Soul of Education
What We Do
In order to achieve our mission of nurturing the inner lives of
Teachers who infuse the principles and practices of PassageWays into their classrooms:
Below, you will find summaries of Passageways:
The goal of these initiatives is to transform the culture of classrooms, and ultimately that of schools and districts, so that the inner life of students and teachers is safe, welcome and nurtured. Our model provides educators with strategies and understanding for building caring classroom communities and strengthening learning readiness and the development of authentic identity in students.
A primary goal of the PassageWays Institute is to establish a demonstration and research site for the PassageWays model within a public school district. Beginning in Fall 2005 we will be implementing programs to nurture the inner lives of students and teachers in a large, diverse, public school district in Colorado. This three-year initiative begins in 2005-2006 when we will be training and then coaching 30 to 35 teachers in a high school Sophomore Advisory program and Newcomers Academy to implement PassageWays models. In all, over 700 students will be served the first year. During years two and three we will introduce the PassageWays model into Elementary and Middle Schools as well.
Our aims for this project are twofold:
Our partners in the project include:
The Transitions project is made up of four distinct programs:
We are also developing Transition Programs for:
These programs provide vital support to students as they undergo the vulnerable transitions from elementary to middle school, from middle to high school, and from a country of origin to the United States.
PassageWays Transitions Programs currently serve students, teachers and parents in a growing number of public and private schools. After bringing the PassageWays model into the classroom, many teachers report a renewed sense of joy, enthusiasm, and connection with their students and with their work.
This is reminding me of why I went into teaching in the first place – I feel like I am truly touching the hearts of my students. My students are responding so well, that they always ask, ‘When can we do this again?’.
-8th grade English teacher
There’s a whole different mood in our room on our PassageWays days.
-8th grade English Teacher
Newcomers Transition Program
The PassageWays Newcomers Transitions Program provides us the welcome opportunity to work with a growing and often overlooked population of students—those who have recently immigrated to the United States. This program provides a safe and supportive forum where new immigrants and refugees are provided the structured opportunity to honor the people, lands, cultures, and personal identities they have left behind, moving far beyond learning to "fit in" toward a place of empowerment.
The Newcomers Transitions Curriculum is designed to increase self-awareness, motivation, language acquisition, academic performance, and to engage a sense of hope. Participants in this program often develop a greater sense of self-worth and purpose and feel more motivated to make positive contributions in their schools, neighborhoods and cities. Teachers discover that students are more motivated to learn English and work towards academic goals when they feel seen and heard in their fullness. Results of the pilot project in Boulder, Colorado have been very powerful—the students report and demonstrate genuine change.
Many students arrive in the Newcomers program resistant to learning English. We need to honor the passage these students are making so that they can be more open to learning. In the PassageWays classes, students are able to let down their academic guard and assume their authentic personalities. With Transitions Programs in place, students are more likely to embrace learning and language acquisition for themselves.
Students commented on what they liked and how they changed as a result of the program:
They asked us questions that I had never asked myself and I got to know myself better and I am more ready for what is to come.
The Training Institute is preparing a core team of specially chosen professionals, already experienced in the PassageWays model, to become PassageWays Faculty. They will lead Foundation Courses and other PassageWays Programs and Trainings in schools and in the broader field of youth development. Training Institute participants hail from the East Coast, West Coast, and central regions of the country, and specialize in education at every level, in youth development, and in parent education.
Programs and Offerings
This two and one-half
day workshop introduces participants to the
Participants learn ways to help students
Counselors and youth development professionals find a rich variety
Features of this workshop include
Strategies for incorporating caring and empathy in the classroom.
exercises designed to help teachers reflect
Suggestions for using play, art, and stillness in the school setting.
Please note: Methods learned in this workshop can be integrated into any classroom, any subject, and any grade level. These principles and practices do not represent "something else" to teach, but a heartfelt way to breathe new life into what you are already doing. Professionals will find a rich variety of tools to add both depth and playfulness to their work with children and adolescents.
Having gone through the first training…I must say that Rachael is not only a genius at visioning a way of bringing soul as well as mind and heart into the classroom, but she has a knack for finding kindred spirits who are equally dedicated and competent to bringing the vision to fruition… I would suggest that what Rachael is proposing is not only a good thing for the profession and this country, but may be part of a growing movement to radically transform the practice and training of teachers… Whatever support can be give to the PassageWays Institute at this time will hopefully provide a transformative vision to the world.
Training Institute Participant
See Upcoming Events for dates of upcoming Foundation Courses.
The principles and practices introduced in the Foundation Course are at the heart of PassageWays Curricula.
Only educators who have completed the Foundation Course may purchase a PassageWays Curriculum Package, which includes a detailed curriculum manual and 10 coaching sessions with PassageWays coaches.
The following curricula are currently available:
Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I can't tell where PassageWays ends and the regular curriculum begins. Everything I teach touches on the social and emotional well being of my students. The integration has become automatic. If teachers could only understand how this opens an entire world with students, I think they'd be flocking to try what you teach.
Colleen Conrad, 8th grade English teacher
I think that Passages is really great for our health. We get to talk about scary, fun, sad, and helpful stuff that I think changed my life this year.
Sophia, 6th grade student
Its better than recess!
5th grade student
The Soul of Education:
A Keynote Address
The presentation includes a lecture with rich visuals as well as brief experiential audience participation. Kessler provides a theoretical framework illustrated through the powerful stories and questions of young people themselves. She emphasizes the essential role of welcoming the inner life in ensuring academic excellence, safe schools, and character development. This keynote is appropriate for educators, kindergarten through higher education, counselors, parents, and others committed to working with youth.
Soul of Students, Soul
How do we nurture the souls of teachers? Teachers and school leaders are asking this question because:
Based on the framework of The Soul of Education, this keynote address offers educators an opportunity to reflect on their own relationship to experiences which nurture the souls of students: deep connection, silence and solitude, meaning and purpose, joy and delight, creativity, transcendence, and initiation.
Also included in this presentation is an exploration of "the teaching presence”: qualities essential to becoming a skillful and inspiring teacher. Strategies are introduced for cultivating the art of respectful discipline, presence, and an open heart.
Infusing Soul and Authentic Community into Leadership
This workshop is designed for professionals in mental health, social service, organizational development, community organization, clergy, education, and mediation. This half or one day workshop introduces participants to the principles and strategies for fostering safe and authentic communities, for developing Goleman’s five dimensions of emotional literacy, and cultivating presence in group leaders.
Upcoming PassageWays Events
Foundation Course: Welcoming the Inner Life to School
To Register contact the PassageWays office at 303-247-0156
Keynote by Rachael Kessler: "Looking to the Future"
- Colleen Conrad 8th grade English Teacher