Michele Rivers Murphy

Bus driving past a school

The Heart of the Matter: Cultivating Compassionate and Mindful School Communities

Categories: School Improvement

Based on Mindful School Communities, scheduled for release in February 2020.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” —The Dalai Lama

Compassion and love are needed in all areas of our lives. Quite simply, people are hurting and in need of healing. Schools are no different.

Students, teachers, and whole school communities are wrestling with how best to understand and respond to the impactful nature of trauma and stress and how it collides with our ability to function, teach, learn, live, and just be. Sometimes, “students are too scared to learn” (Lacoe, 2013). For many of our students, the impact of stress and trauma is formidable, compromising their physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being and academic development (SAMHSA, 2014), playing out in the form of their physiological response system of fight, flight, or freeze (Schwartz, 2016). Read more

Alleviating Trauma

Alleviating Trauma: Promoting Student Well-Being

Categories: School Improvement

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Trauma, stress, poverty, and violence transcend all boundaries. Recently, we have learned that for some children, what was once considered the shortest route to academic gains—a direct, concentrated focus on academic learning—may be unnecessarily long and even painful. Read more