TOY Award 2019 – Khayree Bey

Below is a list of some of my recent contributions to the community and McCullough Middle School in the Colonial School District. Introduced mindfulness, yoga, and self care to both the students and staff of McCullough Middle School through daily student practice, after school sessions for staff members, district and state professional developments, local community outreach, and state library personnel. Assist in promoting, planning, and facilitating school wide cultural activities including the Black History Celebration and display case, Spanish/Latino Heritage Performance, school wide Talent Show, and host/DJ incentive dances and events. Coached 3 school teams field hockey, wrestling, and softball for past 3 years. I recently obtained my RYS 200 hour Kemetic Yoga certification through The Yoga Skills School Of Kemetic Yoga Master Yiser Ra Hotep. Current member of the Colonial School District’s Educators of Color which focuses on equity and the under represented population in teaching by recruiting, assisting, and maintaining educators of color to better serve our population of students. Personal yoga/mindful practice and numerous outdoor activities. (biking, hiking & kayaking). As lead operator/trainer, I utilized the school’s planetarium as a tool to assist in providing social and emotional learning to the entire student body.

In order to create an innovative learning experience, you must make positive connections with your students. By creating a comfortable and safe environment, my students are able to build positive peer relationships, communicate ideas, debate and discuss relative information, and foster social and emotional growth. I make my classroom a place where students want to be. As they enter, I play conscious hip hop music that reiterates healthy living and uses content based vocabulary accompanied by calming smells and warm lights. I provide multiple sensory materials including rock and textured mats, stress balls, visual stimulation, therapy bands, and responsive classroom techniques. I utilize the school planetarium to meditate under the stars and to teach neuroscience by identifying regions of the brain and the vagus nerve. I work with students and athletes to increase cardiovascular activity and strength in the school’s fitness center. I have incorporated a variety of mindfulness curriculums and strategies from experts in the field including Holistic Life Foundation, Pure Edge, Omega Institute, CASEL, the GIFT foundation, Yoga Skills School of Kemetic Yoga, DSEA, and the DOE.

In order to draw students in, they have to understand the science of the brain and the relevance to themselves. They need to begin to make the connection between their body and mind. We begin with parts and functions of the brain and move into the neuroplasticity of the brain. We then begin to incorporate strategies of self-care and emotional management. Students learn to identify their own triggers and methods of reducing stress. We then identify the importance of social and emotional learning and the implications of positive decision making.