SESSION DETAILS

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4 LIVE VIRTUAL SESSIONS (RECORDINGS ACCESSIBLE IN MID-FEBRUARY)
FRIDAY 8:30-8:55 CST Opening Meditation and Mindful Movement

Presenter: TBA

Description: TBA

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FRIDAY 9-10:30 CST
Beyond Self-Care: Supporting Well-Being and Resiliency in Schools

Presenters: Shannon Cox, MCESC, OH, Sara Oakland Bates, ROE4, IL, and Barnaby Spring, NYCDOE, NY

Description: In alignment with the Illinois State Board of Education’s strategic plan, seven social-emotional learning hubs were created in the state of Illinois to reduce the impact of trauma and stress in schools as a result of COVID-19.  In this plenary co-keynoted session, Sara Oakland Bates (she/her) will share how her current work as the Director of the Area 2 SEL Hub supports school leaders in transforming their school culture into one of well-being and resiliency for staff and students.

 

Shannon Cox (she/her) will share how Montgomery County Educational Service Center (MCESC) in Ohio is ensuring students have a Future Self-Vision to navigate through life, along with the life skills needed to do so and ensuring adults have the skillset and capacity to get them there. She will illustrate several ways they have been doing this including the design of SELLA, a social emotional learning language arts and mindfulness curriculum, for their younger students. 

Barnaby Spring (he/him) will also share his wisdom on the theme and give an update on his team's work at NYCDOE, where he serves in the role of a Student Services Director in the Division of the 1st Deputy Chancellor. His workflows are Mindfulness/Yoga in Education, Students in Temporary Housing, Counseling Supports as well as Cross-Functional Supports for BCO-based Student Services.

Barnaby poses these professional questions to us: How can we as a school system become more mindful, less mindless, as learners & facilitators of learning. How can we cultivate attention & awareness of ourselves & others, in ways that empower all human beings with the agency to respond to the needs of others with compassionate curiosity rather than react with fear and contempt? How can mindfulness support the development of attentional focus and mental resilience to ask questions, identify, meet and stay with challenges in order to solve common problems? How can a social and public mindfulness help our students and all of us to inhabit our interior private lives & our public collective lives with kindness, awareness, acceptance & action towards a wiser, more compassionate & holistically thriving society?

Sara Oakland Bates is the Director of Social-Emotional Learning and School Wellness for the Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education. Sara’s current position supports districts to create and implement strategic and comprehensive goal-directed social-emotional learning plans that result in safe, healthy and supportive schools. Sara is a licensed professional counselor, licensed educator and school administrator in the state of Illinois. Sara is passionate about the intersection of mental health and education and uses her experience as an educator, administrator and school-based therapist to advocate for holistic and responsive social-emotional learning structures. 

Shannon Cox  is Superintendent of MCESC and is the recent recipient of the prestigious 2021 Justus A. Prentice Award from the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA). The award acknowledges her contributions through executive leadership in advancing regional educational service agency programs at the regional, state and national levels. She has led many impactful initiatives including expanding the MCESC Social Emotional Learning team while spearheading efforts to develop an SEL curriculum, forging SEL partnerships with Jewel and Dr. Bruce Perry. She has also led the implementation of the MCESC Neurosequential Model (NM) Preschool, a one-of-a-kind classroom providing support for children at risk for social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

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FRIDAY 10:45-12:15 CST
Transformative Mindfulness and SEL as a Catalyst for Activism

Presenter: Meena Srinivasan, Executive Director, Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL)

Host: Barnaby Spring, NYC

Description: In this session participants will explore what Mindfulness in Education and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) have to mean now given the various challenges our world faces. Particular attention will be placed on making connections between Transformative Mindfulness, Transformative SEL, and Education for Sustainable Development principles. The session will begin with a presentation by Meena, followed by a conversation with Barnaby, and then breakout sessions for participants to connect and reflect. 

