What does a “mindful school” look like? Building connections and planting seeds at Milner Middle School

Watch what can happen when a community invests in a whole-school culture of mindfulness.

Milner Middle School, a Title I school in Hartford, CT, began their partnership with Mindful Schools in the 2021-2022 academic year. Here is their story:

Milner Middle School has been collaborating with Mindful Schools to build a schoolwide culture of mindfulness since the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Jasmine Harding, Assistant Principal, reflects on the first year with Mindful Schools programming:

  • We walk into the school and see connection––adults are having conversations and interactions with students––and students are engaged and reciprocating
  • When students are in challenging situations, we have the resources and skills to de-escalate––there are spaces in the building for students to go and access tools and support
  • We are planting small seeds––we are looking for ways for students to practice mindfulness strategies and transfer those skills to their lives

This is what a mindful school looks and feels like.

Invest in educator well-being, first

Guided by the Mindful Schools approach, the first phase of programming at Milner focused on educator well-being––because we know that an educator’s presence and how they show up in the classroom is foundational to the student learning experience. The team was introduced to powerful tools for self-care and practices to become more intentional, grounded, and fully present.

Milner staff reflect on the professional development experience:

“You have the opportunity to become more attuned––with awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, environment, and an awareness of others––to really make the best of any given moment.” – Tynisha Tyson, Social Worker

“Learning about mindfulness, and practicing it, has helped me remain productive and keep centered. I’ve also learned to be more patient and supportive with myself.” – Judianne Coster, Speech Language Pathologist

“This practice is not only for school. This practice is not only when teachers come in here professionally. This practice also extends to our personal lives.” – Leonardo Watson, Principal

Then, teach mindfully and teach mindfulness

Milner and Mindful Schools explored ways to create inclusive learning environments that foster a greater sense of empowerment and agency amongst their staff and student community.

Then, building on the foundation of mindful learning environments, students began learning practices to manage stress and develop inner resilience to help navigate their lives via the Mindful Schools K-12 Curriculum.

Watch excerpts of introductory mindfulness lessons below:

April introduces mindful listening to middle school students:

(4 min)

April explores “tracks 1 + 2” in a mindful listening lesson:

(5 min)

Full lesson demos and teaching reflections are included in our 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom course.

Build a schoolwide culture of mindfulness

Our multi-year partnership with Milner is an ongoing collaboration guided by key Mindful Schools frameworks: Domains of Mindful Teaching and Rubric for Assessing Schoolwide Mindfulness. We look forward to continued growth and learning with the Milner team!

Mindful Schools
Key Frameworks

Our students and educators deserve trauma-sensitive environments, not just a trauma-sensitive mindfulness lesson.

We pair a K-12 mindfulness curriculum with key frameworks, Domains of Mindful Teaching and Rubric for Assessing Schoolwide Mindfulness, to create inclusive and nurturing learning experiences.

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