SESSION DETAILS

IMPORTANT NOTES:

 

Conference dates are Feb 27-Mar 1, 2020. The conference venue is The Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, IL.

Investment per day for Friday and Saturday is $150. Thursday and Sunday half and full-day workshop prices vary.

Register for each day separately.  Lunch is included each day. 

Registration ends February 24. No onsite registration. No group rates. No refunds, but contact us for ticket transfers. ​

Conference attendees get 50% off our Mindful Learning Center membership if they purchase at the time of registration. It is our

growing video library and includes recordings of conference sessions.

A special thanks to DuPage Regional Office of Education for partnering with us to get attendees CPDUs and CEUs for each day. Non-IL attendees should check that their state accepts them as a provider.  Attendees wanting units must sign in and out each day and also complete an evaluation form each day.

Mindful Room

It's back! We are so appreciative to have Mindful Schools once again be creating a room filled with inspirations for your class or school's mindfulness space. Mindfulness rooms are a great way of prioritizing mental health and developing emotional regulation. Leaders from Mindful Schools will also host breakout sessions on Friday, taking a deep dive on topical issues in the mindfulness and education space, such as:

 

Taking Mindfulness to Scale: Whole-School Implementation (9:30, 10:30, 11:30)

  • How to grow mindfulness from individual classrooms to a larger scale and the challenges and rewards of this work. 

  • Learn some best practices for starting out, including gaining buy-in, providing professional development, and identifying system-wide strategies that make a difference in the successful integration of mindful practices.

  • Hear about Mindful Schools' reflections on what we've learned in our first years supporting school-wide mindfulness programming and where we are heading in the future.

 

Embodying Mindfulness: Prioritize the Nurturing of Our Personal Mindfulness Practice (12:30, 1:30)

  • Hear the science behind why mindfulness supports good instructional practices

  • Discover how to deepen our relationship with ourselves, and how that impacts how we show up, interact with students, and cope with the increasing challenges of being an educator in today's world

  • Learn why teachers have the permission to feel good and to invest in their well-being; not only does this make for happier human beings, but it makes good teaching sense!

Below are confirmed sessions for Friday and Saturday.   
The sessions offered and schedule (day/time/room) are subject to change.
Registrants will receive a pdf of the conference program a week ahead of the event to plan their day.

OPENING PLENARY

Day: Friday

Room: Grand Ball

Time: 8:30

A Mindful Approach to Healing Education-Based Trauma (ALL)

Presenter: Tovi C. Scruggs-Hussein, COSEM president and founder of Tici'ess

Description: Education-based trauma is cyclical and generational.  In our challenging educational 

systems created on the backs of those who love our children the most, we get scarred in our work.  Yet, we have the capacity, through the tools that we freely carry each day to heal and prevent re-traumatization and release our conditioning.  Healing in education? Absolutely.  Healing is a natural process; it serves our resiliency and our wellness.  Healing is restoration; it restores us to wholeness. You cannot serve from a place of wholeness if you have not done your own work to serve those that are relying on you to be whole in order to best serve them. Healing is not only personal growth, but it is also professional development. If you work with children and are in service to others, it becomes even more imperative.  Healing is our moral responsibility to those whom we serve because you cannot teach what you do not embody.

 

Tovi C. Scruggs-Hussein is a visionary educator, author, and award-winning urban high school principal with over 25 years of emotional intelligence and self-mastery experience.  She has served as California’s Regional Executive Director of Partners in School Innovation, founding co-director of the Association of CA School Administrators Equity Leaders Academy and Regional State Equity Representative, and co-founded a secondary school. Tovi is the founding co-teacher of the trauma-informed leadership course at Mills College.  Most recently, Tovi was personally trained with Brené Brown and is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Courage Catalyst. Her other certifications are numerous and include Integral Coaching by New Ventures West,  Search Inside Yourself, and Niroga Institute.

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Day: Friday

Room: Grand Ball

Time: 9:30

Student Mindful Mentors and Mindfulness Rooms (ALL)

Presenter: Lauren Beversdorf and 7th and 8th graders from Bannockburn School, IL

Description: Lauren will share the steps of creating a Mindful Room at their K-8 school. Students will co-lead the session and walk us through the different elements in their room, the different ways the room is utilized, and how they have become mindful mentors at their school. The session will have experiential elements and end with the audience also sharing about their mindfulness spaces/rooms and mentoring programs so that we can all learn from each other.

