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screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-58-04-pmThe University of Virginia’s premier news outlet, UVA TODAY, featured the Compassionate Schools Project:

“Students watch as pieces of glitter float furiously around inside a recently shaken jar. The glitter, their teacher tells them, is akin to their emotions; after being provoked, if they wait and give it time, the glittery chaos inside the jar will eventually settle and calm will be restored.

This lesson is just one of many elementary school students learn in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Jefferson County Schools district is partnering with the University of Virginia’s Youth-Nex Center and the Contemplative Sciences Center to implement a health and wellness program called the Compassionate Schools Project.”

Read the full story: Compassionate Schools Project Offers New Take on PE/Health Curriculum

csm-borderThe Christian Science Monitor published an in-depth story on the Compassionate Schools Project.

One of the teachers, Miss Clem, commented on the difference with this type of instruction, “How many times as a teacher have I said, ‘Sit up and focus,’ when I’ve never once given you the definition of what focus means?”

Now, she’s showing them what it feels like to focus…. She points to that morning, when one most of the class was sitting obediently, but “I had a kid, during the bell, running across these chairs,” Clem says, pointing to a row of blue chairs lined up against the wall. “But,” she says proudly, “I had 22 kids who were able to sit here and tune him out. Now imagine that in a testing situation.

“They need to be able to stay focused even through major distractions. Everything about this curriculum teaches them how to do that.”

time-mag3In “The Mindful Classroom,” Time highlighted the Compassionate Schools Project curriculum being implemented in Louisville, Kentucky classrooms.

From the article, by Mandy Oaklander for Time:

Some Experts Think Mindfulness is the Antidote to Distraction, Misbehaving—Even Poor Math Scores. Are They On to Something?

Christina Johnson’s Classroom must be the most peaceful place at Cane Run Elementary School in Louisville, Ky. Instead of desks, six rows of black yoga mats line the floor. All the lights are off except for one gently glowing lamp. Underwater sounds gurgle from a pair of speakers. Today nearly two dozen fifth-graders are sitting on the mats with their shoes off and eyes closed, following Johnson as she guides them through a relaxation exercise. “Take a nice, nice deep breath in, and keep your hands on your anchors, please,” Johnson says. The kids place one hand on their chest, the other on their belly. Johnson taps a chime and the kids know what to do: listen intently, and when the long reverberation stops, their hands shoot up. “Good job,” Johnson says.
Photo by Luke Sharrett for Time: Fifth-graders flow through yoga-inspired poses in a mindfulness class at a public school in Louisville, KY.

Time Magazine, October, 2016 

*Time Magazine allows access to the full article only with a subscription here, “The Mindful Classroom,” but you may get the article by contacting Youth-Nex. For this permission, contact: Ellen Daniels

Jennings Shih illustration3

Tish Jennings is featured on the NPR Higher Ed blog for her work with CARE, Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education, the evidence based program she co-founded which teaches mindfulness to teachers. CARE is the first mindfulness program studied with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Jennings is also a key leader on the Compassionate Schools Project.

From the NPR article:
“Teaching is inherently a stressful occupation, and by many accounts, it’s getting more so. Students bring the effects of poverty and trauma into the classroom. Administrators lay on the pressure to meet ever-changing standards. In the last few years, teacher job satisfaction has reportedly plummeted to a 25-year low, and turnover is high — almost 50 percent for new teachers. Patricia Jennings isn’t necessarily out to change all these factors. Instead, she aims to help teachers become the change they wish to see in the world.”

Read the full story: When Teachers Take A Breath, Students Can Bloom







The City of Kindness is a coalition of organizations, including Friends of the Dalai Lama, and the Born This Way Foundation, working to inspire kindness in the world. City of Kindness featured the Compassionate Schools Project as one of several resources “to create a culture of kindness from inspiring small acts all the way to building lifelong social and emotional skills.”

See: “Teach Kindness

The Chronicle of Higher Education focused on the work that Louisville schools and other groups are doing to help its citizens get college degrees using a combination of grit and compassion. The Chronicle talks to Mayor Fischer and reflects on his philosophy, “Mr. Fischer, who has said a good mayor should have the heart of a social worker and the head of a chief executive officer, talks about compassion at times when his fellow elected officials might invoke economic arguments (though he makes those, too).”


The Garrison Institute featured Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and his approach utilizing compassion to run a city with “social muscle”—and highlighted the ways in which the Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) is helping children reach their maximum potential. The institute commissioned Curry School of Education professor and CSP leader Tish Jennings to interview the mayor.

The Garrison Institute‘s mission focuses on contemplative practices and building sustainable movements for a healthier, safer, and more compassionate world.

Read the story, “City of Compassion.”

Teachers in New York City public schools who participated in “Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education,” or CARE, a mindfulness professional development program, not only felt an improvement in their own well-being, they also improved the quality of their classroom. This is according to a new study lead by Patricia “Tish” Jennings, associate professor at the Curry School.

“Today, many teachers are not well-prepared for the social and emotional demands of the classroom,”  Jennings said. “While spending a great amount of cognitive energy on the content of their lessons, teachers are also constantly managing a classroom of students, some of whom have difficulty attending to learning activities, sitting still or getting along with their peers.”
From the UVA TODAY Story by Audrey Breen.

Read the full story, “Curry Study: Reducing Teachers’ Stress Leads To Higher-Quality Classrooms.”

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.