Everyday students at East English Village are hurrying to get to their fifth hour class, and during this time, a member of the administrative team is on the intercom counting down the time for the students to be in class.
However, most students are hurrying to class because they do not want to miss the meditation exercise, and they can thank counselor Ayanna Kumasi for this schoolwide silent sensation.
Kumasi said this exercise, the Calm Classroom, was initiated by principal Marty Bulger to improve the culture at East English Village.
Kumasi said Bulger wanted to use the concept of the Calm Classroom to teach students to reset, refocus and regulate their own thoughts and behavior.
Kumasi prepares the students for the meditation by first reading the purpose of meditation, and then reading the actual calming meditation words, as relaxing music is playing in the background.
“Meditation teaches you to be mindful and honest, which makes your mind quieter and more open, your heart happier and more peaceful,” Kumasi said.
This daily meditation exercise is done independently by each student at their seat. This whole process is completed in approximately five minutes.
“This time frame also includes a minute of self-reflection,” Kumasi said.
Kumasi said she sees positive effects on student behavior because of the Calm Classroom.
“The evidence of the positive effect of meditation on well-being is becoming quite impressive,” she said. “I see students rushing to get to class in time for the Calm Classroom exercise. Anecdotally, I am noticing less arguing, less incidents, and less fighting between our students.”
Kumasi has been an employee in DPSCD for 27 years -- five years as an English teacher and 22 years as a counselor. She has been at EEVPA for the past seven years.
“I love my students, I love the energy they bring,” Kumasi said. “I love this job so much that I am going to retire from East English Village. I can retire in three years, but I can work here as a counselor for another 10 years.”