Lawrence Township Public School District (21-2580)

Lawrence Township Public School District

The mission of the Lawrence Township Public Schools is to partner with our community in developing lifelong learners with an understanding and respect for a wide variety of cultures, adapting instruction with the recognition that students learn differently, and challenging each student to excel and become a responsible citizen and contributing member of a global society. We pursue our mission by engaging our students in a technology-rich learning environment that incorporates challenging and innovative curricular programs; research-based pedagogy; outstanding teaching; reflective assessment practices; data-driven decision making; superior professional development; focused character education development; and successful community, business, and college/university partnerships.

Situated in the heart of Central New Jersey, Lawrence Township Public Schools serves a diverse population of students and families: 6.5% Multiracial, 16.8% Hispanic, 16.9% Asian, 15.1% Black and 44.6% White. This cultural diversity adds to the uniqueness and appeal of our seven schools. Over 1,295 students attend our four PK-3 elementary schools, over 913 students in grades 4-6 attend Lawrence Intermediate School, over 595 students in grades 7-8 attend Lawrence Middle School, and over 1,142 students attend Lawrence High School.

Our district’s curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that raise the bar for learning in all grade levels. By teaching creativity, cooperation, innovation, and problem-solving, the CCSS mean our students will be better prepared to meet the demands of college and/or the workplace in the 21st century. Related to the CCSS, our students took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) state test in its second year of existence. Additionally and contributing to student development is our 1:1 initiative in which we provided students in grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 with a mobile device for use in school and at home. This program started with a federal grant the district received six years ago, continues and was expanded via district funds, and contributes to our efforts to enhance and enrich 21st century skills.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), federal legislation signed by President Obama in December 2015, replaced No Child Left Behind. We currently are awaiting guidance from the NJ Department of Education regarding what the new law means for public school districts.

We hold the development of character in high regard and make it a priority to emphasize good character traits. All seven district schools are New Jersey Schools of Character and two schools are also National Schools of Character. Additionally, the district holds the distinction of being named a National District of Character, as identified by the Character Education Partnership in Washington, DC. Lawrence is the only district within New Jersey to hold this honor.

Our educational programs provide a solid foundation in early learning experiences that not only support academic success, but also foster collaborative play and social interaction skills needed in today’s global society. Students and staff in our elementary and intermediate schools develop an understanding of their own individual learning styles and use this information to enhance teaching and learning. Inquiry-based instruction is a focal point in our schools. At an early age students learn to question their environment, propose ideas, test their own theories, and communicate their findings in a multitude of ways. The district is committed to developing 21st century learners who are skilled in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation.

As students transition to middle and high schools they engage in a rigorous educational program that helps develop the skills necessary for post-secondary career choices and prepare them for advanced study at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities. The high school offers students the opportunity to participate in three career academies: Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology, and Business and International Studies. Academy students are afforded additional opportunities and enrichment activities that explore specific career paths at a deeper, more engaging level. In addition, the high school offers several dual credit, virtual learning college courses. Students can graduate Lawrence High School having earned up to 15 college credits. In addition to the core academic program, Lawrence Township has an outstanding fine, performing, and related arts program that supports our many talented technicians, musicians, artists, vocalists, and drama performers. We also offer a variety of clubs, activities, and competitive athletic teams in which students can choose to participate.

Synergy best describes the atmosphere in Lawrence Township. The District is committed to collaborating with parents, community members, local businesses, foundations, and higher education institutions to provide our students with exceptional experiences. We engaged the community in a strategic planning initiative that culminated in the development of a new, five-year strategic plan covering 2015-2020. Additionally and based on feedback sought from the community, the District initiated a turf project for two of its athletic fields. The District continues to capitalize on its outstanding classroom practices, professional coaching and mentoring models, and teacher leadership programs. Teachers from across the state and beyond can come to Lawrence and not only receive some of the finest professional development training, but also see it in action in our schools and community. Let Me Learn, Pre-School Autism Program Development, Responsive Classroom, Response to Intervention, Differentiated Instruction, Writers Workshop, Guided Reading, Guided Math, Makerspaces, 1:1 Mobile Devices, Gifted and Talented Training, Robotics, Teaching with iPods, Community-Based After School Programs, Tools of the Mind, Transition to Adulthood Programs, Sustainability, and Special Olympics partnerships are just a few of the wonderful things we offer in Lawrence.

We are fortunate to receive continued support and commitment from our parents, community leaders, local corporations, supportive foundations, college and university partners, and local education foundation. Lawrence Township Public Schools values these partnerships as we all work together to help our students Lead – Achieve – Succeed (as our tagline relates) and become the good citizens of tomorrow.