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

Chris McKenna

Guest post from Danielle M., Mindful Educator

Thank you Danielle for bringing this work to life and making such a positive impact!

~ Guest post from Year-Long Certification participant Danielle M., an educator in New York ~

I truly feel that mindfulness has changed my life and I am LOVING my experience with Mindful Schools. In 2013, I took an MBSR course. After the first session I asked, “Why isn’t anyone doing this with children!?” Hahah, little did I know! Learning how to bring mindfulness into the classroom with the support of Mindful Schools has been more than what I could have hoped for. Without a doubt, it really has been one of the best learning experiences of my life!

For the past 6 years, I have served as a Literacy Coach for grades K- 5 in a NYC public school in Jackson Heights, Queens. I work with teacher teams as well as with students. I taught second grade for 9 years before that . . . and loved every single minute of it. During my undergrad work, I majored in sociology and elementary education. I went on to become a reading specialist and received National Board Certification in Literacy.

This year, in addition to coaching and teaching reading, I am teaching mindfulness to students at different grade levels. Since I am a coach, I have the opportunity to visit classrooms made up of students at all grade levels. The curriculum is so flexible that it allows me to work with kids at any age.  I also work with students with disabilities and students who are English language learners. I am able to adapt the curriculum to the needs of my students without too much difficulty. When I get stuck, I always have someone to turn to for help. The weekly teachings, videos and office hours have really helped me to reflect on what I have taught so far, and to plan for adaptations going forward. I am very, very fortunate to have so much support and to be working with an open-minded principal who trusts me and allows me to bring mindfulness to our school.

When I’m not teaching mindfulness in a school setting, I try to bring mindfulness to my community. Here’s a photo of me working with two little girls this summer (the sweetest sisters on the planet). While volunteering at a local event called, ‘The Night Out Against Crime’, I offered up a free mindfulness class for anyone interested. The girls plopped right down on the blanket and were curious to try it out. (They were awesome.)


:) And here is a photograph from a third grade classroom I have been working in. We were in the middle of a heartfulness lesson. ❤️ With our hands on our hearts as an anchor spot, we are sending kind thoughts to ourselves and to others.


Each step of the Mindful Schools program is incredible. You begin with a Mindfulness Fundamentals course online. Here is where you lay the groundwork for your personal practice. The online course is followed by Mindful Educator Essentials, which is offered both online or in-person. I took an in-person course over a weekend in NYC last year. This is where I really fell in love with the work. I was blown away by the team’s preparedness, intelligence, professionalism, passion and dedication to training educators in bringing mindfulness to children and adolescents. You are given a curriculum guide along with a workbook for the students as well as other resources. The Mindful Schools team trains you on how to teach mindfulness to children and adolescents through lectures, demo lessons and break out sessions that allow for structured practice, with support from the team.

I am currently enrolled in the Year-Long Certification program. It started off with an incredible retreat in California this summer. This week really inspired me to continue my personal practice and commit to the mission of bringing mindfulness to my students back home in Queens, New York. It included a few days of silence, community building activities, lots of lectures, mindful walking, mindful eating and much, much more. The remainder of the coursework is done online, which can be challenging at times. (I have to remember to be gentle with myself when I fall behind!) There is a lot of information to digest and a commitment to continue your personal practice. You’ll find that there is support from the team, as well as from your cohort. We check in with each other on a weekly basis through online office hours. We have specialists in the field of mindfulness visit our office hour meetings as guests speakers. There are videos posted, weekly teachings, suggested readings and reflections. The year-long program will end how it began . . . with another outstanding week-long retreat.

I am doing my best to savor each part of the process. Each time I teach a mindfulness lesson from the Mindful Schools curriculum I think to myself, yes. . . this is exactly what the students need — regardless of the classroom that I’m in or the students that I’m standing in front of. I look forward to becoming certified as I continue on with my training this year. I really do feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing work.

