David LaRose

David LaRose is an education coach and consultant specializing in PLCs, RTI, leadership, and organizational culture. He is former superintendent for Culver City Unified School District in California.
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Looking Beyond the Gap; Pandemic Response and Educational Practices

Exceptional Times, Exceptional Teams: Looking Beyond the Gap

Categories: Pandemic Response and Educational Practices

This entry is the 11th in a blog series called Pandemic Response and Educational Practices (PREP), which aims to highlight and further the important work educators are doing amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

“…he had already learned that exceptional performance in anything is based around something exceptional in the need to do it in the first place.”

—Christopher Waters, Detective Inspector; lead character in On Eden Street: A Kings Lake Investigation (2020) by Peter Grainger

When I’m not reading and being inspired by the recent book by Mike Mattos (he writes one every week, doesn’t he?), I enjoy a wide variety of genres, including mystery series like the one referenced above. When I read this specific quote, I was struck by how this statement captures our current reality—exceptional needs calling schools and teams to exceptional performance. Read more

Skill, Will, or Ill

Will, Skill…or Ill? How Do We Respond When Students Are Suffering?

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

Here’s how I typically initiate this conversation—it’s an exercise I call “Anchors to Sails.” I ask the audience to list all the factors that prevent all students (in their classroom, school, or district) from learning and thriving in school and in life. Without fail, the list of “anchors” is dominated by what David C. Berliner calls out-of-school factors (OSFs)—food insecurity, family relations and family stress, inadequate dental and medical care, community dynamics, and the many implications of poverty. Attendance, behavior, and emotional needs can also be considered symptoms of the OSF anchors.

The conversation is often filled with compassion and frustration, due to the perception that these factors are beyond our control and that despite our best efforts, many students are not learning because of anchors we are not equipped to address effectively. This is where our own mindset must shift, as we cannot allow our list of anchors to simply reflect the reasons kids cannot and will not learn. This is not the end of the conversation; it’s the beginning. Read more