mindfulness 365  

Student Well-Being and Achievement

MINDFULNESS

Managing Your Mental and Emotional Health

 
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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can help students, families and staff live a happier and more balanced life by:

  • Increasing focus and awareness
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Reducing emotional reactivity
  • Cultivating positivity
  • Increasing compassion to self and others
  • Improving relationships
 
Why Is it Important?

We now realize the fundamental role of social-emotional well-being as a direct link to academic outcomes. Learning to focus, maintaining motivation, handling the frustrations of sharing, learning, and communicating with peers are skills that depend on the student's ability to understand and manage their emotions. These are basic competencies that are crucial to the success of students as they progress through school and life. Mindfulness is highly beneficial to the well-being of students and staff...[Mindfulness tools] can make a huge difference to our mindset and to the quality of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Jeff Donald, Instructional Specialist for Mindfulness & Trauma Informed Care

 

Mindfulness Articles, Studies, and Calendar

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ARTICLES

  • Mindfulness in Education
  • Beyond deep breathing: A new vision for equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma informed mindfulness practice
    This study builds on previous research which demonstrates that students’ social-emotional well-being and academic success is directly impacted by a school’s climate and culture. The authors encourage integrating culturally responsive, trauma-informed mindfulness practices in the classroom to not only mitigate the distressing conditions students might experience such as anxiety and stress, but also as a way to address injustices and promote educational equity. This paper offers a new vision for culturally responsive and trauma-informed mindfulness education in middle school settings that is grounded in the principles of safety, trustworthiness, and transparency in order to create meaningful experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. Article Keywords: equity, mindfulness, social emotional learning, trauma-informed, culturally responsive practices.
 
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STUDIES

 
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CALENDAR

Our goal is for every student, staff member and community member to have free access and opportunity to these transformational practices, therefore beyond the everyday work with students in our schools, we offer the following classes to anyone wishing to take part. Community members wishing to participate, please email your specialist directly. MCPS also offers a weekly variety of free Mindfulness, yoga and other wellness classes for staff members through the MCPS Well-Aware program.

Every Monday from 7:30-7:40 am at Seneca Valley High School
Join Mariana for a 15-minute live mindfulness session every Monday to help you start the week off right! Among its many benefits, mindfulness practice has proven to help us reduce stress, improve focus, and cultivate a positive mindset to overcome challenges more easily. Mariana will lead a different mindfulness practice each session. All are welcome! Contact mariana_m_cruz@mcpsmd.org for more information. Event Flyer

Every Thursday from 11:45 am-12:10 pm at Springbrook High School
Mindful Pause at Springbrook HS is a weekly drop-in offering for teachers and staff to relax, learn about, and experience mindfulness. Stay for as little or as long as you like, Yogi tea is always provided. This event is open to teachers and staff only. Contact mariana_m_cruz@mcpsmd.org for more information. Event Flyer

Every Tuesday during periods 2 & 3 at Seneca Valley High School
Students in Ms. Burke's P.E. classes (periods 2 & 3) will practice Mindfulness with Mariana Cruz for 10-15 minutes every Tuesday followed by yoga flow with Ms. Burke. Contact mariana_m_cruz@mcpsmd.org for more information. Event Flyer

Every Tuesday from 2:45-3:25 pm in the Dance Studio at Gaithersburg High School
Weekly drop-in classes will include a Mindfulness for relaxation and stress reduction, stretching & gentle yoga flow. All levels are welcomed! Modifications are always offered. Mats and props provided. Contact mariana_m_cruz@mcpsmd.org for more information. Event Flyer

• Every Friday at 8 am in the Mindfulness Room at Roscoe Nix Elementary School
• Every Monday at 8 am in the Mindfulness Room at Einstein High School (also available during lunchtime & afterschool).
• Every Monday at 8 am in the Teachers Lounge at Northwood High School (also available during lunchtime & afterschool)

Tea Tyme is a weekly meet and greet program overview and support opportunity for teachers. Contact denise_davidson@mcpsmd.org for more information.

