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NYC DOE yoga czar touts meditation, expensive Berkshires retreats



NYC DOE yoga czar touts meditation, expensive Berkshires retreats

While Chancellor Richard Carranza plans to cut hundreds of millions of NYC classrooms, his little-known yoga czar – the first “Attention Director” of the school system – earns nearly $ 200,000 a year while organizing retreats for educators in the Berkshires.

Barnaby Spring, head of the yogi Department of Education, is trying to expand yoga and meditation for students, staff and executives, considering contemplative practices and body-bending postures such as Dogs facing down as important as academics.

“This is specifically to start putting children’s social-emotional needs in an equally important place if not more important than academic learning,” Spring told in October.

A former teacher and principal, Spring, 59, was directly elected by First Chancellor Deputy Cheryl Watson-Harris for the role, with Carranza’s support.

“The Chancellor is familiar with the practice of meditation and mindfulness,” Spring told “They understand this cost effectiveness, almost as a preventive health care initiative.”

Spring’s salary is $ 183,781, but he raised $ 194,947 last year as a principal on a special assignment.

One of the first steps Spring took as a director of mindfulness was to forge a partnership with the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which Forbes called in November the “best meditation retreat in the world.”

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.Alamy Stock Photo

Spring helped arrange top DOE administrators, including principals, managers, supervisors and deputies, to undergo “leadership endurance training” at the Berkshires retreat.

Surrounded by 100 hectares of lush, Kripalu sits on a hilltop with beautiful views of the forests, valleys and Mahkeenac Lake. The center offers classes as well as massages and facials, overnight accommodation and a cafe featuring salads and “Buddha Bars” with nuts, seeds and vegetables.

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“At first, we believed this was an opportunity for our section chiefs and our executive section heads to learn a little more about yoga and care for themselves,” Spring said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a yoga practitioner and ally of Watson-Harris, gave a DOE grant of $ 111,000 in April 2019 to train Brooklyn educators in yoga and attention.

The DOE said that amount, plus the $ 225 it issued, paid 30 administrators to train Kripalu at a cost of $ 3,705 each. DOE said Kripalu offered free classes to 480 other staff.

City supervisors’ records show DOE schools spent $ 101,000 at the Kripalu Center in the 2018-19 school year and $ 18,000 this school year.

Since then DOE has launched the Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program, touting it as the first certified yoga and mindfulness school in America. DOE did not say how many teachers have taken the course so far.

School Chancellor Richard Carranza, center, meditating at a meeting with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, left.
School Chancellor Richard Carranza, center, meditating at a meeting with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, left.Indonesia

Kimberly Watkins, president adviser of Community Education Council 3’s parents, which covers the Upper West Side and southern Harlem, said she had never heard of Spring or her title.

“I didn’t know there were people like that. This is crazy,” he said. “I do not support spending related to executives who explore current mindfulness. It is luxurious. We should not spend money on yoga when we know our school will be more underfunded than before. “

The introduction of yoga and meditation in city schools gained popularity under former Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who agreed that stretching and calm reflection exercises can reduce stress and help children focus.

Spring was an actor before becoming an educator. In 1994, he wrote and starred in a one-act drama based on his experiences from ages 10 to 18 who lived in Pastel Flanagan’s Boy’s Town, Nebraska’s home for abused and neglected children who became famous by the 1938 film starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.

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After teaching for about six years, Spring became the principal at Manhattan and Brooklyn transfer schools because students failed, but were eventually placed in a pool of “excessive” administrators without permanent employment. He was sent to work in the Brooklyn field office, where Watson-Harris was responsible before he became the second person at Carranza. They are suitable, said the source.

Spring positions are not advertised, and their appointments are not made public. While DOE has an Office of Wellness, which includes physical and health programs, Spring remains in the office of the first vice chancellor. He did not return phone calls for comments.

Barnaby Spring and First Vice Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris
Barnaby Spring and First Vice Chancellor Cheryl Watson-HarrisFacebook

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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