Volume 2, Issue 12 | November 2022
Compassionate School Practices
CEI is thrilled to announce an award for $2.8 million for a collaborative project with Yale University’s Program for Recovery and Community Health to further equity and mental health supports through the Compassionate School Leadership Academy (CSLA). 

In this month’s eNews, read more about this project, and a school in Michigan, Ralya Elementary, which is also furthering equity, inclusivity, and compassionate school practices. Additionally, learn about ways in which mindfulness can improve self-regulation, reducing stress and improving physical and mental well-being, and why you might implement mindfulness in your school. 
Featured Articles
Center for Educational Improvement and Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health Receive $2.8M Dept. of Education Award
Funding supports an immediate and direct response to the urgent mental health needs of American children and establishes a network of trauma-skilled educators.

The Center for Educational Improvement (CEI), in collaboration with Yale University Department of Psychiatry’s Program for Recovery and Community Health (Yale PRCH), received a $2.8 million award as a part of new investments made by the U.S. Department of Education under the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program.

With this SEED investment, nearly $1 million will be disbursed during the first year to support an immediate and direct response to the urgent mental health needs of American children by establishing a nationwide network of educational leaders trained in Compassionate School Practices (CSPs) through the Compassionate Schools Leadership Academy (CSLA). The project is further supported by a match of in-kind and related services, with a 25% match of $985,000 over the course of the three-year project from TeachLink, CEI, the Michigan Elementary and Middle Schools Principals Association, and participating schools.

An Example of Excellence: Ralya Elementary School
Leah Bullinger, CEI Intern
The mission of Ralya Elementary School in Haslett, Michigan is “to provide educational opportunities, which enable students of all aspirations and abilities to grow and learn” (Haslett Public Schools, 2017). The school currently supports about 400 second to fifth grade students, 25% of whom are from diverse racial and ethnic cultures (primarily Hispanic). It offers multiple programs that emphasize self-sufficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration in learning. 

In 2016, Ralya Elementary was declared a “National Blue Ribbon School” by the U.S. Department of Education and was one of only thirteen schools in Michigan to receive this recognition for high academic achievement (Haslett Board of Education, 2016). Many of the school’s board-certified teachers have also been recognized with “Teacher of the Year” awards and/or grants from benefactors such as Walmart and Target.

School-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Foster Childhood Self-Regulation
Jennifer Ishaq, MA, TLLP, CEI Intern
Self-regulation abilities are related to various outcomes, including risk of anxiety and depression (Buckner et al., 2009; Kim et al., 2013). Fostering self-regulation in childhood can serve as a protective factor for anxiety, depression, and harmful impacts of stress (Troy & Mauss, 2011). School-based mindfulness and yoga programs have been shown to reduce adverse impact of stress, anxiety, and aggression, all while improving physical and mental well-being (Smith et al., 2020; Velásquez et al., 2015).
Self-Regulation Skills in Children

Self-regulation is multi-faceted. To be self-regulated in essence is to have the ability to control one's own emotions and behaviors. Consider time management and sticking with something even when it's not your number one preference. That's a good life skill to have. Children with good self-regulation skills usually are also adept at time management. They turn homework in on time partly because they have managed their time well and also because they have the ability to persevere, even when they may have an urge to be elsewhere.

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Further Compassionate School Practices in your School

Compassionate School Practices: Fostering Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being lays a blueprint for infusing compassionate practices in your school by building resilience, prevention, and protective factors and supports for individual students.

Anxiety: Guidelines for School Counselors for Conducting Small Groups

A Join Dr Mason's Anxiety workshop for school counselors. During this workshop, she will guide us through exercises to increase our conscious awareness of anxiety, how it manifests in children, and what counselors can do to help students in group settings. Dr Mason will incorporate exercises from yoga, mindfulness, breathwork and meditation. Registration details will be released soon!

Saturday, December 3, 1-3 pm

Staffing and Board Changes at CEI

To better support CEI’s work, Meghan Wenzel, a long-time CEI Research Assistant and Writer, has been named Co-Editor of HeartMind eNews. Congratulations Meghan!

CEI is also increasing its staffing in support of its responsibilities as the prime on the $2.8 million SEED grant for the Compassionate School Leadership Academy. Our thanks to Apoorva Vallampati for agreeing to serve as CEI’s S-CCATE Manager for this project and to Dwanda Woodward, CEI’s newly hired Director of Operations. Our thanks, too, to the iVenture Accounting Group which is helping CEI streamline its financial operations.
To support CEI’s new role and responsibilities, CEI’s Board of Directors will be stepping up its involvement in program oversight and advising to CEI. Paul Liabenow, CEI’s President, has also assumed the role of Treasurer, as John Wilhelm is stepping down after 13 years as CEI’s Treasurer. Paul, we appreciate your close collaboration and strategic wisdom, and John, thanks for your many years of service. Our appreciation, too, to Dr Nancy Phenis-Bourke who is joining CEI’s Board as its Secretary and to Suzan Mullane and Dr Kevin Greene for their continued participation as Trustees.
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—at the very end after the announcements.

Editor: Lauren Kiesel. Co-Editor: Meghan Wenzel