ASSET: Mitigating Anxiety In The Present, Building Resilience For The Future

Kelli Brown | Commuity Relations Manager, Imaginarium |

The Imaginarium’s Vision — Cultivating Innovation
Denver Public Schools (DPS) established an innovation lab — The Imaginarium — in 2014. The Imaginarium’s mission is to
transform learning and public education systems by stimulating and supporting innovation across Denver. An integral part
of stimulating innovation is the Design Challenge — a competition that challenges Denver students and adults to design and
implement innovative products and services that would create a positive impact on students. During the 2016
Imaginarium Design Challenge, Ms. Tessa Zimmerman, a college student, won $9,000, which she used to launch ASSET
Education (ASSET), a pilot program designed to help students better cope with anxiety in the classroom and in their
daily lives.

Executive Summary
ASSET Education: Mitigating Anxiety in the Present,
Building Resilience for the Future
This research evaluates the impact of ASSET’s program
in two DPS classrooms over an eight-week period during
the spring 2017 semester. The research studied how the
program was implemented, and includes data and feedback
from student and teacher participants.
ASSET is composed of 30 lesson plans with accompanying
tools that aim to mitigate anxiety through a variety of
coping mechanisms, including mindfulness and positive
psychology. The goal of ASSET is to help students improve
their focus in school and in their daily lives by building their
capacity to manage stress and to be more mindful.
Preliminary findings suggest: the curriculum decreased
stress, increased mindfulness, and provides tools that
translate outside of the classroom to help students better
manage anxiety in their overall life.

Key Findings include:
• 50% of the students in the study reported a decrease in
their stress levels
• 66% of the students in the study reported an increase in
• 80% of students reported they would like other classes
to incorporate ASSET tools
The Need for Asset Education
Previous research indicates that 85% of students experience
daily stress or anxiety from pressures related to school, and
79% say this negatively impacts academic performance. 1
Additionally, school-related stress and anxiety have
long-term adverse effects on students’ well-being and
academic performance. Unfortunately, only 10% of students
in this study reported that their school provided resources
to help them cope with stress and anxiety.