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Key to Education Success

Featured on CBS 2 News May 17:

Thursday, May 17 2012, 10:05 PM CDT  -- FAIRFIELD, IA (KGAN/KFXA) -- Tucked deep in Iowa's flatland, among the barns and fields, is one of the 12 great place Mother Earth News says you've probably never been. It's the city of Fairfield, Iowa, and something has been happening in this city of 95-hundred, a mystery until now.

"Trust me we want to get the secret out, we love for people to come and discover our community, we think that's happening now," says Mayor Ed Malloy.

This small place is less than a two hour drive away from Cedar Rapids and has an international flavor with its Indian restaurants and Italian coffee houses, but that's not the mystery. I have to take you here, to the Maharishi School of the Age of the Enlightenment. For nearly four decades the simple act of meditating, twice a day, everyday has attracted all sorts of people and that includes the students inside the private school.

"We've been the kind of pioneering or flagship school for this approach we call consciousness based education," says Head of School, Dr. Richard Beall.

It's like any other college prep school across the State of Iowa but here the students, faculty, and staff all take time to practice Transcendental Meditation or T-M.

"We are taking a significant amount of time in the morning and afternoon, bookends, before and after school to practice meditation and yoga so that our kids, when they go into the classroom are wide awake," Beall said.

Each sessions is 20 minutes and school officials say it rids everyone of stress and makes it easier to learn and perform better.

"Of course there are cynics out there who may say that this doesn't work and your argument against that would be what," CBS 2's Kelsey Minor asked.

"We kind of welcome skeptics because you can put it to the test and I think it stands up really well," says Beall.

So far it has worked, the consciousness based learning helps send more than 95 percent of its seniors to top college and universities across the country. They always score in the top one percent in Iowa's standardized test, not to mention the top honors in Math, Science, the Arts, and Sports.

"All of that is evidence that something good is happening here," says Beall.

Meditating isn't just a school thing, roughly 25 percent of Fairfield's population practices, including Mayor Ed Malloy who's been practicing for 38 years.

"The science shows that there is an influence a reduction of crime and stress," says Malloy.

The town really takes TM seriously.

"You have arrived right when people are first arriving for meditation," says resident Jim Mayhew.

Each day between four and five o'clock the cars and people start to arrive. They all join together in large numbers for meditation groups in two large golden domes on the campus on Maharishi University. The towns people who meditate say that what they do in those domes help create change and it all started at the school where consciousness based learning is helping to shape tomorrow leaders.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child and I couldn't imagine a better village," says student Caroline Fulcher. 

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