EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 18, 2013

Lawrence schools to start this week

Classes begin this Wednesday under second year of state receivership


The new initiatives

The $1.3-million saved from the elimination of 25 central office positions in May is being used to help pay for the longer school days, new text book adoptions and additional classroom teachers and staff, Riley said.

Riley has also established a Family Welcome Center at the central office which helps with everything from registration, to adult education, to connecting families to medical, counseling and other health services in the community.

Other initiatives for the new year include:

- A new compensation system that guarantees all teachers their first raise in more than three years and allows them to earn significantly more money faster in their careers: Top teachers after five years could make $85,000 annually. Right now, a similar teacher with a master’s degree, earns $55,826. The best teachers could earn up to $100,000 under a career ladder pay scale developed by Riley’s office.

- Expanded Learning Time for all students in grades 1-8, resulting in a longer school day: Teachers will receive a stipend on top of the raise they are getting to use this time for targeted intervention, arts and enrichment and more planning time.

- The opening of two new schools to replace the Oliver School, which had been downgraded last fall to “Level 4” status. The Henry K. Oliver Partnership School (grades 1-5) will be unique in the state, in that the Lawrence Teachers Union will play a prominent role in managing its day-to-day operations.

The UP Academy Oliver Middle School (Grade 6) will be managed by Unlocking Potential, which has already been overseeing the management of the Leonard Middle School, another one of the city’s “Level 4” schools.

- A “teacher leader cabinet” to reward top educators in the city with a $5,000 honorarium and empower them in the ongoing turnaround of Lawrence Public Schools: Riley’s office will select 100 teacher leaders next month to participate in the after-school program which will allow teachers a voice in setting direction of the school district.

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