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Lawrence Union Free School District :: Welcome to Lawrence Public Schools
Welcome to Lawrence Public Schools

The mission of the Lawrence Public Schools, a unifying force at the heart of a cultural mosaic, is to ensure all learners reach their highest individual potential, through an academically rigorous educational system that inspires life-long learning; focuses on creative, student-centered teaching and learning; and enables all to possess the confidence and abilities to meet life’s challenges.

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Teaching Gratitude

One way to give thanks is to give of oneself. One would think that this comes naturally, yet gratitude is a learned behavior that's a challenge to teach in times of instant gratification. Under the umbrella of Social Emotional Learning and Character Development these competencies are taught in Lawrence:


The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well grounded sense of confidence and optimism. 


The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals. 

Social Awareness

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports. 

Relationship Skills

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed. 

Responsible Decision Making

The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Character development is reflected by students’ interactions with each other and with staff, in and out of the classroom. It is reflected by an overall sense of calm throughout our buildings, during passing, and in the lunch room. It is reflected by the Character Development programs that are an integral part of our school culture.

The best lessons are taught through example – our actions speak louder than our words. Giving of ourselves to nurture students provides reason for their gratitude. Especially at holiday time we can celebrate that our students are learning this aspect of giving thanks.

Gary Schall, Superintendent

Full STEAM Ahead

Lawrence is going full STEAM ahead and the destination is clear, to prepare our learners to be college and career ready. 

The rigorous common core curriculum challenges learners in all grades and calls for both understanding and application of new concepts. Under the guidance of our talented teachers and leaders, the application of new learning is accomplished with an instructional focus on engagement. Engagement puts academic concepts into practice to create meaning for students. 

Lawrence is moving forward with a commitment to engage our learners with the skills needed in the 21st century. The areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with the addition of the arts (STEAM) create avenues for all our students to develop creativity and persistence. A longitudinal research study by The National Endowment for the Arts documented 71% of economically disadvantaged students who participated in high schools with a high level of arts programs attended college, compared to 48% of students who had attended schools with low arts programs. It is the combination of academic skills, creativity, and persistence that will yield success in college and career.  

Henry Ford is quoted as saying “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right”. The rigorous standards progress from a first grader who “can understand what I read by asking and answering questions” to a high school ELA student who “can integrate multiple sources of information to make informed decisions and solve problems while evaluating the credibility and accuracy of the source.” You can link to the “I can” statements for each grade here: 

As a Lawrence family of parents, teacher, leaders, and community members, we are all proud, actively engaged participants in supporting our learners as they go full STEAM ahead to a successful future. We know they can and will reach the destination.

Dr. Ann Pedersen, Deputy Superintendent

Superintendent's Employee of the Month

Latoya Bilbro began working as a waitress for International House of Pancakes while attending Beach Channel High School in Far Rockaway. After graduating, she continued her job at IHOP for several years then went on to become a home care attendant for the elderly. Latoya started working in the Lawrence Middle School Cafeteria through Whitson’s Food Service in 2008, and now works at Lawrence High School. With the closed campus and recent renovations to the high school cafeteria, Latoya is stationed at the new Grab and Go stand. She greets students first thing in the morning for Grab and Go breakfast and then serves Grab and Go lunch which enables students without a scheduled lunch to quickly get food to take to class. Latoya combines her experience in food service with a high level of compassion cultivated by working with the elderly, to create a special atmosphere in our successful and innovative Grab and Go program. We are happy to acknowledge Latoya Bilbro as the Superintendent’s Employee of the Month. 

Alumni of the Month

Born in New York and raised in the FiveTowns, Manting Chan is a Hong Kong-American singer and songwriter.   Since her debut EP album Musical Journey was released in July 2011 by Sony Hong Kong, Manting has been referred to as the “musical theater princess” by Hong Kong Media.    

Manting is thankful to have experienced all of her school years at Lawrence. She went from Pre-K at Number Four School to her senior year at Lawrence High where she graduated in 2004 and couldn’t have wished for a better school district to attend. Lawrence was home. She continues to reminisce about her days at Lawrence.  Manting says that the teachers were wonderful, fair, and she looked up to many.  She said, "I am forever grateful to them for sharing their knowledge and believing in my dreams before I even did. "

Her biggest dream was to become a singer and ever since the Lawrence Music Department concert performance trip to Disneyworld back in 2003, she recalls seeing an inspirational quote by Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” So Manting says, I did and I'm still working at it, because the road to success is never-ending. To remain “in the game” you need to continuously work on your craft, connect with people in your line of work, and collaborate with different artists. You need to tirelessly work on new projects to keep yourself up-to-date and stay in the eyes of the public. It is a lot of work and a test of endurance, but there it lays the beauty of it all. Kind of like the life as a student in Lawrence. Believe it or not, I had never given much thought about leaving New York to start off my career, let alone live, work, and gain success someplace else. But here I am in Hong Kong.  So never say never and don’t be afraid of what’s to come”, Lawrence has taught me that. And for that, I thank you.

Manting’s father is Chinese-Indonesian and her mother is from Fuzhou, China.   As a child she wanted to be the first Asian woman to be President of the United States or a singer.   When Disney released Aladdin the song ‘A Whole New World’ it helped shape her decision to be a singer.   Manting says she would sing the song watch the movie every day for a year. 

She entered the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Choir at the age of 10 and was chosen by the musical director Elena Doria to be one of the children singing in Puccini’s La Boheme and later Khovanshchina, a Russian opera.   It was at this point that Manting realized that she belonged on stage.  Manting released her maiden EP album in July 2011 where she wrote the music and lyrics to her song “A Boy”.   She wrote 2 songs which were featured in the movie Break up Club.   The song “One Way Ticket” written by C Kwan for Manting depicts her story of having bought a one way ticket to Hong Kong and creating a life there.  Manting is able to sing in multiple languages including Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Spanish and English.  We are proud to recognize Manting Chan as Alumni of the Month.

The Lawrence Public Schools Academic Initiatives

Data Driven Instruction

Social Emotional Learning

Response to Intervention

Common Core Standards

For More Information: District Academic Plan