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A District of Excellence

At Lawrence Township Public Schools, we are constantly seeking ways to enhance the learning experience for our students, ensuring they have the best possible opportunities to learn, grow and succeed in the classroom and beyond. I am thrilled to share with you an exciting initiative that will revolutionize the way we approach education in Lawrence Township Public Schools – the evidence-based strategic restructuring of our grade level distributions to better align with the cognitive and social-emotional development of students.


This journey has been guided by two pivotal factors.


First, in close consultation with experts in the field of education, our district has been diligently researching and evaluating the most effective grade level distribution models.The culmination of this research unequivocally supports the sixth through eighth grade middle school model as the best fit for students' academic and social-emotional needs.  In addition, this year we were awarded Preschool Expansion Aid (PEA) funding from the New Jersey Department of Education which will bring 500 preschool students to our district over the next five years. 


The connection between these two components became clear.


Our community has voiced a clear desire to integrate preschool in their neighborhood elementary school buildings. We listened, and began looking at ways to expand those buildings to hold this new population. We employed architects to examine the footprint of our existing elementary schools to see where, if anywhere, they could be expanded. Private property and wetlands “landlocking” our schools, coupled with the prohibitive cost of any vertical construction, rendered this approach unfeasible.


Consequently, we came to the realization that now is the opportune time to move toward our evidence-based, long-term goal of future grade-level reconfiguration. Aligned with the Department of Education's recommended model, our vision is to transform every elementary school to PreK through second grade, uniting grades three to five in a nurturing upper elementary school, and grades six to eight in an expanded, modernized middle school. By providing these more developmentally and academically appropriate environments, we will be laying the foundation for a district of excellence, where our students will thrive academically and emotionally. 


For example, by realigning our grade levels, we can provide the necessary resources, specialized facilities, and extracurricular opportunities that are tailored to the unique needs of each age group. For instance, our sixth graders will have access to intramural and school sports programs previously unavailable, enriching their physical and social development. Also, because this reconfiguration bands the mandatory state-tested grades together, we can better focus our resources and support on ensuring our students are prepared to meet and exceed academic standards.


But this transition is about more than just changing grade configurations; it's about enhancing the entire educational experience for every student in our district. We listen to and value our community’s input and are committed to ensuring that all of our students have the support and resources they need to thrive and succeed. We’ve heard our families’ concerns and desires to keep our children “young” by housing them in an elementary school building for a longer period of time. By embracing this “upper elementary” school model, we respect that wish, as well as the developmental needs of our students as they progress through their educational journey. Similarly, in Lawrence Middle School, our sixth graders will inhabit a dedicated wing, fostering a supportive environment as they acclimate to middle school culture and curriculum expectations. 


I understand that change can sometimes be met with apprehension, but I want to assure you that this transformation is rooted in research, best practices, and a deep commitment to the well-being and success of our students. We are excited about the positive impact this restructuring will have on our entire community, and we hope you join us on embracing this journey towards a more effective educational environment and create a brighter future for generations to come.


I invite you to join me at our May 22 Board of Ed meeting where we will be discussing the first step of the journey: reviewing architectural plans to expand our middle school. 


Thank you for your continued support and partnership.


Dr. Robyn A. Klim

Superintendent of Schools