Sachin Chaudhry is an Ashoka Fellow – The ChangeMaker and the Founder/CEO of TrustCircle. Sachin also serves as a Global Advisor for the ‘Movement for Global Mental Health.’ Sachin has started a global wellbeing movement via TrustCircle with a focus on Social Emotional Learning, Prevention & Early Intervention. Sachin envisions a world where Social-Emotional Learning is a core to our education system.

Bonus: How TrustCircle can help during COVID-19

by Sachin Chaudhry

Show Highlights

  • Sachin’s transformational pilgrimage of pain
  • Find opportunity in every crisis.
  • How a modern school leader creates a space of reflection for the learning community 
  • Understanding the roots of risk, not just the symptoms 
  • Trust Circle’s 3 Ps that inspire targeted productive actions
  • Tools that create a bridge connecting students with themselves and inspiring them to seek out help from trusted adults
  • You are never alone. Trust Circle’s technology connects people during the Covid-19 pandemic

“…priority would be for me to empower the administrators because administrators are the engine of the school and the administrators have the power and the influence to inspire change.”

Sachin Chaudhry

Full Transcript Available Here

Daniel (00:00):

Welcome to the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast. This is your friendly neighborhood podcast host Daniel Bauer coming to you today with a special bonus episode.

Daniel (00:13):

Better leaders, better schools is a weekly show for Ruckus Makers. And what is a Ruckus Maker? A leader who has found freedom from the status quo. A leader who makes change happen, and a leader who never ever gives up. That leader is you. Today my guest is Sachin Chaudhry and we start this show where he shares a story, a story of great pain, which led him to take a walking pilgrimage in India.

Daniel (00:37):

He did this to clear his mind and observe what was happening from a distance. There on the pilgrimage he met a Yogi, who offered some advice that altered his life. That advice he’ll share with you today, and it will also help you. Sachin also talks about his company throughout this show, Trust Circle, which. I highly recommend you check out. We all have kids and staff in our life that end up harming themselves. The problem is that we didn’t see it coming. Sometimes we wonder what signs did I miss? What else could I have done? And this is where Trust Circle comes in with its machine learning. Trust Circle can help leaders and counselors identify the kids that are in crisis. Learn more at trustcircle.CO, by the way, amidst this pandemic that’s why we made this bonus episode. We have a hard time seeing and connecting with our kids. Yes, we’re doing this virtually but for some it’s even more difficult to reach. Something like Trust Circle might just help you be able to understand what’s going on in our students’ lives and be there when it matters most. So, Ruckus Maker, thanks for being here. And before we jump into the episode, let’s take some time to thank our show sponsors

Daniel (02:08):

The Better Leaders. Better Schools Podcast is brought to you by organized binder, which increases student active engagement and participation and reduces classroom management issues. Learn [email protected]

Daniel (02:22):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Teach FX. It’s basically like a Fitbit for teachers, helping them be mindful of teacher talk versus student talk. Get a special 20% discount for your school or district by visiting TeachFX.com/blbs

Daniel (02:42):

Sachin Chaudhry He’s an Ashoka Fellow, the Change Maker and the founder CEO of Trust Circle. Sachin also serves as a global advisor for the movement for global mental health. Sachin has started a global wellbeing movement via Trust Circle, with the focus on social emotional learning prevention and early intervention . Sachin envisions a world where social emotional learning is a core to our education system. Well, Ruckus Makers, I am excited to bring to you today Sachin Chaundry, who is an Ashoka fellow, the Change Maker and the founder CEO of Trust Circle, Sachin also serves as a global advisor for the movement for global mental health. Sachin has started a global wellbeing movement via Trust Circle with a focus on social emotional learning. Prevention in early intervention. Sachin envisions a world where social emotional learning is a core to our education system. Sachin, welcome to the show.

Daniel (03:49):

Thank you, Daniel. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here. Well, when we connected on the intro call, you shared a story about a walking pilgrimage. It was a beautiful story. Nothing I’ve ever heard before and you met a Yogi who offered you some incredible advice. I’d love for you to bring the Ruckus Maker listening to today’s podcast to that moment and tell us a bit about why you’re on a journey, what did the Yogi tell you?

