Foundation & Design Research

The Luster Learning Institute collects and uses quantitative and qualitative data to measure the success of the Calm Classroom program. We evaluate pre and post Calm Classroom disciplinary data AND teacher viewpoint data.

Calm Classroom has been proven to increase student engagement, improve attendance and academic performance, and decrease suspensions and behavioral referrals.

School studies show that when Calm Classroom is implemented with consistent school-wide fidelity it makes a measurable positive impact. Specific programmatic evidence include:*

  • 21% overall improvement in standardized test scores
  • 75% decline in school violence
  • 73% decrease in school suspensions
  • 10% increase in attendance
  • 65% of teachers surveyed report feeling less personal stress on the job as a result of Calm Classroom
  • 100% of teachers surveyed report:
    • Students are more focused and ready to learn after we practice Calm Classroom
    • Students seem calmer and more peaceful after we practice Calm Classroom.
  • 94% of teachers surveyed report specific students whose engagement in school seems to have improved due to Calm Classroom.

*Chicago Public Schools: Samuel Gompers Elementary and Middle School, Sullivan High School, Wendell Smith Elementary and Middle School

  • View a sample of  our teacher viewpoint surveys that measure fidelity of the program and student, teacher, and administrator perception of benefits.
  • View an additional report containing information from both the school disciplinary records, and student, teacher, and administrator viewpoint feedback.

The Calm Classroom curriculum and school‐wide program was originally developed based on two Harvard Medical School studies conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson. The first study examined the relationship between relaxation response activities implemented in middle school classrooms and positive academic and behavioral student outcomes. Benson’s study concluded that by having teachers facilitate students in specialized techniques that elicit the relaxation response (the release of chemicals in the body and brain that lowers stress, causes muscles and organs to slow down, and increases blood flow to the brain), positive student outcomes will occur. The outcomes included: increases between 10% and 25% in student GPA, cooperative behavior, and work habit ratings each year as the study progressed.

Benson, H., Wilcher, M. (2000). Academic performance among middle school students after exposure to a relaxation response curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education 33(3), 156-165.
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Within the second study, self-esteem and locus of control were evaluated in a group of high school students prior to, during and following a single academic year. Students were exposed to either a health curriculum (three times per week) based on elicitation of the relaxation response, or to a control health curriculum and then the relaxation response-based curriculum. These exposures resulted in significant increases in self-esteem and a tendency toward greater internal locus of control scores. Furthermore, teacher observations indicated a high degree of student acceptance of relaxation response training. These results suggest the incorporation of the relaxation response into a high school curricula may be a practical and efficient way to increase positive psychological attitudes.

Benson, H., Kornhaber, A., Kornhaber, C., LeChanu, M. N., Zuttermeister, P. C., Myers, P., & Friedman, R. (1994). Increases in positive psychological characteristics with a new relaxation-response curriculum in high school students. Journal of Research and Development in Education. 27 (4), 226-231.
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These studies were aligned with the decades of research that has generated a knowledge-base that can be utilized to promote students emotional competence and to aid in the development of these competencies. However, until recently, neither teacher pre-service or in-service programs have utilized this rich source of material to help promote these social-emotional processes in teachers as well as the students. The Calm Classroom program has continued to produce these same outcomes, as well as additional, remarkable results. Although the rigor and depth of the High School study did not match the Middle School analysis, both of these studies contributed to the development of the Calm Classroom model and the resulting success of the Calm Classroom curriculum. The original modeling of the Calm Classroom on the Harvard research combined with a school-wide implementation strategy and ongoing data collection, have made Calm Classroom a continuing success in the schools it serves.

More recently, new brain-based research has been exploring cognitive changes in children and its relationship to the practice of mindfulness meditation techniques. The actual mindfulness protocols are the same methods that were implemented by the relaxation response studies (above) that Dr. Herbert Benson conducted.

Related Program Research

Relaxation Response Research

Barnes, V. A., Bauza, L. B. & Treiber, F. A. (2003). Impact of stress reduction on negative school behavior in adolescents. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1(10).

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Benson, H., & Wilcher, M. (2000). Academic performance among middle school students after exposure to a relaxation response curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 33(3), 156-165.

Full Research Report…

Benson, H., Kornhaber, A., Kornhaber, C., LeChanu, M., Zuttermeister, P., Myers, P., et al. (1994). Increases in positive psychological characteristics with a new relaxation-response curriculum in high school students. Journal of Research & Development in Education, 27, 226–231.

