May 2019
Newsletter of the Center for Educational Improvement
Mental Health & Nurturing Classrooms
Dear Educators,

May is Mental Health Month! We've been working closely with school leaders in New England and across the country to find out what schools need to better support the mental health of their students. Repeatedly, we're hearing that students aren't able to focus on learning because trauma, poverty, violence, and other situations contributing to toxic stress are effecting executive function and emotional regulation. Read about how CEI is working with the New England MHTTC and MHTTCs across the country to use mindfulness to calm students' brains and bodies so they are ready to learn.
Bringing Trauma Responsive Practices to School Leaders: CEI Partners with Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network
By Christine Condo, CEI Intern & Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support 
One in five American adults experiences mental illness in his/her lifetime; 1 in 25 live each day with a serious mental illness (NAMI, n.d.). No one would walk through life with a constant ache in his/her foot, yet millions of Americans continue through their daily lives without attending to the ache in their hearts and minds. While most people know where and from whom to seek medical care, many Americans do not have the necessary tools to seek mental health care. The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues and become brokers of mental health care, connecting community members to the mental health resources they need, both in their own cities and on the internet. The Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) is proud to be helping them with that work in New England and throughout the country.

Trauma-Centered Care at the New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
By Kristen Hayes, CEI Intern, and Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support

The New England area has some of the most innovative medical schools, mental health programs, and research universities in the country. In addition to the urban centers where research, education, and health care are thriving, there are large rural areas that are often underserved in the mental health field. The New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (New England MHTTC) hopes to alleviate some of the pain New England communities feel when mental health issues affect individuals, families, and communities by connecting people with the resources they need to support positive mental health in their cities and towns.

Mindfulness in Schools: Does it Improve Academic Achievement?
By Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support, and Kaela Farrise, CEI Intern

Mindfulness’ popularity has extended beyond wealthy neighborhoods in urban centers to small towns and rural areas where yoga studios and meditation centers are appearing more frequently. Now, many schools and districts around the country are implementing mindfulness programs or integrating mindfulness techniques into the curriculum, too. School and district leaders are excited about using mindfulness to improve students’ attention spans and other executive functioning skills (EF). Teachers and administrators who use mindfulness during the school day are providing anecdotal reports of gains - not just in socio-emotional spheres, but in academic areas as well. Recent research supports these narratives. The Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) hopes to provide more data to support those claims, which we discuss below.


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Improving Mental Health in Schools

T he Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health  and the Center for Educational Improvement invite school leaders in the New England region to learn more about the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative.

Applicable States:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Heart Centered Learning

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart." Helen Keller

Does your school teach with Heart Centered Learning, ensuring that students' hearts, bodies, and brains are being nurtured? As educators, it is our job to teach students holistically. If we want to see academic achievement, we must start by examining barriers to learning, which can often be found by looking deep within the heart.

Christine Mason
Executive Director
Center for Educational Improvement