Second Successful Community Book Group

Parents, LAPS staff, administrators, school board members and community members gather to discuss the community read book, ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,’ by Angela Duckworth. Courtesy photo 


This past fall the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, in partnership with Healthy Schools Initiative Director Kristine Coblentz and the Los Alamos Public Schools Healthy Schools Initiative, administered a grant from 100+ Women Who Care to host the second of three community book groups. The goal this time was to engage roughly 50 community members in a community read of the book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Fifty-four people participated in the community book group, including parents of children from all 8 school sites; LAPS staff, administrators and board members; and community members. In addition, four books were given to the Coffee Conversations for Education group which was also reading and discussing the book at the same time, and one book was donated to Family Strengths Network.

The community book group met on three different occasions throughout October and November, and participants were provided with agendas, group guidelines, and discussion questions. The sessions were facilitated by LAPS staff members including LAHS School Counselor Cristin Haake, LAHS Librarian Ken Holmes, Barranca Mesa Elementary Resource Teacher Seraph Cortez and Coblentz. At each session, a healthy, light fare was catered by the Los Alamos Co-op Market. During each gathering attendees shared their impressions of the reading as well as examples of how they plan to extend their learning to home, school, or work.

Of the book group, one participant said, “I learned so much about the book, about the community, but more importantly, about communication. The participants were candid, open, and freely shared personal experiences which humanized the entire experience. There were vastly different opinions and thoughts about the topic, but the group shared their stories and provided some great input. I learned a great deal from others who were ‘on point’ regarding learning outcomes for our children and adult learners.”

The grant from 100+ Women Who Care supports three community book reads in total. The third and final community book group will be held in spring, 2018, and explore the importance of developing social emotional intelligence. Those interested in receiving information as it becomes available are encouraged to contact Coblentz at

The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is an independent organization that supports, challenges, and invests in a successful future for all Los Alamos public school students. Since its inception in 2005, the LAPS Foundation has donated more than $1 million to fund opportunities and materials for students, provide professional development for district educators, defray operating expenses, and assist with capital improvements to enrich learning environments in the Los Alamos public schools.

The Foundation raises money through generous contributions from individuals and organizations who share the Foundation’s core values that excellent public education is every child’s right, and that excellent public education systems depend on: a well-informed and supportive community, caring and competent educators, a supportive and responsive school environment, and sufficient financing to achieve educational goals. To learn more about the LAPS Foundation and how to get involved and/or make a donation, visit or call 505.500.6501.

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