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


















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.


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.​


90 min Barnaby Spring, NYC Dept of Ed, The Emergence of Mindfulness in Education: Laughter, Discovery and Beauty


50 min Breakout Session #1

Buffet Lunch

60 min Roundtables/Working Lunch, Mindfulness Discussions with Like-Discipline Educators Sitting Together


50 min Breakout Session #3


50 min Breakout Session #4


60 min Closing Session Q & A with Barnaby Spring

Dinner on Own, Set Up for Resource Expo

Resource Expo/Networking Session/Cash Bar-Put your raffle tickets in the give-away raffles of choice; $10K+ in donations

Film Screening of May I Be Happy and Meet Filmmakers

Resource Expo/Networking Session/Cash Bar-Winners posted


Barnaby Spring

Thursday Keynote Presenter, Lunch Roundtable Discussion Leader, Closing Q and A

The Emergence of Mindfulness in Education: Laughter, Discovery and Beauty

Once upon a time there was a Trickster, a Sage and an Artist.  

Listen to this story about their time in a place called America.  

They got together and made a meal called Mindfulness Stew.

Oh yeah, everyone took from their garden and threw something into the pot!

The people ate it and had the vision, planted themselves in the ground; 

They turned obstacles into the paths of life long-learning and growth.

They bore fruit in the form of people, places and things - all lessons - all stories - 

That help us to treat this life, ourselves and one another, this earth and all living things

as the precious gems that they are.  Come listen to our story of mindfulness stew.

Lunch Roundtable Discussion:

What do you/we need to know and be able to do to make your own Mindfulness Stew for your people? What is your/our Trickster plan, your/our Sage plan, your/our Art plan? How are you going to make sure you don't take yourself too seriously? How are you/we going to make sure that you/we keep on learning and growing? How are you/we going to make sure that we practice, create and offer you/our gift in ways that align with you/our values, beliefs, the needs of your/our students? How shall you/we make an ally out of mistakenly perceived hindrances and constraints?

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.

Barnaby is also leading a full-day School Mindfulness Champion Workshop on Saturday that is not to be missed. Find out more HERE.

Thursday Breakout Sessions


There will be three 50 minute breakout sessions on Thursday. Each year we'll select a Sharing Team of diverse leading edge schools to share with the rest of us so that the whole can move forward with more knowledge and confidence.  The Sharing Team has volunteered their time and is covering their own costs to get to our Conference-we are so grateful!

Tina Raspanti, Kelsey Barringer & Cheryl Wasserman, Mt. Lebanon SD and Leah Northrop,  Falk Laboratory School

Building Compassionate Learning Communities in SW Pennsylvania 


Main Ballroom


These four educators will share their grassroots mindfulness and SEL initiatives in the greater Pittsburgh region. Tina has taught an Intro to Positive Psychology elective for the past five years at the high school level.  The course focus is on mental well being through Mindfulness, Social Emotional Learning and Positive Psychology. She has been working over the past six years to bring Mindfulness/SEL programming to her district and last year founded the Building Compassionate Learning Communities Conference/Project (


Kelsey and Cheryl both teach at Markham Elementary in the MTLSD outside of Pittsburgh.  They have each incorporated Mindfulness/SEL into their classrooms and are working with their principal to grow the school culture in their building, for both staff and students.


Leah has been teaching Mindfulness and Yoga to K-8 students at the Falk Laboratory School for the past nine years.  Three years ago Leah was on a team that founded the Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and now serves as its Co-Director.

Karen L Mercer, M.Ed in Collaborative Teaching and Learning, Educator for 26 years in NC and IL

Trauma Informed, Now What?


Broadway A


I had trauma informed training, it was fascinating and validating but, I wanted to know what to do now. I had been doing yoga in my classroom and the brain dance. Was that enough? Was it appropriate? I had already taken two courses from Mindful Schools, I already was an RYT500.  I began to look back into the research of Jon Kabat Zinn and Daniel Siegel on how mindfulness changes the brain.  I have taught in low income and high risk schools all my 26 years. I will share my stories of success and the challenges- from personal challenges to administration to parents. Mindfulness is not a magic pill; other structures must be in place. What are they? Mindfulness with kids of trauma has to look different. How is it different?

We will practice: moving mindfully, key mindful yoga poses, and an ice cube practice that helps teens/adults look at staying with uncomfortable emotions.

Joan Tetrault and Gretchen Hibben, P. Brent Trottier Middle School, Southborough, MA

Mindfulness in Middle School: Mindfulness Elective Classes and Tier I-III Support


Broadway B


In a suburban community of MetroWest Boston, mindfulness has taken root in a public middle school. What began over five years ago as an experimental elective class for eighth graders, has evolved into a larger mindfulness movement embraced across grade levels by faculty, students, administration and parents. Joan and Gretchen will share their experience in creating an elective class, incorporating mindfulness into individual and small-group counseling, and promoting whole-school ownership of mindfulness as a practice for students and adults.

Timothy W. Pedigo, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Division of Psychology and Counseling, Governors State University and

Glenna Lambert Howell, Ph.D., Psy.D., Associate Professor, Division of Education, Governors State University

Heart-Based Teaching:   A Mindfulness Program for Preservice Teachers


Broadway C


Just as the psychology of the parent shapes parenting, the psychology of the teacher shapes the teaching/learning experience.  We believe that, because we are the tools of our trade, nothing influences our teaching conduct more than our own attachment history and patterns of behavior and responding. Rather than our repertoire of theories and techniques, it is who we are—and who we can become—that ultimately determines our capacity to create with each of our students a genuinely connected relationship in a caring classroom community that will motivate and inspire them to lifelong learning. Heart-Based Teaching is a two-course undergraduate journey of mindful development in a setting designed to promote candidates’ emotional reflection, personal growth, and ability to help K-12 students develop emotional awareness and regulation, relationship skills, and wise decision making.  We present the research base of this approach and our curriculum structure and engage participants in experiential activities from the courses that can be used in your own classes and in your school's professional development offerings.

