Volume 2, Issue 7 | June 2022
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
Mindfulness, Executive Functioning, and Mental Health
With the flurry of mass shootings as of late, mental health is again making headlines as many search for answers to end this onslaught of violence.

In this month's HeartMind eNews, we provide practical steps that classroom teachers can take to help students feel calm and to rewire brains for better decision making and an improved sense of well-being. While mindfulness alone will not be a panacea, there is much schools can do to address violence, and particularly violence created by young adult males who tend to be the perpetrators of the most violent acts impacting schools and communities across America. Like many in America, CEI is seeking to better understand why – why anyone would even contemplate bringing a gun to school, let alone use it to terrorize students, staff, and communities. However, it is clear that many of the perpetrators experienced bullying while in school and others had accumulated negative experiences in our classrooms.

One thing that can be done – and something that doesn’t require additional legislationis for educators to implement evidenced-based practices and to focus intentionally on improving student mental health. You told us as much – the last article this month provides a brief overview of responses to a CEI Survey – Recharging Education. You told us that “student mental health” needs to be the #1 priority in schools today. The implications are significant. Academic achievement cannot continue to overshadow mental health needs.

Further, the research is clearby focusing on practices to alleviate trauma, we are simultaneously helping students be better prepared for academic learning! That is a win-win! We urge you to continue to follow the research – together we can make a significant contribution to the well-being of our youth and our nation.
Featured Articles
Welcome to HeartMind e-News, dedicated to translating research and theory to practice, to aid implementation of compassionate practices in schools. Each issue has practical suggestions for teachers, researchers, school administrators, educational policymakers, mental health providers, students, and families. You are also invited to join the HeartMind Community to receive discounts on publications and workshops, networking opportunities, and special offers for virtual consultations and additional resources from the Center for Educational Improvement.
Practical 10-15 Minute Activities for Implementing Mindfulness in Schools
Stephanie Noel, CEI Intern
More than 2,900 publications involving mindfulness have been published since its infancy in the 1990s (Barrett et al., 2016). 

In recent decades, researchers have begun to take notice of the profound benefits of mindfulness practice. Despite skeptics claiming negligible benefit or merely the trendiness of mindfulness, the growing science behind its psychological benefits speaks for itself.

How the Student Benefits

The priority of many educators is naturally the value gained by students. In their 2016 review, Gueldner and Feuerborn analyzed data from 40 studies conducting mindfulness-based practice (MBP) in schools and uncovered a wealth of positive results that relate to the social and emotional learning framework (SEL), with a particularly strong impact on self-management. 

Mindfulness, a research-backed form of meditation suitable for all age ranges, offers a straightforward and practical beginning for schools interested in an improved learning environment. Gueldner and Feuerborn found that MBP yielded improvements in self-management in all 40 studies, and in a subset of the studies additionally improved attention and focus, behavior in school settings, emotion regulation, and anxiety and stress... Read more.

Executive Functioning and Mindfulness
Olivia Michael, CEI Research Assistant
What Is Executive Functioning?

Throughout the day, humans are required to do many complex tasks. From planning, organizing, and time management to goal-setting and self-control, our brains are constantly engaging in higher-order cognitive processes (Suchy, 2009). Together, the coordination and execution of these behaviors are known as executive functioning. While some people can easily engage in these tasks, others, such as children and adolescents, may experience more difficulty. 

One possible reason for the difficulties some experience is that the brain region responsible for executive functioning, the prefrontal cortex, does not fully finish developing until age 25 (Sharma et al., 2013). Children who lack executive functioning skills may find it challenging to pay attention, follow the rules, control their impulses, and wait their turn –- which are all essential abilities in the school setting. On the other hand, children who have practiced executive functioning skills are more likely to be engaged, confident, and excel academically and socially (Marcovitch et al., 2008)... Read more.

Recharging Education Report
Sophia Coco, CEI Intern
Earlier this year, the Center for Educational Improvement sent out the Recharging Education survey, a short questionnaire designed to gather input from our newsletter subscriber database and others passionate about education. There were 77 total responses, and these will guide our initiatives to heal personal, systemic, and worldwide trauma with the needs of our community at the center. We are sharing some of the highlights of the thoughts, opinions, and stances of the responses.
Questions and Responses

First, we asked respondents what major change they would make in education. The top response selected from among seven choices, was “focusing on student mental health and self-care, including alleviating student trauma,” with an overwhelming 95% saying this was their high or highest priority”...Read more.

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Virtual Self Care for Teachers and Other School Staff!

The sessions, offered by CEI, are designed for teachers, teacher assistants, counselors, psychologists, social workers, administrators, and mental health staff working in and with schools.

Here are your options:
·    Yoga classes for educators. Wednesday mornings 7:15- 8:00 am
·    Other time options: Yoga classes (45 minutes) or meditation classes (30 minutes).
Let us know your preferred time.
Send your questions or time preferences and contact information to info@edimprovement.org
Attend 5 sessions and receive CEI's Certificate of Participation.

CEI Offerings on Amazon!

Check out our offerings, including two new ePubs on teen support for suicide prevention and alleviating trauma.

CEI Special Summer Offerings

Webinars and Discounts on Publications

CEI is offering three special eventseach seminar ranging from 60-90 minutes, with options for customization for sites.

We need your input. Please respond with your preferences by Friday June 17.
We are currently planning for the following events, each providing significant guidelines to help improve student and staff well-being and help you plan for a successful academic year!