Mindfulness in MMSD

Students meditating during mindfulness class

In partnership with the UW Health Mindfulness Program, a trainer-of-trainers program is in place to ensure the learning, skill-building and practice of a team of trainers. Members of this MMSD Core Mindfulness Team teach in the district-wide courses alongside UW Health mindfulness instructors. Additionally, the team is available to deliver school-based and department-based consultation and training. Possibilities include:

  • Consultation with school teams regarding incorporation of of mindfulness PD and supports in school climate goals and work, including the intersections with restorative practices, equity and SEL.
  • a one-hour Introduction to Mindfulness presentation for all staff or as a break-out session
  • 2- 4 hour opt-in workshops introducing and practicing the cultivation of mindful awareness
  • an after school month-long 4-hour Introduction to Mindfulness course where mindfulness is defined and explored through guided practices, reflection and sharing. The intention of the course is to invite participants to experience mindfulness practices as a form of self-care.
  • Consultation for developing school-based drop-in practice groups

To explore learning opportunities and possible supports for your school or workplace, you are welcome to contact members of the team (key contacts listed below) or submit a request through a School Improvement Partner:

Sara Parrell 

Project Lead for Mindfulness in MMSD and Lead Nurse MMSD Health Services
Department of Student Services and Human Resources
sparrell@madison.k12.wi.us,  608-442-2170

Cynthia Nordmeyer

Mindfulness in MMSD Core Team Member and MMSD School Counselor

The District has formed additional collaborations to foster staff well-being.

  • A long-term medium-intensity partnership with the UW-Center for Healthy Minds supports research in our schools and access to their resources for promoting staff well-being.
  • Three of our schools (Lincoln, LaFolette and O’Keeffe) have collaborated with the Holistic Life Foundation for teacher and student training over the past several years.
  • A more recent low-intensity partnership with Breathe for Change is in place to allow for communication regarding wellness supports for teachers.

Research accomplished in MMSD through the partnership with the Center for Healthy Minds demonstrated decreased stress and burnout and increased teaching efficacy as a result of the mindfulness training intervention for teachers. Courses and consultation offered through the Mindfulness in MMSD program are intended to support the well-being and the work of teachers in a similar fashion and continue to foster growth of personal wellness for educators who have benefited from a variety of past learning.