• Kansas Vision for Education


    Lawrence Public Schools will continue to engage school families and community partners in our Excellence, Equity and Engagement goals, personalize learning and strengthen our student-centered support system so that ALL STUDENTS achieve, succeed and graduate future ready. This image shows how our learning community works together, and why – to support students. 


    USD 497 works with school families and community partners for the success of all students

    Input from the Lawrence Board of Education, teachers and staff, administration, parents and community partners shaped these 2017-18 Excellence, Equity and Engagement Goals: 

    1. Develop and align district expectations for curriculum, instruction and assessment to raise the achievement of all students. 

    2.  Expand communication and community connections through increased engagement.

    3. Enhance programming and supports to meet the varied academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of each student.

    4. Allocate capital and human resources to deliver quality educational programs and services in adaptable, high-performance facilities. 

    our mission & vision

    Our Vision 

    The school board, administration, teachers and staff build positive relationships, seek multiple perspectives, set high expectations and hold each other accountable for ensuring that through equitable access to rigorous, culturally relevant and seamlessly aligned curriculum and effective, research-based instruction, all students achieve at high levels, graduate on time and are well prepared for their future.

    Our Mission

    Lawrence USD 497 is a learning community committed to ensuring educational equity and excellence so that students of all races and backgrounds achieve at high levels and graduate prepared for success in college, careers and life in a diverse and rapidly changing world.

    Our Story

    Lawrence Public Schools have made strides to improve educational equity and excellence by developing an Educational Equity and Excellence Plan and by offering equity training, including board workshops, administrative and staff professional development and Beyond Diversity seminars for board members, administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community partners. A team of staff members created a culturally relevant rubric used to evaluate curriculum. A District Equity Leadership Team, school-based Equity Teams, student equity leadership groups, a Staff of Color support group and parent and community advisory committees lead our efforts to effect positive and lasting change. The district has also implemented the AVID program, supports an equity facilitator and sponsors additional affiliate training for administrators and teacher leaders. Our staff have annually attended and/or presented at National Summits for Courageous Conversations about Race. 

    Learning Forward, Future Ready promotes personalized learning through ongoing staff development, the blending of the best of traditional instruction with quality digital learning and by providing students equitable access to technology. Thanks to the community’s continued investment in our schools, the district has addressed equity issues across school facilities, as it seeks to provide efficient, high-performance schools that promote student and staff wellness and success. Recent school bond construction and renovation projects have improved campus safety and security and provided flexible, 21st-century learning environments that enhance students’ educational experiences and opportunities to collaborate, create and innovate! 

    Student Demographics

    Of the 10,684 students in Lawrence Public Schools, 66.8% (7,140) identify as White; 9.6% (1,022) as Multi-Racial; 9.6% (1,021) as Hispanic; 6.4% (682) as Black; 4% (426) as Asian; 3.5% (370) as Native American and 0.2% (23) as Native Hawaiian. 

    Data Highlights

    ·         The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes a large number of high school students as National Merit Semifinalists each year.

    ·         High school students’ performance on the ACT exceeds state and national averages in all categories of the exam.

    ·         The middle and high schools offer more than 25 co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, including Band, Orchestra, Choir, Debate, Drama, Student Council, Sprit Club and Scholars Bowl; as well as the following team sports: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming/Diving, Tennis, Track, Volleyball and Wrestling.

    ·         More than 75% of all middle and high school students participate in at least one co or extra-curricular activity.

    ·         While students of color are represented in music (24.4% of band members, 24.7% of choir members and 34.7% of orchestra members are students of color), additional efforts to recruit students of color into music classes should be made.

    ·         Students of color make up 29.3% of the participants in Debate.

    ·         Students of color represent only 34.2% of all students in middle and high school who do not participate in at least one co-curricular or extra-curricular activity.

    Lawrence Public Schools celebrate increases in graduation rates for:

    ●     Students with Disabilities from 81.8% in 2012 to 85.2% in 2016.

    ●     English Language Learners from 76.9% in 2012 to 91.9% in 2016.

    ●     Hispanic students from 79.4% in 2012 to 89.7% in 2016.

    ●     Black students from 88.5% in 2012 to 94.3% in 2016.

    ●     Multi-Racial students from 83.3% in 2012 to 86.1% in 2016.

    ●     “ALL” students from 89.6% in 2012 to 90.2% in 2016. 

    In 2016-17, the district saw decreases in:

    ●     In-school suspensions for Black students by 4%.

    ●     Out-of-school suspensions for Black students by 3%.

    ●     Out-of-school suspensions for Hispanic students by 3%.


    compass with four quadrants: thinking, acting, feeling and believing

    *The district uses the Pacific Educational Group’s Courageous Conversations about Race protocol as tools. The compass assists us in identifying where we may be entering a conversation and centering ourselves for a more productive dialogue. 

