“Just Breathe” Original Film

This incredible video was filmed and created by one of our Mindful Schools graduates, Julie Bayer Salzman. We’d like you to watch it and then share it with everyone you know. It’s that good.


Artist’s statement:

The inspiration for “Just Breathe” first came about a little over a year ago when I overheard my then 5-year-old son talking with his friend about how emotions affect different regions of the brain, and how to calm down by taking deep breaths — all things they were beginning to learn in Kindergarten at their new school, Citizens of the World Charter School, in Mar Vista, CA. I was surprised and overjoyed to witness first-hand just how significant social-emotional learning in an elementary school curriculum was on these young minds. The following year, I decided to take a 6-week online course on Mindfulness through Mindful Schools, figuring that if my son was learning about this, it only made sense that I should learn too. Within the first week, I felt the positive effects of this practice take root not only on my own being but in my relationships with others.

As a filmmaker, I am always interested in finding a subject worthy of filming, and I felt strongly that Mindfulness was a necessary concept to communicate visually. Thankfully my husband, who happens to be my filmmaking partner, agreed. We made “Just Breathe” with our son, his classmates and their family members one Saturday afternoon. The film is entirely unscripted – what the kids say is based purely on their own neuro-scientific understanding of difficult emotions, and how they cope through breathing and meditation. They, in turn, are teaching us all …

– “Just Breathe” by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films)

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,

r-fernandoRandima (Randy) Fernando
Executive Director
Mindful Schools

Holiday Mindfulness

Below is a short excerpt from this week’s Mindfulness Fundamentals with Guiding Teacher Kevin Griffin, longtime practitioner and addiction-recovery specialist:

One of my favorite movie lines is from Airplane, where Lloyd Bridges says, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.” It’s one in a long line of gags about how difficult it is to change our habits. This week as the pressures of the holidays build, you might find yourself saying, “Looks like l picked the wrong week to practice mindfulness.” What with shopping, cooking, family responsibilities, and socializing, it may seem unmanageable to keep up with your practice. In fact, though, this might be the perfect time to practice. Now is the time when you can really benefit from being present. Can you enjoy the fun part and relax a little around the busy part? Can you breathe and calm yourself when the food is taking too long to cook? Can you let go of control when the kids are going wild, the doorbell is ringing, and you realize you forgot to pick up an extra quart of milk?

Whenever our routine gets shaken up with holidays, our regular healthy behaviors can get disrupted. Sure, you might not have time to sit with your breath as much as you have been; maybe you’ll fall a little behind in the material. But you can always pay attention. I find it really helpful to bring mindfulness to these unusual types of circumstances. I get to notice different feelings, thoughts, and sensations. And I get to see how memories of past holidays affect the present moment in terms of expectations, traditions, and habitual reactions.

I hope you’ll find this to be a rich week for practice. And for those celebrating, Happy Holidays!

Kevin Griffin

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


We’re hiring a Research & Evaluation Coordinator!


Mindful Schools is hiring!

We’re looking for a Research & Evaluation Coordinator to help us to identify and pursue strategic research opportunities, ensure that our programs are consistently and effectively evaluated, and support our thousands of graduates in measuring their own impact on youth.

This candidate must be a strong project manager, collaborator, and communicator with the ability to understand world-class research and quickly identify key takeaways. They should have a working understanding of statistics, quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods, research study designs, randomized controlled trials, and general research best practices.

We expect doctoral candidates or post-doctoral researchers in education, psychology and social work to be particularly strong candidates for this position. We are targeting 50% time with flexible hours.

The candidate must be passionate about the mission of Mindful Schools and our commitment to supporting the research community in proving the benefits of mindfulness to educators and youth.

Does this sound like you or someone you know?

Please help spread the word or complete the job application – posted HERE – by Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

Looking for additional ways to help out? Check out our ways to help page to learn more.

Thank you for your ongoing support!


– Mindful Schools Team :)


Now Hiring: Director of Operations







Mindful Schools is looking for a Director of Operations to oversee our finance, accounting (AR/AP/payroll), HR, and facilities operations, including audit readiness. Reporting to the Executive Director, this candidate is responsible for ensuring organizational effectiveness and ensuring that helpful new business systems are built as needed, in partnership with our Director of Technology. For details, please see http://www.mindfulschools.org/director-operations-job-description/

This is a full-time employee position at our Emeryville, CA office. Full-time employees receive a complete benefits package, including 4 weeks of vacation annually as well as 2 weeks of retreat time. We offer an amazing work environment with great light, space, and an exceptionally kind and intelligent team to work with.

