2015 Conference Information

Mindfulness: Foundation for Teaching and Learning

Eighth Annual Conference
June 26 – 28, 2015
University of Colorado at Denver, 1201 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80204

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Program of Events

  • PassageWorks Workshop: Introduction to the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching ~ Friday, June 26
  • Chris McKenna, Keynote Address ~ Friday evening, June 26
  • Mindfulness in Education Symposium ~ Saturday, June 27
  • A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake ~ Sunday, June 28

Mindfulness meditation has encouraged open and nonjudgmental awareness for hundreds of years. Now students, teenagers, and adults are learning to pay attention to the present moment with increased curiosity, kindness, and flexibility. Research over the last ten years has started to show that mindfulness offers many benefits including increased attention and focus, lower levels of anxiety, and greater empathy. As a result, this ancient meditative practice has gained support in education, business, and sports. Many educational institutions, including UCLA, Stanford, UCSF, NYU, Brown, and Penn have also embraced mindfulness as an educational intervention by introducing it into their curricula and conducting innovative research in the field. This three-day event will explore the uses of mindfulness in education.



PassageWorks Workshop: Introduction to the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching

Friday, June 26, Full-day workshop, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
University of Colorado at Denver
Certificates of Participation will be provided

This one-day introduction to a longer course, explores the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching based on our book of the same title. The Five Dimensions include: cultivating an open heart, engaging the self-observer, being present, expanding emotional capacity and establishing respectful boundaries. These capacities allow us to joyfully and effectively meet the complex demands of our profession. In the workshop we engage in a selection of core practices and explore principles that support educators to develop and sustain a reflective teaching practice, manage stress, cultivate our own social and emotional intelligence, create truly inclusive classrooms and successfully collaborate with colleagues.


Workshop Facilitators

RonaWillensky Rona Willensky was principal and founder of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado from 1992-2009. Previously, she worked as an education policy analyst for the Governor of Colorado, the Education Commission of the States, and various education reform initiatives in Colorado.
[expand title=”Read More”] She is currently Director of Mindfulness Programs at Passageworks Institute which include SMART in Education, The Mindful Teacher course, and the Educators with Contemplative Practices network. She is actively working to develop a mindfulness in education network in Colorado. A particular area of interest is integrating diversity and cultural responsiveness work within the mindfulness movement.[/expand]

LauraWeaverLaura Weaver is an educational advocate, writer, facilitator, and Director of Transformative Learning at the PassageWorks Institute. Laura co-authored The Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching (Solution Tree, 2013)as well as numerous curricula for the transitions years.
[expand title=”Read More”] She has published dozens of poems, book chapters and essays. In her twelve years with Passageworks, Laura has taught a wide variety of “engaged teaching” courses and workshops, offered presentations at schools and conferences, and facilitated transitions and rites of passage programs for young people. Laura regularly consults with school leaders to design experiential professional development programs for teachers and continues to develop innovative resources for educators and parents.[/expand]



Chris McKenna, Keynote Address

Friday, June 26, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
University of Colorado at Denver

Chris McKenna, Program Director, Mindful Schools. Prior to joining Mindful Schools, Chris was Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness (MBA) Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. During his tenure, MBA published the first formal research on the impact of mindfulness programming on youth in the U.S. juvenile probation system. In collaboration with Colorado State University, MBA also developed mindfulness training programs that met the specific needs of diverse youth populations, including youth of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, and military youth in Ft. Collins, CO.

[expand title=”Read More”]Chris has spent over a decade working with diverse communities suffering from high incidents of trauma, including five years with an organization launched out of Amnesty International that provided legal and psychosocial services to victims of torture and war crimes from over 20 countries. He has an eighteen-year history with mindfulness meditation and has taught mindfulness practices to diverse youth & adult populations. He is on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of Dalai Lama Fellows and the Advisory Councils of the Mind Body Awareness Project, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and Honoring the Path of the Warrior – a project which teaches mindfulness to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He holds a degree in Religion & Asian Studies from Columbia University. Chris also presented a Google Talk in April 2015, addressing Mindfulness, Neurobiology and Children.[/expand]


Mindfulness in Education Symposium

Saturday, June 27, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
University of Colorado at Denver

