Compassionate Schools Project | Mark
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Author: Mark

Book Cover

In her new book, “The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom: Building Resilience with Compassionate Teaching”, Tish Jennings helps teachers manage challenging classroom behaviors. Jennings, a leader with the Compassionate Schools Project, helps teachers embrace a new mindset in order to help students who exhibit behaviors that may have proven adaptive in their lives but turn out to be barriers to learning in the classroom.

Here are five ways to build a trauma-sensitive classroom environment according to Jennings:

  • Let Go of Zero Tolerance
  • Reframe Student Behavior
  • Generate and Savor Positive Emotions
  • Draw on the Power of Story
  • Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

Read the Articles:
How to Build a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom Where All Learners Feel Safe
Changing How Educators See Negative Experiences in the Classroom

The book: “The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom: Building Resilience with Compassionate Teaching


The Compassionate Schools Project is the most comprehensive study ever
 undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum in an 
elementary or secondary school setting. Facilitating the integrated
 development of mind and body, the project interweaves support in 
academic achievement, mental fitness, health, and compassionate
 character. The research aims to have a major impact on children’s
 education nationwide with regard to academic performance, physical
 education, character development, and child health policies­.


The Compassionate Schools Project is the most comprehensive study ever
 undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum in an 
elementary or secondary school setting. Facilitating the integrated
 development of mind and body, the project interweaves support in 
academic achievement, mental fitness, health, and compassionate
 character. The research aims to have a major impact on children’s
 education nationwide with regard to academic performance, physical
 education, character development, and child health policies­.

Louisville Kentucky’s Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by area school children and project partners at a press conference to kick off the Compassionate Schools Project. The curriculum is being piloted at three Jefferson County Public Schools: Jacob, Slaughter, and Cane Run Elementary Schools. The event was held at the start of the Louisville school year on August 13, 2015.

The Compassionate Schools Project is the most comprehensive study ever
 undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum in an 
elementary or secondary school setting. Facilitating the integrated
 development of mind and body, the project interweaves support in 
academic achievement, mental fitness, health, and compassionate
 character. The research aims to have a major impact on children’s
 education nationwide with regard to academic performance, physical
 education, character development, and child health policies­.

With teacher hiring complete and training underway for the first year of the Compassionate Schools Project, Louisville’s paper of record, the Courier-Journal, explored what’s in store. Education Reporter Allison Ross reported on the introductory year of the project, a limited, three-school implementation for 2015-16. The article includes quotes from many CSP leaders, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens, JCPS Director of Curriculum Management Suzanne Wright, Principal Investigator Dr. Patrick Tolan, CSP chair Owsley Brown III, Project Director Dr. Alexis Harris, and teacher Meghann Clem.

Read full article, “JCPS Project to Teach Compassion Classes.”

The Compassionate Schools Project team was honored to host Jefferson County Public Schools elementary school principals at a reception at the home of Christy Brown, one of the project’s tremendous supporters yesterday evening. We enjoyed the opportunity to express our appreciation and get to know our wonderful new colleagues a little better as we shared information about our plans to introduce a world-class health and wellness curriculum being developed by the University of Virginia in Jefferson County and to study the curriculum’s effectiveness.

During the brief speaking program, Mayor Greg Fischer discussed his role in helping to make the project a reality. Having made compassion central to his governing mission and to Louisville’s identity, he asked Owsley Brown III to champion entrepreneurial initiatives that could boost the city’s and its citizens’ capacity for caring and wellness. Owsley learned that a team of educators and scientists at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, were looking for a school district to implement and study a groundbreaking curriculum based on the latest neuroscience and education research. He made the introductions between U.Va. and JCPS and it was an instant match.

JCPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hargens explained why. Already an innovator in the use of health and physical education hours, JCPS saw in the Compassionate Schools Project a curriculum that: 1) brought practical living time to a new level of excellence; 2) aligned perfectly with the district’s strategic plan and state standards; and 3) brought new resources into the district through philanthropic funding.

Principal investigator Dr. Patrick Tolan described the incredibly warm welcome the University of Virginia team has received, especially for the U.Va. professor deployed in Louisville, Alexis Harris. Curriculum expert and author of Mindfulness for Teachers, Dr. Tish Jennings, joined Patrick to offer more detail about the project and to thank the principals for their extraordinary leadership.