We would be grateful for your help in sharing this listing with amazing candidates who care deeply about our mission!

The detailed job description and application are posted here.

Thank you so much for your help!

The Mindful Schools Team

Mindful Schools is hiring!


Mindful Schools is hiring!

We’re looking for a Training Coordinator to support our courses and business operations. The ideal candidate would bring sales and customer service experience, attention to detail, great teamwork, and a balanced, kind, and mindful approach to the job.

This is a full-time employee position at our Emeryville, CA office. Full-time employees receive a complete benefits package, including 4 weeks of vacation annually as well as 2 weeks of retreat time. We offer an amazing work environment with great light, space, and an exceptionally kind and intelligent team to work with.

*Highly organized?
*Passionate about and adept at delivering highest-quality customer service?
*Strong analytical skills?
*Able to smoothly handle multiple event logistics simultaneously?

Does this sound like you or someone you know?

Please help spread the word or complete the job application – posted HERE – by October 12!

Looking for additional ways to help out? Check out our ways to help page to learn more.

Thank you for your ongoing support!


– Mindful Schools Team :)


October Curriculum Training in New York!


Mindful Schools Curriculum Training
October 17 – 19, 2014
New York, New York

“The New York training was beyond words! It has renewed my hope in education.”
~ NY-CT Course Graduate

Learn mindfulness, teach youth. Sign up online or in-person!

Vinny Ferraro, Chris McKenna, and Megan Cowan will be in NYC this October for our last in-person Curriculum Training (CT) this year, and we’d love to see you and your colleagues there!

Learn the basics of mindfulness in education, the neuroscience behind it, and how to implement our research-backed K-12 curriculum with youth.

Our in-person classes fill up on a first-come, first-serve basis and typically have a waiting list.

Register early to reserve your spot!

University Settlement
184 Eldridge Street
Speyer Hall


The instructors for this training are Vinny Ferraro, Chris McKenna, and Megan Cowan. They have over 40 years of combined mindfulness practice and over 30 years of teaching mindfulness and/or emotional intelligence to children and adolescents, as well as experience training many thousands of adults. Their work is featured in documentary films Healthy Habits of Mind and Room to Breathe.

We offer CEUs, scholarships, and group discounts for all courses. Educators can receive up to 3 CEU credits for this course. Click here for more information.

We award diversity and need-based scholarships on a rolling basis. Register early to secure financial assistance.

Mindfulness Fundamentals is the prerequisite to our Curriculum Training Course. Learn more about Mindfulness Fundamentals here or exceptions to this prerequisite here.

Sign up: CT-NY October 2014

Additional questions about our courses? Checkout our training FAQ or email training@mindfulschools.org.

We look forward to seeing you there!

– The Mindful Schools Team

Mindful Schools has a new team member!!

We are thrilled to announce that Matthew Brensilver is now the Course Manager for our online Mindfulness Fundamentals and Curriculum Training courses. If you’ve taken a course with Matthew as the teacher, this will come as no surprise. His ability to guide and lead mindfulness practice through our online community has been incredible. We’re so lucky to have him on our team.

In one student’s heartfelt words:

I honestly can’t say enough positive things about you, Matthew … You’ve set an impossibly high bar for any other online course I take!! – Mindfulness Fundamentals course graduate

Along with Matthew’s history of exceptional teaching at Mindful Schools over the last year, Matthew Brensilver, PhD, holds a master’s degree in clinical social work and has done psychotherapy with adolescents, adults, and groups. He received a PhD from USC, where his research investigated depression among at-risk youth. Currently, Matthew collaborates on addiction research at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. He also teaches at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center on the intersection of mindfulness and psychotherapy.

We recently asked Matthew a few questions to formally initiate him onto the team.

How did you come to mindfulness in your own life?