Sachin (04:23):

Sure, Daniel, for that, I’ll have to take you and the Ruckus Maker listening to the show back in time. So this is the month of June, 1994 and I as an individual, was happy, you know, within the family we had, you know, a blessed life, at that moment something was brewing up within the family that I wasn’t able to notice very quickly in a matter of a few days we got a call, a distress call from my, brother’s school, who is six years younger to me.

Sachin (05:05):

And we as family members had to rush and to only observe that he was crying and was crying for almost a few hours by then. We realized after speaking to teachers, administrators, school, you know, counselors, it’s something was missing. Something that everyone missed. Now, the only option we were left with as a family was to take him to a primary care physician, referred us to a psychologist and eventually a psychiatrist in a matter of a month. In this process we realized that he was getting bullied at the school for a long period of time and we as family or teachers or school administrators or even counselors miss the early signs of stress. That was the emotional turbulence going on within this individual, a beautiful soul who was always happy-go- lucky and was top of his ranks in his

Sachin (05:58):

Academic setting or in his social and personal life. Now if you think about it, how easy he moved from being mentally well to the spectrum of mental illness. Nothing has changed over the last 26 years. Yeah. One thing that really struck me that fundamentally there are key gaps, which as a family we missed and now is the time to observe. So I was going through a deep pain and transformation for the first one and a half years now. Fast forward December, 1996. I wasn’t able to take all that, you know, chaos in my personal life and was challenging. Why me? Why my family? Why my brother? So I had to take that step away from the chaos and the noise and wanted to spend time connecting with myself. So I decided to go on this walking pilgrimage at a spiritual place in the Northern part of India, 70-80% into my journey.

Sachin (07:06):

I met this individual who was walking along with me with no intention for us speaking with each other. Now something, it was a spark in that moment in time where he and I had eye to eye and I just shared every feeling that I was going through with him. After listening to my journey, to my pain what he said to me, it was transformational and probably that’s why you and I are connecting today and that’s why probably I am on this spot of building this change. What he said was profound. He said to me, Sachin, “if you really want to find purpose in your life, go back to your pain.” I was quiet at that time. I never met that individual before or after. But that was so profound and it literally changed my perspective towards what I was going through.

Sachin (07:59):

It enlightened me from burden at the same time. It helped me see things in my life and in my personal life from a very, very different perspective. So I started seeing my brother as a lucky individual because he’s surrounded by those who care for him, who love him, who have wish and the desire, deep desire to bring him back. There are millions and million others who are left alone and who have to deal with this pain all by themselves. I was able to understand that every individual who’s in this spectrum is reinventing the wheel and hence the change that I am or the path that I am on was brewing back in time in 1994.

Daniel (08:55):

Thank you for sharing that story and for the Ruckus Maker listening, I want to point out three parts that I think are really important.

Daniel (08:58):

One, did you hear him say that he considered his brother now a lucky individual, right? We wouldn’t wish bad things to happen to our family, friends, or the communities we serve. Of course not, but there is some power and something transformational happens when you’re able to take a tough moment, a challenge and reframe it into an opportunity. And right now based on how the world is hurting and the communities we serve, what is actually the gift within that? Which brings me to the second point, what the Yogi shared with you Sachin. If you want to find your purpose, go to your pain, which seems counterintuitive, but by leaning into that, you know, we’re going to hear more of your story and what you’ve learned. That brings me to the third point. It inspired the work you do and so we heard in the introduction that you have founded Trust Circle and Ruckus Maker,

Daniel (10:02):

We’re going to dig into what Trust Circle does is definitely a company and organization I want you to check out. It was those tough moments that inspired the good that Sachin’s now making happen in the world. It strikes me as a walking pilgrimage is an opportunity where you can watch and observe things from a distance, which is why you needed a bit of a break. Can you tell the Ruckus Maker listening how a modern school leader might create that space so they can also reflect and watch and observe from a distance?

