Katherine Allen, head of the Lower School at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School, is focusing her school growth project on empowering teachers through an improved procedural structure. “It is my hope that we are able to offer our teachers a deeper influence in instructional decision making while simultaneously creating a cohesive critical eye in the cross-grade-level analysis of student work."
Through the development of bi-weekly content-specific vertical team meetings, teachers and administrators at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School work to align rubrics across the grade spans, score student work to create consistency in academic expectations, and team plan lessons and assessments to promote the scaffolding of rigor.
“Working with my colleagues and leadership coach at the LLA as well as participating in the school site visits, summer institute, and school-survey project has pushed me to hone in on my school’s building culture, instructional practices, and procedural structures and identify the roots of the school ripe for further nourishment and cultivation to strengthen our service to our students,” Allen said. “Being in the city of Lawrence removes us from many of the resources that can be found in Boston. As part of this cohort, I have been exposed to these resources and discovered services that can help my school, which I otherwise would not have found.”
The Lawrence Family Development Charter School is a dual-language program that serves approximately 600 students in grades PK-8. Of these students, 96% qualify for free and reduced lunch and are Latino/Hispanic and 42% are English language learners.
“It has been a gift to work with Kate and to learn about the accountability of charter schools,” said Paula Finklestein, Allen’s Lynch Leadership Academy coach. “Kate is truly an educational leader and has led the school to make great strides in terms of student achievement over the past year.”