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Day: Friday

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 9:30

Transformative Educational Leadership (ALL)

Presenter: Dr. Hector Montenegro, Advisory Board Chair and Senior Advisor for Leadership Development for Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL)

Description: TEL is rooted in the transformative potential of leadership that integrates cutting-edge application of Equity, SEL, and Mindfulness in service of creating a more compassionate and interdependent world. Through engaging pedagogy including small group discussion, contemplative practice and individual reflection, this session will provide participants with an experiential understanding of the value in integrating TEL’s threads of Equity, SEL, and Mindfulness. An expert on instructional designs, Dr. Montenegro specialized in multicultural education, SEL, restorative practices, curriculum designs, effective instructional strategies for ELLs, and much more. A former Superintendent, he works with districts on systemic implementation of SEL.

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Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 9:30

Teaching Mindfulness-Based Conflict Resolution: Skills that Work Beyond the Classroom (PK-5th)

Presenter: Linda Ryden, Peace Teacher at DC Public Schools, Peace of Mind Program Developer

Description: ​In most conflict resolution curricula, you may have noticed that step one is “Calm Down.” But few programs include guidance on how to help kids do this. The missing link? Mindfulness and Brain Science. When we teach kids mindfulness skills to notice and take care of their emotions, and when they learn the brain science behind these practices, kids are prepared to actually use the conflict resolution skills we teach when they are needed most. Join us to learn a proven mindfulness-based approach to helping kids take control of their actions and become peacemakers. The Peace of Mind program is  a weekly 45 minute curriculum that integrates mindfulness, brain science, social and emotional learning and effective conflict resolution to prepare kids to face challenges with skill and compassion. 

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Day: Friday

Room: Leighton

Time: 9:30

Deep Looking, Mindful Listening (ALL)

Presenter: Tim Iverson, Board Member, Mindfulness in Education Network

Description: Mindfulness is about paying close attention to both our inner and outer landscapes. In this workshop, we will practice ways of enhancing our seeing and listening skills, and share ways to apply these skills to the classroom, as well as to our personal practice. Tim is a newly retired art and humanities teacher from Minnesota. After training in MBSR  in 2001, he began sharing mindful practices with middle school teachers and students in Mounds View Public Schools. Tim co-leads Mindful in MN, a Minnesota-based group that supports mindful educators. He is an award-winning artist and has also supported adults living with anxiety disorders through NAMI Minnesota. Tim’s blog: https://highviewtest.blogspot.com/

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Day: Friday

Room: Stanford

Time: 9:30

No Mats? No Problem! Ways to Incorporate Yoga in the Classroom (PreK-8)

Presenter: Erin Bracco and Amy Swibel, Buddha Belly Kids Yoga

Description: Buddha Belly Kids Yoga was founded by educators who mastered the art of using yoga and mindfulness in the classroom to support social-emotional learning. You will experience traditional yoga sequences, literacy-based movement, yoga for responsive teaching, breathing techniques, and guided visualizations. These strategies can be used to support the social-emotional wellness of elementary and middle school students. Erin taught kindergarten for 7 years and holds a degree in both Elementary Education and Special Education. Amy was a high school teacher, mentor, and coach for 8 years and holds a degree in Human Rights and Education and a Masters in Education from Northwestern University. Erin and Amy are certified yoga teachers for children and adults.

Day: Friday

Room: Barrington

Time: 9:30

Inner Resources for Resilience: What I Learned at the Educator CARE Retreat (ALL)

Presenter: Valerie Pienka, Supporting Teacher Success, Inc

Description: Mindfulness-based intervention strategies designed to address teacher occupational stress will be shared in this experiential session. Valerie won our EMCON2019 $1000 grant, which we selected randomly from those who registered before Jan 1. This session will also outline the learning obtained at Garrison institute's CARE Retreat that she attended over the summer using her grant. CARE is a research-based, proven program that significantly improves teacher well-being, emotional supportiveness, emotional sensitivity, and classroom productivity.

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DOUBLE SESSION

Day: Friday

Room: Grand Ball

Time: 10:30

Understanding Issues of Race, Equity and Bias in Schools and Its Connection to Mindfulness (ALL)

Presenters: Cheryl D. Watkins, Chief of Schools for Chicago Public Schools Network 13 & Douglas Stalnos, Social and Emotional Learning Specialist for Chicago Public Schools' Network 13

Description: Network 13 is a cohort of 31 elementary schools on the far south side of Chicago. In an effort to combat the disparity in outcomes for students of color, those with disabilities and those experiencing poverty, Network 13 Chief Dr. Cheryl Watkins began directly challenging school leaders (including principals, assistant principals, and SEL Leads from schools) to reflect upon their practices as they relate to race and equity. This session will allow participants to engage in some of the same activities and discussions that Dr. Watkins and the Network's SEL Specialist Mr. Douglas Stalnos facilitated with school leaders over the course of a year-long professional learning process. Participants will be able to ask Dr. Watkins and her team about their experience, hear about the changes experienced in schools and be provided with the resources needed to replicate these activities with their own schools. Lastly, the connection to the work around mindfulness will be made. 

