The Mindful Teacher Foundation

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

 

Interested in helping out?

We’re a small, volunteer-run non-profit, and we’re always looking for people to help us keep the Mindful Teacher Foundation and its programs running.

We're specifically looking for assistance in the areas described below. While expertise is helpful, volunteering is also a great way to learn and develop new skills.

  • Fundraising & Development - Help us build a strong, engaged donor community and raise the resources we need to fund our programs and achieve our strategic goals.
  • Communications & Outreach - Help us increase awareness and support among parents, teachers, school administrators, businesses, organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Programs - Help us develop and provide a mindfulness curriculum for teachers in K-12 schools. 
  • Research & Evaluation - Help us stay current with the latest research and assess our progress toward achieving program objectives and strategic goals.
  • Finance & Legal - Help us ensure that the Mindful Teacher Foundation follows best practices for financial management and complies with state and federal laws.

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana area and would be interested in working with us, please take a moment to fill out our volunteer form

Just 1 Question: "What does mindfulness mean to you?"

In the News-Gazette yesterday, seven "Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids" participants answered the question: "What does mindfulness mean to you?"

"Mindfulness training has been a real gift. I've learned to enjoy life, teaching and relationships in the present moment with kindness and curiosity." -- Jane Kuppler

Respondents include Jane Kuppler (Special Education, Central HS, Unit 4), Judy Pece (Social Studies, Urbana MS, USD), Kristin Monahan (Counselor, Franklin MS, Unit 4),  Christine Cahill (Librarian, Carrie Busey Elementary, Unit 4), Mary Malloy (German, Centennial & Central HS, Unit 4), Cindy Sikes (Counselor, Urbana MS, USD), and Mindy Manolakes (Kindergarten, MLK Elementary, USD).

Read the full article.

Our Summer 2016 Newsletter

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Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids:
Celebrating Our First Year!
The 2015-16 school year marked an important milestone for the Mindful Teacher Foundation. Last September, after many months of preparation, we launched our “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” (MTMK) program for educators in local K-12 schools.

We offered this training through the professional development programs of the Champaign and Urbana public school districts. Thirty participants signed up for the course, including classroom teachers, librarians, social workers, school psychologists, and counselors. In the fall, participants learned the basic skills of mindfulness practice, and in the spring, they learned how to teach these skills to students. 

The course provided 24 hours of instruction over 19 sessions throughout the school year, supplemented by readings and individual practice. We received lots of feedback from our participants who shared what they’ve learned, how it has benefited them, and how mindfulness has had a positive impact on their classrooms and the kids they teach. Below are some examples:

“The year-long relationship focusing on this was fantastic. How rare it is that we get that time to focus and learn together.”

“This course definitely helped me personally and professionally. Meditations, like the 3-minute breathing space, helped me to remain calmer in the classroom. Additionally, meditation helped me to reduce stress and anxiety which assisted in managing my chronic pain.”

“I loved the help in establishing my own mindfulness practice. I enjoyed coming to a place where I could learn about something good for myself and children.”

“I felt a great sense of respect and professionalism about being able to take away what was helpful for me and my role with students during this training.”

“This is such a gentle addition to the box of tools we already use to help children learn. It holds great power though, to influence the whole child and give them tools that they can use for the rest of their lives. Do not be afraid of it because it is a bit different. Your students are worth it.”


We're encouraged and inspired by our first-year participants, and we’ve learned a lot to help us refine and improve “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” in the future. 
 
We Would Like to Thank...
We are profoundly grateful to everyone who helped make this first year of “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” so successful:
  • Our generous donors for their gifts and encouragement,
  • The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation for funding "Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids" as part of their Innovation and Collaboration Tour,
  • Our participants for their commitment and hard work throughout the year,
  • Our instructors for their talent, wisdom, and dedication,
  • Our volunteers for giving their time and expertise,
  • The administration and staff development programs of Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District 116,
  • Stratton Elementary, Martin Luther King Elementary, and the C-U Friends Meeting for providing supportive spaces for learning and sharing,
  • The ChiMES research team at the University of Illinois for teaching us about the neuroscience of mindfulness,
  • The educators and community leaders who reviewed our plans and provided invaluable feedback, and
  • CARE for Teachers, Calmer Choice, A Still Quiet Place, and the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA for their inspiration and input.
On behalf of the teachers and students we serve, thank you!
 
What's Coming Up for 2016-17?
We’re now in the process of finalizing our plans for the 2016-17 school year. Here's a brief overview of what you can expect:
 

Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids (MTMK)

We’ll begin the school year with a new cohort of educators. In 2016-17, we’ll offer the course as a shared site so teachers from the Champaign and Urbana public school districts will have an opportunity to collaborate and learn with each other. We’ve also made some refinements to the program based on the insights and feedback received this past year.
 

MTMK Implementation Support

For those who have completed our 2015-16 training, we are offering an implementation support program to help teachers bring mindfulness skills to their students. The core of this program is a board-credit course in the fall providing 8 instructional hours over 6 weekly group sessions. The sessions include a practical review of mindfulness skills and a workshop where teachers can share implementation challenges and solutions. Participants in this course will also be eligible to receive individual coaching with a member of the “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” instructor team.
 

MTMK Program Evaluation

The Mindful Teacher Foundation is collaborating with a team of researchers from the University of Illinois to complete a preliminary evaluation of our programs. This study will help us better understand how teachers implement mindfulness with their students and the outcomes they observe. 
 
Champaign-Urbana Cradle2Career
The Mindful Teacher Foundation is now a member of the community council of Champaign-Urbana Cradle-2-Career, an effort that brings together school districts, nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and local leaders. The purpose of this initiative is to take a broad and comprehensive view of how our community can best ensure the success of our children, from infancy into adulthood. The Mindful Teacher Foundation is also an active participant in the “Supporting Academic Success” (SAS) team.

