Lawrence School

A safe, just and caring community

Who We Are

  • Attendance Line: (617) 879-4343

    We Are:

    • a learning community where all members embrace a growth mindset to be the best they can be!
    • a community of 712 students, kindergarten through 8th grade
    • A dynamic staff of over 110
    • Multicultural and multilingual
    • A community developing a Makerspace for students and staff
    • A hub for  after school programs, LEDP and LSA

    A community of teachers, parents/caregivers and students who are working to be our best selves. Come join us!


Principal's Corner

  • Placement Process

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/16/2020 7:00:00 AM

    All schools are closed until May 4, 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak per order of Governor Baker.  Please check the Public Schools of Brookline website for information if needed.


    A message from TOWN OF BROOKLINE

    In order to address the many questions and concerns that exist in the community, the Town of Brookline would like to share the following information. For general COVID-19 questions, please call the State 2-1-1 line.   For Brookline specific medical or public health inquiries, please contact the Department of Brookline Public Health at 617-730-2300.  For non-medical questions specific to Brookline, please call the Brookline COVID Information Call Center at 617-879-5636.  These call centers, for the time being, will be operational Monday through Friday from 8am – 5pm, these hours will be adjusted as needed.  Messages can be left after hours and will be returned the next day.  You can also email your non-medical inquiries to:   Remember, In the case of emergencies, please call 9-1-1 or 617-730-2222.  Please remember the importance of social distancing to reduce the impact of COVID-19, and please stay home as much as possible. Thank you. 


    Placement Letter

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    Each year, beginning in April, the Lawrence staff devotes a great deal of time, care and thought to creating the following year’s classes. This letter describes our class placement process. The goal of the placement process is to create balanced and equitable classes that provide the optimal learning environment for both the individual child and the group of children as a whole. We strive to create groupings that provide academic peers for each student, are workable for teachers and make it possible to provide the most effective student services. As we balance classes, we create clusters as follow: 

    • Each class will have students who can lift each other, have common interests or will work well together.
    • Each class will have students with varied learning strengths, and students with special needs will be clustered to facilitate service delivery.
    • Given sufficient numbers, students will not be isolated in terms of gender, racial or ethnic groupings.

    Friendships are considered, but our primary focus is to provide appropriate learning peers for each student, understanding that each year brings new opportunities for friendships. The Brookline School Committee’s “Student Grouping, Inclusion and Placement Practices” policy states: 

    “When determining class placement of students at any grade level in elementary school and in the creation of middle school class lists, consideration shall be given to various student learning needs. In order to create effective learning environments and maintain valued diversity within each classroom, efforts will be made to place students with some peers who share similar profiles so that teachers can more effectively address the strengths and needs of all students.”

    Class building is a team effort to which we devote a great deal of time and thought. Grade-level teachers, literacy and math specialists, special education teachers and related service providers, EL teachers, guidance counselors, Ms. Horst, Mr. Cipparone and I all work together on behalf of all students.

    Our placement process includes an opportunity for families to provide information or share unusual circumstances that you feel are important, or which you believe we may not know. We respect your right to advocate for your child and understand that you know your child best over time. If you feel that you have additional information that the placement team is not aware of, you are invited to write a letter sharing that information to be considered in the process.

    All information must be submitted in writing or via e-mail to ( no later than Friday, April 3, 2020. Communication after this date cannot be considered.

    Submitting a letter is optional. The same care and consideration will be given to every child during the placement process whether a parent/guardian submits input.

    If you do submit a letter, your information will be shared with staff. Please remember that our primary objectives are to ensure that each student will be assigned to a class that s/he/they can learn and grow academically and socially, and to build classes that function as lively heterogeneous cohorts. Requests for specific teachers in writing or in person with any staff member will not be considered as part of this process. We take our responsibility seriously and, therefore, allocate ample time and care as we engage in reflection while looking forward to plan for next year’s classes.

    If you are planning on moving and/or sending your child(ren) to another school for the 2019-2020 school year, please click on the this online form to complete, which will help us gather information regarding next year’s students. You only need to fill out one form for all your children

    (If you need to copy and paste to access withdrawal form,URL is below:) (If you need to copy and paste to access form URL is below:)




    Comments (-1)
  • School Closed

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/13/2020 7:00:00 AM

    All schools will be closed starting March 13 and remain closed until Monday, March 30 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    Comments (-1)
  • "Starbooks" Cafe with Kindergarteners!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/2/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Kindergarten Literacy Experience as a result of PD, in class Coaching, and K-2 Staff Reflections about Literacy Professional Development.

