The Harley School

The support of an Edward E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant will allow The Harley School to take a national leadership position in the area of emotional literacy and to establish the Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education (CMEE). The School’s renowned Hospice Program is an experiential service learning archetype with a widely applicable and transferable curricular framework that maps onto many service opportunities. This uniquely positions Harley to lead, develop and support the growing community of teachers engaging in the emerging area of empathy education

During the academic year, the CMEE will focus on curricular development and program support by working with the national community of practitioners in secondary schools. Faculty of the CMEE will present findings and communicate the teacher education and professional development opportunities of the CMEE. During the summer, the CMEE will hold a summer institute of programs in two main areas: (1) teacher education and professional development programs will be conducted onsite and at other locations. Participants will learn how curricular elements are implemented as part of a normal course schedule and how a service experience is integrated into this academic framework. Participants will also actively engage in a service experience during the course of the program in order to further their understanding of empathy education; (2) an annual “Think Tank” will bring together leading researchers and educators to coalesce the understanding of current best practices, discuss emerging theories and cultivate a broader understanding of the validity and importance of emotional literacy.

Harley will partner with the Human Motivation Research Group at the University of Rochester to conduct research in the areas of: 1) the effectiveness of the service curriculum in engendering greater empathy and compassion in students across their time in the program, 2) the impact of the CMEE on teachers’ attitudes toward teaching, their feelings of purpose and meaning derived from their work, and implementation of training practices in their schools, and 3) the extent to which the development of core competencies of empathy and compassion translate into continued community citizenry beyond students’ secondary schooling.