n-SCHOOL-TEST-large570

On the eve of our first schoolwide Mindfulness assembly at Crockett Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, I am reflecting back to how we got here and from where we have come. Crockett is an inner city K-6 school of 460 students with a 100% free and reduced school lunch rate. We have a high percentage of refugee students and students who are in transitional housing, many of who come to us with stress beyond their years.

Over the past several years, Crockett has looked for and implemented ways to reach out the community to better support our students – coffee talks, academic parent-teacher teams, and neighborhood events. Each of these helped us move closer to our goal of not only increasing academic scores, but improving the self-esteem, well-being, and positive behavior of our students. As our staff and parents considered our expectations, we identified that we were still struggling to combine all of these supports to work together at the fluid level that the dedicated Crockett community wanted.

The idea of using Mindfulness with our staff and students at a high level of frequency has been in the works for several months. I met with Sunny Wight and Mindfulness First to introduce our plans and goals for our students, families and staff. In the original planning session with Sunny, Mindfulness sounded like the piece of the puzzle we were missing. A way for staff and students to better focus on the now. Mindfulness would allow the students and staff to regulate how and when they would make the shifts between the tools that they already possessed.

The concept of Mindfulness in our school was shared with the Crockett staff to provide that there was buy-in and dedication from them. Crockett needed to believe in Mindfulness in our school, as we were going to be a major part of the implementation with the students. We needed to make sure that Mindfulness was something that we all saw as a shift that would improve academic performance and create a more positive environment.

After the development of the Mindfulness in School concept for Crockett and training with the staff, the buzz started. We all understand that it will take us some time to master what we want to accomplish. There is an extreme commitment to making Mindfulness an important part of the Crockett pedagogy and something that we will provide for our students, staff and community for years to come.

So here we sit, prepared for the future. Excited and Mindful of the opportunities that lie ahead of us.