    (Please read all the way down.)

    Impact on Kindergarten: Teachers have had the K-2 Literacy Coach working in their classrooms twice a week since September. Together, the coach and the team have been collaborating around writing.  Below is the culminating event that they planned which took place Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

    Kindergarten teachers, students and families celebrated writing this morning at the "Starbooks Cafe". The process that students went through to create poems, show & tell books and pattern books were on display for all to see.  Parents learned about how students generate ideas, draft, revise and publish as Kindergartners. The teachers had photocopied students' writing so that they were able to see the writing in various stages of the writing process.   They were also able to see the tools used by their students--felt-tip pens, fix it tape, and snap words(cards).  All of which supported their student's growth as a writer.  The best part of the event? The pride, excitement and joy that was palpable in the room. Congratulations to all of the Kindergarten students for their very first piece of work published here at Lawrence School!

    K-2 Literacy Coach-  Jill Demsey

    K-2 Literacy Professional Development with Literacy Coach Jill Demsey

    Classroom teachers, Special Educators, EL Teachers and Literacy Specialists have had the incredible opportunity to work together during professional development. Below is an excerpt from our coach summarizing staff feedback on the most recent professional development day.  The feedback also includes staff’s reflection about the impact of professional development on their teaching over the last two years in grades K-2.

    Here is what K-2 staff said about the most recent session: 

    • "Talking about reading helps students develop both academic and social skills"

    • "Guided reading planning becomes much easier once you identify and write down the goal for your group/student"

    • “Building comprehension skills is an ongoing process"

    • " Professional development shifted the way I think about guided, shared and interactive reading. So many skills and goals can be targeted through ALL 3!"


    Here is what staff said about the impact of professional development and about having time for professional development over the past two years in K-2" 

    • "These opportunities to come together and reflect on different aspects of literacy have lifted my teaching in countless ways."


    • "My teaching feels more direct, explicit and purposeful. I sit with my readers having so much more knowledge about their development and how to support them." 


    • "Reminder of high leverage teacher move and a reminder of the resources we have--Fountas and Pinnell, school library books, and the book room" 

    • "Professional development keeps me up-to-date with what is happening with the school literacy activities" 

    These are just a few examples from the K-2 grade band of how our coaches and teachers are continually engaging with one another to reflect on their practice and refine their expertise.  Topics for PD are designed around their interests of growth, student needs, supporting new curriculum, and supporting new staff.

    Happy Reading,
    Comments (-1)
  • Black History Month-Door Decorating Event

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 2/14/2020 7:00:00 AM


    This year, our school held a Black History Month Door Decorating Contest.

    Starting on January 27th and lasting through February 14th, classrooms participated by decorating their doors in a way that represents current or former figures in African American history or with African American heritage.

    The idea of this was to be as student-led as possible. We are thrilled to share the many creative doors and doorways that now fill our school with inspiring and educational depictions of African American history and the accomplishments of incredible people. Please enjoy the slide show here.


    Happy vacation,



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  • Bridging Brookline to Boston a Huge Success!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 2/3/2020 7:00:00 AM
    From Staff Members Ms. Gordon, Ms. Russell and Ms, LaRiccia
    We just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you for your help in making today's Bridging Brookline to Boston event such an incredible success! We  were blown away by how many families just kept coming and how excited they were to be there. We got such wonderful feedback from families saying they had so much fun, they made new connections with families, the kids were excited to see their teachers, and lots of folks were saying they can't wait to do it again! 
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are so grateful for our wonderful community and the team effort that made this a reality. 
    Looking forward to continuing this tradition next year! :) 
    From Co-PTO President-Christina Grady:
    What a wonderful event! Many thanks to the three of you for taking the time to put this special gathering together for our community. I too heard such wonderful feedback from several people. All signs point to this becoming an annual event so congratulations and thank you : ) 
    I'll have to review the numbers with Nora but from my end ...
    56 online registrants 
    40 walk in registrants
    Plus several faculty/staff showed up today that were not counted in the above mentioned numbers, so I think we landed closer to 125. Another way to look at it was that we had 16 lanes for bowling and roughly 8 people per lane which would put us at roughly 128.
    All in all, a big success!  (Scroll down for pictures!)
    Comments (-1)
  • Bridging Brookline to Boston

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 1/24/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Bridging Brookline to Boston

     Dear Lawrence Families,


    Come and enjoy an afternoon together as we bring our Lawrence School community together for an event at Boston Bowl in Dorchester on Sunday, February 2, 1:00 - 3:00! The purpose of the event is to bridge our Brookline and Boston communities with a fun gathering in the city. Last year, we had over 60 people enjoy this fun event!  We would love to have as many Lawrence families attend as possible!

