Randima Fernando

Sparking Authentic Connections on Giving Tuesday

Our goal this #GivingTuesday is to use the event to start conversations with a handful of thoughtful donors who share the mindful approach and values that flow through our entire community. If you are one of those donors, or know one, please contact our Executive Director Randy Fernando (randy@mindfulschools.org) and we would love to candidly share more about what we’re building next.

The challenge is communicating our story and track record to the right donors — and this is where you can help if you choose to. By liking and sharing this post, or using the short email template below, our community can give our message a better chance of reaching people who’d like to help financially to take our work to the next level.

Thank you as always for your support and consideration!

Dear _____,

I wanted to tell you about a non-profit organization that you might find interesting. It’s called Mindful Schools (www.mindfulschools.org), and they provide online mindfulness courses, community, and content for educators.

<Add a sentence about your personal interest here>

They’ve grown 10x over the last 7 years, using just over $2 million in total donations, resulting in a $3 million organization that’s brought mindfulness skills to over 10,000 adults and 300,000 children. By June 2016, they expect to reach over 700,000 children.

If you’d like to learn more about their strategy and fundraising needs, please contact Mindful Schools Executive Director Randy Fernando (randy@mindfulschools.org).

Take care!

Randima Fernando

2016-17 Year-Long Certification Launched

We are writing to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification. This course is designed for dedicated mindfulness practitioners interested in playing leadership roles in their school communities and in the Mindfulness in Education movement. The program filled early and with a wait-list last year, which kept quite a few of you from taking part. This year, if you are thinking about participating in this program, we strongly encourage you to apply early.

This is an in-depth program with various details to consider. We’ve broken this message into two parts for easy reading.

Logistical Considerations

  • The program runs from Summer 2016 – Summer 2017. It begins and ends with a 6-night in-person retreat. You have the choice of joining either the East or West Coast cohort. See the course page for retreat dates/locations.
  • In between these two retreats is 10 months with over 300 hours of rich content and learning – you will gain access to practice support groups, weekly consults with the teachers, short curriculum exercises delivered by video, classroom handouts, and guest webinars on research and neuroscience. The course page has an outline of how the program content is organized. In the coming weeks, we will also be sharing samples of course content on our blog and Facebook page.
  • The program is limited to a total of 190 seats. The first 100 people accepted between now and March 15, 2016 will receive the Early Bird tuition rate ($3,300). A limited number of scholarships for educators with a demonstrated commitment to serving high-risk youth in under-resourced schools are also available. See the bottom of the course page for pricing details.
  • Completion of this program (along with a video-taped teaching practicum) results in certification. As the Mindful Schools network continues to grow both nationally and around the world, graduates of the program are actively helping to meet the growing demand of institutions searching for highly-trained mindfulness educators.
  • Prerequisites for this program are our Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials courses. If you want to be considered for the 2016-2017 Year-Long Program, you must complete these courses before filling out your application.

Intention of Program

As an organization, Mindful Schools aims to balance accessibility with depth.  On the accessibility side, we offer introductory mindfulness training online for educators who are new to mindfulness and eager to share it with children and adolescents.

At the same time, we recognize that many of you want to go deeper. Many of you have complicated, nuanced questions about how to integrate mindfulness into the culture of your school and how to modify and customize and combine different curricula into a program that works. You also have questions about your personal practice — you are hitting the edges of your own psychological conditioning and you need the ongoing support of good teachers and a supportive community to be able to do the deeper work.

The Year-Long program was designed to provide you with the extended knowledge and training needed to deepen your personal practice and to play a leadership role in the growing Mindfulness in Education movement.

If this resonates with your goals, we deeply and wholeheartedly welcome you to apply to the Year-Long program. We also encourage you to talk directly to your colleagues who have gone through the program. Finally, we encourage you to email us and set up a call to talk about the program and learn how it can serve your work in mindfulness and education.

Warm regards,
Billy, Christina, Chris, Megan, Vinny, and Randy

From Graduates of the Program

richard-dutra-st-john“Some of the most embodied facilitation I have seen… this faculty sets the gold standard in the youth mindfulness field.”

Rich Dutra-St. John
Founder of Challenge Day and the Be the Change Movement

sandra-delaney“After 30 years in Education, this is the best training I’ve ever been to. This is the real deal.”

Sandra Delaney
Former Principal,
Asst. Superintendent,
and Educator

luisa-alvisu“I am humbled by my experience. It’s been so brilliantly crafted, so simple, so easy, so seamless… We feel like family, really.”

Luisa Alvizu
Transitional Life Coach and Mindfulness Educator

Randima Fernando

2015 Graduate Survey Results

Each year, we conduct an Annual Graduate Survey to learn more about the impact our graduates are having, how our courses have affected them, and how we can serve them better. The infographics below summarize the results our graduates reported after our Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials courses. We’ll be using this data to inform more rigorous research over time.

