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Published on Feb 28, 2019
Sara Oliveiri is taking a break from her job as a special education teacher in the Rochester, N.Y., school district—a break sanctioned and partially paid for by her district.
During Oliveiri’s semester-long sabbatical, she is working to finish a Mindful Teacher Certification, with the group Mindful Schools. When she returns to her school this fall, she plans to teach mindfulness to students, and show teachers how she uses the practice to reduce stress.
“I think having a sabbatical is a tremendous gift to an educator. It’s time for me to reflect on my own practices, my own purpose,” said Oliveiri. She’s grateful for the time away from the classroom to finish this piece of her education.
Although sabbaticals are well-established at the university level, it’s rarer for them to be offered to K-12 teachers.
The Rochester City School District has been doing so for decades. “The real goal of the program,” says district human resources director Maurice Snipe, “is to allow teachers to refresh their batteries and bring back key things to the district that they can share with their school, their students, and other schools.”
Those teachers selected for a semester or a year-long sabbatical get full benefits and 60 percent of their salary.