Published Online: May 6, 2015
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Photos: A Turnaround in the Making

Four years after state officials took the unprecedented step of seizing control of the 14,000-student district in Lawrence, Mass., it has combined civic teamwork, rigorous academics, and a holistic education experience to make steady gains.

Related Story: State Takeover Gives Mass. District a Fresh Start

  • A former industrial town on the banks of the Merrimack River, Lawrence, Mass., has struggled in recent years to combat high crime rates, low unemployment rates, and pervasive images of urban decay.

  • Komal Bhasin, left, the principal of UP Academy Leonard Middle School in Lawrence, Mass., rallies with teachers before students arrive.

  • Students raise their homework for collection in class at UP Academy Leonard Middle School.

  • Sixth-grade students Hemely Morrobel, left, and Lisandro Breton work on posture merit points during class at UP Academy.

  • Eighth grade English teacher Trevor Munhall works one-on-one with Lewy Baez-Troncoso at UP Academy.

  • John Cruz, a student in teacher Cesar Batista's 7th grade English class at UP Academy, reads a book about Greek mythology.

  • UP Academy 8th grade special education teacher Ashley Hutchinson talks with student Isaiah Rodriguez about how to bring up his grades in the fourth quarter.

  • UP Academy 6th grade science teacher Dan Adler uses cheers and gestures to help his students internalize a lesson about photosynthesis.

  • Art teacher turned ELL teacher Kristen Cunningham helps Dominique Almonte during class at the Wetherbee School in Lawrence, Mass.

  • Maria Lopez, left, fills out paperwork at the Family Resource Center to register daughter Arleni Rodriguez for classes in the Lawrence school district.

  • Kindergarteners get a baseball lesson during enrichment classes at the Wetherbee School. Other in-school enrichments include cheerleading and needlepoint, while other children can participate in swimming or cooking at the local YMCA.

  • Second grader Jose Mercedes, 7, prepares to box during enrichment classes at the Wetherbee school.

  • Workers on the floor of the New Balance shoe factory in Lawrence. The building was once a textile factory used to make woolen military uniforms.

  • Lawrence Teachers' Union President Frank McLaughlin, left, Mayor Daniel Rivera, center, and Superintendent Jeffrey Riley have worked together to improve schooling in the city.

Credits: Photos: Erik Jacobs for Education Week | Design & Visualization: Deanna Del Ciello
Vol. 34, Issue 29
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