Letters of Recommendation

Why Principals, Superintendents and Social Workers

Recommend SKY Schools

74.5% reduction in office referrals

The SKY Schools program from the International Association for Human Values completely transformed our school climate. During my first year as a principal, I received 263 office referrals. That year, we suspended 11 students. With the work of the SKY Schools program, this past year, we had 1 suspension and 67 office referrals. As I walk down the hallway of my school, I feel that students are calm and happy. During recess, there is a lot less conflicts. When there are conflicts, students are better equipped with strategies to calm themselves. They also have learned to communicate with one another in a calm manner. Students learned these strategies through the 6 golden keys that are taught to them for the first two weeks of school. Students get refresher courses once a month to Students who graduate and go on to middle school have told me that when they feel nervous or scared at their new school, they have used the techniques that the SKY Schools program has taught them how to cope with those feelings.

In addition to the SKY Schools program helping our students, it has also personally helped me. Prior to the SKY Schools program, I had a hard time managing my stress. After taking the Educator’s course, I learned the SKY breathing technique and it has helped me better manage my stress. I have learned the importance of self-care. By doing the SKY breathing technique once a day for 20 minutes, it helps me clear my mind and helps me to focus on my job. As a principal, I have to make many quick important decisions, and through the strategies and techniques that I have learned, I believe it has helped to become a better principal.


In the five years since teaching the SKY Schools Program, we have decreased infractions at Dodd Middle School by 61%.

Overall school climate has become much more vibrant and caring. We were given two awards by the International Alliance of Invitational Education and several local recognitions were grated to our school community based on our innovative use of these social emotional skills at Dodd. Academic performance also increased while they were practicing SKY in the Health classes. These statistics show that having an ongoing curriculum is so important.

John W. Dodd Middle School

Many students learned effective ways to reduce stress, but also to perceive things differently, instilling greater confidence and allowing for improvement academically, as well as more satisfying and less conflicted relationships.

I had the opportunity to participate in the yoga program designed for staff a little over a month ago. Similar to the students, the stress level for staff is also very high. I can attest that counseling teenagers, particularly with this population can be quite stressful. Having been in this profession for many years, I can’t emphasize enough the need for self-care and not only advocate it to my clients and colleagues, but practice it in my own life. In addition to the regular exercise and healthful eating, I have adopted the daily breathing practices and, as a result, feel more relaxed and focused throughout the day. It is the most recent tool I have to combat stress, and I have found it to be a very effective one.

J. Overfelt High School
Jeanine Davis-Guarente, LCSW School Social Worker

Our students have gone from 52% meets-or-exceeds to 87% in seven years

The SKY Program is designed to help students control their anger, focus their attention, relieve their stress and team build. I have never had a program that was so universally embraced by students and teachers.

Disney is 80% minority and 70% poverty level. In spite of these dynamics our students have gone from 52% meets-or-exceeds to 87% in seven years.

Walt Disney Magnet School
Kathy Hagstrom, Principal

Decreases have occurred in disciplinary incidents and grades and attendance have improved

I believe that the program is meeting a critical need in our schools and making a difference. The program has been implemented in a number of high schools in my assembly district and I have heard only positive comments from Administrators, staff, students and parents and I have had numerous requests for expansion. The SKY Program has provided their students with strategies to reduce stress, violence, anxiety and depression. More importantly students are taught skills that they can use throughout their life to maintain control of their situations. The program positively impacts student behavior. Students have become more successful in school and in life. The results are immediate and significant. Decreases have occurred in disciplinary incidents and grades and attendance have improved.

Joe Coto Assembly Member 23rd District

East Side went from being one of the worst comprehensive high schools and it is now the model comprehensive high school in the city.

We were on a journey then to change the mindsets of students. Now it’s 11 years later and we did it! Recently I looked at the grade point averages at East Side, we went from 80 students on the honor roll in 2007-2008 TO over 800 students on honor roll in 2018.

The program broadened our students vision of the world and given them practical knowledge and skills to realize their highest potential. After only a few days of taking part in the program, faculty members could see a measurable growth in class cooperation and confidence. Furthermore, students gained insight into techniques designed to improve health and well being. For example, the breathing techniques in the course helped students relax and appreciate the world around them. Because of the program, students are equipped with skills to reduce anger, violence and depression, as well as improve focus, clarity of mind and concentration.

Newark Board of Education
Dr. Mario Santos, Assistant Superintendent

At no time in school do we systematically teach students how to cope with these stresses

The majority of our 9th graders do not have skills to cope with negative pressures from the community. As a result, many of them experience increased violence, decreased focus, diminished self regard as well as dangerous health and lifestyle choices. At no time in school do we systematically teach students how to cope with these stresses. The SKY Program will provide students with strategies to reduce stress, violence, anxiety and depression. Students will also have the opportunity to enhance health, fitness and peace of mind.

Vito Chiala, Principal WC Overfelt High School, San Jose, CA

One of the few professional development sessions I have attended over the years which I found valuable and profound on a personal level

It was one of the few professional development sessions I have attended over the years which I found valuable and profound on a personal level. The experience was transformative resulting in the incorporation of a regular breathing and meditation practice for myself and my children.

At a time when high quality school based resources are not readily available for many reasons, including decreased funding, your support of SKY Schools would be a special gift for the children and adults impacted by this program.

Wylene S. McDowell, MSW, LSW, School Social Worker

The SKY program yielded amazing results in changing school culture, student achievement, student attendance, overall wellness, and a reduction in negative behaviors

Stress negatively impacts the mind and body of both adults and children. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health practices must serve as the foundation for students to truly achieve academic success. It is crucial to address stress; the emotional and mental issues that block our lives. I believe in providing coping tools and skills to help improve the mental health of our students and free our students so they can perform to their fullest potential.

Kishore Kuncham, Ed.D., Superintendent
Freeport Public Schools

The breathing techniques taught through SKY Schools provide a tool for these young people when they find themselves the object of bias and bigotry. It helps them deal with these experiences in a healthy and productive way.

Pat Mitchell, SFCC, Executive Director Silicon Valley Faces

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