December 2012 Newsletter

Mindful Schools Expands to Provide K-12 Training, New Online Curriculum Training, Other New Courses, and More!

Newsletter Header
December 2012
Training Expansion to Serve K-12 Education
Upcoming Adult Courses
Curriculum Training Now Online
Start 2013 with More Mindfulness
Research Presentation in San Diego
Follow Mindful Schools on Facebook and Twitter
Useful Links
Get Involved
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
This month we have more exciting news to share than ever before! The biggest announcement is our expansion to train educators and providers serving K-12 youth. It’s a step we have been considering for many years due to popular demand, and are finally able to take with the addition of two very highly experienced mindfulness practitioners who have worked with adolescents of all backgrounds: Chris McKenna and Vinny Ferraro. We are deeply honored to have them join our team. Please read on for much more information.

The other major announcement this month is that we now have an Online Curriculum Training course. Again, this is in response to requests we’ve received from all around the world. We would have liked to build it sooner, but we had to think carefully about how we could provide a complete, interactive experience online that would be comparable to our in-person course, and we’re glad it’s finally up!

We wish you all a very happy and restful holiday season!


The Mindful Schools Team

Mindful Schools Expands Training to Cover
K-12 Educators and Youth Service Providers

Over the years, we’ve received many requests to expand our training offerings to include adolescents, and it’s something we’ve carefully considered time and time again. We are thrilled to announce that we are finally taking that big step forward, adding two very highly experienced mindfulness practitioners who have worked with adolescents of all backgrounds: Chris McKenna and Vinny Ferraro.  


This expansion is the culmination of our transition from primarily providing in-school programs to primarily offering training for educators and youth service providers working with children and adolescents.


Please stay tuned for additional offerings, including a deeper Year-Long Certification, which is another step we’ve been considering for years and will soon be ready to announce (click here to join a notification list). 




The Mindful Schools program team of Megan Cowan, Chris McKenna, and Vinny Ferraro brings together over 44 years of personal mindfulness practice, several years’ worth of silent retreat time, and deep experience teaching mindfulness to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds.  


Megan Cowan has taught more than 3,500 youth of all ages and trained more than 2,000 educators, mental health professionals, and parents in mindfulness practices and applications for youth. She is featured in the new mindfulness & education documentary “Room to Breathe,” and is the primary author of Mindful Schools’ evidence-based elementary school curriculum.

Chris McKenna directed the main organization in the U.S. delivering mindfulness programming to at-risk adolescents and co-developed one of the first mindfulness training programs targeting the needs of staff in locked facilities serving youth with histories of substance abuse and violence.

Vinny Ferraro is a former homeless youth, a long-time mindfulness instructor, and a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents.  He has taught over 110,000 youth on four continents as Challenge Day’s Director of Training, and was the subject of the MTV series “If You Really Knew Me….”

Mindful Schools uniquely combines this broad teaching experience with mindfully applied Silicon Valley product management, brought by Executive Director Randima Fernando, and program support from Training Coordinator Christina Costelo.

Randima (Randy) Fernando was a product manager for several award-winning projects over 7 years at NVIDIA Corporation (Forbes Magazine’s 2007 Company of the Year), where he also served as an inaugural NVIDIA Foundation board member. He has successfully managed large projects and has worked on all aspects of product development, from technical aspects to public relations and marketing.

Christina Costelo
Christina Costelo has worked in education for 9 years in a variety of settings, including as a Program Director, Camp Director, and program quality assessor. She has managed academic programming and written curricula for elementary and middle school students in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Mountain View.

Please click here for full staff bios.

Upcoming Adult Courses
Several new trainings are coming soon! Even if you’ve already taken them, please spread the word to friends and colleagues who could benefit.

Please note also that Mindfulness Fundamentals Online and Curriculum Training Online are available to anyone around the world.

MF Icon (Transparent) Mindfulness Fundamentals (General Description)
[Register] Online Course (Jan. 10 – Feb. 14)
[Register] Online Course (Mar. 08 – Apr. 12)
[Notification List] Online Course Notification List

CT Icon (Transparent) K-12 Curriculum Training (General Description)
[Register] Oakland, CA (Feb. 22 – 24, 2013)
[Register] Online Course (Mar. 2 – Apr. 20, 2013) New!
[Register] McLean, VA (Apr. 26 – 28, 2013)

Community Calls Badge Community Calls (General Description)
[Notification List] Community Call Notification List

Please visit our Courses page for complete information about all these offerings.

Our Curriculum Training Course is Finally Available Online!

We are thrilled to announce that we are finally putting our Curriculum Training course online for anyone around the world. Our concern was always maintaining the high quality and interactive experience of our live in-person trainings, and we now know we can provide that.

Online trainings are generally 8-week courses, taking place for 2 hours each week. You can attend this training live during the scheduled time or watch the recorded live session later. Since the course is spread out over 8 weeks, you will have the opportunity to try our lessons in between sessions, and to share and receive feedback from the instructors and your fellow attendees.

As shown in the image below, online sessions feature live video with the instructor, video clips of actual teaching in the classroom, integrated chat, and audience interaction via video and audio.

Please note that an established mindfulness practice is a prerequisite for this course. If you don’t yet have a practice, or want to refresh, you can take our Mindfulness Fundamentals Online course.

Please click here to learn more about our Curriculum Training course.

 Adobe Connect - Small

Start 2013 By Cultivating Your Mindfulness Practice

Start 2013 on a positive note by cultivating your personal mindfulness practice! Our next Mindfulness Fundamentals training starts on January 10, with another sessions starting on March 23.

Please share with anyone who may be able to benefit! It’s also a great time of year to introduce friends and family members to mindfulness!

You can share this flyer in various forms and sizes:

Thank you so much for your help!

Research Presentation at Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth 

Randima Fernando will be discussing the design, methodology, results, and lessons learned from  the largest randomized-controlled study on mindfulness and children to date, involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public schools, at the Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth conference in San Diego, CA on February 1, 2013 at 1 pm.

Follow Mindful Schools on Facebook and Twitter

These days there is so much going on that you may not want to wait for the next newsletter to hear about it.  If so, please check us out on Facebook and on Twitter:

  • Learn about upcoming courses
  • Read about research and anecdotes 
  • Follow the progress of “Room to Breathe” 
  • Read stories from our community
  • See interesting articles and videos
  • Share news that you care about with your friends    

Please also consider inviting friends who may be interested to “Like” our Facebook page as well, so they can learn more about our work. 

Useful Links

If someone you know is interested in learning more about us, please share the following links with them:
Thank you for your help spreading the word!

Testimonials (280 px)In-Class Instruction (280 px)

Get Involved with Mindful Schools

Much of the growth of Mindful Schools has occurred because of the generosity of donors and tireless support of volunteers. We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way. If you want to be involved, please contact us.

Donate Button (Orange) In addition, we are always grateful for any financial support that you or people you know may want to provide. Mindful Schools is funded by the joint efforts of grants, school contributions, and individual donors. About 70% of the schools we’ve taught at serve predominantly low-income children and receive scholarships for our program. We also offer need-based scholarships for adult trainees.

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

About Mindful Schools 

Founded in 2007, the mission of Mindful Schools is to integrate mindfulness into education by offering professional training and other resources.

Mindful Schools has conducted training and workshops for over 3,500 public and private school parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals in education and social work. Past trainees are teaching mindfulness to over 10,000 children each year. Our in-school program has used a scientifically proven technique called mindfulness to teach concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy to over 18,000 children and 750 teachers in 53 schools, about 70% of which serve low-income children. 

Learn more at


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