Mindfulness Newsletter

May 2019--#mindfulAISD

Mindfulness Resources Featured in This Newsletter...

  • Mindfulness for Staff -- Laughter

  • Professional Learning --Breathe For Change Scholarships & Opportunity for Reagan VT

  • Classroom/School Implementation -- Ideas from AISD Teachers

  • For Families -- The Breathing Butterfly (multiple languages)

  • Equity -- CP&I Professional Learning

  • Books of the Month -- 3 New Books

  • Technology -- Tips for Unplugging

  • Athletics -- Mindful Coaching

  • SEL Newsletter & Blog -- SELebrations!

  • Mindful Happenings in AISD -- Highlights


For more regular mindfulness updates, please follow me on Twitter, @mrbutler629. I post regularly, providing tips and highlighting mindfulness happening across the district. Also, feel free to use #mindfulAISD when posting about mindfulness & email me suggestions for what to include in future newsletters.

Mindfulness in Austin ISD is a secular practice. Any mention of the words yoga or meditation in resources are not an endorsement of any type of religious practice. We believe in honoring all of our students' and families' cultures and beliefs, and providing scientifically proven resources to help with Academic, Social & Emotional Learning.

Background Photo: Barton Springs Pool

Mindfulness For Staff -- Laughter

Mindfulness in schools starts with the adults. Here's some goodness for y'all. :)

  • From a recent Destress Monday post: "They say laughter is the best medicine, and in the case of alleviating stress, this may very well be true. Research has found that laughter promotes some serious, mood-boosting benefits, including instant stress and tension relief. A consistent laughter practice has even been shown to alleviate pain and strengthen the immune system.

  • When you’re feeling particularly low, it may be hard to imagine laughter, but there are several ways to incite the silly within. Doing so can put you in a more positive frame of mind, which will set you up to better tackle whatever’s on your plate."

  • Additionally, here's a compilation of mindfulness related self-care resources.

    Mindfulness Professional Learning -- Breathe for Change Scholarships for AISD Staff & Opportunity for Reagan Vertical Team Staff

    Opportunities to learn and/or expand your mindfulness knowledge...

    Breathe For Change has 3 scholarships available for Austin ISD staff who would like to participate in their 200 hour Mindfulness for Teachers training this June 3-22 at Lanier HS. The discounted rate is $1,000 which is nearly 1/3 of the original cost. I've heard wonderful things from AISD teachers who have participated. If interested, when you apply, mention that you work in AISD and would like one of the AISD Scholarships.

    Attention Reagan Vertical Team Staff: TEA is offering a free Dynamic Mindfulness Foundations Training on Saturday, May 18th 9am-4pm at St. David's Episcopal Church downtown. If you work in the Reagan Vertical Team and are interested, apply for the mindfulness training here. Email Katie Casstevens if you have any questions about this training.

    Classroom/School Implementation -- Ideas from AISD Teachers

    Ideas for how to make mindfulness happen in your classroom and/or school...

    In last month's Mindfulness 301 PD, the teachers brainstormed about mindfulness specifically surrounding myths, what it means to them and ideas for implementation. There was so much goodness on their posters that I wanted to share with y'all. Let me know if you have any questions.
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    Mindfulness for Families -- The Breathing Butterfly (multiple languages)

    Sharing mindfulness with families is extremely important for buy-in and weaving into campus climate & culture...

    I found this resource The Breathing Butterfly which is geared towards elementary aged students, but it has practices and videos in multiple languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, English, & more) so I wanted to share with y'all so you can share with families.

    As a reminder, you can always find family resources on bit.ly/mindfulfams.

    Mindfulness & Equity -- Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness Professional Learning

    Equity is an important issue in Austin ISD and want mindfulness in AISD to be shared through a culturally proficient and inclusive lens...

    I'm excited to share about summer professional learning from the office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness. I'm definitely going to be attending at least one of these awesome sessions. The flyer is in the PDF link below and here is a description of the learning opportunities:

    "The office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness will be offering five summer professional learning sessions that help educators, staff, and community members engage in critical self-reflection around personal identity, implicit bias, and the power that our words and actions have over others.

