Arkansas Teacher Corps and Pine Bluff School District partnered together to bring a new kind of celebration to Dollarway High School on February 2, 2022. In a twist of the years-old activity DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), students at DHS celebrated the once in a lifetime event with DrEAM (Drop Everything And Meditate).
“When parents and teachers work as partners, children do better in school and at home,” says 2020 Arkansas Teacher Corps fellow Tykesha Cross. “Its a win-win.”
Cross, who has also served as parent facilitator at Dollarway High School for the past two years, was tasked with planning an event for 2/2/22. Upon reflection, she immediately identified mindfulness as a pressing need and quickly got to work on mobilizing her network of resources and support.
“My senior scholars had been experiencing ‘senioritist’ as the year winds down so I introduced them to one of the recorded mindfulness sessions provided by ATC. After the session, you could feel the heaviness lifting from the room. One of my scholars suggested we offer the session during our 2/2/22 event, and I immediately called John who accepted with gladness!”
Cross is a long-time believer in the power of mindfulness and has been an active participant in the mindfulness courses offered exclusively to ATC fellows. ATC partnerships director John Hall earned a certification from the Center for Koru Mindfulness and offers the four-part mindfulness course to ATC fellows on an ongoing basis.
“ATC has provided me with so many tools. My coach will agree that I implement everything I am taught, at least once, and take the tools that work best for me and put them into practice. The mindfulness session is one that has changed my life as well as my scholar’s lives! These kiddos deal with a magnitude of issues outside of Geometry, Civics, or any other subjects. Giving them an extra tool in their toolbox, such as mindfulness sessions, only strengthens their ability to work through conflicts and issues.”
For the 2/2/22 event, she asked Hall to lead a virtual mindfulness session on Zoom, and the link was shared publicly on the district website to allow for community participation. In total, two dozen school employees and over 200 students at Robert F. Morehead and Dollarway High School joined for the moment of mindfulness.
According to Cross, Drop Everything And Meditate was a success.
“As I walk through the halls, you can always hear a scholar ask when are we having another session?”