Meena Srinivasan, MA, National Board Certified Teacher, is a South Asian-American edupreneur with deep expertise in the fields of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness in Education. She is the Founding Executive Director of Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL), a racially and culturally diverse, compassion-centered, innovative program for educational leaders who are called to integrate mindfulness-based, social, emotional, academic and ethical learning into schools and school systems. Prior to this role she spent five and a half years working in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to implement SEL system-wide in the Oakland Unified School District. Meena has taught and led in a variety of school settings (public, private, urban, international) and holds a Clear Administrative Services Credential in the state of California. She is the creator of the SEL Every Day online courses, author of Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom , SEL Every Day: Integrating SEL with Instruction in Secondary Classrooms which was chosen as one of 2019’s Favorite Books for Educators by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and Integrating SEL into Every Classroom Quick Reference Guide. Meena’s article, “Social and Emotional Learning Starts with Adults” was one of ASCD’s 10 Best Express Articles of 2018 and she was featured in the Dec 2020/Jan 2021 issue of Educational Leadership Magazine on “Mindful School Leadership.”

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FRIDAY 1:15-1:55 CST After-Lunch Gentle Desk/Chair Yoga

Presenter: TBA

Description: TBA

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Friday 2:00-4:30 CST
Retreat-Workshop on Embodying Compassionate Allyship

Presenters: Tovi C. Scruggs-Hussein, Sally Albright Green, and Grace Helms Kotre

Description: Join the Racial Healing Allies for an afternoon of embodied healing practice, cultivating your inner toolkit for compassionate allyship! In order for our schools to become more mindful of equity, we must begin within. This mini-retreat will include healing practices such as meditation, self-reflective journaling, mindful sharing, and compassionate listening toward embodied allyship. Give yourself this gift of inner exploration in a supportive community of like-minds and hearts.

 

Note: To prepare for this Zoom session, we invite you to have a journal and to set up in a comfortable, private space.

Tovi Scruggs-Hussein (she/her), COSEM board president and former school principal, is a visionary, healer, and award-winning urban educator with almost 30 years of leadership and transformation experience. She is internationally recognized for her signature approach of Leadership Do-ing to Leadership BE-ing and Emotionally Intelligent Equity & Inclusion.  She is a recognized leader in meditation, resilience, and self-mastery, was highlighted by Mindful Magazine, and is on a mission to heal our systems through her unique integration of leadership development, racial healing, and trauma-responsive resilience. She founded Racial Healing Allies™, a movement to create truly inclusive schools and organizations. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and co-teaches the trauma-informed leadership course at Mills College.

Sally Albright-Green (she/her) is an instructional coach, and mindfulness practitioner and trainer. She has her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, is a Certified Teacher Evaluator in the state of Illinois, and sits on the board of the Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully. She spent fourteen years teaching 8th grade ELA in a large ethnically diverse middle school, and is now a Teaching and Learning Coach at a K-5 Title 1 school in suburban Chicago. She has taken courses provided by Mindful Schools, The Mindsight Institute, Mindful Leadership and UCSD Center for Mindfulness. 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 work to correct the impact systemic whiteness has on curriculum, grading practices, and classroom climates all over the country.

Grace Helms Kotre (she/her), MSW, is a certified mindfulness instructor and social justice educator. Grace’s passion for facilitating inner transformation and social change through contemplative practice informs her life and work. As the founder of Power to Be, LLC, she offers trainings and presentations on mindfulness as a tool for personal healing and equity-based social change. Grace also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and in the Department of Health & Human Services at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Grace has a background in community social work, human ecology, and trauma-informed practice, and she has been committed to a daily meditation practice since 2009. As a white woman, Grace is continually in the work of understanding her own internalized white racial identity, white dominant culture, and racism. 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5 LIVE VIRTUAL SESSIONS (RECORDINGS ACCESSIBLE IN MID-FEBRUARY)
SATURDAY 8:30-8:55 CST Opening Meditation and Mindful Movement

