Ambition grant aims to transform school year for students, teachers

The ‘Be’ Project is coming to fruition with the help of a 90-day What’s Your Ambition?! grant, but the effort to train Clark County teachers, staff and students mindfulness has the power to impact the entire school year. In fact, project organizer Kara Davies says it could transform the whole community for decades to come.

“Happy brains learn better, are more curious and use a higher level of thinking skills,” Davies Davies, special education facilitator of Clark County Public Schools and founder of The ‘Be’ Project, said. “Arming students with tools about how to react to emotional stress is just as important as providing them with traditional academics. Mindfulness techniques can be used in all aspects of life, and we hope students will go home and share with their families.”

Mindfulness helps to focus one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings and thoughts. It teaches students, teachers and staff to take a step back from a frustrating or stressful situation, breathe, and be in better control of their emotions as they react. Benefits for students include improved social-emotional competence, improved attention and concentration, and increased optimism.

Project organizers will hold two training sessions on Friday, August 11, and they are encouraging all Clark County Public Schools employees – teachers, counselors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and other staff members – to attend a three hour workshop. The training and teacher support in the first three months of the school year are being made possible by a $9,600 What’s Your Ambition?! grant from The Greater Clark Foundation.

A team of highly-qualified professionals in Clark County developed the mindfulness curriculum which has been reviewed by psychologists, mindfulness instructors, and educational consultants. This curriculum will provide teachers and staff within Clark County Public Schools the necessary tools to help incorporate mindfulness in their own classrooms and schools, beginning this upcoming school year.

“The ‘Be’ Project has will empower students and teachers to change the way they react to situations, and could make a positive impact on academic performance and overall well-being,” said Jen Algire, president and chief executive officer of The Greater Clark Foundation. “We’re excited to see how these efforts help students and teachers cope with the stress of the school year and therefore create a better learning environment for all.”

The project will establish a model classroom in each of the district’s seven schools where the teacher will receive ongoing coaching in order to effectively utilize mindfulness strategies with students throughout the course of instruction.

Two mindfulness training sessions will be Aug. 11 —  9 a.m. to noon at George Rogers Clark High School or 1 to 4 p.m. at Campbell Junior High School.

Attendees are asked to RSVP at kara.davies@clark.kyschools.com or 859-644-4415.

For more information, visit ClarkAmbition.org or call 859-355-9054.