Vision for Students

The district’s ultimate goal is for each Lawrence school to provide students with a rich, high-quality education that enables them to graduate from college or enter the workforce at comparable rates to their suburban peers.  To achieve this goal, our schools share a common vision for excellent teaching and learning, which we call the “Four Pillars.”

LPS Four Pillars of High-Quality Teaching & Learning:


I. Rigorous standards are the foundation for student achievement.  

In Lawrence, we believe in providing our students with a standards-based education.  We use the Common Core State Standards and assessments as guideposts on our students’ journey from kindergarten to college. Our schools leverage data to guide practice, personalizing the learning for our students as much as possible. The result is a district committed to rigorous standards that support individual student growth towards graduation. 

II. High-quality enrichment opportunities engage students and create well-rounded learners. 

LPS schools provide a wide variety of enrichment opportunities, allowing our students to explore their interests and expand their horizons.  Many schools offer these activities on site, either during or after the school day, including in such areas as robotics, step dancing, musical theater, intramural athletics, and instrumental and choral music.  Other schools partner with community organizations to offer students specialized programs at their facilities in areas such as swimming, karate, or yoga.

III. All students can achieve at high levels if they believe that hard work can drive success. 

At LPS, we believe that with focused and sustained effort, all students can excel in school and reach their potential.  Our educators instill the value of hard work in our students, including encouraging them to put in extra hours through expanded school days, February and April acceleration academies, after-school clubs, or Saturday programs.  In our schools, we communicate a “growth mindset”: that intelligence is not just something you have; it’s something you can develop with hard work. 

IV. Critical thinking skills prepare students for success in college and the workforce.

A Lawrence Public Schools education equips students to think deeply and critically about information. Our educators seek to build our students’ confidence to apply concrete knowledge they have learned in new and novel situations.  This kind of critical thinking is essential to achieving excellence in college and the workplace, where accumulated knowledge serves only as the starting point for success. 
Although each school in Lawrence sets its own academic program, the entire LPS community shares this common vision of Four Pillars of excellent teaching and learning.   This is what makes Lawrence unique: We are a district of self-directed schools with individual plans for innovation and growth, yet all working to achieve a common vision for our community’s students.

In the key academic areas of English/Language Arts, History and Social Science, Mathematics, and Science and Technology, The Lawrence Public Schools Essential Learning Outcomes and Benchmarks provide a clear statement of skills and knowledge that each student must possess to be promoted to the next grade. The Benchmarks provide guideposts along the way to achieving each Essential Learning Outcome.

The Essential Learning Outcomes and Benchmarks form the basis of our expectations for student achievement. However, it takes the collaborative planning at the school level to breathe life into these words so that they affect the teaching and learning that goes on every day in classrooms.