Curriculum and Instruction Department

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction is responsible for the overall planning, implementation and evaluation of the district’s curriculum and instructional programs. The department ensures that curriculum programs are in compliance with the policies adopted by the Massachusetts Department of Education and the Lawrence Public Schools.

2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language and Literacy and for Mathematics

2016 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Science, Technology, and Engineering


Standards for Mastery

The district adheres to a system that is aligned to standards for instruction, assessment, grading, and academic reporting that is connected to demonstrations of mastery of the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn as they progress through their education. These concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education determine the goals of a lesson or course, and teachers then determine how and what to teach students so they achieve the learning expectations described in the standards.

Lawrence Public Schools relies on Massachusetts learning standards or "frameworks" to determine academic expectations and to define proficiency in a given course, subject area, or grade level. This commitment ensures that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills that are essential to success in school, higher education, careers , and adult life. Students who do not meet expected learning standards receive additional instruction, practice time, and academic support to help them achieve proficiency or meet the learning expectations described in the standards.



Each School is responsible for the review, selection, and implementation of curricular resources that support implementation of the standards. A brief description of some common resources that many of our PK-Grade 8 schools have adopted include:

5 Multicolored people holding hands in circle with "core knowledge" written below   Core Knowledge Language Arts - A comprehensive Preschool-Grade 5 program for teaching skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) also builds students' knowledge and vocabulary in literature, history, geography, and science.


Engage NY logo above Eureka Math logo  Eureka Math/Engage NY - Eureka Math from Great Minds was awarded the grant to develop ENGAGENY math in 2012 and has since become a top-rated and widely used math curriculum nationally. The most up-to-date version of the curriculum is available on the Great Minds website, along with a number of essential support resources suitable for parents and teachers using Engage NY Math or Eureka Math.


Red Apple next to the words "Know Atom"   Know Atom Science - Know Atom provides a full-year STEM curriculum, hands-on materials and professional development that help teachers turn students into problem solvers and schools in laboratories that bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life.


ST Math logo above a Penguin above writing "Learn Math Visually"  ST Math - ST Math - Spatial Temporal Math - is a supplemental visual math program that builds a deep conceptual understanding of math through rigorous learning and creative problem solving. The online puzzles provide rich, interactive representations of mathematical topics that align to stat standards. Learning objectives target key grade-level concepts and skills with mathematical reasoning and problem solving.


Imagine Learning Logo   Imagine Learning and Literacy - With Imagine Language & Literacy, every child receives explicit, targeted instruction within an individualized learning path that continually adjusts to their needs. Over 4,100 engaging activities teach critical language and literacy concepts such as basic vocabulary, academic language, grammar, listening comprehension, phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency.


Professional Development

The Lawrence Public School district is committed to supporting each school to offer professional development as specialised training, formal education, or advanced professional learning intended to help administrators, teachers, and other educators improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness.

High quality professional development is considered to be the primary mechanism that schools use to help teachers continuously learn and improve their skills over time. A focus on professional learning that is sustained, intensive, comprehensive, aligned, builds capacity, is relevant to teacher needs, and is connected to student learning is encouraged and supported.

The Lawrence Public School district partners with several leading organizations to support the advancement of teacher quality and learning. These partners include:

  • UnboundEd Learning
  • National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE)
  • Achievement Network
  • Know Atom
  • Teaching and Learning Alliance
  • Epstein and Sorresso Educational Consulting


Enrichment for Social Emotional Learning

Educators and child development experts agree that the skills students need to be successful in school and in life is not determined solely by cognitive skills. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, or those most related to character, including grit, optimism and self-awareness, are other important contributors to student success. Social Emotional Learning is defined as the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

The Lawrence Public School district encourages schools to include and emphasis on providing a full complement of enrichment programming to promote SEL skill development. In addition to school based programming in theatre, art, music, athletics, and career awareness, many schools partner with community providers to expand this focus. Partners include: The Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, The YMCA, Merrimack Valley Community School of Music, Living Rhythms Drumming, The Community Group, Groundwork Lawrence, Playworks, and Urban Voices.


