Pom Evaluation Tools

Following is a discussion of the measurement tools we used in our Peace of Mind Pilot Schools Study for the school year 2017-2018.  Thanks to Dr. Laura Feagans Gould for her excellent work in guiding the study and analyzing results.  The discussion of each measure below is excerpted from her summary report.

STUDENT SURVEYS: EARLY CHILDHOOD

The Tool: Kinder Rubric Fall 2017 and Spring 2018

Teachers completed the Student Behavior Rubric by Kinder Associates, LLC (2007) which assesses four areas or domains of student behavior regulation in the classroom: Mental (e.g. paying attention), Emotional (e.g. self-calming and control), Physical (e.g. self-regulation & physical participation in activities), and Social (e.g. care and respect for others). We chose this brief measure because it aligned with PoM areas of focus and has been used in previously published studies of school-based mindfulness programs (see Black & Fernando, 2014) while respecting the competing time demands of teachers.

STUDENT SURVEYS: GRADES 3-5

Please contact Executive Director Cheryl Dodwell at Peace of Mind regarding Survey instruments and Administrator guidelines.  We are happy to support you in your evaluation efforts.

Core SEL Competencies. Students in grades 3-5 self-reported on several core SEL competencies that PoM targets: their ability to notice and manage emotions (emotion regulation), their ability to pay attention and refocus their attention when needed (mindful attention), and their ability to solve conflicts constructively (conflict resolution). In addition, students reported on their understanding of the related neuroscience (brain knowledge) and their perception of a compassionate school climate (measured by a school kindness scale). We provide further rationale for and detail of each measure below.

Emotion Regulation. Emotion regulation is multi-faceted and has been defined as one’s ability to successfully regulate or manage emotions (particularly negative ones) in order to be able to stay on-task or get along with others (Cakins & Fox, 2002). There are no validated scales for children in elementary school (below 4th grade) and younger because it is difficult for children to reflect on and express knowledge of their own regulatory abilities. Although teacher- or parent-report or lab tasks provide higher quality direct assessments of self-regulation in children (Raver et. al, 2012), Peace of Mind did not have the resources to administer such time consuming and costly measures. Given the centrality of emotion regulation to PoM’s theory of action, however, we chose to co-create six items that captured students’ perceived ability to notice and manage emotions in simple language.

Mindful Attention. Typically thought of as open or receptive awareness of and attention to what is taking place in the present moment (Brown & Ryan, 2003), mindful attention is a core skill PoM trains. We had limited choices given there are no validated measures of mindful attention for children below grade four. Therefore, we used 5 items from the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale adapted for Children: MAAS-C (Lawlor et al., 2014) because it is one of two mindful measures that has been validated on children in grades four through seven. We adapted the 5 items from the MAAS-C with the highest factor loadings that are relevant to what POM targets to make language more simple and adjusted response scale to make less gradated for younger kids. Students rated on a scale from 0 “Disagree” to 4 “Agree” how much they are able to pay attention and refocus their attention. We dropped one item at post-test to shorten the survey and because it was not correlating well with other items.

School Kindness. We chose the School Kindness Scale (Binfet et al., 2016), a 5-item measure validated for grades four through eight, which assesses student perceptions of kindness in school. Students rated on a scale from 0 “Disagree a lot” to 4 “Agree a lot” how much indicators of kindness occur in their school.

TEACHER SURVEY INSTRUMENTS

Teacher Survey Fall 2017

Teacher Survey Spring 2018

Teachers completed a voluntary, online survey at the beginning and end of the school year.

RATING OF SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT AND LEVEL OF SUPPORT RECEIVED

Engagement and Support Table 2017-2018

Because the quality of program implementation is so important across all SEL curriculum (Durlak & Dupre, 2008), we categorized new schools into High, Moderate, and Low levels of Engagement and Support based on how engaged they were with POM staff and how much support and training they received during the school year. We created a rubric with four indicators of engagement and four indicators of support based on objective activities that occurred throughout the school year.

 

Jordan Love

For the past twenty years, Jordan Love has worked in independent schools in Washington, D.C., and Maryland as an early childhood educator and school leader. He is currently the Co-Head of Lower School at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, guiding programming, curriculum implementation, and professional development in preschool through kindergarten. In 2017, St. Andrew’s Lower School adopted the Peace of Mind curriculum in all PK-Grade 2 homeroom classes, and the program has since become one of the cornerstones of the social-emotional curriculum in the division.

