What should we teach?
“We imagine a world where "success" is defined not just by academic outcomes but by authentic human well-being. We achieve this by empowering educators to embody wisdom, love and conscious action in all that they do.”
- jeff Snipes, Chairman & Co-Founder
We live in a time of great transition. A glance at the daily news reveals growing concern for our children's readiness to address mounting pressures and challenges. Technology is advancing at a faster pace than our shared wisdom of how to guide it. The content, skills and mindsets students need to be successful in the 21st century are changing rapidly. Anxiety-related mental illness is at an all-time high, and increasing. To be successful today requires proactive integration of academic readiness and healthy whole-student development. The key? Whole-educators serving as models and teachers of authentic well-being.
Milliennium.org is a non-profit organization helping educators and students to develop the tools they need to evolve from "surviving" to "thriving". This evolution requires that we all work together to shift our collective worldview of success, from I win to We win. Research indicates that this transformation begins in adolescence with healthy identity formation, and the conscious integration of students’ outer world of performance with their inner sense of Self. This transformation will not happen academically. It can only happen experientially, through the trusting relationship of students and their teachers.
We believe our education system provides the greatest opportunity for guiding students through this transformation, and that teachers are the catalyst. Yet teachers today are often overworked and under-supported to consistently play this level of trusted guide in many of their students' lives. The educational methods and social-learning technology exist today to help educators organize into high-impact peer to peer advisory circles, and therein to provide a safe, sustainable environment to practice wise and compassionate human development.
Millennium is committed to applying leading research in developmental science to provide professional development programs and communities of practice in human well-being for educators already employed in schools nationwide.
Bridging the gap
Research consistently demonstrates the important role that mindfulness and social-emotional learning (SEL) can play in the development of healthy human development and academic performance. Yet most teachers report they lack sufficient training in social-emotional competence to sustain their own well-being, much less feel comfortable modeling and teaching SEL skills to students. Educators report increasingly high levels of stress in the workplace, and rates of teacher burnout and turnover are on the rise, in particular in underserved populations. Millennium bridges this gap by translating leading research in the sciences of human well-being into professional development programs and communities of practice for educators and their students.
WHAT WE DO
Forum is Millennium’s approach to facilitating conscious human development through a network of peer-to-peer well-being circles. Based on small-group practices used by coaching and counseling organizations worldwide, Forum utilizes a combination of in-person and live online conferencing tools and practices to promote embedded, sustainable learning and application. In addition to its lab school, Millennium is currently partnering with SFUSD middle schools to implement Forums for faculty and students. Forums meet regularly to introduce new SEL-related skills, practice in a safe social setting, and develop deeper self-awareness and social-emotional intelligence. Our intention is to create a national network of educators in sustainable communities of practice to cultivate whole-teacher & whole-student well-being.
In partnership with nationally-leading educators, psychologists and neuroscientists, Millennium is working to define a research-based framework for authentic well-being. This framework follows the natural human development path across a range of cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions. We translate this framework into practical instructional methods for educators, helping them embody and transfer these skills to their students. By explicitly articulating dispositions and core capacities for embodied well-being, Millennium can apply mixed methods of research (observational, qualitative, scientific) to evaluate teacher efficacy and student impact. Together with our network of educators, Millennium collaborates to better understand which methods work best and how to adapt and co-create optimal practices for development. The result in an integrated approach to Action Research - in contrast to long-term scientific studies alone, which can be difficult for educators to translate into implementation.
In August 2016, we launched an innovative lab school in San Francisco, Millennium School. Together with leading developmental scientists, our team spent two years researching and one year piloting how to deliver, among other aspects, our transformational “Forum” student advisory experience for both educators and adolescents. This dedicated lab environment enables us to apply action-research, gather feedback, and co-create programs in collaboration with researchers, teachers, and middle school students. SEL research indicates these whole-teacher practices lead to greater self-awareness, emotional regulation, and an increased sense of security in students.