Presenter: TBA

Description: TBA

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SATURDAY 9-10:30 CST
Countering the Attention Crisis & Stress Epidemic with Mindfulness-Based SEL

Presenter: Dr. Matt Dewar, SEL Specialist, Lake Forest High School, IL

Description: Before the pandemic there was a stress epidemic which has only intensified as a result of COVID-19. Consequently, educators and students find themselves more distracted and stressed out than ever before, making it increasingly difficult to teach and learn. In this engaging session, educators will learn the essential foundations of Mindfulness-Based SEL (MBSEL) and practical strategies to 1. reclaim their attention and emotional well-being as well as 2. support and deepen students' learning and emotional well-being.  

 

Dr. Matt Dewar (he/him), former COSEM board president, has served as an educator, SEL specialist, and well-being coordinator at Lake Forest High School, IL for close to two decades, introducing students, athletes, and colleagues to research-based mindfulness and self-care practices through workshops, academic courses, school-wide programs, and professional development. Matt has also worked with collegiate and professional athletes and consulted with school districts nationally on implementing mindfulness and well-being programming. Matt is the author of The Mindful Breathing Workbook for Teens: Simple Practices to Help You Manage Stress and Feel Better Now and Education and Well-Being: An Ontological Inquiry. He has been featured on TEDx, NPR, and the National Wellness Institute.

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SATURDAY 10:45-11:45 CST
Creating a Culture of Inclusion Founded in Mindfulness and SEL

Presenter: Gina Harris, Culture and Climate Coach, Oak Park SD97, IL

Description: Inclusion is crafted and created intentionally. Whether we do this successfully or not is based on our level of mindfulness and care to all based on the social and emotional needs of the group. During this session we will experience and cultivate practices for deeper levels of inclusion in our schools. Focusing on the neurological underpinnings needed for spaces of safety, belonging and joy by way of mindfulness practices we will learn, grow, be uncomfortable and share together.  

 

Gina G. Harris (she/her), MBA, MAT, is an educator, restorative justice practices facilitator and trainer, and the founder of the Unity Dialogues, a circle process where students and adults learn from each other and grow from authentic, open dialogue about race and unity development. She is a Culture and Climate Coach in the Oak Park and River Forest School District in IL. Gina chairs the Illinois Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Committee, where she has implemented statewide measures to ensure and promote diverse involvement of educators in leadership. She is also a member of the National Education Association's board of directors, where she co-created and leads the training for the board on institutionalized racism, the school-to-prison pipeline, and implicit bias.

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SATURDAY 12:45-1:45 CST
Bringing Your HEART and SELf Into Education

Presenter: Lindsey Frank, Climate and SEL Coach, CCSD59, IL and Founder of The Butterfly Within

Description: Teaching is a HEART-based profession that often gets covered in content. Although content is a large part of learning, it is not the only learning within schools. If we can give the gift of well-being to our learners now, imagine the possibilities! ...But how do we do it? From this session, you will learn a powerful structure that has the potential to support every learning community member in developing the skills to become their best SELf.

Lindsey J. Frank (she/her), M.Ed. is a well-being coach and a districtwide Climate and SEL Coach in Illinois. She has developed her district coaching role since its creation in 2017 and has layered wellness approaches that start with the adults that span outward. She has taught and supported students ranging from early learning through junior high as an SEL coach, learning behavior specialist, interventionist, and teacher. Her master’s degree is in Educational Leadership and Supervision. She is a certified yoga, meditation, and mindfulness instructor for adults and children with a healing-centered focus. Additionally, Lindsey developed her company The Butterfly Within, LLC for well-being coaching for teachers and leaders, and is the author of Big Change, Better You, Beautiful World. She is a COSEM board member and Director of COSEM Chapters.

