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Matt Dewar, COSEM 18-19 President, Lake Forest High School, Mindfulness in Schools: What Every Educator Needs to Know


50 min Breakout Session #1


50 min Breakout Session #2

40 min Buffet Lunch

50 min Plenary Session, Barnaby Spring, NYCDOE, Mindfulness and Trauma: The Fruitful Wound


50 min Breakout Session #3


50 min Breakout Session #4


60 min Closing Session with Reflection Activities and 5 min Ignite Talks

Dinner on Own

COSEM Steering Meeting-Please come and help us plan key projects

Learn about Friday sessions below.  Here is the day's tentative schedule:





















SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Investment per day is $150 ($450 for all three days) through Feb 10, and $200 from then until Feb 23.

No onsite registration. No group or package rates. No refunds, but contact us for ticket transfers. ​

A special thanks to DuPage Regional Office of Education for partnering with us to get attendees 6 CPDUs or 6 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.

Register for each day separately. 


For Thursday: Lunch and the evening Expo are included in Coalition Gathering ticket. There is also the option to just purchase the Expo ticket and NOT the Coalition Gathering.


For Friday: Lunch is included.

For Saturday: You'll need to chose your workshop choice at time of registration. Lunch is NOT included.​

Heather Schwartz

Friday 9:30 in Main Ballroom

Mindfulness and Its Role Within SEL

Heather Schwartz, M.Ed. is a practice specialist at CASEL. Her current work involves translating research from the field into practical, engaging content and tools for the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL. Heather also serves as the lead program design coder for the CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs.

Before coming to CASEL, Heather worked as an instructional coach and 7th-grade teacher on Chicago’s southwest side. During this time, her own mindfulness practice was an important tool that allowed her to stay grounded and present during the challenges of teaching. Recognizing this, she sought training to lead mindfulness classes for grades K-12 through Mindful Schools. Heather is excited to be participating in the Educating Mindfully Conference and honored to be among so many educators working to support students. 

Talk Abstract: Many educators have identified both mindfulness and social emotional learning strategies as beneficial for their students. But what is the relationship between these two approaches? Are they competitors for precious classroom time? Or allies in our mission to support students? This session will explore how mindfulness programs came to be part of CASEL’s review of social and emotional learning programs, and how mindfulness and SEL can be used together in a creative and productive manner. We will also touch on the role of adult SEL in CASEL’s model of systemic SEL, especially as they pertain to mindfulness.


Amanda Moreno

Friday 10:30 in Main Ballroom 

It Doesn't Have to be Awful to be Bad: Resilience and the Preciousness of Childhood

Amanda Moreno, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Erikson Institute in Chicago and has worked in the early childhood field for over 25 years. She designs, implements, and studies programs at the intersection of social-emotional wellbeing and learning. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of a U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, which is comparing the effectiveness of a traditional social and emotional learning (SEL) approach to a mindfulness-based approach in grades K-2 in 30 schools in Chicago.


She is also the director and lead designer of Erikson’s new online master’s degree in early childhood education with a specialization in social and emotional learning (SEL). Dr. Moreno and her team comprise the “SEL Initiative” at Erikson, which partners with schools and communities to infuse developmentally-, culturally-, and trauma-informed SEL strategies.

Talk Abstract: All of us in the field of education know that children and childhood are precious, or we wouldn’t have chosen this line of work. But recent research from the fields of resilience science, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and epigenetics are underscoring the urgency of this idea more than ever before. We understand now that children are not just precious in the sense of being highly valued, but also in the sense of being easily “breakable”. When children are invisible to or misunderstood by important adults in their life, they don’t “get over it” – they adapt, usually in ways that compromise their potential in other areas. This risk cuts across socioeconomic and cultural lines. So while the talk will start out talking about some bad news (children aren’t as resilient as we once thought), we’ll end by talking about the power we have to make sure we are no part of leaving such scars, and what we can do to help children thrive. We’ll discuss how recent movements in education such as mindfulness, self-care, social and emotional learning (SEL), and trauma-responsive schools are really all about one thing: love. When we bring attachment theory to school, we acknowledge that children are whole people, and that “caring deeply” is not in competition with the purposes of school, but rather allows those purposes to be fully realized.