Saturday Conference Schedule

8:30 am – 9:00 am Conference registration

9:00 am – 9:30 am Home Group Check-in

9:45 am 11:45 am Plenary Panel Presentations & Facilitated Q&A

  • Renee Hill

  • Kim Schonert-Reichl

  • Dzung Vo

11:45 am 12:00 pm Home Group Check-in

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Lunch

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Workshops

1. Teaching Mindfulness to Teachers (Lauren Alderfer)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] Mindfulness, stemming from a heartfelt expansiveness that is healing in nature, cultivates teaching from the heart of mindfulness. Integrating mindfulness as an essential skill and experience, in graduate and undergraduate teacher training programs, is the focus of this workshop. Participants will gain a brief overview of mindfulness in teacher training programs, process an experiential practice, and review a programmatic approach to Mindfulness-Based Heartfelt Teaching, applicable to any teacher training program.[/expand]

2. Psychology of Mindfulness for Undergraduates (Bethann Bierer)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] Many teachers are now including mindfulness moments, time for reflection, contemplative opportunities and other brief exercises in their classes. This workshop will explore the development of an entire semester-long course exploring mindfulness from a psychological perspective. Come and explore tested syllabi and other course material, and bring your ideas and experiences to share.[/expand]

3. Heal Before You Teach: Transforming Classroom and School Climate through Dynamic Mindfulness (Bidyut Bose)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] Many of our children come to school not ready to learn, especially those exposed to chronic stress and trauma in their lives. Many adults around our children are also subjected to toxic stress, while absorbing vicarious trauma. And yet we often rush to teach our children, without taking the time to heal ourselves or those we serve. In this interactive presentation, we will explore the impact of chronic stress and trauma on brain and behavior, and you will experience the power and potential of dynamic mindfulness practices such as yoga, breathing techniques and meditation, that can profoundly transform the brain-behavior connection, affecting everything we do. An extensively applied, highly efficient and cost-effective model for dissemination of Dynamic Mindfulness practices in schools will also be presented, along with independent research with compelling findings and implications for academic, social and emotional learning.[/expand]

4. Can Compassion Fatigue be Treated with Kindness? You BET! (Marilyn Decalo)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] National studies suggest that only 39% of educators are “highly satisfied”. The social and emotional skills of students requires educators to “do and be” so much more for our students. Yet, with so little ‘more’ to give, how can we change the paradigm to make a difference for ourselves, our colleagues and our students? Participants will recognize the impact of compassion fatigue and will identify strategies to re-ignite their passion for teaching while understanding the needs and impact of their student’s social and emotional skills. With the Random Acts of Kindness resources, research and testimonials, educators will see firsthand how a-little-kindness can alter their perspective to powerfully benefit themselves, their students and their school.[/expand]

5. Beyond the Classroom: The Mindful Campus (Viviane Ephraimson-Abt)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] What are accessible ways to introduce mindfulness practice to students, staff, and faculty through student services and co-curricular and professional development programs? In this experiential and didactic session, participants will be exposed to several of the offerings in the Mindfully Managing Stress program at Colorado State University. A variety of formats will be presented including a one hour presentation, a four part six hour series, a weekly drop in practice group and an online community app. Participants are invited to bring other examples that work well in higher education for a resource sharing discussion. [/expand]

6. Pathways to Providing Context for Mindful Practices in a K-12 Classroom (Oliver Hill)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] This interactive workshop introduces a variety of mindfulness practices for the classroom that also point to the underlying philosophical context for these practices in a way that is appropriate for a K-12 audience. Context will be created using principles from modern psychology and physics. There will also be the opportunity for participants to discuss their difficulties in applying mindfulness in the classroom, and we will use the collective wisdom of the group to suggest solutions.[/expand]

7. Journey Toward Wholeness: Courage & Renewal Circle of Trust (Susan Kaplan)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] Our commitment to purposeful work and the institutions we work in can create a sense of dividedness or incongruence over time. Summer’s paradox of scarcity and abundance invites us to hold these naturally occurring complexities in a more life-giving manner. Based on Courage & Renewal Principles and Practices®, (inspired by Parker Palmer) this reflective listening practice creates a disciplined space in which we “hear each other into speech”. We will have a different conversation with our own spirit with “storylistening” and by welcoming silence. Realign your role and spirit. Reconnect with what really matters to you in this experiential session.[/expand]

8. Creating Peaceful Homes: A Practical Guide to Mindful Parenting (Kristin Race)

[expand title=”Workshop Description”] Many parents struggle to find moments of family peace as they face the growing demands placed on families today. Children are growing up in a world filled with stimulation, packed schedules, and considerably more stress than previous generations. Join Dr. Kristen Race in a brain based discussion of how today’s world is affecting child development and how families can find peace in chaotic times. This is an interactive workshop packed with tools and activities that can be put to use immediately. Discussion points include: stress, parental influence, and children’s brains; hidden environmental factors affecting brain development; praise; family adventures & rituals that foster positive family engagement, increase self-esteem, and reduce perfectionism; and simple mindfulness practices and activities that increase family engagement, positive emotions, and build resilience to stress.[/expand]