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SATURDAY 2:00-4:30 CST
Mentorship-Retreat for Personal and Schoolwide Healing

Presenter: Fatimah Ali, Principal, PS9, The Sarah Smith Garnet School, Brooklyn, NY

Description: Fatimah's passion for the healing arts has created a unique opportunity for her to support and serve students holistically from within the New York City education system as well as internationally. In this session, she'll share her personal and professional journey, specific ways she supports healing of students and staff, and how she helps them reach their fullest potential as lead learner. 

 

The session will dive deep into her life mantra of What I Am Seeking is Seeking Me and we'll experience some of the healing practices she has learned in her healing arts trainings. Fatimah has over 400 hours of yoga instructor training,  Reiki Advanced Practitioner Certification, TEFL certification from Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica, and Tao Meditation and Healing Level 2.

Fatimah Ali (she/her) is a New York City School Principal and a Gray Fellow at Hunter College for Transformational Leadership. She has a B.A in Drama Studies from SUNY Purchase, and after undergrad, Fatimah worked for Bank of America before becoming a New York City Teaching Fellow. She has an M.Ed. in Childhood Education and a second master’s degree in School Building Leadership, both from Lehman College New York.  

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6 LIVE VIRTUAL RETREAT (RECORDING ACCESSIBLE IN MID-FEBRUARY)
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SUNDAY 9:00-11:30 CST
A Morning Retreat for Accessing Freedom and Vision

Presenters: Narineh Gharashor (she/her), former Chicago Public Schools Principal and Founder of Wholistic EDU; Michael Fry (he/him), Founder of Storywurx; and Sara Simon-Morales (she/her), Visual Arts Teacher, Chicago Public Schools

Description: “Wake up” Sunday morning with a  half-day retreat facilitated by Wholistic EDU where you will experience a series of healing-centered processes and practices that help you to cultivate inner freedom and vision in order to demonstrate outer freedom and vision. Schools, students, teachers, leaders, families, and communities are experiencing record levels of trauma. Yet, if we are to begin to heal our children, we must first begin to heal our adults. During the retreat, you will be introduced to multiple modalities of self-care, tools designed to harmonize our inner and outer lives. We will begin with deep breathing, Qi Gong, chakra balancing, and visualization. Then we will delve into the wisdom and guidance of The Four Agreements. The session will culminate with creating artifacts that reflect the unity of our inner freedom and our outer vision.

Narineh Gharashor (she/her) is an accomplished school leader who is familiar with the impact trauma can have on the child, family, school, and community through her lived personal and professional experiences.  She has dedicated her life to seeking, practicing, and teaching healing-centered modalities as she provides support from a healing-centered leadership context.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, has a graduate degree in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University, and a graduate degree in Educational Policy and Organizational Change from Roosevelt University. Narineh is passionate about prioritizing compassion and holistic self and community care as a catalyst to transform how trauma is addressed in schools.  She is focused on equipping students, educators, and communities with the tools to 'thrive through trauma.' She believes this work is politically and culturally grounded and views healing as essential in restoring trust and emotional equity. 

Michael Fry (he/him) is the CEO of Storywurx, a creative agency focused on a transformative story-based healing process that allows schools, individuals,  and organizations to begin to heal their INNER stories in order to change their OUTER stories. In the late ‘90s, at a low point in his life, he discovered Paramahansa Yogananda and became a student of The Self Realization Fellowship Program. Over the next 30 years, he would become an initiated member of The Mankind Project, co-facilitating weekends of intentional transformation for men and teens, CEOs to Ex-Cons. As the co-creator of Vibrational Mastery, he helped design a method of harmonizing inner vibration and outer relationships. As co-founder of TraderoutesApothecary.com, Michael does research, develops, and creates plant-based medicinal oils.  As a ritual developer and facilitator at WholisticEDU, he designs and implements healing-centered practices and processes. 

Sara Simon-Morales (she/her) is a board-certified virtual art teacher who has been serving students in Chicago Public Schools for over a decade.  She brings care, health, and wellness to her students by tapping into their creativity.  She believes art-making is therapeutic, and all humans have the ability to connect with its power and benefit from it.  Sara practices self-care through her own unique and reflective art-making, physical activity, and spending time in nature as much as possible.  Sara is an advocate for professional development and learning that taps into not just the minds but also the hearts and souls of educators. 