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Day: Friday

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 10:30

Our First High School Mindfulness Course was So Popular that We Added a Second Course (6-12th)

Presenter: Michelle Martin, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Description: Last year Michelle shared how her first year went teaching a semester-long mindfulness course. In this session, she'll share the Mindfulness 2 curriculum that she is implementing in the fall 2019. She'll also follow up with high school students who took the course and share how it has affected their life and how they are using it. Attendees will be able to take back to their school districts the benefits of implementing a mindfulness curriculum. She'll also share facts that attendees can take back to their school leaders which help dispel the myths of mindfulness ("it's a religious curriculum"-for public schools or "it's secular"- for Christian schools).

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Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 10:30

Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma: Using Mind-Body Interventions (ALL)

Presenter: Kathy Flaminio, 1000 Petals and Move Mindfully

Description: Using knowledge of trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) and mental health diagnoses, participants will experience and explore the power of mind-body interventions for self-regulation, focus, community connection and overall well-being. In this session participants will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the power of mind-body practices for healing and connection by exploring the 6 Domains of complex trauma. Through hands-on learning, reflection and discussion, participants will learn breathing exercises, simple regulating movement and social/emotional skill development activities for regaining a sense of safety and stability in the body.

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Day: Friday

Room: Leighton

Time: 10:30

Practical Mindfulness for Coaches and Student-Athletes (6-12+)

Presenter: Matt Dewar, 2018-19 COSEM President, Well-Being Coordinator, Lake Forest High School

Description: In this session, Dr. Matt Dewar will explore the significance of the mind in athletic performance, and how mindfulness practices can help athletes perform better in their respective sport and, more importantly, in life. More specifically, the session will focus on mindfulness as a vehicle for internal “state management.” By creating a greater awareness of breath, body, and internal dialogue, athletes can begin to employ specific techniques to manage the challenging internal states that arise in competition and that often impede peak performance. The last part of the workshop will focus on the concept of “co-regulation” and why it’s essential that coaches practice and embody the mindfulness principles they want their players to embrace. 

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Day: Friday

Room: Stanford

Time: 10:30

Cultivating Self-Compassion and Healing Our Inner Child (ALL)

Presenter: Ramaa Krishnan, Grow Through Mindfulness

Description: This presentation focuses on healing our own inner child as a way towards being even more sensitive to the undercurrents within our relationships in the classroom. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to truly heal as we apply self-compassion to our own vulnerabilities. In doing so, we grow in awareness and build emotional resilience. Ramaa is the founder of the Full Bloomed Lotus Center for Self-Awareness in Wilmette, IL. She founded Grow Through Mindfulness, a not-for-profit dedicated to changing the world by approaching education from the inside out--teaching our children to cultivate empathy and compassion, resilience and self-regulation--inspiring them to thrive. Note: This session is about developing your own personal practice (not teaching mindfulness in the classroom).

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Day: Friday

Room: Barrington

Time: 10:30

An Elementary School's Journey to Mindfulness (PK-5th)

Presenter: Julie Chamberlain, Tyler Elementary School, Gainesville, VA

Description: Our school became a mindful school last year. Our principal, school counselor, and school social worker together led this journey and I will share how we did this and what we did, so that the participants can do the same or enhance what they’re already doing!

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Day: Friday

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 11:30

Foundations of Restorative Justice: Connecting Philosophy to Self & Practice  (ALL)

Presenter: Kathryn Rayford and Cindy Degand, Umoja Student Development Corporation

Description: Restorative Practices are tools that only hold meaning and power if a practitioner understands Restorative Justice as a philosophy and mindset.  This experiential workshop asks you to examine your own beliefs about relationships, community, and harm in order to leave this workshop with a greater understanding of why restorative practices are essential in schools, how to deepen your own self-awareness, and how to approach each day with restorative language, thinking, and intention.

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Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 11:30

Mindful Self-Compassion: Learning to give yourself permission to be self-compassionate and treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend (ALL)

Presenters: Colleen O'Brien, LCPC, MSC Trained Teacher, and Staci Berman, LMFT, MSC Trained Teacher

Description: As a result of the multiple challenges of managing students and the various demands of a teacher's job, teacher burnout is a common experience today. Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) guides teachers in connecting to their existing emotional resilience by teaching them to give themselves the care and compassion they so regularly give to so many others. This double session will include short talks and experiential components, where participants will learn about Mindful Self-Compassion, an empirically-supported program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. MSC was developed by Kristin Neff, PhD, and Chris Germer PhD, in 2008, and is now being taught around the globe. selfcompassionchicago.com

Day: Friday

Room: Leighton

Time: 11:30

Stop.Breathe.Be. Restorative Practices for Your School and Yourself (6-12th)

Presenter: Jennifer Haston-Maciejewski, RYT-200, Special Education, Greenfield-Central High School, IN

Description: All too often, when a student misbehaves in class, they are sent to the office, an administrator assigns a detention, and that's the end of it. The teacher assumes that the student showed up for their punishment and that sitting in a quiet room for an hour after school “fixed” the problem. However, more often than not, the detention, quite frankly, doesn’t work. Those of us who have managed detentions see the same kids every week, making it clear that repeat offenders and their behaviors are not being corrected by this discipline practice. Find out how restorative practices effectively reduced one school's office referrals and suspensions by nearly 40% in one year--and what you can implement in your own school as an alternative to detention. Also, learn some restorative practices to add to your own self-care routines.

