In the aftermath of the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) shared with CMBM the urgent need for a community-wide stress and trauma-relief response. In July 2018, with generous support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CMBM and BCPS launched the Comprehensive Wellness Program for Broward County. Together we are bringing CMBM’s transformational model of self-awareness, self-care, and group support to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and communities throughout the county.

Amy Kenny (MSD Yoga Teacher), Diane Wolk-Rogers (MSD AP History Teacher), Diana Haneski (MSD Media Specialist), and Stewart Rabin (MSD Music Teacher). All three women are all leading groups for students and staff at MSD and have been chosen for Certification and the Mind-Body Medicine Broward County Leadership Team. They will help guide the program’s future development.

Amy Kenny (MSD Yoga Teacher), Diane Wolk-Rogers (MSD AP History Teacher), Diana Haneski (MSD Media Specialist), and Stewart Rabin (MSD Music Teacher). All three women are all leading groups for students and staff at MSD and have been chosen for Certification and the Mind-Body Medicine Broward County Leadership Team. They will help guide the program’s future development.

This program is in partnership with Broward County Public Schools made possible by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

An Enthusiastic Community-Wide Response

In the summer of 2018, CMBM and BCPS brought together 180 teachers and service providers from across the county for a Professional Training Program in Mind-Body Medicine. CMBM’s signature, two-part training taught participants the biology and psychology of stress and trauma alongside a comprehensive set of mind-body medicine techniques. In the Initial Training, participants experienced CMBM’s evidence-based techniques and powerful small group model themselves, alleviating their own stress, trauma, and burnout. In the Advanced Training, they learned how to bring CMBM’s model to the students and families with whom they work.

The response from trainees reflects deep transformation.

As a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I have spent the past six months trying to make sense of what is so senseless. … I can say without reservation that nothing has helped me as much as these last days.Alicia Blonde, Teacher at MSD High School
This training astounded me – how quickly the strategies affected people throughout the room. In groups, I saw people moving through emotions and issues they were not even aware were holding them captive.Allison McAuley, M.S., Broward County Public Schools
Participants at CMBM’s Comprehensive Wellness Program training talk about how the CMBM training has provided hope and healing after suffering the loss of 17 members of their community.

Participants at CMBM’s Comprehensive Wellness Program training talk about how the CMBM training has provided hope and healing after suffering the loss of 17 members of their community.

CMBM has also provided Self-Care Workshops for over 600 additional Broward County students, staff, and community members. In Self-Care Workshops, children and adults have experienced core stress-relief techniques and learned how to practice them on their own. In all CMBM trainings and workshops, community members have had the opportunity to share what they are feeling in safe and supportive group settings.

As a parent of a MSD student – I will bring this [approach] back to reach my daughter and help her get unstuck. I will also share it with other parents to become unstuck, so our whole community can move on.Anise Kohl, Parkland
My experience with this workshop was incredible. … We were given several different types of tools or methods to use for self care and to incorporate in our classrooms. I really loved it, never experienced anything like it.Marilyn, BCPS Teacher & Basketball Coach
James Gordon, MD provide mind-body skills training in Broward County, Florida

Dr. James Gordon presenting for teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Westglades Middle School during 2 days of self-care workshops before the start of the 2018 school year.

Diane Wolk-Rogers (MSD Teacher, Certified in Mind-Body Medicine), Ellen Fox-Snider (Parent of MSD student, Advanced Training graduate), and Hannah Quinn (CMBM Program Manager) led a workshop for 45 students and staff on February 14, 2019, the one-year commemoration of the shooting.

Diane Wolk-Rogers (MSD Teacher, Certified in Mind-Body Medicine), Ellen Fox-Snider (Parent of MSD student, Advanced Training graduate), and Hannah Quinn (CMBM Program Manager) led a workshop for 45 students and staff on February 14, 2019, the one-year commemoration of the shooting.

