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mindfulness 365  

Student Well-Being and Achievement


Managing Your Mental and Emotional Health

child practicing mindfulness  
What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can help students, families and staff live a happier and more balanced life by:

  • Increasing focus and awareness
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Reducing emotional reactivity
  • Cultivating positivity
  • Increasing compassion to self and others
  • Improving relationships
Why Is it Important?

We now realize the fundamental role of social-emotional well-being as a direct link to academic outcomes. Learning to focus, maintaining motivation, handling the frustrations of sharing, learning, and communicating with peers are skills that depend on the student's ability to understand and manage their emotions. These are basic competencies that are crucial to the success of students as they progress through school and life. Mindfulness is highly beneficial to the well-being of students and staff...[Mindfulness tools] can make a huge difference to our mindset and to the quality of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Jeff Donald, Instructional Specialist for Mindfulness & Trauma Informed Care


Mindfulness Articles, Studies, and Calendar



  • Mindfulness in Education
  • Beyond deep breathing: A new vision for equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma informed mindfulness practice
    This study builds on previous research which demonstrates that students’ social-emotional well-being and academic success is directly impacted by a school’s climate and culture. The authors encourage integrating culturally responsive, trauma-informed mindfulness practices in the classroom to not only mitigate the distressing conditions students might experience such as anxiety and stress, but also as a way to address injustices and promote educational equity. This paper offers a new vision for culturally responsive and trauma-informed mindfulness education in middle school settings that is grounded in the principles of safety, trustworthiness, and transparency in order to create meaningful experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. Article Keywords: equity, mindfulness, social emotional learning, trauma-informed, culturally responsive practices.
  • Atención Plena en las Escuelas (Spanish language)



Opportunities for Learning & Development

PDO: Mindfulness for Educators

This PDO course offers a foundational understanding of mindfulness education through evidence-based strategies, the neuroscience of mindfulness, guided practice and reflection, and an exploration of diverse and inclusive ways for teaching and integrating mindfulness in the classroom or any learning environment in ways that support socio-emotional learning (SEL), positive behavior intervention strategies, and academic achievement.

Taught by:
Mariana Cruz, Mindfulness Specialist

Carrie Vieira, Instructional Specialist, Restorative Justice Unit

CPD: Mindful Learning, Teaching, and Leading

This 2-credit, 30-hour CPD course is designed for all MCPS staff members interested in integrating mindfulness practices into their work. This course explores the science behind mindfulness, including its impact on the brain, nervous system, emotional regulation, and trauma. Participants will engage in practices such as mindful movement, healthy breathing, focused attention, and reflective journaling. Additionally, the course equips educators with resources to effectively introduce these practices to their students, promoting stress reduction, emotional balance, and a positive learning environment. The course includes practice teaching opportunities and culminates in an exploration for how to lead for mindfulness at your school.

Taught by:
Carrie Vieira, Instructional Specialist, Restorative Justice Unit

Mariana Cruz, Mindfulness Specialist

Mindful Mondays with Carrie Vieira

mindful mondays

Mindful Mondays are weekly mindfulness classes open to all MCPS staff, retirees, and their families to practice gentle movement, breathwork, and meditation. They are held every Monday (except for holidays) via Zoom from 5:15-6:00 PM. Click here to join the mailing list or email Carrie Vieira at for more information.

mindfulness spotlight  

Mindfulness Spotlight


Student's Corner: Visionaries

Queen Balina, Winston Churchill High School

Queen Balina

As an intern for the MCPS Student Well Being and Achievement team, Queen Balina co-founded Students Speaking Up as a Junior at Winston Churchill High School. The program allows high school students to record short, professional quality videos about issues that affect them in partnership with MCPS TV.

Since the founding of Students Speaking Up in January 2021, five episodes have been recorded, covering a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic and mental wellness. Nearly a year since the program launch, Queen is still working to recruit more student volunteers and elevate the voices of students across the county.

School's Corner: Wellness

Clopper Mill Elementary School


Claudia Pinto and Sergio Maldonado are the new Wellness Trainers at Clopper Mill Elementary School. Their role is to proactively contribute to the general wellness and wellbeing of the Clopper Mill School community. The Wellness Room (pictured here) serves as the hub for wellness-focused education such as mindfulness, healthy eating and restorative practices. They are especially excited about implementing the UMD SNAP ED nutrition curriculum and healthy meal tastings. Ms. Pinto and Mr. Maldonado look forward to welcoming students, staff and families into the Wellness Room and programs.

Educator's Corner: Highlights

Angela Norwood, Mindfulness Teacher & History Teacher
Briggs Chaney Middle School


How do you define Mindfulness?

I define Mindfulness as simply being in the present moment without judgment of thoughts or actions around you. As the Mindfulness Teacher at BCMS, I am a resource for all in the building. We like to look at it as a partnership with all stakeholders. I provide tools and strategies that work in conjunction with restorative practices to support staff, students, and all other stakeholders. Incorporating mindfulness and making it a part of our culture supports an environment of wellness, mutual respect, empathy, and excellence. I am extremely proud to have been charged with writing the secondary curriculum for the mindfulness course that I am currently teaching at BCMS. In this course students focus on the present moment, breathwork, self-regulation, stress management, resilience, compassion, and empathy, as well as a working understanding of how we can use our brain, body, and breath to combat stress and anxiety.