    Tickets include bowling, pizza, arcade games, and fun with Lawrence community members!

    Hope to see you there,



    Comments (-1)
  • 2020-2021 School Calendar: Message from Ben Lummis

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 1/13/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Dear Parents and Guardians, 

    I am pleased to share the attached calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. The School Committee approved the calendar at their meeting last night. It’s also available on our website under "PSB News."

    You will notice that beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the school district will acknowledge the Lunar New Year as a “day of low attendance” (no school). Last spring, the School Committee heard a very compelling presentation from the parents, students and staff of the Brookline Asian American Family Network advocating for this recognition of Lunar New Year. After careful consideration, we have proceeded with marking this day on the school calendar. We are pleased to be able to recognize this holiday that is of such significance to many of our families. 

    One other item that may be of interest to you is the placement of the Professional Development Day in November 2020. It is scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. As you know, this will be a Presidential election year and so we expect a large turnout of voters at polling locations across town. Six of our schools serve as polling locations. Given the large crowds expected at polling locations it is sensible to hold PD Day on Election Day. In non-Presidential election years - when the voter turnout is lower and more manageable in each school building - we will typically schedule the Professional Development Day on a Friday. 

    I wish you and your family all the best in this New Year. 


    Ben Lummis

    Interim Superintendent 

    Comments (-1)
  • Welcome back and Happy New Year!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 1/1/2020 7:00:00 AM

    Welcome back and Happy New Year!

    Comments (-1)
  • December!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 12/2/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Hello Lawrence families,

    Welcome back from Thanksgiving break.  I hope everyone enjoyed time with family and friends.  I was thrilled to spend uninterrupted time with my family, get to the gym and relax.  December has arrived rather quickly and we have three weeks until the December vacation.  The next few weeks are very busy here at the Lawrence School.  

    School Council:  Tuesday, December 3, 2019 from 8:05-8:55am

    Early Release Days:  (12:40 Dismissal)

    Thursday, December 5 and Wednesday, December 11

    Lost and Found in Main Lobby:  December 10 and 11

    Come see if any of your items can be recovered.  All items left behind will be donated.

    Recess Continues...

    With the cold weather upon us, please know that we go out for recess as long as the temperatures are safe.  Please help your child remember their warm winter jackets, hats, mittens, scarves, and boots to keep warm and dry while we are outdoors playing.  

    Screen Time:

    The amount of screen time children have is an important and ubiquitous topic.  I recently read this article by Common Sense Media and thought I would share.  

    Kids are spending more time with screen media -- and at younger ages -- than ever before. In an effort to help families curb kids' use, groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released numerical screen limit guidelines, but the reality is that there really is no magic number that's "just right." What's more important is the quality of kids' media, how it fits into your family's lifestyle, and how you engage your kids with it.

    The idea of screen time as a one-dimensional activity is changing -- even the AAP, whose screen time rules had been strictly age-based, is recognizing that not all screen time is created equal. Computers, tablets, and smartphones are multipurpose devices that can be used for lots of purposes. Even so, the World Health Organization is sticking with specific screen time amounts on the theory that sedentary activities such as playing computer games is contributing to the global obesity epidemic. However, designating device use simply as "screen time" can miss some important variations. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time.

    • Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music
    • Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the Internet
    • Communication: video-chatting and using social media
    • ​Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music

    Clearly, there's a lot of difference among these activities. But as valuable as many of them can be, it's still important for kids' overall healthy development to balance their lives with enriching experiences found off screens. These tips can help:

    • Pay attention to how your kids act during and after watching TV, playing video games, or hanging out online. If they're using high-quality, age-appropriate media; their behavior is positive; and their screen-time activities are balanced with plenty of healthy screen-free ones, there's no need to worry.
    • If you're concerned about heavy media use, consider creating a schedule that works for your family. This can include weekly screen-time limits, limits on the kinds of screens kids can use, and guidelines on the types of activities they can do or programs they can watch. Make sure to get your kids' input so the plan teaches media literacy and self-regulation, and use this as an opportunity to discover what they like watching, introduce new shows and apps for them to try, or schedule a family movie night.

