The Impact of PALS

In Action: PALS Summer 2023

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PALS 2023: Connection and Community

Despite a transition in leadership, PALS 2023 operated an incredibly successful program, integrating into the broader Andover Summer programming in new and exciting ways while also retaining its own unique identity, maintaining it as a special program for Lawrence middle school students seeking academic enrichment opportunities for their summer. With a goal of enhancing student learning in STEM and humanities by showing students that school can be fun, PALS classes pushed students to take risks, try new things, ask questions and advocate for themselves. Integrating physics, forensics, novels and short stories made for highly-engaging classes, and students left the summer with a jumpstart on the content they would be covering in the fall at their Lawrence schools. In addition, students - especially those entering 8th and 9th grades - left with a better sense of their secondary school options and the types of skills they will need to successfully navigate the transition from middle to high school. This summer, more than ever before, PALS students were integrated into the broader Andover Summer community through participation in All School Meetings and assemblies, as well as participation in Afternoon Activities alongside their peers from around the world in the Lower School Institute program.

Students React to the Impact of PALS

“PALS this summer was amazing! I got to meet new friends, make strong bonds, do my favorite activities, and I got to learn so many new things in STEM and ELA!” - PALS Participant '23

"I loved PALS so much! I never thought I would have been friends with anyone here, but now I have such strong bonds with them. PALS helped with that. Because of the connections I made here I know I will be ready to make new friends in a few weeks in 7thgrade. PALS has also made me smarter – I had no idea what the formula for weight or mass was, or Newton’s Law. Now, I know all about that!"

- PALS Participant '23

PALS Faculty React to Summer 2023

"I enjoyed being a part of PALS this summer and am grateful for the opportunity. Working with students from different backgrounds than myself forced me out of my comfort zone to connect with them. My colleagues were fun, supportive, and genuinely interested in what I brought to the program. Thank you again!" - PALS Faculty Member '23
"I really liked the creative activities relating to the course material that the students got to do for ELA (poetry writing, assemblage art, imagery paintings, etc.). I also think merging with LSI/Summer Session for afternoon activities was a success and it was heartwarming to see the PALS students befriending students from LSI during this sports block. I also thought the high school and college visits were great for exposing students to the many impressive schools in the area and gave them a chance to demonstrate interest to schools to which they may apply in the near future." - PALS Faculty Member '23

Sending Schools

A record number of Lawrence Middle Schools were represented in applications to PALS Summer 2023: 9 of 11. This is reflective of intentional work to expand access and open our program to interested, motivated students from all across the City.

  • Bruce School
  • Community Day Charter School
  • Frost Middle School
  • Guilmette Middle School
  • Lawrence Family Development Charter School
  • Oliver Middle School
  • Parthum Middle School
  • Spark Academy
  • Wetherbee School

Looking Ahead:

In 2023-2024 PALS is focused on:

  • Identifying a new leader to succeed Nicole Shadeed, who departed Phillips Academy at the end of the academic year to take over as the Head of School at Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence
  • Supporting members of the PALS class of 2023 in their application to and selection of high school options
  • Continuing efforts to integrate PALS operations and programming into the broader Andover Summer community
  • Early hiring and participant recruitment for Summer 2024, with a goal of engaging all middle schools in the City of Lawrence.


students in grades 7, 8, & 9 completed the program


feel confident they can access resources to help them apply to high school


agreed that they...

Had fun

Learned something new

Made connections with peers and adults


feel prepared for the upcoming school year