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US: Vice Principal of inner city school speaks at conference 'Quiet Time in the Classroom'
by Global Good News staff writer
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16 November 2008
The third annual National Summit on Student Health and Education, 'Quiet Time in the Classroom' held in New York City on 16 October, addressed the pressing concern of student stress, and featured a presentation by Dr Rochelle Jones, Assistant Principal of an inner city school in New England, who was instrumental in offering Quiet Time and Transcendental Meditation at the school.
Dr Jones has been an educator for 34 years. In 2002, she received her doctorate in education from Hartford University, and has served as Vice Principal of the school since 2006.
Dr Jones said that she was skeptical about the Transcendental Meditation Technique at first. However, after doing some research on her own, and receiving reassurance from her son—a doctor of clinical psychology—she decided to learn.
She said her students can attest that she doesn't need more energy, but Transcendental Meditation gives her even more energy, more focus, and lets her be more direct in dealing with her students—and less stressed.
Dr Jones said the school started with a pilot programme and they were impressed with the results: English scores, math scores, science scores all improved for the participating students. They expanded the programme, and this year for the first time the students improved their writing scores. There have also been reductions in suspensions and expulsions.
Dr Jones expressed her pride at the level of focus displayed by students at the school—a low-performance school that offers 100 per cent free lunch.
There was a student, Dr Jones said, who was caught in the hallway with a friend. She was given a choice about the consequences, and she reluctantly chose to learn Transcendental Meditation. 'She saw me in the cafeteria the other day, and she came up to me and said ''Dr Jones, that was the best thing that you've ever suggested to me.'' '
Dr Jones commented that 'you know that it's working, when you have kids coming back and telling you that they appreciate [it].'
This programme, which allows the students to become more focused and to release tension, is especially important at this school. For many students, she said, 'education is not the first thing on their plate—getting to school through the bullets, dodging bullets [is their first concern].'
Dr Jones expressed her appreciation for the support that Dr David Lynch has given to the school. 'It has been a blessing,' she said.
In conclusion, Dr Jones reiterated the great benefit that Transcendental Meditation has brought to the school: improved academic performance, and students who are more focused, more relaxed, more energized, and more excited to be in school.
Replays of the 16 October conference webcast are available at: www.stressfreeschools.org.
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