Accessibility Tools

What Does Inclusion Mean at Lawrence Public Schools? 

An inclusive experience at LPS means that all students, regardless of their learning needs or identified disability category are held to high standards, have access to a grade level, engaging, affirming and meaningful curriculum delivered by trained professionals, through the use of evidence based practices. At LPS, we believe all students should have the opportunity to “ Be A Part, Not Apart”-  learning, growing and thriving together, not separately.

We are committed to embracing effective inclusive practices by providing increased and meaningful opportunities, supporting additional resources for each neighborhood zone, offering high quality professional learning and advocacy, as well as promoting the understanding that student’s individual needs must be considered.

Inclusion in Lawrence Public Schools relies on a values-oriented mindset. 

Inclusion is based on the premise that all students with disabilities, regardless of disability type and level of need, have a right to be educated alongside their nondisabled peers and to be fully included as a member of the larger school community. Inclusive practice involves bringing the support to the student rather than bringing the student to the support outside of the general education setting. Inclusion requires IEP teams to collaborate and ensure that students derive educational and social benefit from being in the class as mere physical placement in the general education classroom is not sufficient. A commitment to move needed services and resources to the student with the disability rather than placing the student where the services presently exist in a more removed or separate setting is necessary to ensure a successful inclusive experience. An inclusive educational experience requires caretaker feedback, purposeful scheduling to ensure collaboration between general education and special education teachers, both of which must be committed to protecting the rights of their students with disabilities. 

Inclusion in Lawrence Public Schools must be student-centered. 

Educators assess their students strengths and possible areas for improvement focusing on the use of academic, social-emotional, and culturally responsive approaches to facilitate student learning. Student-centered inclusion teachers view their role as educating the “whole student” rather than simply delivering curriculum instruction. Expertise in assessments, co-teaching, standards-mastery learning, students’ learning styles, differentiated accommodations and modifications are most important for our teachers to develop and implement in both general education and specialized program classroom settings for students with and without disabilities.

Current Specialized Program Classroom Structures

Independent Learning Program (ILP)

The ILP classrooms are resourced with special educators who consult with BCBAs trained in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Students assigned to these classrooms have access to general education settings, curriculum, and activities while still receiving the individualized supports they need to be successful during the school day. Focused on academic achievement, work habit behavior, and generalizing socially appropriate behaviors, the ILP also reinforces learning related to functional communication, increased independence, and behavioral and sensory self regulation. Each student is assigned to a general education grade level homeroom, is included in grade level general education curriculum content, integrated studies, and enrichment opportunities as appropriate. Second only to Specific Learning Disabilities, students identified with a primary disability of Autism now represent an increasing percentage of all LPS students with disabilities. It is critical that LPS provide enhanced support, expert professional development, and a continued focus on utilizing evidence-based practice to ensure optimal student outcomes and greater exposure to the general education environment.

Practical Academics 2

The Practical Academics 2 Program is designed to provide students identified with a cognitive impairment, with or without multiple disabilities, an opportunity for supported inclusion and substantially separate services as needed. Students display below average academic, language, and/or verbal skills as well as comprehension levels that require modified content, instruction, and/or benchmarks. Students may present externally focused maladaptive behaviors. Students require a small, highly structured environment that provides opportunities to develop math, reading, writing, organization, independent living and pre-vocational skills. Students are able to navigate the school environment with mild support in various areas of need such as functional skills.

Practical Academics 1

The Practical Academics I Program is designed to support students identified with severe cognitive impairment, with or without multiple disabilities, who present limited functional adaptive skills. Students evidence significant learning challenges across ALL domains (functional academics, social pragmatic skills and adaptive functioning skills). Instruction is provided in a substantially separate setting to balance academic learning with targeted programming in the areas of functional academics, activities of daily living, social, community, and pre-vocational skills development, health and safety. Students are able to demonstrate academic outcomes through Access Skills and may take part in the MCAS Alternative Assessment.

