“San Francisco Schools Transformed by the Power of Meditation:” NBC News

by Bibi Tran on January 06, 2015

NBC Nightly News reports on the transformation of two San Francisco schools through the incorporation of Quiet Time in this December 30, 2014 story. Read the full article below. ___________________________________________________________________

Students at Visitacion Valley School in San Francisco meditate, as part of a program in which students meditate for fifteen minutes twice a day.

Students at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco participate in their twice-daily Quiet Time sessions.

(December 30, 2014)  NBC News — Silence isn’t something people usually associate with middle school, but twice a day the halls of Visitacion Valley School in San Francisco fall quiet as the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students meditate for fifteen minutes.

And school administrators tell NBC News that the violence outside of the school, which is situated in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods, was spilling into the school and affecting the students’ demeanor.

“The kids see guns on a daily basis,” the school’s athletic director, Barry O’Driscoll said, adding, “there would be fights here three-to-five times a week.”

With a typical school’s days filled with mayhem, O’Driscoll was skeptical when the San Francisco Public School District partnered with the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education to introduce a meditation program, called “Quiet Time,” to four of its schools, including Visitacion Valley.

“I thought this is hippy stuff that didn’t work in the ’70s, so how’s it gonna work now,” O’Driscoll said. But he changed his tune, when over a four-year period, suspensions decreased by 79 percent and attendance and academic performance noticeably increased.

Blocks away at Burton High School, which was once dubbed “Fight School,” the results have been similar. Principal Bill Kappenhagen was skeptical at first, as well, and had to wrangle with the problem of when in the school day to grab a half hour for quiet reflection.

“I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to steal time from English instruction or math instruction in order to do that,” said Kappenhagen.

Instead, he decided to extend the school day by 30 minutes for meditation time, which resulted in better academic performance and a 75 percent decrease in suspensions. And students say they’re more conscious of their actions, calmer and less angry.

While Kappenhagen recognizes that “there is no magic wand in education, just like in life,” meditation has been found to increase focus and stimulate a sense of calm, not just during the quiet time, but also for the rest of the day, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Kappenhagen says he knows he can’t change the environment the students live in when they’re not at school, but he’s glad he’s discovered a way to “help our students find ways to deal with violence and the trauma and the stress of everyday life.”
For more information, contact www.cwae.org


This article was originally posted on NBC News. To view the original piece, please click here. To learn more about the David Lynch Foundation‘s work with schools, please click here.



  1. Not surprised. People think it “flakey hippy stuff” from “the seventies . . . and it didn’t work then . . .” Really? Meditation didn’t work. That coach is an idiot, but at least he came around. Stress, anger, screaming . . . that didn’t work. That doesn’t work.

    The results are in. Wake, up America.

    Mark Kirby
  2. What a wonderful story! It’s so heartening to see that schools are making use of this simple technique and seeing such great results. Please give us more information on other schools that are using Transcendental Meditation to help students.

    Donald Sosin
  3. Now let’s add an hour of art, dance or music, an hour of free play, and remove the need for parents to find childcare to bridge the gap between school and work day. The world wins!

    Rosie Biggles
  4. […] far as generic terms go, when you see an article about “meditation” boosting performance in schools or lowering crime rates it is usually more specifically TM because it is widely taught and widely […]

    Getting Specific About Meditation - A Starting Line
  5. […] a whole range of things,” said Cynthia McFadden, who recently reported on the success of the TM-based Quiet Time program in California public schools. “I think that meditation is something we do for ourselves. For me, TM has helped me be more […]

    "Women in the Media Who Meditate" Luncheon Raises Funds to Teach TM to At-Risk Women and Children - David Lynch Foundation Blog
  6. […] kids see guns on a daily basis,” the school’s athletic director, Barry O’Driscoll said, adding, “there would be fights here three-to-five times a […]

    When Schoolchildren Meditate, The Results Might Surprise The Most Skeptical | KindSprout

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A message from David Lynch

I started Transcendental Meditation in 1973 and have not missed a single meditation ever since. Twice a day, every day. It has given me effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within.

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