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Getting Smart Podcast

Apr 15, 2020

Today, the Getting Smart team is speaking with Byron Sanders about the opportunity gap in Dallas, Texas.


Byron grew up in Dallas, observing differences in opportunity. He remembers his mother scrambling to find enriching activities for him. Now, he’s doing the same thing for the youth of Dallas County on a much larger scale! As the CEO of the 30-year-old nonprofit, Big Thought, Byron and his team serve 150,000 students at more than 400 locations with creative enrichment. Their work is about closing the opportunity gap and building agency, hope, and creativity.


Since the coronavirus pandemic, Byron and his team have been proactively developing ways to continue engaging youth, families, and the broader community including distancing, auditory, and tactical learning solutions.


In this episode, Byron speaks about his path to becoming the CEO of Big Thought, how they are working towards closing the opportunity gap through their incredible work in Dallas County, and about the many programs that are helping learners from the elementary level all the way through high school!


Key Takeaways:

[:11] About today’s episode with Byron Sanders.

[:50] Jessica gives a quick announcement in regards to the coronavirus pandemic.

[1:35] Tom welcomes Byron Sanders to the podcast.

[2:01] Byron speaks about what it was like to grow up and go to school in Dallas.

[6:05] Byron speaks about how his mother inspired his organization, Big Thought.

[9:54] Byron shares what he learned about building a business as a young man.

[13:00] How to facilitate the innate capacity for growth that a student has. Byron also describes why they prefer that term opportunity gap as opposed to achievement gap.

[16:00] Jessica chimes in to let listeners know about the Getting Through microsite by Getting Smart.

[16:40] What led Byron to leading the nonprofit organization, Big Thought?

[21:52] What does Big Thought do?

[25:33] Byron describes their programs at Big Thought.

[29:11] Byron describes DaVerse, a program at Big Thought that was created in partnership with Journeyman Ink.

[31:21] Tom and Byron describe Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas.

[32:02] Byron describes what Dallas City of Learning is and what their goal is.

[35:03] Byron speaks about their Learning Partners program.

[36:20] Byron describes Striving Minds, their award-winning afterschool program.

[37:52] Is Byron’s work largely in Dallas County these days?

[39:19] Tom and Byron give some plugs for all the other good things happening right now in Dallas County!

[42:45] What else does Byron hope to come to fruition in Dallas County?

[47:40] Tom thanks Byron for all the work that he does and for joining the Getting Smart podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

Big Thought

Byron Sanders

Destination Imagination

Journeyman Ink

Dallas City of Learning

Dallas County Promise


To Learn More About the Great Work Being Done in Dallas County, Listen to:

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 218: “Michael Hinojosa on Making Dallas Schools Work


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