• Every Monday from 7-9 am at Briggs Chaney Middle School
• Every Tuesday from 7-9 am in the Teachers Lounge at Paint Branch High School - Event Flyer
• Every Tuesday from 7-9 am in the "Zen Den"/Mindfulness Room at Banneker Middle School - Event Flyer
• Every Wednesday from 7-9 am in the "Zen Den"/Mindfulness Room at Eastern Middle School - Event Flyer

Mindful Pause is an opportunity to taste different teas, learn about the Mindfulness program, and ask questions. Contact kahlil_m_kuykendall@mcpsmd.org for more information.

mindfulness spotlight  

Mindfulness Spotlight

 
 

Student's Corner: Visionaries

Queen Balina, Winston Churchill High School

 
Queen Balina

As an intern for the MCPS Student Well Being and Achievement team, Queen Balina co-founded Students Speaking Up as a Junior at Winston Churchill High School. The program allows high school students to record short, professional quality videos about issues that affect them in partnership with MCPS TV.

Since the founding of Students Speaking Up in January 2021, five episodes have been recorded, covering a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic and mental wellness. Nearly a year since the program launch, Queen is still working to recruit more student volunteers and elevate the voices of students across the county.

School's Corner: Wellness

Eastern Middle School

 
Eagle's Nest logo

Eastern Middle School created "The Eagle's Nest" on their school webpage. Using the school's mascot as inspiration, this is a resource for the school community to access free videos, worksheets and activities related to mindfulness. Teachers have shared this on their online platforms, as well as through the counseling department.

Eastern Middle School's principal, Mr. Matt W. Johnson says, "we have focused on building community with all our families and the “The Eagle’s Nest” is an excellent example of the school being a touchstone for our students and parents. This webpage helps reinforce the message that the school has a resource for mindfulness and wellness during these stressful and uncertain times.

Visit "The Eagle's Nest" webpage

Educator's Corner: Highlights

Carrie Vieira, Virtual Academy

 
Carrie Vieira

Carrie has been an educator for 17 years, starting in New York City Public Schools before coming to MCPS in 2008 as an English teacher at Rockville High School. During her first year of teaching, she initially incorporated Mindfulness as a survival tool for herself, but soon began sharing these practices with her students. For 5 years and running, Carrie has been sharing her knowledge and skill as a mindfulness practitioner and teacher through the MCPS Well Aware program for staff members each Monday evening with Mindful Mondays (see calendar for details).

As an Instructional Specialist in central office, Carrie took the lead in organizing, structuring, and creating the MCPS Secondary Mindfulness Curriculum. She also assists with leading the Mindfulness Brain Trust, a weekly PLC for Mindful Educators to share best practices. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Carrie has recorded multiple episodes of Mindful Moment videos for students, staff, and leadership, covering a variety of wellness techniques. She currently holds the position of Coordinator for the newly minted Virtual Academy. Thank you Carrie, for impacting thousands of students, staff and community members.

Community Corner: Empowerment

Krishna Kaur

 
Krishna Kaur

Krishna Kaur, a dynamic heart centered Yoga teacher, began studying Yoga in 1970 and has been teaching the art and science of Yoga and Self Awareness for 40 years all over the world. Krishna founded Y.O.G.A. for Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to training yoga teachers to work with at-risk youth and creating yoga programs in schools and juvenile facilities. Krishna opened the first yoga center in South Central Los Angeles in 1971 and continues to train yoga teachers, teach workshops, and bring yoga to underserved populations throughout the world.

A catalyst of many yoga-inspired movements including the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers and Sat Nam Street Players, Krishna has many commendations from national and state leaders. The entire MCPS Mindfulness Team have all studied and protégéd under Krishna in one form or another over the years, and it is our pleasure to honor her direct impact on thousands of lives as her students through our work in MCPS.

mindfulness 365  

Mindfulness Resources

 
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Be Well Videos

 
how-to  

Mindfulness Curriculums

 
meet our team  

Meet Our Team

  • Kahlil Kuykendall, Mindfulness Educator
  • Mariana Cruz, Mindfulness Educator
  • Denise Davidson, Mindfulness Educator
  • Jeffrey Donald, Instructional Specialist for Mindfulness and Trauma Informed Care

Mindfulness Team Biographies

 

Yogi Tea has partnered with MCPS in supporting Mindfulness in our schools. Yogi Tea’s Mission statement of “Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good” is personified by their alliance with our Mindfulness program, and we are honored by their commitment to the emotional growth of our students, staff members and communities.

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