Volume 1, Issue 9 | August 2021
HeartMind e-News: Teach, Learn, Lead
A monthly publication dedicated to trauma-informed, compassionate school practices that help educators, students, and families move toward a sense of wholeness and well-being
Supporting the Mental Health and Well-Being of Students who Have Been Traumatized by Covid-19
Enhancing safety and cultivating resilience as we head back to school.

Teachers, other school staff, and students are returning to school – many of them this weekwith some anxiety as we head into an uncertain future. Educators have spent months prepping for the return, and we have all come to know the masking, temperature check, physical distancing, and quarantine drill that began many months ago. Nonetheless, there are so many unknowns. As important as academic learning is, just as important is children’s mental health and well-being. How we as educators handle the trauma our children and youth are facing is critical. There is much we can do in the many hours we spend—in person or virtually—with students.

This month's featured article discusses a new collaborative, the Collaborative to Alleviate Childhood Trauma (CACT), that has banded together to help strategize and support educators in responding to trauma-related concerns of children, youth, and school staff as we head back to school this year.
Featured Article
Our HeartMind e-News connects the relationship of heart centered learning and mindfulness to current research and circumstances. Our goal is to provide our readers with concrete opportunities to further implementation of heart centered practices in their schools and districts. These opportunities will include suggestions for reflection, journaling, dialoguing, and compassionate classroom activities. These exercises often start with adults, working on our own knowledge and skills, before we turn to students.
How Can Educators Support the Mental Health and Well-Being of Students who Have Been Traumatized?
Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director, and Andrea Bartolo, CEI Intern
As schools and districts reopen their doors this fall, they continue to struggle to establish and adapt to ever-evolving rules and guidelines. With heightened concern over the more transmissible Delta variant and the availability of vaccinations for children, educators wonder whether schools can be a safe place, even with the extensive protocols for masking, physical distancing, and virus detection. 

School safety can be greatly enhanced by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funds in the U.S. and the Safe Return to Schools Fund in Canada. In the US and Canada, educational leaders in districts, states, and provinces have been meeting to develop plans and protocols for using these funds, primarily for items such as personal protective equipment (PPE), enhanced ventilation systems, and addressing academic learning, mental health, and equity concerns. At this point, the US federal government has approved many state plans. Final allocations to state educational agencies must be made by September 2021 and awards from the state agencies to local school districts must be made by September 30, 2022.

While mental health needs are included in the list of allowable expenses for ESSER funds, the Collaborative to Alleviate Childhood Trauma (CACT), founded in March 2021 by Jeff Ikler, host of the “Getting Unstuck – Educators Leading Change podcasts; Jesse Kohler, Executive Director of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice; and Christine Mason, Executive Director of the Center for Educational Improvement, believes that additional steps are needed. CACT has met almost weekly to strategize about how to help educators better understand and respond to trauma-related concerns of children, youth, and school staff. Read more.
Upcoming Events and Announcements

This month we welcome Jill Flanders as CEI's Deputy Executive Director.

Welcome to CEI, Jill!

Read about her on our team page.
Visioning Support for Schools
If your school or district would like support with visioning, CEI is now offering technical assistance through three, 90-minute visioning sessions where we lead your team through visioning exercises. Visioning can be school or district-wide or it could be conducted as a pilot activity with a Core Learning Team.

To apply, contact Dr. Mason at chrismason@edimprovement.org or through the link below.
Turn vision into reality, possibilities into plans, and create an environment that strengthens engagement, provides safe and nurturing learning opportunities, and produces students with the skills, knowledge, and disposition to be successful in life.

Learn more about Dr. Mason’s recent and upcoming books and availability on her website www.christine-mason.com