    The AAP 's guidelines, released in October 2016, allow for some screen time for children younger than 2 and emphasize parental involvement for all kids. In a nutshell:

    • Avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting for children younger than 18 months.
    • If you choose to introduce media to children 18-24 months, find high-quality programming and co-view and co-play.
    • Limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years.
    • Create a family media plan with consistent rules and enforce them for older kids.

    The reality is that most families will go through periods of heavy and light media use, but, so long as there's a balance, kids should be just fine.


    Comments (-1)
  • Could Attention Seeking Be Connection Seeking?

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 11/11/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    Every now and again I share articles that have been recommended to me or I have read and find interesting and useful.  Dr. Kalise Wornum, Director of Race and Equity shared this article by Nadene ven Der Linden.

    Could Attention Seeking Be Connection Seeking?

    By Nadene van der Linden

    The term “attention seeking” generally refers to unwanted and demanding behaviors. Behaviors that are labeled attention seeking include being clingy, calling out in class, doing this so other adults and kids will laugh, and even self-harm.

    In the dictionary, attention is defined as “the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.” All humans seek belonging and worth from other humans. We want and need to feel connected to others. Children try many things as they learn how to connect. In my clinic, I encourage parents and teachers to re-label attention seeking behaviors as connection seeking.

    When children seek attention, they are seeking connection and validation. Connection seeking behaviors can be unwanted or difficult to deal with. When viewed as behaviors that express a child’s need to belong, parents are better equipped to deal with these behaviors positively.

    Planned ignoring is often suggested as a way to manage unwanted connection seeking behaviors. The idea is you starve an unwanted behavior of attention so it while you reward wanted behaviors, making it more likely the behaviors you want are repeated. Unfortunately, outside of a psychology laboratory it often results in a child being ignored rather than a behavior being ignored.

    Planned ignoring can make an emotionally unmet child even more desperate. When we ignore extreme behaviors in the absence of positive attention a child may think “Do I even matter/do I exist?”


    Plan to spend time with your children
    Intentionally spend time connecting with your children. Many Western parents spend between 10 and 35 minutes a day with their school-aged children. I include this fact to help explain the possible roots of unwanted connection seeking behaviors, not to make parents feel guilty. Schedule time with your child in your diary, like you would any other commitment. When you are with your children in day to day moments, comment often on the positive behaviors you see.

    Spontaneously give your child lots of attention
    Don’t make them chase you for it. Give it freely and deliberately. Give more than you think they need and see if it reduces problematic connection seeking behaviors. Lots of hugs, pats on heads, high fives, eye contact, invite them to play a game or snuggle with you on the couch.

    Try to hold your child’s perspective. What is the world like for them? Why might they be so desperate for you to notice them? How can you address that need?

    Ignore the behavior but immediately give connection in another form
    Ignore the initial unwanted behavior but give your child positive attention directed at something else in that moment. For example, if a child started throwing toys around the room to get attention, a parent would ignore this behavior and instead invite your child to help with something.

    Later the parent might say, “I know sometimes when Mom is busy you try to get me to notice you by throwing blocks and that can work to get mum to notice you sometimes when Mom shouts but then it also makes us both feel bad afterward. What could work better when you want to connect with Mom?” With a younger child, you may need to provide suggestions such as you could ask me to come and play or help you with something.

    Choose to notice positive behavior over ignoring
    Parents often focus more on what they don’t like such as aggressive behavior and completely ignore their child’s positive behavior. This will likely get you the opposite of what you want. Keep in mind, if children seek connection and they only get noticed when they are doing what we don’t want them to, we will likely get more of that.

    If you choose to ignore behavior, tell your child at the beginning of the ignoring period that you will be ignoring them. “I will not talk back to you until you stop whining. The second you ask me that same thing without whining I will talk to you” is an example of this. You need to explain each time. Children have short memories. Always remember that ignoring the behavior does not mean ignoring your child, which is harmful. Keep ignoring periods short to avoid hurt. Some behaviors cannot be ignored due to safety. In this situation avoid giving negative attention (like reprimanding) to your child as attention of all kinds increases the chance of the behavior repeating.

    Parenting is a journey of connection with your child that will last throughout your life. Connection seeking behaviors, wanted and unwanted, is part of parenting. Let’s manage it in a peaceful and positive way, without punishment.

    Nadene van der Linden is a clinical psychologist in private practice. Nadene is the author of the much loved Tales from the Parenting Trenches: a clinical psychologist vs motherhood. Join the Unshakeable Calm facebook group today. Science based tips for calm and confident living.

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