PRE-RECORDED BREAKOUT LEARNING SESSIONS (ACCESSIBLE STARTING JANUARY 28)
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Transforming Trauma into Healing: From Neuroception to Regulation (From Science to Love)

Presenters: Jill Apperson Manly (she/her), Co-Founder of JabuMind and Karen Lazarus (she/her), MD, MS, MPH

Description: How does stress affect your brain? What can you do about it? Experience firsthand the effects of iRest and how you can feel safe and connected in your body. Learn valuable tools and better understand what regulation and co-regulation mean. This presentation is science wrapped in love. Karen and Jill are a passionate duo that believe self-love is the most important gift you can give yourself. Be brave and curious, and come to learn, but BEST of all come and experience your body’s infinite wisdom. Karen and Jill are certified in many wellness modalities and trauma informed practices including iRest, Chopra Center Yoga, Safe and Sound Protocol based on Polyvagal Theory, and Traumatic Stress Studies.

 

You can find their meditations in JabuMind App for educators. The App has 100s of meditations specifically addressing the stresses and joys of education. Collaborative by design, the App brings excellent timely tools directly into the teachers' hands any moment of any day or night. Teacher candidates, current teachers and administrators are encouraged to bring this proven method into their schools. Our research in the past year showed lower stress levels and improvement in self-efficacy in those using our App. Connect and share your best with yourself.

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Fostering A Mindful School Culture, Organically

Presenter: Emily Fleming (she/her), Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher at The Crossroads School in Baltimore, MD

Description: In this session, Emily will share her experiences over the last 7 years as a full-time, salaried enrichment teacher teaching yoga and mindfulness in a middle school, and how her school has fostering a school-wide culture of mindfulness, organically. Emily will share the intentional actions she and her principal have taken over the years to invite instead of mandating participation from school staff, students, and administrators, and how this has led to buy-in from her school community on a large scale. This session will offer participants some key questions to consider and tips for allowing mindfulness to evolve beyond just one teacher's classroom and into the wider school culture, and offer strategies for how to engage fellow school community members (parents, teachers, and staff) as key stakeholders in creating a mindful school culture. This session will include embodied practices for participants that can be easily shared with school staff and families, and will also include time for participants to reflect on and discuss successes and challenges they've encountered getting fellow teachers and parents to buy-in to mindfulness within their own schools. Connect with her at EmilyFlemingYoga.com.

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Becoming an Equitable Educator: The Journey Within

Presenter: Tiffany Mueller (she/her), Equity/SEL/Social Studies Coordinator, Lake County Regional Office of Education, IL

Description: Effective equity work is essential to the building of student-teacher rapport and to the cultivation of a productive learning environment. How can the teacher acknowledge and celebrate student individuality and encourage positive relationships? The presenter will discuss the steps necessary for a personal journey to create an anti-racist classroom environment and will provide useful techniques and activities that teachers can take back to their schools and begin anti-racist work. The focus will be on personal identity, intersectionality, and the simple changes a teacher can make to open their classroom to all members of their community. The presenter will draw on personal experience, both as an educator and as a child from an under-resourced community. The goal is to provide the initial path for an educator to become an anti-racist educator.  

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Mindfulness and Yoga through Play and Music in Early Childhood

Presenter: Lindsay Meeker (she/her), Ed.D, Professor in Early Childhood and Director of the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood, Western Illinois University

Description: Participants in this session will learn the research hot points behind developmentally appropriate yoga play in early childhood and experience strategies and sequences they can use in their own classrooms with students ages 2-8. Lindsay co-authored Stories of School Yoga with a chapter titled Achieving and Breathing: The Yoga Journey of a Public School Teacher. She has experience as a Director of Multilingual Learners and as a teacher of multilingual learners and students who qualify for Special Education, including English Language Development coach. She is also Executive Director of Quad Cities Yoga Foundation.

