Meditation Boosts Student Performance in SF School

James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, CA, talks about the meditation program he implemented to try and improve student learning and behavior in his school.

When Dierke first arrived at the school it had the highest absentee rate, the highest suspension rate, the highest teacher turnover rate, the lowest academic achievement rate. The neighborhood had the second highest crime rate in San Francisco and about 85% of the kids were from homes of poverty.

Principal Dierke and his staff were instructed in meditation. They implemented the “Quiet Time” program in their 6th and 7th grade classes. Twice a day students practiced meditation for 15 minutes.

The results of their experiment were startling.

  • The classes that participated in Quiet Time had fewer suspensions, better attendance and higher levels of academic achievement.
    Since the implementation of Quiet Time, attendance rates improved to 98.3%.
  • Standardized test scores increased significantly more for Quiet time students.
  • Visitacion Valley Middle School went from one of the highest suspending schools to one of the lowest.
  • 20% of graduating 8th graders were accepted into Lowell High School, one of the top performing high schools in the United States.

After the success of Quiet Time at Visitacion Valley Middle School, the program expanded to 3 additional schools.

Students are not the only ones benefiting from the Quiet Time. Since the program was implemented, the teacher attrition rate at Visitation Valley MS went from about half to virtually nil.

Many schools are now on a waiting list to start the Quiet Time program.

You can learn more about the Quiet Time program through the David Lynch Foundation.


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