3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Home Group Check-In

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Symposium Closing


Plenary Panel

ReneeHillRenee Hill, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Virginia State University. Her area of specialization is Political Philosophy and her research interests center around justice and fairness.
[expand title=”Read More”] Hill was supported by the Association for Contemplative Mind in Society teaching fellows grants, and since then has been incorporating contemplative practices into her courses. In 2014 she taught a course on Compassion and is currently working on a course on Peace Studies. She is trained in conflict resolution and techniques for healing trauma in communities, and is on the board of the Richmond Peace Education Center.[/expand]

KimSchonert-ReichlKim Schonert-Reichl is an Applied Developmental Psychologist and a Professor in the Human Development, Learning, and Culture area in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education at the University of British Columbia. She began her professional career first as a middle school teacher and then as a secondary school teacher at an alternate school for “at risk” adolescents.
[expand title=”Read More”] Dr. Schonert-Reichl is a renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning and development research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency. Her current projects include studies examining the effectiveness of classroom-based universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs including the MindUp, program, the Taxi Dog Educational Curriculum, and the Random Acts of Kindness program.[/expand]

DzungVoDzung X. Vo MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. His medical practice, teaching, and research emphasize promoting resilience in young people to help them thrive in the face of stress and adversity.
[expand title=”Read More”] He co-developed (with Dr. Jake Locke at BC Children’s Hospital) a mindfulness training program called MARS-A, or Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents. Dr. Vo is the author of The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time. Dr. Vo also serves on the Board of Directors for the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM) and the Mindfulness in Education Network (MiEN). All trees have roots, and Dr. Vo’s root mindfulness teacher is the Vietnamese Zen Master, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and author, Thich Nhat Hanh. Dr. Vo hopes to share the benefits of mindfulness to diverse youth in a universal, secular way that is appropriate for anyone, of any religion, or no religion at all. Learn more about Dr. Vo’s work at mindfulnessforteens.com.[/expand]


Workshop Facilitators

LaurenAlderferLauren Alderfer, Ph.D. is an author, adjunct professor, teacher and mindful practitioner for over 30 years. She invites educators to cultivate their inner lives in the daily act of teaching while developing mindfulness and compassion.
[expand title=”Read More”] Currently, she leads mindfulness practices in graduate teacher training programs and is a visiting author in schools around the world. Her most recent books include: Teaching from the Heart of Mindfulness and the popular book for children and adults, Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda.[/expand]

BethannBiererBethann Bierer is a Senior Instructor in the psychology department at University of Colorado Denver. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, a yoga teacher (eRYT500), a trained meditation teacher and yoga therapist.
[expand title=”Read More”]Six years ago she developed a college level course called the Psychology of Mindfulness which she has taught at two universities ever since.[/expand]

BidyutBoseBidyut Bose, Ph.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of Niroga Institute (www.niroga.org), which brings evidence-based Transformative Life and Leadership Skills (a dynamic mindfulness practice including yoga, breath regulation and meditation) to hundreds of educators and thousands of vulnerable students annually in schools and alternative schools, juvenile halls and jails.
[expand title=”Read More”]Having learned yoga and meditation since he was a child, and with a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, his current research interests include the neurobiology and epigenetics of traumatic stress, strategies for positive child and youth development, and the development of cost-effective architectures for lasting social transformation.[/expand]

MarilynDecaloMarilyn Decalo is the Education Director for the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Marilyn is responsible for developing and managing all aspects of RAK’s education programs, research projects, pilot study and school relations, and educational materials for website delivery.
[expand title=”Read More”]Marilyn brings more than 20 years of professional education experience to the foundation and has developed and implemented outreach education programs for the University of Colorado in school districts and communities throughout Colorado. Currently she is co-leading the foundation’s evidence-based research study on the implementation of teaching kindness in the classroom in Jefferson County and Adams 12 school districts in Colorado. Marilyn graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and from Naropa University with a Masters of Arts degree in Transpersonal Psychology.[/expand]

VEphraimson-AbtViviane Ephraimson-Abt, MS Ed., is the Coordinator for Resiliency and Well-Being and on the leadership team for the Center for Mindfulness at Colorado State University. Viviane facilitates a variety of mindfulness-based trainings for students, staff, and faculty, including for stress reduction, to improve workplace climate, to enhance leadership, and to increase interpersonal effectiveness.
[expand title=”Read More”]She also incorporates mindfulness into her intercultural and diversity teaching. Her mindfulness experience includes leading a mindfulness practice group since 2002. She is a trainer for the Center for Council Dialogue, a facilitator for Personal Leadership: Making a World of Difference and a graduate of the Hakomi Institute for mindfulness based psychotherapy. She is the founder of Mindful Insights, LLC. and affiliated with the Mindfulness Matters Institute.[/expand]

