Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #74 with Horacio Sanchez, the President and CEO of Resiliency Inc.,[i] an agency leader in helping schools improve climate, instruction, and discipline with tools and resources that include his most recent book The Education Revolution.[ii]
My name is Andrea Samadi, a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.
Welcome Horatio, it’s an honor to have you on today, especially knowing that one of our early interviews, EPISODE #3 with Ron Hall, from Valley Day School, Pennsylvania on “Launching Your Neuroeducational Program”[iii] features you in the show notes and YouTube video (2:51)[iv] I highly recommend listeners go back to the video interview, and hear Ron Hall’s story of meeting Horatio by chance at an educational conference, where he says that “in 10 minutes (of his presentation) he saw his future in education change right in front of his eyes.”
I want to give a bit more information on your background, since your background is vast in the field of neuroeducation, which is what we focus on here on this podcast. Horacio Sanchez is recognized as one of the nation’s prominent experts on promoting student resiliency and applying brain science to improve school outcomes. Horacio has been a teacher, administrator, clinician, mental health director, and consultant to the Department of Education in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other states. His diverse education and background have helped him to merge research, science, and practice which is why he has been so successful in the field of neuro education. His best-selling book, The Education Revolution published by Corwin Press, addresses the decline in empathy, increase in obesity, and the impact of implicit bias on minority students.
Welcome Horacio, I have so many questions to ask you, and hope that we can get them all in!
Q1: I like how you named your company Resiliency Inc as the word resiliency is important these days in education. Can you tell the story that I heard you tell on a podcast with John Williams, where you talk about how resiliency is built? (early days were hard, every day was a struggle, then they progress with hard work, effort, and now you have only good days and better days).
Q2: As a former publishing rep, I have visited thousands of schools in the US (mostly in the Southwest region) and know that you can “feel” a school’s climate within minutes of walking into a school, sometimes even from the parking lot. We’ve all felt this feeling—and you know that our students feel it also. How do you improve school climate and what outcomes does a school typically see with your school climate improvement plan?
Q3: One of the motivators for me doing the work that I’m doing with SEL/neuroscience began in the late 1990s with the Columbine tragedy being a huge motivator to take action. With all of your knowledge with students with emotional disorders, why do you think we have these incidents in the US? (My friends in Australia say they have not had one school shooting ever). What types of programs, or things should parents and educators be aware of to prevent these incidents from happening in the future? (connecting with the shy/anxious type)
Q4: These days, it’s very clear that students are not learning as much as they could be or should be learning. Parents are just not equipped to be teachers, and I’m talking from the heart, as a parent with a teaching degree, with more resources for my 2 kids at home to learn while schools have not been in session. With a sense of urgency, I’m thinking about students in poverty who will be struggling more these days with less instruction, especially if parents are working. How does culture and poverty impact an individual's perceptions, behaviors, and how they learn? What solutions do you see here?
In the next 2 weeks, I have been blessed to interview authors from Corwin Press, and while researching over the weekend, I can see that all authors for the school market are focusing on instilling character in addition to a student’s social and emotional skills. Why do you think there has been a decline in empathy and what do your programs do to build this skill back up again?
Q5: You have such a vast choice of training topics[v] on your website for educators. One of the topics that stood out to me was Overcoming Issues of Diversity. Can you explain the impact of implicit biases, and how they are formed? What can we do to reduce or eliminate bias in the human brain in order to experience immediate progress?
Q6: What obstacles do you see that hold schools back from making progress with your programs, or any other programs they might be using? What are some key areas that schools should focus on for the most noticeable improvement?
Q7: Is there anything important that we have missed? Final thoughts.