Curriculum Training Results

CT-Benefits-Educators-v2

CT-Benefits-Students-v2

Mindfulness Fundamentals Results

MF-Benefits-Educators-v2

Randima Fernando

Silicon Valley Gives Event

Razoo-FB-Ad-2015-600px

A huge one-day fundraising event, called “Silicon Valley Gives,” is running today. We would love your help to get the most of this great opportunity to generate visibility for our work with high-profile foundations, companies, and individuals looking for a great cause:

1. Share this post and add something like the following text to your post (any added personal endorsement is also great):

“Please consider supporting Mindful Schools in today’s Silicon Valley Gives event. Mindful Schools provides online and in-person mindfulness training for educators, bringing mindfulness skills to over 300,000 youth to date. They have a $10,000 matching grant, and 100% of donations they receive will be used for scholarships.”

2. Given how powerful our community is, we can probably win the prize for most unique donors, adding a ton of extra visibility to our work (the leaderboard is on the Silicon Valley Gives front page). If you’d like to help with that, a $10 donation will get the job done. (You don’t need to be local to donate.)

Thank you so much for your consideration. Thank you also to the 1440 Foundation for their $10,000 matching grant! Let’s show the world what we can do together!

Randima Fernando

Mindfulness, Neurobiology, and Children

About this talk

In this “Talks at Google” presentation, Mindful Schools Program Director Chris McKenna shares exercises and strategies for bringing mindfulness into parenting and family life, including a discussion of young children’s neurobiology. He starts the talk with just a few minutes of warm-up practices, which we highly recommend. If you prefer not to do them at this moment, please jump ahead to the 11:00 mark in the video for the main talk.

Want to join the Mindfulness in Education movement?

Classroom_300

  1. Build your own mindfulness practice
  2. Learn how to teach mindfulness to youth
  3. Help generate awareness, assist with networking, donate, or volunteer

Many thanks to Bill Duane and Kathleen Pedersen for the opportunity to present at Google!

Randima Fernando

Scholarships for Courses

Scholarships

Mindfulness is such a valuable tool that we want educators and parents everywhere to be able to take our trainings, regardless of their financial situation. Because of this, we use a subsidized pricing model where the fees of full-paying participants, combined with scholarship grants from foundations, make financial assistance possible for anyone who needs it.

How to Apply for a Scholarship

Please fill out an application to apply for one of our Mindful Educator Essentials scholarships.

Randima Fernando

Welcoming a New Year

All of us at Mindful Schools hope that your 2015 is off to a spectacular start!

As the year begins, interest in secular mindfulness has grown to an all-time high – with coverage in Time Magazine, 60 Minutes, countless contemporary books, and new research released almost every day, mindfulness has truly made it into the mainstream.

The notion that mindfulness is getting so much exposure is wonderful for all of us, whether we are practicing it personally or applying it in fields like education, health care, therapy, and so many others. If we pay close attention to the fidelity with which mindfulness is taught and represented, it has the potential to profoundly transform the way people of all ages and backgrounds relate to themselves, to others, and to the challenges and opportunities of being human.

For Mindful Schools, the essence of the Mindfulness in Education movement is transformation from the inside out. This organic, bottom-up approach is quite different from the typical education movement where an intervention is designed and implemented from the top down via policy, testing, or fiscal pressures. Educators have seen such interventions come and go numerous times, and they need an approach that genuinely puts their needs first. Our philosophy is to meet educators where they are – to start by aiding them with their own stress, well-being, and job satisfaction, and then offering the option to learn how to use mindfulness in their work with youth if they are moved to do so.

Our goal is to create a widespread, well-trained, and peer-supported network of mindful educators who are passionate about mindfulness because of their personal experience with it. We believe that these “early adopters” who lead the movement will inspire people around them to learn more – and we are thrilled that this is exactly what we have been seeing in our course enrollments. What began as individual registrations years ago has now grown to larger groups and entire schools driven by genuine interest in mindfulness rather than mandated policy – all as a result of the passion and dedication of our amazing community of graduates.

We are deeply grateful to all of you who have walked this path with us, whether you’ve taken our courses, supported us financially, advised us, volunteered, introduced funders, or assisted in any other way. All your actions, large or small, make a difference: conversing with your colleagues over lunch, commenting and sharing on social media, participating in course forums, or trying new mindfulness ideas with youth.

We thank you for all the innumerable ways that you’ve made it possible for thousands of educators and countless youth around the world to share the precious gift of mindfulness.

Our entire team wishes you the very best in happiness, health, and success in all that is truly important to you in 2015 and beyond. We have some very special announcements coming in the next few months, and we eagerly look forward to continuing this journey together with you.

