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APRIL 2015  


In 2011, Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) was one of the lowest-performing districts in Massachusetts. As of 2014, LPS students have made significant gains in math, while ELA scores are moving up and the graduation rate is climbing. What's going on? 


Over the past year, we at ERS have studied LPS' turnaround using our School System 20/20 framework as a guide. We are proud to release Back from the Brink: How a Bold Vision and Focus on Resources Can Drive System Improvement, a case study of LPS. This is just the first of several School System 20/20 tools and case studies designed to help districts better align resources to student needs and create the conditions for all schools to succeed. Early next month, Education Week will also cover Lawrence based on our report. We invite you to explore the progress in LPS and consider how the lessons learned can apply to your school system.


Lawrence combined "quick win" actions with significant structural changes that created the conditions for schools, teachers, and students to succeed. They implemented meaningful changes across the seven School System 20/20 areas of transformation , but especially in:
  • Teaching
  • Leadership
  • School Design
  • School Support

Download the report ?  

Over more than 10 years of work with urban school districts, ERS has seen the array of challenges they face, as well as beacons of hope. This past year I worked with a team at ERS to use this experience to refine the School System 20/20 vision and framework. The Lawrence case study is just the first of several publications and tools aimed at making School System 20/20 as real and practical as possible.

The first step to system-wide transformation is to know where you stand.  Resource Check is a quick self-assessment tool that allows district leaders and others to gauge how well their resources are aligned with their goals, along the School System 20/20 continuum.

Soon we will release more School System 20/20 materials, including another case study and assessment tools similar to those used in the Lawrence case study. For early access to this toolkit, and to save your work on our current online tools, register for a free ERS account.

In this new brief, we explore seven ways that school districts can better use their resources for student success. These specific examples fit in the overall School System 20/20 vision.
Read the brief ?

One of the strategies that Lawrence invested in was ELT. At the Expanded Learning Summit in DC on April 21, we presented a new report that looks at how districts can sustainably fund ELT using the resources they have today.
Read the report ?  

School System 20/20 Vision  See the possibilities ?
School Budget Hold'em  Explore budget trade-offs ?
About ERS      Contact Us

Education Resource Strategies (ERS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how urban school systems organize resources - people, time, and
money - so that every school succeeds for every student .

Education Resource Strategies
480 Pleasant St., Suite C-200, Watertown, MA 02472  T: 617.607.8000