Monday, June 6, 2016 - 12:45pm

rocks stacked in waterMMSD, through its ongoing partnership with the UW-Madison Center for Healthy Minds and its newly strengthened collaboration with the UW Health Mindfulness Program, is developing a Mindfulness in MMSD program for school year 16-17. Professional development courses for our teachers and staff will be offered throughout the coming school year.

A key component on the Mindfulness in MMSD program will be a train-the-trainer model that will build on existing internal capacity for providing school-based and team-based professional development and supports for ongoing communities of practice in schools and Departments. The vision for this work over the next two years emphasizes staff well-being.

Courses will be taught by UW Health teachers skilled in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and will be available on the PD portalThis past summer, nearly 200 of our MMSD teachers and staff participated in mindfulness courses and events intended to enhance personal well-being. Feedback was highly positive, and additional District-wide offerings are planned. Enrollment is now open on the MMSD PD Portal for a Day of Mindfulness on November 19; and a 10-hour Developing a Personal Mindfulness Practice course beginning November 28. Watch for additional courses in the winter, spring, and summer.

Mindfulness in MMSD, supported by the Employee Wellness Committee, and the Departments of Human Resources and Student Services, also is launching its Trainer of Trainers program. A core team of school-based and Central Office staff have been identified and begun training with the UW Health Mindfulness Program teachers with the intention of expanding school-based and department-based professional development in mindfulness practice.

Last year, several schools benefited from a 4 or 6 week one-hour after-school course delivered on-site. To explore options for customized offerings at your school, contact Sara Parrell, Project Lead for Mindfulness In MMSD, (, Ashley Riley, Wellness Coordinator (, Deb Farrar-Simpson, Tiered Practices Lead ( or Andrea Richichi, Coordinator for Behavioral Education (

The employee wellness survey completed last fall indicated that mindfulness was the top topic of interest for our staff and one of the top two training opportunities that staff were interested in. Mindfulness in MMSD aspires to address this need increasingly over time.  One component of the program will be directing our employees to evidence-based resources and mindfulness practices that are easily accessible.

The following sites and resources are ones that would prove useful to interested teachers and staff:

UW Center for Healthy Minds: Practices and Readings for Your Well-Being

UC Berkeley Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life: Mindfulness Resources

Look for more information and updates in future editions of MMSD Connect.  Meanwhile, questions can be directed to Sara Parrell (  in the Department of Student Services and Ashley Riley ( in C&I and Human Resources.


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