School Climate determines API
(Academic Performance Index)
The Alliance for the Study of School Climate (ASSC) claims that "the quality of the climate appears to be the single most predictive factor in any school’s capacity to promote student achievement."
Beyond increasing student achievement, a positive school climate creates:
The Astronauts Improves School Climate
For Students, Teachers, Administrators, Mental Health Support Staff, and Parents
Through Social Emotional Learning Train-the-Trainer program and paradigm shift, The Astronauts SEL program helps school communities to become vibrant and fertile for deep learning to take place. Contact our team today to set up a free initial consultation.
The Astronauts SEL program reaches all stakeholders in a school community: students, teachers, administrators, support staff and parents; it is implemented with a comprehensive, unified strategy that utilizes current resources to create a cultural shift that can be assimilated intuitively into learning environments that are ready to take the next step.
Student SEL Sessions
Classes receive training in Social Emotional Skills.
Sessions are based on the 5 core competencies outlined by the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL). Program cycles can be 8-35 weeks, depending on school needs and program availability. Available in Spanish and English, sessions include CASEL's 5 core competencies:
Train-the-Trainer Classroom Mindfulness Integration
Teachers Trained to Lead 5-10 minute daily mindfulness practice means program is sustainable.
Research shows that daily integration of a mindfulness routine in a classroom yields positive results for student behavior, learning, and class climate. The Astronauts create a sustainable, scalable program, owned by teachers and administrators to facilitate independence and cultural shift.
Supported by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation
"Music is an excellent way to convey SEL through cultural enrichment. The Astronauts program brings professional musicians to schools to teach children and adults about the power of music and Social Emotional Learning. Assemblies can be held in English, Spanish, or both.
Parent Involvement drives up school climate, academic performance, and success measures.
The Astronauts program involves parents as primary members of the school community by offering courses for parents to learn the same SEL techniques their children are learning, to build closer relationship with the school staff, and to reduce stress. Available in Spanish, English, or both.
After School and Summer Programs
Applying Social Emotional Skills Outside the Classroom
The Astronauts offer programs to empower students in real life scenarios, outside of the class, in ways that can hone their interpersonal skills. After school programs are offered as part of a school's fabric. They provide a fun, safe space for students to learn to proactively handle life stressors in experiential ways. Summer camps are field-trip based (everyday a new trip) are a way for students to apply SEL principles while exploring and serving their communities, connecting with nature, imbibing culture, and making new friends.
Based on Pre and Post Student, Teacher, and Administrator Assessments, the Astronauts SEL Program Implementation has many benefits. Here are 3
and Mental Health
The Astronauts assesses student mental health measures using scales like BYI-2 and other strength-based scales before and after the program, including anger, anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, and self-concept. Notably, among other improvements, of the 66 students who participated in a 2018 internal study at measuring against control classes at a charter high school, Astronauts students showed a 3.6 times greater reduction in anger levels. Among other improvements, 90% of students served in 2017-18 report increased focus and energy and EQ strengths after Astronauts program implementations.
SEL Improves Academics
When students feel safe and secure, not stressed and anxious, the parts of their brain responsible for executive functioning are most active. In a 2011 meta-analysis of over 271,000 students, SEL Programs showed increases to API by 11 percentile points. The Astronauts uses evidence-based strategies presented in these programs to deliver high quality programs.
Decreased Teacher Burnout
SEL lets teachers do what they're love: teach.
Even for a passionate and dedicated teacher, burnout can mean the end of a career. Burnout is a costly systemic symptom of an struggling school climate. The Astronauts SEL program measures teacher burnout before and after program implementation to assess its impact on teacher wellbeing, and as a consequence improving the quality of education for students.
When EQ (emotional intelligence) goes Viral.
Impact data derived from self-reported evaluations of program.
91% of teachers
said that Astronauts Professional Development sessions were "engaging and highly impactful" (sample size = 342)
times greater reduction in anger-levels by students who participated in 6-week Astronauts programs.
(As compared to control classes. Beck Youth Inventory-2, p=0.04, N=66)
Staff and Advisors
Founder and Executive Director
With a degree from UC Berkeley in Education and Sociology, a former 4th-grade teacher and professional musician and certified 200H yoga teacher, Martín Blank founded The Astronauts SEL Program with all stakeholders in mind. He has implemented and taught Social Emotional Learning (SEL), breathing and meditation programs for almost 15,000 students, administrators, and teachers across North America. His work with YES! for Schools in teaching breathing and meditation to high-stress schools has been featured on PBS Nova's 2016 The Future of Schools. Martín received the 2019 Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. Martín enjoys sailing, laughing, and playing music.
