Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director
What a ride we have been on! My hope is that teachers, administrators, students, other staff, and families have all had a chance to catch our breath. So many things did not go as planned this Fall, for so many schools, for so many communities.
So, what is next? What is on your wish list for 2022?
At CEI, to look forward, we must begin by looking back. We worked with another amazing group of interns this past year, and I have ventured into new waters.
One of the highlights was hiring Jill Flanders as CEI's Deputy Executive Director. I think we can all appreciate the sense of relief that comes with additional staff, and I love bouncing ideas off of Jill as we plan and implement CEI's work together.
Another joy has been working with Jeff Ikler and Jesse Kohler on the Trauma in Schools Podcasts. In fact, Jesse and I were recently interviewed on Mathew Portell's highly rated Trauma Informed Educator's Network. This work is one of the outcomes of the Coalition for the Future of Education, led by Dr. Melissa Patschke and supported by Paul Liabenow and me.
Related to all of this, is our latest book, Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being through Meditation, Mindfulness, & Movement: A Guide for Educators.
I am indeed blessed with a 30,000-foot view. Admittedly, that does change the perspective some. Here are some of the things that CEI is looking forward to in 2022:
Offering courses related to our new book Cultivating Happiness. Watch for announcements.
Continuing to spread the news about innovations that can make a world of difference for so many staff and students through our Trauma in Schools Podcasts.
Continuing to dialogue, vision, and problem solve about the transformational educational change that is needed. This change must come as we listen to youth and educators and take the risks that will be necessary as we leave old ways behind.
A Few Thoughts for All Educators
To truly leave 2021 behind will require change. Yet, as gurus of change, we at CEI, along with our esteemed partners, recognize that risks will be required. The road to the future is not paved with gold. You can anticipate a few potholes along the way. What does that imply? It means that there is not a "perfect" path; errors will be made. That is the nature of risk. In our dreams, we would ask you to set aside some time to learn from students, to take some big risks, and to reflect on outcomes, and then proceed with further refinements. The changes that neuroscientists, researchers, and many students and educators are discussing are not minor. Yet, it is time move beyond the education that was forged in the 1800s.
So, with our knowledge of change, visioning for success, and alleviating trauma in mind, we urge you to aim for three things beginning in January 2022:
A Radical Change. Set aside 3-4 weeks for dialoguing, planning, and visioning with staff, students, and families as you work towards a more authentic approach to education, with holistic knowledge of what is needed.
Incorporating Evidence-Based Practices to Address Stress and Trauma. Listen to our podcasts, read our books, and learn from others as well. Many experts who focus on reducing stress and trauma give us the same formula: mindfulness, breathwork, meditation, self-care, and compassionate supports.
Ensuring laughter, happiness, and fun. Yes, we need to address grief and loss and acknowledge the pain and disappointment. However, neuroscience supports the contention that we learn better when we pursue our interests and that even as we smile, endorphins are released to elevate our mood and enhance our sense of well-being.
With all of this in mind, in 2022, we challenge you to "Try 3" - that is to take ownership of radical change, addressing trauma, and happiness. "Try 3" in ways that work for you - with mindful awareness of your community.