A person runningBEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2015

Strand M - FULL

Mindfulness in Education- Creating Environments That Foster Student Learning and Social-Emotional Well Being

Marilyn Webb Neagley,Sonia Cassani, Patricia Broderick, Sheri Rand, Jody Smith, and Anthony Quintiliani


Reducing and better managing teacher and student stress is part of a formula for promoting a healthy school climate.  Teachers play a central role in creating environments that foster student learning and social-emotional well being.

Current neuroscience research indicates that mindfulness instruction and practice may promote stress reduction, emotional regulation, focused attention and greater empathy or kindness, all helpful for teaching and learning.  As modeled by the nationally recognized South Burlington School District program, this strand begins with self care for the teacher or other adult members of an educational system, including parents. The strand also includes classroom applications for the various grade levels and concludes with mindfulness as a positive behavior intervention.  Strand sessions will be interactive and structured as follows:

1) Mindful Practices-and Self Care (beginning with the teacher, counselor, administrator.) This will be a retreat-styled session introducing mindfulness practices and the importance of self-care.
2) Mindfulness and the Adolescent Brain. Upper level classroom applications will be presented. Relevant research will be provided.
3) Mindfulness and Classroom/Family Applications.  Elementary level applications will be emphasized. Bringing mindfulness to public schools. Classroom resources, the South Burlington School District model and manual will be presented.
4) Mindfulness and Positive Behavior Intervention (related to the Vt. Youth Risk Survey)  

Participants will receive a copy of the book, Educating from the Heart



Marilyn Webb NeagleyMarilyn Webb Neagley is the director of Talk About Wellness, a Vermont based initiative that partners with public schools to deepen and support the inner lives of children. She, with Aostre N. Johnson, is the co-editor of Educating from the Heart (2011), a compilation of essays by educators. Sheis aco-coordinator of the South Burlington School District’s new training manual, Mindfulness in Public Schools (2013),  author of Loosie B. Goosie (2013) and Walking through the Seasons (2008).  Marilyn was  the president of Shelburne Farms during its formative years.

Patricia C. Broderick, PhD.Trish (Patricia C.) Broderick, PhD, is a research associate at the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State Univ. and founder of the Stress Reduction Center at West Chester University of PA. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, a certified school psychologist and counselor for grades K12, and she is a graduate of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction advanced practicum at the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS. She is also the author of Learning to BREATHE and The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals, a textbook for graduate level students and mental health professionals.

Sonia Cassani, R.N., M.Ed., CYTSonia Cassani, R.N., M.Ed, CYT, is an instructor in the Wellness and Resilience Program for teachers in the South Burlington School District. Her contributions to the district’s new Mindfulness in Public Schools manual include the Mindful Movement and Mindful Breathing sections and lessons in the Teens and Adults section.  Other professional experiences:  teaching stress reduction courses at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, teaching Kripalu yoga, producing a CD, Mindful Expressions Through Gentle Movement, and presenting at many conferences in Vermont, including the Governor’s Prevention Conference. 

Sheri Rand, M.Ed.Sheri Rand, M.Ed., assistant principal (ret. 2013) at the Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in So. Burlington, VT. and current program administrator for the district’s nationally recognized Wellness and Resilience Program, helping teachers and students respond positively to stress by using mindfulness-based practices.  She administered the compilation of a newly published Mindfulness in Public Schools manual.  Sheri has taught courses in social and emotional learning to graduate students and has developed a mindfulness based exploratory program (MAPSS) for Grade 6 students.

Jody Smith, M.Ed.Jody Smith, M.Ed., is a veteran primary teacher, currently teaching an all day kindergarten in South Burlington, Vermont.  She has taught preschool, kindergarten, first and second grades in public schools for 30 years.  She was trained in mindfulness and inner resilience through the South Burlington School District’s Wellness and Resilience Program and has developed creative ways of bringing mindfulness into the classroom. Jody enjoys the meditative quality of horseback riding and while she cannot take her class out on the riding trails, she brings mindfulness into the lives of her students each day.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, picture not availableAnthony R. Quintiliani, Ph.D., is the author of Mindful Happiness (2014) has published articles and handbooks in both clinical psychology and education and was a contributor to the South Burlington School District’s manual: Mindfulness in Public Schools. In his thirty-five years of professional experience, he has also served in public education, higher education, and various clinical consulting roles. Dr. Quintiliani is considered an expert in psychological and organizational aspects of co-occurring disorders and mindfulness implementation systems.