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Mindfulness & Social Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Roanoke City Public Schools has a robust mindfulness based Social and Emotional Learning Program that supports all students and staff. 

Some of our programs, initiatives, and activities to support our students and staff include:

  • Our school counselors, school social workers, teachers, school psychologists, school administrators, and staff provide students with social and emotional support every day. We are all working in service of our students and RCPS families.
  • We offer adult social and emotional learning practices and professional learning for our teachers and staff, such as "Building a Sense of Belonging and a Caring Community" and the "Well-Being and Resilience Series."
  • We continue to integrate SEL with academics through our instructional core values and responsive lesson plan. We use the SEL 3 Signature Practices to bring SEL into every lesson with welcoming activities, engaging strategies, and optimistic closures.
  • We are currently offering a book study for staff, Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive, by Marc Brackett, Ph.D., which introduces the RULER SEL framework from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Mindfulness Program

Roanoke City Public Schools practices mindfulness throughout the district, from the classroom to professional learning. We have worksheets and tutorials available to our students, staff, and families below:

STOP Practice
The STOP practice can help whenever you feel distress, creating space to observe and tame your feelings, and to access the deeper resources within you. 

3 Breaths – 
Practicing this in difficult moments can create a purposeful pause so we can choose what we say or do next (rather than reacting.)

Gratitude Practice – Taking time to appreciate what — and who — we have in our lives has many benefits. This simple practice helps us to remember what we are grateful for.

Learn more about mindfulness by watching this tutorial with Coordinator of Mindfulness Education Laurie Seidel and Mindfulness Champion/Teacher Quiana Fields.

Welcoming Activity: 
Taking in the good

Invite your family to stand or sit together and pause as everyone gets ready.

Say: "Let’s take a moment to be here together, and now let’s take 3 or 4 calm, slow breaths."

Pause for deep breaths.

Say: "Now let’s remember a positive shared experience we’ve had as a family. I’m thinking of _________."

Smile and give everyone else the opportunity to remember and smile, too.

Ask: "How does it feel inside to remember this experience?"

Allow time for sharing responses.

Say: "Now I invite you to share an experience that you remember, too."

Continue listening and smiling as everyone takes turns sharing.

Contact Information:

Laurie Seidel
Coordinator of Mindfulness Education
[email protected]

The Mindfulness Program is part of the Equity & Student Services team, which is led by:

Hayley Poland
Assistant Superintendent of Equity & Student Services
(540) 853.1393  |  [email protected]

Equity & Student Services is part of the Academics Team, which reports to:

Archie Freeman
Chief Academic Officer
(540) 853.6113  |  [email protected]

40 Douglass Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24012 Phone 540-853-2502