Patrick Tolan, PhD

Compassionate Schools Project: Research for Student Well-Being

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What You'll Learn

  • Learn how the Compassionate Schools Project is testing out a curriculum that focuses on a child’s whole being, from mindfulness and compassion to physical health and wellbeing, and see how it’s affecting the students

  • Hear about the ripple effect that happens when even a single person begins a mindfulness practice

  • Explore some of the biggest resistance points for many teachers and parents when it comes to mindfulness in education, and how to work with them to build a community that’s ready for mindfulness

About Patrick Tolan, PhD

Patrick Tolan is Director Emeritus of Youth-Nex, the UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and Professor in the Curry School of Education and in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science in the College of Medicine. Patrick is the Principal Investigator for the Compassionate Schools Project, serving as its overall director. He is an internationally respected and renowned leader in the field of sound scientific evaluation of youth development and prevention of health problems. Patrick has influenced his field to focus on how education and health are related and can be simultaneously promoted. He has lead several large randomized control research studies of school and community based programs that have shown important effects for youth behavior, school completion, and family functioning. He led one of the largest school intervention studies of the past twenty years, a $25 million effort over 7 years. He also regularly consults with and speaks to agencies, foundations, and governments on use of evidence-based practices to guide programming. He has published 8 books and over 120 scientific articles about promoting successful youth development.

About Rona Wilensky, PhD

Rona Wilensky is Director of Mindfulness Programs at PassageWorks Institute where she teaches SMART in Education, a mindfulness program for educators. From 1992- 2009 she was founding principal of New Vista High School, an innovative public high school of choice in Boulder, Colorado. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and was member of the Leadership Council of the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplative Teaching and Learning. Rona holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and taught that subject at Williams College and the University of Denver in the early 1980’s.

Check out Rona's work at PassageWorks.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!


  1. Irene Kenison October 19, 2019 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Interesting project, interesting how curriculum is presented is not dictated. Interested in seeing if better outcomes are significantly observed. Thank you.

  2. FRANCIA ESPINOSA October 19, 2019 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Great Project love it!

  3. Valerie Kelly October 19, 2019 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Impressive project. I am so encouraged by this study and to know that we can provide scientific evidence to the decision makers in education in order to foster change that will have sustainable impact on student/human experience for positive global health.

  4. Lynn Cummings October 19, 2019 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I would LOVE to promote this at my school when its available! It encompasses all the different elements we are looking to improve upon in one curriculum!

    Lynn Cummings
    NJ School Counselor

  5. may zaw naing October 19, 2019 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing the project which is really creative and of impactful in the community as a whole.

  6. Barbara October 19, 2019 at 12:35 am - Reply

    The Project reminds me of what I provided for my graduate students! They loved it! There is no age limit for compassion…

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