We’re proud to be part of this effort, and we encourage everyone in our community to learn more about it and get involved!
 
Help Us Meet Our Goal!
We’ve set a goal to raise $15,000 this year, and your donation can make a difference. 

We are a volunteer-run organization so we can keep our costs to a minimum and offer our programs free of charge to districts and their teachers. Our expenses are relatively few but are essential to the success of “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids,” including compensating our instructors for time in the classroom and providing participants with books, handouts, chimes, and other materials to support their practices and their efforts to bring mindfulness to their students.

Gifts can be made on our website at www.mindfulteacher.org/donate or sent via mail to the following address:

The Mindful Teacher Foundation
PO Box 202
Champaign, IL 61824

The Mindful Teacher Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit, and your donation is tax deductible.
 
Mindfulness in the News
As the body of research continues to grow, we are very interested in what scientists and communities are learning about mindfulness and its benefits, particularly in school settings. Here are two stories that we shared recently with our followers on social media.
 

Reducing Teachers' Stress Leads to High Quality Classrooms

“Teachers who regularly use stress-reducing strategies increase their abilities to cope with the demands of the career and are positioned to do a better job educating students, according to results from a program administered by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.”

Dr. Patricia Jennings of the Curry School of Education is the lead researcher of this study that involved 224 public school elementary teachers in New York City. Jennings is author of “Mindfulness for Teachers” and developed the CARE for Teachers program, an early inspiration for the Mindful Teacher Foundation and its model of training teachers in mindfulness skills. What’s exciting about this study is that it shows that helping teachers reduce stress has a significant and measurable impact on the entire classroom.

Read more on the University of Virginia website.
 

Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools?

"A research team in Chicago has spent a year studying whether students who are taught to be in touch with their emotions do better academically. And they say the initial results are promising."

This May 2016 article from The Atlantic reports on an Erikson Institute study involving 2,000 students in high-poverty Chicago public schools. Among the questions the team is exploring is whether mindfulness helps increase the time available for instruction. “Some teachers have told [Professor Amanda Moreno, lead researcher] that where their classes used to need half an hour to settle down after lunch, a three-minute mindfulness exercise is now enough. (Moreno was careful to say that the team is still testing this theory and it’s too early to know for sure yet.)”

Read more on The Atlantic website.
If you enjoyed these articles, please consider following us on Twitter or liking our Facebook page. We will continue to post new articles as they become available.
 
Copyright © 2016 The Mindful Teacher Foundation, All rights reserved.

Room to Breathe: Documentary Screening & Discussion

On Thursday, February 18, the LAS Student Academic Affairs Office is hosting a screening of the Mindful Schools documentary Room to Breathe. The event is scheduled for 7 pm - 8:30 pm in Room 22 of the Education Building, and admission is free.

The Mindful Teacher Foundation is participating in the discussion that follows the screening. Please see the flyer below for more details or visit the College of Education website.





Amazon Smile

The Mindful Teacher Foundation is now registered with Amazon Smile!

USD 116 Fall 2015 Offerings Booklet Now Available Online

Teachers and staff in Urbana School District 116 are now able to enroll in "Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids" for the 2015-16 school year. Please visit the USD 116 professional development website to review the Fall 2015 Offerings Booklet and register online.


Unit 4 Board Credit Course Guide Now Available

Teachers in Champaign Unit 4 are now eligible to enroll in our "Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids" program for the 2015-16 school year. Please visit the Unit 4 staff development website for more information and to access the online registration form.


Summer Update 2015

Heartfelt thanks to Urbana School District 116 for giving us an opportunity to pilot our mindfulness training course this semester! We learned a lot from our participants and made meaningful improvements for the next school year.

This September, the Mindful Teacher Foundation is offering courses through both the Unit 4 and the USD 116 staff development programs, and we also have exciting news to share about our funding so please stay tuned! 

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2015!

After many months of planning and preparation, the Mindful Teacher Foundation officially launches its programs this year. This fall, we’re working with Stratton Elementary in Champaign Unit 4 and the Urbana School District.

Also, we're now able to accept PayPal donations through our website.  Our goal is to provide these programs at minimal or no cost to our local public school districts, and your support can help make this possible. Please visit the Donate page for more details.

Stay tuned for more news coming up in the months ahead!

We're Tax Exempt!

This week we received our tax exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service, recognizing The Mindful Teacher Foundation as a 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations to the organization are now deductible, and we're eligible to apply for funding and other support that requires federal tax-exempt status. We still have lots of work to do to prepare for fall 2015, but this letter is an important step forward!

Happy New Year!

The work of our board continues in 2014 as we prepare for the launch of our programs next year. We've formed a committee to develop our mindfulness training for teachers and another to research a curriculum framework for the classroom.

Our application for 501(c)(3) tax exemption is still pending, but we're optimistic that we'll receive a response from the IRS this calendar year so that we may begin our fundraising efforts. 

In the meantime, we've prepared a presentation for teachers, administrators, and others who may be interested in our work. We're planning to run practice sessions to gather feedback and help us refine our programs.

If you'd like to participate in one of these sessions, please email us (info@mindfulteacher.org) or send us a message through our contact page.

Summer Update

The Mindful Teacher Foundation continues to make progress!

 In April we submitted IRS Form 1023 (our application for recognition of tax exemption), and now we're focused on developing our mindfulness training programs for teachers.

 

Hello World

The Mindful Teacher Foundation site is now officially live!

We'll use this page to post any news, updates or revisions so please check back here often, or send us an email so we can keep you informed.

A grassroots not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation serving teachers and students in the Urbana-Champaign area.