In this article, find answers to the following questions:
- What does a typical week look like?
- Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does that work?
- Will there be enough connection even though the course is online?
- Do I have to attend all calls live?
- Are assignments suggestions or required?
- Are there activities that are mandatory for me to attend live?
- How do I interact with the SWIP curriculum if I do not work in a school?
- What courses or training are required prior to enrollment?
- Is it possible to do SWIP in the year immediately following MTCP course completion?
- How does this program differ from MTCP and from Mindful Schools' other courses?
- Do I need to be a professional educator to participate in the program?
- Will I need to purchase additional materials?
- Is everything online, with the exception of the residential retreat?
- What are the requirements for course completion?
- Is there a practicum at the end of this course? Is there a course certification awarded at the end of this course?
- What does this program qualify me to do/not do?
- How are graduate credits granted for the program, and how many can I earn?
- Do you have any resources for asking my school/administrator/district to help support my participation/pay for my tuition?
- Can I complete the course without attending the retreat?
What does a typical week look like?
The goal of the School-Wide Implementation Program is to support your development as an expert of School-Wide Implementation (with a focus on developing your capacity to take mindfulness to scale across a school or district or in your specific context). This program unfolds in monthly modules, so no two consecutive weeks are quite the same. That said, in most weeks you can expect to have some video content to watch (either recorded videos or a live call). You will have reading and up to two short written reflections to complete. During each module, you will be asked to experiment and try something new in your context. And in all weeks, you will maintain your own daily mindfulness practice, meditating at least 20 minutes per day.
Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does that work? What does that look like?
Our teaching faculty loves to answer questions! The entire program benefits from the questions that participants raise, as they are rooted in real life, so we encourage participants to bring as many questions as possible to the group--at retreat, in our online classroom, and during live calls.
During the year online, every participant is assigned a Guiding Teacher in the course. Guiding Teachers facilitate your small group cohort, and they will be your go-to contact person for most questions during the year. They will know you best and will be your first source of knowledge and support for all questions during the program. In addition, our full faculty--including the Lead Teachers who are responsible for the design of the course and also the full faculty of all Guiding Teachers--are available on the various live calls (webinars, personal practice support calls, and teaching workshops). There are live calls almost every week, so there is always a chance to talk through your questions.
I’m skeptical about doing something this intensive online. Will there be enough connection between teachers and participants and among the participants?
Community and connection are two of the core values of the Mindful Schools organization, and was the heart of the MTCP program. Therefore, it will remain central in the SWIP program, as well. We will begin with an online Opening retreat, and close with an in-person Closing Retreat which will “bookend” your year of study. In addition, we host live calls in each module, where participants have the chance to ask questions and discuss course material in small groups. Finally, the small cohort groups that meet once per month together are designed to foster relationships and a supportive personal connection among the participants. While we might not be in the same room, time zone, or country, participants relate feeling close bonds with their fellows, often reporting a delight at finding a community of like-minded educators who are doing the same work, and we often have cohorts of participants who form such a close bond over the year that they continue to meet together, even after the completion of the course.
Do I have to attend all calls live?
We do record most live calls, recognizing that we have participants in many different time zones and with many different schedules. While our calls are intended to be interactive and offer participants the chance to ask questions and discuss material in small groups, much of the experience can be gained from watching the recording. The only exception to this is your monthly cohort group call - this is the one call which is not recorded and at which live attendance is mandatory. You will self-select into cohorts at the virtual Opening Retreat; you will be able to choose a cohort that meets at an available time for your schedule.
Are the assignments just suggestions or are they required?
In order to qualify for Course Completion status, participants must complete all assignments in the program. Because we know people have different needs and different teaching situations, participants are always given a choice of several different assignments from which to choose. In each module, there are required “intake” assignments (where participants are taking in information by reading or watching video), an “application” assignment where we ask you to try something new in your teaching, and either one or two written reflection assignments.
Is there anything during the year where live attendance is mandatory?
Once a month, your small cohort group–approximately 8 participants and your Guiding Teacher–have live calls. Group discussion, feedback, and support is an integral part of these calls. These calls are not recorded, and live attendance is mandatory. You will self-select into cohorts at the Opening Retreat; you will be able to choose a cohort that meets at an available time for your schedule.
If I’m expected interact with the SWIP curriculum during the year, but I don’t work in a school, will that be a problem?
Since one of the main goals of this program is to gain expertise in various aspects of School-Wide Implementation (such as facilitating teacher learning, creating professional development for teachers, working with administrators, and designing multi-year approaches to implementation), having access to an educational setting (but not necessarily a school) is extremely important. You might have access to an after school program, a district office, a non-profit agency supporting youth, etc. Each month, you will be asked to try something out and report back, and in the second half of the program, you will be designing a multi-year implementation program for your educational setting.
What courses or training are required prior to enrolling in this program?
We ask that all applicants:
- Have a regular mindfulness practice.
- Have completed our Mindful Teacher Certification Course. We do NOT require applicants to be “Certified Mindfulness Instructors” - only that they have earned Course Completion for MTCP.
Is it possible to do SWIP in the year immediately following my MTCP course completion?
No. You will notice that there is a one year space between MTCP completions and the application process for SWIP. This is intentional on our end, as we believe that you will need some time to integrate the learnings from the Mindful Teacher program before taking it to scale.
