
“Chantelle meets the students where they are and sets them up for lifelong success in learning,” said Hack, who represents Wards 3 and 4, including Sir John A. MacDonald School. “Chantelle is a great example of the qualities we want and expect from teachers. She has shown leadership and compassion.”
Marilyn Dennis, Trustee for Wards 5 and 10, recognized Clairmont as a role model and mentor to many students.
“You will be someone’s favourite teacher,” Dennis said at the March 7 meeting. “You will change lives in a way that you never expected because you bring who you are into your job every single day. Congratulations and thank you for choosing us.”
In the nomination process, Clairmont was noted for her ability to embrace the diverse backgrounds of her students in her teaching practices.
She holds a passion for incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and being into the classroom through activities such as the blanket exercise. Clairmont also works closely with the school’s Indigenous Education Strategist, and with an elder, on top of her own reading and research.
She’s also taught important lessons on Black history in Canada, as well as on Immigration, with a current focus on Syria.
The first-year teacher is involved with students outside of her regular classroom duties, as well.
She is a teacher sponsor of the school Gay–Straight Alliance, which is called The Spectrum Club, and she also runs the film club and homework hotel.
Clairmont’s teaching style is informed by her educational and professional experience. She graduated from Mount Royal University in 2022 with a strong academic record and a wealth of experience serving on advisory committees.
Despite her great early success, Clairmont is not stopping now. She continues to expand her repertoire of instructional strategies and she even has a team of teachers who meet on weekday evenings to co-create high-impact instructional resources.
Congratulations to Chantelle!
L-R: Chief Superintendent Christopher Usih, Chantelle Clairmont and Sir John A Macdonald Principal Michelle Hornby