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Day: Friday

Room: Stanford

Time: 11:30

Mindfulness in Physical Education and Beyond (geared to K-5, but all PE teachers will find value)

Presenter: Monica Claridge, Physical Education Teacher in Kodiak, Alaska

Description: Monica will share her experiences incorporating mindfulness into her physical education classes at East Elementary, and her community as a whole. She will discuss how she has made her mindfulness lessons more relevant to her setting by combining aspects of several resources and curriculums and adding a PE/athletics twist to them. The session will include tips for the incorporation of mindfulness in varying levels in the physical education setting from ending class with a mindful minute to mindfulness-based SEL lessons she calls Mental Training.  It will have experiential elements and end with the audience also sharing about their experiences incorporating mindfulness in the physical education or classroom setting so that we can all learn from each other.

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Day: Friday

Room: Barrington

Time: 11:30

Mindful Culture & Mindful Self: Cultivating Adult Wellness to Impact Student Learning (ALL)

Presenter: Lindsey Frank, Climate and Social Emotional Learning Coach, CCSD59, Arlington Heights, IL

Description: Learn supportive strategies for shifting adult mindsets, explore how to foster self-care practices within staff, gain methods for cultivating a trauma-skilled climate for mindfulness and begin to design creative avenues to organically form a mindful community. This is an integrated planning and experiential session so you leave inspired, empowered, and ready to take action. Lindsey is the district-wide Climate and Social Emotional Learning Coach for CCSD59 reaching students from Pre-K to Eighth Grade. She is a Learning Behavior Specialist, certified in Restorative Practices, a Certified Yoga Instructor (RYT 200) through Breathe for Change and has taken coursework through Mindful Schools. She has her Trauma-Informed Yoga Certification through Catherine Ashton's Yoga to Transform Trauma.

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Day: Friday

Room: Grand Ball

Time: 12:30

Six Sustainable Happiness Skills Fostered by Mindfulness: A Collaboration of LG Electronics & Inner Explorer  

Presenter: Laurie Grossman, Director of Social Justice & Educational Equity at Inner Explorer, CoFounder of Mindful Schools, CoAuthor of Master of Mindfulness & Breath Friends Forever

Description: Well-being does not mean we won’t experience the downs of life, it means that we recognize that life is good, even when it’s hard sometimes. Well-being occurs when our well of resilience is deep. When brought into schools, mindfulness promotes the skills of human connection, gratitude, purpose, positive outlook and generosity enabling children to thrive. LG Electronics and Inner Explorer began a partnership 3 yrs ago. Serving over 250,000 kids in hundreds of US schools, the results have been stunning. In this interactive workshop, we will learn how to foster the sustainable happiness skills, as defined by the Greater Good Science Center. Practicing with Inner Explorer and engaging in activities, we will investigate several of the skills.

DOUBLE SESSION

Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 12:30

Expanding Understanding of Subject Content While Also Exploring Self, Community & Other (6-12th)

Presenter: William Meyer, The Bronxville School, NY

Description: This double session will explore the ways in which mindfulness can be directly tied to the curriculum as a tool for research, exploration, and creativity in the curriculum. As an author and teacher who has taught meditation in my classroom for more than a decade, I will introduce participants to the fundamentals of building curriculum and courses around mindfulness as well as starting student meditation groups, parent circles, and even whole school assemblies. The session will be interactive and experiential offering participants tools for creating curriculum and guiding meditations of their own. The session will be based on many of the techniques I discuss in Three Breaths and Begin: A Guide to Meditation in the Classroom

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Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 12:30

Mindfulness for At-Risk and Incarcerated Students (6-12+)

Presenter: Susan Andersen, MS, OTR/L, volunteer at Lincoln Hills School and Copper Lake School, Irma, WI and Jennifer Moniz, MS, Psychological Associate, Lincoln Hills School and Copper Lakes School

Description: In this session, we will discuss the implementation of a mindfulness program at a school in a youth prison. Session participants will learn how to incorporate trauma-informed approaches into a mindfulness curriculum. We'll also talk about how to create a shift in culture through collaboration with administrative staff and how including community volunteers can make a difference. The content of this session is applicable for at-risk students as well as incarcerated students.

