Parent Spotlight: David Goodrich Lets His Kids Lead


    Often we focus on how online school affects students. Will they be prepared? Will they keep up? Will they succeed? But what about the parents? How do they cope? This last year we’ve heard from many parents. Some are coping better than others, but everyone is learning what works for their families.

    What works for the Goodrich family? With two boys balancing school with sports and activities, enrolling in Laurel Springs Upper School was the right solution. As a single parent who works full time and volunteers, encouraging his kids to manage their study schedule works for David Goodrich. Here, David shares his family’s journey to Laurel Springs and how they find balance between work and play. 

    Familiarity and Flexibility

    David Goodrich is no stranger to “specialized schools” and how they cater to student schedules. “I spent my middle school, as well as a large portion of my high school, years in Europe so I was extremely familiar with specialized schools for various academic, extracurricular and ‘sporting’ students.” He was so familiar that in 2013 he co-founded a basketball prep school, Prolific Prep. With his alternative schooling experience, David was tasked to find an academic partner that could cater to the needs of student-athletes. It needed to offer a flexible schedule that would allow for extended practice sessions and long periods of time on the road. Traditional schooling models wouldn’t work. Laurel Springs was recommended by a colleague and inspired further review.

    At the time, David had another reason to research educational alternatives. “My oldest child was both an elite guitar player as well as an elite student-athlete. The practice requirements of his extracurricular and sporting activities had become onerous in several fabulous ways: his music teacher wanted to expand his practice time and did not have any ‘slots’ available after school, he was taking a college-level music class at the Berklee College of Music where potential online interactions occurred during the school day, and he was provisioned the opportunity to practice with the elite prep school team.” Luckily, David was already familiar with Laurel Springs’ offerings. So when it came time to provide his son with the option to pursue his extracurricular opportunities while maintaining an elite education, “[it] made the ultimate decision very easy for our family.”

    Settling in to a New Schedule

    Maybe it was David’s previous experience with alternative schools. Maybe it was his son’s ability to balance various activities. Whatever it was, it made the transition from traditional to online learning easy. “Other than preparing an area to study (including stable online access) the transition was very smooth.” And now with a second Laurel Springs student in the Goodrich household, they have the process down pat.

    “Our agreement with the they exclusively manage their study schedule, interactions with teachers, technology, as well as proctoring for final exams.” The same level of responsibility is put in place for them to organize their sports and extracurriculars. “This allows them to make ‘mistakes’ while I am here to facilitate support as opposed to in college when they are on their own for the most part.” So far, David has only had to troubleshoot some tech issues, assist in teacher communications, stretch his calculus muscles, and deal with pandemic logistics. “The boys have required very little parental support which has been borne out by my oldest son’s performance in college. It’s been brilliant and we are so thankful!!!”

    David did admit there were some initial hesitations about the transition, but that “it COULD NOT HAVE BEEN EASIER OR LESS STRESSFUL.” Overall, “the access to a much broader education opportunity than was available locally here in California...allowed the boys to optimally match their extracurricular and sporting experiences with academics.”

    Parent to Parent

    As for advice to other parents trying to cope with an online transition or balancing schedules: “To be balanced, I think a critical awareness of the parental administrative logistics [is needed] for final exams, the PSAT, NHS and other testing which is unfortunately opaque within the normal school environment. Additionally, a methodology to provision support for academics (‘help with homework’) is imperative.” His words of wisdom to new LSS parents: “Ask TONs of questions of the LSS staff, they are so helpful! Also, ask to speak directly to an LSS family in your locale (SO helpful with all the parental administrative logistics).

    While every family situation will be different, Laurel Springs is ready to help make the transition just as smooth for everyone. For new Laurel Springs parents looking for additional information, check out the various parent resources available on the website, social media, and Family Support Center.