September 23, 2020 | Volume 1, Number 5
Community Mindfulness for Healing
By Michele Rivers Murphy, CEI Associate Director of Heart Centered Learning

The expression, “Hindsight is 20/20” becomes more meaningful as we struggle and are challenged daily in the year 2020. Before COVID-19 hit, many school communities struggled with unspeakable trauma and stress at unprecedented rates, with no zip code immune to experiencing some type of significant loss, tragedy, or suffering. Before COVID-19, we (Mason, Rivers Murphy, & Jackson) wrote our companion books Mindfulness Practices (2018) and Mindful School Communities (2020) to show educators how they can combat stress and trauma. We also wrote these books to passionately convey the scientifically proven healing that mindfulness practices can have and how educating with heart provides students and educators who are experiencing unthinkable suffering possible paths towards healing. At the time of publication we could not have imaged that a worldwide pandemic was imminent, unnerving and coming without warning like a tsunami.
News You Can Use
By Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director

As educators return from their summer breaks and begin to establish routines this fall, we are tasked with many things. To help address the trauma so many are experiencing, we may want to add healing to our to do lists. Each of us has a potential role to play as a “healer” who supports self-healing and the healing of others, even in the midst of this pandemic and time of global strife and angst.

What healing is needed? In Mindful School Practices, with co-authors Michele Rivers Murphy and Yvette Jackson, I provided a rationale for what we felt during a pre-COVID-19 period: that children and adults needed healing to alleviate trauma. In our book, we described why we were concerned about healing, that “with healing we take actions to further well-being” (Mason, et al. 2018, p.22).

By Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support

As students, families, and educators embark on the most stressful Back to School season in their lifetimes, they are looking towards mindfulness to bring a sense of peace, calm, and clarity in these times of uncertainty and fear. “Self-care” has become an even more prevalent buzzword since COVID-19 brought toxic stress into each of our lives—although to varying degrees of severity. We implore schools and families to go beyond merely taking care of themselves with helpful strategies such as making time for yoga and/or meditation each day and to practice “community care,” using mindfulness to change the hearts and minds of your entire community.

By Michelle Hull, CEI Intern

Pamela Reed, an educator who has worn many hats during her 13 years of service in the Rutland City Public School system, has transformed the district’s posture towards trauma-skilled practices in the classroom. As a former special educator and classroom teacher at Shrewsbury Mountain School and Rutland’s Northwest Primary School, Director of Student Services for Rutland Central Supervisory Union, and Associate Principal at Rutland High School, she has tirelessly committed herself to bettering Rutland, Vermont’s educational offerings. In her current role as the Director of Equity and Inclusion for the Rutland City Public School District, she facilitates professional development for educators in all five of the district schools. She strives for “everyone working with kids to have a common understanding of trauma-skilled practices and an integration of strategies to ensure that each student receives the educational program that’s best for them.” 
Learn more about the amazing work our Fellows have been doing through the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative and in their school communities in our
Events and Resources
Access and share C-TLC resources:

Stay posted to our Events page for updates and announcements.To view other archived webinars, subscribe to CEI’s YouTube channel.
New Initiative: Helping Educators Address and Reduce Trauma
The Helping Educators Address and Reduce Trauma (HEART) Committee is a New England regional effort designed to help school communities and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) collaborate intentionally and concretely around best practices that enhance and improve youth mental health supports.

This regional initiative is a collaboration with:

  • The SAMHSA Region 1 Office
  • The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Regional Operations (Region 1),
  • The New England MHTTC, and
  • New England FQHCs and school community stakeholders.

Stay posted for regular updates on our work!
Our goal is to map, document, and analyze processes, resources, and strategies that advance youth mental health supports by establishing and strengthening collaborations between schools/districts and FQHCs.
"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."
~ Coretta Scott King

We know that schools face enormous challenges this year, from developing practices to keep physically safe from the COVID-19 virus to teaching functional coping skills to keep emotionally safe from the shadow mental health pandemic and the racial injustice both staff and students face. We know that as community members practice mindfulness, they become more self-aware and compassionate. If schools can practice mindfulness together to increase social emotional intelligence, we believe they will take compassionate actions to increase equity and heal pain in our schools and our world.