Education News

HISD Expands Yoga Program To More Schools

District officials say the program has helped reduce bullying, increase attendance and improve academic performance among students.

Eleven students
Eleven students at Sherman Elementary get a morning yoga lesson. It’s part of a growing health and wellness program at HISD.

 

Eleven students stretch out on pink and blue mats in the Sherman Elementary School gym. Their P.E. teacher begins to guide them through a series of yoga poses.

Fifth grader Alicia Sierra has been practicing with her class for about two months.  

“It just helps you focus and helps you relax, and when you’re doing big tests like STAAR, it helps you calm down,” Sierra says.

It’s part of HISD’s Health and Wellness programs, a partnership with the Sonima Foundation. The group donated $400,000 to train teachers in yoga. HISD launched the program in 12 schools last year. Now, they’re expanding it to 14 more.

Along with yoga, they’re teaching students to practice mindfulness and maintain good nutrition. Researchers at the University of San Diego found that the program has helped students there get fit, reduce bullying and improve grades.

Superintendent Terry Grier says he’s seen similar results at HISD.

“We’re seeing improvements in student attendance,” Grier says. “We’re seeing decreases in office referrals.”

Grier says he sees the program expanding to more HISD schools in the future.

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