~ Danielle M., Mindfulness Educator, New York

Chris McKenna

Mindful Schools Launches Certified Instructor Directory to Support Schools Nationwide

Mindful Schools Launches Certified Instructor Directory to Support Schools Nationwide
The first online directory of Mindfulness in Education instructors

Emeryville, CA (February 18, 2015) – Mindful Schools, a leading provider of online and in-person mindfulness training for educators, announced today the launch of its Certified Instructor Directory to support mindfulness in education.screenshot-cid This directory meets the growing demand for simple, effective ways to find and connect with certified instructors teaching mindfulness to diverse youth populations.

The directory will allow schools and youth services agencies to locate trained providers in their geographic area. It will also make it easier to locate instructors who specialize in integrating mindfulness into therapeutic settings with special needs youth (e.g. youth on the autistic spectrum, with ADHD, etc.).

The directory fuels a larger movement to bring basic self-awareness, emotional regulation, and empathy training to diverse school communities.

jon-kabat-zinn__400x400-150x150Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Schools Advisor, stated: “My first exposure to a teacher bringing mindfulness into her classroom in a systematic and structured way was over 20 years ago in a public elementary school in Utah. That teacher, a lone pioneer, had taken an MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) program at a local hospital and found it so personally beneficial that she decided to integrate elements of what she had learned into her fourth and fifth-grade curriculum. Back then, there was no larger movement among educators aimed at bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of public and private education. People hardly even knew the term mindfulness, never mind what it meant. Now there is a large and growing grassroots movement promoting mindfulness in primary and secondary education, and Mindful Schools is at the cutting edge of training educators to effectively integrate mindfulness practices and perspectives into their classrooms. This directory is a major step forward toward furthering that movement by providing a listing of teachers and other youth workers who have completed the Mindful Schools professional training curriculum and have been certified.”

Tish_Jennings-150x150“As this movement evolves, access to in-depth training becomes more and more critical. With the launch of this directory, Mindful Schools has made a significant contribution to maintaining a high level of quality and instruction,” said Dr. Patricia (Tish) Jennings, Mindfulness for Teachers author, Associate Professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, and Mindful Schools Advisor.

A Mindful Schools Certified Instructor has undergone a minimum of 300 training hours in the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification program and has been evaluated by Mindful Schools. Certified Instructors have made a significant commitment to the theory and practice of mindfulness in education.

Mindful Schools Certified Instructor Directory: www.MindfulSchools.org/CID

About Mindful Schools

Mindful Schools is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. Mindful Schools has provided online and in-person training to thousands of educators and mental health professionals across all 50 U.S. states and 60 plus countries, impacting approximately 250,000 youth globally to date. For more information, visit MindfulSchools.org.

Media Contact

Billy Bicket

Chris McKenna

Apply to our Year-Long Certification

We’ve officially launched the application to our 2015-16 Year-Long Certification!

We invite you to join us in this inspired work and bring mindfulness into your community.

A heartfelt thanks to our 2013-14 graduating class who created a scholarship fund to ensure ongoing support of this compassionate community of educators.

Sunset photo credit: 2014 retreat grounds by Patricio Madrigal Cauduro, Year-Long Graduate


Chris McKenna

Meet Joanie: Educator at PS 126, Chinatown, NY

We’re excited to introduce a new blog series featuring our Mindful Schools community members. This week we spoke to Joanie Terrizzi. Joanie is an educator at a low-income school in Chinatown, NY. She reaches 840 students, pre-K through 8th grade, each week.

She is part of our first Year-Long Certification class, where she is receiving in-depth training in bringing mindfulness to youth. The program includes retreat practice, online instruction, and small group mentorship over a 12 month period.

For practitioners like Joanie, Mindful Schools is proud to offer scholarships to applicants who work in public schools, agency environments, or serve high-risk populations. We’re currently accepting applications for the 2014-15 Year-Long Certification program. Learn more.

