Texas State Sen. Florence Shapiro Briefed on BrainHealth Research
Aug. 6, 2008
|From left: Dr. Reid Lyon, Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino, Dean of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Bert Moore, Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro, UT Dallas President David Daniel, Dr. Sandra Chapman and Dr. John Hart.|
UT President David Daniel, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Dean Bert Moore and VP of Public Affairs Amanda Rockow joined the team of BrainHealth researchers to welcome the senator.
As a former high school English teacher, chair of the Texas Senate Education Committee and co-chair of the Education Policy Task Force for the national Council of State Governments, Shapiro was interested to hear about the center’s research initiatives that relate to the way children and teens learn.
Executive Director Dr. Chapman and Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino, shared recent research showing how critical the middle school years are in brain development. During this pivotal time, children should be taught strategic reasoning, but research and TAKS test scores show that the majority of students are learning only to memorize facts. Dr. Gamino is heading the Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training (SMART) program to train teens’ brains and take advantage of this critical developmental period.
“The idea that brain health science is relevant to education is appealing,” said Sen. Shapiro. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard that you can change the middle school brain.”
Behavioral and Brain Sciences Distinguished Scholar Dr. Reid Lyon was also on hand for the senator’s visit. He is the former Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch within the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Dr. Lyon has dedicated his entire career to student learning. In 2006 Education Week named him one of the 10 most influential people in American education during the last decade.
Dr. Lyon reiterated the importance and breadth of research taking place at the Center for BrainHealth. “I’ve seen about every center in the country, and this one is rare because of its multidisciplinary nature,” he said.
Sen. Shapiro has represented Texas Senate District 8 since 1993. Previously she served as mayor of Plano and six terms on the Plano City Council.