Barnaby Spring

Friday 12:00 in Dining Ballroom 

Mindfulness and Trauma: The Fruitful Wound

Barnaby Spring is an actor, artist, writer, educator, public speaker, activist, certified mindfulness and yoga teacher, educational theorist, husband, father and currently serves as Director of Mindfulness In Education, in the Office of the First Deputy Chancellor, in the New York City Department of Education where he has served since the mid-90s as a teacher working with girls on Rikers Island, then as a Dean of Students, then as Principal and now in this current role.

Talk Abstract: As renowned business management guru and courageous, educational leader, Peter Drucker and NYCDOE Chancellor Richard Carranza, respectfully, help us to understand the need for holistic systems management and educational reform by telling us: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast", Barnaby Spring posits that if this is true, it must then follow that "Trauma eats culture at every meal, and as a midnight snack in the darkness of the murder of a child's soul." 


Inspired by Joan Halifax's The Fruitful Darkness:  A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom, Barnaby will offer up his own journey as a survivor of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) to address one of the most critical issues we are facing around Mindfulness (or anything, anyone) in Public Education today:  Trauma. Trauma in the schools, Trauma-sensitive classrooms. 

Mindfulness has a role to play in the authentic relationship of trust and confidence, a bridge that both student and teacher must build together by walking it; by learning and growing together.  


Whose trauma are we talking about anyway?  Our own? Our students? Our world?  How does the concept of "story" and the telling and hearing of one's story help all of us to take the journey of the wounded healer working within the Western Model of Education in our increasingly complex and ever-changing times - when the very futures of our youth and are planet are at stake?

Gina Biegel

Friday 1:00 in Main Ballroom

Taking in the Good: Mindfulness for Teens and Young Adults (Grades 6-16)

Gina M. Biegel, LMFT, is a San Francisco Bay area–based psychotherapist, researcher, speaker, and author specializing in bringing mindfulness-based work with adolescents. She is the founder of Stressed Teens, which has been offering MBSR-T to adolescents, families, schools, professionals, and the community since 2004. She created MBSR-T to help teens ina large HMO’s outpatient department of child and adolescent psychiatry, who were not receiving relief or amelioration of their physical and psychological symptoms with the use of a multitude of other evidence-based practices. 


She is an expert and pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based approaches to youth, she is the author of Be Mindful & Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) LifeThe Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens (first and second edition), the Be Mindful Card Deck for Teens and the forthcoming book Mindfulness for Student Athletes: A Workbook to Help Teens Reduce Stress and Enhance Performance. She also has a mindfulness practice audio CD, Mindfulness for Teens Practices to Reduce Stress and Enhance Well-Being. to complement the MBSR-T program. She provides worldwide intensive ten-week online trainings and works with teens and families individually and in groups.  Her work has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, Reuters, the New York Times, and in Tricycle to name a few. For more information, visit her website,

Talk Abstract: As they try to navigate the demands of school, online social lives, and daily pressures, many teens and young adults today are worried, in pain, angry, and even out of control. In fact, 1 in 5 of them currently has or will have a serious mental illness. To make it through the emotional dysregulation of these complex years, they need a strong inner compass, and in this session, you’ll discover the evidence‐based protocol that combines mindfulness and positive neuroplasticity to help establish that compass. You’ll explore: 

■ How to help teens and young adults turn positive experiences into lasting resources for safety, satisfaction, and connection 

■ Recent advances in positive neuroplasticity that cultivate the four levels of self‐care

■ How to teach teens and young adults to shift from reacting impulsively to responding mindfully to stress 

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Matt Dewar

Friday 2:00 in Main Ballroom

Wellness for Life: Mindfulness Embeded PE/Health Curriculums (Grades 6-16)

Dr. Matthew Dewar is COSEM's 18-19 President and the founder of JOURNEY 30K, a personal development platform that utilizes wellness and mindfulness strategies to transform individuals and organizations. Matthew is also a high school teacher, well-being coordinator, and learning facilitator who has designed and implemented teacher professional development and school wellness curricula, including mindfulness-based wellness for faculty and students. Most recently, Matthew has created and implemented mindfulness programming for professional and collegiate athletes. His work has been featured on TEDx, NPR, and the National Wellness Institute's podcast. He is the author of Education and Well-Being: An Ontological InquiryWatch Matt's TEDx Talk

Talk Abstract: Imagine a yearlong freshman course that sets all students up for academic, social, and emotional success. In this session, Dr. Matt Dewar shares his experiences integrating mindfulness into Wellness for Life, a mandatory freshman course at Lake Forest High School that does the following:

  • Teaches mindfulness and stress-management skills 

  • Integrates SEL with an emphasis on depression awareness 

  • Moves beyond disease prevention to “wellness” and whole-person vitality

  • Cultivates leadership and mentoring through peer-trained TAs 

  • Develops executive functioning skills

  • Instills a passion for movement and fitness

  • Introduces all students to building-wide tier one supports 

  • Fulfills freshman PE and Health credits

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Gina Bio

Friday Breakout Sessions Led by Resource Providers

There will be four 50 minute breakout sessions on Friday. The following  experiential breakout sessions are to help schools and educators learn about specifc programs, curriculums, and trainings.  You'll also learn mindfulness practices in each to take right back to your classrooms. This is a great opportunity to do research and ask questions to find the ones that best fit the needs of your unique learning environment.  If you are sending a team to the Conference, divide and conquer to learn about them all! Learn more about these resources by visiting our Resources Page or by clicking their logos.

Mindful Schools will also be hosting a Mindful Room at the conference. It will be an exhibition displaying various mindfulness activities, wall displays, photos, teaching props and books for school-aged students. They curated this room with suggestions from educators from across the nation. It will be open and available for conference attendees to explore the display as well as offer a space for practice throughout Thursday and Friday of the conference. We hope visitors walk away from this exhibition inspired to try out one of these ideas in their school.


Friday PM Breakout Sessions: Creating a “Mindful School”: Whole School Implementation (K-12)

Presenter: Christina Costelo, Mindful Schools

Description: At Mindful Schools we’ve supported thousands of schools and educators in bringing mindfulness to their students and school communities. There is no “one-size-fits-all,” whole-school implementation (WSI) plan. Every school is different and has its own unique needs, opportunities, and challenges, especially when considering how to develop an integrative and sustainable mindfulness program. We will share our approach, resources and model for partnering with schools to assess their needs in developing a customized WSI plan to create a “mindful school”. We’ll practice, discuss and share best practices in teaching mindfulness to K-12 students.  This session is for educators/administers interested in fostering and sustaining a culture of mindfulness at their school.​


Friday PM Breakout Sessions: Fostering Cultures of Care through SEL and Data Informed Professional Development (K-12)

Presenter: Russell Case, Pure Edge

Description: Participants will learn simple and effective strategies to alleviate stress and to calm over-stimulated minds. They will learn the importance of self-care, specifically in their role as educators. They will also engage in Pure Edge Brain Breaks that offer a set of tools designed to promote student focus. The exercises, 1 to 5 minutes in length, are designed for easy classroom implementation. Participants can perform these seated or standing, at desks or on the floor.​



Friday AM Breakout Sessions:  Peace of Mind: Mindfulness-based SEL and Conflict Resolution for Elementary School (PK-5)

Presenter: Cheryl Dodwell, Curriculum Co-author and Executive Director, Peace of Mind Inc 

Description: ​Would you like to find a curriculum that integrates mindfulness, brain science, social and emotional learning, and conflict resolution into one easy-to-use program?  Please join us to find out more about Peace of Mind, a teacher-developed, evidence-based, elementary school curriculum currently used in schools nationwide. The Peace of Mind Curriculum teaches mindfulness and brain science as the foundation for the effective acquisition of social and emotional and conflict resolution skills. While teaching mindfulness and brain science on their own is powerful, it can be transformative when combined with active kindness and gratitude practice, experiential lessons on inclusion and empathy, and practical conflict resolution skills.   Peace of Mind has been developed since 2003 at the largest public elementary school in Washington DC; curriculum authors continue to teach Peace of Mind to over 900 children every week.  Studies have confirmed positive impact for students, teachers and school climate. Peace of Mind is taught by classroom teachers, specials teachers and counselors, and is also helpful to school social workers, nurses and psychologists as a Tier I intervention. You do not have to be a mindfulness expert to teach Peace of Mind; all you need is a commitment to learning and practicing along with your students. Please join us to find out more in this interactive session!