April 2014
Mindful Schools Interview with Joanie Terrizzi
School Librarian, PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology
Chinatown – New York, NY

Year-Long Certification 2013-14 images courtesy of Joanie Terrizzi

MS: Tell us a little bit about your experience with the Year-Long Certification training. What has it been like for you?

JT: It has been the most incredible opportunity of my teaching career. Through this experience it feels like everything has changed but there’s nothing about my life that’s changed externally – everything is as fast-paced and challenging as ever… My life hasn’t changed, I have changed. The difference is internal, and I know it’s because of the work and the support of Mindful Schools.

MS: Were there specific moments in your training that stand out for you?

JT: I think it’s really been a combination of everything … one thing that’s been the most meaningful to me is the genuine connection with other participants – all over the country and the world – and other people doing this work in general, finding meaning with others in what I find meaningful. Somehow even when I get behind in my training homework I feel really connected with the community and the work that everyone’s doing. It’s been really rewarding to build relationships around bringing mindfulness to our youth.  I’ve been inspired, cheered on, and lifted up by these colleagues-turned-friends, and have had the opportunity to be supportive to others in their deeply human moments.

Year-Long Certification 2013-14 images courtesy of Joanie Terrizzi

MS: You mentioned: ‘It’s you who has changed.’ Can you talk about that a little more?

JT: Just sticking with this work and really going in and embodying the practice, day after day after day; it’s one of these aggregate things. My whole mind is a different place than it used to be and based on feedback from many others in my life, this fact is truly noticeable. My whole approach is really different in a very good way – the way I see, the way I respond, how much less reactive I am… I’m a very different person than I was a year ago and I know I owe it to all of the mindfulness I’ve been doing. It’s my ability to REALLY go with whatever moment is happening. I work with 840 kids and 82 staff members. There is a lot that comes at me in a given day. There are a lot of challenges in education in general: a lot of non-stop, shifting gears. I can see that my skill level in so many areas has totally transformed.  Here’s how I recently described it:

When mindfulness takes over your teaching: It’s that moment, with that child who knows just how to wriggle his way under your skin, the one who can derail your entire lesson, the one so dis-regulated that she spins into a torrential tantrum over the seemingly-nothing … and you’re up there in front of twenty-some-odd young pairs of eyes trusting you to “fix” things, and you’re feeling so triggered. You feel that familiar prickly-hot feeling rising, and you open your mouth (the one that sometimes betrays you and lets the words out too harshly, the one that gets so FRUSTRATED by the things beyond your control in children’s lives, the one that just wants to finish your sentence) … and out pours soft words and sweetness, compassion you can almost taste … and you look around, almost wondering where it came from, and you find yourself smiling at a child you thought of mostly as a challenge, mirroring her look of surprise that you didn’t just reprimand her. Instead, you managed to make a light thing of his behavior, a thing that made them all smile – you navigated a tricky moment, and swooped the attention of the class back around to you, like a dance almost – and it all comes out so genuine, so natural, with no ‘trying’ – and sure it doesn’t happen all the time, but like a good friend you haven’t seen in a while, it comes to visit more and more and more often. That’s what it feels like: like opening your mouth and your best self shows up to talk.

That’s really how it feels. There are still moments when I’m quite triggered, but there are so many moments where I open my mouth and something unexpected and delightful comes out. Lately, it just comes out right. It’s quite natural.

“Let Shawn, one of my 1st graders, teach you about the parts of the brain. I taught this lesson once, and Shawn got up immediately and taught it back to his class – I was SO proud and SO delighted. At this point, most of my 1st-5th graders have this languaging down, and it has had dramatic results on our interactions. Grateful, Grateful to Mindful Schools.”