2015-01-21-Team-v3

Sincerely yours,

our-organization-randima-fernandoRandima (Randy) Fernando
Executive Director
Mindful Schools

Randima Fernando

Scholarships for Training School Staff in Mindfulness

School-Scholarships-300x202Great news! We’ve got a few SF Bay Area foundations who are interested in partnering with us to offer mindfulness training scholarships to several schools serving at-risk youth!

We need your help to get the word out to schools, particularly in East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Alameda County, and West Contra Costa County. We just need a school representative to complete the short form below to share their interest in adopting mindfulness:

http://jotformpro.com/form/33494645776974

These scholarships would cover a number of Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials spots for each school.

Thank you so much for your help!

Randima Fernando

Mindful Schools Featured in TIME Cover Story

TIME-Cover-2014-01-23-SmallTIME magazine just published a cover story on mindfulness, the science behind it, and how it’s making inroads in various parts of society. The story will reach a vast number of people, many of whom have likely not been exposed in any significant way to the mindfulness movement.

We are honored to have been included in the article as the representative of mindfulness & education. Reading though it, we reflected on how far the Mindful Schools Community has come in the last seven years: with people in almost all 50 states and 43 countries, our shared community is weaving an incredibly important piece of the mindfulness tapestry. We offer our deep thanks to you all for joining us on this journey.

We are especially grateful to our graduates for the amazing work they are doing to bring mindfulness to youth of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds around the world. It is truly inspiring to see such a heartfelt, widespread impact that underscores the deep commitment Mindful Schools has to making secular mindfulness increasingly accessible to the world’s diverse population of educators, children, and adolescents (below are a few images from the Mindful Schools community).

school-programs-2x3-V2-600px

Finally, here is the excerpt from the TIME article talking about Mindful Schools:

“Educators are turning to mindfulness with increasing frequency–perhaps a good thing, considering how digital technology is splitting kids’ attention spans too. (The average American teen sends and receives more than 3,000 text messages a month.) A Bay Area-based program called Mindful Schools offers online mindfulness training to teachers, instructing them in how to equip children to concentrate in classrooms and deal with stress. Launched in 2010, the group has reached more than 300,000 pupils, and educators in 43 countries and 48 states have taken its courses online.”

You can read the full piece online (subscription required) or in the Feb. 3 printed issue.

Ways to Help

Our challenge now is to turn this opportunity into action. If you’re as excited as we are, there are three easy ways to help:

  1. Share this post with educators, mental health professionals, and parents who may be interested in mindfulness in education.
  2. Spread the word about Mindful Schools to establish a network of mindful educators.
  3. Check out our courses (Mindfulness Fundamentals, Mindful Educator Essentials, Year Long Certification), which may be of interest to you or people you know.

All of us at Mindful Schools thank you for your passionate support. We are incredibly grateful, and we look forward to contributing to the next phase of this vital movement together with you!

Warmly,
Randima (Randy) Fernando
Executive Director, Mindful Schools

Randima Fernando

Help Us Establish a Network of Mindful Educators

Mindful-Schools-Flyer-250pxEach year hundreds of parents, teachers, mental health professionals, administrators and mindfulness enthusiasts ask us what they can do to support our work – usually after being involved in it themselves or seeing it in action in their communities.

Our answer is one simple phrase: get the word out.

Despite its rapid growth, mindfulness & education is still essentially a grassroots movement. On a national level, the education discussion is mired in debates about testing, mandated standards and teacher evaluation. The rise of mindfulness & education has essentially been a “bottom up” movement of teachers and school staff seeing that the development of self-care and self-awareness are critical to the health of schools, youth and communities.

What this means is that this work is going to grow most strongly through networks of parents, teachers, administrators, and school-based mental health professionals. It is going to grow because people are excited – because their practice is restoring meaning, presence and a deep emotional connection to their work with youth. It is going to grow because people like you share it with others who you think would resonate with it.

If you do feel drawn to share our work with others, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • You can share our work in anyway that you see fit (different people require different explanations). Sharing your personal experience with us is always helpful, as is linking to mindfulschools.org.
  • As an aid, here’s a new flyer that introduces what we do, and how new people can plug in.
  • You can share it on social media and list serves who you think might not know about us.
  • You can print out hard copies and put them up at meditation centers, yoga studios, schools, youth mental health agencies, and community centers. If you’d like larger numbers of printed sheets, please email info@mindfulschools.org with your need and mailing address, and we’ll get them to you.

Helpful Links

Together, we can add an incredible amount of fuel to this powerful movement. If you have any questions, please let us know at info@mindfulschools.org.

Thank you as always for your support. We are so grateful for your help!