How Daily Mindfulness Helped a School Dealing with Parental Opioid Addiction

In Ravenswood, West Virginia, students at Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School are dealing with the implications of the parental opioid crisis. Hardships that stem from parental addition lead to chronic stress for students, and in turn, hinder their ability to focus and learn in school.

“A rising number of students at Henry J. Kaiser have lost their parents, either to the prison system, overdose, or the haze of addiction, and many carry complex emotional needs with them into the classroom,” says a feature article about the school for The Nation Magazine. Inner Explorer reached out to School Principal Amber Hardman to see if our program could help their school community. Coincidentally, Principal Hardman was searching for trauma-sensitive programs – “We desperately needed a solution and tools but we lacked resources. Just as I started to look into programs, Inner Explorer found us,” she shares.

With the support of our partners at LG Electronics, Inner Explorer provided daily mindfulness programming to Henry J. Kaiser at no cost. In just one year of using the program, the school saw significant results:
1. 77% decrease in total discipline events.
2. 48% of students were reading at grade level, compared to 17% the year prior.
3. 38% of students performed at grade level for math, compared to 8% the year before.

As student behavior and performance improved, so did educator retention and well-being.

“I wanted to quit. In my 31 years of teaching, I had never experienced so much disobedience and trauma before in my career. After practicing Inner Explorer with the kids for a year, I saw a transformation in my classroom. Students no longer had outbursts in class, I didn’t have to send any of the kids to detention, and their grades significantly improved. I decided not to quit,” says a second grade teacher.

Through practicing daily mindfulness, students and educators were given the tools to manage the difficult emotions they were experiencing; in turn, they were able to recognize and communicate what they were feeling, self-regulate during moments of intense emotion, and begin the day ready to learn and ready to teach.
Read the full Henry kaisar case study here