Date: Saturday, April 27, 2024 

Location: YDO, Everett Mills, 15 Union Street, Lawrence 

Proposal Deadline: Friday, December 15, 2023 NOW CLOSED  

Contact(s): Susan Grabski, Executive Director, Lawrence History Center, 

This symposium is designed for exploration and dialogue, thinking broadly about the history and evolution of education in the city of Lawrence through the multi-disciplinary lens of the humanities. The day-long effort will focus on the topic of education in Lawrence (and similar communities) from its founding as a town in 1847 to the present day. 

There have been many historic steps since the first Lawrence School Committee meeting of May 3, 1847. The Lawrence Public School System has grown to include 26 schools, 3,000 staff positions and 13,000+ students (April 2023). What did education look like to a predominantly immigrant population in an emerging industrial city then, and now to a Latino majority population in the shadow of de-industrialization, state receivership, and in a post Covid-19 era. 

Possible symposium proposal topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching non-English and multilingual learners
  • Who were/are the students? Who had/has access to an education? What alternatives were/are there to school?
  • Who were/are the educators? What requirements and preparation did/do they have? How were/are they recruited?
  • Comparing and contrasting education during pandemic times—1918 and 2020
  • Approaches to education—from chalkboard to Google Classroom
  • Development of skills-based and/or vocational schools in Lawrence and region
  • Where do our students learn—public, parochial, charter, vocational schools—and how do these institutions prepare them for the future?
  • Charter schools – what models exist in the city and region
  • The composition of the Lawrence School Committee across the years
  • Study of higher education initiatives in collaboration with the city
  • Reflections on the success of the current Lawrence High School model
  • Development of the public schools (in consultation with Horace Mann and others)
  • Changes in curriculum through the years
  • Provision of special education – then and now
  • Family vs. school in moral and social upbringing of youth
  • To teach or not to teach history associated with the U.S. history of racial repression, oppression, land taking, etc.
  • Outside the classroom – how has community-based education engaged students in making their spaces better, including educational institutions, civics, and political empowerment.
  • Analysis of “The Lawrence Plan for Education in Citizen, 1918”
  • The role of public higher education in community social and economic development
  • Legislation, oversight, and political movements in education
  • Massachusetts receivership and the educational justice movement in Lawrence

Presenter Guidelines and Submission Requirements include: 

We welcome papers, panels, narrative art, short videos, and photo essays on, but not limited to, the topics listed above from community members, community organizations, scholars, practitioners, researchers, funding organizations, middle/high school, and undergraduate/graduate students. Individual and panel presentations welcome. Historical continuity is encouraged.

  • Prepare a proposal (500 words or less)
  • Submissions must include contact information and brief biographies for speaker(s) of 200 words or less, written in third person. All co-presenters, if applicable, will need to be listed as well (limit of 3).
  • Each session is 75 minutes (one hour for presentation(s), including a 15-minute Q&A session. Keep this in mind as you prepare your presentation.

Proposal Deadline: Friday, December 15, 2023 NOW CLOSED  

All submissions must be submitted electronically via the ONLINE PROPOSAL SUBMISSION FORM. If you do not receive an email confirmation, your proposal was not properly submitted or left incomplete. 

All who submit proposals will be notified about the status of submissions (accepted or not) on Friday, January 26, 2024 at 4pm EST by email

Note: All participants/presenters will be asked to pay a $35 registration fee for the day to offset expenses (e.g., breakfast, lunch, the keynote speaker, technology in the presentation rooms, space rental, etc.). If this poses a problem, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate a reduced fee. 



Susan Grabski, Executive Director 

Lawrence History Center 

tel. 978.686.9230