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

  • Middle School Students Participate in Action Groups!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/18/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Hello,

    This post shares about three exciting action groups that are taking place in the middle school.  If your middle school child is interested in joining, please have them contact the facilitators below.

    The Lawrence Climate Action Team

    The Lawrence Climate Action Team is a group of students from grades 6-8 who meet once a week to engage with the youth climate movement. Students come with a wide range of interests and background knowledge, but all have one thing in common: they want to take action to help solve the climate crisis. Current actions include organizing a Lawrence event for Family International Night, and participating in a campaign to ask the Brookline Select Board to pass a resolution calling for bold action to fight climate change. Meetings are on Thursdays from 2:45 - 3:45 in room 145, and are advised by 4th grade teacher Justin Brown.

    GSA Club-Grades 7 and 8


    GSA is a student-led group which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and work to end harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ students. Three typical functions of a GSA include providing support, building community and taking action to create change within the school. The major focus of this group is being an ally and how to support others in being allies as well.  They meet in Ms. Hollander's room during lunch on Wednesdays.  Advisors are Ms. Hollander and Mr. Keser.

    Youth Service Group-Created and Facilitated by Students


    Students come together to identify problems in the community.  They can gain real world experience while at the same time helping the community and those in need. They meet in Mr. Porter's room, Wednesday after school.

    Comments (-1)
  • DICE (Diversity/Inclusion/Community/Equity)

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 2/25/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    In this blog, I share information provided by parent, Nira Pollock, and many other families and staff wo have been instrumental in starting the DICE group last spring.  Their important work has continued this year, and I am proud to support them as well.  PLease read all about the upcoming events that focus on the group's goals of diversity, inclusion, community and equity.

    Sincerely,

    Monica

     

    We had a wonderful DICE community dialogue on Feb 6th on the topic of implicit bias, guided by two facilitators from the Anti-Defamation League (Danika Manso-Brown, ADL New England Associate Education Director, and Kimm Topping, ADL Training Consultant). We discussed key terms and concepts and considered how implicit bias impacts us at school, work, and home. We had a nice turnout and it was very powerful to have our administrators, parents and teachers sitting together and talking about these complicated and important things.   The slides Danika and Kimm presented are attached, and Danika also sent a link to the ADL glossary of terms:  see here.

     Pending DICE activities and updates:

    Weds, Feb 27th, 2:45: “decision-making pilot” session (led by leader of the UMass School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness) to teach us about use of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in schools and allow us to make some decisions about whether we might be able to pilot a program at Lawrence (for parents/teachers/kids) via UMass. Leaders from Lawrence admin, PTO, DICE, School Council, METCO, and SEPAC have been invited to attend.

     

    Weds, March 13th, 7:30-8:30 AM (note: AM!): Next DICE meeting, LEDP room. Schedule permitting, we hope that Maggie Russell will join us to tell us about the literacy pilot program she started to provide extra reading/writing outside of school for METCO kids (parallels Calculus Project).

    April 26th:  International Night!  Looking for performance ideas/volunteers!

    This year Family Fun Night and International Night are combined into Family Fun @International Night! 

    Marcia Ramos Sosa is heading this event and is seeking cultural entertainment and activities, large and small.  

    May 8th, Lawrence library:   Panel on Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, organized by Brookline Adult and Community Education (BA&CE) and the DICE Mental Well-being Subgroup. 

