News – Compassionate Schools Project - Page 2
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Louisville’s WHAS11 News spoke to CSP students, teachers, administrators, and parents about the project in a video highlighting the difference the curriculum is making in students’ lives.

“They are learning amazing things. They’re learning compassion for others and themselves. I see little miracles happening in the compassion classroom every day,” Luhr Elementary Compassionate Schools Project teacher Candace McMahon said.

“It looks different for each of the kids,” said McMahon, “but they are being empowered in ways that they didn’t know was possible for them. I feel like it has to start inside with the kids knowing that they’re worth something and that they do have some power and control over their choices. They may not have control over their environment, but they are learning that self-love and compassion for others make them feel better inside. It also helps them to become better learners and listeners and better citizens.”

“They have little control over a lot of things in their lives, but they are given opportunities to figure out who they are, identify emotions, identify triggers, and they’re learning what to do with those. It matters. I think it’s the most important piece for our kids right now to be their best selves and to grow into the person that they’re supposed to be and to be excellent members of our society. I definitely believe it could be a worldwide epidemic,” said McMahon.

Watch the video: “Compassion Curriculum Comes to Life in JCPS

WDRB News visited the “Compassion and Pastries” event in Louisville elementary school, that focused on becoming more in tune with children and how they learn.

“The students that are participating in the [Compassionate Schools] project are followed over a period of four years so that we can study the impacts of the curriculum on those student’s development,” Bloom Elementary PTA President Mollie Noe said. “We are waiting to see what the research says for the children, but overall the majority of the kids seem to love the program and are practicing mindfulness in their daily life.”

See the report: “Compassion and Pastries’ Event Held at Louisville Elementary School as part of JCPS Project

Denmark’s status as a leader in teaching social skills is one reason it’s often ranked as the world’s ‘happiest’ country. Do Danes know something the rest of us don’t?

Or do we know it too? The Christian Science Monitor cited the Compassionate Schools Project for its focus on emotional intelligence. “Empathy is very important for democracy,” says Mette Løvbjerg, Møllevang’s headmaster. “You can’t have a democracy that is functioning if nobody puts themselves in another one’s shoes…. If we don’t teach our children that, then we don’t have a democracy in 50 years..”

Read the full story: “Reading, Writing and Empathy: How Denmark is a Leader in Teaching Social Skills


“If we don’t find ways to help them overcome these reactions from trauma that they bring to school with them, it’s going to be hard to teach them the academic content,” said Tish Jennings in The Hechinger Report which highlighted the Compassionate Schools Project.

“The Compassionate Schools Project is really helping prepare their bodies and minds — the whole child — to be ready to learn what we want them to learn.”

Read the full story: “When Yoga Becomes a Respected Part of the School Day”

Mindful Magazine attended a Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) project leader meeting and visited a CSP classroom.

“Using the image of caring for trees, the speaker argued that the education field tends to focus too much on the tree’s fruit (outcomes like test scores) while ignoring the roots. If you ignore the roots for too long, he continued, you don’t get any fruit at all. The takeaway: mindfulness and compassion feed the roots.

I heard this analogy when I was lucky enough to witness the mid-term review of Louisville’s “audacious” 7-year Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) serving over 10,000 K-5 students at 45 schools. The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and the Contemplative Sciences Center have teamed up with the Louisville public schools on a randomized control study of a compassion, mindfulness and movement curriculum. In addition to being the largest and most innovative study of its kind, the curriculum will be free when it’s completed for any school that wants to use it.”

Read the full article: “Mindfulness Feeds the Roots

Louisville Magazine featured the Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) in its November 2017 issue.

Does teaching mindfulness lead to kinder, more focused kids? Nearly 20,000 Jefferson County Public School students will help determine that.

You can’t be calm and threatened at the same time… When kids feel angry or fearful, stress hormones ravage the body. The brain ignites — fight or flight? Breathing slowly and intentionally distracts you, shifting your attention from fear. The nervous system messages the body: It’s OK.

Read the full story: “Compassionate Curriculum.”





The Compassionate Schools Project held a celebration and meet-up in Louisville on Thursday, November 16th for everyone involved in the project, hosted by project chair Owsley Brown III. More than 200 Jefferson County Public School teachers, principals, administrators, as well as project funders and staff came together at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage to tell stories, make plans, share lessons, and toast the Compassionate Schools Project at the height of its activity.

Mindful Magazine highlighted leaders in the field of mindfulness research and named her one of the top 10 in the story, “Meditators Under the Microscope” 

From the article:

Jennings is known for innovative research on mindfulness in education. She recently published a randomized controlled trial showing that a mindfulness-based professional development program for teachers, CARE for Teachers, reduces teacher stress and improves classroom interactions.


She’s conducting a randomized controlled trial of the Compassionate Schools Project. It aims to promote focus, resilience, empathy, and well-being by teaching mindfulness, contemplative movement, and social/emotional skills to students at 50 Louisville elementary schools.

Read the full article: “Meditators Under the Microscope.

Jennings also received the Catherine Kerr Award for Courageous and Compassionate Science – The award is given biennially to a researcher from any academic discipline who 1) has made significant contributions to the contemplative sciences, and 2) exemplifies the qualities and character that Cathy brought to her work, including bold innovation, imagination, courage, authenticity and heartfulness. Read more.

After having a panic attack live on Good Morning America, Dan Harris, “fidgety, skeptical ABC newsman,” began to meditate. He also started a podcast and wrote a best selling book“10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works. A recent podcast episode features Mindful Magazine Publisher, James Gimian who highlights the Compassionate Schools Project, although he doesn’t mention its name.

Gimian –
“One of the most inspiring city-wide research activations going on right now is in Louisville, Kentucky, we just covered in our recent issue, a very inspiring mayor, who’s making it a compassionate city, bringing mindfulness and compassion training in research throughout the school system. A huge, huge research project supported by the University of Virginia.”

Listen to the Podcast:  “#84: James Gimian, Mindful Magazine Publisher.”

Other ways to access the podcast. (Look for the title:#84: James Gimian, Mindful Magazine Publisher June 14 )
Access with TuneIn here:
Access with itunes here:

Education Week spoke to Tish Jennings about how teachers can cope with the tremendous challenges of teaching.

“The social and emotional demands of the classroom are staggering. The teacher must build supportive relationships with 20-30 young people, with their own individual needs, desires, fears, and concerns, while these young people are learning how to manage social relationships between and among themselves, working through their emotional ups and downs, friendships and conflicts. Add to this the fact that there is no privacy in the classroom and everyone is a virtual captive–none can leave without adverse consequences, especially the teacher. This lack of privacy and sense of being a captive, creates an added level of stress–it can sometimes feel like a pressure cooker. To top it off, when students go off task or interfere with lessons, a teacher can become frustrated and annoyed but must manage her feelings professionally without losing her cool. In other work contexts, when something frustrates us, we can take a break to cool off. Teachers don’t have this luxury.

Teacher preparation programs rarely address these issues and most teachers enter the workforce ill equipped to perform well without additional professional development and coaching. The good news is that more schools of education are addressing this need. At the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, my elementary education students learn strategies to manage these demands in the classroom management course I teach. They learn about emotions, the stress response and why the classroom can be so stressful. They learn tools to monitor and manage their stress as they work so they can avoid burnout that is taking a toll on our teaching workforce.”

Read the full article: “Response: Teaching can be Tough, but We’re Also ‘Lucky