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Building Buy-In Through Choice: Teaching SEL Through Modular Learning

Presenter: Olivia Barber (she/her), The Neuva School, San Mateo, CA

Description: Social and Emotion Learning is a foundational pillar of The Nueva School’s PK-12 grade education. Yet, Olivia noticed that her high school students were often resistant to engage in traditional approaches to SEL. She recognized the need for student choice and buy-in and decided to take a new approach. Over the last 4 years Olivia has successfully created a modular curriculum that keeps students engaged and excited to learn about SEL and mental health. The curriculum allows students to choose their entry point, take ownership of their learning, and discern how and where they can apply SEL skills in their own life. In this session, Olivia will share her curriculum, design process, and learnings as well as offering participants tangible ways to increase choice in their own SEL programs. You can learn more about Olivia and connect directly at irisolivia.com.

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The Drama Triangle: Getting Unstuck to Reclaim Energy and Influence

Presenter: Caitlin Nisos (she/her), Wright Graduate University, Atlanta, GA

Description: To be a clean vessel for transformational education we need to be aware of our own 'stuff' or ‘drama’ which we bring with us into the classroom.  Studies have shown that a teacher's state of mind can affect grading a whole letter, as well as contribute to the emotional dysregulation of the classroom. Being stuck in drama blocks the nourishment and self-care crucial to emotional health, energy management, satisfaction, and prosocial influence. In this session you'll learn about Steven Karpman’s Drama Triangle model demonstrating the interaction patterns we have to get our legitimate human needs met indirectly. It is applicable to all areas of life - work with students, with adult colleagues, with parents & families - and meant to help us understand what's happening inside us and within the others we are interacting with. Gain language to understand what the common roles of victim, persecutor and rescuer look like and crucially what the underlying motivations are. Learning to be aware of our needs and meet them directly are key social emotional skills. By practicing and modeling, we can shift the tone of our learning communities to be more and more collective endeavors. Connect with Caitlin at WhatDoesGoodLookLike.com.

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Building Compassion and Courage with The Peace of Mind Curriculum

Presenter: Linda Ryden (she/her) and Cheryl Dodwell (she/her), Peace of Mind

Description: Please join us for an introduction to Peace of Mind Program’s approach to integrating mindfulness, brain science and SEL skills as the foundation for teaching conflict resolution for PreK-8 and for exploring social justice issues with Grades 3-8.  In this interactive session we’ll try out mindfulness practices from the curriculum, explore effective approaches for engaging students in mindfulness in trauma-sensitive ways, and talk about how practices of metacognition and compassion can support challenging conversations.  All welcome!

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A Fun, Brain-Based Approach to Mental Wellness

Presenter: Donna Volpitta (she/her), Ed.D, Pathways to Empower

Description: In this interactive session, participants will learn a framework for using challenges as opportunities to build resilience;  the brain's natural response to challenge; the social threats and rewards to the brain; and ways to apply brain science to helping foster mental wellness. They will leave with the language and tools to apply concepts from the presentation right away in both their classrooms and personal lives. Dr. Volpitta is a seasoned educator and makes the brain science of resilience and mental health easy to understand and apply. Her Resilient Mindset Model, which draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and education uses of adorable characters, concrete examples, and easy-to-understand metaphors. She is co-author of The Resilience Formula,  and author of Neuroworld.

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KINDfulness Tools for Schools

Presenter: Amy Zambrano (she/her), Wellness Coach for Long Branch Public Schools, NJ and Founder of Amy's Yogabilities LLC

Description: Participants will learn simple social emotional learning techniques using creative movement, mindfulness exercises, heARTwork crafts and music that connect to the CASEL Framework's 5 Core Competencies. Participants will learn how to implement these practices in the classroom during morning meetings, transition times, along with creating a "Wellness Space" in their classroom or building. 