    Commitment to Continuous Improvement

    While Lawrence Public Schools have much to celebrate, we recognize that challenges remain. We believe all students can learn and achieve at high levels and that the knowledge and skills to effectively educate all students already exist in the field of education. As a school community, we must demonstrate courageous leadership to enact systems change and successfully educate all students, ensure all decisions are data-driven and align our actions to achieve educational equity and excellence for all students, and identify and correct district and school policies, procedures and practices that perpetuate racial achievement disparities.

    Our Expectations

    To fulfill our mission and achieve our vision of educational equity and excellence, we will:

    ●     Teach all students using culturally relevant, rigorous and research-based instructional strategies, curriculum, materials and assessments.

    ●     Establish annual educational equity and excellence goals to improve the achievement of all students and eliminate racial achievement disparities.

    ●     Disaggregate and convert multiple sources of data into meaningful information to identify strengths and needs of individual students as well as groups of students to inform instructional practices and decision making.

    ●     Enact a system of accountability and support at all levels – board, administration, teachers, staff and students.

    ●     Monitor and report to the USD 497 school community progress toward the elimination of racial achievement disparities. 

     Areas for Improvement 

    While gaps in graduation rates have narrowed during the past five years, disparities remain.

    ●     Graduation rates for Native American students decreased from 87.9% in 2012 to 83.3% in 2016.

    ●     Overall graduation rates decreased from 92% in 2014 to 90.2% in 2016.

    ●     Prediction for an ACT score of 22 or higher by race/ethnicity:

    ➢    Native American – 39.2%

    ➢    Asian – 59.6%

    ➢    African American – 33.1%

    ➢    Hispanic – 37.2%

    ➢    Multi-Racial – 44.5%

    ➢    White – 61.7%

    ●     Kansas Assessment Program Mathematics Assessment by Race/Ethnicity; Percent scoring “On Grade Level” (Level 2) or Above:

    ➢    Native American – 58.5%

    ➢    Asian – 89%

    ➢    Hispanic – 59.1%

    ➢    Black – 52.2%

    ➢    Multi-Racial – 66.1%

    ➢    White – 79.4% 

    ●     Kansas Assessment Program English Language Arts by Race/Ethnicity; Percent scoring “On Grade Level” (Level 2) or Above:

    ➢    Native American – 66.2%

    ➢    Asian – 82.9%

    ➢    Hispanic – 63.2%

    ➢    Black – 59.2%

    ➢    Multi-Racial – 73%

    ➢    White – 82.7% 

    ●     Pre-ACT (9th grade only) Average Composite Scores by Race/Ethnicity (Max. Score is 34):

    ➢    Native American – 18.5

    ➢    Asian – 19.6

    ➢    Hispanic – 18.8

    ➢    Black – 17.9

    ➢    Multi-Racial – 19.4

    ➢    White – 18.7 

    Patterns of predictability exist in discipline and special education data:

    ●     In-school suspension (ISS) and out-of-school suspension (OSS) rates for Black students exceed the total percentage of the population compared to White students by 5.4% for ISS and by 3.8% for OSS from 2016 to 2017.

    ●     Hispanic students’ ISS rates increased by 3% from 2016 to 2017.

    ●     13.7% of the total student population are identified as a student with a disability.

    Of the total identified students (N=1476)

          60% White/40% Non-White

    Total student representation (N=10684):

                67% White/33% Non-White 

    Course Enrollment Statistics:

    Advanced Placement courses – 29.4% of senior high school students take at least one AP course

                    (Of the 29.4%, 74.8% are White; 19% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 6.3% are Asian)

    Career/Technical Education courses – 44% of middle and high school students are enrolled in one or more CTE courses

    (Of that 44%, 69.5% are White; 30.5% are Students of Color (6.2% Black; 8.8% Multi-Racial; 8.6% Hispanic; 2.7% Native American; .3% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; 3.9% Asian)

    Algebra 1 in Grade 8 or 9 – 80% of students are enrolled in Algebra 1

                    (Of that 80%, 66.6% are White; 29.4% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 4% are Asian)

    Geometry in Grade 9 – 24.5% of students are enrolled in Geometry

                    (Of that 24.5%, 67.8% are White; 28.6% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 3.6% are Asian)

    Geometry in Grade 8 – 6.2% of students are enrolled in Geometry in Grade 8

                    (Of that 6.2%, 78.4% are White; 5.9% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 15.7% are Asian)

    Introduction to Pre-Algebra (Grade 6) – 30.9% of 6th graders are enrolled in Intro to Pre-Algebra

                    (Of that 30.9%, 82.3% are White; 15% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 2.8% are Asian)

    Pre-Algebra (Grade 7) – 31.8% of 7th graders are enrolled in Pre-Algebra

                    (Of that 31.8%, 77% are White; 18.7% are Students of Color (other than Asian); 4.3% are Asian)

    components of a personalized learning environment  
    *Personalized learning denotes a student experience in which teachers optimize the pace of learning, instructional approach and flexible environment for each student. College and career-ready standards, student interests, cultural backgrounds and the social skills students need to be successful guide instruction. Formative assessments provide the data used to differentiate instruction and guide supports and interventions to meet and exceed grade-level standards.  