    May 14th, 5:30-7 pm:  Lawrence Reads, organized by the DICE Literacy Subgroup
    Lawrence Reads 2019, a book club for parents, caregivers, and students in grades 3-5, returns this spring with how Tía Lola Came To Stay by Julia Alvarez. Set in Vermont, New York, and the Dominican Republic, this beautiful story shows how families thrive even through the toughest times. Stay tuned for additional details and volunteer signup! We will need 2 adult (parent/caregiver/staff) facilitators per classroom. Faculty and staff participation is welcome. If interested in participating, contact Jessica Ullian, Julie Upadhyay, or Kathy Moriarty 

    Community K-2 Quilt Project:  Danna Perry and Maritza Velez have made excellent progress and have nailed down some funding, and are considering moving the event to the fall (rather than the crowded spring) and thinking through how to make it an annual event. To be discussed with PTO and at the next DICE meeting. If interested in this topic, please contact Danna or Maritza

    Performing arts/DICE:  Vanessa Trien and Mary Gaughan lead the Lawrence Performing Arts Committee and are hoping to collaborate with DICE to bolster and enrich the performing arts offerings at Lawrence and to bring in cultural groups that celebrate the diversity of the Lawrence community.  

     

    -------------------------

    Comments (-1)
  • Happy February Vacation!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 2/18/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Happy Vacation

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  • Math Presentation at Lawrence

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 2/4/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Daer Lawrence Families,

    At the last Principal's Coffee on Tuesday, January 29th, Kathleen Hubbard, PSB Mathematics Coordinator for Grades K-8, the Lawrence math specialists/coaches and I are met with parents/caregivers to share the district/Lawrence vision for the teaching of mathematics at Lawrence School for all students in grades K-8.

    “Our goal as a district and as a school is to build the capacity of all teachers of math (classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, and math teachers) to provide high quality, equity driven, differentiated instruction within their classrooms.  

    Our vision is that all students, regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, gender, etc. will engage in rich learning experiences that provide equitable access for all, leading to a deep understanding of math concepts.”

    They shared the type of mathematical experiences, opportunities, routines and assessments that are designed to encourage mathematical growth for all students.  I have included the link below for your review.  In case you were not able to attend.  I have shared the PowerPoint link below.

    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/146SRJ5QCCeMRftjfqnZxT0OZaE2k0afT6IcijcYMdQA/edit?usp=sharing

    I would like to thank Kathleen Hubbard, Katy McGraw, Laura Koplow and Julieta Roz for planning and executing an informative and interactive presentation.

    Sincerely,

    Monica

    Comments (-1)
  • School Family Survey

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 1/21/2019 7:00:00 AM

    We Want Your Input - Please complete our Family Feedback Survey.

    The survey begin on January 22. Please look for an email from Panorama Education on January 22 with a link to the survey. We urge all of our families to participate!  

    Please keep an eye out for our annual Family Feedback Survey. These surveys are a great opportunity for you to let us know what is working and what can be improved at the Lawrence School. Based on last year’s survey, we have focused on relationship building with all stakeholders, and the VPs and I created a chart of “administrative / guidance partnerships”; each staff member, organized by grade band, was assigned a key administrator partner that they could feel empowered to contact for support or with any questions.

    Last year we had 21.7% of our families respond. This year our goal is to have all families respond. We want every family’s voice to be heard. These surveys provide valuable and helpful feedback about the climate, culture, and leadership at our school and around the district. Our teachers and leaders need to hear what you think the school is doing well and also what we can improve.

    The survey begin on January 22. Please look for an email from Panorama Education on January 22 with a link to the survey. We urge all of our families to participate!  

     

    Sincerely,

    Monica

    Comments (-1)
  • "The Why is Everything"

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 1/7/2019 7:00:00 AM

     

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    The Lawrence staff believes in the power of a growth mindset for all of our students and every staff member.  One of the ways the staff tries to support and help each other grow is by sharing articles that can help us strengthen our capacity to educate all children.  Lesley Fagen recently shared this article with the Lawrence staff, and I felt it might be useful to parents/caregivers.  Feel free to substitute the word parent or caregiver for the word educator and the words student/s with your child's name.  

    I hope you find this article interesting and useful.

    Monica

     

    The Why Is Everything

    Helping your students find their motivation on the path to success

    BY:Grace TatterJill Anderson

    Harvard Graduate School of Education

    Everyone loves a dark horse story: Albert Einstein struggled as a student. J.K. Rowling was on welfare before selling her Harry Potter manuscript. Oprah was fired from one of her first jobs before becoming a media mogul. But we usually consider such people, who followed unconventional, unexpected routes to success, to be aberrations, their paths unable to be replicated.