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Unique PE: A Wellness Class Driven by SEL and Mindfulness Principles

Presenter: Ryan Ross (he/him) and Maria Bidelman (she/her), CHSD 155, Crystal Lake, IL

Description: Unique PE offers students the opportunity to experience outdoor and indoor activities that teach compassion, focus, team building, hitting all the SEL competencies through mindful strategies. Ross Ryan MEd, and Maria Bidelman LCSW, MEd teamed up to provide a different physical education curriculum to students at the alternative high school at District 155 in Crystal Lake, IL.  This relatively low cost course partners with the Crystal Lake Park District to provide hands-on learning experiences like Archery, Fishing, Orienteering, Nature Appreciation Hikes and Wilderness Safety. The week starts on Monday with a mindful practice (“MIndful Mondays”) and students are reminded of mindful practices throughout the week during the respective units. Students travel to community sites to extend their learning.  When weather permits, activities are outside.  Indoor activities include team building brain games and traditional team sports.  Outcomes at this point are anecdotal, but we feel we are really on to something and we just wanted to share!

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A Model of Using Mindfulness in Schools

Presenters: Brenda Scheurer (she/her), Project Director; Elizabeth Hagen (she/her), Project Evaluator; Ann Brand (she/her), Mindfulness Teacher; Christy Langman (she/her), Mindfulness Coach; Cheyenne Braker, Mindfulness Champion

Description: Mental Health Matters is a project with over 20 partnering organizations in two counties in Wisconsin that aims to improve mental well-being for middle and high school youth. One of the strategies of the initiative is to partner with schools to learn, practice, and integrate mindfulness strategies, resulting in better focus, managing stress, and being kinder and more compassionate. This presentation will illustrate a model being used to support building a culture of mindfulness in local schools. 

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Safe to Engage: Maximizing Readiness for Learning and Healing with MoveMindfully® Practices

Presenter: Kathy Flaminio (she/her), Founder of MoveMindfully

Description: Dr. Bruce Perry's Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics combined with an understanding of the vagus nerve’s ability to counterbalance the flight, fight freeze response highlights the necessity of youth and children to feel safe and connected before they can engage in healing and learning. Experience how to use simple mind-body practices to foster a sense of safety so that children and youth can more fully engage in educational and therapeutic settings. Leave this session with essential practices to regulate your own nervous system so that you can provide a safe presence for the children and youth you serve. Create a simple toolkit to use with students to develop their own " go-to" BREATHE-MOVE-REST strategies to maximize their listening, learning, and leading potential.

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Literacy as a Portal to Learn and Practice Mindfulness

Presenter: Dina Evans (she/her), Reading Specialist K-5 in Wilmington, Delaware

Description: Dina will share her experiences incorporating mindfulness into literacy instruction using practices of what good readers do to make meaning from text. She will discuss how she has made mindfulness an integrated practice by combining aspects of several comprehension strategies, and practices of what good readers do before, during and after reading. The session will include tips for the incorporation of mindfulness in varying elementary levels during your literacy teaching and reading block. Participants will engage in hands-on experiences with various levels of text practicing and sharing these mindful literacy methods. To finish our time together, Dina will use a poetry minute to facilitate a mindfulness-based brain break incorporating sensation and movement. This session will also include experiential elements and end with participants sharing their experiences incorporating mindfulness using this literacy lens and sharing ideas to learn from each other.

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Student-Tested Activities for a High School Mindfulness Course

Presenter: Michelle Martin (she/her) and Kris Schwickrath (she/her), Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, IN

Description: In previous EMCON sessions, Michelle has shared how to propose, start, and support a mindfulness program at the high school level. In this interactive session, her and her colleague will lead attendees through a truncated mindfulness class and we will share details of our course activities which have been refined over the last four years. Attendees will leave with a list of resources and student-tested activities to help them deliver an engaging and healthy mindfulness course that students want to return for every day. Their program was recently featured on WTHR NBC News.

