News Release

Dallas ISD and Center for BrainHealth announce winner of $10,000 Great Brain Gain Middle School Contest

Award will fund promotion of proactive brain health among students and school community

Grant and Award Announcement

Center for BrainHealth

Sam Tasby Middle School receiving check at assembly


Winner of the Great Brain Gain Middle School Contest, Dallas ISD's Sam Tasby Middle School held a school assembly to announce the $10,000 prize and access to Center for BrainHealth cognitive training for students, staff and parents.

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Credit: Center for BrainHealth

Dallas ISD and the Center for BrainHealth have selected Sam Tasby Middle School as winner of the Great Brain Gain Middle School Contest. As the winning campus, Tasby will receive a $10,000 prize and access to cognitive training for students, staff and parents. 

The Great Brain Gain Middle School Contest is a partnership between Dallas ISD and UT Dallas' Center for BrainHealth, aimed to promote brain health and development throughout middle school communities. It was made possible thanks to a generous gift from BrainHealth supporters Sandy and Tommy Rouse. 

Schools were invited to submit a 3-5 minute video or a one-page document outlining their plan to promote brain health among students, faculty, staff, administration, and parents/families. A panel of judges comprised of Center for BrainHealth leaders and Dallas ISD administrators selected Sam Tasby Middle School from ten campuses that submitted entries.

Stephanie S. Elizalde, EdD, lauded the initiative. “I'm thrilled to introduce a groundbreaking initiative that places a spotlight on the epicenter of human potential, the adolescent brain,” she said. “Tasby’s submission demonstrated innovation and campus buy-in, showcasing a strong commitment to promoting brain health throughout their school community.”

Students and teachers learned about the award during a gleeful school-wide assembly on May 10. Tasby Principal Nesha Maston made the announcement alongside Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, Chief Director at Center for BrainHealth; Jacquelyn Gamino, PhD, Director of the Center’s Adolescent Reasoning Initiative; and Jason Garrett, NBC broadcaster and former quarterback and coach for The Dallas Cowboys, along with his wife Brill, both avid BrainHealth supporters.

“Being brain healthy is about things like how you learn new information, how you solve problems, how you meet challenges, how you can be creative and innovative, and how you connect with other people,” said Dr. Chapman. “You won because of your enthusiasm and your wonderful community spirit. You are thinking about brain health for all the students… as well as for the teachers and staff, and even including your families! Isn’t it amazing how we can all BUILD our own BRAIN?” 

Dr. Gamino added, “Adolescence is a time of the most profound brain development, second only to the first months of life. We have been partnering with schools for more than 15 years to provide tools that have been scientifically shown to enrich and strengthen the learning potential of students. Every student deserves the opportunity to receive cognitive empowerment through neuroscience-based solutions.”

Since its inception, the Adolescent Reasoning Initiative™ has trained more than 600 teachers and reached about 90,000 students. The program has demonstrated measurable improvements in high-level executive function and well-being, as well as various metrics of academic success and strong STAAR test performance. Thanks to grants and donors, the invaluable Adolescent Reasoning Initiative program is made available to schools at no charge. 


Center for BrainHealth®, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, is a translational research institute committed to enhancing, preserving, and restoring brain health across the lifespan. Major research areas include the use of functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to better understand the neurobiology supporting cognition and emotion in health and disease. This leading-edge scientific exploration is translated quickly into practical innovations to improve how people think, work and live, empowering people of all ages to unlock their brain potential. Translational innovations build on Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics (SMART™), a proprietary methodology developed and tested by BrainHealth researchers and other teams over three decades. 

Media Contact 

Shawn Williams, Allyn Media


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