Full Research Report…

Dacey, J. S., DeSalvatore, L. E., & Robinson, J. E. (1996). The results of teaching middle school students two relaxation techniques as part of a conflict prevention program. Research in Middle Level Education Quarterly, 91-102.
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Foret, M. M., Scult, M., Wilcher, M., Chudnofsky, R., Malloy, L.,  Hasheminejad, N., Park, E. R. (2012) Integrating a relaxation response-based curriculum into a public high school in Massachusetts, Journal of Adolescence 35, 325–332.

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Norlander, T.,  Moas, L., & Archer, T. (2005). Noise and stress in primary and secondary school children: Noise reduction and increased concentration ability through a short but regular exercise and relaxation program. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 16(1), 91-99.

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Esch,, T., Fricchione, G. L., &  Stefano, G. B. (2001). The therapeutic use of the relaxation response in stress-related disease.  Med Sci Monit, 9(2), RA23-34.

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Mindfulness Research

Beauchemin, J., Hutchins, T. L., & Patterson, F. (2008). Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities. Complementary Health Practice Review, 13(1), 34–45.

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Flook, L., Smalley, S. L., Kitil, M. J., Galla, B. M., Kaiser-Greenland, S., Locke, J., Ishijima, E., & Kasari, C. (2010). Effects of mindful awareness practices on executive functions in elementary school children. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 26(1), 70–95.

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Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future.  Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156.

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Kuyken, W., Weare, K., Ukoumunne, O., Vicary, R., Motton, N., Burnett, R., Cullen, C., Sarah Hennelly, S., Huppert, F. (2013). Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: non-randomized controlled feasibility study. The British Journal of Psychiatry 1–6. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126649.

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Haydicky, J. A. (2010). Mindfulness training for adolescents with learning disabilities. (Unpublished Master’s thesis). University of Toronto.

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Lee, J., Semple, R.J., Rosa, D., & Miller, L. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children: Results of a pilot study. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 22(1), 15-28.

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Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M. T., Dariotis, J. K., Feagans Gould, L., Rhoades, B. L., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 985–994.

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Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness training for elementary school students: The Attention Academy. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 21(1), 99–125.

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Semple, R. J., Reid, E. F. G., & Miller, L. (2005).Treating anxiety with mindfulness: an open trial of mindfulness training for anxious children. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 19(4), 379–392.

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Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Singh Joy, S. D., Winton, A. S. W., Sabaawi, M., Wahler, R. G., & Singh, J. (2007). Adolescents with conduct disorder can be mindful of their aggressive behavior. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 15(1), 56–63.

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Zylowska, Ackerman, Yang, Futrell, Horton, Hale, Smalley (2007). Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents with ADHD A Feasibility Study. Journal of Attention Disorders, Volume XX Sage Publications 10.1177/1087054707308502

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Level 1

Starting at $25

✓ Manual & Audio Set

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Track set: Our step-by-step manual includes 3-minute scripted breathing, focusing, relaxation and stretching techniques that are easy to learn and teach! The audio tracks can be used to learn the tone and pacing of the techniques as well as to deliver the techniques to students.

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Level 2

Starting at $65

✓ Manual & Audio Tracks
✓ Calm Classroom Academy

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Tracks

Academy Online Training Course: Our 2-hour online training course is designed to train teachers, social workers and administrators on the best practices in teaching and management of the Calm Classroom program.

The Academy training will add value

  • Learn how to introduce the program to students, peers and parents in the most meaningful manner
  • Guides you through a series of the practices and reflection processes, immersing you into the experience that Calm Classroom will be providing to your students.
  • Online videos that integrate the audio Calm Classroom techniques with images of nature to enhance the calming and restorative effects for students who may not be closing their eyes during practice.
  • Learn to share the most important points with students from the research to help create deeper buy-in.
  • Learn how to most effectively teach and integrate the Student Ambassador campaign, Any time, Any Place campaign and the Student Leaders campaign to support full student engagement and personal responsibility.
  • Create and personalize the best daily implementation structure for your classroom.
  • Adapt and integrate your existing classroom management process to include Calm Classroom.
  • Access to worksheets, roll-out calendar, checklists and videos to share with students.
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Level 3

Starting at $115
Best Deal ($150 value)

✓ Manual & Audio Tracks
✓ Calm Classroom Academy
✓ Poster Sets
✓ Focusing Chime

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Tracks

Academy Online Training Course

Student Ambassador Campaign Posters: This campaign is designed to empower students by giving them simple responsibilities that prepare the classroom to transition into and out of Calm Classroom.

Any Time, Any Place Campaign Posters: This campaign is designed to assist students in learning how to apply Calm Classroom to their everyday lives by introducing them to three techniques that they can practice at anytime, anywhere.

Focusing Chime: The Focusing Chime can be used for the “Bell Focus” technique as well as to begin or end any Calm Classroom technique.

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