MB: I had a high school friend who practiced mindfulness and I remember thinking, “she knows something I don’t know!” Honestly, it kind of freaked me out, but it made me curious. That was my first encounter. Years later I was living in LA and two roommates were practitioners. One evening after a long day at work, I barreled into the apartment in an unconscious and mindless way, only to find a group of people quietly doing mindfulness practice. I did a little practice and quickly discovered that my attention was all over the place. My mind was like a circus gone wrong! But I just couldn’t look away. I thought to myself: This needs my urgent attention. Have I been living with this? Is this what goes on in consciousness? From there, it felt natural to continue with the practice and my commitment grew steadily.

How have students found the Mindfulness Fundamentals [MF] online course?

MB: There’s a range of how people engage with the MF course. Some people find that it’s really helpful for managing the stress of modern life. A surprising number of people quickly sense the radical potentials of mindfulness practice. People realize both how intense it is to be human and how much we tend to underestimate the capacities of our own hearts. What’s most gratifying is that in just 6 weeks, people develop a sense of settling into the present moment and this opens the possibility of new ways of meeting the experience of our lives.

What are you looking forward to in your role?

MB: There are a lot of people that have not had easy access to clear mindfulness instructions. Although I don’t believe the practice is a panacea, there are a substantial number of people for whom the practice can be transformational – so, the broader dissemination of mindfulness is very promising to me. It is beautiful to witness the dawning of insight that unfolds in each MF class – people understand that it’s possible to be more free than they’ve imagined. It is very touching to witness this. I’ve seen that a lot over the years of teaching, but it’s only become more poignant over time. Part of the promise of Mindful Schools is that it’s an organization being run by people who know the depths of practice and are committed to articulating this in a way that’s consistent with the emerging scientific understanding of flourishing. I’m very happy to be part of the team.

How to get started.

20140321_182034_crop2‘I have to tell you HOW MUCH I am getting out of Mindfulness Fundamentals. I am ashamed that I thought I didn’t need it! It doesn’t matter how long one has practiced meditation. This course is so valuable and offers so much knowledge and practices for dealing with so many things. Your staff was very, very wise to insist that everyone take this course before doing the Year-Long Certification. I have learned so much and I’m still in week 4 of 6. Thank your staff for insisting that I take it!’
Ellen T., School Counselor, Maryland

Educators like Ellen often come to us wondering how to get started with Mindful Schools.

We currently offer three courses that build the foundation for integrating mindfulness into education. The first course is Mindfulness Fundamentals, the second is our Curriculum Training, and the third is our Year-Long Certification. The first class in this series, Mindfulness Fundamentals [MF] is a basic course in mindfulness. The other two courses build on that foundation by teaching you how to integrate mindfulness practice with youth.

In the six-week online Mindfulness Fundamentals course, you will learn the basics of mindfulness meditation including work around breath, body, movement, emotions, gratitude, and compassion. We recommend Mindfulness Fundamentals as a starting point for, well, everyone really. If you are interested in integrating mindfulness with youth, it is a prerequisite to our other courses. If you are simply interested in integrating mindfulness into your own practice or life, it is the perfect place to start. In fact, over 97% of our 2014 online MF course graduates and over 98% of our most recent graduating class would recommend this course to a friend! Thanks to you, we keep getting better.

Adults with no mindfulness practice and those with decades of practice both find the MF course extremely valuable and worthwhile. The course introduces a language and vernacular that is used throughout our other courses. We also fundamentally believe that in order to teach mindfulness to youth, you must first practice it yourself in the same way that you must learn and practice math or english in order to teach it to others. Ready to go?

Check out these helpful resources:
Meet our instructors
Frequently asked questions
Course Sign up

What 2014 graduates are saying about this course:

‘This is a very solid foundations course to help establish a Mindfulness practice. I would recommend it to other teachers at my school.’

‘I found the way the course was run was excellent. I enjoyed how the content progresses naturally week to week. The interaction with other people from all over the world was for me very exciting. The resources and printouts are excellent and easy to read. The course has been the start of a new adventure for me as I now have the thirst for more mindfulness study.’

‘I have learned a lot from other participants’ responses and some of the recommendations they’ve made. Hearing other people talk so honestly about what’s going on with them has been a big part of what made this course so special. I would not have thought it could happen in such a short time (or at all), but it did, and not in some cheesy “let’s say what the teacher wants us to say and show everyone how much we know” way. It was super honest. Very special and somewhat unique, I think.’