Dr. Fred Luskin
Frederic Luskin, PhD is the author of best-selling Forgive for Good and Forgive for Love and one of the world's leading researchers and teachers on the subject of forgiveness. He is the director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, a series of research projects that have validated his forgiveness methods. He is a Lecturer in Wellness at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Department Chair of Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. He lives in Redwood City, California and has given expert guidance throughout the development of The Astronauts SEL program.
Daniel, a 6th grader, brings to The Astronauts everything that makes it exciting. An Astronauts student in 4th grade, he struggled a lot with self-regulation and behavior in school. It was not uncommon for Daniel to be sent to the office by his teachers. After his participation in The Astronauts program, Daniel became a "Breathing Ambassador" and quickly moved up to his current role of Program Advisor, making our programs fun and engaging for kids of all backgrounds.
Restorative Practices Facilitator and SEL Instructor
With a background in anti-bullying education and youth programs facilitation, Ash serves as a Restorative Justice (RJ) Educator, Spoken Word Artist, Circle facilitator for The Astronauts programs for high school. With years of experience facilitating community circles in nature based settings, Ash is thrilled to be a part of the Astronauts SEL team, helping youth build connections to themselves, nature and each other and appreciate and engage with difference. Ash explores social emotional education through spoken word, restorative circles, role play, art, inner emotional tracking, and holding space for curious and courageous dialogue to take place. Ash believes in uplifting and magnifying the voices and gifts of youth to exist with and on this earth in a respectful and responsible way.
Jonny Popovich, BFA
Officer of Creativity and Fitness Programs
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jonny received a BA in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University. After college he began his career as a fine artist making oil paintings and has taught Art at Galileo Summer Camp for several summers. In 2015-16, Jonny spent 19 months traveling abroad, where making street art and murals. He now has several murals in various countries as well as around the US. His passions are health, fitness, and mindfulness and he is currently undergoing the Kresser Institute's year-long health coach training. He has always loved teaching and learning, and considers it an incredible opportunity to work with students in innovative Astronauts partner programs.
Sharon J. Tom
Peer Mediation Program Trainer
Sharon has been a practitioner and trainer in the field of Conflict Resolution for over 20 years. Her primary focus has been assisting families, schools and businesses in resolving their disputes.
She started out as a volunteer with Mediation Services of Castro Valley and eventually become the Executive Director of the organization. From there, she branched out into her
own business, ‘Ohana Resource Group, as a family mediator and parenting coach. Sharon teaches conflict resolution, peer-to-peer mediation through the Astronauts SEL high school program.
Michael Edwards, M.S.Ed.
Curricular Advisor for Elementary Programs
Mike Edwards is a teacher with over a decade of experience, including eight years in a high-trauma and economically disadvantaged school. Teaching young children, he has embedded mindfulness and breathing into his craft. He is formally trained on a variety of SEL programs, and uses nontraditional approaches to address social emotional learning. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science in Educational Technology from Cal State East Bay. He is recently married; his wife is a school psychologist. He is an avid world traveler and sailor, with a passion for learning about humanity.
Community Service Programs Coordinator
Jacob Savage, founder of CONCRN, a 911-alternative emergency response organization that brings community compassionate response to mental health crises in San Francisco, is an professional Trumpeter. An integral member of various Bay Area bands, he brings his joy for youth to the schools, Jacob combines his passions for empathy and community building and music in Astronauts assemblies and community service programs. When he is not playing in assemblies, Jacob can be heard playing at many music clubs in SFBA, busking on the street, or dispatching emergency compassionate response volunteers.
What Educators and Parents Are Saying
World Economic Forum
Jack Ma, Alibaba
The time has come, Ma says, for us to embrace 21st century skills like creativity, art, music, teamwork, and caring for each other.
"Soft skills" are not so soft anymore.
“To succeed in today’s workplace, young people need more than basic reading and math skills. They need substantial content knowledge and information technology skills; advanced thinking skills; flexibility to adapt to change; and interpersonal skills to succeed in multicultural, cross functional teams.”