December 2009 Newsletter

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About Us

The mission of Mindful Schools is to empower and support young people to live happy and fulfilling lives by helping them fulfill their academic potential, and to be more emotionally aware, empathetic, and mindful of their thoughts and actions.

We teach life-long inner skills that enable children to make healthy choices, reduce stress, manage anger, and resolve conflicts.

Mindful Schools is a Community Outreach Program of Park Day School, a private school in Oakland, CA. Park Day School is a diverse, independent K-8 school with a 30-year history of progressive education.

The Year in Review: Exciting Facts & Updates!

  • Statistics: Since our program began in the spring of 2007, we have seen our mindfulness program in action in 27 public and private schools in the Bay Area and the profound impact it has had on over 7,000 children and 300 teachers.
    • During this current 2009 school year, Mindful Schools has been taught to 1900 students in eight schools.
    • 77% of the schools we’ve taught in serve low-income children.
    • Our August teacher-training workshop attracted 140 educators from 12 states and Canada, many of whom are now utilizing our curriculum in their classrooms.
    • The number of inquiries for our program grows daily from within the USA as well as abroad.
    • Our website, just over six months old, has received hits from 49 states in the US and 53 countries.

  • Core team: Over the past year, Mindful Schools has attracted a dedicated core team of directors and staff--skilled mindfulness teachers, administrators, communicators, and volunteers--committed to helping children thrive so they can reach their potential.

  • Speaking engagements: Due to the success of Mindful Schools, we were invited to present at three national and six regional professional conferences and events, including:
    • Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts: Mindfulness in the Classroom taught by Gina Biegel and Laurie Grossman
    • UC Berkeley, School Psychologists PhD Program 42nd Annual Conference: Our staff presented alongside renowned brain scientist Daniel Siegel.
    • Georgetown University Hospital Symposium: with Pediatric Oncologists to determine if mindfulness might be a strategy to use with patients.
    • Omega Institute, New York: Mindfulness in the Classroom

  • Mindful Schools Pilot Research Program: In September 2009, we initiated a pilot research project in Oakland at Berkley Maynard Academy, a school where 75% of the students receive free or reduced lunch. The project is directed by Gina M. Biegel, MA, LMFT, a nationally renowned researcher for her study on adolescents and mindfulness. We are measuring students’ attention, academic engagement, student self-assessment, behavior, and teacher efficacy. This is one of the largest research projects of its kind yet undertaken, and should help support the initiative to bring mindfulness into schools and in teacher training programs across the country.

  • Mindful Schools Moves into Sonoma County thanks to the efforts of our friends James & Jane Baraz. They recently launched a fundraising campaign among their friends so that Gary Buck, who has worked in schools as a principal and school counselor, could begin teaching the Mindful Schools curriculum to low-income children at public schools in Sonoma County where he lives. We are very grateful to James and Jane for providing what could be a new model of expansion for Mindful Schools.

Expanding Our Impact -- With Your Help

As Mindful Schools approaches nearly three years of operation, we are filled with a deep sense of gratitude and joy. We have seen the profound impact this program has had on thousands of students and teachers, and how it has changed classroom culture to one that is more conducive to learning. We are deeply grateful for the financial and in-kind support from our Friends that has made this work possible.

Why your support matters! 77% of the schools we have served to date teach a majority of children who receive free and reduced lunch. Many of those children live with hunger, scarcity, violence, and uncertainty. These challenges can create destructive turmoil for young children and can seriously impair their ability to learn. Through the financial support of donors, we have been able to offer Mindful Schools to most of these low-income schools for free or on a greatly subsidized basis.

After children learn mindfulness skills, classroom teachers report fewer discipline problems and happier, more attentive children. Children report they are able to calm themselves more easily than before, make better decisions, and be happier at school and at home. 52% of students even teach their family members mindfulness, so it is generative. Teachers tell us how grateful they are for this program, and how they enjoy teaching more. With calmer and more attentive children, there is less stress in the classroom. Not only that, these same skills translate to success later in life, whether it’s at work, in music, sports, or elsewhere.

Our work cannot have the same impact and outreach without your financial support. No matter how big or small, your contribution will give more children a powerful gift that will serve them well and enrich their entire lives.

To make your tax deductable donation on-line, please go to our secure on-line donation page (the link opens in a new window). Thank you for your support!

Feel free to contact us at, or call Laurie Grossman at (510) 653-0317 Ext. 105. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Contributions of $250 or more will be substantiated by Park Day School as required by the IRS.

New! Mindfulness Fundamentals Course

If you work with children, or have children of your own, you may benefit from our new Mindfulness Fundamentals course. The six-week course, which emphasizes interactions with children, begins on January 12 and is offered Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Park Day School. The course costs $125, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please click here for more information.

Please click here to register. If you have questions, please email

Would You Like to Help Us? Volunteer Opportunities!

If you would like to help make a huge difference in children’s lives while working with an exceptional team, Mindful Schools has volunteer opportunities in the following areas:
  • Grant research
  • Grant writing
  • Government grants: research and writing
  • Legal counsel
  • Do you have any connections in foundations that might be a good fit for our work? Your introduction or suggestions could make a difference!
If you can help us in these areas we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at:

Website Updates:

We’ve made a number of improvements to our web site:
  • ABC Local News clip: Available in QuickTime (.MOV) and Windows Media (.WMV) formats, this short video will help you to understand exactly what we do, and the benefits children and teachers are receiving from mindfulness training. Please feel free to share it.
  • Mindful Schools Overview PDF: this concise presentation gives a thorough overview of our program, and is perfect for making a case to get Mindful Schools in to your school.
  • Mindfulness in Action: Key Lessons and Anecdotes provides powerful real-world examples of mindfulness in action.
  • Updated Research Page: new resources and information about mindfulness.

Success Stories: Mindful Schools in Action

A third grader recently told her teacher that someone tried to break into her house the previous night. When the police came and arrested the man she went to sit down and used her mindful breaths to calm down. The teacher told her that must have been so scary. “Yes!” she said, “but mindfulness helped.”

A 1st grade teacher at a low income school in East Oakland told one of our Mindful Schools teachers that she is now hooked on our program. She said that she wasn’t really sure that her kids were getting what it was all about until she was reading a book out loud to the class and the word peacefulness came up. She asked if they knew what that word meant and one of her kids said, “Peacefulness is how you feel when we do Mindfulness.”

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Mindful Schools is a community outreach program of Park Day School, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity. Contributions are tax-deductible to the amount allowable by law.

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