Jordan has also provided mentorship and guidance to aspiring school and teacher leaders as an Advisory Council member for AISGW’s Emerging Leaders Institute since 2015, and has presented recently at the annual NAIS Conference and MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference. He received his Bachelor of Art in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and Master of Education with a focus in Teacher Leadership and Effective Teaching of Reading from Johns Hopkins University. Jordan believes strongly that school communities are at their best when the environment nurtures empathy and kindness, promotes collaboration and inclusiveness, and strives to create high-quality experiences anchored in Mind, Brain, and Education Science.

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Why? Part of our nonprofit’s mission is to keep our resources accessible to all who need them. We don’t want price to be a barrier for you to attend. At the same time, we feel it’s important to offer honorariums to all of our presenters as part of our commitment to equity. Educators are already asked to do way too much for free. Conference fees make this possible.

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Purchase Orders

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Send to: Cheryl Dodwell, Executive Director

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Jelena Popovic

Jelena Popovic is a school psychologist by training, a wanderer by choice and peacebuilder by heart. She finds humility and mindfulness practices to be foundational building blocks in peace co-creation. Her passion is facilitating dialogs that are grounded in mindful awareness and empathy thus she spends most of her time in the circle with educators, parents, and students.

As the Teaching Peace in Schools Leadership Council Lead for The Peace Alliance, Jelena aspires to educate, advocate and mobilize others in co-creating a culture of peace. Jelena serves as Guiding Teacher for Mindful Schools and Millennium Forum, is a facilitation trainer and guide for virtual cross-cultural exchange dialogs through Soliya, is one of the advisors for the Cities4Peace, facilitates retreats for educators, leads international At Home In the World family mindfulness retreats, and is co-founder of Design to Connect LLC, an educational consulting organization, that assists schools in their efforts in skillful and sustainable whole-school integration of mindfulness and peace education practices. She holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and M.A., C.A.G.S. in school psychology from Tufts University.

Jillian Diesner

Independent Consultant, Early Childhood Programs and Educator Resource Development

After working with Peace of Mind to develop and author the Peace of Mind Core Curriculum for Early Childhood and offer related training, Jillian moved off of the Peace of Mind staff and transitioned into an independent consulting role in June 2019.  In this role, Jillian advises and supports Peace of Mind  in the areas of Early Childhood implementation and the development of resources for educators and parents.

Jillian is a dual-certified School Counselor and Special Education teacher who works with students at Lafayette Elementary School, a public school in Washington, DC. She teaches weekly Peace of Mind classes to all Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students at Lafayette. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the District of Columbia, holds Masters’ degrees in Early Childhood Special Education from the George Washington University and in Marriage & Family Counseling from the University of Florida.

An avid traveler, Jillian previously lived abroad and speaks Spanish and Italian. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rambunctious boys.

Dave Trachtenberg

Dave Trachtenberg is a certified mindfulness teacher, circle-facilitator, and restorative justice educator who has dedicated his life to creating communities where people can authentically share, learn, and grow together.  With 20 years of experience with mindfulness and mind-body practices, Dave is an outspoken champion for racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ & immigrant rights.

For five years Dave had the honor of serving as Program Director for MINDS, a nonprofit facilitating mindfulness programs to over 18,000 students, educators, parents in Washington DC.  Currently he teaches mindfulness and restorative justice with American University, is a Guiding Teacher at Mindful Schools, Mindfulness First, and Millennium Forum, and is on the Advisory Board of Peace of Mind.  For 11 years Dave has offered mindfulness classes & coaching through Walk the Middle Way, working with adults & teens in schools, organizations, and communities.

Dave has trained with The Engaged Mindfulness Institute, MBSR, Mindful Schools, Restorative Justice in Education, The Academy of Guided Imagery, Tai-Chi in the Cheng Man-Ching lineage, and is completing an M.S. in Positive Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University.

Jackie Snowden

Assistant Principal (retired), Lafayette Elementary School

Jackie Snowden recently retired as Assistant Principal from Lafayette Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) system with almost 800 students. Lafayette is a highly sought after elementary school which provides a special learning environment with talented, dedicated teachers and other staff members supported by a very active community body. Lafayette’s mission is to help students reach their full potential through creative, challenging, and fun learning experiences in a supportive, nurturing environment.