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The Mindful Teacher's Toolkit

Presenters: Kevin Hawkins and Amy Burke, Co-founders, MindWell Education

Description: This session draws from our new book, The Mindful Teacher’s Toolkit (2021) in providing educators with a range of age-appropriate practical classroom activities and approaches that will help sustain positive mental health for their students and themselves during busy school days. We will explore how the activities and practices can be adapted and personalised to your teaching and your students. Our combination of Mindful Awareness Training with Social Emotional Learning promotes the development of wellbeing in school communities and we use our ‘Three Aspects of Mindfulness in Education’ - Be mindful, Teach mindfully, Teach mindfulness - as a framework that emphasizes the importance of teachers embodying the qualities we seek to promote in our students. Kevin has worked with adolescents and young people in various contexts for over 35 years - as teacher, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. Amy is an educational consultant who spent 15 years as a high school teacher and guidance counsellor in Canada and The Netherlands. They are co-founders of MindWell Education, an international organization that supports school communities in integrating mindfulness and social and emotional learning into daily life and the curriculum. 

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Implementation and Design of For-Credit University Mindfulness Course

Presenter: Linda Yaron Weston, University of Southern California

Description: Blending research, personal experience, and practical strategies, this session will explore the potential for mindfulness to enhance mental health and resilience in higher education. It will describe the creation and implementation of the mindfulness for-credit course Linda developed at the University of Southern California, which has now grown to include ten course sections across four instructors, serving 190 students the fall 2021 semester, speaking to the impact and need of such programs. Participants will build tools that can be applied across academic and well-being course and program design, including enhancing awareness, active listening and engagement, processing experiences, and working with emotions such as stress and anxiety. The session will also include tips from her curriculum book Mindfulness for Young Adults: Tools to Thrive in School and Life. Use code FLY21 for 20% off.

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Digital Detox and Empathetic Listening

Presenter: Carin Winter, Founder and CEO, Mission Be

Description: Take care of yourself and bring mindfulness into your own heart and life! This session will be focused on stress-reduction by way of practicing self-care through digital detox, ways of practicing empathetic listening and the benefits of empathetic listening. Carin will guide you through breathing practices, gentle movements, and visualizations to soothe the nervous system.

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Equipping College Faculty and Staff with Knowledge and Tools to Support the Mental Health of Students

Presenter: Rebecca Block (she/her), Health Educator at the University of Rochester Health Promotion Office, NY

Description:  During this presentation, participants will gain an understanding of how they can create a workshop series to help equip faculty and staff with a variety of ways to support student mental health in the upcoming academic year. Participants will learn the importance role of faculty and staff in the mental health of students, as well as learn how to create a successful workshop series with ease and limited financial abilities for their campus community. Rebecca will identify three reasons why faculty and staff play an important role in the mental health of college students, describe four ways that university staff members can develop a series of workshops focused on student mental health and list five ways that university staff members can promote their workshop series and get faculty to attend.

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Making Wellness Elementary: Simple and Effective Yoga Tools for PreK-5th Graders

Presenter: Melissa Shah (she/her), Program Director, Wellemental

Description:  Get in your daily self-care while also gaining confidence learning fun yoga tools geared to elementary school grades! Melissa Shah is a yoga therapist and Program Director at Wellemental. She grew up in NYC, has been practicing yoga since she was a child, and experienced firsthand how lack of play and mindful movement at school can impact emotional expression, body awareness, and more. Wellemental creates space for educators and students to breathe through low-cost, comprehensive professional development and resources. Their goal is to provide accessible evidence-based tools for mindful well-being for every classroom, and meet kids and grownups exactly where they are. Over 4,000 classrooms across the US trust Wellemental (formerly Yoga Foster) to help their students learn well. Wellemental is also a bilingual movement and mindfulness app designed for diverse kids. Learn more at wellemental.co.