Tempe High Schools Add Mindfulness Rooms

By Mariana Dale
Published: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 4:35pm
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 4:38pm

Corona Del Sol
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
A $5,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks helped pay for the renovation at Corona Del Sol and a grant from the Governor’s Office on Youth, Faith and Families is supporting districtwide mindfulness training for staff.

A room that once held dozens of computers at Corona Del Sol High School is now filled instead with comfy chairs. One wall is brick and the others are a cool, pale blue.

“It’s beautiful, it’s calming and relaxing,” said school social worker Lauri Pagano.

This is the school’s mindfulness room. By the end of the first semester, every campus in the Tempe Union High School District will have a similar space as part of its social and emotional wellness programs.

A $5,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks helped pay for the renovation at Corona Del Sol and a grant from the Governor’s Office on Youth, Faith and Families is supporting districtwide mindfulness training for staff.

Corona Del Sol social worker Lauri Pagano
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
“Mindfulness is the awareness of emotions, thoughts and feelings in the present moment without harmful judgement,” said school social worker Lauri Pagano.

“The goal is to transport the students from the classroom into a sort of a neutral and a calming and supportive place,” Pagano said. She started including mindfulness in her work at the school a few years ago.

“Mindfulness is the awareness of emotions, thoughts and feelings in the present moment without harmful judgement,” Pagano said.

She helps students find this awareness with different exercises, for example, deep breathing.

School districts around the country, and outside it, are experimenting with mindfulness as a way to foster resilience and change student discipline.

Preliminary research shows a mindfulness practice could help decrease anxiety, but studies are limited.

Corona Del Sol’s health and wellness coach Cinthia Martínez teaches freshman about healthy relationships, conflict resolution and, now, mindfulness.

“Even though we have this amazing room and the idea is to transport them out of here, the work doesn’t end here,” Martínez said.  

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