Do NOT send your child to Lab Middle School if he/she has an IEP. Lab Middle School is an excellent school for students who excel academically, are good test takers and independent workers. The work is fast paced, demanding and test focused. Students who have difficulty with attention or learning disabilities will get lost in the shuffle at Lab. While there are a few teachers who are compassionate and helpful, many teachers, including the special education teachers, seem to lack psychological insight. For instance, my son was told There will always be distractions in life. It is up to you to ignore them . He was not then given tools to help with this goal. Would you tell someone who is hard of hearing that he needs to listen better? My husband and I had to frequently intervene and advocate on our son s behalf. I talked to other parents, who also felt unsupported at Lab. Lab prides themselves on their values of pluralism, diversity and long history of working with students with special needs. They need to market themselves for what they actually are: a competitive, demanding school for students who excel academically.
We had very high hopes for Lab, but have really been disappointed. I think they are living off old reputation. Our son had a few bad experiences and every time Lab administration let us down.
While I recognize that all experiences are different, I have to respectfully disagree with the last post about children with IEPs. I have an eighth grader at LAB with an IEP, and the experience has been fantastic. He has been challenged, without doubt, but that is what we wanted. He has likewise been supported, and all of his special ed teachers have been very sensitive and flexible. I feel so grateful that LAB was there as an option for a child like ours because he is proud to be a part of such a strong school, is pushed to his full potential, and feels supported for what challenges him. We couldn't have chosen a better school for him.
Lab Middle School is a very demanding and top rated school with a weak IEP program. Experiences are different and I would say that as a parent of a child with learning disabilities who attended Lab, Lab's IEP program is not very good. And this is as per the Board of Education's evaluation of my son's IEP and how information was missing from it and how much was not done to support him throughout each school year. it was a struggle and very draining and at times I didn't feel like some of the teachers had the proper training and psychological insight to be in special education. Experiences vary and mine was not a good one but not because I think Lab is bad school but because their IEP program is weak.
I am a current student at this school, and I have to say that Lab is amazing. It has great resources, great teachers (mostly), and great students. The atmosphere is competitive, but teachers try to make it as compassionate as they can. First, the teachers teach what they know to be necessary for a young adult growing up. They teach us things that relate to our lives and help us along. They also make lessons interesting instead of boring and monotonous. We learn while enjoying ourselves, which is the best environment a teacher can make. Next, the students are amazing individuals. I have made many friends during my time at Lab that I know I will never forget. Finally, the school library is enormous, with ample space for students to study or do homework, and a massive collection of good books. The library also has the textbooks students need for their classes, so if you need a textbook you can always have one. Overall, the only con I would say exists is sharing the school with two other schools, which doesn't even affect the environment at Lab. I'm a Labbie and I'm proud of it :)
I'm currently a student in Lab Middle School and I think this school is amazing. There is a lot of pressure to do well, especially in the seventh grade as we prepare for high school admission tests. You will often hear that "everything counts!". Sixth grade was definitely more of a time to settle in and get to know people, and by the time you are in seventh you will know how to manage your time and do your work efficiently. I still feel a lot of pressure to do well in school and oftentimes this leads to stress. That is basically the only downside to Lab. The teachers are (usually) great, we don't have more than an hour and half to two hours of homework a night and the classes are interesting. I still give this school a four star rating because at Lab, there is always room to improve.
Here's a statistic that shows how great the school/teachers are and the caliber of student at Lab MS. There are about 190 students in the current 8th grade (2011-2012). 131 of the students got accepted into one of the nine Specialized High Schools in NYC. Of those students 46 got into Stuyvesant High School. WOW!
I am presently an 8th grade parent at Lab and I must say 8th Grade is the worse year at Lab. 6th and 7th is rewarding,with remarkable teachers and a more nurturing "compassionate" environment with and stress level down. However 8th grade is a totally different story -- the 8th Grade Team just know how to punish (with their constant lunch & after school detentions and constant screaming at kids) and give non-stop homework. Since the first day of school the homework has been grueling until now -- the last week of school. Hours and hours of senseless homework, as if the teachers are compensating for something they are lacking. The Principal is rarely on the parents' side and is not open to criticism. Complaining doesn't help, they either increase the homework or increase the amount of punishing. Keeping kids for "lunch detention" happens daily to many many kids for the most minor infractions. I warn you it's going to be a miserable year if you're going into 8th grade at Lab! The bright side is the the terrific ever-smiling Art teacher Ms Rhinna who brings joy to their day and the best Parent Coordinator Marilyn Coston who always remains the kids pillar of support.
I know my daughter is happy as she has ever been. The school is rigorous. She works hard and late into the evening on projects. Last weekend she was diligently working on cupcakes for her Spanish class. Translating her recipe into Spanish and providing samples for her classmates. Pleased that her Teachers have taken note of her the past two years and have enjoyed her as much as she them. I dearly hope she considers continuing on to the High School program there!
Lab used to be the only game in town for MS choices back in the days. Now that there are the other very good MS choices, Lab still maintains its attraction for high achieving learners. District 2 is lucky to have so many high performing MS. District 2 is a huge district so a lot of the UES population logically prefers ESM due to the proximity and ESM is a perfectly fine school. What makes Lab special is its collaborative culture and the schools' engaging teachers and students. The PA evolved to support the school programs once again after the separation from the HS a few years ago and the negativity as a result of that. Everyone is back on track to support the school community and focuses on the MS program.
The Lab School has a clear vision of building the school community and the character of it's student. Collaboration is the name of the game.
LAB is a pretty good school. The building itself is pretty hidious, but the teachers are great. They are all young, enthusiastic and outgoing teachers, and all seem to enjoy teaching, however good they are at it. cons: The gym class is not especially productive. I am in 7th grade and we are doing the same things as we did last year, which is basketball... (I must say i'm not a big fan of that sport...) We share a building with the LAB highschool and another highschool which is called Museum School. The LAB highschool kids are fine, but the Musuem school is terrifing. Everyone always stays on their own floors however. Ugly yard. Pros: Very good Math teachers! Science teachers for my grade are all fantastic. We learn! We are def. challenged! We get tests 2 times a week at least. Great kids! Nice gym! (despite the class) After 7th grade we go out-to-lunch.
While this school is a competent school and supposedly one of the best in NYC it has its shortcomings. The environment isn't very supportive--it's almost sink or swim. The classes are around 34 students but there are some exceptional, dedicated teachers here--the rest are OK. Academics overall are fine.
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