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Day: Friday

Room: Leighton

Time: 12:30

A Day in the Life of a Teacher (ALL)

Presenter: Jill Apperson Manly, Co-Founder JabuMind, Certified iRest® Teacher

Description: In this session you will walk through a typical day in the life of a teacher, practicing mindfulness at key moments with JabuMind, the mobile app specifically designed for educators. JabuMind connects the scientifically proven iRest® Method with a personal coach to address your self-care. At your fingertips throughout the day, we support you in your own social and emotional growth so that you, in turn, can help your students and school communities. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the overall methods of iRest®. Go inward for your voice and wisdom.

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Day: Friday

Room: Stanford

Time: 12:30

Mindfulness & Social Identity: Practices for Challenging Implicit Bias (ALL)

Presenter: Grace Helms Kotre, MSW, Certified Mindfulness Instructor, Power to Be LLC

Description: Mindfulness is a powerful tool for exploring our social conditioning – the ways we’ve been taught to think and act based on societal norms. Left unexamined, our conditioning often reflects oppressive ideologies and perpetuates inequality through us without our even knowing it. With mindfulness, we are empowered to be more skillful, loving, and just in our interactions with our students and with one another. We’ll explore social identity, systemic oppression, and implicit bias. We’ll consider specific mindfulness practices to challenge implicit bias in our everyday lives. Grace offers workshops and presentations on using mindfulness as a tool for personal healing and equity-based social change, and has training in non-violent communication, intergroup dialogue, and organizing for racial justice.

Day: Friday

Room: Barrington

Time: 12:30

Mindful Movement and Educator Self-Care (ALL)

Presenter: Michelle Kelsey Mitchell, Pure Edge Foundation

Description: Learn how stress and anxiety impact the body, and experience the positive effect that simple, evidence-based mindfulness strategies can have on the nervous system. These strategies are 1-5 minutes in length, designed for individual, small group, or classroom integration and are aligned with both National Standards and CASEL SEL competencies. Complimentary access to online materials is provided for all attendees and school personnel.

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Day: Friday

Room: Grand Ball

Time: 1:30

Teaching Secular Mindfulness in Public Schools- Is it REALLY Secular? (ALL)

Presenter: Fiona Jensen, OTR/L, Founder and Executive Director, Calmer Choice

Description: When you teach mindfulness in public schools are you in conflict with the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause? Is it being taught in a way that is safe for children? Calmer Choice presents a compelling and thoughtful narrative on their journey navigating through challenging waters after a concerned parent and Californian law firm very publicly articulated concerns with mindfulness being taught in the public schools as a First Amendment violation and the allegations of this programming being potentially harmful for children. Attendees with leave the session with a clearer understanding of how to ensure what you are teaching is secular, you will gain a clear definition of the First Amendment, and how to avoid potential harm when teaching these skills.

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Day: Friday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 1:30

Mindfulness as a Tool for Promoting Student Voice and Agency (ALL)

Presenter: Dr. Miriam "Mimi" Ojaghi, President, Resilient Mind Consulting and SEL Consultant at Dekalb Regional Office of Education

Description: This session is an introduction to the role of mindfulness and neuroscience in culturally relevant teaching (CRT) as informed by the research of Zaretta Hammond. Specifically, Dr. Ojaghi will provide classroom examples and resources for developing student and teacher partnerships that promote a collaborative classroom culture that encourages student voice, agency, and resilience.

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Day: Friday

Room: Leighton

Time: 1:30

A Digital Tier 1 Teen Mindfulness Intervention (9-12th)

Presenter: Alissa Mrazek, PhD, UC Santa Barbara, Evidence-Based Courses

Description: There are many approaches to bringing mindfulness training to high school students. When aiming to deliver standardized training to students at scale, a digital approach is particularly promising. Yet like all approaches, digital training has its limitations. With the support of the U.S. Department of Education, our team at UC Santa Barbara is exploring how to most effectively bring digital evidence-based mindfulness training to high school students across the country. In this talk, we’ll explore the research results found thus far, as well as the broader obstacles and opportunities related to this initiative.