Post Grad 2 – Vocational Education (age 18-22)

The Post Grad 2 Program is a Vocational Education transition experience that provides a continuation of the Practical Academics II supports. This transition program is designed for students aged 18-22 presenting with cognitive impairments, with or without other disabilities, the opportunity to earn a Certificate of Attainment upon completion of the program. The focus is on education and training in technical knowledge and skills that individuals with disabilities need to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging employment sectors. The program includes academic and community-based learning that is competency-based. The course curriculum is designed to meet student learning style needs and provide students with opportunities to participate in a work study program to promote workforce skills, both on and off the school campus. The applied learning constructs contribute to the academic knowledge, problem solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, and occupational skills, required by the student’s specific IEP goals and benchmarks. When appropriate, students assigned to PG2 may be eligible for a high school diploma and may be able to generalize skills for postsecondary transition.

Post Grad 1 - Vocational Education (age 18-22)

The Post Grad 1 Program is a Vocational Education transition experience that provides a continuation of the Practical Academics I support. This transition program includes students aged 18-22 presenting with a profound cognitive impairment, with or without multiple disabilities that require extensive communication and/or physical and mobility support.
Students in the PA1 classroom are on track to earn a Certificate of Attainment. Students generally require individualized instruction and training in the areas of Independent Living and Functional Academics. Education goals and supports include the areas of Independent living, Functional Academics, Social Communication, and Vocational Skills, with access to community-based learning experiences.

Medical Support and Sensitivity

The Medical Support and Sensitivity Program serves students who have a profound cognitive impairment that requires the provision of intense and sustained resources throughout the day in order to access curriculum. Students may present with a combination of disabilities that require extensive communication and/or physical and mobility support in order to meaningfully participate in the academic or social setting. Students identified with significantly limited skills in the areas of functional academics, social pragmatic skills, and adaptive functioning skills are provided with high levels of instructional, social, and medical support. A focus of the MSS program includes the implementation of functional life skills in academics, activities for daily living, pre-vocational tasks, recreation/leisure enrichment, and community participation. The program is driven by the individual abilities and needs of the students.

District Wide Program Locations (As of 22-23SY)
Location Independent Learning Program Practical Academics 1 Practical Academics 2 Medical Support & Sensitivity
Arlington Elementary (Pre-K-Kindergarten)
(Grades 1-4)
Arlington Middle     (Grades 6-8)  
Breen (Pre-K)
Frost Elementary   (Grades 1-2)    
Frost Middle   (Grades 5-8)    
Guilmette Elementary (Grades 1-4)     (Grades 1-4)
Guilmette Middle (Grades 5-8)     (Grades 5-8)
Hennessey (Pre-K-Grades 2) (Pre-K-Kindergarten)
(Grades 1-2)
Lawrence Family Academy   (Pre-K-Kindergarten)    
Lawrence High School
(also houses 2 Post Graduate classrooms)
(Grade 9)
(Grade 10)
(Grade 11)
(Grade 9) x2
(Grade 10)
(Grade 11-12)
(Grades 9-10)
(Grades 10-12)
(Grades 9-11)
(Grades 12-SP)
Oliver Elementary (Grades 3-5)      
Oliver Middle (Grades 7-8) (Grades 6-8)    
Parthum Elementary (Grades 1-3)
(Grades 3-4)
(Grade 1-4)    
Parthum Middle   (Grade 5-8)    
Rollins (Pre-K)(Kindergarten)      
South Lawrence East (Grades 1-2)
(Grade 3-5)
(Grades 1-4) (Grades 3-5)  
Spark Academy (Grades 6-8)   (Grade 6-7)
(Grade 8)
Wetherbee (Grades 1-2)
(Grade 3-4)
(Grade 5-8)
  (Grades 2-4)
(Grade 5-6)
(Grade 7-8)
District Wide Program Locations Continue (As of 22-23SY)
School for Exceptional Studies (SES) Programs
Post Graduate Learning Comprehensive Learning Center Social Learning Center Annex Therapeutic Learning
(Grade SP) (Grades 1-5)
(Grades 6-8)
(Grades 9-12)
(Grades 9-10)
(Grades 10-SP)
(Grades 11-SP)
(Grades PK-9, independently) (Grades 1-12, independently)

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Central Office

237 Essex Street, Lawrence, MA 01840
Phone 978-975-5900 Fax 978-722-8544


Family Resource Center

237 Essex Street. 4th Floor, Lawrence, MA 01840
Phone 978-975-5900 Fax 978-722-8551