Sachin (10:41):

Absolutely. Absolutely. If I take the modern school leaders back onto my pilgrimage, what I observed from that incident was I was able to connect deeply with myself, number one. Number two, I was able to observe things around me from a very, very different perspective. I was able to completely have a 360 degree transformation in the way I was observing things around me versus how I observed things. After the pilgrimage, I found opportunity in every crisis. Here comes the key message for the modern school leaders. What makes a school, a place of learning or a temple of learning? It’s the students, the teachers, the administrators who work as a family to inspire to blossom. These beautiful souls but amidst all this, they are also pressed against deadlines. They’re also pressed against their daily tasks daily routines.

Sachin (11:54):

Now imagine we have an education system which is always focused on core elements of learning. Whether it’s, English, math, science, or physical education. What is missing in our core education system is the emotional wellbeing component. That’s why social emotional learning has become so profound in these times. If modern school leaders focus on social emotional learning, that can inspire the individuals to focus on prevention in early intervention and understand the roots of risk. Because for any student, there could be only three roots of risk. One is the academic life, personal life or social life. If there could be a way where the focus is not on the problem but on the root of the problem and then efforts are there to try and fix the roots of the problem. That’s when we can truly empower not only the school leaders, but the students or the teachers, every individual associated so that learning is profound, deep. And the students can graduate with an I CAN attitude because it’s not the English, math or science that takes them far in life. It’s the I can attitude. The belief that no matter what comes my way in life, if I can do this, I will sail through this and I can make it happen. That’s what we need to inspire and vibe in our students.

Daniel (13:28):

Yeah. If I hear you correctly, it’s that mindset. It’s the ICANN attitude and dealing with the roots. Not just taking something or doing something that makes you feel good in the moment, but actually dealing with why is that even happening in my life and taking ownership over it.

Sachin (13:46):

Absolutely. And that’s how I picked up from that pilgrimage that there may be things that are not going right, but there are opportunities to look deep into, to focus more or into where we can focus on the root and not just the symptoms of the problem and just try and fix that. Hopefully things will change for the better.

Daniel (14:07):

I want to move to the work that Trust Circle does and you shared with me in our intro call how you have a three P’s, right? That guides some of the work. And so can you talk about the three P’s and what are those in regards to SEL?

Sachin (14:26):

Absolutely. Absolutely. So the three P’s are prevention, participation and production. And I’ll tie these back again to the observations I’ve had often up to that pilgrimage because these are the three PS that were completely missing. My family’s adversity. We never were able to focus on prevention. There was never community support and there was never a predictor, model around when we should be seeking help proactively. Now, if you really looked at and applied that into the education world, that’s what is happening, right? We have counselors in schools when students get hurt or when they’re emotionally hurt, you know they are expected to physically be in the counselor’s office and the mitigation happens. But essentially, if you really look at it, it’s fixing the symptoms, right? But social emotional learning is, is the core of, you know, what Castle talks about, where an individual understands about self awareness, self management, responsible decision making, relationship skills or even social awareness.

Sachin (15:42):

These are the core five, pillars of social emotional learning. Now why these go very well with what I observed. The key gaps, which are prevention, participation and production is this is exactly what we need to build into our education system. If we can have a tool or a platform that inspires the educators to just introduce, you know, five minutes of mindfulness into their core curriculum and the students can understand and map their emotions, they can self-reflect, have a trusted space where they can, you know, express themselves. That’s where the difference or the change will happen. Because what Trust Circle does, Trust Circle literally takes this data that is given by students. It mind it, it identifies the patterns and brings out the key areas that need attention by the administrators, by the counselors. While completely maintaining the anonymity of the student so they can understand what are the key areas.

Sachin (16:56):

Maybe bullying is a concern for the students, so they can introduce programs around bullying, maybe vaping so they can pick up those high risk areas or things that need attention and can inspire targeted productive actions. On the student side, they can understand very well by interacting with the platform because it’s their trusted space. Now what they’re doing is the system, the AI engineers providing them feedback. They can connect with themselves, understand their emotions, then they seek help when they are in need proactively from any device. And now as we know, this is even more important. When schools are shut down and students are back in their homes, they may be having high needs of reaching out to the counselors or emotional needs, but they can’t at the moment. So the technology plays an

Sachin (17:50):

Even bigger role in this time and date. Trust Circle comes in and fills that bridge between connecting students with themselves, inspiring them to self reflect and to seek out for help from the trusted adults or counselors or individuals within their school community. And that’s why it builds that environment of prevention, participation, production, which are three PS becomes the foundation of SEL, which inspires the individuals to become a better self.