What if I have taken another year-long teacher training course, other mindfulness courses, or have a long-standing meditation practice?
We do not accept alternate teacher training courses, or other mindfulness courses. Unfortunately, we cannot waive the MTCP pre-requisite, even in recognition of another year-long teacher training course or long-standing meditation practice, as we want to ensure that all participants enter the School-Wide Implementation Program with a common experience in the Mindful Schools Mindful Teacher Certification Program framework, practice, and curricula.
How does the SWIP program differ from MTCP and from taking all four of the other Mindful Schools courses?
The Mindful Teacher Certification Program (MTCP) focused on supporting your development as a Mindful Teacher (with a focus on your development and the teaching of mindfulness in your classroom), while our School-Wide Implementation Program (SWIP) focuses on supporting your development as an expert of School-Wide Implementation (with a focus on developing your capacity to take mindfulness to scale across a school or district or in your specific context).
Do I need to be a professional educator to participate in the School-Wide Implementation Program?
While it’s helpful to have prior experience teaching youth, you are not required to be an educator. Our program has served a wide array of participants–classroom teachers, school administrators, mental health professionals, outside providers, yoga teachers, parents, and those switching careers.
Will I need to purchase additional materials?
There are no additional materials you need to purchase for the core content of the program. All participants will need to have access to the online classroom/internet access.
We do have an optional book club you are welcome to join during the program, and you would need to obtain a copy of that book - either through purchase or borrow from your local library (as an example) if you choose to participate.
Is everything online, with the exception of the residential retreat?
Yes. Other than the Closing residential retreat, our learning experience takes place in our online classroom through the online Opening retreat, online readings, forums, and videos, as well as live, interactive practice and workshop calls, Guest Speakers, and Cohort calls.
What are the requirements for course completion?
Course Completion: A participant who achieves course completion may say they are “a graduate of Mindful Schools’ School-Wide Implementation Program” and will be listed in the “School-Wide Implementation Program Graduates Directory”.
For course completion, participants must:
- Attend (in full) the online Opening retreat (live attendance is required)
- Attend (in full) the Closing residential retreat (live attendance is required)
- View all required online content, including instructional videos and webinars (may attend live or view recording)
- Attend all monthly small-group webinar cohort calls (live attendance is required)
- Complete all required readings and written reflection assignments and all online community of practice, small study group, and mentor engagement requirements
- Maintain a daily personal mindfulness practice of 20 minutes
- Complete the Implementation Lab requirements: submit a multi-year implementation plan and give feedback of the plans of others in their cohort.
Is there a practicum at the end of this course? Is there a certification?
This course does not offer a certification, and therefore does not have a practicum submission at the end of the course.
What does this program qualify me to do/not do?
At the end of this program, you will be qualified to:
(In addition to everything you were qualified to do as either a graduate of MTCP or a Certified Mindfulness Instructor):
Specifically, as a graduate of the School-Wide Implementation Program, you ARE qualified to:
- Design school- and district-wide implementation of mindfulness program plans, implement those plans
- Use various rubrics to evaluate schools, districts, and other educational settings to determine where they are on the path to becoming Mindful Schools (or educational settings) and provide guidance for the best next steps the organization can take on the journey.
- Use the Mindful Schools curriculum to create and adapt a mindfulness program to the needs of a specific school setting or content area (e.g. ongoing classroom instruction, science, health, PE, philosophy, supporting sports teams, etc.) and incorporate mindfulness instruction into other types of instruction or classroom routines (e.g. test-taking, counseling, circle time, advisory/homeroom, etc.).
- Support efforts to design a mindfulness program for school communities or similar institutions, and in general, support teachers and administrators in their work to establish or grow a mindfulness program.
- Lead professional development sessions related to the field of mindfulness in education, the benefits of teaching mindfulness to youth, and the benefits of youth caregivers having a personal mindfulness practice.
- Teach adults how to practice mindfulness by offering introductory and beginner-level mindfulness classes. You can also offer mindfulness practice to groups of teachers, administrators, parents, or other interested adults in the school community or institution.
At the end of this program, you will not be qualified to:
- Teach or certify other teachers to teach mindfulness
- Represent yourself as an employee of Mindful Schools or teach Mindful Schools courses (e.g. Mindfulness Fundamentals, Mindful Educator Essentials)
- Offer advanced personal practice support or multi-day/residential practice-intensive retreats for adults
- Provide mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions (e.g. mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapy, etc.)
How are graduate credits granted for the course and/or program? How many graduate level credits are available for completing the course?
You can receive Graduate Level Credits through the University of the Pacific’s crediting entity, Courses 4 Teachers. You can register for up to 15 units/credits for the year. You can learn more about that process here.
Do you have any resources for asking my school/administrator/district to help support my participation/pay for my tuition?
Please check back - these materials are under development!
Can I complete the course without attending the Retreats?
No. Full and Complete attendance at both the Opening (online) and Closing (in person) Retreat is a required and critical component of this program. You will not be able to participate in the Mindful Teacher cohort if you are not able to fully attend the Opening Retreat (online) and will not be considered a Graduate of the program if you are not able to fully attend the Closing Retreat (in person).