What parents and educators are saying:
Ellen successfully led our teaching staff through the formalization and development of a comprehensive human development curriculum. She both coached teachers in the delivery of the curriculum and taught lessons directly. Ellen also held several parent meetings. Engaging parents and students around a topic like human development is not easy. Parents have their various concerns about what their children will be taught and students are not initially comfortable. In both of these situations, Ellen truly shines. For parents, it is clear she is highly competent and reasonable, and so they trust her almost immediately. For students, she is able to be matter of fact about the topic at hand, which successfully normalizes the discussion and allows those who might have been embarrassed or silly to engage fully. She is easily able to engage teachers in a collaborative curriculum development practice. Ellen is excellent at listening and incorporating everyone’s thoughts and ideas. I recommend her highly.
Scott Moran, Head of School, Westland School
Providing young people with the information and skills they need to navigate the at times confusing waters that come with puberty and adolescence can be quite a challenge. The highest hurdles come from the discomfort and resulting political strictures that keep educators and other respected adults from being able to speak with teens clearly, honestly and with confidence. As a physician educator, I have worked with Ellen for over 20 years and have witnessed her ability to address the needs of the adults who teach and raise young people so they are able to provide the honest and responsible education that is truly needed. She does so with sensitivity using a sex-positive approach that affirms that we are sexual beings; always respectful of the courage it takes for people of all ages to discuss the topics that are so crucial to achieving healthy sexuality and gender identity.
Scott J. Spear, MD Adolescent Medicine-trained Board Certified Pediatrician, Immediate Past Chair, Association for Reproductive Health Professionals
As a classroom teacher for over 40 years, I am very particular about whom I allow to add support to my classroom curriculum. For the past 25 years, I have taught a 3rd/4th grade class at Westland school. Our school is dedicated to the principle of excellence in all aspects of education. Ellen Sanchez has been our Human Development Specialist for the past three years. She is a consummate professional and a pleasure to have in my classroom. Every year my children feel comfortable having her lead sessions with them, even though some of the discussions are sensitive and sometimes delicate. Ellen gives information about sexuality, human reproduction and physical development with a calm, thoughtful and very appropriate manner. She also meets with parents to make sure they are comfortable about what is being discussed in the classroom. Her parent meetings reassure parents that the subjects she addresses with their children are age appropriate and important to their overall development. She has met with me and all of our staff numerous times to make sure her topics are integrated with our individual classroom experiences. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Nina Rosen, Head Teacher, Westland School
Ellen Sanchez has a natural talent in making mothers and daughters feel comfortable being able to openly share and educate ourselves and children about some difficult and challenging topics. She makes this process so smooth and much easier than anyone would expect. She has the most compassion and positive energy, that makes you want to have her around all the time. Her approach is realistic, kind and doable! I highly recommend her as an educator for all of us parents. We can only gain from her knowledge and beautiful style of becoming closer with our children by openly taking about sexuality and relationships. It’s truly important to start talking about these topics with our children at an early age so we can build a strong foundation with them as the years go by.
Mania M., Women and Wisdom Mother Daughter Workshop participant
Inside the classroom, you manage to talk to kids in a calm and informative way with the idea of normalizing a discussion about otherwise cringeworthy subjects such as human reproduction and changing bodies. You have provided girls and boys an opportunity to learn some of the most basic facts about themselves and each other without shame or bias. You have carefully constructed the curriculum to deliver developmentally appropriate information at the right time. And you have been available to thoughtfully navigate some complex topics as the students have gotten older. Specifically, in the midst of the MeToo Campaign you offered recent 5th and 6th graders an opportunity to role play surrounding the concept of sexual harassment.
Outside of the classroom, I attended your Mother & Daughter Workshop with a number of other parents and their girls. It was a wonderful way to connect with my tween daughter and open up communication channels as they relate to changing bodies, relationships and her upcoming transition to middle school.
I am most grateful for your pioneering work. I know that I am a better parent in this area because of working with you and I know that my daughter is more comfortable in her skin because of the dynamic education you have provided to all of us.
Dana F., parent of 11 year-old student