MS: We’ve talked about your personal practice and how much of an impact that’s had on your approach to teaching. If we can shift now and talk about implementing the lessons and how that’s going …

JT: I’ve been lucky to be very supported by my administration in this. I’ve fully integrated it into the library curriculum. I’m in a pre-K through 8 school in a very low-income neighborhood in New York City’s Chinatown. Grades 1-5 receive the Mindful Schools curriculum on a weekly basis. I do some mindful games but not the full curriculum with PreK and Kindergarten; I have one class of 7th graders and some individual students that I have also recently started offering mindfulness to. I am delivering the curriculum and also trying to bring it to other teachers. It’s been going really well and has transformed the climate and language in the library completely. I was pleasantly surprised how, from the beginning, it landed really well with the kids.

MS: You’ve sent us a video clip [above] of one of your first grade students, Shawn, giving a lesson back to the class. Tell us about that.

JT: That morning I watched a video of Megan [Mindful Schools Co- founder and Program Director] giving the same lesson and I decided I was going to teach it. I taught it and then I pointed to our brain picture and I asked the first graders, ‘Can anyone teach this back to us?’ I didn’t expect first graders would be able to, but I was curious and open-minded about it. Then Shawn just got up and taught it flawlessly. You can hear the other kids in the background getting excited and being supportive. Shawn’s mom is really proud and was so happy to give additional support and share the video with others. And Shawn loves it. He loves talking about the brain. And the kids really remember it. I have a drawing of it now that I keep to the side and I try to reference it with each class every time they come. I’ll point to it and say something like ‘Is that your amygdala taking over right now?’ or ‘You might use your hippocampus to remember when we…’ They get it, they love it, and are really empowered by it.

MS: Any other breakthrough moments that come to mind with the students and the MS curriculum?

JT: There have been moments when I’ve had second graders cry tears of happiness during the mindful breathing which just blows my mind. I’ve been able to talk kids down from pretty activated or angered states. I had a student try to leave the room and another student said ‘Hey, that’s your amygdala telling you to leave; don’t listen to it!’ I have another student who every time he gets frustrated he gets up and tries to leave the situation and I tell him the same thing – he’s starting to get it. A second grader just told me today:

“Yesterday when I was sleeping, I looked on top of my bed for my mom, it’s a bunk bed, and my mom wasn’t there and little tears came out of my eyes, and I used my mindful breathing and I knew my mom would say that I’m a Big Girl.  And so then I fell asleep.  I’m going to rub my eyes now.” I said: “It’s okay, you can rub your eyes.”  She continued: “I’m just rubbing my eyes.  I’m not crying.  Stop it, water!”

The last thing, and the most important thing that I want to say is that I’m just so tremendously grateful.

Year-Long Certification 2013-14 images courtesy of Joanie Terrizzi
Chris McKenna

Introducing the Certified Instructors Directory

CID-List-ViewThe past few years have seen significant growth in the demand for mindfulness programs in U.S. schools. The intention at Mindful Schools has always been to balance responding to the increasing demand with maintaining integrity and authenticity. That means we want to support educators, administrators, and mental health providers with ways to integrate mindfulness into their work, but we want to make sure the instructors who are delivering programs are skilled and well-trained.

For many years, we have dreamed of having a community of people trained by us who could be resources for the many inquiries we receive for programming.


  • The Year-Long Certification is our solution. By spending a year with people, seeing them teach and getting to know them, we can create a community of people we feel confident can represent our particular method of mindfulness education.
  • In order to make the referral process easy, we are establishing a Certified Instructors Directory. Two mock-ups of this directory are provided here to give you a feel for it (please note that the final design may differ from these).
  • The directory will provide schools and organizations with a comprehensive view of who is in their area. The directory will also be searchable by other criteria as well (age of youth worked with, focus on specific youth populations, etc.).
  • The directory will give Certified Instructors a personal profile page on the Mindful Schools website. They will be able to describe their professional background, populations served, education, and other relevant training. They will also be able to link to their personal websites and social media accounts.

The Directory will be launched in September 2014.

For more information

If you’d like to learn more, please see our Year-Long Certification page.