Maria Bidelman, D155 Social Worker, Jade Magiera, D304 School Psychologist, Mary McCarter, D214 School Nurse 

Ways to Reach the Hard to Reach: Working with Behavior Challenges and ASD 


Main Ballroom


Every mind has its own kind of mindfulness. We just have to allow each kind of mind to find its own way.   As we lead others in these practices, we assume that it should be individualized to that person.   However we may inadvertently place our own judgements and limitations on to those we may be leading.  To use a phrase from social work education, be where the client, the student, the patient is at.  Working with the hard to reach is easier when we allow their resistance to be our guide. 

Grace Helms Kotre, MSW, founder of Power to Be, serving schools in Southeast Michigan

Using Mindfulness to Challenge Implicit Bias 


Broadway A


Mindfulness invites us into deeper relationship with ourselves. As we practice, we discover the many habitual patterns of thinking and feeling that dominate our daily lives. Left unexamined, our conditioning can be harmful to ourselves and to others. With mindfulness, we can challenge it – to actually think and feel in new ways which empower us to be more skillful, loving, and just in our interactions with one another. In this session, we’ll explore implicit bias: where it comes from, how it shows up, and why it matters. We’ll consider specific practices for using mindfulness to challenge bias in our everyday lives. These practices will guide us in better aligning our actions with our values and becoming the “change we wish to see in the world.”

Grace Helms Kotre is a certified mindfulness instructor and social justice educator. As the founder of Power to Be, LLC, she shares mindfulness with children and adults in schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, community groups and families in southeast Michigan. 

Patricia Ward, M.Ed., Mindful Schools Certified Instructor

Community of Practice: A Blended Learning Model for PD at Kent ISD in Michigan


Broadway B


A “Community of Practice” is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.  We have used this framework to share a sustainable blended learning model of the Mindful Schools online courses, designed by Mindful Schools grads Jelena Popovic and Lucy MacGregor.  Course content is acquired online through the experienced teachers at Mindful Schools but is facilitated utilizing face-to-face practice/learning sessions with me. By the end of this school year we will have facilitated over 60 participants using this teaching format.

Cheryl Hazek, LCSW, Children’s Mental Health Coordinator at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and trainer for The 7ei Trauma Informed Schools by St. A’s in Milwaukee

Early Childhood Executive Function Screening and Mindfulness Interventions


Broadway C


Cheryl Hazek will share about the grant-funded work their YWCA facilitates that includes executive function (EF) screenings, intervention strategies that include mindfulness, and trainings for educators, parents and youth leaders on EF skills and how to help develop these skills with engaging intervention strategies. In this session you will learn the three components of EF, how EF skill development is impacted by trauma and chronic stress, and several simple intervention strategies to help young children regulate.

Debra Vinci-Minogue, Associate Professor & Coordinator of Bilingual/ESL Program at Dominican University,

Gloria Delany-Barrman, Professor & Coordinator of Bilingual/ESL Education at Western Illinois University, and

Lindsay Meeker, Director of English Learners, CUSD 200, Wheaton, IL

ESL Without Borders: Mindfulness' Role in Supporting English Learners


Main Ballroom


The session will focus on some of the challenges that current English language teachers face. Participants will review the affective filter in language learning, specifically, language anxiety and how it affects students in the classroom. Discussion will afford participants to share their experiences with this construct and how they have addressed it. Strategies for decreasing anxiety will be explored including yoga movement in mindfulness. Engaging families of English learners will also be addressed, along with specific take-away ideas for ESL teachers.

Kristen Esposito Brendel, PhD, LCSW, E-RYT, C-IAYT, Professor at Aurora University

The Future of Mindfulness in School Social Work Practice


Broadway A


Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly being incorporated in schools as a means of mediating the increased prevalence of students’ behavioral and mental health needs. School social workers, employed as experts in mental health and student behavior, most frequently provide direct MBIs or act as consultants to teachers and administrators. The future of school social workers’ training and involvement with MBIs will be contemplated and discussed.

Michelle Martin and Brooke Frazer, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis, IN

Designing and Launching a High School Mindfulness Course Elective


Broadway B


What began as 5-minute mindful moments in Michelle Martin's high school French classes has evolved into three sections of a one-semester, one-credit elective mindfulness course. From curricular decisions to implementation and student feedback, Michelle and her colleague Brooke Frazer will share what they have learned along the way. Please feel free to come with questions and enrich our discussion with your own experiences!

Adenia Linker, M.Ed., CYT, SAYD, Adjunct Professor, Doctoral Student, Erikson Institute SEL Initiative Project Coordinator

Mindful-Based SEL and Behavior Guidance in Early Childhood Education


Broadway C


Our core purpose at the SEL Initiative is to empower teachers and children with mindful skills that foster their humanity and sense of belonging so they can flourish in school and life. In this session we will dive into mindfulness as a framework for building community in your early childhood classroom. Our behavior guidance approach includes reframing behaviors, enriching SEL vocabulary and mindful teacher self-care. 

With nearly 20 years’ experience bringing wellness education to children, families and educators, Adenia's organic style - "teaching while playing" creates a dynamic dialogue about the body and its maintenance. Adenia has partnered with over 50 Chicago schools and community organizations, supporting their staff and families. As a graduate of UIC's Department of Educational Psychology, she is engaged in ongoing social and emotional learning research, serves as an adjunct professor and conducts anti-bias workshop at Erikson Institute. She is also currently enrolled in Erikson’s Doctoral program with a focus on the intersection between social justice and social and emotional learning.

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