Mindfulness Newsletter

April 2018--#mindfulAISD

In This Month's Newsletter...

  • 1st Annual AISD Mindfulness Retreat
  • Test Anxiety Tips from SEL
  • Mindful AISD at SXSWedu
  • Innovation Grant--Deadline April 6th
  • AISD Employee Well-Being Class on Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness in BLEND
  • HCP Spring Mindfulness Courses
  • Mindful Happenings in AISD

Reminder: 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.

1st Annual AISD Mindfulness Retreat!

It's happening y'all! Right after the first wave of STAAR testing, we're providing a FREE opportunity to take care of yourself at the 1st Annual AISD Mindfulness Retreat. It's on Saturday, April 14th from 9am-1pm at Baker Center. If you're interested, please register on HCP (Section #86961). Here are some details regarding the retreat...

  • Community members, businesses & organizations are coming together to provide FREE mindfulness related classes for AISD staff (yoga, meditation, music, dance, etc.). Special shout out to Amala Foundation who has helped with the planning & will be leading some classes.
  • Please bring a water bottle, towel & mat if you'd like to practice yoga. Amala Foundation will bring some mats to use for those who don't have one.
  • We'll have a welcome at 9am in the cafeteria if you choose to arrive at the start.
  • Snacks will be provided.
  • The retreat will be broken down into four 45-minute classes (9:15, 10:15, 11:15 & 12:15). You choose which classes and how many to attend. All attendees will receive a program when they arrive.
  • Unfortunately, this year we're not able to provide child care. That's a goal for next year.
  • This is for AISD staff ONLY. We have thoughts for a similar event in the future for families & students.
  • Please register on HCP (Section #86961)
  • Feel free to print & post the retreat flyer in your school to let your colleagues know about this morning to "treat yo'self."

We chose to host this at Baker, in part, as a way to pay homage to a historic building that has served the AISD community for so long. We'll have a new location next year.

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Test Anxiety Tips from SEL

Shout to SEL Specialist Aleza Sitarz for compiling this great resource of tips to deal with test anxiety.

Mindful AISD at SXSWedu!

At this year's SXSWedu, I had the honor of moderating a panel, "Mindfulness & Student Voice" with AISD student panelists. Teo (1st grade), Addison (5th grade) and Xavier (11th grade) did such an amazing job, and I'm still beyond proud of them for being so brave by speaking to a capacity room of over 125 people! It was awesome to provide a platform for adults to listen to kids at an education conference. It should happen more often. Also, the panelists are all former students of mine: Teo & Addison were in my Pre-K class, and Xavier was in my Kindergarten class. Proud teacher moment for sure!

We even had a couple blogs/articles that wrote about or mentioned our panel! Here's the EdSurge article about the panel and Education Dive talked about the panel in one of their recaps.

Below is a photo and videos that we used during our presentation. Feel free to share the videos with students/staff. They're all uploaded to the YouTube Playlist as well: bit.ly/mindfulaisdvideos

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Innovation Grant from Austin Ed Fund--Deadline April 6th


It's Innovation Grants Season! Austin Ed Fund's Innovation Grant is now accepting applications online until April 6th, at 5 PM.

Innovation Grants are designed to encourage, facilitate, recognize and reward innovative and creative instructional approaches to the accomplishment of learning objectives. Spread the word and apply!

Over the past few years, schools have been awarded funds for different projects that varied from multisensory reading for dyslexic students at Oak Hill Elementary to creating a project-based learning builderspace at Austin High School.

Award Categories
•IDEA GRANTS: Up to $2,000 for a classroom
•INCUBATOR GRANTS: Up to $10,000 for a campus/ department team

Focus areas: Whole Child (includes SEL), STEM, Literacy


AISD Employee Well-Being Class on Mindfulness

From Melody Carlton, AISD's Employee Assistance & Wellness Coordinator

The revive wellbeing classes are another way AISD employees can earn wellness points to receive the $100 Wellness Premium Credit. Each class is worth 10 Wellness points. Each class will be offered two times for it’s month, but employees only need to attend one session to earn those 10 points.

These classes are non-fitness related & instead focus on your social, emotional and mental wellbeing with tips to help you work self-care into your daily routines. Employees wishing to attend a class must RSVP as spaces are limited. Employees who RSVP and then no-show to a class will not be able to rsvp for future classes. RSVP online at www.austinisd.org/wellness/events or by phone at (512) 414-2282.

*The photos below are screenshots, so the links won't work. Use the link above to RSVP.

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Mindfulness in BLEND

A Mindfulness BLEND course has been started. It will be updated to include specific activities to use in class, but the first module is about self-care and resources to use for yourself and some for your class. Enroll here: bit.ly/mindfulblend

The last round of Intro to Mindfulness will be on Tuesday, April 17th at Baker for the spring semester. The Elementary course (#86677) is from 8-11am and the Secondary course (#86678) is from 1-4pm. Sign up on HCP. If a course is full, add your name to the waitlist. We've been able to accept most people on the waitlist this year. Remember, SEL will pay for teacher subs.

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Mindfulness in Austin ISD

Here are a few mindfulness highlights from across the district.

Lanier Mindful Athlete in the Statesman

Lanier student-athlete Tajik Bartholomew was featured in the Statesman and mentions mindfulness as a pre-game routine. The whole interview is inspiring. Tajik is an incredible person.
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Mindful PALS

See tweet to learn more about Ann Richards PALS leading mindfulness for 7th graders. Love the student leadership and empowerment!
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Mindful Librarians

See tweet to learn more about Elementary Librarians learning to incorporate mindfulness into their lessons and routines.
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Mindfulness & Literacy Integration

See tweet to learn more from Kocurek Elementary.
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Mindful Counselors

See tweet to learn about Elementary Counselors incorporating mindfulness into their every day lessons, routines and interactions with students.
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Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide

For those using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend using Week 30-33 during April. This is a flexible recommendation though. Use what works best for you and your class. AISD staff can sign up for a free electronic copy of the book in the support form at the bottom of this newsletter.

#mindfulAISD archives

March 2018 Newsletter (SEL overview of mindfulness)

February 2018 Newsletter (Inner Explorer Grant, Tips for Sustained Mindfulness in Class)

January 2018 Newsletter (Videos, Mindfulness Room Starter Kit, Types of Awareness)

December 2017 Newsletter (Videos, Research Supporting Mindfulness, Picture Books)

November 2017 Newsletter (Free Retreats, Class Dojo, Teens, Mindful AISD in the News)

October 2017 Newsletter (Videos, Meditation Bar Gift, Mindfulness Challenge)

September 2017 Newsletter (Mindfulness Videos)

August 2017 Newsletter (Starting mindfulness from Day 1)

2016-2017 Newsletters (One link to access all newsletters from last school year.)

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

SEL Mindfulness Specialist