Peace in Schools was established in Portland, Oregon in 2014. It is the first for-credit high school mindfulness course in the nation. Its goal and vision is to make mindfulness a “valued discipline” in high schools. The program was founded by Caverly Morgan, a mindfulness practitioner for more than 20 years, with 8 years of training in a silent Zen monastery. Morgan currently heads up the Peace in Schools teaching team.
The in-school course focuses on four elements of mindfulness: meditation, movement, communication, and compassion. The program also offers Teen Mindfulness Nights for practice outside of class and Teen Mindfulness Retreats for practice in nature.
According to its website, students in the program’s Mindful Studies class across high schools had the following outcomes: 97% report positive changes in their emotional and mental state after participating in the full-credit Mindful Studies course; 99% report multiple physical benefits such as increased flexibility and balance; 92% report less stress, tension, and anxiety; 94% also use the mindfulness tools outside of school; 98% would recommend the courses to their peers (Peace in Schools, n.d.).
Educators at participating schools are introduced to the curriculum at a weekend training, followed by an 8-week intensive course that digs into the neuroscience behind mindfulness. Teacher training also includes a 4-day Mindful Educator retreat, and a Mindfulness and the Brain course offered online that examines the fundamentals of interpersonal neurobiology.
In addition to being in 10 public high schools in Portland, Peace in Schools also partners with social services and alternative schools, providing trainings to professionals in those organizations.
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