What are your upcoming projects or programs?

BCMS regularly promotes Mindfulness during school-wide morning announcements. Mindfulness videos have also been incorporated with the Leader in Me lessons. The Zen Den is a held space for all lunches at BCMS. We also take the opportunity to incorporate Mindfulness awareness in our parent outreach events.

Who is someone in your life you admire and why?

I will always admire Dr. Betty Collins. She was the proud principal at Galway Elementary School. This was my first teaching job with MCPS. Dr. Collins continues to be a light to all who come in contact with her. She has the unique ability to make everyone that she encounters feel like they are the only two people in a room, even if there is a crowd. Talk about being in the present moment! I admire her ability to connect with everyone she meets and I continue to model that same ability both in my personal and professional life.

What are your 3 tips to be more mindful and grounded in everyday life?

  1. Breathe - Your breath is your superpower!
  2. Practice Your Pause
  3. Respond rather than React

What are you happiest doing when you are not working?

I love spending time with my family, friends, and my dogs! Meditation and yoga provided the spiritual connection and grounding needed to guide me through the ups and downs of life.

Community Corner: Q & A

Sat Bir Khalsa, Director Global People & Culture at EAST WEST TEA CO


What excites you and EWTC most about the current partnership with Y.O.G.A. for Youth and MCPS?

We feel honored to be partnered with Y.O.G.A. for Youth and MCPS. At EWTC our purpose is “We Exist to Inspire”.  The “We” is the collective of all of us sharing this time on the planet together.  We recognize our scope and reach are limited as individuals and when “We” come together, the impact is exponential.  Y.O.G.A. for Youth has developed a program that is serving hundreds of thousands of young children, young adults and families through the teaching of mindfulness in school and every day life. Each moment of mindfulness, each intentional breath, each elevated interaction with another person shifts our future. The passion of all teachers to serve students is admirable. They want to impact students lives for the better. They do the work they do to create a brighter future for All.  The Y.O.G.A. for Youth program provides another set of tools to do their best work.  EWTC is not able to be in person doing this work and our team is focused on our areas of expertise with the tea business.  Through our success, we are able to invest in partnerships like Y.O.G.A. for Youth and MCPS where together we do more good.

What is your go-to breathing technique for calming the nervous system?

I use several. The main one is simple being present with the breath and being intentional with each inhale and exhale, using the full belly, filling the diaphragm and expanding the lungs.  Visualizing the breathing and focusing on the breath, calms the nerves and the mind.  The second is box breathing with equal time on the inhale, holding the breath in, the exhale, and holding the breath out… repeat. Finally, there is alternate nostril breathing depending on what is needed. If it is calming, focusing on breathing through the left nostril, or inhaling left, exhaling right.

What advice or words of encouragement do you have for young, emerging school-based yoga and mindfulness students?

Just try! Who does not want to feel calm and contained and able to face the challenges of youth and growth and expansion.  Each of us is scientifically unique.  There are no two people the same. Therefore, you are the most qualified person to be you. You are unique and special simply by being you.  Embrace yourself, love yourself, be proud of yourself and most importantly be kind to yourself. You are exactly who you are supposed to be.  In yoga, you start where you are and do what you can, and that is the perfect yoga for YOU.


Briggs Chaney Middle School


During the 2022-23 school year Briggs Chaney Middle School launched the first Mindfulness course in the county. With the support of Principal Dr. Shawaan Robinson, Jeffrey Donald and Kahlil Kuykendall, Angela Norwood was able to expose hundreds of students to the benefits of mindfulness on a daily basis with her semester-long course.  Students reported being more self-aware, better able to regulate their emotions, and higher self-esteem. The mindfulness team at Briggs Chaney also trained a cohort of 5 teachers who gained new tools and techniques to incorporate mindfulness in the classroom. This year, Briggs Chaney will be launching the Y.O.G.A. for Youth Wellness Program for 6th grade students. Led by Kahlil Kuykendall, the program is a combination of mindfulness practice and yoga movement as well as wellness-themed activities throughout the school year. Pictured above:
Dr. Shawaan Robinson (Principal), Ms. Angela Norwood (Mindfulness Teacher), Mrs. Krystina Hernandez (Staff Development, Content Specialist and Spanish / Mindfulness Teacher), Ms. Kahlil Kuykendall, (Mindfulness Education Specialist). 

mindfulness 365  

Mindfulness Resources


Be Well Videos

meet our team  

Meet Our Team

  • Kahlil Kuykendall, Mindfulness Educator
  • Mariana Cruz, Mindfulness Educator
  • Carrie Vieira, Instructional Specialist, Restorative Justice Unit
  • Jeffrey Donald, Instructional Specialist for Mindfulness and Trauma Informed Care

Contact Us


Yogi Tea has partnered with MCPS in supporting Mindfulness in our schools. Yogi Tea’s Mission statement of “Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good” is personified by their alliance with our Mindfulness program, and we are honored by their commitment to the emotional growth of our students, staff members and communities.

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