During Jackie’s tenure, Lafayette initiated and supported the first DCPS school-wide Peace and Mindfulness program to support a positive school culture. Jackie’s 30-year career at Lafayette also included teaching grades 2, 3, 5, and 6, as well as serving as the Arts Integration Coordinator when Lafayette was the only DCPS school to be designated as a Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) school. In this capacity, she also helped to train teachers and administrators in other DCPS designated Arts Integration schools. To this day, an emphasis on integrating the arts into all subject areas enriches every student’s learning experience at Lafayette and beyond.

As a teacher, Jackie was nominated for the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. She holds degrees from American University and Cambridge College. She is a very proud native Washingtonian, and the even more proud mother of three adult children, all of whom are Lafayette graduates and owners of successful businesses. She has been blissfully married to her husband, Rene, for 40 years.

Avideh Shashaani

Executive Director

Avideh Shashaani is the founder and president of the Fund for the Future of our Children, established in 1993 focusing on youth leadership for peace. She is the 6th recipient of the “Waging Peace” award first given to George Clooney by President Jimmy Carter.

She was the first co-director of the International Institute for Rehabilitation in Developing Countries founded by the UN, UNESCO, and UNDP and was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on the “Socio-Economic Implication of Investments in Rehabilitation of the Disabled”.

She is the author of three books, Tell Me Where To Be Born, Promised Paradise and Remember Me. She is the editor of “Something Deeper Happened: Young Voices and the 2008 US Election” with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Her poetry and writings have appeared in books, anthologies, and journals. Her poems have been featured in a one-hour program in the Library of Congress radio series.

She served as Vice-President of the DC Public Library, board chair of Refugee Women in Development, founding chair of MOSAICA and has served on the board of the Faith & Politics Institute and the Thomas Merton Institute. She has a BA in Experimental Psychology and a Ph.D. in Sufi Studies.

Liz Whisnant

Principal, Horace Mann Elementary School

Liz Whisnant has served as principal of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ Horace Mann ES since 2005. Horace Mann is only one of four schools in the nation to receive the US Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award five times. In 2008, Liz co-founded with several principal colleagues the District of Columbia Collaborative for Change (DC3), a reform structure for school improvement in DCPS whose mission is to craft schools that are inspiring places to teach and learn. She currently serves on several boards, including The National Network of Schools in Partnership, The Theatre Lab, and Peace of Mind.

 

Prior to Mann, Liz served as a school leader in Charlotte, NC and as a principal coach for the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership in Seattle. She launched her education career as a classroom teacher in Boston, MA.

 

She holds degrees from Harvard University, Lesley University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Georgetown University. She is a proud mother, lucky spouse, and an enthusiastic cook. 

Chapin Springer

Senior Communications Officer, U.S. Policy, Advocacy, and Communications

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Chapin is a communications professional with more than a decade of experience leading strategic communications efforts, planning, and integrated campaigns for foundations, associations, Fortune 50 companies, and non-profits.

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chapin drives communications strategies across the foundation’s early learning, K-12, and postsecondary strategies on the U.S. Policy, Advocacy, and Communications team. His specialties include editorial and strategic planning, integrated communications campaigns, leadership voice/speechwriting, and video production. He also manages a portfolio of media grantees and provides counsel and support to foundation partners.

Prior to joining the foundation, Chapin served as vice president at the communications firm GMMB, where he led client accounts across a range of sectors, including education, healthcare, and wireless technology. Before starting his career in communications, he was a soap opera and stage actor in New York City.

Chapin is a graduate of Syracuse University, a daily meditator, a grateful husband, and the proud father of two daughters currently benefiting from the Peace of Mind program at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman

Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman is a Scientific Program Manager for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The ABCD Study® is a large, prospective study of child health and development conducted at 21 sites across the U.S.

In 2014 Elizabeth returned to DC after living in Beijing for 6 years where she taught psychology to international high school students.  Prior to moving to China, Elizabeth was an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate, taught neuroscience at Georgetown University, and conducted brain research at NIH for about 10 years. She received her Ph.D. in neuropsychology from The George Washington University and her B.A. in psychology and French from Brandeis University.

Elizabeth has a passion for communicating science to the public, especially students and educators, and regularly visits DC-area elementary and middle-school classrooms to engage in experiential learning about the brain.

Subrat Biswal

Subrat Biswal was a researcher in the field of lasers and optics for over ten years. He has experience conducting theoretical, analytical, and experimental research at government laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Naval Research Laboratory), academia, and the private sector.  Subrat holds a BS from Johns Hopkins University and a MS and PhD from the University of Michigan in Electrical Engineering. His PhD advisor was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018.  Subrat’s research efforts have resulted in over 30 publications and 3 patents.