Friday PM Breakout Sessions: Mindful Moments in My Classroom

Presenter: Barbara Larrivee, author of A Daily Dose of Mindful Moments: Applying the Science of Mindfulness and Happiness

Description: Come away from this interactive session with a repertoire of mindful moments for weaving mindfulness into classroom life. Dr. Barbara Larrivee is an author, researcher, and former teacher education professor. She will share brief, research-based practices drawn from decades of research in mindfulness, positive psychology, and neuroscience that can be easily tailored to classroom settings. A mindful moment can be anything that triggers the relaxation response, is enjoyable or elicits any positive feeling including the lift you get from being kind and helping others, energizes you when your energy wanes, or is self-soothing when you need a boost. Pausing for mindful moments is a way to meet students’ fluctuating needs throughout the day and offers a means for integrating mindfulness and social-emotional learning to promote mindful, restorative, and compassionate actions. A targeted mindful moment practice can not only enhance mindfulness, but also reduce stress and negativity, sustain a positive outlook, and cultivate character strengths such as kindness, gratitude, and compassion.

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Friday PM Breakout Sessions: Chair Yoga for Classrooms: Get Kids Moving and Ready to Learn

Presenter: Jennifer Cohen Harper and Mayuri Gonzalez, Little Flower Yoga

Description: How can you bring the benefits of yoga to students, when your school simply doesn’t have enough space or time? Chair yoga makes it possible. Join us for an introduction to this effective and sustainable way to bring daily embodied mindfulness practices to children and adolescents in a classroom setting, without the need for additional space or yoga mats. You’ll learn simple and effective chair-based practices you can immediately bring to students (and use yourself!), incorporating movement, breathing, mindfulness and relaxation. 


Friday AM Breakout Sessions:  Daily Mindfulness Practice -Teachers' Favorite Time of the Day

Presenter: Maureik Robison, Inner Explorer

Description: ​Imagine a classroom where students come in quietly and sit right down, ready for their daily mindfulness practice.  Teachers log in and press 'play' on the next practice in the MBSR formatted audio-guided series (no prep, planning or assessment).  After the 5-10 minute practice, students are focused and ready to learn.  Teachers are centered and relaxed. Families can "Tune In" and listen to the same practice, benefiting from a few moments of mindfulness, as well as having a shared experience with their child.  This is real and is happening in more than 22,000 classrooms across the country! Inner Explorer is one of the few CASEL approved mindfulness interventions. It is one of even fewer that has published scientific research showing that students achieve higher grades, have fewer behavior issues AND teachers experience less stress. Join this session to hear from educators in traditional, special ed and alternative classrooms share insights about how to implement a daily practice, lessons learned, how to overcome challenges and how to reap the benefits of a mindfulness classroom.

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Friday AM Breakout Sessions:  Yoga & Mindfulness in the Classroom: A Sustainable Approach to Supporting Learning, SEL and Positive Climate  (PK-6)

Presenter: Lisa Flynn, Founder and CEO, Yoga 4 Classrooms and ChildLight Yoga

Description: ​ Increasing numbers of students lack the skills of self-regulation, impulse control and focus negatively affecting their behavior, ability to learn and overall well-being. These critical life skills, essential to success at home, in school and throughout life, can be learned when taught in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way. In this introductory, experiential session, you will learn how integrating simple yoga and mindfulness practices, specifically designed for the time and space crunched classroom, can be a convenient, engaging and effective way to promote these skills while cultivating a positive, peaceful, productive classroom climate. The Yoga 4 Classrooms program model was developed to inspire and empower schools to affordably, practically, and sustainably integrate yoga and mindfulness school-wide by providing training and resources that encourage and support implementation from the inside. Learn about the experiences of a variety of schools that are uniquely integrating Yoga 4 Classrooms into their daily structures and how your school or district can do the same. Participants will gain access to a variety of free resources, supporting research, case studies, and tips and tools for building support in their school community as well as a variety of strategies they can use with their students (and for themselves) the very next day.

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Friday AM Breakout Sessions: Social Justice and SEL Through the Lens of Koru Mindfulness

Presenter: Miriam (Mimi) Ojaghi, Resilient Mind Consulting and Dekalb ROE

Description: A veteran of K-20 education with over two decades of experience, Dr. Ojaghi’s research examined the experience of underrepresented minority students pursuing STEM studies who learned Koru Mindfulness.  Koru Mindfulness is the evidence-based curriculum developed at Duke University specifically for college-age adults.  A bilingual, bicultural meditation practitioner herself, Dr. Ojaghi’s interests examine the intersection of education, race, and gender.  In this session we will explore issues of social justice and the role of SEL and mindfulness in the K-20 classroom as a tool for empowerment through the lens of Koru Mindfulness meditation which she has implemented with a variety of demographics.