    In some ways, they are — but there’s still a lot to learn from them, says Harvard Graduate School of Education Lecturer Todd Rose. Rose, who heads HGSE’s Laboratory for the Science of the Individual,believes that educators can do more to help all of their students be “dark horses,” shepherding them along individualized paths to careers and lives that address each student’s unique mosaic of motivations.

    He describes his latest book, Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment, as a kind of “user’s manual for the dark horse mindset.” He knows the mindset well; before he was a Harvard professor, he was a high school dropout. He forged his own path to success only after realizing what it was that truly motivated him.

    Here are some ways that teachers can bring that mindset, with its emphasis on personal fulfillment as both a means and an end to success, to their classrooms. (Note: They just might help adults find fulfillment, too.)

    • Help your students figure out what makes them “tick” — it often can be applied in a variety of contexts. For his book, Rose and co-author Ogi Ogas interviewed leaders from an array of different fields, from journalism to professional closet organizing. They quickly found that all that dark horses “wanted to talk about was how they figured out what mattered most to them,” Rose says in an interview for the Harvard EdCast. Ask your students why they like the subjects or activities that they like. For example, if a student says that the only thing he likes about school is football, but you ask him to dig deeper, he might realize that what he loves is the teamwork aspect, being outdoors, or competition — all of which can translate to other arenas where he might succeed. “The why is everything,” Rose says.
    • Let students practice autonomy. In order to find out what really motivates them, students have to try things out for themselves. Look for ways that you can give students choice and voice, Rose says, like deciding how to present information for a project, or what books to read. “I still want teachers in charge, but if we want kids coming out as self-directed adults who understand how to make choices, how to learn from mistakes, what better place to learn that than [school]?”
    • Focus on personal responsibility. A focus on personal fulfillment doesn’t mean anything goes. It’s important for young people to be able to try different things to figure out what motivates them and what they really love — but that doesn’t mean being a flake. Instill in students a sense of personal responsibility. If they say they’re motivated by music and want to incorporate that into their final project, expect follow-through from them, even if it’s hard. And parents, if your child insists that they want to be a famous musician but choose video games or hanging out with friends before practicing every time, that might not be the arena in which they’ll be a dark horse. “Dark horses are willing to sacrifice for their versions of fulfillment,” Rose says.
    • Reward creative strategies. Run your classroom according to the principle of equifinality, the idea that there are always multiple ways to get to the same end goal. Dark horses are good at figuring strategies to solve problems that play to their strengths, but they don’t always find the right strategy right away. They often have to cycle through strategies to see what works. Give kids time to do that, Rose says. “The idea is helping kids realize that achievement is as much about finding the right strategy as it is about brute force or innate talent.”
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  • Vacation: Fun Time and Learning Time

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 12/17/2018 7:00:00 AM

     

    Dear Families,

    Vacations are wonderful for families and friends to spend quality time together.  Whether you are staying local or travelling, vacation is time to reconnect, continue to learn about each other and from each other, and engage in activities that may not be readily available during the busy school/work week.  The following ideas are possibilities for students and their families to put on a “To Do” list for the December break.  How many can your family do?

    -Go to the library and take out a book of every family member’s choice.

    -Read the books and discuss the parts you like the best while sipping hot cocoa.

    -Have your child map out a walking loop that is two miles long near your home.

    -Go on the two-mile walk, two times during the December vacation.

    -When you have to go to the supermarket, have your child tell you the cost of each item and guess how much the total cost will be before you get to the checkout counter.

    -Play a board game.

    -Pick out a recipe and cook it together as a family.

    -Have all family members agree on one movie they all want to watch. Sit down with some treats, no phones and watch the whole movie in one sitting!