During the past decade, Subrat has been focused on his greatest and most rewarding challenge— raising his two spirited girls.  Subrat has found mindfulness to be a vital tool in improving parenting.  Wanting to spread these benefits to more families, Subrat has helped to bring mindfulness and SEL programming to Maury Elementary School on Capitol Hill.   He also has volunteered as a tutor for children in math, reading, and STEM related activities. Subrat enjoys running, biking, hiking, and taking deep breaths with his globe-trotting wife, Nisha. 

Cheryl Cole Dodwell

Executive Director

Cheryl works closely with Peace of Mind founder, Peace Teacher Linda Ryden, and the Peace of Mind Board to develop and share Peace of Mind’s program.  Cheryl is the co-author of the Peace of Mind Core Curricula for Grades 1 through Middle School and editor of the Peace of Mind Core Curriculum for Early Childhood.   She oversees training and support for educators and schools using the Peace of Mind Program, and manages resource development, school outreach, fundraising and operations.

Cheryl began her career at JP Morgan in corporate finance and private banking.  After realizing her life’s purpose led in another direction, Cheryl left banking for a career in the nonprofit and wellness arenas, working for The Fresh Air Fund before earning her MBA with a focus in public and nonprofit management at Stanford University. She then served as the publisher of Who Cares: A Journal of Service and Action and helped to launch the Community Wealth Ventures program at Share Our Strength.  From here she dove deeply into the holistic wellness field, becoming a licensed massage therapist working with children and families and gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of nourishing not only our minds but our bodies and spirits as well.  Peace of Mind offers Cheryl an opportunity to integrate her many strands of experience to be of service in a new and powerful way.

A long time mindfulness practitioner, Cheryl brings a mindful, inclusive and peaceful approach to her work in all areas. Cheryl holds a BA in Economics and East Asian Studies from Princeton University.   She lives in Maryland with her husband James and loves spending time with her two kind and inspiring grown-up children.

Linda Ryden

Founder, Teacher, Curriculum Author, Children’s Book Author, Advocate

Linda Ryden is the creator of the Peace of Mind Program and author of the Peace of Mind Curriculum Series, a cutting-edge combination of mindfulness-based social-emotional learning, conflict resolution and social justice for Early Childhood through Middle School.  Linda has served as the full-time Peace Teacher at Lafayette Elementary School,  Washington DC’s largest public elementary, since 2003 and continues to teach Peace of Mind classes to more than 700 students every week.  Linda is also actively engaged in supporting her school’s efforts to sustain an inclusive and equitable school climate.

Linda is the author of four mindfulness-based children’s books published by Tilbury House.  Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, Washington Parent, Washington Family, Teaching Tolerance, Edutopia, among othersLinda was a keynote speaker at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year conference in 2020 and a featured speaker at the National Education Association Foundation Symposium in 2018and has received a Commendation for Educational Innovation from the DC Board of Education.

Linda brings a passion for teaching peace and over 25 years of teaching experience to her work with children and adults. Linda holds a BA from Wesleyan University. Linda lives in Washington D.C. with her husband Jeremiah Cohen, owner of Bullfrog Bagels, their two children, and their dog Phoebe.

Our Story​

Peace of Mind is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We are passionate about supporting educators who are teaching mindfulness-based social and emotional learning to elementary and middle school students.

Peace of Mind grew out of the work of Linda Ryden, the Peace Teacher at Lafayette Elementary, the largest public elementary school in Washington, D.C.. In 2003, Linda began teaching a weekly conflict resolution class to Lafayette students. While her first through fifth graders seemed to be mastering conflict resolution techniques in class, there were still fights on the playground. Why? Linda’s inquiry led her to mindfulness and brain science.

Once she integrated these topics into her lessons, students were finally able to transfer their skills onto the playground! They became aware of and learned how to manage their feelings to resolve conflicts before they escalated. The culture of the school began to change and educators from other schools began to notice.

Peace of Mind Inc. was founded in 2014 and, after successfully piloting the curriculum in other schools, established as a nonprofit organization in 2018 to share the Peace of Mind Program more widely.

Peace of Mind is now taught by teachers, counselors, social workers and other dedicated educators nationwide, reaching an estimated 14,000 students every year. Thank you for your interest in joining the Peace of Mind Community! We’re glad you’re here.