Expanded Learning Time (ELT)

The Lawrence Public School district has made a significant investment in TIME as a resource to advance the achievement of learning and assist educators with the hours needed for planning and professional learning. These efforts are non-negotiable and they include the mandate that added a minimum of 200 additional hours of expanded student learning time for most schools serving grades K-8. Many schools have launched a much more aggressive commitment to ELT with a schedule of more that 300 hours above pre-ELT schedules (prior to 2013-14)

Specific to district strategies to support ELT, principals have been assigned authority over decision making and budgets with a directive that anticipates aggressive plans to close not only the achievement gap, but the equally important opportunity gap that exists for so many Lawrence Public School students. Through the design of effective and monitored strategies for ELT and through the increased opportunities for interested schools to provide additional hours of targeted support after school, thousands of students are served for up to 10 hours each day in the Lawrence Public Schools. With an earlier August school opening and increasing opportunities for weekend, school vacation, and summer offerings, schools are working to close gaps during nearly every week of all 12 calendar months.



Mary A. Toomey, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent
Curriculum and Instruction
Phone: (978) 975-5905 X 25614

A Resource Guide for Principals, Teachers, Support Personnel, Paraprofessionals, and Parents

DCAP 2013

DCAP - PBIS Addenda

DCAP - DI Addenda

DCAP - Graphic Org Addenda


The Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) English Learner Services Department manages programs for English Learners (ELs) with the purpose of developing English language proficiency and promoting the attainment of state content-area standards. This department oversees initial English proficiency testing and placement of ELs, English language instruction and content support, the annual assessment of English language proficiency (ACCESS), and the process of program exit and the post-exit monitoring of pertinent students. In addition to supporting a professional learning community of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, the department facilitates professional learning of content teachers in regards to their English Learners. In addition, through Title III funding, the department supports Extended Learning and summer programs for immigrants and ELs as well as Family Literacy Programs for parents of immigrant students. Lastly, the department works with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and all LPS schools to ensure compliance with federal and state mandates regarding English Learner education.

Program Structure

The Lawrence Public Schools offers a Sheltered English Immersion Program (SEI) to English Learners in grades K-12.  The SEI program model consists of sheltered content instruction (SCI) as well as English as a second language instruction (ESL). The structure of the SEI program in Massachusetts acknowledges that English Learners acquire language while interacting in all classrooms as they engage with key academic practices, analytical skills, and conceptual development. In addition, the program understands that ELs must receive additional specific language and literacy instruction in order to reach desired levels of linguistic complexity.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Lawrence Public School’s program for English Learners is to provide quality instruction to ELs so they can acquire English language proficiency while having access to the core content by:

  • Ensuring that instruction is scaffolded, modeled and differentiated.
  • Promoting a culturally responsive classroom environment to facilitate learning and comfort.
  • Enabling ELs to compete with their peers to attain college and career readiness standards.
  • Providing systematic, explicit, and sustained instruction of English language and literacy.



Manager of Special Projecs - English Learner Department

Sarah Blanks Trotsky


Each high school on the Lawrence campus is unique, but there are common features students should be familiar with at the start their high school career. From the start of ninth grade until the time that diplomas are presented, students must focus on meeting graduation requirements towards becoming college ready.


All students in high school are required to meet the Massachusetts State requirements, as well as the Lawrence Public Schools’ graduation requirements. In the chart below, are the graduation requirements common to all six schools. There are additional requirements within each specific school.


English and Mathematics must be taken every year even if exceeds the amount needed to graduate.


All Massachusetts students must pass the tenth grade English and math MCAS tests, and a Science exam as well as earn 110 credits of required and elective courses.


Credit / Course Requirments

Number of Credits

4 Years
4 Years
U.S. History (Includes Lawrence / Massachusetts History and Government)
2 Years
Social Studies
1 Year
3 Years
1 Semester
Physical Education 
2 Semesters
Additional Courses Towards Graduation (each high school offers these courses aligned with the theme of the school)
2.5 Years
MCAS in ELA, Mathematics, and STE
Proficient / Advanced
Total Credits
110 Credits

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The Lawrence Public Schools recognize the right of parents to educate their children outside of a school setting as provided by General Laws Chapter 76, Section 1. The law requires, however, that a child being educated outside of school must also be instructed in a manner approved, in advance, by the superintendent or his/her designee. The Lawrence Public School district does not approve home education programs for anything less than a full-time instructional program.

Parents/guardians must obtain approval annually from the superintendent of schools or his/her designee prior to beginning a home education program. Please send completed applications via email or mail to the contact information below.