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Day: Friday

Room: Stanford

Time: 1:30

Yoga-Based Strategies for Listening in the Classroom (K-8)

Presenter: Marybeth Moore, Co-Leader of Mission Propelle's 95-hour Children's Yoga Teacher Training and Health & Wellness Coordinator at Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart

Description: This session will explore the ways that educators can use yoga-based mindfulness strategies in order to support listening in the classroom. We will focus on listening from a variety of angles: classroom management techniques focused on listening through mudras, practices for listening inward using breath and movement, and strategies for listening to each other with empathy. During the session, participants will learn and practice these techniques, so they will be equipped with concrete strategies that can be implemented in classrooms right away to improve students' self-awareness and self-regulation as well as create a more empathetic classroom community.​

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Day: Friday

Room: Barrington

Time: 1:30

More Joy, Less Stress: Mindfulness Integrations for School Counselors and Social Workers (ALL)

Presenter: Sheila Anderson, Britton-Hecla School District, South Dakota

Description: Mindfulness and resiliency practices are one set of tools that counselors can use to assist students. In this session, we will explore some of the available options and how these practices and programs can easily be integrated into K-12 school settings. Sheila will begin by sharing ideas and practices she learned from the GRIT Institute's SMART Program (Stress Management and Resiliency Training created by Dr. Amit Sood of Mayo Clinic)  and then give an overview of MindUP, Braintalk Therapy, and ReTHINK, as well as some other resources she uses.  At the end, attendees will have a chance to share resources that they have had success using, and mentor each other on situations and challenges that have come up in their schools.

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OPENING PLENARY

Day: Saturday

Room: Gallery Ball

Time: 8:40-10:10

Saturday Mentorship Morning with District SEL Mindfulness Specialist James Butler (ALL)

Presenter: James Butler, Social & Emotional Learning Mindfulness Specialist for the Austin ISD

Description: As the country's first public school mindfulness specialist in the Austin Independent School District, James will share his journey, what has worked and what hasn't, as well as tips, tools and strategies from his 4 years in this role. A former Austin ISD Teacher of the Year, James is a teacher in his soul and believes in culturally responsive and trauma-informed education. He will share in an engaging and interactive manner that will leave you inspired to create or continue to grow the mindfulness movement in your district.

Participants will be pre-assigned seats at roundtables and: learn about the role of a public school mindfulness specialist; experience interactive and creative means of practicing mindfulness; gain ideas for how to start mindfulness with adults in school/district communities and gain buy-in at all levels; explore the importance of listening to and including families in the mindfulness movement; and create action plans for how to bring/strengthen mindfulness in school/district.

James is also the Founder of Mindful Classrooms, an organization that travels across the country educating schools about how to sustainably implement mindfulness into their daily routines, climate & culture. He has been in education for 17 years, including 14 years as a classroom teacher. He taught mostly Pre-K and K in Austin ISD and also spent a year as a volunteer HS teacher in Namibia in southern Africa. In 2014, James was named Austin ISD Teacher of the Year. James is passionate about education, specifically mindfulness, equity, and early childhood education. Based on his teaching experience of using mindfulness in his classroom, he wrote a mindfulness curriculum titled Mindful Classrooms: Daily 5-Minute Practices to Support Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness In A Jar that is published by Free Spirit Publishing. He also wrote Coloring Book and Reflections for Social Emotional Learning that is being published in April 2020 by Free Spirit in English and Spanish. James is a graduate of Manchester University (IN) and originally from Cleveland, Ohio and is a big Cleveland sports fan. 

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PLENARY PANEL

Day: Saturday

Room: Gallery Ball

Time: 10:20-11:20

Panel Discussion with Educational Equity Thought Leaders (ALL)

Inspired to continue our Equity-Based Convo Series launched this fall, we were intentional in creating an equity thread throughout our conference, culminating with this plenary session on Saturday. Our expert panel, facilitated by COSEM president and founder of Tici'ess, Tovi C. Scruggs-Hussein, will be sharing their insights into mindfulness as an equity tool and more. 

  • Cheryl Watkins, Ph.D., Network 13 Chief of Schools, Chicago Public Schools

  • Barnaby Spring, Director of Mindfulness in Education, NYC Department of Education

  • James Butler, SEL Mindfulness Specialist, Austin ISD, Founder, Mindful Classrooms

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Day: Saturday

Room: Gallery Ball

Time: 12:30

Embedding Practice into Schoolwide SEL Systems (PK-8th)

Presenter: Gene Olsen and teachers from CCSD 89, Glen Ellyn, IL

Description: Attendees will learn how schools can use an SEL school-wide framework to embed mindfulness practices into everyday practices; how mindfulness is used through Responsive Classroom strategies; how it can be used as a tiered intervention; and how systems use mindfulness as a means to engage outside stakeholders.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 12:30

Baby Steps In SEL Make Giant Strides In Standards-Based Grading​ (6th-12th)

Presenter: Rebecca Walker, Brandi Bane & Janine Wange, Metea Valley High School, IL

Description: Using examples from high school classrooms and extracurriculars, we share how teaching students to reflect on goals and be mindful of how they learn impacts overall school engagement. 