Henry is Kind Review

SHARON SALZBERG, AUTHOR OF REAL HAPPINESS AND REAL LOVE, CALLS HENRY IS KIND “BRIGHT, FUN AND ENGAGING.”
– Review on MomReadit! – https://momreadit.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/henry-is-kind-encourages-acts-of-kindness/ 

“What did you like about the book?Mindfulness in the classroom is a growing trend, and Henry is Kind is a wonderful way to introduce the concept to lower-grade elementary students. Henry is listening to his teacher and classmates talk about all of the kind acts they have done, and he starts getting frustrated that he can’t think of a single nice thing he did. Luckily, his classmates are there to remind him that no small act goes unnoticed, and sometimes even the littlest moments make a big impact. At the end of the book, Ryden included a few pages on Mindfulness and Heartfulness. These pages have a plethora of information and resources for readers to incorporate the practices in their own lives. To whom would you recommend this book? Parents, Public and School libraries”
– Meghann Price, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Lynn, MA, Youth Services Book Review

“Linda Ryden is an amazing author, teacher and overall person. Her approach to mindfulness makes it achievable for all, and I consider her an expert in the field of social emotional learning and mindfulness. Her books serve as a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and students.”
– Wanda H. Legrand, Ed.D Deputy Chancellor District of Columbia Public Schools

Written by Linda Ryden; illustrated by Shearry Malone.  Published by Tilbury House Publishers.  Copyright 2018, Peace of Mind Inc.

Tyaja Uses the Think Test Review

“This book is a wonderful tool to help children make the right choices in communicating with others. ”
Five Stars from Youth Services Book Review

 

Written by Linda Ryden; illustrated by Shearry Malone.  Published by Tilbury House Publishers.  Copyright 2019, Peace of Mind Inc.

Sergio Sees the Good Review

“Provides readers with an easy-to-replicate method that will help them put bad days and experiences in perspective.” (Picture book. 5-10)
– Kirkus Reviews
www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/linda-ryden/sergio-sees-the-good/

“When a downcast Sergio gets home from a bad day at school, his wise mother listens sympathetically to his tale of woe and then suggests an experiment….”
– Goodreads (2019 Picture Books with POC Leads)
www.goodreads.com/list/show/126587.2019
_Picture_Books_With_POC_Leads

Written by Linda Ryden; illustrated by Shearry Malone.  Published by Tilbury House Publishers.  Copyright 2019, Peace of Mind Inc.

 

Rosie’s Brain
El Cerebro de Rosita

Learning about our brains and big emotions

Rosie has made plans with her friend, but she has forgotten that she has a piano lesson. She doesn’t want to go! Join Rosie as she learns what happens in her brain when she gets angry, and how she can use mindfulness to calm down and find a peaceful way to solve her problem. In this engaging and relatable story, children find out how their amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex work and learn about a tool they can use to manage big emotions.

Rosita ha hecho planes con su mejor amigo, pero se olvidó de que tenía una lección de piano. ¡Ella no quiere ir! Acompaña a Rosita para aprender lo que le pasa a su cerebro cuando se enfada, y cómo puede usar mindfulness para calmarse y encontrar una manera tranquila para resolver su problema. En esta historia atractiva y relatable, los niños descubren su trabajo sobre la amígdala, el hipocampo y la corteza prefrontal, y aprenden sobre una herramienta que pueden usar para manejar grandes emociones.

Written and illustrated by Linda Ryden. El Cerebro de Rosita translated by Lauren Beversdorf and edited by Patricia Frechin and Oscar Ebro-Nebot.

Rosie’s Brain Copyright 2016 Peace of Mind Inc.  El Cerebro de Rosita copyright 2020 Peace of Mind Inc.  

Marleigh is Mindful

A Kids How-To Guide

“A brilliant book… An indispensable toolkit for every classroom and home.” – Jeff Warren, Author and Meditation Teacher

Marleigh is Mindful is a wonderful book…for children learning to cope with emotions.
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change

Marleigh is Mindful is a fun guide for kids about how to use mindfulness to take care of big emotions. Through familiar scenarios, Marleigh and her friends share the mindfulness practices that help them when they feel worried mad, distracted, sad, really excited, lonely, happy, and concerned for the world around them. In relatable language, Marleigh and her friends teach the reader how they can use these practices too. Warm and engaging illustrations and practical guidance make this book a must have for helping kids navigate life’s challenges from disagreement with a sibling to concern for a stranger’s well-being. A must-have on every family bookshelf!

Written by Linda Ryden and illustrated by Linda Ryden and Gigi Gonyea. Published by Peace of Mind Press.  Copyright 2021 Peace of Mind inc.