    -Take two pictures of each family, print them out and then make a family collage!

     

    Have a spectacular December break!

     

    Monica, Maisha and Peter

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Helping Kids Grow Into Themselves as Students

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 12/3/2018 7:00:00 AM

    Helping Kids Grow Into Themselves as Students

    Since the beginning of the public schooling movement in the U.S., educators have worked to support students in becoming independent, autonomous learners. In 1848, Horace Mann wrote that pupils “must learn for themselves” by “putting forth personal effort.” Otherwise, he noted, ideas learned in school would “find no permanent lodgment” in the mind of the student. Despite this early guidance, teacher-directed activities such as lectures and assignments with little choice have been the predominant modes of teaching and learning in U.S. schools.

    In my first few months at Lawrence, I’ve observed that students at our school have real opportunities to work with independence. In first grade, students wrote not one small moment narrative but many, moving on to further stories independently after finishing the first one. In fourth and fifth grades, students in a number of classes have begun discussing books in book clubs, where they can set the agenda themselves, prepare with questions, and set their own assignments, just as adults might do!

    In middle school, students have had opportunities to work as independent leaders both inside the classroom and out. I frequently see 8th grade partners helping in the classrooms of younger students, and last week 6th through 8th grade students chaperoned students at movie day with ownership and caring. At Farm School, I saw 7th grade students take responsibility for cooking dinner, feeding animals, and more. As the year goes along, we will continue to put our older students in positions where they need to rise to challenges, and students will grow because of it.

    Of course, when students are asked to work independently, we more often see them struggle. We see this struggle as desirable, productive, and even a little scary, as we so want to see students succeed. Teachers have a number of ways of helping students when they struggle, including working with them in small groups, showing mentor examples of student work, and more. I’ve also been so impressed by the work of the specialists who support students in literacy, math, English language skills, and more, many of whom are not known by everyone in our school. They know so much about their students and the subject matter that they teach, and their work with teachers helps all students at our school.

    In an era in which we have information at our fingertips, technology has helped all of us become more independent, curious learners. In only a few months at Lawrence school, I’ve seen so many opportunities for our students to work with autonomy, and be supported in doing so.

    Peter Cipparone

    Vice Principal

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  • Professional Development at Lawrence

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 11/12/2018 5:00:00 PM

    Dear Lawrence Families,

     

    I hope your children had a restful and fun day off on Friday, November 9, 2018. While the students were not in school, staff participated in three professional development sessions over the course of the day. We had an invigorating and informative day where staff were engaged in learning with each other, all in service to inform instruction to meet the needs of every one of our amazing students!

     

    For the past two years, we joined other Brookline staff and gathered at Brookline High School to hear from keynote speakers, Beverly Daniel Tatum in 2016 and Jamie Almanzan in 2017. After each speaker, we broke into small groups to reflect on the messages of each presentation, which included inclusion, active anti-racist work, and valuing all students.

     

    This year, each school was provided time to plan and execute professional development opportunities that aligned specifically with the needs of the school as we continue to strive for equity. The day was divided into three ninety-minute sessions. Staff gathered as a whole group for the first session and then by grade bands. The session topics are listed below.

     

    Session 1:

    Strengthening Relationships: High Expectations and Support for All Students.

    (All staff attended)

     

    Staff reviewed responses from the Lawrence family and staff surveys from spring, 2018 that asked questions about school climate, relationships, respecting diverse backgrounds and supporting all students.

    Then staff read four selections from “Everyday Anti-Racism” that relate to building relationships and fostering high expectations and the supports needed to meet those expectations for all students. Then they identified action items to try and put into practice.

     

    Action Items:

    Commit to three action items (“Try Tomorrow”) that relate to the articles to use during the month of November/December to…

    1. build stronger and more authentic relationships with a student/group of students
    2. identify a specific skill or interest of yours you would like to bring into class and
    3. identify a “High Help and High Perfectionism” pedagogy.

