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Culture of Kindness Spotlight: Lorissa Brose, River Ridge High School

Lorissa and a student together in front of the poolEach month we feature a staff member who embodies our 2023-24 district theme, Culture of Kindness. Lorissa Brose is a health and fitness teacher at River Ridge High School, as well as head girls’ golf coach.

Lorissa is an enthusiastic and caring teacher who encourages students to be inclusive and supportive. She teaches a special needs/adapted physical education class, working tirelessly to bring quality education to her students. Many students who sign up to be teacher’s assistants for this class have mentioned that they have been motivated to seek future jobs as special education teachers!  
 
Tell us about yourself.

I was adopted when I was 14 months from foster care. Fast forward 19 years later, my biological sister found me on social media! We’ve developed such a strong relationship and are so alike in so many ways. It’s been fun to see nature vs. nurture firsthand. We’ve now known each other for almost 20 years! 

My biological family has Native American roots, and I am currently trying to enroll in my tribe, but it has been a difficult undertaking. I have felt so grateful to have met and developed a relationship with my biological grandma who is full Native American. I have loved hearing her stories and learning more about my heritage and cultural background.

I have an amazing husband and two pretty awesome kiddos, ages 7 and 9, who are students at Olympic View. My kids love sports, and I am absolutely loving this stage of life where I can be their biggest fan on the sidelines of their games!

Lorissa talks to a student on the pool lift

As a PE teacher, I believe movement and physical activity are SO important and just as valuable as other subjects like math and science. Not only does it give students a brain break, but it also provides an outlet where they can release tension and stress, get their blood pumping which promotes brain health, release feel good chemicals which help combat anxiety and depression and helps keep the systems in their bodies functioning in tip top order. Sports are also such a terrific outlet for kids. They learn how to be a part of a team, how to lose graciously and win humbly, develop themselves as leaders, break out of their shell and comfort zones, make friendships, gain mentors and leaders who provide positive examples for them, learn how to set goals and how to self-reflect and gain self-confidence that will ultimately help them in other facets of life. “PE is the original social-emotional learning,” as [fellow RRHS teacher] Greg Bert always says, and I am proud to be teaching PE at River Ridge High School!

What do you like best about your job? 

Hands down my relationships and interactions with students. I look forward to catching up with them daily. I love getting to know the kids on a personal level and sharing exciting news with them, and also being there for them in times of struggle.

My department is also pretty rad! We have each other’s backs, support each other, collaborate and grow alongside one another, and genuinely care about each other. I look forward to our team lunches every Friday! Greg Bert makes me laugh every single day, and as we all know, laughter is the best medicine!
 
Lorissa and colleague Greg BertWhat does a Culture of Kindness mean to you?

A culture of kindness is so vital to the success of any organization, whether it’s a school, a company, a team, or even a family. When there is a culture of kindness, all participants feel cared for, safe, included, and valued. I strive to create this environment in all my classes. I encourage students to be inclusive of their peers, acknowledging that we all come from different backgrounds, and celebrating our differences; understanding that it is our differences that ultimately help build a more diverse and robust group.

Fostering this safe environment is especially important in PE because students often feel intimidated or uncomfortable stepping out of their comfort zone and taking risks and by taking the time to create protocols and expectations it can help everyone have a positive experience. At River Ridge we have also started celebrating students by positively recognizing a handful of students on a weekly basis through a PE Student of the Week award. This is a great way to help build a culture of kindness because it focuses on positivity. We love it as teachers, because it gives us an opportunity to highlight a multitude of students throughout the semester in a positive way.