    Participants will build an understanding of:

    • race and its impacts on students and staff
    • messages we internalize from our environment
    • deficit/asset language
    • culturally responsive restorative practices
    • creating a sense of belonging for families
    • building an anti-racist educator's lens
    • taking action in our daily professional practice

    Isolating Race is the foundational prerequisite course. Staff may register for the additional four courses upon completion of the Isolating Race course. All of the CP&I sessions count towards exchange days and GT updates. Space is limited, so sign up through the HCP today!"

    Mindfulness Books of the Month

    Campus book study, order for your library, personal reading, etc. There are so many great books that are mindfulness-related. Here are 3 new ones for this month...

    Mindful Technology -- Tips for Unplugging

    I Love Technology (imagine Kip from Napoleon Dynamite singing), but how can we be more mindful with our tech usage?

    Another golden nugget from Destress Monday: Taking a technology break, even a temporary one, will recharge your brain and get rid of a lot of mental clutter. You don’t need to switch to a completely off-the-grid lifestyle, but you do owe it to yourself to unplug and give your brain a rest. Here are a few tips for unplugging.

    Mindfulness & Athletics -- Mindful Coaching

    It's often said that sports is 90% mental, but tools to practice for that 90% are rarely given. Mindfulness is a great tool for Mental Strength Training. Incorporating athletics & performance also helps with student buy-in, especially in secondary...

    From a Mindful Schools article: We live in inspiring times – we’re seeing professional athletes come out of the closet as meditators and motivate young athletes to develop not only their physical performance, but their “inner game” as well. I started teaching mindfulness as a performance enhancement technique for teen athletes and have seen a real change in their way of being, as athletes.

    SEL Newsletter & Blog -- SELebrations!

    Mindfulness supports Social & Emotional Learning. Below are resources from my amazing teammates...

    Mindful Happenings in Austin ISD

    Here are a few mindfulness highlights from across the district. Email me or tag your tweets with #mindfulAISD so I can highlight your work in future newsletters.

    Mindfulness Retreat Featured on AISD in 3

    Shout out to AISD TV for featuring our AISD Staff Mindfulness Retreat in their weekly AISD in 3 segment. Tweet from Superintendent Dr. Cruz.
    AISD in 3 - Week of April 15, 2019

    Mindfulness Retreat

    Thanks to all who made our Mindfulness Retreat a success! Included in this photo are volunteer facilitators from Amala Foundation, Zavala Custodian, Zavala AP, Yoga N Da Hood, Literacy First AmeriCorps volunteers and members of the SEL team. Tweet from yours truly.
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    More Mindfulness Retreat

    Tweet from Crystal Doucette:

    "#selfcare on a Saturday with some #mindfulAISD at the @AustinISD Mindfulness Retreat. @YogaNDaHood was inspiring and reminded us to Stop, Breathe, Believe #SEL @mrbutler629 @AustinISDSEL"

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    Mindful Maker Space for Librarians PD

    Tweet from Minda Anderson:

    "Mindful Making PD with @AustinISDLibs librarians was a beautiful success! #AISDGotHeart Thanks to @mrbutler629 @AustinISDSEL @blantonmuseum"

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    Mindfulness 301 PD

    Tweet from Melissa Stamnes:

    "I've said it before I'll say it again, if I could have all my PDs @blantonmuseum that'd be great. #mindfulAISD #mindfulness"

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    Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide

    Thanks to everyone who requested a PDF of Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide. It's humbling and a huge honor to know that a book I wrote is being utilized in AISD and beyond. I'm happy to share that I was able to donate 844 copies of the book to AISD staff! The book has been published by Free Spirit Publishing. Thanks for all your support, y'all!

    #mindfulAISD archives

    Mindfulness Newsletter Archives (Access all Mindful AISD Newsletters from 2016-2019)

    Sign Up for Mindfulness Support

    If you haven't filled out the #mindfulAISD Google Form (below) and want to highlight your work and/or receive mindfulness support, please check it out. It only takes a moment to complete. Know someone in AISD interested in mindfulness? Send them this newsletter for them to fill out the Google Form.


    James Butler, M.Ed.

    SEL Mindfulness Specialist

    2014 Austin ISD Teacher of the Year