April mission Moments 2022

Inspiring the use of Daily Mindfulness in Special Education Classrooms at La Joya Independent School District

At La Joya Independent School District, Special Education Teacher Judith Lopez Guerra joins her students in an audio-guided mindfulness practice by Inner Explorer. And while a 5-10 minute practice may sound simple, it has a profound effect on the remainder of the school day; the entire class – including Judith – feels calm, settled, and prepared for academics.

Judith finds that daily mindfulness is particularly effective in helping her special education students advocate for themselves. Through cultivating skills like self-awareness and self-compassion, students recognize when they need to ask for help. "If we are in the middle of a math lesson and they become overwhelmed and can’t focus, I will offer to do a session right then and there – or the students will ask me to play an Inner Explorer practice," she shares.

As a result, classroom culture transforms from the inside out: Judith notes an 80% reduction in the need for additional help and 85% fewer behavioral issues – a success she credits to daily mindfulness.

In addition to improving classroom culture, mental and emotional well-being impact academic outcomes too. Research on the Inner Explorer program proves that it is an effective way to improve Math, Reading, and Science scores, plus boost average G.P.A.

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"We have math and we have science, but we also have Inner Explorer. Through Mindfulness-Based Social Emotional Learning (MBSEL), students can get in touch with how they are feeling; as a teacher, I want them to know that what they are feeling matters because it impacts everything else that they do," says Judith.

Are you looking to implement Inner Explorer in special education classrooms? Find best practices and more insight from La Joya Independent School District in our case study.

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