     

    We will review the implementation of the action items and their effectiveness at our January faculty meetings.

     

    Session 2: Looking at Current Student Work to Inform Instruction and Risk Training for Middle School Staff.

    *K-2: Math

    (Classroom teachers, special education teachers, EL staff, paraprofessionals, and interns/student teachers attended)

     Goal: By the end of this session, teachers began planning for differentiated instruction based on a deeper understanding of specific math content and their students’ current thinking.

    Structure:

    1. Equity Discussion

    Staff discussed what equity in math instruction looks like now and how they can affect it with a focus on Jo Boaler’s and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Equity statements.

     

    1. Data Reviewed:

    MCAS data and student specific data administered to all students K-5 this fall.

     

    1. Grade Level Work:

    Each grade identified one standard/ math goal of the three choices to focus on.

    Grade level teams identified and defined solid understanding of math concept and thought about what leads to that understanding.

    Staff looked at student work to identify different student entry points and then planned for instruction (lessons and activities) in response to different student groupings.

     

    *3-5: Literacy

    (Classroom teachers, special education teachers, EL staff, paraprofessionals, and interns/student teachers attended)

     

    The focus of this session was to deepen our understanding of narrative writing, develop an understanding of struggling writers, create a focus plan to use during instructional writing contexts when working with students and begin our work of looking vertically of narrative writing K-5.

    Staff reviewed and analyzed student writing of all abilities, strengthened their understanding of expected grade level quality writing K-5, and planned for instruction to grow all our student writers.

     

    *6-8: Risk Training

    (Classroom teachers, special education teachers, art/PE/music and health specialists, K-8 guidance, psychologist, paraprofessionals, and interns/student teachers attended)

    The goal of this session was to increase the confidence level of all 6-8 staff in dealing with students in crisis, clarify steps a staff member should take if they are concerned about a student, and to clarify role of staff member and role of the guidance counselor.

     

    Session 3:

    Looking at Current Student Work to Inform Instruction and Identifying the Strengths of Every Middle Scholl Student.

     

    *K-2: Literacy

    (Classroom teachers, special education teachers, EL staff, paraprofessionals, and interns/student teachers attended)

     

    Read description above.

     

    *3-5: Math

    (Classroom teachers, special education teachers, EL staff, paraprofessionals, and interns/student teachers attended)

     

    Read description above.

     

    *6-8: Valuing Every Child

    As middle school educators teach over 80 students, more if one teaches health, art, music and PE, staff took the time to reflect on every student’s positive personality and academic strengths. They then identified which observations they would select to share as comments in the first term report card to communicate their perceptions to each student.

     

    I have included a few comments about the school based professional development day from various staff. 

    “Thank you for the excellent day of learning today- I thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to collaborate with the team and others. I loved the readings you shared this morning (some quotes from those article will be making their way into my teaching portfolio soon!)”

     

    “Great PD day today folks! Powerful things happened. Seriously. Way to go.” 

     

    “Every session was so useful. I am able to use all of the learning immediately!”

     

    “Thank you for planning such a wonderful day today! It was all really inspiring and thought provoking. The first session was really powerful and made me think of one of my one students in particular....”

     

    “Thank you so much for a very productive and enjoyable PD Day.  I feel energized and

    more connected to the teachers with whom I collaborate, and with the faculty in general.”

     

    “Today was productive in terms of both school-based work as well as community-building. I feel so very fortunate to work at this school and to have you as an administrator and guide. “

    Sincerely,

    Monica

    Comments (-1)
  • Grateful For the Lawrence PTO and Brookline Education Foundation

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 10/22/2018 7:00:00 AM

     

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    The staff and I could not be more grateful for the incredible support of the Lawrence PTO and the Brookline Education Foundation (BEF).  The PTO raises a great deal of money every year and then uses those donations to support staff by providing stipends to every teacher to use for their classroom, award grants for staff to engage in professional development to strengthen their craft, and purchase resources that allow for greater student engagement.