Daniel (18:23):

Yeah. There’s the SEL, you know, emotional intelligence, whether the, you know, internal, external, the values is so amazing and it’s something we dug into in our leadership community,The mastermind, emotional intelligence 2.0, which is actually how I got connected to to meet you._______, If you’re listening, thanks for the connection to Sachin. He was expressing how, Trust Circle is doing such great work within the district. I just knew I’d have to get a conversation with you and try to help out more school leaders as well. So we’re going to pause here for just a short second and hear a message from our sponsor. When we get back I want to dig into how Trust Circle works with AI and also how it might help them in this current pandemic.

Daniel (19:19):

Better Leaders. Better Schools is proudly sponsored by organized binder, a program which gives students daily exposure to goal setting, reflective learning, time and task management, study strategies, organizational skills, and more organized binders. Color coded system is implemented by the teacher with the students, helping them create a predictable independable classroom routine. Learn more and improve your students’ executive functioning and noncognitive skills and organize binder.com

Daniel (19:50):

The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast is brought to you by Teach. FX. TeachFx is a research driven app that uses artificial intelligence to give teachers feedback on the balance of teacher talk vs student talk, their use of open ended questions, wait time, an equitable classroom dialogue, learn more and get a special 20% discount for your school or district by visiting TeachFX.com/blbs. All right and we’re back with Sachin Chaudhry of Trust Circle, let’s talk about how your system works with AI.

Sachin (20:29):

Absolutely. Daniel. So Trust Circle is a research backed globally claimed wellbeing technology platform that uses AI driven social emotional learning programs focused on prevention early intervention. So what trust circle does it inspire is the art of self reflection and journaling amongst the students.

Sachin (20:48):

It inspires them to reflect back whatever environment they are in and which gives them the ability to have that trusted space so that they can connect with all these individuals. Now all this rich data that has been generated, it also gives the critical wellbeing insight to the administrators, counselors, school district leaders who can leverage the state of driven model and wellbeing insights to inspire targeted proactive interventions. Now how does AI play a key role in this? So AI is all about data, right? What we’re doing with our machine learning algorithms, they take this input, which the students are sharing. Now this is obviously our platform and complies. Which means that Trust Circle as a company does not sell or share the data the school owns it. Our partners who are the schools and the school districts, they own the data and they control it.

Sachin (21:57):

So what Trust Circle does, it just creates a fence around that school where the students, teachers and the school administrators all come in as a family and they have the complete ownership of this. So when students and the administrators, they are inspiring, you know, everyone to self reflect and to share inputs on this platform. The AI engine, the machine learning algorithms, it’s looking for key insights, mappings of emotions and the journals to identify key risk areas. So we use natural language processing, which is NLP in the AI world and it picks up key elements that need attention. And those could happen that is going around in the school environment. This, these could be some students out of their thousands of 3000 whosoever, whatever the number is, you know, the system pulls out, you know, students who may be at risk as per the California education code or as for the department of educations, you know code because if the student is at harm for themselves or you know, at risk of harming someone else or if a student has a trust of being harmed by someone else, these are the three, only three, you know, critical areas.

Sachin (23:15):

When the system pulls out the student in front of the counselors and the counselors only, not even, you know, the other administrators, they can then inspire targeted, proactive intervention, have conversation, you know, which anyway, they are doing right now and have complete confidentiality within the school. So, Trust Circle in nutshell, what it does is it basically is mining the data. Counselors do not have the ability to talk one on one and you know, take a closer

Sachin (23:46):

Look at thousands of students. They basically rely on the system, which gives them a very quick, by click of a button, who needs attention, who may be sharing high levels of emotions, what are the key areas in the environment that we may be able to focus on proactively. So just all those key data points and they can act on it very quickly on a daily basis. We literally had some very, very pivotal moments in schools where we were able to identify these individuals or students who needed attention. And because of Trust Circle, the interventions, early interventions happened and it really helped defuse the emotional baggage these students were carrying, which was profound and life changing. .