    2017-18 Lawrence Board of Education Goals and Action Steps 

    Goal 1: Develop and align district expectations for curriculum, instruction and assessment to raise the achievement of all students.

    a)      Develop and implement a strategic plan outlining next steps and accountability measures for ensuring educational equity beyond providing Beyond Diversity training for all employees and non-district staff. The plan will emphasize addressing student needs and areas of disproportionality as a system (e.g. discipline referrals, identification for special education services, teacher encouragement/student enrollment in advanced classes, academic tracking that begins in elementary/middle schools and continues to affect students in high school, etc.) by October 2018. 

    1.       Implement specific strategies to enhance Tier 2 & Tier 3 supports.

    2.       Regularly provide equity audits to identify what is necessary to decrease disproportionality. Compare results with peer districts.

    3.       Implement Special Education improvement plan with attention paid to areas of disproportionality.

    b)      Through Partnerships for Academically Successful Students (PASS), engage parent and student voices in order to collaborate effectively.

    1.       Conduct three PASS trainings for school and district administrators.

    2.       Involve students in continuing to develop spaces/places for students to have a voice.

    3.       Define roles and reporting mechanisms for advisory groups.

    c)      Develop and articulate a professional development plan for certified and classified staff to address and enhance curriculum across all content areas, including Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT), personalized learning and technology integration.

    1.      Create a three-year plan to train classroom teachers and paraeducators in CRT.

    2.      Create a three-year plan to increase the capacity of learning coaches in CRT.

    3.      Use feedback from a professional development (PD) needs assessment to create a five-year plan for PD that aligns with the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA).

    4.      Tighten professional development choice to provide foundational levels of competency.

    d)     Develop a plan to support Learning Forward, Future Ready, including 1:1 rollouts and ongoing professional development.

    1.      Develop a three-year plan to train classroom teachers and paraeducators on technology integration.

    2.      Adopt professional learning standards

    3.      Expand professional learning opportunities for staff based on feedback from a professional development (PD) needs assessment.

    4.      Create a refresh plan for 1:1 devices.     

    Goal 2: Expand communication and community connections through increased engagement.           

    a)      Clearly communicate the district’s vision, mission and goals to staff and community.

    1.      Use fall/spring surveys to gather feedback from students and annual surveys to gauge staff, parent and community opinions.

    2.      Include goals and/or goal progress updates in all school and district communications (e.g. school newsletters, district quarterly newsletters, parent/community presentations, social media, board liaison visits, etc.)

    3.      Host two open forum/town hall meetings during the 2017-2018 school year and consider using board goals and a data carousel as the focus.

    b)      In collaboration with advisory groups, develop a strategic communications plan that celebrates success, supports a culture of transparency, proactive information sharing of board agenda materials and planned crisis communications.

    c)      Adopt a Student Information and Learning Management System that is user-friendly and accessible to students, staff and parents. 

    Goal 3: Enhance programming and supports to meet the varied academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of each student.

    a)      By surveying the needs of staff and students and researching peer districts, investigate the need for additional staff/expanded student support services. 

    b)      Drawing on outside resources, develop and implement a staff development plan for identifying and addressing mental health services and support in schools.

    c)      Develop thriving culture goals for all schools with an emphasis on high expectations for all students and staff responsiveness to student and parent concerns. (A thriving culture builds its human systems around a set of core values and translates those values into action through encouragement, empowerment, demonstration and recognition.) 

    Goal 4: Allocate capital and human resources to deliver quality educational programs and services in adaptable, high-performance facilities. 

    a)      Continue to recruit, hire and retain a qualified and diverse certified and classified staff.

    1.      Continue and strengthen the partnership with Haskell.

    2.      Establish a support program in partnership with the LEA to support classified staff interested in transitioning to certified positions.

    3.      Expand participation in career fairs that cater to diverse clientele.

    b)      Implement the 2017 Secondary Schools Facilities Master Plan.

    1. Engage school communities through the design and construction process.

    2. Integrate bond improvements with Capital Improvement Plan projects.

    Looking Ahead 

    Staff will examine issues with AP Capstone enrollment, including visiting with others schools that offer the program.

    Accomplishments during the 2017-18 school year and ongoing challenges will inform a three-year strategic planning process to begin in July of 2018. Topics will include:

    ●     A comprehensive holistic plan for sustainability, resiliency and wellness that involves:

    a)      Facility design, construction and operations

    b)      Organizational policies and operations

    c)      Pedagogical strategies and curriculum

    This plan should tie together existing initiatives, as well as build on the sustainability and wellness components that will be integrated into the 2017 bond implementation.

    ●     Expand the support system for the development of Individual Plans of Study.

    ●     Explore possible expansion of Food Services (second breakfast, after-school meal) in order to meet identified needs of school communities.