News Around the State – September 2019

Richmond Rejects Mindfulness Project

The West Contra Costa County School Board voted 3-2 this month against renewing its contract with Mindful Life Project, a local non-profit organization that teaches mindfulness practices to children in the district. More than a dozen community members, including elementary school students, teachers and parents, showed up at the board’s meeting on Wednesday to advocate for the continuation of the program.

It failed on the concern of the majority board members that the program had not established sufficient formalized training for mindfulness practitioners. She argued that children are vulnerable and that unprofessional intervention could lead to re-traumatization.

Founded by SEL Alliance member JG Larochette in 2012, the Mindful Life Project aims to “empower underserved children through mindfulness and other transformative skills to gain self-awareness, confidence, self-regulation and resilience.”

Supporters of the program said that the program is research-based and has empirical evidence showing that children are benefiting from it. Many urged the board to bring it back to classrooms as soon as possible. Several elementary school students shared their experience dealing with anger, stress and sometimes bullying through mindfulness practices taught by instructors.

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State Money for SEL Teacher Development

  • California’s 2019 State Budget provides $11 million in funding to support professional learning for teachers and paraprofessionals statewide on strategies to support SEL and practices to create a positive school climate, including restorative justice.
  • America’s Promise Alliance has awarded $30,000 grants to five community organizations to build on existing efforts – both inside and outside the classroom – to support students’ social, emotional and cognitive well-being. The organizations were selected through the organization’s How Learning Happens competition.
    The grant recipients plan to bring together local stakeholders to develop plans around providing more SEL opportunities for students and teachers. The competition attracted 150 applicants.
    The California winner was Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco.

 

SMART Bets from EdSurge

Are K-12 curriculum tools a good investment? Some investors are wary, citing a crowded market for instructional materials and the growing adoption of OER. Others are doubling down and cutting checks. EdSurge Research dug into the numbers to see which curriculum companies are raising more money than others.

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