Compassionate Schools Project | News
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“Miss Clem, I put my hand on my belly and calmed myself with the breathing you taught me when I was upset earlier,” said one of elementary school teacher Meghann Clem’s students. She was talking about the new Mindfulness curriculum they are learning. Listen to Clem and Professors Tolan and Jennings speak about the study and implementation of the Compassionate Schools Project.

Listen to “U.Va. Program Tests More ‘Compassionate Schools.'”

mayor and kidsLouisville 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.

View the Press Conference Video.

WLKY featured CSP in a story citing that “Louisville was chosen over other cities considered by researchers because of the citywide commitment to compassion and the push for city and school leadership.” Three JCPS schools: Jacob, Cane Run, and Slaughter elementary schools, will offer the pilot project in the 2015-2016 school year.

Read the full story, “Louisville, JCPS Bring Compassion to Schools.”

As chief judge of Jefferson County Family Court, Paula Sherlock sees first hand how trauma affects children. In her OP-ED to The Courier-Journal, Sherlock expressed her appreciation for the Compassionate Schools Project curriculum in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). “Certainly, your family court judges in Jefferson County appreciate the steps that JCPS is taking to teach children to be resilient, to be compassionate and to learn to control their emotions as they navigate through the difficult waters of their childhood,” Sherlock said.

Read the full article, “Compassion in Schools Great Step to Help Kids.”

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.”

UVA Today introduced the Compassionate Schools Project to the University community in a story detailing its goals and listing its many partners.

“Our aim is to test – using the best scientific methods – a health education curriculum that is up to date on skills children need for the coming world,” Patrick Tolan said. “and that can have important impact on school engagement and achievement, mental and physical health, and long-term well-being.” Tolan is lead researcher and professor and director of Youth-Nex.

Read the whole story, “U.Va. Partners with Louisville Schools to Study Health and Wellness Curriculum.”

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.