Mindfulness and Compassion Programs and Practices in K-12 Urban Educational Reform: Designing a Sustainable Future

Duration: 2016 - 2018
Funding: Spencer Foundation
Principal Investigator: Robert W. Roeser
Partners: Courage of Care Coalition

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This meeting convened an interdisciplinary and intergenerational group of educators, researchers, practitioners and contemplatives with common interests in the creation of mindful, compassionate, equitable and effective K–12 urban school systems. The objectives were to enable this group to share their wide-ranging practical and theoretical knowledge regarding systems-oriented reform, educational equity, and the role that mindfulness and compassion can play in ongoing educational reform efforts in urban school districts. This meeting built upon scholarly work on the role of contemplation in education.

The meeting was co-chaired by Robert W. Roeser and Brooke D. Lavelle. Many of the meeting participants were engaged in the development of a field of study concerned with the role of mindfulness and compassion in K–12 education. Meeting participants included experts in systems- and design-thinking and educational change, educational reform and equity, social-emotional learning, and mindfulness and compassion in education. Members also included school superintendents and educators who were working with these experts in interdisciplinary groups in five different cities (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Portland, San Francisco, and Vancouver, BC) on projects that incorporate mindfulness and compassion-based practices, programs or approaches in K–12 education.

The focus of the meeting’s presentations, dialogues, and group work was time for group members to reflect on the state of their projects, share insights across projects, and co-create plans for moving projects forward in ways that take to heed of hard-won insights regarding program design and implementation made in efforts to address students' social-emotional learning and social development in schools. 

Project Team