Daniel (24:45):

Yeah. It’s so important to identify and that’s one of the PS the prevention part counselors, it’s crazy. They go into the work because they’re there to serve kids and then they find out, Oh my gosh, there’s so much more I have to do. Not only that, but the ratio of students to one counselor, it can be just mind boggling, right? Like, how can one person serve all these students’ needs? So there’s what we call high flyers, you know, and from the outside just observing, we can see this kid is asking for help, right? No. The cases that really break my heart are the ones that are almost hurting in private. Right? When something tragic happens, we come together and say like, what could we have done differently? How did we not see this is because they weren’t, they weren’t acting out, they weren’t showing it. And so if I’m understanding you correctly because of all right, how Trust Circles are built in AI and machine learning, it helps identify those kids too so that nobody flies under the radar and counselors can prioritize who needs help, who is reaching out for help.

Sachin (25:49):

Absolutely. Imagine this platform was there when my brother was going through all this. He would have been given some early interventions. We would have understood the early signs of risks taken a very different path for him in life then he went on. So, what happened with my brother should never happen with anyone else has become the core of this company’s mission.

Daniel (26:14):

Yeah, that’s absolutely right and connecting it to what the Yogi taught you and seeing that, yeah, how a very traumatic event turned into something beautiful that’s helping a lot of people. So I appreciate you just showing up being new and building what you’ve built. I think it’s pretty clear for the Ruckus Maker listening how Trust Circle can help, you know, during this crisis, this pandemic, the Covid- 19 that we’re all experiencing. But you might know something that I don’t have a different perspective that I value. So how do you think trust circle could help students amists this pandemic?

Sachin (26:44):

Absolutely. So what we all know Daniel, but this is a historical time. We are all living and breathing COVID-19th pandemic has impacted us all including the development of millions of our students who are facing this unprecedented crisis and need immediate help because then they’re not used to these lockdowns. Their world is, in their schools, in their social life with their friends. We as adults may have a better ability to cope with it even though we are not doing that good. Imagine 1.5 billion plus students right now experiencing lockdown globally and, and this number is increasing every day. It is really taking a huge toll on their overall wellbeing and especially emotional wellbeing. Now since. Trust Circle’s platform is scalable, secure, multilingual device agnostic, it can be implemented and administered a hundred percent remotely.

Sachin (27:56):

So for example, we can work with any school, any school district, you know, even department of education and can deploy this platform at scale and with speed to compliment the remote learning needs of our entire student community. Remote learning is the key component, which now we’re all getting used to whether we have access to the internet or not. There are technology leaders coming in and helping bridge the gap so that the internet and the device through which they can access learning students can happen. But where we come in is, we bring that important bridge, Trust Circle’s platform, where now the emotional wellbeing component is completely taken care of, even though remotely all training, implementation support, all along can be done at no additional cost Trust Circle will provide a white label unique solution to each school. His platform, as I said, was phobic Copa compliant.

Sachin (29:03):

So now the school administrators, the counselors, the student community, even though they’re working remotely, they’re all connected with this platform. And imagine this as a prevention layer of the social emotional learning layer that is now being added for their student community within their schools premises. It truly gives that lifeline to the students because they know with the click of a button, they can reach out to their trusted adult or counselor in the school. They can self reflect in this trusted space because some main, you know, believe it or not, maybe experiencing forces of rest from their personal life, and now they’re locked down in that personal life and they can go out and talk to their friends or be around them where they were getting that emotional support. So now with this, they can access their support system at any time from any device and that 200% securely and anonymously. That is what is making us for the educators a game changer. Because in these times and these, unprecedented times, we are responsible as adults to give our students that hope, that emotional, you know, trust that we are with you. Even though we are apart, we’re not alone. And that’s what Trust Circle does. It’s speed and at scale.

Daniel (30:29):

Thank you so much and again, this seems like such a needed and necessary opportunity that the school year should definitely check out. So all my guests, they get the same last two questions and I’m looking forward to hearing how you might answer those. First one being, if you could put a message on all school marquees around the globe just for a day, what would the message be?