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Day: Saturday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 12:30

Mindful Me, Mindful World Summer Program (PK-2nd)

Presenter: Elspeth Stowe-Grant, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, IL

Description: This session will deconstruct a summer program for five to eight year old’s centered on mindfulness, yoga and community service. We will explore yoga and mindfulness activities to develop self-awareness, kindness and compassion. We will discuss service projects that resonate with young children, strengthen their connection to others and empower them to make a positive difference in the world. Elspeth Stowe-Grant has been an early childhood educator for over 21 years. She is a graduate of the Erikson Institute and Mindful Schools Year Long Mindful Teacher Program. She is currently working on her Little Flower Yoga Teacher Certification.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Stanford

Time: 12:30

Staying Present for Better Teaching and Learning-Create a Mindful Group of Teachers (ALL)

Presenter: Lauren Beversdorf and 7th and 8th graders from Bannockburn School, IL

Description: As educators, introducing mindfulness into our own lives is perhaps the greatest gift we can offer ourselves. In this session, you will learn easy ways to bring mindfulness to teachers, administrators and support staff at your school. Once you create a group of "mindful teachers" at your school, and you find those who find the practices beneficial for themselves, you'll be able to implement more for students. You will learn how to implement mindful activities for teachers as well as easily accessible resources, like videos, smartphone and tablet applications, books, and online resources. This session on bringing mindfulness to yourself first, then to your fellow educators, will share proven practices and how to integrate these practices into your school environment. You will learn how to harness the benefits of staying present to bring more awareness to yourself and your colleagues.

Day: Saturday

Room: Barrington

Time: 12:30

Stories of School Yoga: Narratives from the Field (ALL)

Presenter: Andrea Hyde, Western Illinois University and Lindsay Meaker, Wheaton District 200 

Description: Authors of Stories of School Yoga: Narratives from the Field (2019, SUNY Press), who are members and presenters of the National Kids Yoga Conference (April 17-19, 2020 in Alexandria, VA), will gather to tell the story of creating the book and what they learned from it. This book provides first-hand perspectives from yoga practitioners and educators on the promises and challenges of school-based yoga programs. It argues that public school-based yoga teachers' work must be viewed as knowledge, as part of what we know about yoga in schools. Attendees will be invited to discuss the major themes that constitute the findings of this project and learn about the process of editing or contributing to a book as narrative inquiry, a type of qualitative research.  A space-constrained yoga sequence will also be taught. 

Day: Saturday

Room: Gallery Ball

Time: 1:30

Using SEL & Mindfulness to Build Student-Teacher Connection (ALL)

Presenter: Carla Tantillo Philibert, Founder of Mindful Practices and Co-founder of Class Catalyst

Description: This session is for educators who are interested in putting SEL and mindfulness into practice with students on a daily basis to help build student self-awareness and self-regulation skills. Participants will learn various ways to incorporate SEL and mindfulness to build a safer, more inclusive learning environment for all students. Key takeaways include specific strategies that participants can use immediately to start putting SEL and mindfulness into practice. Carla is a recognized expert and author on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), mindfulness and yoga practices in the school setting. She oversees a team of dedicated practitioners who have served thousands of students and teachers across the country since 2006. 

MINDFUL PRACTICES 

Day: Saturday

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 1:30

A-Z Mindfulness: Experience Yoga and Mindfulness Strategies to Empower Students and Supercharge SEL

Presenter: Lani Gerszonovicz, Founder of A-Z Mindfulness, Mindfulness Coach, Speaker, Yoga Instructor, and Author of Mindful Students: Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom and Beyond 

Description: Discover the accessibility and ease of the Mindful Students program which teaches K-12 educators, parents and mental health providers 26 fun and engaging A-Z Mindfulness strategies that empower students to become more present during class and throughout life. Explore techniques that strengthen academic performance, improve student’s ability to manage emotions and act with more intention towards oneself and others. Several A-Z Mindfulness strategies will be covered in this interactive session, using common language, sound, positive phrases, visualized images, breath, and movement. Lani will also discuss best practices for a successful implementation class, school or district-wide. 

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Day: Saturday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 1:30

The Racially Literate Mindfulness Teacher (ALL)

Presenter: Sally Albright Green, Valley View CUSD 365u, Bolingbrook, IL

Description: What is racial literacy? How is it developed? Why is it so critically important in mindful classrooms? Where do you start? Sally is a teacher, teacher coach, and mindfulness practitioner and trainer.  She began studying her racial identity almost twenty years ago, and has worked to incorporate her sensitivities about race into her day to day life in and out of school. Sally understands the idea that teachers and students will thrive when stakeholders buy-in to and correct the impact systemic whiteness has on curriculum, grading practices, and classroom climates.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Stanford

Time: 1:30

Jin Shin Jyutsu for Education Professionals: The Perfect Mindfulness Companion (ALL)

Presenter: Kate Martin, Teacher at Asheville City Schools, NC

Description: Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient, oriental art that harmonizes life energy in the body. This art has one tool: hands. And what I love about this art is that everyone can learn JSJ sequences and implement them in their daily mindfulness practices---their own personal mindfulness practices and mindfulness practices they are incorporating in the classroom.  In this hands-on (literally) workshop, I will give a brief overview of JSJ and the 26 “Safety Energy Locks” which are areas on our bodies where energy can be stuck. I will walk participants through self-help practices called flows that will enhance their own lives and the lives of their students. These flows can be added very easily to mindfulness practices that already exist.  I will walk teachers through flows that address anxiety, focus, concentration, and other common classroom needs. 

