Lawrence School Needs YOU!

Lawrence School Needs YOU!

Ask people what they value about Lawrence School and, one of the most frequent answers will be our strong sense of community.   A key element of that community is the active involvement in the school by our families.

Our PTO sponsors many events throughout the year that help build and strengthen a strong sense of community among students and families at Lawrence.  Our PTO is the lifeline for this involvement, but we have reached a critical point in our volunteer base.  Families come and go each year at Lawrence, but in recent years, we have not replenished the volunteers in sufficient numbers that we need to maintain some of the events and activities that make Lawrence special. I am writing to say we need YOU!

Australian politician Elizabeth Andrew is frequently quoted as saying, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” We understand and appreciate that everyone is busy, struggling to juggle work, family, traffic, extracurricular activities, and homework (not to mention finding leisure time).   With that in mind, the PTO had recently updated the Volunteer section of our website to include more detailed information about the tasks and time required for various events and activities.  Please take a moment to review this updated information at  Find a friend and sign up together! If you would like to talk to someone about this, look for the PTO Volunteer table at Tuesday’s Art Show or contact one our PTO Co-Presidents directly at

Lily Tomlin said:  “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”  I urge you to be that somebody and contribute to keeping a strong sense of community at Lawrence School.

Update on Staffing Changes for Next Year

Elementary Teachers

I am very pleased to announce that Jillian Starr Coggeshall will transfer to Lawrence from Devotion School and teach second grade next year. Jillian has been teaching at Devotion School for the past 7 years.  She completed her graduate internship with retiring teacher Alicia Hsu and is eager to rejoin the Lawrence community.  She holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Reading from Lesley University. Laura Horst and I interviewed Jillian and visited her classroom and believe she will be a strong addition to our faculty…. In other changes, Jonathan Norwood will teach first grade next year after 12 years teaching second grade…. Gr. 1 Teacher Laura Balogh has elected to accept a position in another school district.  I very much appreciate her excellent work teaching first grade this year…Gr. 2 Teacher Katie Grenzeback is expecting her first child this summer and has decided to take the full school year off…We have begun the hiring process for an additional second grade teacher…. As was previously announced, Mary Lee Mastroianni is returning from her child-rearing leave, but will teach third grade, taking over the position left open by Alicia Hsu’s retirement and Jon Weinberger will move from fifth grade to fourth grade.  By the way, the entire fourth grade team will move out to the new wing next year!

Middle School Team

7/8 Social Studies teacher Kate Hollander will be taking a maternity leave from September-December.  A licensed long-term substitute will be hired…As was previously announced, with our first four-section sixth grade, Peggy Avakian will become the fourth sixth grade homeroom teacher. She will continue to teach English to all sixth grade classes, but will no longer teach seventh grade.   Similarly, Max Hunter, Greg Porter, and Lora Smid will continue to teach sixth grade science, social studies and mathematics respectively, but will no longer teach a section of seventh grade… Contingent on override funding, we will hire additional staff to teach one section each of Gr. 7 English, Math, Science and Social Studies.

World Language

We look forward to more consistent and experienced staffing in World Language next year.  I am pleased to welcome back Rebecca Backmender to teach Gr. 7 & 8 French and Gr. 8 Spanish. “Madame B.” worked at Lawrence from April 2011-June 2012, covering an earlier maternity leave.   She then moved to Pierce where she has been teaching Spanish for the past 3 years, but longing for an opportunity to teach French as well. Rebecca came to Brookline with 11 years experience teaching middle school French and Spanish, mostly in Belmont…Zoë Kern will continue to teach grades 4, 5 & 7 Spanish as she has done since the program’s inception in 2009… Julianne Madrid-Kolb is returning part-time from her child-rearing leave and will teach K & 1 Spanish and one section of sixth grade…. Antonio Quintero has been offered the opportunity to teach grades 2, 3 & 6 Spanish next year…We thank Rebecca Jones (French – 2 years) and Marina Webber (K & 1 Spanish – 1 year) for their hard work covering our recent leaves of absence.  

Rick Rogers

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