Sachin (30:54):

Yeah, I would be very, very clear on that. I would say imagine a world where social emotional learning is core to our education system.

Daniel (31:04):

Now you’re building a school from the ground up. You’re not limited by any resources. Your only limitation is your imagination. How would you build your dream school and what would be your top three priorities?

Sachin (31:18):

Absolutely. So I would want a school that values not only the academic learning, the physical learning part, which is, you know, the PE, which is so important, but the emotional learning competence. And that’s why any school that I build ground up would have social emotional learning as the core to the education system and is at par with academic requirements. It would be the key objective of the school, of the teachers, of the students and imbibe that this is what we live and breathe. I would rather have a school which you know, may not be at the top of the academic performance, but where kids are happy, where kids are okay living and breathing in a trusted space. They want to come wake up in the morning and want to be in the school. You know, sharing their energies. And even if things are not right outside of the school environment, they find this place, you know, a place where they can find the trustworthy counterparts that give them that helping hand and shoulder to lean on.

Sachin (32:35):

That’s the school I would love, you know, to build. And that only happens when our teachers are empowered to and given the opportunity to grow by introducing social emotional learning to students. That would be the number one priority because teachers are, you know, the prism where you know, the light comes in and just, it goes out into the hearts of the students. Second priority, I would empower the students so that they have the time and the opportunity to self reflect and be part of the trusted space where they’re not worried about what their risks are from personal life or you know, academic life or social life, they are free to self reflect as if nobody else is watching and only get you know, help from others when they are address. So yeah they should find that space.

Sachin (33:27):

The third priority would be for me to empower the administrators because administrators are the engine of the school and the administrators have the power and the influence to inspire change. They are the ones who are watching everything from a distance and if they can get the data driven approach to this, they understand by looking, not making guesswork or making decisions based on judgment but intelligence by introducing intelligence with data. They can reflect on their students and teachers. They can reflect what are the needs of their environment and climate and culture there. You know, a site they can based on those decisions and inputs, they can make their conscious decisions so that teachers and students are further involved. So I would, if in summary introduced social emotional learning as a core impoverished students, number one priority, empower teachers and empower the administrators so that everyone, it comes in on this family dining table together and just self express what are their latent needs, how we can improve our learning altogether.

Sachin (34:41):

And everyone may have a different perspective, but everyone’s opinion is valued and actions are taken proactively, not when something happens. So that’s the school high I vision. I’m excited that the work that we’re doing actually is becoming a catalyst for such a school, even though we are not leading in building that school ground up. But I think we are inspiring that change so that the schools are becoming that temple of learning, which we all as parents, as you know, society members, you know, one our kids go to.

Daniel (35:16):

Well it’s a beautiful image and who knows, you might be building those schools at some point in the future. I would love to. Thank you so much for being a part of the Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast, all the things we talked about today. What’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?

Sachin (35:35):

Absolutely. Just remember that every one of you has the power and influence to change many lives, many lives as you directly touched them. Give them the trusted space that you want your child to have. Give them the confidence and the ability so that when this individual, this little beautiful soul or this student when in need, may think of you and may reach out to you so that you can help them. You have the power, you are already inspiring. Change, ground up, create an environment around you where your students are looking up to you and are not just waiting and suffering in silence if they are at all. I think that in these times emotional needs are high. And as the Ruckus Maker, we can bridge this gap and inspire students to step forward and share what they may be going through no matter what. We are there to help so you can change this, we personally, you know, that we’re all in this together and we’ll come out stronger and covert 19 endemic is there but it’s not going to be there for long so we will come out of it stronger and get through this.

Speaker 2 (37:07):

Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders. Better Schools podcast for Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter @alienearbud. If the better leaders, better schools podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Extra credit for tagging me on Twitter @ alien earbud and using the hashtag #blbslevel up your leadership at better leaders, better schools.com and talk to you next time until then, class dismissed.




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Learn more about the TeachFX app and get a special 20% discount for your school or district by visiting teachfx.com/blbs.


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