Friday PM Breakout Sessions: Getting in the Ready-to-Learn State with Class Catalyst Check-ins 

Presenter: Carla Tantillo Philibert, founder of Mindful Practices

Description: Do you really know whether your students are engaged and ready to learn before you begin the lesson? Teachers, counselors and administrators finally have a tool to track students’ readiness to learn and head off potentially volatile situations before they impact student wellness or school safety. Class Catalyst is the online platform to measure and improve student engagement and classroom climate. Within three minutes, each student gets the movement, mindfulness or reflection activity he or she needs to regulate and encourage greater connection with the instructor. Come see what Mindful Practices and Class Catalyst can do for your school or district!


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Friday AM Breakout Sessions:   Learning to Breathe (L2B), a Mindfulness-Based Program for Adolescents (Grades 6-16)

Presenter: Dr. Brenda Nelson, DSW, LCSW, Prevention & Wellness Coordinator, Libertyville High School and L2B Midwest Trainer

Description: Brenda has worked in multiple settings serving adolescents, including over a decade in hospital mental health and 16 years in high school social work and school-based prevention. She will provide an overview of the L2B curriculum, emphasizing the theory and research behind the lessons. She will also guide participants through some of the practices and share information on upcoming trainings. This session is for teachers, administrators, clinicians and others working with adolescents who wish to learn an effective, well-researched mindfulness intervention for youth. L2B is a research-based mindfulness curriculum created by Trish Broderick, Ph.D. of Penn State University for classroom or clinical settings. L2B is designed to coordinate with curriculum standards for health, developmental guidance or other academic areas in secondary schools.  L2B versions exist for younger and older adolescents, as well as for college-age/emerging adults. L2B was researched through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education (Institute of Education Sciences) and has been studied extensively in educational and clinical settings. Ten published, peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated its effectiveness, and several more studies are currently underway.  L2B has been recognized as one of only four mindfulness programs in the 2015 CASEL Secondary Guide that meet research criteria for effective SEL programs.​


Friday PM Breakout Sessions:   Empowering Minds: A Mindfulness-Based Social & Emotional Learning Curriculum (K-8)

Presenter: Cody Wiggs, Curriculum Author and Executive Director of Denver-based non-profit, Empowering Education

Description: ​This session will provide an experiential introduction to the Empowering Minds curriculum. Empowering Minds is one of the only curricula available that comprehensively blends the best of mindfulness, cognitive behavioral theory, neuroscience, restorative approaches, and cultural responsiveness in one teacher-friendly program. This workshop will offer participants a chance to experience the lessons directly, an overview of the Empowering Minds implementation model and alignment to CASEL best practices for implementation, and a walkthrough of the key components of each lesson, including:

  • Core Content Lessons

  • Academic Extensions

  • Teacher Tutorial Videos

  • At-Home Resources

  • Supplementary Resources

As a bonus, participants in this workshop will receive the first 5 lessons of the curriculum for free!

Friday AM Breakout Sessions:  Learn How to Manage Stress and Emotion with 'Yes! for Schools' Techniques

Presenter: Elan Gepner-Dales

Description: YES! for Schools provides students, parents and school staff with a toolkit of restorative practices. Our unique whole-body approach to stress and social emotional learning combines transformative physiological techniques, including breathing and meditation, along with cognitive awareness tools. In this skillbuilding session, learn strategies to take care of yourself first with greater self-management under stress, increased resilience and the ability to mentally detach and recharge at the end of the day. Strategies that can also be shared with your students. Also hear about successes across the US, and experience an introduction to physiological and reflective processes that make one better able to perform well in complex situations and under high demand with greater personal capacity and increased collaboration and innovation.

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Friday 10:30 ONLY Breakout Session: Cultivating Seeds of Compassion

Presenters: Tina Raspanti, Mt. Lebanon School District and Leah Northrop, Falk Laboratory School, Pittsburgh, PA.  

Description: In this session we will review the science of self-compassion and engage in compassion based mindfulness practices.  Self-compassion and self-care are necessary components of our overall well-being.  Educators and caregivers spend much of their time caring for others. It’s essential we nourish ourselves in order to show up fully for others. In order to create more compassionate school culture, we must begin by nurturing these skills within ourselves, when we are grounded in our own sense of care, we are able to build our capacity to extend that compassion to others. 


Tina and Leah organized the  (BCLC) Building Compassionate Learning Communities Conference/Project. in October 2018.

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