OliverHillOliver W. Hill, Jr., Ph.D., is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at Virginia State University specializing in the study of cognition. In addition to his research interests in mindfulness and contemplative practices, he is studying the efficacy of cognitive training as an intervention to enhance mathematical performance and is particularly interested in fostering the concept of quality education as a civil right.
[expand title=”Read More”]He has been practicing meditation since 1970, and teaching meditation since 1972 in the U.S. and internationally. He currently serves as a member of the board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.[/expand]
SusanKaplanSusan Kaplan, M.S.W., M.P.A., R.Y.T., is a Facilitator with Colorado Courage & Renewal Collaboration and has a coaching & practice, Listening & Leading From Within®,supporting those who want to sustain their life of service and learn practices of compassion and courage to live an undivided life.
[expand title=”Read More”]Using Courage reflective practices, she leads Circles of Trust® retreats, clearness committees and Five Habits of the Heart. She also teaches Mindfulness For Social Workers at Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Compassionate Communication, based on Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, with Rocky Mountain Compassionate Communication Network, storytelling to support healing & reflection, and is a Yoga Teacher.[/expand]

KristenRaceKristin Race Ph.D., is the author of Mindful Parenting, and founder of Mindful Life. Dr. Race fuses the science of the brain with simple mindfulness strategies for adults and children, all designed to create resiliency towards stress.
[expand title=”Read More”]Her work has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. She is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today and is a TEDx speaker. Dr. Race has trained over 2000 leaders in her methods worldwide.[/expand]


Saturday Music

BetsyRoseBetsy Rose is a singer, songwriter and community activist whose insight, warmth, humor, wit and wisdom have added a wealth of songs to the world of folk and progressive music for over thirty years. Betsy has performed and taught widely throughout the United States and Canada, India, Australia and the Czech Republic. Her work with children and families includes serving as Music Specialist at Cornell School in Albany, CA, and training teachers in using music to teach conflict resolution, diversity awareness and social skills to young children. Betsy is also active in the Mindful Schools movement, bringing songs to in-school programs teaching Mindfulness Practice to students and teachers. She is on the teaching staff of the family practice program of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. Betsy’s numerous recordings include Real To Me, (2011) Calm Down Boogie (2006) Welcome To The Circle, (2007), Motherlight, Heart of a Child and In My Two Hands. Betsy Rose lives in Berkeley California with her partner David Stark, and 19 year-old son Matthew. http://www.betsyrosemusic.org/


A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake

Sunday, June 28, Full-day workshop, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
University of Colorado at Denver

Come join us for a day of nourishing silence, mindful awareness practices and reflection. Develop your capacity to be fully alive, to rest in your present moment experience with openness and kindness. You will be guided through a variety of mindful awareness practices including sitting and walking meditation, mindful eating, and mindful movement. There will be meditations for cultivating sensory clarity, focus, loving- kindness and compassion. This day is for beginners as well as those with prior meditation experience.

“Only the day dawns to which you are awake.” Henry David Thoreau


LaurenAlderferLauren Alderfer, Ph.D. is an author, adjunct professor, teacher and mindful practitioner for over 30 years. She invites educators to cultivate their inner lives in the daily act of teaching while developing mindfulness and compassion.
[expand title=”Read More”] Currently, she leads mindfulness practices in graduate teacher training programs and is a visiting author in schools around the world. Her most recent books include: Teaching from the Heart of Mindfulness and the popular book for children and adults, Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda.[/expand]

Richard BradyRichard Brady, MS, is a writer, an educational consultant (www.mindingyourlife.net), and co-founder of the Mindfulness in Education Network.
[expand title=”Read More”]Richard’s publications include: Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning, McHenry and Brady, eds., 2009, Friends Council on Education, Philadelphia and “Learning to Stop, Stopping to Learn: Discovering the Contemplative Dimension in Education,” Journal of Transformative Education, 5, no.4, (2007): 372-394. Richard taught high school mathematics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC for 34 years before retiring in 2007.[/expand]




Mindfulness in Education Network, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Friends Council on Education, Association for Mindfulness in Education, Greater Good Science Center, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Association of Colorado Independent Schools



Contact: mindfulnessconference2015@gmail.com


Contact Us

Website: http://www.mindfuled.org/
Email: info@mindfuled.org