Mass D.E.S.E. News
" What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. "
The Lawrence Family Development Charter School was founded in 1995 by a coalition of Hispanic parents and community leaders who wanted a school that would be responsive to the academic, language, cultural, and developmental needs of their children. The founders wanted to provide an alternative that supported language and cultural values important to families in the community. They dedicated themselves and the school to educating the children of immigrants and other new arrivals to the City of Lawrence and preparing them and their families to move forward with skills needed for success in the 21st Century.
Blue Seal Feed Corporation donated the site for our campus in 1995. Since then, we have undertaken extensive renovations and building campaigns to develop our kindergarten through fourth grade facilities. This included a $180,000 renovation to build first and second grade classrooms, a $200,000 renovation of a garage to house our kindergarten, and a new third and fourth grade classroom building costing $1.4 million.
In the fall of 2006, we completed a $7.6 million project which included the acquisition and renovation of the former St. Anne's High School and Convent to create a comprehensive community campus for students and families. This 60,721 square foot project, located at 400-404 Haverhill Street, is diagonally across the street from our West Street campus. This project included the the acquisition and renovation of the former Saint Anne’s High School and Convent and new construction of a gymnasium on the property. The renovated school building houses our fifth through eighth grade classrooms and other learning spaces such as a library, computer lab, science lab, music room and art room. The new gymnasium addresses the physical education needs of students and provides adequate space for after school and summer activities.
Renovation of the Convent provided the space we needed to expand our existing 60-student kindergarten program for five-year-olds into a 120-student program for four and five year olds. Convent renovations also provided the classroom space needed to address the growing demand for adult services such as Citizenship Education and ESOL. A new adult computer lab was included and basic computer training is currently being offered to parents of students and the general population of the City of Lawrence.
This project converted a vacant parochial school and convent in the midst of a low-income neighborhood to a revitalized urban campus, improving academic opportunities for inner city youth and adults as well as the viability and appearance of a visible city block. The savings we have and will experience through this project (leased classrooms, a rented gymnasium at a third location, reduction in bus transportation) provides the funding that we need to make our monthly mortgage payments.
LFDCS opened in 1995 with 178 students enrolled in Kindergarten through third grade. It has grown since then to a Kindergarten-1 through eighth grade institution with an enrollment of almost 600 students. Admission to the school is based on a yearly lottery to fill 60 kindergarten seats that are available every September. Vacancies that exist in other grades when school opens in September are also filled through the lottery system. Over 900 children are currently on the waiting list for admission to LFDCS.
Our educational program features small class size to enhance learning potential. Kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms have a maximum of 20 students. Seventh and eighth grade classrooms have no more than 15 students. LFDCS is committed to providing equitable access to programs that are of high quality and developmentally appropriate, while ensuring that a focus on student learning is maintained through frequent and appropriate assessments of the educational program and students. Our curriculum is standards based and reflects complete alignment with the Massachusetts State Frameworks.