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Day: Saturday

Room: Barrington

Time: 1:30

Applying Mindfulness to Evaluation: Transforming Pedagogy, Advancing Student Agency (ALL)

Presenter: Sheila Kennedy and Jen Consillio, Lewis University

Description: This session will describe the use of mindfulness as a heuristic for improving pedagogy, especially in terms of evaluation, offering a model for participants to use in their own teaching across all grade levels. Based on discrete mindfulness practices and research, participants will learn about the presenters’ process and experience of using the tenets of mindfulness to create a mindfulness-based evaluation process, which in turn transformed pedagogy and, most importantly, cultivated greater student agency. 

Day: Saturday

Room: Gallery Ball

Time: 2:30

Building Up Your Defenses Against Stress (ALL)

Presenter: Barbara Larrivee, EdD, Author, COSEM Board, Founder Mindful Moments in My Classroom

Description: Job-related stress is higher among teachers than any other professionals. Teachers need tools and skills to become stress hardy to keep their cool in the heat of the moment and prevent daily stress from escalating. Because the stress response unfolds quickly teachers have to be proactive to notice their thoughts, judgments, and bodily signs so they can take action as soon as stress strikes. In this interactive session teachers will learn research-based instant stress busters that can take less than a minute. They will be guided through personal exercises to build up defenses against stress using strategies to cultivate mindfulness, temper their inner critic, recognize emotional triggers, practice self-compassion, activate peer support, and maintain work-life balance.

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Day: Saturday 

Room: Ballroom 2

Time: 2:30

The Language of Mindfulness in the Early Years (PreK - 2nd)

Presenter: Lisa Clarke, ERYT-200, RCYT, YACEP and Founder of laLa wellness

Description: It is not our job as early childhood professionals to teach children mindfulness, but rather to enhance their awareness of mindfulness through the language we use (both verbal and non-verbal). This session encourages participants to mindfully reflect on the activities, transitions, language choices and supportive practices that impact a child's socio-emotional development.  It will have interactive elements and participants will move through mindful transitions, breathing practices, and movement stories.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Carlyle

Time: 2:30

A Multimodal Exploration of Contemplative Pedagogy Practices (ALL)

Presenter: Debra Vinci-Minogue, COSEM Board & Dominican University

Description: This interactive session will introduce participants to the tree of contemplative practices, deeply exploring several practices. These practices can be modified for all grade levels and examples will be given for both elementary and high school. Participants will engage in personal explorations of contemplative pedagogy by visiting contemplative “stations” including reading and analyzing picture books for deeper meaning, viewing (beholding) art images to reflect on personal meaning, reading and listening (Lectio Divina) to poetry to deconstruct meaning for self-growth and understanding. After each station has been visited, participants will share insights and reflect on implications for an expanded understanding of contemplative pedagogy. The session will conclude with a loving-kindness meditation.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Stanford

Time: 2:30

Student Mindfulness Practice Groups Before and After School: What To Know and Do-and Not Do (6-8th)

Presenter: Andrea Holm and Danielle Lucio, Lewis University and Guiding Light Counseling

Description: This session will offer best practices for teaching mindfulness and meditation to junior high school-aged children, in a group setting, before or after school, and will include lesson planning, interventions, and techniques that the students reported being the most enjoyable. Participants will also learn about the psycho-educational benefits of mindfulness for school-aged children, especially in terms of improving areas of academic performance and internal growth. Specifically, participants will: (1) Learn how to plan 6-10 weeks of scaffolded, mindfulness sessions for junior high students. (2) Learn about mindfulness assessment tools for tracking student’s daily progress. (3) Learn about the internal and academic growth that students gained through learning mindfulness skills.

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Day: Saturday

Room: Barrington

Time: 2:30

Mindful Leadership (ALL)

Presenter: Renee Metty, With Pause

Description:  Mindfulness practices and decoding body language will increase your rapport, trust and influence at work- with your school team and parents. In this session, not just for administrators, you will learn:
• Why slowing down will increase your time and performance
• A 3 step process to move from condition choice to true choice
• Why choice is your superpower
• How to manage chaos with ease

"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." -Artistotle

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