Mindful Mondays

Mindful Mondays is a weekly series led by IUSD administrators, teachers and staff to help students cultivate the attitudes, skills and knowledge to become resilient and resourceful learners, who are able to adapt and demonstrate perseverance and optimism as they face academic and personal challenges.  Mindful Mondays are also designed to foster awareness among students and families about available mental health, wellness and academic resources and supports in place and how to access them. Weekly topics include mental health and wellness, growth mindset, managing stress, school and home life balance, social wellness and connectedness, healthy habits and much more. 

In addition to this webpage, Mindful Mondays can be viewed on IUSD's Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites.  For more resources, visit our Prevention and Intervention webpage at iusd.org/Prevention and/or our School Counseling webpage at iusd.org/Counseling.   


September 2022
Terry Walker

Sept. 23, 2022: Superintendent Walker's Mindful Mondays introduction video provides a preview of this new series, including IUSD's commitment to creating connections with our community and supporting the social emotional and mental health needs of our students. 


two women smiling at camera

Sept. 26, 2022: The Prevention and Intervention Department's Mental Health Supervisor Kelly Alexander and Psychologist Marci Russell share three strategies for supporting resilient students, including taking an active role in students' learning and social emotional wellness, developing a growth mindset, and knowing who and how to reach out to for supports.  

Additional Resources: Growth Mindset for Parents by MindsetKit.orgEven Geniuses Work Hard by Carol DweckMindset by Carol DweckIUSD Prevention and InterventionIUSD Middle and High School CounselorsCDC’s Positive Parenting Tips by Age Group


october 2022
two women smiling at camera

October 3, 2022: This week’s Mindful Monday is focused on maintaining balance. Jeffrey Trail Middle School Counselors Julianne Jong and Michelle Trapp, along with JTMS students, share tips for managing busy school schedules.  In addition to asking for help from teachers, counselors, school mental health staff or other trusted adults, students should also practice healthy sleep, exercise, and nutrition habits, while taking advantage of mindfulness apps and don’t forget to have fun with friends and family.

Additional Resources: iusd.org/Prevention, iusd.org/Counseling, CHOC’s 7 Stress Relief Techniques for KidsHelp Children and Teens Manage Their Stress, visit myplate.gov for healthy nutrition information and resources, UCI Health for nutrition tips by age group, healthychildren.org for healthy sleep habits by age, the Calm app and the Smiling Mind app.


Mindful Monday Developing Health Tech Habits

Oct. 17, 2022: This week’s Mindful Monday is focused forming healthy digital habits for students and families as part of Digital Citizenship Week.  Director of Education Technology, Harmony Briscoe and Coordinator of Education Technology, Shaney Valencia share three important tips to help students be strong digital citizen.  This includes setting screen time limits, developing rules for transparent device use, and having an open dialogue about how to handle negative content if encountered.

Additional Resources: Digital Citizenship in IUSD, support.iusd.org for range of student and family resources, the Information Technology Department’s Digital Citizenship webpage, Mindful Monday post with more resources, IUSD’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, and Common Sense Media


Mindful Monday Managing Stress

Oct. 24, 2022:  This week, Community Support Mental Health Specialist Shalonda Ibrahim-Abubakar is sharing some important tips for managing stress so students can be at their best.  The tips include: Spending time with people who support you, doing things that bring you joy, setting boundaries, being kind to yourself, establishing a routine and asking for help. Click here to read the full News Center post.

Additional Resources: CHOC Managing Anxiety and StressAmerican Psychological Association – Talking With Your Children About StressNational Institute of Mental Health – Five Things You Should Know About StressCoping Strategies Worksheet30 Things You Can Do For Your Emotional HealthSay Something Anonymous Reporting Systemiusd.org/Preventioniusd.org/Counseling


Mindful Monday Effective Time Management

Oct. 31, 2022: In this week’s Mindful Monday, our Portola High School counseling team is sharing tips for effectively managing time to help reduce stress. Managing time effectively means finding balance between your responsibilities, while taking care for yourself, spending quality time with loved ones, and doing fun activities or hobbies. Learning how to say "no" when your plate is full is also key.  The tips in this video are designed to support students of any age and their families.  Click here to read the full post in the News Center.

Additional Resources: After School Activities: Pros and Cons of Filling Your Kids’ schedules from CHOCAge-by-Age Teaching Kids Time Management by Scholastic.comTips for managing homework from Hoag Medical GroupChildhood Stress: How Parent Can Help from CHOC   


November 2022
Mindful Monday Nov. 7 Kindness

Nov. 7, 2022: As part of World Kindness Week, this special Mindful Monday is focused on the importance of kindness in supporting child development, mental health, overall wellness and creating a kinder community around us. Our Early Childhood Learning Center Principal Robin Hunter and School Support TOSA Melissa Zakhar are joined by some of our youngest Caring Cubs to share important reminders with our community.  They know kindness is about being nice, caring for your friends and family, sharing, helping others and forming social connections.

Additional Resources: Whether  following the advice of our ECLC students on and off campus, or picking up trash, donating items of clothing to a shelter or finding ways to volunteer in your community, there is a much you can do to make a difference.  To learn more, visit the Orange County Department of Education’s ongoing 1 Billion Acts of Kindness campaign and don’t forget to log your acts of kindness by visiting Kindness1Billion.org.

Mindful Monday Celebrate Your Progress

Nov. 14, 2022: In this week’s Mindful Monday, Ulises Garcia, Coordinator of College and Career Readiness, focuses on the importance of celebrating small achievements along the way to achieving larger goals.  When we simply look at accomplishing the end goal, it can feel overwhelming or out of reach.  Breaking down tasks and projects into steps and recognizing our progress not only fosters self-confidence, resiliency and overall success but it can lower stress and serve as a powerful motivator for students.   

This week, stop to think about three wins, big or small, and celebrate your progress! You can do this by:

  • Be in the moment and identify your win(s)
  • Get excited about your progress
  • Share your wins with family or friends
  • Use the positivity of your progress to propel you to the next step or goal
Mindful Monday Nov. 21 Gratitude

Nov. 21, 2022: As we head into the Thanksgiving break, IUSD’s Director of STEM Bob Curley is sharing the importance and the neuroscience of gratitude for this week’s Mindful Monday. By focusing on gratitude and tuning into the positive, we activate and strengthen the part of our brain that responds to interpersonal bonding, empathy and positive social interactions, contributing to social connectedness and happiness.

During the busy and often stressful holiday season we can reduce stress and increase happiness by taking just 20 seconds each day to think about what we are grateful for. The ripple effect not only benefits ourselves but also those around us. Over the break, take 20 seconds to think about someone you appreciate and share your thoughts with them, so they too can have a positive experience.

Additional Resources: The Happiness Advantage and the Practical Science of Lasting Happiness


Ben Case Mindful Monday the Benefits of Creativity

Nov. 28, 2022: The arts not only have academic benefits but long lasting social and emotional benefits for students of any age.  In this week’s Mindful Monday, Northwood High School Instrumental Music Teacher, Ben Case explores the benefits of creativity. 

Whether it’s music, theater, dance or the visual arts, creative pursuits can relieve stress, be an outlet for creative expression, help us understand the world around us, give us tools for positive change, and connect us with others, while fostering a sense of belonging by being a part of something greater than ourselves.  Click here to read more.

Additional Resources: Arts IUSD, IUSD Prevention and Intervention, IUSD Counseling, IPSF enrichment classes, City of Irvine classess and activities