Mind-Body Medicine Peer Counseling Program

At the invitation of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Peer Counseling Instructor Laura Rountree, CMBM piloted a 4-week mind-body medicine curriculum for all 130 MSD Peer Counselors. Through classroom instruction and supportive small groups, Peer Counselors learned CMBM’s techniques for stress reduction and self-regulation. By the end of the third week, students reported that they were regularly using the techniques to sleep better, focus effectively, and cope with panic attacks in the classroom. 98% of Peer Counselors reported feeling confident sharing this model with their peers and all 130 students have chosen to present mind-body medicine to their peers this spring.

I can’t stress enough how much easier it is to focus and participate in class after that 5 minute meditation.MSD AP Student
I’ve been in a situation where a friend of mine will be in class and they have a panic attack. I never knew what to do, but now I do. I feel like now we can help guide them with the techniques we learned, like soft belly breathing … imagery or meditation so they can calm down and feel better.MSD Peer Counselor

CMBM is currently conducting IRB-approved research on the peer counseling program. A full analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data will be available this summer.

MSD Peer Counselors practicing their mind-body medicine presentations that they will roll out to other classes this spring.

Passion and Commitment

Broward County trainees have, with CMBM’s support, already brought evidence-based mind-body medicine skills to thousands of their fellow students, staff, parents and community members. The CMBM model has been integrated into many aspects of MSD High School, including the MSD Wellness Center; classrooms; Mind-Body Skills Groups; a Mind-Body Ambassador Club; the media center; and parent-teacher conferences. CMBM’s approach has also been integrated into organizations serving families across the county — into the public 211 Suicide Hotline, the popular Canine Assisted Therapy Dogs program, as well as local synagogues and community centers.

This program is the beginning of a community transformation. [It] can make a world of difference in every school in our community and beyond.Sheryl Brill, Everglades Elementary School

A culture of care and compassion is growing among participants of CMBM’s program in Broward County. Each week we hear stories of increased connection and support from students, families, staff and community members. MSD students and parents who participated in our training said they felt hope for the first time since the shooting. MSD school leadership and staff who attend our ongoing Self-Care Workshops regularly thank CMBM for helping them be vulnerable with one another. Teachers and community members outside Parkland have said that, with CMBM’s programing, they feel heard and supported for the first time.

To ensure ongoing, personalized support, CMBM offers all trainees weekly phone supervision. In Supervision calls, CMBM’s Senior Faculty Members provide clinical guidance, mentorship and support for trainees as they integrate the model into their work in classrooms, small groups, and one-on-one and family services.

Local Innovation

One particularly exciting, locally-driven aspect of the program is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Mind-Body Ambassador Club. Started by MSD teacher Diane Wolk-Rogers and parent Ellen Fox-Snider, the MB Ambassador Club has brought together dozens of students, including several of those most directly affected by the shooting. Members of the club make a 6-week commitment to learning and practicing self-care skills. Students are proudly embracing their role as Ambassadors, and are now sharing their experience with their friends and families. They hope to spread the Club across the county.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share why they joined the Mind-Body Ambassadors Club started by Diane Wolk-Rogers (Teacher) and Ellen Fox-Snider (Parent). Video Credit to Samantha Deitsch, Vanessa Williams and MSD News

Next Steps

In the spring and summer of 2019, CMBM will implement a BCPS Leadership Training Program. This training will equip 20 of the most gifted and committed BCPS trainees to provide supervision to their colleagues and Peer Counselors as they continue to implement mind-body medicine programming in the schools and institutions where they work. This BCPS Leadership Team will serve as a strong and cohesive local network of support for all trainees and provide the foundation for expanding the work throughout the Broward County area.

CMBM is working with BCPS, Children’s Services Council, and United Way to finalize plans for a second large-scale Mind-body Medicine Training Program in 2019-2020 to expand and strengthen the Comprehensive Wellness Program and meet the ongoing needs in the community. The Peer Counseling Program at MSD is serving as a model for other schools across the county: a dozen have indicated interest in replicating the program.

A wonderful investment in myself and my community. I loved the faculty/presenters, lectures, techniques and groups. I think our world and specifically our education system would be a more connected, happy, resilient and growth-oriented place with more of this work.Crystal Reyes, Ed.S. School and Mental Health Counseling, Broward Schools

For inquiries about our work with Broward County Public Schools and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, please contact Hannah Quinn, CMBM Programs Manager at [email protected].