Education Matters

Brian Laubach

Educational History

  • Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry and Communication Arts, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Administrative Certificate, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Superintendent's Certificate, Seattle Pacific University (In Progress)

Professional History

  • Director of Teaching and Learning, Clover Park School District
  • Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Journalism Teacher, Lakes High School
  • Chemistry Adjunct Professor, Pierce College

Professional Achievements

"First, I believe I am most proud of during my tenure as an administrator at Lakes High School of bringing the annual graduation rate up from 55% in 2002 to 87%. Second the implementation of the small schools initiative, the advisory program, and the student-to-student mentoring program at Lakes. We didn't’t break the school up into small separate schools, but instead chose to create three academies that personalized the learning for students – which ultimately helped the graduation rate. We developed a 9th Grade Success Academy, the 10th Grade Success Academy, and the Career Pathway Academy (5 separate pathways of business & marketing, arts & communication, engineering & technology, science & natural resources, and health & human services). With the notion of personalizing learning for students we developed a four-year advisory program that culminates in the senior project which is developed over the course of their time at Lakes. We also saw the need of supporting students as they transitioned from 8th grade to 9th grade and we developed a student-student mentoring program that works for the transitioning student from the spring of their 8th grade year to the spring of their 9th grade year. In this program students help students on being successful in high school, making friends, getting involved, and being part of the ‘Lakes Way.'"

Core Beliefs About Education

"I have one core essential belief that I have built my work around and that is that teaching is not done in private – it is a collaborative process. So, with that in mind when I was a teacher I worked closely with the other chemistry teacher to co-plan lessons, assessments, and laboratory assignments. I then became a Critical Friends Group coach (based on the 10 principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools – Ted Sizer/Brown University) because I believed as a group of teachers we could help one another improve our practice and our students’ understanding/master of the material we were teaching.  This led me to pursuing my administrator certificate because again I believed in the power of the collective wisdom in the room will help bring about greater success with student conceptual understanding. In the process of being an administrator I strived even more to learn about how to best provide professional development to my staff, and to analyze our strengths and weaknesses in curriculum, instruction and assessment. Ultimately it was my passion for professional development that led me to my current job where again I am fervently working on how to best provide professional development on curriculum, instruction, and assessment."

Advice to Those Considering a Career in Education

"You need to have a passion for working with students and that you are a life-long learner. Every year (and perhaps every lesson/unit/quarter/semester) you will always need to Plan, Act and Reflect on your practice. Your learning is never done and you can never say you know it all."

How PLU has Impacted my Career...

"I was exposed to current and relevant literature on the practice of education, allowed to reflect on that in my own practice, and given the space to determine how that best fit my context. I wasn't’t ever told this is the way you do it, but rather provided a space to reflect with other practitioners on how to best put the current research/pedagogy into practice."