Our Mission and Story

The mission of CDCPS is to provide a kindergarten through grade eight school that will draw upon our considerable experience in working together as a community to develop and implement a curriculum that discovers and supports the special characteristics and unique learning styles of each student.

We will engage that student in meaningful learning experiences for clearly stated goals in the areas of understanding, knowledge, skills, habits, and social competencies. The school will reinforce the positive aspects of our city: its culture, art and economy, working-class history, and strong work ethic. Our educational philosophy, curriculum, and teaching methods are informed by an understanding that learning takes place in the context of family and that family must be supported in ways that make learning for the child possible.


In 1993, when the Massachusetts Education Reform Act was signed into law, the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts faced a time of great turmoil.

Rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, illegal drug use, and gang violence were among the highest of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The city had been unable to balance the municipal budget and had been placed under the watchful eye of a state-mandated financial oversight board. The public school district was also faced with a state takeover due to chronically low test results, high dropout and attendance rates, and loss of accreditation for its only high school.

Under these conditions, the Community Day Care Center of Lawrence, a private nonprofit founded in 1970 and known today as The Community Group, joined together with a dedicated group of parents, teachers, and community leaders with a common vision for the school. This founding group aimed to draw upon the expertise of community members to provide the children of Lawrence with a rigorous academic program that would prepare them to be successful students and solid citizens in high school and beyond.

In September 1995, Community Day Charter Public School, one of the first charters awarded in Massachusetts, opened with an initial enrollment of 112 students in kindergarten through third grade. In each successive year of the first five-year charter (1995-2000), the school added grades until reaching the maximum K-8 enrollment of 306. In June 2000, the school’s first class of eighth-grade students graduated. In 2007-2008, school enrollment increased to 331 students by an amendment to the school’s charter.

In the fall of 2012, Community Day Charter Public School reopened as Community Day Charter Public School-Prospect with the opening of two new CDCPS schools, Community Day Charter Public School-Gateway and  Community Day Charter Public School-R. Kingman Webster. CDCPS-Gateway and CDCPS-R. Kingman Webster each opened with 120 students in kindergarten through first grade and expanded to 400 students in kindergarten through grade 8 in 2019.

Also in the fall of 2012, The Community Group partnered with the Lawrence Public Schools district to establish and operate Community Day Arlington Elementary School, to provide a strong education that meets the needs of all students, preparing them for bright futures. The school's practices were modeled after those of Community Day Charter Public School and lasted until 2019.

In 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Education approved the merger of CDCPS-Prospect, CDCPS-Gateway, and CDCPS-R. Kingman Webster, and as of July 1, 2022, CDCPS operates as one school.  Our schools have always operated as a cohesive network, so this has and will not affect the everyday life of our students, staff, and families but it does ease the operational management of the schools. as well as simply the application and lottery process for incoming families. 

Read the history of The Community Group