    Additionally, the BEF awards multiple grants every year to educators across the district.  Below is a list of Lawrence recipients this past year.

    THANK YOU PTO and BEF!

    2018 - 2019 LAWRENCE SCHOOL GRANTS

    The following Lawrence School educators have received BEF grants:

    Meredith Ritter, 3rd- 8th Grade Visual Arts

    Art New England: Color Studio

    Ms. Ritter will attend the “Color Studio Course with Nancy McCarthy” at an Art New

    England workshop run through the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The

    workshop assists artists to take the basic concepts of value, hue, and saturation to

    the next level. While working on her own practice, she also hopes to translate

    knowledge and experiences from this course into her work with her middle school

    students in two Brookline schools.

     

    Kaitlin Robinson, K-3 Spanish

    Attending the Northeast Conference of the Teaching of Foreign Languages

    Ms. Robinson will attend the 2019 Northeast Conference of the Teaching of Foreign

    Languages. The conference will address subjects including: integration of culture,

    content, and language; authentic classroom discourse; and performance-based

    assessment. She hopes to acquire concrete techniques and activities to apply to her

    Spanish classes, as well as learn new things that will inspire her work.

     

    Kathleen Moriarty, Librarian

    Diverse Learners, Diverse Libraries: American Library Association Annual Conference

    Librarians from three Brookline schools will attend the 2018 Annual Conference of

    the American Library Association. This conference brings together leaders in the

    field and will expose participants to new materials, enhance their knowledge on

    diverse books and authors, and inform them about programming occurring in

    schools and public libraries nationwide. Our librarians will focus particularly on

    enhancing their knowledge of current and diverse materials and methods for the K-

    12 student body, and bring new ideas and energy toward the ongoing goal of

    building collections that reflect the diversity of students in the Brookline district.

    They will share this knowledge with all school librarians in the Brookline schools.

     

    Kaitlin Robinson, K-3 Spanish

    Fostering Spanish Language Comprehension and Literacy with Puppets

    This collaborative grant will allow six elementary Spanish teachers to receive

    puppetry training through workshops with Brookline Puppet Showplace Theater.

    These teachers will then work together to design engaging lessons and materials

    that will apply to their curriculum. They will implement the work in their classes,

    which they expect will bring the language to life and increase student

    comprehension.

     

    Susan Flegenheimer, Russell Morin, Nicole Poirier, Speech and Language

    Pathologists

    Speech and Language ASHA National Conference 2018

    Speech and language pathologists from every Brookline school will join other field

    professionals to attend the 2018 American Speech Language and Hearing

    Association (ASHA) national conference taking place in Boston. This premier

    conference of speech and language offers opportunities to learn about the latest

    research, clinical practice, skills, and resources needed to improve school based

    SLPs’ work, and the chance to network with national and international leaders in the

    field.

     

    Jill Demsey, Literacy Coach

    Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Coaching Institute, Year 2

    This grant will allow the remaining seven Brookline Literacy Coaches to attend the

    Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project Coaching Institute. Last year, four

    coache, including Lawrence's Dianne Muendel,  attended the Institute through a BEF grant. The coaches will strengthen

    their knowledge of the writing curriculum that the District adopted three years ago,

    and will be able to support teachers through classroom coaching and professional

    development.

     

    Lawrence educators will also participate in the following Systemwide

    Grants:

    Leadership Team Retreats

    In the 2018 - 2019 school year, the District Leadership Team includes a high

    number of administrators in their first or second year in Brookline, or in interim

    positions. This BEF grant will extend District Leadership team building and

    leadership development work by funding three off-site retreats to be held

    throughout the academic year.

    New and Interim Principal/Administrator Mentoring Program

    Recognizing the importance of the first few years in a new leadership role, as well as

    the ongoing transition in the Principal positions, this grant, now in its third year, will

    continue to support new and interim Brookline School leaders with a mentoring

    program during their period of transition.

    Comments (-1)

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